Training as an immigrant hunter is no fun. I decide on the spur of the moment to leave my home in Darnassus and reach out to my real spiritual home of Stormwind (first ever character Human Paladin) but talk about pick your moments…. I find my way from Darnassus to Auberdine (I forgot you needed to go to Auberdine first – thought there was a boat from Darnassus to Menethil Harbour – please no one tell me in the comments there is). Got to MH and worked out the run back but then remembered I had to go to work (this was 7am) so made my husband do the corpse run dance back to Loch Modan (he’s a good ‘un).
Eventually got to Stormwind (think tram and yucky rats) only eventually (think large candles and rather tetchy kobolds) to hit 10 to be told I need to go back to DOLANNAR to be trained in beast training!! Really?? No one out of the 3 hunter trainers in Dwarven can do this.? I mean I know this is Wow Classic but really – what were they thinking back in the day?
So anyway I traipse back to Dolannar in the wee small hours (I’m Welsh but I usurp the Scottish dialect like there’s no tomorrow mun) and I train 3 types of beasts to get my training hand thingymajig which means I’m finally a bit of a hunter.
I hearthstone back to Stormwind (I’m no fool) and fly to Loch Modan (I’m a bit of a fool) to train something white that matches my hair. I end up training an Ice Claw Bear who turns out to be GREY and pretty poor at holding aggro – but we’ll revisit that again. Anyway I name him Ted for a laugh and set off back to Stormwind.
Back in Stormwind I learn people are kind but it comes with a price . I run past some dude in Stormwind. He opens a trade window and gives me an 8 SLOT QUIVER. I am aghast. I only have an 6 slot. I come from the streets. I have nothing to give him in return (I am unwilling to give up my stack of broken canines if truth be told). So I daringly press accept, waiting for the kicker. Nothing comes -that’s it. I have an 8 slot quiver.
Then it gets awkward.
I spent some time sorting myself out then decide to run to Old Town. I am still in the exploratory Paul Simon (still lost in Stormwind after all these years) stage and want to remind myself what’s there. But I see him. Trader Dude, just ahead of me. Ooh I think. He might think I’m following looking for more loot. So I hang back a bit to be polite and then, when the coast is clear, carry on running and see the Pig and Whistle. Ooh I think (totally Carry On style). A good place to hearthstone – it’s near my Leatherwork trainers, Hunter trainers (when it suits), and as it turns out my Cooking trainer – it has the lot. What an awesome place to call home. Cheers in Boston be damned. But I go in there and there HE IS. Trader Dude. Chatting up the barmaid. He sees me. I see him. It’s totally awkward. He runs past me. The louse. I run after him – I have him on follow. Christ when did that happen? Shit. Day in the life of a stalker.
I played a lot more of WoW Classic yesterday than I thought I would. I first logged in as Bravetank a Human Priest but gave up after about 5 minutes when I couldn’t find any kobolds or wolves to kill. The starter zone was filled with corpses and tapped mobs and hundreds of over excited Azeroth heroes – I’ve not seen anything like that in WoW for a long time. It was amazing but frustrating (and I was lucky – I didn’t really encounter any queueing problems) so I bailed for a bit to rewatch Rocky (Creed II had got me all nostalgic – it was a day of it) .
An hour or so later I tried again on a lower population EU server and this time created Bravetank the Night Elf Hunter. It was a little better this time round. I was able to find and kill spiders and Grells and Timberlings – albeit slowly because there were still A LOT of people tapping all the mobs and because this is WoW Classic so everything feels so much slower – wonderfully so.
To start with I was a little disconcerted at not being told where to go to find and do things. I mean I had remembered there was no quest tracker but to actually see the map in all it’s plain uncharted and unhelpful goodness and to have to actually read quest text – well that was a shock to the system. But it’s a long overdue shock. I found myself actually looking around the area properly to find what I needed rather than running/riding/flying off on autopilot to kill everything signposted for me. It was great to have to “manually” doublecheck (i.e. read name then re-read quest) that the Gnarlpines I was killing were the right ones (Ambushers rather than Defenders or Shamans etc.) rather than just automatically checking the tooltip.
