Monday, October 4, 2010


We’re at the time of year in the Northern Hemisphere knows as fall, or autumn. It’s a season of great change to the world’s northern forests as the chlorophyll in leaves quickly disintegrates due to lack of sunshine, and the other pigments in the leaves begin to shine through giving us stunning reds, deep and penetrating oranges, and brilliant yellows. Explosions of color come to the forests of China, Europe, Appalachia then on to Canada. Of course let’s not forget the place I grew up, New England (specifically New Hampshire), who has, in my o-so-not-even-close-to-being-biased, THE BEST AUTUMN COLORS IN THE WORLD.

What is so different about this autumn than the ones that came before it? This autumn we received the news of the actual release date for Cataclysm. This time last year I was aware of it, as were we all with the announcement at Blizzcon, but this is the year it’s actually happening and is no longer some far off dream, it’s an impending inevitability. The inevitable for me is that I am being drained of my former pigments, my paradigm of Azeroth is disintegrating within me and I’m being filled with the vibrant colors of change.

In truth my change began to occur long before autumn, but it’s in this season that it’s all coming to a head and I’m being forced to face these new and fresh pigments, a new paradigm of how and why I play WoW. I’m forced to ask myself, what do the changes mean for me? I shall attempt to give voice to these colors.

I have sewn the seeds of a garden, and filled it with fresh and colorful fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes, Watermelon, Squash, Cucumber, Carrots, Peas. Around this garden I’ve planted flowers of various color, shape, size, and scent. It’s my garden and I need to tend to it well, removing weeds by hand and making sure the plants get the right amount of sunlight and water in their season.


I am learning that my enjoyment of WoW comes when I involve myself in a plethora of activities, and I take the time in those activities to make sure I’m enjoying myself. Not going to fast, because I don’t want to flood my plants with too much sun or water, and not being too lethargic (i.e. spacing out the watering schedule so that my plants dry up). I’m learning that as I participate in the many, many activities that the game has to offer at ALL levels, I am doing no more than being true to myself and enjoying the game more.

I’ve always thought of myself as pretty well-rounded in life, just about everything fascinates me and I love to study all things that come before me. Whether it’s music, movies, books, or any educational subject I have an interest in it. It would be against my nature of being well-rounded if I only did one singular activity in the game. I tried that for a while, and although I liked it while I did it, I learned that I raided at the exclusion of other enjoyments, and that has and will change with Cataclysm.

Old & New Motivations
I still play as a form of release and relaxation from life. I still find my play time a fun way to connect with my kids because we truly share something in common. And as my 10-year old becomes a teen, I’m going to search for more and more things to have in common with him if I have any hope of maintaining a connection with him. He’s great, but he as disabilities that hinder his ability to socialize, even within his own family, so common interests remain an important connection.

But there are some motives that are new, sentiments that have morphed into pigments that will help redefine me. I’ve had a creativity awoken in me again, one that I repressed far too long while I made my way into reality and the business world. This creativity has found life in writing, not only this blog but in books that I’m attempting to write on the side. Stories might be a better word, not exactly novels, but one thing at a time I say. This creativity has influenced how I view learning new classes that I haven’t played beyond level 20 before.

Even though I know of the plethora of resources available to me, I will do a lot more personal exploring and experimenting of my classes as opposed to looking up the “best” rotations of talent specs for leveling or pvp or raiding, etc. Say what you will about the ability to be creative with the new talent trees, but I’ll study the trees myself and try to determine the best rotations through trial and error, and independent study rather than being told what to do. It’ll be a means of expressing my creativity in-game, to the extent that that will be possible (I know this is a debatable topic, but I don’t want to delve into it right now).

So I’ll keep some of the old motivations, and add a few new pigments to them, hopefully making my play experiences far more colorful than they ever were before.

The one thing that has been changing in me is my desire to know more of and immerse myself in the lore of World of Warcraft. I love a great story, and I’ve come across some really emotionally moving stories in some of my adventures already, and hope to be immersed in more.

This will combine nicely with my gardening skills, as I do more things in the game I’ll also take the time to learn the stories that are being told. There are rich characters in this game, people with remarkable backgrounds and sad tales to tell. I want to know more of these tales, to share in some part in their grief, pain, or happiness and victories. I live in a practical world where people “get go to school and get jobs and pay bills and such”, no longer do we truly believe in magical powers, today it’s smoke & mirrors or slight of hand that explains the supernatural. I want to at least pretend, even if it’s for minutes a day, that I’m a part of a magical story unfolding before my eyes, and that I am an important cog in that wheel.

With Azeroth changing and new stories and quests to be introduced, there will be plenty of content to go through and get lost in, and lost I shall get.

There are times when WoW may feel like Spring, new and bright and filled with the hope of life and great new activities. There are other times where it may feel cold and dark, tedious and empty. Content is old, guildies on vacation, server population low, whatever the case. There will always me either personal or mass times of Winter, sort of like what happens pre-expansion. There is also Summer in WoW. A time of continued successes, stressful and long days where you fight both the heat of the environment and the continued wonders discovered in the Springtime of your play. You grow stronger in the face of the heat, you grow in power and understanding, all the while knowing that there will be an end and you’ll inevitably be led to the season of change, Autumn, or Fall. Class changes, spell changes, buffs or nerfs to players and content, new features that require a shift in attitude a different means of player interaction.

For all the seasons we pass through in WoW, the one thing that keeps us coming back, that keeps me coming back is I know what to expect. I know that if I’m in a lull to wait, a new season is just around the corner waiting to refresh my outlook and bring new life or meaningful changes to the how and why I play this game.

May you enjoy the changes that are coming, and may you one day visit New Hampshire in the Fall, it truly is spectacular to see!


Larísa said...

Oh, what beautiful pictures! Who said that autumn is gloomy? It's not. It's the most beautiful of all seasons.

I like your approach to the new trees. I've been looking and looking to find some guidance for how to spec my mage after the patch. But reading this I realize that maybe I should stop looking and try to figure it out on my own. At least for now, it doesn't mean anything if I go a bit wrong. When it's time to raid in Cataclysm there will be guides out, but why bother to look for them now?

Gronthe said...

@ Larisa: The talent trees are a funny thing. I've been closely watching all of them and I think that in some there will actually be some "interesting choices" to make.

Cataclysm is such an appropriate time, considering all the changes to the world, to evaluate any personal changes in how we (I, in my case) will approach the game.

All those pics are from where I was born, New Hampshire. Sure, I'm totally biased, but why shouldn't I be with THAT scenery staring me in the face each autumn! Too bad I now live in a stupid desert with nothing but brown rocks around me 365 days a year.