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Down the Rabbit Hole
by Kevin

 

Not to trivialize the word of God, but Proverbs 26:11 comes to mind in regard to my recent life decisions. As a dog returns to its vomit, so again I take up World of Warcraft.

I was truly enjoying the WoW free lifestyle as Wrath of the Lich King content steadily grew less and less appealing. I dusted off my Wii, finished several DS games, watched two seasons of Dr. Who, and read a lot of Batman and Spider-Man comics. Then Cataclysm’s launch day arrived and I felt a deep emptiness coupled with unbearable pain inside of me. Heroin addicts probably understand what I’m talking about. One quick trip to Best Buy later and now Blizzard has more of my money.

As the installation completed, I logged in to see Shutendownen, my level 80 draenei shaman, waiting for me. I half expected to log in, finish a couple of quests, discover it was merely more of the same, and quit. If only that were the case. The fundamental mechanics are more or less unchanged. Quests revolve around killing a certain number of specific enemies (aka genocide), fetch quests, etc. The changes to the game, however, make it feel like I am playing something fresh.

Unfortunately, I work 40 hours a week and have other things I have to do in my free time, so I haven’t gotten incredibly far in Cataclysm. The old world of Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms have been destroyed and I have barely experienced any of the broken world as of yet. I accepted a quest in Stormwind to go to a new island the shattering pushed up from the sea. As I boarded the boat to go to the island, I prepared myself for yet another quest of slaying Orcs to secure resources for the Alliance, when suddenly a kraken burst forth and destroyed my ship while I was dragged away by naga. Long story short, this leads to a series of quests in the underwater zone Vashj’ir, which feels incredibly fresh, despite its saltwater content.

Cataclysm is more story driven than any WoW expansion before it. By this I mean that it has any story whatsoever, but I’m actually interested in what’s going on and I take the time to actually read everything that pops up in game now. Despite WoW’s increasingly dated graphics, Vashj’ir is beautiful and a lot of fun to explore, especially since with swimming, it seems like I can actually go anywhere. Of course, since I’m playing right after launch, I’m in zones filled with other players, which makes completing quest objectives difficult sometimes due to limited numbers of mobs and quest items. I also have to deal with annoying Horde players who decide it would be fun to gank me while I’m turning in quests, but I haven’t’ had a whole lot of problems with it yet. More people seem interested in questing and experiencing the new areas than being in being obnoxious and starting blood feuds.

Despite this, I was managing the balance of my personal life and WoW just fine, until last night when I rolled worgen. That’s when everything kind of fell apart.

The opening chain of quests for worgen emphasizes Blizzard’s desire to add engrossing storytelling to WoW, complete with cutscenes. I began as a human warrior defending the city of Gilneas from a worgen attack. Early on in the quest, I was attacked and bitten; eventually I transformed into what is essentially a werewolf. And so, Wolvie the worgen was born!

Now I am back to my old ways. My eyes are red and dry, I have a dull headache, at some point last night I realized it was 4am, and I’m once again procrastinating on things like peeing. Congratulations, Blizzard on ruining another life. Again.

-Kevin