Monday 18 October 2010

The other night I tripped a nice continental drift divide.

Podcast evidence to the contrary, it didn’t actually take too much deliberation for me to subscribe to World of Warcraft again. I came to the opinion that if one has ever been invested in WoW at any point in time it would be a shame to miss out on the forthcoming cataclysm. The release of patch 4.0.1 was the catalyst for my return, and I was resolved to revisit my account and use my credit card to awaken it from its catatonic state. The next great WoW expansion is not due for another couple of months, but the forthcoming catastrophic world events are already being felt across the lands of Azeroth: the world trembling at its very foundation from time to time.

Two months may seem like a long time to have to wait before the actual release of the expansion, but when you consider that I need to apply numerous AddOn cataplasms to my UI before I am able to play happily, it seems like no time at all. I am a fool for UI twiddling, and with the expansiveness of WoW’s aftermarket AddOns being legendary, it is ripe for abuse by someone such as myself, a feedback catabolic: one who breaks down complex UI elements into simpler systems, and thus releases the energy otherwise used in fixed concentration to be diverted to more important areas, such as hat selection and the timing of fart emotes during boss fights. A catalogue of my AddOns would rival the indexes of the Ancient Library of Alexandria in scope, and as such I won’t bore you with them here.

In fact, that’s pretty much the extent of my return thus far, a small part of the inevitable migration of catadromous players who, having been living a quiet life in the fresh waters of other MMOs, now return to WoW’s oceanic population for a fresh orgy of spawning, with new life being breathed once more into Azeroth as players are catapulted into a world which is both familiar and unfamiliar. Thus far the changes have been pleasing in the main, with numerous systems in place to hold the hand of those who merely want to dabble in the game: the talent interface requires you to press a button to learn the talents you have selected, and gently reminds you that you have untrained talents if you close the window without doing so; the level-up experience is streamlined, with a message across the display telling you your new level and then announcing any new abilities or talent points you have earned, although a trip to the trainer is still required to gain them, something that Everquest II still does better, in my opinion.

That really was the extent of my experience so far. Having spent several days downloading patches overnight, then the odd hour here and there over another couple of days devoted to downloading AddOns and configuring them to my liking, and then further time setting up keyboard and gameboard key-binds, I’ve done little other than wander around on a couple of low level characters, trying to get a feel for what class I’d like to play when I roll my Worgen. I’m thinking of taking a step outside of my comfort zone, thanks in part to great experiences with my Warden in Lord of the Rings Online, and picking up a class that I don’t usually consider playing. In the meantime it’s a matter of picking an existing level eighty character and familiarising myself with the class so that I can enjoy the events leading up to the impending cataclysm.

There’s not that long to prepare; the earthquakes have already begun.

If the Prophets of Rem are to be believed, next it will be birds and snakes.

Followed by an aeroplane.

Then it’s the end of the world as we know it.

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