Earlier this week Psychochild commented on a post that WoW was for all intents and purposes my ex, and that I was “lingering on a now broken long-term relationship that still tugs at your heart.” It’s a lovely analogy, and perfectly on point for me. WoW is that ex that I’m probably better off without but I’ll always miss what we had in the good days.
That being said, I heard that my ex had come back to town promising that things would be totally different now. They’ve changed and cleaned up their act, apparently, and maybe I would, you know, just wanna meet up for coffee or something, catch up on the old times… And that’s how I found myself in Pandaria last night.
The last time I had one of these dalliances was almost a year ago, and I simply logged off one day and never really felt the urge to get back on. When I logged in again yesterday.. oof, everything is a mess. My bags were full of junk and half-finished projects, the questlog stuffed with random things. Of course all the talent trees changed as well as the way specs are managed. My UI was borked. It was a little overwhelming.
However, Blizzard has added some pretty handy features for new and returning players, like the “What’s Changed” tab in the spec window, or the explanation of core skills in the spellbook. I respecced for Shadow last night since I plan to be questing, and despite the fact that I haven’t played Shadow probably since I levelled in Cataclysm (maybe before?) I was toodling right along in no time.
I’m not sure when they changed the combat style, but Shadow is pretty fun right now. I have a set 3 spells I open with, and then it’s basically mind flaying until any of a number of lovely procs happen. Multiple procs make for some pretty impressive-feeling burst damage, and the whole thing is quite satisfying at least during the short amount of time that I played. The new talent system is slightly confusing because at least half the choices just seemed to be fun, borderline cosmetic stuff while the other half had serious impact on how I played, but at least it’s easy to set up.
Pandaria itself is beautiful. I’m only at level 85.3 or something right now, but so far despite all the positive response I’m kind of meh on the questing. I’ve already seen a number of “Kill 10 X” quests, which are just underwhelming. For now the fun of proc-based burst damage is keeping me entertained while I tear through the land, but I’m hoping it picks up a bit.
Pet battles, on the other hand, are dangerous and I’m glad that WoW isn’t my main game because I am pretty sure I’d feel obligated to grind out a perfect team. Having never played Pokemon before I was really not sure how they would add any depth to the pet combat system, but it’s a lot of mixing and matching strengths and weaknesses and searching out new strong pets. It’s also really, really fun and I’ve already spent some time this morning looking over lists of blue-quality pets that I own to figure out a team.
Outside of the new Pandaria assets, the art in WoW is really really looking old. I feel like it’s “aged” years in only months thanks to comparisons to RIFT and Guild Wars 2 and other newish titles. There are litle things I think of as staples now that I really missed last night, like a “sell all junk” button or “open all mail”. Also, as someone who hasn’t played in a while I’m not sure I like flying mounts anymore. They just feel.. awkward. Invasive? I’m not sure.
For years I played other MMOs thinking that I wasn’t playing “for real” because of WoW, so it was a weird sensation to feel the reverse. Pandaria is beautiful and I think I can see why folks have been giving it such good reviews thus far. I’m likely going to keep playing it on a casual basis until Liore hits level 90 (I’d like to try healing some of the new instances), but I’m in a relationship with Telara now. If anything, seeing my “ex” again last night just drove that point home for me, and I’m okay with that.