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25 July 2015 @ 08:18 pm
Warcraft: Arithmomania  
Yesterday I was poking around Youtube looking at World of Warcraft shorts out of a sudden sense of nostalgia and I re-found this:



This isn't my favorite WoW machinima I've ever seen--that honor goes to Ulduar: Defiance, to which I can attribute my love of trailer music like Two Steps from Hell or Epic Score--but it's definintely my second favorite, and I think a lot of that has to do with how I played World of Warcraft and why I ended up finally losing interest in the game after Cataclysm dropped.

One of the parts of World of Warcraft that I really loved when I first started playing was the sense of exploration. All the hard travel, the Menethil Harbor run, the Stranglethorn Vale run, traversing the length and breadth of the continents to get the flight points, all of that was great. As much as actually traveling on the flight points was a bit annoying--ten minutes to fly from Silithus to Darnassus--it gave a great sense of place in the world, and that's probably what I valued about the game most. Having played through Warcraft I, II, and III before I played World of Warcraft, so it was a chance to learn more about the setting that I already liked. I still have some of the screenshots I took of getting into bizarre places and exploring all the nooks and crannies that the designers didn't want you to go, like on top of the Ironforge gates, Mount Hyjal before it opened as a regular zone, or the edge of the world.

I mention this because I interpret the video as a conflict between people who want more DoTs and all the DPS (hence the title) against people who just want to explore the world. That's not actually a real conflict, since people who like raiding and downing bosses aren't diametrically opposed to people who like WoW as a setting or the feel of it as a world, but that kind of dichotomy was definitely drawn between them when I played.

Anyway, when Cataclysm remade the old world, it lost most of the spark for me. Most of the secret areas that I had spent so much time trying to get to were wiped away with the move to make the world suited for flying, the quest structure was revamped and, while it certainly improved the flow of the quests and the ease of getting into the game for new players, I found it pretty offputting when I went back and tried the quests out. There was none of that slow, plodding structure that I found really let me get into exploring the world. And with Arthas's death at the end of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, all the named characters I cared about had either mutated completely beyond recognition, if they were friendly, or already been killed, if they were enemies. Or gone insane and made us kill them, as the joke was.

I liked raiding and downing bosses, but not in isolation. Without context for them they were just so many numbers, and I stopped playing and have never really considered going back.
 
 
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