Needless to say, I drank the Koolaid. I found myself being able to see details that I had missed on my minuscule set up. I loved questing, loved running around and reading every word that popped up on the screen (especially now that I didn't have to squint). I wanted to understand the territory. To get what was going on. I knew some thing called 'Cataclysm' was supposed to be coming up soon, but I didn't even have any of the expansions yet. I had a handful of toons I'd gotten up to the 30s/40s because I liked the various starting zones. I hadn't even set foot in a dungeon.
A friend I knew online and, as a rule opted not to use RealID, needled me into making some kind of tank so he could be my pocket healer. I'd ventured into the 55 realm with my more-or-less main, a Blood Elf Warlock, and had been eyeing the fine, goaty pixels of a Draenei. So I painstakingly worked up a purple paladin named Lemniscate with legs like two bent back paperclips and crashed on Azuremyst Isle.
It was like playing a different game.
Say 'hi' to the folks, Lem. No, I don't know where the rest of your clothes are. But you have a hammer!
I'm not entirely certain why things seemed so different this time around. The world was the same. The playing was the same. But something about it came a little more naturally to me. Maybe it's because Paladins are OP or whatever. I enjoyed playing. I liked questing again. I got a little thrill from it. Maybe it was because I had a purpose in mind for my little wayward space goat. Maybe it's because I knew that new content had been unlocked for me. I just had to go get it.
That doesn't mean little Lemni jumped into the first dungeon that she came across. Oh no, not at all. That bullet wasn't bitten until later, and I was a mangled ball of nerves at the time even if my baby Tank rolled her eyes at the mobs and kept everyone on track. She smashed through levels, crashing along like some Elekk with a bee sting. She laughed her way through Outland, even as Protection, burning all of those asshole demons to cinders. Her guild even let her tag along on 'old school' raids like Ahn'qiraj 20/40 even if they were all in their 80s while she was bopping along at about 62.
But I worry. I worry that my paranoia about sucking on Heroics is going to keep her from hitting her full potential. That my wariness is going to keep her locked in quest blues and the occasional lucky drop from the lower end of the spectrum. I'm six months into my subscription and while I want to be a better player, and I want Lemni to be a better tank... I don't want a degree in advanced astrophysics to be able to figure out stats and damage and gear.
It makes me sad when I see so many blogs that I'm just learning about talking about closing up shop and giving up on the game that I've just begun to explore. That I've just started getting comfortable with. There are so many new things to me (beyond only playing 'half the game'). Every new achievement sends me into joyful paroxysms, bouncing in my chair. I don't know what people mean when they talk about things being better in Vanilla, or this spec used to be better before it was nerfed. I'd barely gotten accustomed to my Balance Druid when all of a sudden I had this wacky Eclipse meter thing, but I just shrugged it off. It wasn't like relearning anything because I'd only half-learned it in the first place.
I understand getting tired of things that aren't like they used to be. I don't begrudge anyone that. But because of my timing of coming into the game, skating in on the tail end of Wrath's changes- primed for my world to be rocked once more with Cataclysm- I see things as how they are without being bogged down with how they might have been before. I still see new things, with just enough experience to know what zones I don't feel like leveling through.
So I'm learning as I go. I'm looking for better gear and playing the game I want to play, even if it's not 'The Right Way To Play'. I don't believe there's a right and a wrong way on any level other than 'personal'. You play it how you like it. And maybe I'll like it too.