26/11/2021

Life after the Transfer Apocalypse

If various third party sites are to be believed, the free transfers took a big chunk out of my server's population, but not as big a percentage of players as it feels like. As I said to commenter Blairos in response to my last post, Hydraxian Waterlords was a small town before all of this happened... now it feels more like a post-apocalyptic wasteland where you're startled if you run into another person at all.

Nature's had a chance to reclaim the world to an extent - in the last few days alone, I've seen so many new mining and herb nodes that I didn't even know existed because they'd always been harvested already by the time I would've run past them.

The auction house is not dead yet, but it feels like it's dying, as the way it's designed kind of requires a critical mass of players to sustain itself. I've never played one of those MMORPGs, but I've heard that there are games out there where auctions/trades don't expire or at least not for a very long time, so when you put something up for sale it stays there until you either cancel the listing or someone buys it. Since WoW's auction house only allows listings to remain active for a maximum of 48 hours and charges a hefty deposit fee for most items, listing anything that doesn't sell within that time frame is just a money sink, and the fewer potential customers there are around, the more limited the number of items that are likely to sell in time.

It's also been a stark reminder of how much of the economy is driven by raiders/high-end players. Sure, some of it is simply self-reinforcing - raiders make and sell flasks to other raiders, but not many other people are likely to need them so it's not much of a loss to more casual players if that part of the market disappears. But as another example, cut gems have completely gone from the Hydraxian Waterlords auction house as well... and plenty of levelling gear has gem sockets, which must now remain empty unless you're gonna fill them with one of three crappy and overpriced vendor gems. I'm guessing this is because there wasn't much incentive for anyone but high-end players to level Jewelcrafting as a new profession from scratch and to hunt down rare recipes for it. They felt compelled by a desire to outfit their raid force with blue quality gems, and sold some of their cheaper wares to the wider server population as a way to recoup costs. That's something that's just gone now.

Like in any good post-apocalyptic video game wasteland, there are nonetheless some survivors. The out-of-guild friend I mentioned here stayed behind with his guild and raid force for example - I think they may have literally been the only ones. It's kind of funny because while many guilds were struggling to recruit for progression before all this happened, based on the stories he told me, his raid group was probably worse off than any others, trying to drastically underman content and not getting much done. But now that there's nowhere else to go, all the lone remaining raiders are flocking towards them, and for the first time in ages they are not just raiding at full strength but even have a bench. Kind of makes me wonder how the Forks could have done for themselves if they'd stayed.

Anyway, I asked my friend for an invite to his Discord, introduced myself, and everyone was very lovely, though there was also a certain Fin de Si├Ęcle mood in the air - just after I made my introductory post for example, another person posted about how they were just going to stop playing because of all these transfer shenanigans.

There was also an LFG channel on the Discord, and people expressed interest in running a heroic. I hadn't done one in a few days and had seen that the daily was Underbog, a heroic I hadn't actually done yet in Classic. Great opportunity to see something new and get to know some people in this community! We had a tank and two other dps interested, so all we needed was a healer.

Later, me and a shaman were sitting next to the Coilfang summoning stone, while the group leader was asking for a healer in the server LFG channel every so often. Meanwhile I poked some people on Discord, and did a /who 70 (which yielded less than 50 results) in order to whisper every single person of  a heal-capable class to ask whether they were the right spec and if so, whether they were interested in healing the daily heroic. Most of the replies I got were very friendly, but nobody was able and willing to come.

There was a brief suggestion of someone switching to an alt to heal, but this was quickly shot down as impeding people's fun and unacceptable. To me this was slightly strange as with my Fork friends I'd got quite used to switching roles on the fly to facilitate group formation, unless someone needed the dungeon on a particular character for a very specific reason. We sat there looking for a healer for about forty minutes, until we eventually gave up as I had literally run out of people to whisper.

Having to give up on a dungeon run because you can't find the right people isn't something new to me and I'm quite used to it being something that just happens sometimes... but seeing that there literally wasn't another person online on the entire server that we could even ask certainly added a new level of finality to this particular endeavour.

We talked about maybe giving it another try after they'd had their evening raid, but that didn't happen. I admittedly got distracted by something else, but I didn't see or hear anyone else bring up the heroic again either.

To be continued...

23/11/2021

Blizzard Killed My Server

The fuckers.

Literally the day after I made my last post about being worried about my little server's health and community, Blizzard announced free server transfers off Hydraxian Waterlords to nine different destination servers.

