What a long strange trip it’s been

I have been playing World of Warcraft for almost 7 years now. It's changed so much that there isn't much left I feel like writing about. However there is a whole world of other games that I play that I would love to write about.

I’ve been playing World of Warcraft since closed beta in 2004. I bought it at retail and leveled quickly. I’ve purchased Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King at midnight and bought Cataclysm online and started playing as soon as Blizzard flipped the switch.

And I have loved it. I have experienced all the game has to offer. I leveled numerous characters and played two of them at progressive end game (and that’s not counting all the alts who tagged along later).  I played at the 2300 bracket on my Death Knight and was a Duelist the first 2 seasons on my Warrior. I stopped typing /played because I knew it was a big number.

This kid is almost 6 months old already!

This kid is almost 6 months old already!

Even while maintaining a raiding schedule I found time to graduate from college, date, meet my wife, and have a baby (almost 6 months ago now, holy crap).

And WoW has changed a lot over the years. Fewer and fewer folks remember that. Newer players will jump at the chance to correct when you say you remember doing Upper Blackrock Spire with 40 people.

They don’t how many times you farmed Scholomance for your Tier 0 helm. Or what it was like during the original Tarren Mill/Southshore struggle. It’s stuff people love to talk about but few were actually there anymore. We went and killed the Horde leaders once. Just because we could.

And there were the things people would list as bad. I killed Ragnaros for almost 2 years and finally got a pair Wrath leggings the last run before we took him off the schedule. In comparison, we had 2 Eye of Sulfuras drop on our first two kills. Reputation was generally meaningless. When they released battlegrounds, we went in there with our raid epics rocking a 5,000 point health pool as Warriors.

There was no PvP gear. Alterac Valley lasted days. You could join, fight for a while, go to work or school, come home and rejoin the same one. Without cross-server dungeons and battlegrounds your server was a community. You knew people from fighting them and competing with them. Not from passing them in Dalaran.

Blizzard has gone a long way in improving the game. Making reputation grinds mean something to some extent, even if they still are annoying. You no longer have to hope for your Wrath leggings to drop among the loot table of leggings for every class. Just hope that your token drops. Questing is streamlined. Shiny arrows, turn-ins mid-quest chain, sparkling objects to name a few. It’s easy to get in a new zone and quest everywhere.

Gone are the days of the jokes of “Where is Mankrik’s wife?” Now she would have had a gigantic arrow floating over her poor lifeless body. Secret quest hubs don’t exist. Now when you finish a zone, you know it’s finished because the quest chains sent you everywhere. I think it was 2 or 3 years into the game before I learned about the pirate quests in southern Arathi Highlands.

The guesswork is out of the game now too. For better or for worse. Calculations are precise and accurate. There is a “best spec” no matter how Blizzard wishes it wasn’t so. There is a mathematical best. And a lot of the streamlining of talents and spells has removed the need for a lot of “external resources.”

I started this site during the Burning Crusade when a friend asked me to share my WoW knowledge. Originally it was about the life of a reroller, as I had given up my Warrior in favor of my new Horde Hunter. And the topic slowly refined into Hunter stuff.

New blogs have come and gone. WoW Insider has gone through their share of Hunter blogs, some who I have frequently disagreed with. I called out BRK more than once back in the day. I am not as vocal as I used to be, but I am no fan of Frostheim either. But the WoW blogging community is absolutely fantastic. Any game should be proud to have a community of bloggers that is half as dedicated and passionate as the WoW community does.

Blog Azeroth was a fantastic resource and met many great folks there. Some of moved on to be something well beyond just a blog. Take good ol Matticus for example. Many people are still going strong and those who have gone before me, like Phaelia. Hopefully I have made an impact on the community at least a fraction of what those people did. And there are people who I had differences with that we were able to reconcile only to find out we agree on a lot of things (Hello to you Rilgon!).