Progress is slow. I’m still only level 7 and I must have played for about 4 hours! I seem to be running from A to B and back again all the time (far more running than fighting – sort of like Rocky training montages now I think of it). I’ve still not left the area around Dolannar. In main WoW you level up so quickly these days that you’re in and out of the starter area without having a chance to properly look around. WoW Classic reminds me of what I loved in the game and what I can’t recapture in main WoW. It’s the fact you spend so much time in a zone, traversing the lengths and breadths again and again, searching every nook and cranny for everything you need, that when it’s time to leave you feel bereft for a time, the new zones are strangers and the old zone is home. And that’s what gave the game richness and depth. Real life memories were created in each zone, and through zone after zone these memories built on each other and created an experience and feeling I’ve never been able to recreate in any other game since, not even in WoW. I complete zones in main WoW but I don’t live and breathe them anymore. WoW Classic has reminded me of that.
Of course I like and will miss many of the quality of life extras we’ve gained over the years. But I’ve decided not to go the add-on route. Many of the things that have made life easier have made the game less immersive and I hadn’t realised that was happening. I was just enjoying all the new shinies. But WoW without them feels like a real world again and I’m glad to be in it. It started raining in the game yesterday and someone said in chat, “It’s so beautiful” – I couldn’t have agreed more. And that’s the other thing – the starter zone chat has been amazing. It’s clear people are excited about being back. For some people of course it’s their first time. Many were asking how to do such and such and experienced folk were being helpful in return – actually answering questions! At one point people started sharing their ages and it was noticeable how many were in their 40s like me – there was definitely an older demographic. People were friendly in game too – I was randomly buffed and healed countless times. It was how it used to be.
Other random observations –
- Having to remember to go to the trainer when I level, paying for new spells and abilities (the novelty of that will soon wear off!) and spell ranks.
- Not knowing the vendor value of all the stuff I’m having to delete because of course I have no space in my bags.
- The size of the client is so much smaller than main WoW so I can install and play on my space limited Mac – this means more chance of playing so yay!
It looks like this new old world will be my world of choice for some time now. It was a wonderful first few hours. I’m now looking forward to the talent tree and taming my first pet (I’ll need to remember to feed it). And of course I will be grinding for gold to be able to afford riding training when the time comes – just need to try and find space in my bag for my mount ….
I did Shrine of the Storm yesterday. This was a big deal for me as I went in as melee (Ret Pally). I am not good as melee, I always seem to stand in the wrong place, fail to target anything and just generally get overwhelmed with everything going on. But as it happens it went well yesterday. I don’t have Skada or Recount or anything like that at the moment so don’t know how I did. At one point one of the players typed three dots in chat which I immediately took to mean I had done something wrong, but then we killed that particular boss and someone in the group said, “Wow that was really fast”, so it might have been ok. I think I just need more practice – it was the first time I’d been in there so I didn’t have a clue where to go and in the bit when you swim underwater I was lagging far behind everyone. But I did it.
It’s weird though – after everything I’ve gone through over the past two years why do I still get nervous in dungeons? I mean I’ve had cancer, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, lost all my hair, had to face the fact I could die and leave my husband and daughter, had to really think about the reality of mine (everyone’s) mortality. Big big stuff. But when I’m in the game all I can think about is not doing anything stupid in a dungeon! I get so tense when the dungeon group is ready. Once again it seems I’m still the same me in game as out of game. When I first started playing WoW (and first started this blog all those years ago) I thought I could carve out a new identity for myself in WoW – a freer identity. But it wasn’t to be. I’ve always been the same anxious self both in and out of game. I worry about what people think of me in never is this more acute than in a dungeon or raid. Then when I got cancer I thought that would change me. That in someway battling cancer would end up freeing me from my anxieties. But again it turns out not to be the case. When it comes to worrying about messing up in a dungeon I’m still the same neurotic Bravetank! The me in game is the same me outside of the game, sometimes brave but often scared. Nothing’s changed.
