Wrath has brought quite a few "changes" in my WoW-life. The release brought my interest back to WoW from its stagnation following a TBC burnout (guild schism), and the birth of what I love to do now: 10-strict raiding.
A new map, with zones that were more interesting than the wastelands that are most of Outlands. Flyable. With snow and dragons and towering peaks and deep canyons and pirates and penguins and orcas and turkeys!
I was also excited to hear there were two starting zones, to help spread out the initial leveling-spree rush; I had hit TBC on a pvp server, and have very bad memories of trying to level through that orange wasteland while at the same time fighting off the onslaught of horde as we waited for quest mobs to repop in the vague corners of the map that our logs told us to look, and growling at our fellow alliance in competition for the spawns. I spent a very long time in Dragonblight exploring every niche I could find, and the Wyrmrest tower is one of my favorite scenic screenshots. If there was competition for a quest mob outside the first couple quests at the tiny landing in Howling Fjord, I simply moved to the next quest and came back to it later!
Quests and Achievements:
My friends and I had a blast chugging away at the quests. It was addictive; I didn't want to stop exploring the world. Since my husband was re-rolling a deathknight and had a lot of TBC levels to catch up through, I grabbed my feral buddy Celeritas for most group quests, acting as his pocket-healer while we leveled. I remember watching the highest levels race towards 80 via my friends list and /who, and then that final realm-wide ding of achievement coming across my chat window as Bazz, GM of Fusion, reached it. I remember laughing as people spammed general chat to buy ore at astronomical prices as they clawed their way up for realm-first professions achievements. I didn't play 24/7 to make any realm firsts, myself, but it was quite fun to watch others strive for them and share in their excitement.
I had never gotten a chance to complete the original Naxx40 raid instance due to being in a casual-raiding guild back in Vanilla. The idea of finally being able to "complete" that storyline and content was compelling: facing down Kel'Thuzad, seeing the animation of Sapphiron for myself, sweeping through each of the expansive wings to smite down the evil blight. Maybe even get that cool candelabra staff that I envied way back when at 60. I never did pick up that staff for myself since I had better weapons by the time it dropped, but it was still something that piqued my interest back when WotLK was released.
The Birth of Vortex:
We (myself, my husband, and a group of friends) weren't interested in raiding in a 25-man guild anymore. We transferred off of Arygos before the release of WotLK and formed ourselves as a small guild, Vortex, with a mind for trying our hand at ten-strict raiding. As a group of players and leaders burnt-out from trying to herd the cats that are in every 25-man guild that would rather claw at each other rather than at the bosses, we didn't want to consider leading or running in 25s anymore. We laid out the ground rules, leveled together, decided what we wanted to aim for, and shot for it, recruiting like-minded players as we went. We had to underman most of Naxxramas due to conflicts with schedules or a lack of players, easily netting us the 8-man achievement for it early on. We've had to fight against a pre-conception that all ten-man raiders are casuals who don't know how to play. We've enjoyed being the underdogs. We've been quite happy with ourselves, even as the expansion is drawing to a finale, and can confidently say that the creation of ten-strict raiding is a success.
WotLK brought me into blogging. I had old friends in old guilds contact me asking for a healing guide I had posted for them in previous expansions, and I knew my TBC one needed to be updated. I figured I'd share it publicly, along with instructions for macros and addons. I figured it'd be easier than having to repost things hidden away on guild forums that I no longer had access to, or felt awkward revisiting. I discovered the wealth of information among druid bloggers, and realized I'd have fun contributing to the chaos, too. :) Blogging has kept me on my toes, and made me question mechanics more deeply than I ever had before. It's introduced me to other bloggers, at first just druids, then other classes, which has expanded the number of tips and tricks I've been able to pick up for my own guild.
It's brought me warm fuzzies in knowing that I have helped others, while at the same time has helped me and my guild by getting tips and tricks from readers!
I am looking forward to the wrap-up of this expansion with the same excitement that lead me into it. I know I will be able to see the end of the expansion's content without having to put up with the factionistic guild drama of the 25s I was in back in TBC. I look forward to leveling a new race as an alt (worgen hunter tagged!), while taking my druid to the skies of old Azeroth and seeing the changes wrought upon the landscape.