I don’t have an awful lot to talk about this morning, apart from just how badass my Orc Warrior Lady looks in the Blackhand set combined with the revamped version of the crazy Black Temple shield and Mechanar sword. As much as I generally did not like the story arc of Warlords of Draenor… it produced a bunch of gear that I absolutely love. The Iron Wrath set still is among my all-time favorite Warrior sets and I really need to put some time into farming the transmog bits that I am missing. One of the things I realized last night is that my attachment to the Sun Eater’s appearance is at least in small part because I farmed Heroic Mechanar for ages to try and get it. It also made me realize how different the economy of gear is now as to when it was back then.
There were items worth farming because when you got them… they would actually serve as a pretty good weapon for a good while into raiding rather than something you toss in the bin immediately. I remember in Burning Crusade when they introduced the long and contorted weapon specializations for Blacksmithing… those items were actually worth working towards because they would serve the player for more than a day or two. Anything I could craft for myself right now gets tossed in the shredder the moment I step foot into a heroic or at the very least a mythic dungeon. Those long tailed goals are largely gone from the game, the things that are worth striving towards.
I think the problem for me is that my core gameplay loop has shifted from seeking specific objectives, to gaining the next disposable item that will increase the magical number that gates all of the tiers of content in the game. I remember there used to be a time when I would create “Hit Lists” of the items that I wanted from specific dungeons, and then set forth to run those dungeons until I completed that set. Back then however the items in each dungeon felt unique to the location… not just super similar draws from the same item pool. The transitory nature of the items however makes each new acquisition feel completely unimportant… the equivalent to the commons in a pack of Magic the Gathering cards that you just skip over hoping that maybe just maybe you got something really cool in the Rare/Mythic slot.
I miss caring about the drops. I am not sure how you go back to that era especially when the modern era is actually way more open to varied styles of play. Right now I am largely gearing through a mix of World Questing and running the occasional dungeon. If I were super serious about things I would be abusing the fact that I have instant dungeon queues as a tank and pug my way to glory. At this point I am sitting at 300 item level and I need 305 to start doing heroics. That said in truth I probably need to have a full compliment of 310 items to make heroics really viable as the person who is soaking all of the damage.
The thing is… I used to feel confident running dungeons with strangers. Somewhere along the way that changed and I no longer feel as bulletproof and steadfast as I once was. I used to feel like I really had a handle on all there was to know about warrior tanking. Now I just sorta feel like a pretender in plate armor, and I think that lack of confidence hinders me so much when it comes to random groups. Last night Grace and I ran a dungeon, and I felt like I was screwing up all of the time… and doing all the wrong things. I am not entirely certain how to get over that, apart from just bashing my face against the random group finder until I become desensitized again.
The funny thing is though… I don’t have reason to feel this way. So far all of the random people we have grouped with on Horde side have been awesome. I generally start the group with a “Hey Folks!” and unlike Alliance side I almost always get a response back which starts an open dialog that often continues during the dungeon. I do however miss the days when I used to have a ton of active social channels on the server, and had to build groups by hand… because then I actually got to know more people. It is all too easy for me to stay in my comfortable bubble of people I am already familiar with rather than branching out and making new connections. I think in part that is why I am enjoying Mastodon so much… is because it is forcing me to meet and entirely new world of people.