However, a certain someone took my post as a cue that we should return to WoW right now, and promptly gifted me a month of game time. Sigh, can't very well let that go to waste, can I?
Since he had never played Alliance before, we rolled up a couple of worgen, a druid and a warrior. I've never been particularly keen on their looks and animations, but the older character models bug me even more now. Plus I'd only done the worgen starter area once.
my first playthrough, and instantly pounced on him to learn everything I could this time around.
A lot of things have changed too. In fact, my very first reaction upon logging in on my new druid involved some confused squealing about what they'd done to Wrath. "What is this? That doesn't look like a nature spell! It's all... yellow! Makes me look like I'm shooting fire or something, that's just wrong! I'm a druid, not a mage!"
The act of levelling up, the actual "ding", is depressingly boring now. No training needed, ever. It feels particularly striking in the worgen starter area, where they made sure to have trainers for all classes travel with you through the continuous phasing, who are nothing but useless remnants of a forgotten age now. I miss the act of actually choosing to train my new abilities. It gives you time to acknowledge their acquisition and what they do. If they just appear on my bar on their own, I tend to miss them. I'm not even sure when I got bear form now, it was just there all of a sudden and I went: "Huh, where did that come from?"
I also miss the old talents already. There's just no reward for levelling up. You can moan all you want about how choosing "+1% spell damage" or whatever was meaningless to you, but at least it was something. Right now I feel like I have zero agency in growing my character. And when you do finally hit one of the milestones where you get to pick one of the new talents, it's something like a slight increase to your run speed. Wow, that sure feels so much more meaningful and is totally worth not getting any other talents for fifteen levels... [/sarcasm]
One of the more pleasant surprises for me was the new druid travel form. I vaguely recalled reading about it somewhere ages ago, but I thought it required a glyph or something. But nope, gorgeous stags are the default now. Really can't complain about that one, though I'll miss ye olde cheetah a little bit.
I feel pretty, oh so pretty...
We finished off the worgen starter area without any issues and then loitered around Darnassus for a bit. It was fun to watch my partner in crime, new to the Alliance and having been away from the game for even longer than me, approach many things with almost newbie-like innocence and delight. We even spent some time fishing in Rut'theran Village together, just because we could. No rush.
After we'd decided to continue to Darkshore and had been bumming around Lor'danel for a little while, we discovered pet battles. They were one of those features of Mists of Pandaria that sounded interesting in principle, but that I simply felt completely indifferent about on a personal level, not being a massive pet collector and never having played Pokemon or anything like it. I have to admit that I'd heard nothing but good things about this mini-game from people who actually tried it though.
In this particular instance, things played out like this between me and my partner in crime:
Him: Ooh, there's a pet battling trainer here.
Me: [only vaguely interested] Oh? Where?
Him: Over here.
Him: I'm picking a fight with a squirrel.
Me: Er, what?
Him: And... apparently I'm being killed by a squirrel.
Me: What? You're being killed by a squirrel? [giggles maniacally]
We'll see how things go from here.