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Posts with tag nostalgia

Leveling a time capsule

Leveling a time capsule
I still remember the first day I played this game on live servers, even though it's been nearly nine years since I looked at the login screen and tried to muddle out what to pick. Friends of mine had already made an Alliance guild and encouraged me to join them. When I mentioned I wanted to play a rogue, I was told that they really needed healers, not rogues. However, my friend suggested I roll a druid, as they could not only heal, but they could turn into a cat and stealth around like a rogue does. That seemed suitable to me, so I rolled a night elf druid, logged in and began to play.

Several months and sixty levels later, that experience remains full of fond memories of endless frustration with the class and how it played. It absolutely did not help that giant improvements for that class were rolled out in a patch shortly after I hit 60. I rolled Horde, and the rest is history ... or it was, anyway. The druid remained at level 60, years after I hit 70, 80, 85 and 90, frozen in a distinct period of time. Several months ago, while idly looking at the login screen and pondering what to play, I decided to actually level the druid and get it caught up. Furthermore, I decided to make the trip without heirloom gear -- after all, it didn't exist when I originally played the character.

This is the story of a peculiar alt that used to be a main, and what happens when you crack open a time capsule from 2005.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion

The living game and the end of nostalgia

The ends of nostalgia
The downside to being the equivalent of a WoW immortal, having played close to non stop for the entire history of the game, is that you see a lot of things come and go. Guilds, players, friends, raids, dungeons, zones, expansions. It was all new once, and it all eventually isn't new anymore. And as a result, although I have in the past waged wars of words against nostalgia among the WoW playerbase, I can be as guilty of it as anyone.

There are, indeed, a great many things I miss. Some of them I get to see whenever I want, like Blackwing Lair and Un'Goro Crater, others are players who stopped playing, playstyles that are no longer valid (I loved and will always fondly remember the days of fury tanking Stratholme for my guild Eldritch Way over on Kilrogg, then taking the technique into raiding on Azjol-Nerub with Sworn, fury tanking in MC, BWL and AQ before finally speccing prot to tank Naxx) and even places that are just plain gone now. The other day, while doing my weekly scouring of the Barrens I realized that ever since Cataclysm, the zone I remember is gone, baby - Mankrik's wife is buried, and the days where I rolled a horde and leveled it to 60 just so I could attack my own guildmates when they raided the Crossroads are just as buried as she is.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Breakfast Topic: Looking back at WoW that once was

Sorry, new players, but we're all breaking out the rose colored glasses jumping aboard the nostalgia train for today's Breakfast Topic. Today we're looking back on our favorite game moments: specifically the quests and events we miss from WoW long gone. We're talking about things like the epic end to the Alliance Onyxia attunement quest, ending in Onyxia fleeing from Stormwind -- which, okay, we wouldn't actually miss very much if we'd had to do it recently -- or the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj world events -- which we wouldn't miss, either, if we could still remember all the peacebloom we had to farm.

It's not so much that we want these things to return as they were -- seriously, peacebloom farming -- but it seems a shame that these historic happenings have come and gone from Azeroth, never to be seen or experienced by new players. Because even if these events were annoying -- sometimes really annoying -- they had some truly epic moments that we'd love to relive. So, fellow gamers, what's the epic moment (or moments) you'd like to see brought back to WoW?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

These alpha screenshots aren't quite the World of Warcraft you used to know

Alpha screens
Just how long have you been playing World of Warcraft? Whatever the answer, there's a very good chance you weren't playing when these screenshots were taken, back in the game's alpha phase. The above screenshot, taken off the coast of Stranglethorn Vale in the game's earliest of days, was posted to Reddit along with many others, all carefully annotated.

While it's not quite a comprehensive directory of Azeroth as it was, it's a more complete record than any we've seen and a great nostalgia trip for players who have been there as well as players who haven't. Some of the scenery will be familiar to anyone who played before Cataclysm, though a great deal of it is subtly off from the WoW you may remember. And then there are oddball shots like the one above.

Head to Reddit or Imgur to browse the whole gallery for yourself or read on to see a selection of our favorites.

