For those out there who still play WoW, the last few weeks have been some ride, right? With the preparations for Cataclysm, the expansion arriving next week, Azeroth is changing, and I find myself wondering about how much I have relied on the stability of the game world.
This week-end I took my original game character and rode around Durotar and the Barrens, her starting area. It was shocking. Where I had quested as a newbie, where I knew every nook and cranny, every quest and bug, it was all different. A huge rift split the land. The Alliance (ouch, that hurt) has several more strongholds in Southern Barrens, and the orcs have been pushed back into the mountainsides. Stonetalon Mountains is the site of fierce battles between gnome and goblin technology, Ashenvale is being stripped by gnomes and orcs working together, Thousand Needles is almost gone, and Feralas has large human and elf settlements. Azshara is a low-level goblin zone - I remember grinding bloodelves for cloth and gold when saving for my first fast mount - and Tanaris has a lot of new beaches. I find the changes hurt me in a way not too dissimilar from when they built a road right over my favourite mushroom place in Ørsta. It's not like I was hanging out in that spot much except when I looked for mushroom, but I always knew it was there.
Now, it's gone, like the great lift into Thousand Needles.
It's cool though, in a way losing the mushroom patch was not. It has made me drag out the low level characters I haven't bothered level, and re-explore with the sense of risk and adventure I felt way back then, more than five years ago. It's beautiful and different and terrifying, and I feel like a newbie, disoriented and frustrated and happy at the same time. The sensation of something being at stake is back. So far, I love it.