I’m enjoying WoW right now. We’ve just come back from a lovely holiday during which I spent a lot of time lying by a pool listening to my favourite WoW podcast (The Instance) which always gives me the WoW bug. Since coming home I’ve been focusing on levelling up my Paladin Terema on EU Argent Dawn (say hi if you see me – I’ll be the one looking fancy in an expensive plate dress I’ve just bought now that I’ve also caught the transmog bug) and getting excited for WoW Classic. I’m looking forward to strange things in WoW Classic like having to pay to learn skills, the old talent tree system and feeding pets to keep them happy. Not having LFG or LFR won’t bother me as I rarely do group content and if I do I’ll try it with husband and daughter and enjoy wiping as a family. And of course I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the old landscape – in particular Auberdine, the Wetlands and Thousand Needles. But I’m not still sure how much I’ll end up playing WoW Classic once the initial, “Oh my goodness remember this” moment is over. I’m still enjoying BfA and still have a lot of stuff left to do as I’ve been on/off with my subscription since last year. But more than that – and less specific to BfA – I like all the quality of life stuff WoW has introduced over the years. I like sparkling loot, quest info on the map and Pet Battles. I like what the game has become even while loving what it once was and here’s only so many hours in the day. But having recently watched last year’s Blizzcon session to see what it’s taken to create WoW Classic I’m definitely in awe of the effort, dedication and love shown by the devs. I really hope WoW Classic ends up being worth it rather than being a museum piece that people just visit the once and then forget about, choosing instead to play the latest shiniest expansion.
Well that might be the shortest hiatus in history. So much has changed since the last post.
Basically I had the all clear from my CT scan and then made the decision to finish my treatment early (I was struggling with the side effects). Fast forward a few weeks and I’m now feeling a lot better. I’m back in work – albeit reduced hours until I fully recover and I’m feeling much more myself.
And it was yesterday in work that led to me logging onto WoW today. I was on a course and we had to “Tell the group something they don’t know about you.” I didn’t have a clue what to say. I definitely didn’t want it to be anything to do with breast cancer and my treatment. I’m fed up with letting that define me. So I was racking my brains wondering what to use and I suddenly realised I would usually say
“I’m a gamer, I love playing World of Warcraft and I blog about it”
But now I couldn’t say that. It wasn’t true. And I realised something that had once been an important part of my identity and my goto in these situations was gone and I felt really sad about that. This in turn made me realise I missed being that person and that I didn’t want to lose her. So today I logged back on and started playing my 103 level priest Darllen on EU Argent Dawn. I found myself in Azsuna – I’d left her waiting to do the annoying Farondis escort quest. I gritted my teeth, got through that quest (he must have asked me fifty times where I was when I was stood RIGHT BESIDE HIM) and then I proceeded to do the rest of the Ruins of Nar’thalas quests, killing Hatecoil Naga and generally enjoying myself. I’ve deliberately gone for my 103 Priest in Legion rather than my 116 Hunter in BfA because I would like to heal in LFR (if LfR is still a thing – I am really out of the loop). Plus I need to do Argus to get my reps for all the new races I want to try.
As I played today I remembered that I first started blogging about WoW during a really difficult personal time. WoW and writing about WoW was part of my journey of self discovery. It was quite a ride. I’ve now reached that point in my physical recovery where I need to re-embark on that journey. The fact I’ve logged on today is testimony, I think, to the fact I’m getting better, I have more energy and I want to rejoin the land of the living – I think I’ll start with the virtual one, although once I go there I might never leave.
I noticed today how much I’ve been neglecting this blog. I have not been well since the start of November. I won’t get into the details here – just did a mini update over on Cutscenes for anyone interested.
