Then and Now
Recently thanks to the “Sixth” meme Gnomeageddon started, most of us have had occasion to delve into our screenshot folders. Today, Hya from Gkick posted an old and a new screenshot of her character on Twitter. (Her guild, Northrend Travel Agency, is also recruiting! Check ’em out. /plug)
When I saw her images I thought, what a great idea! This is something I find endlessly fascinating in real life, too. My Mom and I bored Voss just a few weeks ago while we pored over old photos for three hours. I wondered, how would an old image of my main character look alongside a new one?
Because this character screen image was the best one I had of Millya from the time, I used the same set-up for my new image, too. What strikes me most is actually the changes in my computer set-up – I started playing on a laptop at something like 6 FPS not knowing how awful it was. My character used to move across the screen in cities as if she were underwater. Now I have a 24″ widescreen monitor and a rig with the graphics turned up to max. I think the difference is pretty evident.
What stayed the same: Millya hasn’t changed in appearance since her creation. I have sometimes sat down at the barber shop and toyed with the idea of giving her new hair, but never went through with it. Same with her horns, which are ginormous. When I made her I said, “If I am going to have horns, by god they are going to be the biggest horns I could possibly have.” I think they are grand. So Millya herself hasn’t changed at all, although is it my imagination, or does she somehow look more confident in the more recent photo? Anyway, in essence she hasn’t changed.
What DID change: Millya used to be Milya with a single “L.” You’ll also notice a different “moon” based server there; she was ‘born’ on Moon Guard but now lives on Moonrunner. Obviously her gear now is different, although I am wearing a robe from the BC era (a recolour of a classic robe, actually). I have many more max-level characters listed in my character list. At the time, Millya was my one and only.
I also dug up some “birthday” shots for comparison!
Here I am dinging 70 in Netherstorm. I don’t even know what my action bars were doing, although I do know I used to switch between rows of bars using shift. Were my main nukes on another bar? Was I arcane, was I fire, was I frost? I had blast wave so I must have been fire…where are my fire nukes? I at least HAD a DPS meter by this point so I was aware that DPS existed. At 70 I was:
- Learning what “dailies” were, going to the Isle of Quel’Danas for the first time (and quickly dubbing it the Isle of WTF)
- Asking friends to help me do the Netherstorm intro so that I could get a Netherwing Drake, clearly the best mount EVER and I was enamored with it
- Going to Karazhan for my first raid ever
- Running heroics with my little group of friends, polymorphing all the things and wiping in Magister’s Terrace
- Attending guild meetings most weeks because I was in an RP guild
- Going to Alterac Valley as a fire mage to try to get the best PvP staff ever (better for PvE than anything out of Kara, too)
I finished up level 80 in the Storm Peaks, doing the Thorim chain that would eventually unlock the Sons of Hodir. I see that I still wasn’t using a bar addon at that time, although I know I was Frost and at least I have my main Frost nukes on there. I played with Frost a bit towards the end of BC and had decided to level with it when Wrath came out. At 80 I ran with a FFB/elemental build for awhile and then went fire, and later played arcane. At 80 I was:
- Racing to get to 80 as quickly as possible; Voss and I had “left-behind” syndrome from Burning Crusade and wanted to hit the ground running and get to 80 ahead of the pack
- Blown away by the storytelling and immersive questing and environments (I took tons of screenshots from our first Nexus, and the Wrathgate)
- Raiding Naxx and EoE and OS and tons of heroics
- Questing to get Loremaster
- Leveling tons of alts, most of my alts were created at this time, including the “Pugging Pally”
- Leaving my server to join our first “serious raiding guild,” also my last and current serious raiding guild
- Getting a meta mount for the first time in Ulduar
- Leading a guild and later earning the Bane of the Fallen King title, still the title I am most proud of to this day
I think my UI changed the most from Wrath to Cataclysm, probably because I started to raid “seriously” then and really worked to try to fine-tune it. I know it looks a bit jumbly in the bar area; the 3×4 rectangle on the right are keys bound to my Razer Naga. Stuff on the bottom two bars are things I don’t use as often, like Frostbolt for snares (in Fire spec) etc. At 85 I was:
- Impressed by how difficult the initial heroics and raids were
- Fishing up a storm so we could learn how to make feasts
- Enjoying guild perks and making sure to run more instances with guildies to get guild experience
- Struggling to recruit and realizing that I needed a bit of a break
- Scaling back to “casual” raiding one night a week, loving it and the group of folks I play with
- Being able to raid across servers with friends, or just run a five man or two!
It’s interesting to think about what I was wearing in the different “birthday” shots. Within seconds of hitting 70 I’d put on the Spellfire set I’d lovingly crafted in preparation. At level 80 I was wearing level 80 blues and greens; I am pretty sure at 85 I had at least one tailored piece (probably pants) but still had to do a long dungeon/heroic grind to gear up. I think the UI shots probably reveal more about the difference between my character and my playing four years ago and now. I didn’t actually choose the “oldest” image of Millya I had, mostly because they are all shots from behind. (It only later occurred to me to spin her around to have her face in any photos, so I have a screenshot of draenei butt, which is alright but not always excellent photography).
I think part of the reason I like transmogrification so much is because it allows the current-day reality of a character to revisit different times. After all, mostly the only thing that has changed about my character is her gear. I could wear what she is wearing in that shot again, if I wanted to! Although in this case I don’t think I will, I’m afraid I might find it an ill-fitting old dress – better remembered in images than reality! (Even when the reality you’re discussing is virtual…)
Finally, it’s your turn! Post your new and old character screenshots side by side. Try to take them in the same place (if you can), or just pick whichever ones you want. Include your “birthday” images if you’d like! Write about what has changed, and what’s still pretty much the same. Then let me know if you did, and I’ll gather the links together. I am a sucker for walks down memory lane, let me see your old “photos!” If you don’t want to blog about it or don’t have a blog, you can also post screenshots on Twitter and include the hashtag #wowthenandnow just so folks can see ’em. Meantime, don’t laugh at my UI, we all have to start somewhere!
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