Friday, February 15, 2008

Memories of a Bygone Era

Today, I want to take a look back at days gone by: the Pre-Expansion Age. I was one of those deluded players, back in the day, who actually thought that with enough skill and effort on my part, I could make it as a druid tank. Of course, nowadays that is completely true, but before the 1.12 patch, those of us who had the audacity to actually push for tanking roles were a rare breed. And thus, I bring to you my list of what I miss, and what I'm glad to have left behind, regarding the pre-outland World of Warcraft.

What I miss about the old days:

- Uniqueness/Split Specs: I think what I miss most of all is being a unique dandelion in a bed of roses. Sure, I knew that I should really be plucked (respecced), but I LIKED being different. I was even different from most of the other ferals, who tended to favor the cat-focused specs to my 1/13/37 Bear build. When 1.12 hit, there was a sudden rush of new druids, as well as a bunch of newly respecced ferals. Not only did that make it hard to get groups as a bear for a while (because there were so many uneducated noobs running around in forms), but it also made me lose that feeling of being unique I once had.

- Swipe/Maul Threat: Swipe and Maul used to be OBSCENE threat machines. Both attacks used to have huge threat multipliers on them (though admittedly swipe didn't scale with AP at the time). They both also used to be affected by Savage Fury (Yes, it used to be a bear talent too!). And I used to be able to put out SUCH obscene threat, it was a blast. I remember one particular Zul'Gurub, we got to Hakkar, and I was one of the three tanks (We had a tendency for one tank to die on any given go, so I took advantage and volunteered to be a third tank one day . . . the guild went with three tanks on the fight from that day forward). I pulled aggro when the main tank got mind controlled, as expected. Then, eventually, I got the Mind Control (beasts weren't immune to it on that fight), and it went to a warrior. . . but the moment the MC broke, we were all surprised when Hakkar IMMEDIATELY RAN AT ME! Caused some positioning problems, but he wasn't too hard to reposition. . . every single time until he died. Yeah, if it weren't for the duration of the MC itself, I could have solo-tanked him.

Of course, bear threat is still absolutely fine. Being able to tank Void Reaver through three knockbacks kinda proved that one beyond all doubt for me.

- Devilsaur Hunting: I used to LOVE hunting the original Fel Reavers of the game. I started when I was level 51 or so, duoing them with a Prot paladin friend of mine (whom I still play with today, though he's on a leave from play right now). Eventually, I graduated to being able to solo them. I knew (and still know) the patrol route of all of the 'saurs by heart, and was able to farm up at least half a dozen Devilsaur Leather a day. Leather that sold for 5-10 gold, during a time where the 1k gold an epic land mount cost was a LOT of money. My favorites to fight were the vanilla 'saurs, I always have enjoyed fighting mobs that punt me while in bear form (though eventually, my gear got to be good enough to kill them primarily in cat form).

- DM North Tribute Runs: Best instance concept EVER! None of this "clear to the boss, kill the boss, get loot" stuff, DM Tribute was all about avoiding conflict and leaving the bosses alive. Ignore him, sneak past him, trap him, bluff your way past him, and for God's sake, LEAVE THE HEALER ALIVE! I wish Blizzard would come up with more unique instance concepts like that, in addition to their current focus on making the individual fights more interesting. Other than the two Caverns of Time instances, there really hasn't been much uniqueness in overall dungeon design since DM (and for the record, CoT 1 and 2 are my favorite outland instances, primarily due to the creative approaches in them).

- UBRS Runs: I cant exactly put my finger on why, but I really used to enjoy Upper Blackrock Spire. Maybe it was the fact that druids actually got to play with crowd control in there. Maybe it was the chaotic nature of many of the pulls. Maybe it was the fact that I kept on going back, hoping against all hope that someday Finkel's Skinner would drop for me. . . Oh, who am I kidding, I just loved getting punted by a giant, two headed dog!

