Fear Is Temporary. Regret Is Forever.
I have turned over in my head, a thousand ways of how to launch this blog series. Do I make it out like what I've decided to do is a sin? Do I tell a long-winded tale about my first time (in the world of warcraft). Or do I just charge into the intro, explaining why I'm here and why I'm doing this.
Well, having written it all out now, let's do all three. I guess I have some explaining to do, huh.
I was still in primary school when World of Warcraft released to general audiences in 2004. I can still remember being shown glimpses of "World of Warcrack" when a friend of my father's brought his state-of-the-art laptop over and started playing computer games whilst Dad's other friends played 40k and took in Friday night football. Now admittedly, World of Warcraft is a small part of this particular anecdote, but just thinking about it gives me a warm, comforting feeling.
Fast forward to being at my childhood friend's house (Dion if you're reading this, this is all your fault). Being introduced to World of Warcraft through the lens of a teenager who didn't really know what was going on. I played to level ten or something on his old PC in his room on his cathode ray tube monitor (the old square box of death). I was hooked, but it required an internet connection, a good computer, the things that I didn't have.
Or if I did have those things, I was too busy doing... something.
So fast forward to 2021. The date stamp is important because I made a very big decision after months of thinking. After all, I only played Shadowlands at the time because I had nothing better to do in my empty house. Once I moved, I gave it away in favour of more casual gaming experiences and miniatures. I killed the last boss in the raid, I did one raid week with my guild after moving, put it down and was content. Like polishing off a big meal.
The fact that this blog post exists means that you know what happened next, but sometimes knowing how I got there is just as important.
So, big daddy Blizzard announces the next logical iteration of World of Warcraft Classic: Burning Crusade Classic.
Ok. Wow. I mean, yes, it was rumoured for ages and Blizzard would be mad not to retain those who yearn for "the good old days." But Burning Crusade was when I played properly, myself on my own computer for the first time. My sister started raiding. We all crowded around Dad's iMac, squabbling and taking turns to level.
I didn't reach the pinnacle until much, much later in the piece. But I watched my sister do those Burning Crusade raids. Karazhan, Zul'Aman, Serpentshrine Cavern. I saw huge bosses with backstory and importance. Em never did manage to kill Lady Vashj that day, but all the way back when, those seeds were planted in my skull.
Now fifteen years of progress has come and I've played WoW: Shadowlands. But much like the guy who asked the question at the press conference, I had always wondered (and secretly hoped) that Blizzard would do what they never said they would do, and relaunch classic iterations. I remember posting it on a forum, referring to a "Legacy" raid mode. It was shot down, but, now, here we are.
And yet, I let crunch time come and go. I'm too busy, I have a full time job, I have a wife, I have miniatures and video games and a house to maintain. It's not going to be worth all the time and effort.
But that allure to be part of something. To go back and be part of Burning Crusade. To do those raids, with the full gamut of knowledge I never had as a child. It kept pulling at me.
In the end, it really was fear of missing out. Knowing that this was going to be the last time, ever, to experience the genesis of my World of Warcraft experience. To see the Black Temple in all its evil, forboding glory. To climb to the top of Karazhan. And, of course, topple the gods of Zul'Aman:
So come on in... Because I got a surprise for ya now...
The surprise is weekly recaps of my journey through The Burning Crusade. And, mostly, it's for me, not for you. So that at the end of this six \ twelve \ twenty-four month run, I have something that chronicles my journey and will always remind me of the time I decided to surrender six months (at minimum) of my life to a fifteen year old game.
I'll try and format it as much as possible, include screenshots, details and anything else that might help me when I go to read this later.
So let's get started!
Critical Information Summary:
Level Reached This Week: 27
Current Playtime: 37 Hours
Where the magic all starts. Nothing too special. You start off in the Valley of Trials, which has a cool cave with some baddies in it, you kill some scorpions, hit Peons with a special bat given to you by one of the quest-giving NPCs. It's a pretty slow roll to start with.
Things pickup pace once you hit the second area, Sen'Jin village, where you get to meet this fellow, among others:
As a Shaman (which I will sometimes spell as 'Chamois', for lulz) you have to obtain special Shaman-only items called 'Totems' which allow you to summon totems. Part of that process involves drinking a special potion called a 'Sapta' in front of a big rock:
(You then kill an elemental, but I forgot to take a screenshot of that - more on that later.)
