Dusting off My Original Priest

In reply to a comment on my post about WoW's returning player experience back in August, I noted that almost all the characters I've been playing in retail since picking it up again at the end of BfA were created from scratch, because the notion of going back to an existing character that I last played more than ten years ago was all kinds of terrifying.

Having dabbled in retail for nearly four years now however, the idea didn't seem quite so bad anymore. A big part of my original fear was simply that it would make me feel bad to go back to these characters that I used to love and see them in the context of this new game that I didn't like all that much anymore. Thanks to the existence of Classic, I don't feel the same hostility towards retail anymore though, and there are some aspects of it that I actually quite like (as a separate game to Classic instead of as an replacement for Vanilla).

Why is this relevant? Because I noticed in the info about patch 10.1.7 that it was meant to include a new heritage quest chain for night elves. I wrote about how I really enjoyed the one for humans, and night elves are no less dear to me. The very first character I ever created may have been a human, but the first one I ever really inhabitated was the night elf priest I made a few days later to level with a friend. She was the first character on whom I ever hit the level cap, and while my focus shifted over to Horde side during Burning Crusade, I still came back to at least level her up every expansion and check out the new content from Alliance side. So it was clear to me that I really needed to dust this character off for this occasion.

I had last played her during Cataclysm, where I'd left her at the then-cap of level 85, which in the new, post-level squish world, made her a measly level 32. So my first challenge was going to be to just get her levelled up. (The heritage quest chain requires at least level 50.)

I took the returning player gear boost, but declined to clear out her quest log. I manually sorted out her old possessions, and gave her a transmog featuring the old Primal Mooncloth set, which I fondly remember crafting for her during Burning Crusade (for some reason I have very vivid memories of farming wraiths in Netherstorm for motes of mana in particular).

I found that I was still in my tiny old social guild, along with all my alts and... a couple of characters of my ex-boyfriend's who'd last logged in four years ago and one of whom now held the GM title. I couldn't even remember inviting him to this particular guild! I looked into how to depose and boot him, but apparently my priest had been made the lowest rank in the entire guild and you need to be a higher rank to do that, even if the GM hasn't logged in forever... in the end I just figured "whatever" and ignored that whole situation for the time being.

My priest's quest log indicated that I'd done a fair bit of questing during Cata but had stopped with things partially unfinished in Uldum and Twilight Highlands. I decided to visit the latter first, and I gotta say: after playing Dragonflight in particular, doing Cata quests in a zone like Twlight Highlands is quite a mindfuck. Dragons going from scary monsters to more human-like NPCs that we just kinda hang out with is a process that has been going on since at least Wrath of the Lich King, but even so the contrast between how we interact with the dragons in Dragonflight and some of the quests in Cata is pretty extreme. Being given quests to eradicate the last of the black dragons because they were all corrupted anyway, or slaying a "broodmother" after using her whelps to track her down felt very uncomfortable now. Not to mention that picking up Dragon Flanks reminded me that we also used to cook and eat dragons for buffs. Just awkward.

There was also this five-man group quest chain, "Crucible of Carnage" which made me realise to my annoyance that the custom grouping tool is not available to levelling characters for some reason. As I didn't see a single other player around during my journey, I eventually just tried to solo it and learned that with all the class changes and my overpowered boost gear, I could indeed solo the first three encounters, however the Worgen rogue type still made short work of me and I had to give up for the time being.

I also noticed that I still had the dungeon quest from Grim Batol in my log to kill mobs while riding the red dragons at the start of the instance. I thought I'd queue for a run of that dungeon in specific to get that cleared out. I didn't check the clock, but I must have sat in that queue for something like two hours. When I finally got a pop - quite late at night - I greeted the group happily but nobody responded. They also ran right past the dragons I needed for the quest. I just went along with it and figured I'd try to run back and finish the quest after we had killed the last boss. A mechagnome hunter seemed to have the same idea, as they were the last to drop group and ran back with me... however, it turned out that the red dragons were helpfully set up to not do the mob killing circuit anymore once you passed a certain checkpoint and would just immediately drop you off at the spawn of the first boss. Me and the gnome doing a /cry at each other after that happened was the only interaction I had in that dungeon, and I was no closer to finishing my quest, though at least I'd gotten a bit of XP.

As I was otherwise done with Twilight Highlands by that point, I decided to turn my eyes towards Uldum next. I remember avoiding replaying that zone because the Harrison Jones quests were just so. Stupid. Being confronted with a terrible Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull joke in the first spot where I picked things up again did indeed confirm that age didn't make those quests any better.

Funnily enough though, after writing the first draft of this, I went back to check my original first impressions post about Uldum, and it turns out that back in 2010 I actually thought that the zone was quite funny, and I called out the very same joke I just mentioned as terrible as "my favourite bit". This is why I blog, because past me from ten years ago might as well be a completely different person it seems. It's just fascinating to see.

Anyway, levelling in Uldum continued at quite a brisk pace and I didn't even have to complete the whole zone before hitting level 50. It's mad to remember that when Cata first came out, you pretty much needed to do all five of the new zones in full just to gain five levels.

My thoughts on the night elf heritage quest itself will be a separate post.

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