Mages, ten-man raiding, and other things that are awesome.

Posts tagged ‘memory lane’

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?

"Milya," circa 2008.

"Millya," 2012

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!

Ding: 70!

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)

Ding: 80!

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

Ding: 85!

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!


Apple Cider Mage

Orcish Army Knife

Dancing Runes

Water Bender

Power Word: What?

Info About WoW From The Altoholic

Warcraft of the Worlds

Need More Rage

Jaedia’s Menagerie

I Like Bubbles

Kamalia et Alia

Memory Lane: Burning Crusade Edition

I found this entry in my draft folder from June! I don’t know how I forgot about posting it, but it seems particularly appropriate now as many folks endeavor to recapture and revisit old content in preparation for Azeroth’s greatest fashion show.

I was struck the other day by nostalgia. I don’t think I’ve played any other game so consistently for so long. (And I’m not an “old-timer,” I only started at the end of Burning Crusade in approximately May 2008.) But that’s still three years of time!

I remember being so completely awestruck the first time I saw someone riding a Talbuk. It was in Menethil Harbor and we’d just taken the boat. Someone rode by on one and I gasped to Voss, “What is that? I want one!” I swore then and there that I would have one. I was the first person of my acquaintance to complete the grind with Kurenai. Talbuks have been Millya’s preferred mount ever since. They just seem so perfect for draenei to me, and even when I hadn’t seen Nagrand at all I somehow knew they’d be “right.”

Before I had a talbuk, though, I had my eyes on another prize. The first time we saw the Barrens I was similarly enamored with the Zhevra. It’s a unicorn, but it’s also a zebra! I was crushed to learn that they weren’t actually available as a mount. Until about a month later, they were announced as the very first mount reward for Recruit-A-Friend. Naturally, I knew what I had to do.

Millya's first "fast" mount.

I remember feeling very pleased with myself, too, because I saved money by not having to buy one of the mounts. Yes, the money at the time was a big enough deal to me that I was concerned about saving enough to buy a mount. At the time, WoW felt very much like the “haves” and the “have-nots” and I was squarely in the “pretty poor” camp. This was something I could have, and I was happy with it. (Note, I’m not whining here about my broke state. I hadn’t learned to use the AH or make money in any way. Nowadays it seems really easy to make money and there are plenty of resources for folks to learn how.)

So fashionable!

The other thing I greatly looked forward to was matching armour sets. When I hit 70, I had my pieces of Spellfire robes ready to roll because I’d been painstakingly crafting cloth (and borrowing the CDs of others) for weeks! I was so excited to have a set of armour that matched. I then spent a week straight in Alterac Valley to get the best (PvE and PvP) entry-raiding staff that there was:

Giant Pink Lipstick of DOOM!

Every caster had this, because it was awesome. I still have it in my bank because I am so proud of it. I’d never PvPed before, but I wanted the best thing available to me. It was nice to go to Kara and be passing on stuff because it honestly wasn’t an upgrade. (My obsession with gearing my characters even outside of raiding started really, really early).

Firehawks and lynxes and bears, oh my!

One of my other great memories is going to Zul’aman with our ten-man group and downing it all. I think we missed the nerf by a week; I can’t remember if this was pre or post-nerf but I was so proud that we did it. This was as far as ten-man progression allowed at the time, and we were just a small guild. This screenshot of old friends makes me smile.

"Wicked, wicked, mortals! The forest weeps. The elements recoil at the destruction. Ivus must purge you from this world!"

In the time I spent doing AV, I got to summon Ivus the Forest Lord not once, but twice! For those who are unfamiliar, you can summon this big bad when an AV match is interminable. It seldom happens now because there are things you need to do beforehand and most AV battles tend to be zergs. This is what the summoning looks like. I unfortunately lack a screenshot of the Horde players flailing around as we rode forward with Ivus ahead of us, scattering players like popcorn. The element of surprise was on our side because I think most of them didn’t even understand what was happening and had never heard of Ivus, let alone seen him. This is still hands-down one of my favourite AV memories.

"Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings..." (John Gillespie Magee Jr., "High Flight"

Finally, this is a screenshot I just had to include. Do you remember how you felt when you were first able to afford a flying mount – any flying mount? Who cared that it wasn’t as fast as the other ones? I imagine for most of us, we’ll never have the actual feeling of piloting a plain or hang-gliding. Yet who isn’t captivated by the idea of flying off into the sky?

I know some folks are not happy about the changes to Azeroth and the addition of flight. I think that it’s absolutely a shame if you never come down to the earth to pay attention to all of the details and work that’s been put into creating this world. At the same time, I love being able to fly everywhere since the first moment I could fly, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

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