Then I went and kicked over a keep full of evil human dudes (before Kul Tiras was expanded upon significantly in Battle for Azeroth)
I also teamed up with my first friend:
You can see there that my UI is very simple - don't worry, it gets a lot messier later. One of the brilliant things about modern world of warcraft is that they bought and incorporated a lot of the features that you have to add-on in old wow.
Incidentally, I used wow-up because it was so lightweight. It was easy to ruin my UI in a flash!
Carrying on from there I then travelled to the scenic echo isles to kill evil trolls, nick dinosaur eggs and kill shellfish to make glue (That I immediately vendored for currency.)
There's a bit of scene missing here, but I made it to the next zone called "Razor Hill", did some more questing, got some more levels, then I finally made it to the big city of Orgrimmar, prior to Deathwing destroying it in Cataclysm.
I saw some old fan favourites:
And some characters that were truly marked for greatness, even way back when.
And some now gone relics:
Being a key city I have come back here a few times to recieve training, skill up professions, use the auction house and in a limited capacity, turn in quests. It's clear this place is meant to matter more in Classic prior to Burning Crusade, but it's nice to see it the same way my younger self would've seen it.
Anyway it was off to our next location.
This is where we get into our first meta discussion. In World of Warcraft, the Barrens (and the Crossroads) were massive social hubs. 'Barrens Chat' has largely passed by. I saw some attempts to riff on Chuck Norris, but pop culture has advanced light years since 2006. Not to mention that even on servers marked as high population or full, there were not many people in the zone at any given time.
In terms of physical characteristics, the barrens is big with only one graveyard (meaning when you bite off more than you can chew and get murdered for it, the walk gives you time to think about what you've done) and there's lots to do. So I got doing.
There's lots of things to do in the Barrens. There are various flavors of wild animals to hunt, there's a corrupt industrial complex as you have your first contact with the Venture Company (Unless you're Tauren, but I wasn't, so, go away), you fight Quillboars, Centaurs, Humans - for all sorts of reasons and for all sorts of different quest objectives.
I truly got the classic experience when I had to walk an NPC in an escort quest that literally took ten minutes for me to walk the cheeky fucker from his start point to the nearest friendly outpost. At least I got to take in the view over Ratchet, the neutral zone in the Barrens:
At this point I decided to ruin my UI with different add-ons. I added one which shows coordinates, another which provides me a questing guide, another which is a quest helper, one for bag management. That's just the start. I also have to add-on a loot table and an add-on for managing different sets of equipment.
Yet, there's a certain rustic wholesomeness about the whole thing. Maybe that's just the sleep deprivation.
On a side note, one of the things I love about the Barrens is the abundance of mountains and hills you can climb and just look out over the scenery. Very serene.
Anyway I kept on trucking, escorting, killing animals, goblins, humans and anything else in my way. I completed those bullshit Shaman Quests (including one that took me half an hour going between continents to resolve) to get my totems so I could more efficiently empty health bars and also made detours to a number of different zones for flight paths and quest chains as directed by my guide.
It's just for Thunder Bluff and that's ok. There's lots to do in Thunder Bluff. Including a little secret lair which features a cult of Undead dudes under the Spirit Rise.
There's also a cool drum circle, and Cairne is still alive - although I haven't yet gotten a happy snap of him yet. Maybe next time.
This one was mainly for some quest turn-ins (including an Emerald Dream reference from an instance I ran - more on that later) and the most engagement has been with the sect of Undead lads under the mountain.
What a beautiful zone - bright blues and greens, just a magical, relaxing place to walk through. Assuming you're not an Orc and you've put wooden palisades everywhere, such as at Splintertree Post (suck it, Night Elves)
I did a little bit of questing here and there, including trying to contain some unruly Naga, but my guide sent me elsewhere and I was not about to argue with the almighty guide.
I did get some shots going past Astranaar, the Night Elf Alliance outpost on the area - turns out they're pretty good at architecture with all those planks of wood.
It wasn't long before I was on the road again...
This is where I have done the bulk of my post-Barrens questing. There's a troupe of questionably-good Trolls at a place called Malaka'Jin, who sends you up to Cenarion Retreat after murdering three PoWs to gather ingredients for some sort of hex, or curse, or hexcurse, or something.
The trip up past Lake Mirkfallon to Stonetalon Peak was peaceful and serene, though:
And upon reaching the peak, it was well curated by Sons and Daughters of Cenarius, that I killed for a vengeful Blood Elf addicted to magic like it was heroin at Sun Rock retreat.
Are we the baddies?
