Almost hitting the wall

27th May 2009 – 5.37 pm

I had previously considered that reaching 80th level is not the end of the game and that I would continue doing exactly what I had been doing before just without gaining XP, but I turned out to be wrong. I find myself logging in to Azeroth and wondering what to do. The quests are unappealing for their useless rewards, apart from offering fodder to be disenchanted, and the value of gold is neither here nor there when I have my swift flying mount and cold weather flying. And as much as I try I find it difficult to care about the quest text, if only because I know that despite repeated assertions by the NPCS of my single-handed heroism I know I am barely a cog in a machine in a mostly static world, although the phasing generously employed in some areas at least adds some semblance of effecting change.

I think I am getting to the end of World of Warcraft. Even the Argent Tournament is reaching its conclusion. After striving previously to reach exalted status with all the home factions for the Ambassador achievement and working out a winning strategy for jousting it was only a short journey to become an exalted champion for each Alliance race. I even manage to get Sapphire fifty pets so that I get the gift of Stinky the skunk, a pet I have desired since seeing skunks roam Terrokar Forest, long before the achievement system was even in place. I am not sure what else is left to do.

I am not going to raid again. I truly enjoyed all the forty-man raids I participated in, from Molten Core and Blackwing Lair to Ahn'Qiraj and some of the original Naxxramas, and even if I don't have the impression that the new raid content isn't quite as challenging I am simply content to have more flexibility in my personal schedule than working my life around a raiding group. I could work to increase my reputation with some more Northrend factions but the rewards from the quartermasters are unlikely to be worth the effort involved, particularly if I am not going to advance to raid instances, which reduces the effort to repeating the same daily quests and making it too much like 'work'.

Running the occasional instance would probably increase my interest sufficiently to remain entertained, letting me practice proper DPS with my deathknight or actual tanking with my warrior, but I have had some poor PuGs recently that have rather discouraged me from looking for groups. Whether it is the hunter who openly mocked me for suggesting a tactic to make my tank's life easier or the shaman who didn't think until after we wiped on a tricky boss to mention that it was the first time she'd been there, after a succession of previous wipes in the instance, I would rather work with people, not be suspicious of when or how I will suffer a preventable wipe. Mistakes are forgivable, but stupidity doesn't learn.

Luckily, just as I am wondering whether to renew my game time, the rest of the guild turns up and resumes the weekend instance runs. Instead of my normal routine of picking up a bunch of daily quests for the Argent Tournament, completing them within an hour and wondering when the next Wintergrasp battle will start there are plans being made to delve in to a dungeon. With one man down we take on the Halls of Stone as a four-man group before the straggler appears and we move on to Halls of Lightning for the daily dungeon quest. The next week we take on Utgarde Pinnacle as somewhere unvisited by the guild in general, but not for all individuals, and The Baconeers romp through to defeat the King.

It is surprising how these relatively simple runs inject a new spark of interest in to the game for me. Being in a group and taking on more difficult challenges with friends is a far more rewarding experience than running through familiar solo content, even if the group content is also familiar. The friendly atmosphere and general competence of the group is comforting, the banter is witty and more provocative for knowing each other, and there is little pressure to be perfect. It is fun!

The renewal of guild instance runs comes at a good time too. I may be an Exalted Champion of the Alliance from the Argent Tournament but I also need to be exalted with the Argent Crusade to get the associated title. I wasn't sure if I could face the reputation grind involved but the instance runs with friends let me view my solo time as a relaxing hobby and not a time-sink. I am now running around Icecrown and will pop over to Zul'Drak to seek out Argent Crusade NPCs for reputation-gaining quests. Now maybe I need to convince someone else to tank so that I can take my death knight somewhere other than Wintergasp.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed.