So here it is, the Shattering of old Azeroth. The old world is gone, and while parts of it are familiar, so much of it is not. Stormwind and Orgrimmar are awesome. They are different in ways I didn’t expect. They look better, they feel more like living cities.
Are you feeling overwhelmed? I sure am. And I love it.
Don’t get me wrong; it was disconcerting to sit there, dumbfounded, just trying to take in the changes to very familiar cities. I think it’s important to maintain focus, to embrace constraints, and to set goals.
But last night, I had no idea where to even begin. Any half-baked plans I had for Cataclysm were thrown out the window due to the sheer immensity of the changes.
What I felt, more than anything else, was like a younger me, logging in to this game some coworkers had talked about, saying, “how addictive can this World of Warcraft be, anyways?” But instead of truly new player, I have at least some idea of what I’m doing now. I’m not struggling with how to move my character around, or how to write a macro, or how to fund my adventures.
No, I think what overwhelmed me, more than anything else, was knowing all the new things that are out there to experience, and knowing that I wanted to make it last.
I remember those heady feelings of going into a new zone, knowing nothing about it other than that I had a quest to deliver something there. The experience of discovering something new is potent, heady, and I want to savor it.
I looked at my stable of alts, of those that I’d gotten up to level 20 or so, and thought about them a lot. See, I’d experienced the old game through the eyes of Cynwise; all of my effort was poured into her. For a while it was her and her banker; then Cynwulf was born, then another alt, then another… all good, because rolling alts is a joy all its own.
But it leaves me with a question I think a lot of players are wrestling with right now: how do I want to experience this new game? If you’ve been playing for a while, you have the knowledge and resources to do pretty much whatever you want. You can ignore the new old world, wait for Cataclysm to be officially released, and level your 80s to 85 and start playing at the level cap again. You can roll a bunch of alts and level them all at the same time. You can roll one alt, and experience the game again. You can take your existing characters and run them all through it. You can delete everything and start over from scratch.
I feel like we wrestle with the Tyranny of Choice in Warcraft too much; with so many choices of what we can do, we sometimes forget what it is we really we want to do. But in this case, I think the choices are a good (if completely overwhelming) thing. It’s time to challenge those assumptions we’ve made about what we want out of our play time. It’s time to try new things, to see if we like them. It’s okay to not be perfect, to not be leet, to not know what you want to do.
But sometimes, you don’t know what it is you want to do next. You wander from activity to activity, sampling a bit of everything.
And that’s okay too.
I don’t know what I’m going to do next in Warcraft. I’ll log in tonight and… see what happens. I’m not in any rush, not in any hurry to get it all done now. Maybe I’ll roll an alt. Maybe I’ll play the AH. Maybe I’ll try soloing Deadmines again. I got no clue.
But I’m not going to try to do it all at once.
Slow down. Take your time. Find out things that you want to do, and do them. The joy and wonder of things being new wears off all too quickly. Don’t be in a hurry to be jaded.
This game will only be new once. Well, twice, since this game was already new once.
Okay, MAYBE, it can be new a third time in the future if they do this all over again. Whatever. My point still stands.
If you feel like you want to do everything that’s new in Warcraft, but don’t even have a clue where to begin?
I’m right there with you, happily overwhelmed.