But what about gaming? Well I’ve not been up to much – whenever I’ve tried anything I’ve just quickly become exhausted. I’ve unsubbed again from WoW as it’s pointless keeping it going while I feel like this. I tried to play a bit of LOTRO and then Secret World the other day but couldn’t get into either of them. Just now I played a bit of Hearthstone (first time in awhile) but found it too tiring. I started off enjoying it but it just went on too long (not the first game – that hunter beat me in seconds with a ramped up Scavenging Hyena, but the second game (also hunter) went on forever (sadly I lost that one too).
Around Xmas time I did go through a stage of playing some Minecraft Regrowth (a modpack that I love) but again I’ve just lost the will. I feel sad about all this as gaming has always been an escape and a joy for me. Gaming gave birth to this blog. But I just can’t settle to anything for too long these days and if I concentrate too hard I just get dizzy and tired. So it’s game over.
I have been doing a bit of writing though – just some sketches and jokes. Short pieces that make me laugh. I’m also going to try some creative writing exercises. Not sure if I’ll do anything with them. Sometimes I used to game just to give myself something to write about. Maybe I’ll cut out the middle man. I’ve also been doing a bit more cooking and baking and I’m going to try making my own wine. I need to be able to potter at my own pace until I get stronger.
But all this probably means that this gaming blog is on an indefinite hiatus from today. Feels like the end of an era.
I’m still playing quite a bit of Hearthstone. It’s so easy to just log on and have a quick game (well not that quick these days, but I’ll get onto that in second) in between doing other things. It’s so different to WoW where I have start up the other laptop, find and plug in my charger, get my mouse etc. Yes first world problems.
However, each game of Hearthstone seems to be taking forever. Part of it is my fault. I’m playing a Mind Blast Priest so the games tend to be long. My strategy is to keep the board as clear as possible, chip bits and pieces off the opponent’s health while keeping mine relatively ok and then finally Shadowreaper Anduin up and finish them off with Mind Blasts and Hero Power. It’s truly a beautiful thing when it works out.
But then I come up against Druids – specifically Malygos Druids and it all goes to pot. Firstly the game just takes so long I end up getting completely bored – and this isn’t just sore loser bored but genuine fed up with this game & just want to play something else bored. Druids take forever on their turn – I guess because they are counting potential spell damage and only have so many fingers. I’ve caught on that I need to keep my health up, wait for Malygos, try to silence it, or Psychic Scream it, or steal it with a Cabal Shadow Priest & Twilight Acolyte combo if I can – anything just to get it off the board and hope they’ve not got that Floop card which will play another Malygos for less mana on the next turn. But if it all goes badly wrong – well the other day I was hit in the face for over 30. Not the nicest feeling in the world.
And it’s not just Malygos. You have to think about their removal – Swipe & Naturalise, their proliferation of Spreading Plague taunts if you overfill your side of the board, and of course Malfurion the Pestilent. I’m jealous really. The Icy Veins version of the deck has 6 legendaries, of which I have just one. It’s so hard to keep up with things in this game, at least if you don’t want to spend much money. Hey ho. Maybe Santa will be good to me this year.
I’m taking a little break from WoW this weekend to try out the new Sims 4 expansion Get Famous. It’s a lot of fun if you like the Sims. In this expansion I’m controlling (or trying to control) the life of Shelly, a wannabe actress who is currently losing her followers on social media because she is selling out by doing adverts. I’m doing this because I desperately need the money – I’m tired of washing dishes in the bathroom and selling the trees on the lot to pay my bills. Financially the life of a struggling actress is hard going.
And there’s a lot to do. My daily routine involves levelling up the skills needed before an acting audition and then doing the required preparatory tasks before the acting gig itself. I find all this takes so much time that I’m neglecting everything else. In fact my Sim aged up without me doing anything for her – not even a cake. This put her in a furious mood (she has the self absorbed trait and so could not believe no one remembered her birthday). She went off to her acting gig in a rage and I thought she was going to blow it. When she’s not in a temper at not having enough attention she’s tense because she has gone too long without looking at her phone. Apparently that’s just the start of a series of quirks that she’ll develop as her fame grows.