What I don't miss in the least:

- Molten Bore: Molten Chore? Molten Snore? Whatever you called it, MC was a big snoozefest once you learned the fights. Especially for a feral druid like me; MC was the place where I learned to actually enjoy healing. Why? Because it beat spamming remove curse, and if I wasn't doing the former, it was because the fight required me to do the latter. I was VEHEMENTLY against blizzard breaking the old, one button decursive, but now that its gone, they have eased way up on decurse fights, making me actually glad the old auto-target functionality is gone. Ragnaros was a cool fight though, I just wish I had gotten the opportunity to tank him (remember when I said I love fighting mobs that knock back? *drool*)

- 40-man Raids: Ok, considering I never really got anywhere in BWL, or did anything in AQ40/Naxxramas, I'm basically just reinforcing how much I LOATHED the Core. But it wasn't just the actual instance itself, I hated the overall feel of huge, 40 person raids. As a bear tank, I was already a pretty marginal player in my guild, but when you add on top of it the fact that there were so many other people, I just felt completely unnecessary. And I WAS unnecessary, really you only needed at most 10 people who knew what they were doing in there, and 20-30 other people just to fill out the raid and do some damage/toss some green numbers out/take a few hits. Yes, I said 20-30, Patronus Veritas often ran with as few as 30 people in a raid, and in fact I think our first Ragnaros downing only had like 36. We wont even DISCUSS the average group size for LootPiniatia. Nowadays, its almost impressive to 9-man Karazhan, or 23-man Gruul, but back in the day, nobody would have even batted an eye.

- Onyxia Attunement: Speaking of the Loot Piniata. . . what a ri-freaking-diculous ordeal her ATTUNEMENT was. It either took a group specifically there to power folks through attunement, or a handful of runs, in Blackrock Depths in order to get attuned. And EVERYBODY had to do it, usually one at a time as people hit 60 (though occasionally someone would get it done on their way past the instance, seeing as how BRD wasn't really a level 60 challenge). Which meant that an active member of my guild could count on going there three, four, six, maybe even a dozen times in any given week to help with attunements (not to mention going back later to farm Lord Incendius for fire resist bracers for Molten Chore). Admittedly, Karazhan Attunement (which, strangely, still exists even though T5 and T6 dungeon attunements have been thrown out) is just as involved, requiring 3-4 instance runs, but at least with Kara its four DIFFERENT instances!

- Crits: Honestly, back in the day, eating crits from mobs didn't bug me a bit. I just told myself that they (and crushing blows) were the price a druid paid for having obscene amounts of health and armor. Looking back, though, I'm so glad I dont have to worry about an unlucky crit spelling my doom any more. Though, at the same time, I wish I didn't now have to worry about actually MAINTAINING immunity so much. Hey, blizzard, how about some leather defense itemization when we get to 80, eh?

- The Plaguelands: Oh, how I hate the plaguelands, even today. Everything out there was either poisonous, diseased, farted out fire, travelled in packs of 30, was elite. . . yeah, good times. And while I think it was one of blizzard's best designed zones in terms of atmosphere, I still hate the place. Even my paladin stayed away from there, only exploring the area in order to level her mining up on the plentiful thorium deposits there. Oh, and to get ganked by the riders, whom I had almost managed to vanquish from my memory.

So, what are YOUR favorite, or least favorite, memories of WoW's past?

Oh, also, since I only got 4 weekday posts up this week, at some point this weekend I hope to make a special post about my tricked out user interface. It seems to be the popular thing to do these days, and I dont want to feel left out! Unfortunately, I have to work on actually finishing it up first, as its still in a pretty crude state.


Lux et Umbrae said...

I hesitate to delve into my favourite memories of yore in much detail, as that's how I was planning to open my own blog, but I just wanted to let you know that your post evoked a grand sense of nostalgia in me. I loved UBRS too, for some reason, and I actually liked the Plaguelands; something about the atmosphere there appealed to me. It probably helped that my first 60 was a paladin, who did spectacularly there. ;)

You have a fantastic blog, friend. Keep it up. :)

Ikryeax said...

Lol great post! It brought back a lot of memories, good (as a hunter in MC, my job was awesome! Giant mobs constantly chasing me to the "saftey" of the raid), bad (I hated AQ. Bugs are creepy, and giant bugs are worse) and ugly (Onyxia may have been EZ mode once in there, but don't even whine about attunement until you've tried it Horde side. In addition to LBRS, and no fewer than 3 UBRS runs (back when we needed 10 to even survive), horde has to trek around the world to kill dragons. At least all your attunement line is in the same place. Remember we had to farm those bracers too, we just had to do it in between trips elsewhere for attunement)

Thanks for the blog, it's a great read! :)

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