I was trying to work out last night when it was that collecting in game stopped being ‘just something you do when bored’ and evolved into a different beast. I can tell you exactly when that was, as it happens: May 16th, 2010. It is late into the Wrath expansion, Cataclysm’s not due until December, but there’s going to be a pre-Expansion patch where a bunch of stuff effectively vanishes pre-change. Suddenly the race is on to complete things I may never be able to do again. This day was the moment when an awful lot of farming finally came good, and my path as a Collector was set.
You know those ridiculous promises you make to yourself sometimes to feel as if you are the one on control of your own destiny, and it isn’t just a complete and utter waste of time doing anything? Going to Scholomance that day was one of those: ‘if it drops today, I’ll take this as a sign I should carry on collecting more mounts’ moments. I’d already snagged an Elekk from the Argent Tournament that same day (checking back on blog posts at the time) which made this doubly special. It was a Two Mount Sunday. I’d been struggling previously with doing the Wintersaber Trainer dailies, sitting in the Honored doldrums, realising how much of an effort it would be to make it to Revered. That days efforts shoved my total to 98 mounts.
Scholo’s drop had eluded me for months, and the mount itself was rare enough for me to adopt it as my default for some time: except, on that day, another Guildie had got it. I wasn’t going to bother (being unwell at the time) but instead of going back to bed, off I went for another try and BANG. Suddenly, I was within touching distance of an achievement that really meant something, because I’d put in the work. It was, in my mind, a suitable reward. Talking about this with my daughter on the School Run this morning, that notion of what constitutes appropriate effort has changed quite a bit in seven years. Yet still, I’m grinding.
Once Skadi finally gives up the goods, the only mounts I need from Wrath live in instances, and I suspect I’ll decamp an alt to Ulduar to begin a weekly farm for Mimiron’s Head with a follow-up to ICC and Invincible. I can only afford one alt a week in time, but if I go there I’ll have more chance of the mounts dropping than if I do nothing, so already there’s a benefit. Ideally it ought to be Hunters too for the Transmog, and once I’ve got everything I can send in clothies. Then there is a slow yet constant drip of possibility into the mix. I do, from time to time, wonder what might happen if ActiBlizz offered these ‘classic’ mounts to purchase, and each time I realise that no, the only way I own these is if I farm them. It’s why that stupid chopper from the Reality TV PR Disaster pre-Warlords will never be purchased, however much gold I own. I might be a collector, but I’ll never be that desperate.
At this point, and at my speed of uptake, I’ll be at this forever without the need to ever worry about current content ever again. I’ll pay my sub not to upgrade, but to keep going back to the old shit until I’ve finished. I thought I might feel odd about playing once that was acknowledged publicly, but it still remains absolutely fine. When I feel I’m done, I’ll stop, but there’s still too much not owned that I could, and enough power in the memories of what I exist within to keep me satisfied. In effect, it’s like rerunning that Mario level to collect all the rings, or constantly playing the same CS:GO map until every hiding place and advantageous spot is committed to memory.
My version of gameplay is just a little more… well, personal.