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Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard

Nethaera wants to know your most coveted and unusual items

nelf map emote
Over at the official forums Community Manager Nethaera has a bit of an unusual question for everyone: do you dream of electric sheep? Well, okay, it's not exactly that question. She wants to know what unusual or unique items you hoard, keep, or carry and the reason why. Do you hang onto Pamela Redpath's tea for courage when you face the undead? Do you keep Archmage Vargoth's Staff for some company on those long, Netherstorm nights? Or is it a practical item that you prefer - a repair bot or the Direbrew Remote for when you simply must have some of that Dark Iron brew?

This question is actually a tough one for me to answer. Not because I don't have an answer but because I have entirely too many answers. My bags and bank are stuffed full of random items that I refuse to get rid of, even now-useless stuff like Shard of the Fallen Star. I guess if I had to choose, I'd say it'd be a tie for two: my Orb of Deception and Orb of the Sin'dorei. I love turning my night elf into an undead or blood elf, respectively, though unfortunately the Orb of Deception requires being equipped in a trinket slot to work, so it's not very practical for raiding. The Orb of the Sin'dorei you can just click to use. True story: once upon a time back in Wrath I was hanging out, transformed into a blood elf, at the Ulduar summoning stone helping bring my guildmates to the raid. Another Alliance player walked up and /spit on me. When I whispered him with a frowny face emote, he freaked out and thought I was a hacker. Helpful tip, my friend: a blood elf in full tier 7 druid gear is not actually a blood elf! Also, you shouldn't /spit on people, it's really rude!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Humor

The beauty of classic WoW's Molten Core

Ragnaros
Back in the days of WoW's original release, Molten Core was, in many ways, the raid. It wasn't the only raid, and it certainly wasn't the only raid that left a lasting impression on the consciousness of WoW players. Nonetheless, if you were raiding in classic WoW, you started with Molten Core, and that experience inevitably shaped the way raiding has been perceived ever since. What was it exactly about Molten Core? Was it the sprawling, maze-like dungeon (which didn't have a map at the time)? Was it the memorable boss fights and quotes? Was it the iconic gear drops? Was it dealing with the reality of trying to organize 40 players into their different roles and individual responsibilities?

I'd say all of the above, to an extent. The first time you do anything new, be it visiting a city or raiding in a video game, there is a certain significance to the occasion that can never truly be replicated. As the first big raid most classic WoW players experienced, Molten Core has had a special place in our collective hearts for a long time now. Let's take a trip down memory lane with a look at some of the unique and fun aspects of Molten Core, many of which I miss but honestly would not want to have to deal with again.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Things I wish would return to World of Warcraft

It's inevitable that as the game progresses, some elements are lost. Story elements work to a conclusion, gameplay elements are left by the wayside. The game changes. We can't and shouldn't constantly strive for the game to return to yesterday, but there are some elements of the past that deserve re-examination and perhaps a return to the game. Especially if they can be returned without disrupting what we already have.

So to prove that even I have a nostalgia core here is my contribution to the discussion, a list of things I would like to see make some form of return to World of Warcraft.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Breakfast Topic: What moments in WoW would you like to relive?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

Nostalgia is a very strong thing. Even in the short lifespan of World of Warcraft, we often look back to better times or particular events with much pleasure and longing. For some, it may be the good old days of 40-man raiding, when every boss downed seemed a great triumph. For others, it may be a particularly hard-won Battleground fight, where, at the end, you knew you gave it your all. But it doesn't have to be that particular. Maybe you miss a certain guild or a group of friends who are no longer in the game. Maybe it was more about the time and the place ... a certain expansion and questing zone. Some of the best times may not involve fighting at all ... just sitting on Vent and laughing with friends.

While I'm enjoying all the friends I have now and like the current expansion, I do long for certain times from the past. I miss the wonder I had when I first stepped through the dark portal and slowly learning just how my class worked (and that it could actually be quite powerful) as I picked up some great questing gear. I miss the group of friends who all played together in Wrath. Some play less now; one has gone off to school and hasn't played on WoW since, one has gone off to another server, and one just hasn't shown up in months. I miss the lighthearted banter, the constant playful insults amongst them, and a lot of laughing I heard over Vent.

Sometimes, I would love to go back to those days and relive them. I would also love to go back to the first very moment I stepped from the relative greyness of Auberdine into Ashenvale -- the colors brightened, the music becoming beautiful and ethereal. I felt like I was truly in a magical place.

