Friday, 17 November 2017

World of Warcraft - The Return

Out of sheer frustration and the lack of games available for an iMac computer I found myself installing World of Warcraft, being pleasantly surprised that it could, and would run on a Mac.

*Advisory Note: if anyone should tell you the Mac is a great gaming platform, you are covered by the laws of bullshittery to give them a good, hard slap. Very hard. Obviously they need waking up and bringing back into the real world.*

The last time I had properly logged into the WoW game must be at least 6 years or more?
Back then the server/realm or choice for me and my guildies was Darkmoon Faire. This was classed as a 'role playing' realm, where role play gamers could act out their wildest fantasies and not be mocked for doing so. That last bit didn't exactly hold true; there were some amazingly hilarious, funny, sad (in an embarrassing way) and on occasion, disturbing moments of 'role playing' being acted out - mainly in a locale outside of Stormwind known as Goldshire, or as some of us would refer to it as: 'Cybershire'. The rest I shall leave to your imaginations.

The dreaded Wetlands - Copyright M.Kelly 2017.

Back in the day, my guild had a small, but diligent and loyal following. Much fun was had. It was nice chatting to folks from across the world, both in type and on voice.

The sense of adventure was palpable, especially taking your low level character for an epic run from a starter area to a level 10+ region, made all the more enjoyable and special when accompanied by a guild mate of the same or higher level. The crocolisks of the Wetlands were always quick to attack if you wandered a little too close to the path's edge and near to the water. This could be a high figure if your character just happened to be very low level.

A Crocolisk - Copyright:

One of my favourite characters was a Dwarven Priest by the name of Grizzlefist.
I don't know, but there was just something about him that I really enjoyed when playing him? He wasn't a particularly handsome dwarf - but are any of them? No, he was, shall we say, game for anything. Grizzlefist had a soft spot for the Dwarven home, Ironforge, and a particular love for making camp fires.

Copyright: The Warchief's Command Board,

Whenever the shout went up that a Horde attack was underway at a location near to him, Grizzlefist was always eager to rush to the defence, and usually, a quick demise, only to respawn and rush to the defence again. No matter how out-ranked, out-classed, or under powered he was by comparison to his Horde opponent, for Grizzle, it was a matter of principle and honour - plus the faintest hope that he could delay them long enough for another high ranking Alliance player to show up. And if all else failed, he could always dance for them to buy some more time.

Midnight Legion, my guild within WoW, had developed a small core or regular friends: Neil, Eric, Wim, and several others. At the time I never considered that of the majority, the future would take them away to be never heard from again. But then, as I have come to realise, that is the way of online games and the communities it spawns.

Though not every parting was one of smiles and fond memories, and some people were never missed after their leaving. Like anything else in life where people gather daily, there were conflicts, disagreements, and at times, outright hostility. This is usually the result of some aspect of their personality coming to surface that the person (or persons) concerned had worked hard to suppress.
It happens. Two 'gentlemen' (called 'Bromwell' and 'G') went this way.

Of the fun times, one in particular still sticks in my mind: whilst exploring the coast of Stranglethorn Vale with one of my guildies, when we happened across a solitary player jumping about the shoreline. A conversation was struck up and part of that text concerned the question of our age.
Well, the young man concerned, we established, was from a part of Europe, possibly Spain, and upon being told my age he replied, "You are lold." At this my guildie burst out laughing - we were, I think, using Skype to voice chat - and she could not stop repeating his words: "You're LOLD!"

Copyright - 'The Outrunner' blogger.
To this very day, I do not know if it was just a poor grasp of English on the young man's part or a stroke of genius. If he did indeed choose to combine the 'LOL' with 'OLD', then I salute him, even after all these years (the swine!).
At least it gave my guildie many hours of belly laughs and chuckles thereafter.

And it is these kind of moments and interactions I now miss from the game - any game - today.
My return was a bitter-sweet experience. Darkmoon Faire is just a former shadow of itself, and for many nights I toured the places I knew from old, only to find many of them destroyed by the changing game world wrought by the developers. Places where conversations and excited chatter drifted back to me, interspersed with jokes, friendly insults and laughter. I miss the camp fires Grizzle would make, and the friends who would gather around them.

So I decided to leave Darkmoon Faire and join Argent Dawn - a busier, more dynamic server/realm. But with progress come changes, and the changes within the game world are worthy of praise, though what the developers have done to the game in essence, is not.

The game has now been dumbed-down to enable single players to conquer all in their rapid rise through the levels, thus negating the need for players to, essentially, work together. In turn this has the effect of reducing the amount of socialising that occurs outside of main staging areas like Stormwind. Players no longer need the help of other players and work together to rise through the ranks whilst traversing the game world. Yes, there are dungeons, yes there are raids, but when you consider the vastness of the world of Azeroth, it rapidly becomes a lonely place.
But that's when a Hunter's pet becomes their best company.

To end this piece I leave you with a video made by that gaming dude, otherwise known as, 'The Lazy Peon' - by clicking on his name you will be transported to his YouTube channel, upon which he delivers gaming commentary and critiques to help, aid and inform us mere gamer mortals.
Long may he continue - enjoy his video  :)

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