In my opinion, World of Warcraft is as “good” as it is going to get. And in that, the magic it had for me is all but gone. There isn’t much left to “fix” it seems. There will always be class balance, spell adjustments, new raid encounters and the like. But the game experience is refined and focused. Ranks of spells are gone. Pop-up notifications when you have new spells to train, new talent points to spend, etc. You can teleport to dungeons without ever knowing where they are actually located. And those dungeons have maps! These aren’t complaints mind you. I am not advocating making the game more difficult for casual players or new players. But the overall arc of the game has drastically changed its curve.

Patch 4.1 is bringing back Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman. That’s awesome for a lot of people. But I’ve done those. A lot. I did Zul’Gurub with 20 people back when it was new. I did ZA timed runs and repeatedly lost the roll on the bear. The throwback to Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep was awesome as it was included in other new dungeons.

If I had time to raid still I know I would enjoy going through new content as I has always have. I would love to have been killing Cho’gall for months now. As it stands, I have my baby boy who requires me to have the ability to stop a game at will to attend to fatherly duties.

Let’s face it, a raid with 10 or 25 people won’t take kindly to wet diapers and feeding times. And that leaves leveling alts, and progression has always interested me more than alt leveling. The only reason I have so many is because I did it when raiding was over.

Over the years I have missed a lot of great games. I made time for things like Mass Effect 1 and 2, Dragon Age Origins (and now Dragon Age 2), and Portal. But other than that, my gaming has been severely limited to World of Warcraft. But I do other things. I still play Magic: The Gathering. I also play the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game and am an active judge.

Almost every weekend I pack up my cards and/or board games and occasionally my munchkin and meet up with my friends and play games like Dominion, Colosseum, Ticket to Ride, Descent, Acquire, Ricochet Robots, or any other number of geeky board games.

I want to write about all the things I do. All the games I play, and not just Hunters in a game that is seeing remarkably less play time from me lately. I haven’t logged into the game for about 4 days now and I haven’t given it a second thought.

Am I cancelling my subscription? I don’t think so. At least not yet. I have 75k gold I would want to do something fun with first. I am guild master of Throwdown with BobbyFlay. I don’t want to leave people hanging like that. And I am certainly not one of those people who proclaim “I am so glad I quit this crappy game” because that’s not how I feel. I love the game. I just don’t love how much time I have to engage in the activities I loved.

So what does this mean for the site? Obviously the posts have gone down in quantity over time. Not because I don’t want to write, but because I didn’t have anything to write about regarding Hunters.This also means I probably won’t finish Pick-A-Pet which I regret. It was progressing nicely and if there isn’t an alternative yet, anyone else can feel free to take up the reigns.

The site will stay up indefinitely. It’s all part of my hosting plan that all my other sites run off of and who cares about 10 dollars a year for a domain? Who knows, maybe the domain will server a purpose again one day. There are new MMOs coming out that I want to play/try. I am looking at you Old Republic!

So I am starting my new site. Which you can see at Behemoth Gaming. I’ve had the domain for a while and it fits so nicely into my Twitter account and my Youtube account.

Here is what I am hoping. I know a lot of you read this site for Hunter stuff. And I want to say thank you to every person who has ever taken the time to read my site. Whether you were a frequent commentator or a one-time visitor. Knowing people listened to what I had to say made it a lot of fun running the site.

I am hoping if you enjoyed my writing and attitude that you will read my new site. As always, I will syndicate my full feed for those of us who love our RSS feeds. I also have forums up and running for those folks who enjoy that sort of thing. If not, I understand and thank you for supporting me just by reading my site over the past 3 and a half years.

My first post is up already, regarding my first impressions of Dragon Age 2. Hopefully you enjoy the familiar layout yet slightly different color scheme.

I am sure there are things I am forgetting to say but I figure this post is long enough and I secretly hope you will all be joining me on my new site.

About Drotara

Drotara (or BehemothDan) considers himself a geek on many levels. A web developer and programmer by trade, he has no shortage of geeky hobbies. When not fulfilling husband and daddy duties, he enjoys WoW, the WoW TCG, Magic: The Gathering, and great board games with friends and family.