In the past, free transfers used to be a way to balance server and faction populations by making players leave where there were too many and encourage them to move towards places that could use a boost, but that just seems to be a thing of the past nowadays. From what I can tell, at this point free transfers are simply used as a tool to placate angry forumites threatening to cancel their subscription if Blizzard won't give them a free transfer off their low-pop server to one of the bigger ones. And as the saying goes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, even if you end up destroying the experiences of other, previously happy players in the process.

Watching the whole process unfurl over the past week has been one giant shitshow. The majority of players had actually been quite content with the population (at least on Alliance side - I'll admit that Horde was a different matter into which I don't have much insight), so overwhelmingly the initial reaction on display was a sense of confusion and uncertainty. Some attempts were made on the server Discord to get a dialogue going between different guilds about who was going to stay vs. who was planning to leave and where, perhaps with the idea to keep as many Hydraxians together as possible.

However, a small number of guilds jumped ship pretty much immediately, which in turn got others worried about what this meant for the server and over the course of the next few days created a sense of rats fleeing a sinking ship, which in turn caused a failure cascade of more and more guilds leaving "because everybody is". Some guild leaders even did complete u-turns, holding speeches about how much they loved the server, were never going to leave etc. on one day, just to then go "welp, guess we're going after all, bye suckers" two days later (that's not a literal quote, but it's certainly how the sentiment came across). There was no consistence in the chosen destinations either, with departing guilds scattering almost evenly across the three English-speaking PvE realms.

Reading the LFG channel during those days was an absolutely miserable experience, as seemingly everybody and their dog felt the need to make an announcement about how they were leaving and declaring that with their departure the server was dead now. (Followed by the same person being back the next day on one of their alts to tell us repeatedly about what a good time they were having strip-mining the server of resources for a few more days to flood the auction house on their new destination realm.) I hated every minute of it and couldn't resist making some snarky replies, even though this is usually something I try to avoid.

During the last couple of days, with most of the big guilds gone by now, there's been a slow shift towards unhappy commiseration among those who've remained behind, with occasional visitors popping in on level 1 alts to gush about the awesomeness of their new home server and getting snapped at in response. (If it's so awesome there, why are you coming back to hassle us instead of playing there?)

The Forks tried to stay calm and took their time attempting to have a reasonable discussion, but it was still not a pleasant experience, with people panicking as if Blizzard were going to close the free transfers again any minute, and a couple jumping ship to their personally preferred server of choice without waiting for an official guild decision.

(Though I will say that in terms of gameplay, I still had a great time running dungeons over the course of that week - I was probably in more full guild runs than I'd had since the start of BC Classic before that, simply because there wasn't much actual group-finding going on in LFG and if people wanted to do anything, asking guildies was their best bet.)

The sad reality of the opinion polls was that few people actively seemed to like the idea of moving server, but many viewed it as simply inevitable, plus those who had a preference for staying were more willing to change their stance for the sake of keeping the guild together than the other way round.

What did I do? I voted in the polls and participated in the discussions to some extent, but ended up being the only person choosing to stay behind regardless, which tended to prompt a confused "why" from pretty much everyone I talked to. I've given different people different answers, all of which are true but don't necessarily paint the whole picture. I shall use this blog post to lay it out in full. Basically, these are the points I had against moving:

