I’m four bars from dinging 70. I should be happy, right Or at least vaguely satisfied. It’s a milestone to be proud of surely? And then only 10 left to the big eight-oh. I’ve got a few other level 80 toons so it’s nothing new. And what should make it more of a celebration is the fact that this is on a character I kinda abandoned over a year ago, and strangely enough it was the 2nd char I actually made too.
But I’m not that thrilled really. And that’s not down to already having other level 80 toons to play with. So what is it? Well I’ll tell you a little story about this particular toon shall I? He was my second character, I had a druid so wanted something new, edgy, raw and kinda violent. Not a rogue – too sneaky, not a warrior – too tankish, and Paladins are self-righteous, arrogant pricks.
So I settled on a Shaman, despite knowing nothing about them whatsoever, but I liked the vacant stare in the green monkey’s eyes and the powerful arms were dying to swing big axes at stuff. I played him to about level 30 or so and liked the style so much I created a Shaman on Alliance. Took her right to level 70 in Burning Crusade, raided & dungeoned her brains out.
At some point I wound up being the GM of an Alliance guild and a Horde guild, something I don’t recommend. Actually I wouldn’t recommend being a Guild Master to anyone, hard work and with little reward.
Anyhow, my little green shaman sat on a grassy hill in Nagrand for several lonely months. My point here is that I had a range of friends within the WoW community and the guilds I have been in. There have been amazing adventures, emotional events and times where I have sat in front of my pc crying with laughter at the hilarious things people say to each other.
There have been low points too; backstabbing, rumours, threats, bribes, slander… all of which made me wonder why I bothered playing anymore. Friends become enemies and allegiances shifted so quickly it was hard to keep up with the daily ebb and flow of guid life let alone organise activities for people. It has been a strange and unmissable experience though, and has taught me many lessons about life, social groups, organisation and so on.
So, after such a long absence I found myself logging in and staring out across the sunny windswept plains of Nagrand, where trees sprout from floating hunks of skybound earth and Shatrath City is a ghost town, once a thriving hub. I’m in an empty world that has moved on.
After a few quests to ease myself back into the shaman style I find I’m enjoying myself. I push on and head to Howling Fjord and 4 bars from 70! And whilst I am enjoying it, things don’t feel right. The “old gang” isn’t there anymore, and the game seems a bit hollow.
I remember those first few moments after logging in for the first time. The small shaded glen of the night elf starting area, and picking my first quest, figuring it all out, all the new things to learn, a whole virtual world to explore! And I can’t forget moving further afield and seeing that gigantic walking tree in Dolanar! Or that you could actually sit on a cliff and watch the first rays of sunlight streak through the low-lying mists of Wetlands. My first virtual sunrise, how many people can say they have seen one of those? Or found it an amazing experience?
And the first guild I was in, filled with people who had also just started. We were in it together, everyone helping out, laughing and joking in guild chat. Good times!
But things change, I sometimes wish they didn’t but we have to move on. Everyone moves on. I hope there will be another time where I can be part of something new and exciting and amazing, where there is genuine camaraderie.
It seems that returning to a social arena (virtual or real) after an absense is pretty much a hit and miss deal. You either bounce right in and pick up where you left off or you bounce straight by all those who you previously counted as friends/buds/mates or amigos.
Despite my semi-negative feelings about returning to WoWcraft I know that good times could be just around that next bend or over the next horizon.