Today, gentle reader, I will tell you a tale of my personal stupidity. It is a cautionary reminder to all of us who believe we can play this game well, that previous experience is no substitute for facts, thought and the realisation that Azeroth has changed for the better. Mostly, it reminds me of the truth that my thoughts are not facts, and anything that does that is never a bad thing.
So, I’m up early this morning and decide to go and try knocking off the Originals questline. As I have my hearthstone set to Ironforge, the closest Dragon of the four in the set to the hand-in (and Kazzak) was the one in Duskwood. So I flew there and waited.
So I waited, enough time to make a new Transmog for Pherian. I call this number ‘Waiting for Dragons’:
Then I remembered that this wasn’t Vanilla any more, and this was shortly afterwards confirmed by a lovely person on Twitter:
Then there was an epiphany of the kind that hasn’t happened for a while. In the old game you didn’t have markers on your maps, you just learnt where places were. People talked about it in General, in capital cities, but this only worked if you did these things. After a while came the expectation that if you had to do something, it would be clearly marked on your map. I’d forgotten this was the case and the irony of this became even more apparent when I worked out I needed to be in the Hinterlands for the Dragon of the Day. You see, the spawn spot is marked as a long way from what I know from experience is the actual engagement spot, and people got angry waiting when they missed Lethon appear.
Confirmation bias is a tricky thing to notice sometimes, especially if you are the kind of person so entrenched in their ways as to be unable to separate the emotion of gaming from practicalities. Having forced myself over the last few months to reassess pretty much everything I do online to allow a measure of enjoyment to surface from what has become several years of disillusionment, none of this is the fault of the Designers… except in those moments where their rules are not consistent. The spawn points for Kazzak and Azuregos are marked exactly as should be, so the disparity in action becomes more pronounced.
What has had to happen between Classic and here in my head is the final confirmation I AM BIASED. All that joking about that you thought would make bosses spawn is just that: fallacy, and nothing more. Sure, even with precise mechanical timers shit still can (and does) go wrong, but that is rarer than the possibility of me tabbing out and missing a kill, because another one will be along shortly. Sure, there are still camp farms, but the truth of this version of Azeroth has nothing to do with making your game time less productive. If you need to completely lose yourself in the minutiae of the UI, nobody is stopping you. However, coming to the table with a combination of analytical and reasonable is a far better bet.
Then comes the more complex arguments that centre around how I should be being taught how to play this game: had I spent five minutes just looking this stuff up on a third party site, there wouldn’t have been a blog post. More importantly for me, however, would have been the realisation that I don’t think enough about how things are played to begin with. Gaming for me is never just about finding the answer, it is as much exploration as anything else. Having the answers, more and more, takes away my ability to reason objectively, and it is no longer enough to be given a webpage that does the job for me. It is that mentality that initially destroyed enjoyment in Azeroth.
To truly explore and have an organic experience such as has been the case this morning is, I now grasp, what matters more. If I let this ruin my participation because I’m looking for a reason, it would be easy to sour all the aspects of Legion: instead this is the first of many moments leading up to Battle for Azeroth when what I want and what is presented will combine to produce a unique gaming experience that nobody else will understand, because it is truly personal. Playing games has subtly evolved therefore as my understanding of self has expanded. Knowing I was consciously adding to my own negative feelings, therefore, was a revelation.
I still want to skin a Green Dragon for Dreamscales though. I only ever bought mine on the AH. Maybe my true desires in game should remain both niche and fanciful, because then they are never tarnished and always a possibility.
Yes, I think this is the best way for everybody concerned.