Dogs chasing squirrels and vice versa

So after I made my last post, I thought that would be it for a while. I had expressed some interest in Warlords of Draenor, but it's going to be many months until the new expansion actually goes live, and I still don't care for pandas.

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.

It's funny how much you forget, being away from the game for more than one and a half years. The names of zones, of NPCs. Just how beautiful parts of the in-game world are. Yet at the same time it's funny how much you remember instantly, as if you'd never been away. That there's a quest over there. Where all the trainers in Darnassus are. As soon as I spotted the profession trainer in the worgen starter zone, I was reminded of the issues I had with finding him during 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]

After that introduction we were both hooked and actually struggled to get any "proper" quests done for a while as we were just chasing green paws on the mini-map to get into epic battles with squirrels, rabbits and snails. It felt utterly ridiculous ("World of Sparring-with-fuzzy-critters-craft!") but it sure was fun. It's just a shame that it doesn't really make for a good group activity, because while you can kind of watch the other person battle, it's not amazingly interesting to spectate, plus you kind of compete against each other for the best pets to fight and capture.

We'll see how things go from here.


  1. It's the other way around. There is a glyph to revert travel form back to cheetah. (Which in my opinion is the most important glyph in the game!)

    1. Thanks, that's good to know. What is it you don't like about the stag though?

    2. You can't really compare a clumsy stag to a graceful cheetah. Who wants to be a stag if you could be a freaking cheetah?

      What's next? Kodo form for two passengers? :-)

    3. *madly scribbles down "multiple passenger Kodo form for druids* to WoD wish list*

  2. For completness sake ;): you can Glyph your Travel Form into becoming a passenger Mount.