Reading has always been a passion of mine, for as long as I can remember. It has also been a source of weird nerd pride for me, and made a huge imprint on my childhood. In 1st grade I was pulled into advanced reading group, and that is one of the few things I can even recall about that year. In 4th grade, I won a trip to McDonald’s with a teacher for reading the most books in the school during our March Reading month. This continued through high school, where I would leave the library every other week with an ungainly stack of roughly 15 novels (at a minimum of 300 pages each).
The desire to write has resurfaced several times over the past few months. I even wrote a few posts that are now languishing in the trash bin due to the content no longer being timely.
Last week I put a fresh coat of paint on the blog in the hopes that it will provide further inspiration and actually get some words published.
2012 has finally come to a close, bringing in a shiny new year that still feels clean, bright and full of hopeful unknowns. We can’t read anything on the internet without being overwhelmed by eye-rolling clichés, resolutions and reflections. And yet I completely understand why everyone does it –starting fresh with grand ideas about what the future might bring, letting go of the baggage that the past year piled on us – it feels quite wonderful. We think for a moment that we could change, and become who we’ve always wanted to be… at least until we fall back into our old habits and repeat the cycle all over again.
One of the things that disappointed me most about Cataclysm was the archaeology profession. When the concept was announced years ago, I envisioned a new addictive profession that would get me out exploring the world, collecting interesting artifacts, and gaining lore tidbits. I generally like professions in video games, and I love exploring as well. It seemed like the perfect match.
What we got was a tiresome, grindy experience reminiscent of the original incarnation of fishing, but without the added benefits of tying in with Cooking. I chose to level Archaeology on my former main (Kaelynn the rogue). Instead of giving me a reason to play her, Archaeology gave me a reason to stay away. I did eventually reach max skill in Cataclysm, but couldn’t convince myself to continue to grind for the items I actually wanted (pets, mounts, and BOA epics that would have been useful in the first tier of Cata raiding). I grew to despise the continent of Kalimdor and its long flight paths. The Tol’vir became the bane of my existence. Archaeology was frustrating and dull for any significant length of time.
Mists of Pandaria has been out for… a while now. And of course I haven’t managed to post a single word about it, or anything else for that matter. But I’ve finally found myself in a writing mood, so I figure I’ll take advantage of it before the moment passes.
What have I been up to for the last few months? For the most part, I’ve actually been playing WOW. I’ve actually been logging on almost every night, and enjoying the game again. In short: Mists is everything I hoped it would be. From exploring the gorgeous scenery, to the Tillers, to interesting quests with a less on-the-rails feel, to heroics, and scenarios and beyond, I think that MoP is a great experience. I could ramble on about my initial impressions for a while, but you’ve already heard it from a hundred other people and I really don’t have any new spin on the topic.
This is NOT a BIS list, or even a BIS pre-raid list. The items are not ranked in a specific order. I have simply included a selection of gear to look out for as I level and begin heroic dungeons on my resto/elemental shaman. Use your own judgement as to which combination of these pieces actually makes up your own person BIS set.
I’ve been waiting for account-wide mounts and pets since the day I even considered switching mains from my rogue to my shaman. I finally have access to my prized Netherwing Drakes, my rare Azure Whelpling pet, and so much more.
There is a rather unforeseen consequence of the account-wide feature. Since pets and mounts are available to any character, they can be acquired by any character. In the case of rare drop mounts or pets with a limited number of attempts available per day or week, this greatly increases the options available to you. Now instead of just grinding on your main, you can grind for them on every alt you’ve ever created! For most mount/pet collectors the word ‘can’ in that last sentence should be substituted with ‘must’. Blizzard has given those of us with alts an opportunity to truly drive ourselves insane.
My husband Jardal ran Heroic Sethekk Halls on every high level character for several months, in anticipation of the account-wide feature. He finally got the elusive bird to drop last week, and even I was grateful. I was tired of the squawking noises. I was tired of hearing him say, “I’ll be ready to go in just a few minutes – I need to finish my Anzu runs”. It was starting to drive me insane, and I wasn’t even running it with him.
My guild-mate also pointed out that we can now speed up acquiring pets and mounts from factions that require token grinding via dailies, such as Tol Barad, the Argent Tournament, or the Darkmoon Faire. You can now do the sets of dailies on multiple characters a day if you’re working towards multiple items you want to purchase.
For the pessimists among us, this is proof that there is a downside to everything.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve been off enjoying the outside world, or just playing other games. WOW hasn’t been a part of my life at all this summer. After listening to a few of my usual podcasts, however, I felt a slight flicker of interest. I finally found the energy to try the WOW beta again.
If you haven’t played the beta at all yet, or have been away from it as long as I have, then you’ll quickly realize a LOT of things have changed. The most jarring thing is that the level 85 starting area, the Jade Forest is no longer accessible.
I think I just need to resign myself to the fact that it’s going to be a while before my interest in WOW picks up again, and that if I want to write any posts at all, they need to be about a more broad spectrum of topics. I do miss writing here – it’s therapeutic. I have been posting a bit on my personal blog, but it’s all been very domestic and “safe”. I miss ranting, and writing about obscure geek topics with much less restraint.
I miss connecting with other people who are more like me. So many of those whom I’ve encountered over the past four years of playing WOW, through blogging or the game itself, have always felt more like “my people” than those I encounter in my daily life. I’m starting to feel like I lost that somewhere along the way. Most of the blogs that I truly enjoyed in the WOW community have gone dark (mine isn’t really any exception, given the number of posts I’ve made lately). I find myself reading home design blogs or tech blogs to fill the void, but I miss this community. I’m absolutely terrible at keeping relationships going. I don’t know if this stems from laziness or just being so paranoid and devoid of self-esteem that I fear that no one actually wants to talk to me.
I wasn’t among those Annual Pass subscribers that were up in arms about the lack of an immediate Beta invite. It was an unrealistic expectation that 1 million people could suddenly log onto a small set of beta servers. I completely understand Blizzard’s situation, and they’ve handled it all quite well in my opinion. With that said, I’m certainly not going to lie about how discouraged I’ve felt watching wave after wave of invites go out, with no sign of an invite for me. A beta invite has always been rather an exclusive thing, and as I began to see that I wouldn’t be even close to first at the party, my excitement began to wane.
Thursday, my Battle.net account finally showed that lovely second box entitled “World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Beta”. I didn’t end up getting to play yesterday due to the hordes of people slamming the login servers, but I was relieved to finally have the chance.
Today, like so many others, I tackled the Wandering Isle on a newly minted Pandaren Monk. Spoilers lie ahead, so anyone wishing to approach the Pandaren starting area with virgin eyes may want to skip this post.