  1. Simply put, I had no desire to move to begin with. Yes, the free transfers have greatly changed the situation on the server, but as someone who wasn't desperate for raid progression anymore, raiding guilds leaving is not the be-all and end-all of my personal enjoyment. I want to see what actually happens now. People have been calling the server dead since before all of this went down, when we were all just busy having a good time, so basically I'll believe it when I see it. I've come to realise that I prefer lower population servers in Classic, so the thought of transferring off to somewhere with four times the population I'm used to simply does not appeal. I happily played on the private server Kronos back in 2016, which only had a population of a few hundred active players. I can make do with fewer people than most, and I want to see if that's something that'll still be viable on Hydraxian Waterlords after the big exodus.
  2. My name(s). I reserved "Tir" as my hunter's name the day before Classic's launch back in August 2019, and you don't get to keep a three-letter name by server-transferring to a high-pop realm two years into a game's life. For some people character names are unimportant and just a place to meme (we had someone name their warlock alt "Sweatygooch", which promptly got reported by one of our very own officers and then had a name change enforced, which we all thought was hilarious), but to me character names are important. It's not just Tir either - I checked the destination realms and most of my chars would need to be renamed. This wouldn't exactly be an unsurmountable obstacle if I was otherwise keen on transferring, but I'm not so it's just another thing adding to me not wanting to do it.
  3. I'm pissed off by this whole situation and have a desire to express it. I'm mad at Blizzard for killing off our realm pop to appease some forum complainers. I'm mad at all the Hydraxians praising the server community to the heavens one day and then transferring off the next. I'm mad at the lemming-like nature of everyone running away because "everyone else is doing it" and nobody having been willing to make a stand because they're too scared of being the last ones left. I can understand why people felt that way, but I don't have to like it, and I won't imitate it. Taken on its own, being contrarian would not be a reason to stay, but it's just another thing on the list.
  4. I'm kind of emotionally exhausted by Classic and all the dramas it's been throwing at me. Burning Crusade launch was an emotional rollercoaster for weeks, and eventually I just felt disenchanted with the whole thing to the point that I was already thinking about quitting the game anyway. Then certain individuals managed to reignite my passion and I was playing like crazy for a few weeks, just to have this metaphorical nuke land on my head all of a sudden. I just can't be bothered with it anymore. This is a game and it's supposed to be relaxing and fun. I have other things going in my life. I want to take time to be excited about the new SWTOR expansion coming out next month, not deal with the anxieties of starting over on a new server yet again (after moving from Pyrewood Village to Hydraxian Waterlords in early 2020) and risk watching what's left of my guild wither and die. I'd rather step away from it all if need be, at least for a while.

The two main arguments in favour of moving were these:

  1. Wanting to stay with my guild and doing my best to help it survive. This was a big one considering what the Forks have meant to me over time, but... I've got to admit the events of early BC already worked to diminish my faith in the guild somewhat. When the server was at its busiest, my guild was somehow at its least lovable, with everyone just jumping straight into LFG to get shit done without caring much about things like "running with guildies because it's fun" or helping each other out. Gotta tick those boxes, yo! I don't think it's unreasonable to fear a repeat of this situation when the guild transfers to a server with four times the population. And I don't want to move "for the sake of the guild" just to then feel left out in the cold again. This isn't a diss on any of my guildies by the way, simply an observation about game design and human nature. If there's no room for downtime between chasing personal goals, you'll always be too busy to think about how other people could fit into things; that's just how it is.
  2. The other matter is my levelling buddy, who is technically part of the guild but whom I feel the need to call out separately because he's awesome and I do not doubt that we'd keep doing stuff together even on a server with ten thousand people. However, to put it simply, he thinks that transferring to a bigger server is good and the only way to go, while I do not. He was hurt that I'd abandon him like that to make a point and he has every right to be. This is without a doubt the saddest part of the whole thing for me, and I still hope that we can salvage something of our friendship going forward. But also... and I do feel a bit bad saying this, but it might actually be for the best to take a bit of a step back here as well. Playing with him again has been fun, but at the same time our adventures have encouraged me to play with an intensity that I do not find healthy, similar to what I wrote about at BC launch - it's fine to go on a binge for a few days, but if you find yourself not getting enough sleep and neglecting other hobbies or tasks you should be doing because of the game - which I have been doing recently - it's not good.

All of which adds up to a pretty overwhelming urge to just stay behind, see what happens, and chill out. To any guildie who might be reading this: I'm sorry if any of this hurt your feelings. I've greatly appreciated all the good times we've had, and I do want you to still have fun in the game and the Order of the Holy Fork to thrive. I'm also not completely discarding the idea of an opportunity to reunite with the guild in game at a later point. However right now, all of this has just been one straw too many. Blame Blizzard.

16/11/2021

"Dead Server" vs. Community

When I first started playing on Hydraxian Waterlords back in January 2020, I immediately noted how - being a medium-pop server - it was much quieter than Pyrewood Village had ever been... and that I actually quite liked that. I've been thinking about that again recently as I've had to listen to some very contradictory opinions on the current state of the server in the past few days.

I can't deny that it's probably more quiet than I've ever seen it. Last time I checked, the server's population status on the server selection screen had actually been downgraded from medium to low, and with that has come a new wave of "this server is dead" complainers in LFG chat - while there has always been the occasional troll to that effect, it's definitely a lot more prevalent now, even if to me it seems silly that those complaints are often based on evidence such as being unable to get into an Uldaman run at 2pm on a work day.

On the other hand, I honestly like it this way. I like that outside prime time, the LFG chatter isn't scrolling past so quickly that you can't take any of it in, and that people will sometimes engage in random discussions in the channel, even if they are often somewhat inane. I like that you run into the same people every so often and form new connections that way. Just today I did a random Mechanar pug where I recognised the name of a druid and reminisced about that time his hunter and my pally did all of BRD in one afternoon. Several people in the group mentioned how much they love the server, especially the newly dinged ret pally who said that he'd previously played Classic up to AQ on a different server, but that he was so much happier to be here now.

