How Does This Work Again?

I said that I probably wouldn't have anything else to post before Classic launch, but I resubscribed today and thought that the whole experience was kind of amusing.

First my initial credit card payment refused to go through, only yielding an extremely vague error message. I was already halfway through writing a ticket to Blizzard support when I happened to check my phone and saw that my bank had texted me about "potential fraudulent activity" on my card - basically they'd blocked the transaction because they thought it too unlikely that I actually wanted to give Blizzard money! Once I actually confirmed to them that yes, I did want to subscribe to WoW, the payment went through just fine.

First order of the day was to log into Pyrewood Village on Classic and create my tauren shaman there. I'd forgotten that female tauren only had literally four face options back in the day. For me, less is probably more in that regard though, as I tend to spend a significant amount of time at character creation anyway, even with such a limited number of options.

I got my first choice of name but was a bit concerned to see the server already marked as full. With Classic launching at 11pm local time tomorrow, I won't really have the time to sit in queues for three hours before playing. So I made a night elf hunter on the RP-PvE server as a backup, since that one was still flagged as having only a medium population. If Pyrewood Village is too full tomorrow night, I should be able to at least log into Hydraxian Waterlords to spend some time in the night elf starter zone, before braving Pyrewood queues again on Tuesday morning (I took the day off work).

After that, curiosity won out and I also logged into the live game to remind myself of where I'd left off there. I was immediately taken aback by the sheer amount of servers on which I had one or two characters each. Since the first character I selected also had a name with lots of numbers attached to it, I actually worried for a moment that a gold seller had gotten into my account somehow since I last played, but then I remembered that Blizzard did free up some names from inactive accounts at some point in the last seven years, so I guess those alts' names fell victim to that. In the end I only found two that were afflicted in such a way anyway.

Still, clicking my way through those character selection screens was a real workout for my memory as I tried to recall just why I had a level 6 tauren shaman on Aggramar or a level 6 draenei priest on Nagrand. Most of it did come back to me eventually (oh yeah, I even made a blog post about how I accidentally kicked someone from a Halls of Stone run and then made an alt on his server purely to apologise) but some did remain a bit of a mystery to be honest.

This is why blogging is important to me: In the moment it might seem silly to worry about ever forgetting what you're doing right now and why, but give or take five to ten years and it's quite a different picture. This is also why I greatly admire historians for trying to make sense of people's actions from centuries ago, because I can barely remember what motivated me less than a decade ago.

The next thing that struck me was that I'd forgotten just how bad the female tauren models came out of the big character model revamp of 2014. Just... yikes. So many of my characters were female tauren and I can barely even look at them now.

Eventually I decided to actually take the plunge and log into the character that I played the last time I was subscribed for a short while during Mists of Pandaria, my level 90 Worgen druid. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had given her what I thought was actually a pretty cool transmog. The little mail icon next to my mini map kept telling me that I had mail from several NPCs but nothing actually showed in my mailbox, and generally getting to grips with all the UI changes that Blizzard made since the last time I played was pretty overwhelming.

Even the quest log looked totally different, making it so that you can't just look at your quests anymore without also having a giant map take up two third of your screen. Personally I thought that the general theme was that everything was too busy visually, with illustrations and icons and pop-ups for everything. I don't remember it being that bad last time I played. I chose some talents and killed a couple of mobs in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms (which is where my druid was parked) but the oppressive feeling of too much input didn't want to go away.

While flying around a bit, I accidentally went right into the local Horde base, where I quickly died to the guards and found myself flagged for PvP. I thought that wasn't a thing anymore with war mode?

Anyway, at that point I logged off again, to come back for Classic tomorrow I guess. I know coming back to an MMO after several years of absence is always going to be tough, but I honestly didn't expect things to feel that bad to me. It's an odd thing that the six years since Mists of Pandaria seem to have only widened the chasm between me and the game further, while slipping back into a gaming mode from almost fifteen years ago feels entirely comfortable. Maybe this is what it's like to get older, when you can remember things from twenty years ago as if they happened yesterday, but events from five years ago are barely more than a fuzzy memory.


  1. You can flag yourself for PvP in normal mode by going to the wrong place. I've done that accidentally a time or two. At least it will wear off soon enough.

    PvP is in an odd state in Retail. If I queue for a Battleground in Stormwind (or Orgrimmar, I presume), when I exit the BG, I'm still flagged. If I queue and exit elsewhere, I'm not.

  2. Yes still a thing and still just as annoying. It's not something my husband or I would ever, ever knowingly do but there's at least one Horde base in Kul Tiras (maybe the one in southern Stormsong) that is so easy to clip because it's well hidden from the ground, and until just before I unsubbed the last time we were still grounded. With flying it's easier to avoid them at least unless you are somewhere where the archer guards have insane aggro range...

    1. Thanks for clarifying, both of you! I find it funny how ever since I started playing other MMOs, every time I return to WoW I seem to run into some odd bugs or strange mechanics that appear to run counter to the infamous Blizzard polish...

  3. basically they'd blocked the transaction because they thought it too unlikely that I actually wanted to give Blizzard money!

    Okay, I got a good laugh out of this. I went the "buy a 60 day card" route, and thankfully everything went smoothly for me.

  4. Aggramar of all servers, we could've met by chance. If I had been strolling around Mulgore some time in 2010... Unlikely, but possible. I don't think I started another Tauren after Vanilla though