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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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...


  • 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.


  • 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".

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