However, I can't deny that all the Debbie Downers have me a little worried. I do think it's ridiculous to declare a server with 30+ raiding guilds "dead" just because you want a population of 5-10k to be able to treat chat as your personal dungeon finder at any time of day. As I observed during the attempted Nostalrius relaunch, if you cram enough players onto a single server, player interactions and grouping become oddly impersonal regardless of a lack of automated grouping tools, and I've definitely felt some of that during Classic's busier times. I prefer my server to be classic in size too... but I do worry a bit that too many modern players might not and what that might mean for the future of Hydraxian Waterlords.

12/11/2021

A Trip to SSC & Tales of Attunement

When I stepped down from progression raiding, I didn't intend for that to mean that I wasn't planning to set foot into another Burning Crusade raid ever again - I mentioned I've been enjoying the casual tier four community runs, and I also wasn't opposed to the idea of visiting some of the later raids at some point. I just didn't want to put in the effort that was expected of core raiders in my guild anymore and commit to dedicating two days a week to being at the (relative) cutting edge as it were.

The little guild drama not too long ago combined with some other happenings left the Forks' core raid team somewhat below strength recently, and with my SWTOR ops team going on a break with the expansion looming close, I suddenly found myself with a lot more free evenings and told one of the officers that I'd be happy to help out in SSC on Wednesdays in the meantime - better for them to have a slacker along than to underman it for sure.

So it happened that my hunter made her first trip to the Serpentshrine Cavern a week ago, and I'm not going to lie: I had a good time! I thought I was off to a good start when - despite of remembering very well that the elevator at the door was an infamous death trap - I promptly stepped onto it too late, something that was followed by a long fall during which I had plenty of time to think about and regret my mistake before going splat at the bottom, right in front of two of the officers. Glorious!

We killed all the bosses bar Vashj with little fuss - if anything it was the giant bog lords between them that still gave people some trouble. Tidewalker was pretty hilarious as we were drowning in a sea of murlocs by the end and it was just AoE and fears and shouting on Discord and I loved it. At the end we even had time for a couple of tries on Vashj herself. I was pretty happy with my own performance too, considering my non-raid spec and the fact that I still haven't even got my four-piece Beast Lord set bonus. (I've run the Mechanar more than a dozen times and have seen every single drop from Pathaleon the Calculator except for the helm...)

That aside though, I was also touched by how many whispers I got from people excited to see me in a progression raid again, though I also felt a little bad letting them down by reaffirming that I wasn't returning "properly". I'm not exactly hugely chatty in raids, so I didn't think people really had reason to miss me.

I actually kind of liked the idea of doing this a few more times, but then I overheard them talking about swapping Wednesdays to The Eye and moving SSC to Mondays, one night on which I'm still busy. I also knew that I wouldn't be able to help out in The Eye because I still wasn't attuned (insert sad trombone noise here). I was at the stage where you need to do two group quests in Shadowmoon Valley and both of my previous attempts to get into a group for them had ended in failure.

For the briefest moment I was starting to think thoughts like "maybe I could make a push for the attunement now to be able to help out more", but even as I did so another part of me was cringing away in terror. I wanted to earn my Champion of the Naaru title on my own terms and in my own time, not rush through it in a desperate attempt to get to spend some more time wiping in 25-mans again. Not to mention the amount of begging and arm-twisting I feared I'd have to do to get through all those group stages sooner rather than later, when it might not necessarily be convenient for other people.

It did make me think about the Eye attunement in general though. I guess back in the day I didn't find it so bad because my guild didn't actually go there until attunement had become optional, so it was just a cool quest chain that earned you a title. I still think it is that, but as a requirement to even enter the raid it's honestly pretty harsh, not so much due to the overall length but due to the strange mix of solo content, group quests, heroic dungeons and raids, which forces you to change gear at several steps along the way.

And you can tell that guilds are struggling, based on the recruitment spam and LFM requests to plug those last few holes on progression night that fill the looking for group channel night after night. I wonder if all those guilds aren't missing a trick by not advertising with something like "guaranteed attunement runs every Sunday" or whatever. Yeah, it would be work for them, but at the same time it might draw in some more people with a casual interest who just don't have the stamina to spend days in the LFG channel, repeating "looking for more for heroic Shadow Labs/Shattered Halls/Arcatraz".