Going forward I’m thinking of taking her more in the direction of vlogger (I recently sold off nearly all her possessions to buy a video station to record and upload videos). As she’s now being seen as an influencer she’s being asked to upload videos for a small fee. Seems like easy money – it all helps – but I think her reputation as a sell out is growing.
That said she does have a few fans. She went out to a club the other day and was asked to sign some autographs. However, she wasn’t in a great mood as she needed to use the toilet (I wonder how often that happens to real celebs?). When she tried to use the one in the club she wasn’t allowed in as she wasn’t famous enough. The shame. Thankfully she managed to get home before she peed herself in front of her three adoring fans. That said if she’d thought to take a selfie it might have gone viral.
Yesterday in work I overheard two of the guys talking about decks, rank 12 and Battletags. My ears pricked up and I just had to ask, ‘What game are you talking about?” “Oh it’s just this game called Hearthstone” they explained in tones reserved for telling granny about this thing called t’internet. Yes I’m probably 20 years older than them but goodness, I’m only 46 – I’m still a gamer and I bloody well know what Hearthstone is. So of course I couldn’t stop myself. Up I stood and, like the child I really am, I pointed proudly at my lanyard (a Hearthstone lanyard – the fact they’ve never even noticed shows no one is looking below my neck anymore – I really am middle aged) and I said, “I am a big Hearthstone player”. Then I remembered I haven’t played in months so added, “I’m no pro of course”. One of the guys said, “I’ve got to Legend three times”. That took the wind out of my sails. For a second anyway. My highest ever was 7 and that was ages and ages ago. These days if I play at all I’m pretty chuffed to get to 18. But I gathered myself, decided in my head that one day I’ll be Legend too, and we all ended up having a nice chat about decks, expansions, standard v wild and other Hearthstone stuff (leading to a number of raised eyebrows from other people in the office who didn’t have a clue what we were all on about). By the time I got home I was all fired up to play Hearthstone again. So I logged on, updated the game and found myself back at Rank 25 (boo) with three unfinished quests. I pulled together a pretty ok Control Priest deck and I’m now Rank 20. Slow slow progress. But progress nonetheless. Just to mix it up a bit I also have a Budget Evens Shaman deck on the go and an Evens Warlock deck. I completed the Headless Horseman Tavarn Brawl this morning (that was fun – I liked hearing the WoW voice lines in the game). I also lost one and won one in Arena (you can currently play as a mix of two classes which is also a lot of fun).
So I’m back at the hearth. And of course I know damn well why I’m back. That old competitive streak never dies. I want to get to around Rank 12 and then if the guys in work decide to share Battletags I might just be brave enough to do it. Maybe. It would be good to show them that middle aged women can play this game called Hearthstone and play it well. There’s life in this old biddy yet.
I’ve not been playing as much BfA as I’d like as I’ve not been feeling up to much for yet more boring health reasons that I won’t get into here. Any time/energy I’ve had I’ve been using to learn iOS app development for … well no reason really apart from the fact I’m enjoying it. The other reason I’ve stayed off WoW though is my Mac gets very hot under the collar when I play WoW and the keys hurt my fingers. And WoW is eating up all the storage. But today I had a little burst of energy and got out my old Windows laptop, sorted a few things out, reinstalled WoW and finally logged back on.
I managed to play for about half an hour and finally hit 115 – yes I’m still bringing up the rear on the levelling front. I’d got a little sidetracked by other questlines previously but today decided to re-focus on Drustvar as I really like the storyline, atmosphere and scenery. So I amused myself killing some evil Sisters, charming a Dormant Ravager and then taking out old Matron Levae. It was all very satisfying, although I did it with Poldark Season 2 in the background and saw that bit with Francis and felt rather upset … I won’t say anymore in case someone else is late coming to the Poldark party and hasn’t seen that bit yet. Anyway I completed the Airtight Alibi part of the storyline and decided to leave it there. I think I needed time to recover from both the questing and Poldark. But in truth healthwise I’m not up to more than tiny bitesized chunks of WoW right now and that’ll have to do. It’s better than nothing.