|He's here 'til Thursday, tip your Server.|
It's easy to forget just how much has changed in Warcraft over the years.
We have our moments of nostalgia here at ALT: ernative Towers, as well you know. Occasionally these manifest themselves sufficiently to inspire us to get out the replica TARDIS out (made from cereal boxes and sticky-backed plastic) and roll back the years to when things seemed simpler. Ironically I found myself writing a job interview last week that mentioned one such notable moment: however, these are mostly tempered with the understanding that its not just the game that's changed, we have too. Currently I have two good friends who I met first in-game, who went away during Cataclysm to do sensible stuff like have jobs and a family, and have now returned to a world that is a long way away from what was familiar. As I was struggling to explain last night the concept of the two-level Instance group it occurred to me just how complicated it can be to make sense of something you've not come to live with by simple association. Then I found myself yearning for those halcyon days of instance travel.
Makes me cry. EVERY TIME.
One of my favourite trips 'back in the day' was Southshore to the Scarlet Monastery. If we go back to the Dawn of Time, you didn't even have a mount, it was a sprint from the Flight Point across Hillsbrad to the lake, where you'd swim across to Tirisfal and then leg it to the Summoning Stone. Many would argue that the flight to the Plaguelands was closer but not at level, not back then. Less stuff could munch you going the Lake route, plus there'd always be that Goblin (old model) with his robotic mate you might run into for the chance of a rare pattern to sell on the AH. My other favourite was the jog to the Uldaman Stone, so beautifully captured in the video above. Hard to believe so many people hated the stones back in the day, but I suppose that's the soft-buttocked PvE-er in me talking.
With 1-85 whizzing past at such a rate these days, I wonder how many people actually travel to instance entrances any more. If all you are interested in is an Exploration achievement, you need never touch the ground at all in many cases to be called an 'Explorer', and that still seems wrong. I hear many people complain about the lack of flight form in Pandaria at 85 and I think that perhaps these people wouldn't actually appreciate the effort put into the World around them at ground level to begin with. My IntPiPoMo screenies from November are enough to constantly remind me just how beautiful the worlds of Azeroth are, and that sometimes it pays to get off the Flying Disc and walk: except when questing with my Husband, of course, because you need to grasp when it's appropriate to enjoy your surroundings.
My friend asked me last night which was my favourite zone in Pandaria: she has come to love Krasarang Wilds for the forests and (rather oddly) the whales. Oddly for me because I didn't even realise there WERE whales in the Zone, which made me stop and think: I've become as bad as the people I consider with a scornful wrinkle of the nose. With my rush to 90 on P and the obsession with dps, I've forgotten about one of the fundamental reasons I love this game: the world itself. Needless to say I fully intend to get off my flying mount more as a result and to spend some time looking around me more. As everything changes around you it easy to forget the fundamentals that make Warcraft such a joy to immerse yourself in.
Once in a while, there's no shame in stopping and taking in the scenery.