I know that immediately after launch the "raiding economy" was effectively an employer's market, with more people looking to raid than guilds had room for with the reduced raid size, but recently things seem to have shifted the opposite direction, and if you're desperate for people to commit to raiding, maybe offer them something in return other than a bunch of rules about how to gear and what consumables to bring? Guild membership should involve both give and take, and while it's possible to keep both of those to an absolute minimum if you don't want to get involved, I don't think you can ask players to put that much effort in while not giving much in return.

And on that somewhat sour note the first draft of this post would have ended, but the day after I'd written it, I happened to be online in the early evening alongside only three other guildies, and somehow the subject of my lack of Tempest Keep attunement came up. I explained how I was stuck on the Shadowmoon group quests but didn't want to stress about it. Imagine my surprise when one of the guildies online at the time - our sole raiding shadow priest since I'd first joined the guild - spoke up to say something like: "Why not do those quests now? I could tank them on my alt and I'm sure the others wouldn't mind helping!" I was positively abashed that someone else actually cared more about my attunement than I did, and within a few minutes we had a group and gave both Ruul the Darkener and Cyrukh the Firelord a proper spanking. I thanked everyone for their generosity and time and got the - again very surprising to me - reply: "We're just being selfish in our own way, wanting you back in our raids."

Finishing those two quests unlocked the Trials of the Naaru - three quests to complete four heroics, followed by a raid quest for Magtheridon. I think the heroics are generally considered the most unpleasant part by most, but not for me - after all, I have friends now (?!) that also enjoy running heroics, so we blasted through them all over the next couple of days without any major issues. I expect to have my Champion of the Naaru title and Tempest Key by tomorrow evening.

And I'm feeling very conflicted about the whole thing! I am, above all, grateful for the friends who reminded me how fun this game can be and have shown that they clearly value me as a person regardless of what class or spec I play. However, my emotions about the wider guild are more confused. I didn't feel like there was actively bad blood between me and anyone when I stepped down from core raiding, but there was definitely a certain sense of not belonging and not fitting in anymore. None of that came from the people who are now telling me that they've missed me, but it definitely felt like their way of thinking and approach to raids were on the way out.

I do wonder whether things have somehow reversed course and the Forks are actually working their way back towards something closer to what they were before TBC launch in terms of atmosphere? I would certainly welcome that and would want to help with it too, even if there's a more cynical part of me that's like: "Oh, now that all those other people have left, they suddenly care..." I suppose I'm just not entirely sure how much I trust it, and how much I'd really want to reinvest myself into guild progression business at this point.

06/11/2021

A Year of Playing Retail

With the Halloween event having come and gone recently, I suddenly remembered my silly quest in search of candy from Darnassus from a year ago, which in turn made me realise that it's been more than a year since I reinstalled retail WoW... and that I'm still playing it (sort of).

It was never meant to be more than a quick exploration of the newly level-squished world, but what I hadn't been aware of was just how keen my husband was going to be on getting retail WoW back into the rotation as a game for both of us to play together, so a year later, here we still are. Our play is irregular and extremely casual, but I'm already subscribed for Classic, so I guess why not?

I still think of myself as a Classic player who sometimes plays retail too rather than a retail WoW player, but it is what it is. I even made a couple of new alts at this point! So I thought it would be interesting to do a "year in review" post for my retail characters similar to what I've done for Classic for the past two years.

Shinlu

  • Level 60 human monk
  • 15 days, 12 hours played
  • Shadowlands professions: 150 Skinning, 100 Leatherworking, 75 Cooking (that's all of those maxed out in case the very different numbers don't make it clear), 135 Fishing
  • Other professions: 65 Outland Skinning, 40 Cataclysm Skinning, 175 Kul Tiran Skinning (with 3/5 maxed out at three stars, the others are at a 1 and 2 stars respectively), 40 Outland Leatherworking, 139 Kul Tiran Leatherworking, 221 Old World Cooking, 43 Kul Tiran Cooking, 237 Old World Fishing, 3 Outland Fishing, 16 Pandaria Fishing, 148 Kul Tiran Fishing, 82 Archaeology

Originally meant to be a bit of a throwaway character to check out the new starting zone Exile's Reach and do a bit of levelling with my husband, this little monk has effectively become my retail main for what it's worth. And I have become somewhat attached to her! She did most of the BfA content after the Shadowlands pre-patch had made it accessible without an expansion purchase and has maxed out her Renown with the Kyrian covenant. I still think of her as a healer but I eventually gave in and started playing dps sometimes while questing as there just wasn't any real healing to do even while duoing with my husband's warrior.