There's was another escort quest, involving a Tauren from the flathoof family trying to find her way home to the destroyed Camp Aparaje, which has been overrun by Grimtotem thugs, who are in need of a kicking.
Another slow roll escort quest. Classic Blizzard. I really felt the immersion with this one.
Still didn't change the end result, though:
There's also an incredibly crowded zone called the Charred Vale. Apparently when it was ruined, all the evil quest creatures moved in to ruin the place. You, elementals and plant trees. Needless to say I spent a lot of time dying and running back.
And of course there's several interactions with our favourite industrious friends the venture company. They've turned Windshear Crag into a logging camp, making a naturally rugged and beautiful landscape shitty and dirty. Just the way they like it.
There's a couple of neat touches here. First, there's a flying machine you wreck with the help of the undead dudes in Thunder Bluff:
And there's a showdown on the dam wall with the boss of the Windshear Crag operation high up above the logging camp (showdown not pictured)
Eventually I overpowered all before me and it was time to leave the mountains, probably never to return.
The guide sent me cross continent, not knowing that I had already done so for a Shaman Quest that took me an hour an a half of travel to resolve. The end result of which saw me in a hidden shrine out the back of the Sepulcher in Silverpine Forest.
Then I watched the tide roll away. Or, tidal spirits, or whatever.
Then I had to go back across to the Barrens to meet some other Shaman lady to do some other stuff at a place in the Barrens called the 'Tidus Stair' - no relation to Tidus from FFX, I'd hope.
Anyway, I patiently waited at Orgrimmar for the Zeppelin:
And off I went.
The home of the ruins of Lordaeron and the Undead capital, the Undercity. The sights, smells and sounds are a little different (particularly the smells), but what the hell, it's Alliance aligned and its home.
Mad respect for the disgusting green slime that flows through the city. Really adds to the color.
Unfortunately it was just a brief stop in the Undercity for some profession training, flight path acquiring and a purview of the auction house before the inevitable machine of levelling progress had to grind on and I was on the march.
I had been here before on account of my Shaman quests so I could have my totems - but the second time around saw me complete a low level quest chain so I could sabotage the 'flying machine' in Stonetalon Mountains. Which is what I love about older WoW - it is prepared to not give you the whole picture and wait for the masters of the game to help you put everything together instead.
After getting there I got a recipe for some food to cook to provide me a well fed bonus (which is something that still exists, don't let me say that it doesn't) I proceeded to find a boat full of corpses. Those Undead folk really like making a mess of things, don't they.
I also showed up at an old farmstead and killed undead Gnolls until a ghost showed up - then I killed her as well for some dust.
Quest(s) in hand, I moved to the last place I logged out before striving to write this guide.
This place is famous for Tarren Mill in original Classic WoW world PvP - being on a PvE server and not being a PvP player I did not experience anything of the sort, but it's an important historical footnote.
This is where we have our first contact with the Syndicate - an evil organisation that does evil things. Because they're evil. There's also more wild animals to kill and even some real humans to kill. Though I haven't gotten that far, it's just what the guide has told me to do.
The place IS a bit run down, though.
Before I finished up and spilled digital ink, I visted Durnholde Keep and freed two Orcs by tracking down two jailers and murdering them in cold blood for their keys. Cheers, boys.
The keep is a pretty rubbish place to go, though:
Oh, and if you want to know where Dalaran is before Wrath of the Lich King? Why, it's here, in the Foothills:
So that was questing this week, let's talk dungeons.
The original Orgrimmar instance, unfortunately I don't have any B-roll for my instance run. We actually 4-manned it, which is indictative of the kind of organic things that can happen when you don't use automated tools to create groups for you.
Maybe I'll need to go in there once I'm overleveled for some more happy snaps.
Now this one I have lots of footage of. It's back to its original maze-like form and it's easy to miss bosses (we didn't, though.) It's still a maze of an instance, which is something of a theme amongst some of the classic instances. No-one's really sure where it starts, where it ends, or what's in-between.
I know what's at the end, though:
It was very fun - although I had to juggle inventory space the whole way - which is like taking a car trip when you're busting for a wee and so can't concentrate on what everyone else is doing around you.
Some of my co-workers even got caught sleeping on the job during some of the fights, too.
The colour palette is still as beautiful as ever, though.
It took us awhile, but we got everyone - including the optional boss, Mutanus. Forgive the corpses everywhere, I hadn't had time to clean up.
So that's my trip through the world this week. I'm really enjoying my time with the game and look forward to documenting much more as the world starts to really open up.
Catch you next time,
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