Do you have a particular time in WoW that you would love to relive? What makes that moment in time so special for you?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Do you save stuff for nostalgic reasons?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

Nostalgia is a funny thing; it often lets us remember only the good and forget the bad. We look back with rose-colored glasses on the past, thinking how awesome it was. In real life, people hang on to odd souvenirs as memory triggers, and sometimes it is the same in game. There are old drops that took us a long time to get or signified a first kill of a boss in a previous expansion, things we just cannot seem to vendor or throw away because it feels like cheating on the memory. So we hold on to these items, allowing them to clog up bank slots so that whenever we go digging through them for an obscure item we currently need, we get that pleasant flashback.

For the longest time, I was a borderline hoarder of nostalgic items. I had my full Stormrage set in the bank from vanilla, my tier 6 and my SSC trash staff from BC, and a few other random pieces, even including a Wildheart helm. I used them to not only remember the old raids and guilds, but friends who left WoW or switched factions or servers. However, it would be a quick, wistful moment -- then I would grab whatever I needed and close my bank back up.

The trouble was, the amount of items and the randomness in which they were fit into my bank created chaos, and as I was collecting tabards for my 25 tabard achievement and gear sets for achievements, I simply ran out of room. So I purged my bank, selling any and everything with a cash value. It was a little tough, but I moved on.

Do you have items in your bank purely for nostalgic reasons? If so, what items did you keep and why? Have you ever had to purge your bank when it began to fill up?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Your biggest regrets from the Wrath era

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

Despite the fact that most of the WoW-playing population is eagerly looking forward to and enjoying the content that Cataclysm has to offer, there are still many things that one could look back upon from the previous expansion and feel sad about. Whether it was a missed opportunity or perhaps an achievement that didn't quite get accomplished, I think all of us have something that we feel sucks amid all the hubbub over Cataclysm.

I myself have quite a few things I miss, now that they are no longer obtainable. While it wasn't from lack of trying, the fact that both the Swift Razzashi Raptor and the Swift Zulian Tiger are not part of my massive mount collection is saddening. Both my friend and I went to try for them on every reset, even sometimes on multiple characters, but to no avail. Hopefully, Blizzard will bring them back in some form, but like the Amani War Bear, it feels a little unrealistic.

Second, and while not as tangible as missing a chance at something rare, the fact that I spent the last day before the Shattering doing a long, painful rep grind instead of getting out and enjoying the last vestiges of the old world will forever go down in my gaming career as my biggest Cataclysm regret. As a proud explorer and mystery hunter, I should have been out in the world those last couple of hours before the server reset, grabbing screenshots and visiting familiar faces before they were erased permanently from the landscape I've been enjoying for the past six years.

Instead of looking forward, I ask you this: What do you look back upon from your time in Wrath and wish you could have done over? Done differently? What do you most regret now?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Wrath of the Lich King, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What you miss most

I miss feral staves. I know that nobody else liked or wanted them, but I loved that my spec had its own weapons. They didn't drop frequently (and, in the case of Pillar of Ferocity, sometimes not at all) and you invariably waited months for an upgrade, but when you finally got one, it was always beautiful and it was always yours. I made a point of saving every single feral staff I got in Burning Crusade, and they're still in my bank today. When the developers finally eighty-sixed feral weapons, we were sad but understood why they weren't a sustainable solution for the spec. Since then we've been competing for mostly hunter-themed polearms, and between that and all the hideous rogue leather we have to wear, it feels like feral's trapped in a permanent case of Outland Clown Syndrome.

A lot of things have disappeared from WoW over the years, and more are set to go the way of the dinosaur as the game evolves into Cataclysm. More than five years into WoW, what do you miss most from now-defunct abilities, items or practices?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

White and longer than your average cloak

It seems like so long ago. But only three or four years ago, I got a very special drop from Stratholme. No, the original Stratholme, not even the Culling of Stratholme. I want to say we were doing one of the old timed runs, when you tried to kill Baron Rivendare within 45 minutes. But, we just happened to have a night when the rare-spawn gargoyle, Stonespine, appeared. I got luck and won my very own Stoneskin Gargoyle Cape. When I looked up information about the cape on Thottbot, I found myself a little treat.