Mehg

  • Level 60 night elf demon hunter
  • 5 days, 1 hour played
  • Shadowlands professions: 105 Mining, 24 Jewelcrafting, 50 Cooking, 15 Fishing
  • Other professions: 7 Old World Mining, 100 Legion Mining (with 3/9 maxed out at three stars), 72 Legion Jewelcrafting, 17 Old World Cooking, 26 Legion Cooking, 73 Old World Fishing, 70 Legion Fishing, 800 Archaeology

My first Shadowlands alt, I created this one to see what playing a demon hunter was like and to explore the Legion content with my husband. She's also in Shadowlands now, a Venthyr and at 28 Renown somehow even though I've barely done any of the max-level content with her.

Tidella

  • Level 39 Kul Tiran shaman
  • 1 day, 3 hours played
  • Professions: 92 Old World Mining, 79 Old World Engineering, 40 Old World Cooking

This is the elemental shaman I made for our little levelling group, and while one person seems to have dropped out recently, we're still continuing to four-man things for now. At this point we've done all the old world dungeons plus all the Cata ones bar Grim Batol, which will be our next target come the next dungeon night. It's been an interesting little adventure, and hey, the other level I even got an ability to finally use that Maelstrom resource that I've had for 28 levels.

Shinnins

  • Level 38 Worgen druid
  • 15 days, 23 hours played
  • Professions: 300 Old World Alchemy, 75 Outland Alchemy (Transmutation), 75 Northrend Alchemy, 75 Cataclysm Alchemy, 75 Pandaria Alchemy, 300 Old World Herbalism, 75 Outland Herbalism, 75 Northrend Herbalism, 75 Cataclysm Herbalism, 75 Pandaria Herbalism, 300 Old World Cooking, 75 Outland Cooking, 75 Northrend Cooking, 75 Cataclysm Cooking, 75 Pandaria Cooking (with all the different "cooking ways" maxed out too), 300 Old World Fishing, 75 Outland Fishing, 75 Northrend Fishing, 75 Cataclysm Fishing, 75 Pandaria Fishing, 600 Archaeology

This is the Worgen druid I levelled with my husband (before we were married) back in MoP - you can tell that those were very different times from the fact that her /played time still exceeds my new main's (even though I only hung around for six months or so back then) and from the way she's got all those different professions maxed out. She was level 35 or 36 after the squish, and I had this idea that we could play through the two Pandaria zones we'd never actually completed together, but we only really did one session of that before losing interest again. Maybe some day...

Tilarea

  • Level 28 Lightforged Draenei priest 
  • 5 hours played
  • Professions: 49 Old World Tailoring, 25 Old World Enchanting, 2 Cataclysm Enchanting

When we were first talking about our little levelling group, I thought that I was going to be the healer and that's why I created this priest, but then someone else asked to heal instead and I was like "sure, whatever". Still, I really liked this little char, so I occasionally take her out on a spin in the old dungeon finder just to see how crazy those low-level pugs are nowadays. The answer is: they're still quite crazy (I'm thinking of the lower BRD group that was extremely proud of just skipping 90% of the dungeon and being allowed to leave again after only five minutes or so), but sometimes I've also been positively surprised.

My favourite memory so far is the Zul'Farrak run where we got a pally tank who was level twenty or so, aggroed half the instance at once, died (naturally), ran back in to repeat the whole thing two more times and then left. This was followed by me and the remaining dpsers blinking in confusion and re-queuing for a tank, just to then get a Worgen death knight who seemed to have every single one of his abilities macroed to some sort of RP yell (such as "Your mother was a murloc and your father a gnoll!" for taunt). I mean, he was nice enough and we did complete the dungeon successfully with that person, but it was just such an utterly bizarre experience.

Tharisa

  • Level 21 human hunter
  • 12 hours played
  • Professions: 54 Old World Leatherworking, 160 Old World Skinning, 61 Old World Fishing

This hunter must have been sitting on this server since Cataclysm times, probably as a result of me randomly trying some of the then-new race/class combinations on different servers. Post level squish, she was level six and hanging out in Westfall. I decided to get her a haircut and play her a bit, just to see what being a hunter is like in retail nowadays after maining one in Classic for the past two years. (The answer at low levels was "incredibly boring" by the way.) I also did some more quests for the sake of Cataclysm nostalgia (?!) and just to see how it would feel compared to dungeoneering. The answer to that has been "incredibly slow".