Transitions

Although things change they stay the same.
What changes is our point of view
beneath the sun theres nothing new
Although things change they stay the same.

We only see part of the game.
Circumstances limit our view
we tend to see what we want to.
Although things change they stay the same.

— excerpt from Immutability – Poem by ivor or ivor.e hogg

Now that the long-awaited Patch 6.2.2 is live, Warlords of Draenor is officially in its final months. How long it will linger remains to be seen, but there is no question but that this expansion is now for all intents and purposes history. We have seen all it has to offer, and if we have not yet done everything we wanted to do, we had better get on the stick and do it.

In the next few weeks there will be a lot written about WoD, its highs and lows, its good and bad, and eventually the WoW community will settle on a consensus as to its rank among all the expansions of the game. My strong hunch is that it will be consigned to the historical trash bin, that nearly everyone will consider it one of the worst, if not the worst, expansions of the game. But I could be wrong.

Things tend to look much different in the rear view mirror than they do through the windshield. I complained a lot about Mists while it was current, but now — even though I know it is a minority opinion — I consider it to be the best expansion of the game. But in thinking about that, I wonder if the reason I loved Mists has less to do with the expansion itself and more to do with how I was experiencing the game then. I was an officer in a guild I loved, the guild was thriving, we had an active and successful raid team with people I had played with for a long time, and I was having great fun leveling 6 alts and avidly pursuing professions. I could see my raiding skills  progressing, and I felt like I was really coming into my own as a hunter.

All of that changed in WoD. Partly due to changes in the game, partly due to the natural life cycle of social structures, partly due to a mixed bag of other circumstances, my guild fell apart, my raiding time dwindled and even stopped completely for several months, leveling alts began to feel burdensome, professions seemed pointless, and the pendulum swings of hunter balance and playability made me feel like all my hunter skills learned in Mists were worthless. Worse, learning new hunter skills seemed futile, because every few weeks specs would change significantly.

My point is that my WoD experience was terrible, whereas my Mists experience was fantastically fun. Yes, most of the reasons had to do with the huge ill-advised design changes Blizz made in the game, but I can’t help but wonder if I had been better able to adapt maybe I would have a more positive view of WoD. In Mists I found an environment and play style that suited me perfectly, and I stubbornly clung to that even knowing it was no longer possible. I did make some feeble attempts at adapting, but my heart was never really in it. I joined a new guild, and it is a terrific guild with really decent people in it, but I have not forged any deep friendships like I did in my old guild. My new guild’s raid team is much better than my old one, but we stopped raiding for 5 months and now when we raid we must do so with pugs, so the kind of regular team cohesion I felt with my old team has not coalesced with the new team.

Most importantly, I find myself unable to embrace the hunter changes being forced on me. I mourn the loss of SV, and I will never play it again. My main is now MM, but I can’t seem to motivate myself to work at it enough to become really proficient, especially in light of the fact that I will only play BM in Legion, as in my opinion it will be the only remaining true hunter spec.

So it is easy to blame Blizz for the failures of WoD — and I will certainly continue to do so — but if I am brutally honest I have to admit I did not do everything I could to improve the experience. In the big picture, the game has not changed drastically, it is pretty much what it always has been. What has changed is my unwillingness to accept the inevitable minor changes, and my insistence on magnifying their significance because of how they alter what I have come to view as my ideal Mists-era play style.

Which brings me to my last point. In every transition, there comes a point at which you stop looking back and start to focus on what’s ahead. For the time being most of us will remain mired in WoD, because Legion is still a long way off and we have almost zero information about it. But in the next couple of months that will change, and we will transition to anticipation, which is always fun and exciting. In fact it is often more fun than actual launch, because there is still room for hope and imagination. When I think about it, the anticipation of WoD was the best part of the expansion, it only went downhill for me after it went live. So, in my final cynical quote:

“After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but is often true.”

– Star Trek, season 2, episode 1 (“Amok Time,” 1968)

About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

2 Responses to Transitions

  1. Grumsta says:

    If you’re planning to main with BM in Legion then why not play it in WoD? It works perfectly well for my fellow Guild Hunters who dislike the new non-pet MM *almost* as much as you do.

    Aside from Raiding and Archaeology I’m done with WoD, and I won’t be looking at Legion until 7.1 at the very earliest. Lesson learned.

    • Fiannor says:

      Interestingly, last night I came to the same conclusion, so I put a full court press on to my alt hunter, got her up to ilvl 694 from 683, and ran a few Timewalker dungeons as BM. It felt so much better than MM does on my slightly better geared main. I have invested a lot of time not to mention gold tweaking the secondary stats on my main, so I may leave her at MM just as an excercise for a while. But I will be soon running BM on both, with MM probably as an off spec on my main.