The very first comment proclaimed that this cape was "white and looks longer than your average cloak or cape." Something about that comment must have caught the imagination of other WoW players, because the comment thread went on for pages. The Stoneskin Gargoyle Cape became a Thottbot meme, and was (perhaps) a predecessor to things like the Three Wolf Moon shirt. It was an amusing blip on the community of World of Warcraft, but not one I've thought about for a long time.

It's with great joy that I am now the proud owner of a Saronite Gargoyle Cloak, which "drops" from the box after you complete Icecrown Citadel's gunship battle. The flavor text for the cloak proclaims that it is "even longer than your average cloak or cape." It's an unmistakeable shout out to that original item, and one that had me giggling like a mad man. I love it when Blizzard pokes a little fun at themselves, and indulge in a bit of metagame.

I usually leave my cloak invisible, but I absolutely had to turn it back on for the Saronite Gargoyle Cloak. And I assure you, gentle reader, that this item is absolutely white and even longer than your average cape or cloak.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Humor

Old Azeroth through rose-colored glasses

Sometimes denial works for you, and I think that's why I like this forum thread so much. It's full of nostalgia for a simpler time, when PvP meant going to Southshore and murdering some Alliance, when the encounters in Molten Core were the most epic thing in the game, and speaking of epics, when seeing a player outfitted with all purples meant that they'd be raiding for weeks with 39 other people. This thread willingly looks back and sees things not as they were, but as we remember them: super fun, refreshing, and completely empty of the problems and quibbles we have to deal with today.

Of course, Azeroth's past wasn't really like that. It was hell organizing 40 people to do one boss, much less a whole night of raiding, and if the organization didn't get you, the server lag and disconnects would. Southshore and Crossroads PvP made for great stories, but in actuality, it was really just a zerg fest, and no one actually won, it was really just everyone throwing away their nights because there was nothing better to do. And epics -- well, it was actually pretty cool when epic gear meant something. But boy was it disappointing when you went whole weeks of raiding without getting any loot at all, without even a Badge of Justice for your efforts. Or when you had to disenchant a tier piece because the Paladin set dropped yet again.

Do we want to go back to those days? Probably not -- while there are definitely some good things about them, there were all kinds of issues that have since been solved (and that many of the nostalgists tend to forget about). But every once in a while, it's nice to look back through rose-colored glasses and remember when.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King

Theming the login page

Toussaint is exactly right -- this took me back. Way back to the original login screen and music, when level 60 was the max and everyone was running UBRS and the Plaguelands instances, and "heroic" was just something us players were. Even the Burning Crusade login screen, right, brings back some memories, of wandering around Hellfire Peninsula and raiding in Netherstorm. The roar of the frost wyrm we have now is nice and all, but sometimes we long for earlier days.

Which brought me to the question: what about a theme-switching system? There's no real reason the login screen has to be set to the current expansion -- while it's nice to have a new look to that interface every time we reinstall the program, there's nothing the new one really does that the old one couldn't. You'd think they'd be easy to change around, and if Blizzard just gave us a drop-down switcher in the options, we could choose whichever one we wanted.

Let's not forget, however, that their code is weird -- you wouldn't think that they'd hard-wire the new Battle.net login code to the newest login screen, but maybe they did something silly like that, which would probably mean we'll never see the "classic" login screen again. But still, if there's a way to do it, it would be nice to see that old portal and hear that rousing anthem yet again.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King

Tips from the manual

Guynumber from Area 52 brings up a good point: why did Blizzard even bother putting game information in their original manual? Surely, they must have known that they'd be changing the game quickly, and while of course they'd have had no more idea than we had that some things so big would change (no ammunition, anyone?), they could have at least kept in mind that patches were coming.

Curious, I pulled out my old original manual. Here's some tips straight from the original release of World of Warcraft, when Magister's Terrace was a twinkle in a dev's eye, and Icecrown was just a level in Warcraft III, that aren't applicable any more:
  • Pallies are only available to Alliance races and Shamans are Horde only.
  • As Guymember points out, the manual says you will lose significant experience on death (but not so much as to lose a level).
  • Only the Priests, Shamans and Paladins have resurrection spells.
  • Attack Rating increases your chance of hitting a target with a weapon.
  • As a first level priest, your maximum skill level in holy magic is five. As you cast holy spells, your holy skill will max out until you level up and the cap increases.

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Filed under: Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Odds and ends, Blizzard, PvP, The Burning Crusade, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King

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