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Aaron Waite Aaron Waite
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One Last Goodbye

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Finally accepting a WoW-less world

My wife doesn't know at this point. She's sleeping soundly in the other room as I sneak onto my computer and begin the arrangements for my betrayal. I had seen this particular lady before and after we started dating, and it almost broke us. But being the stupid man that I am, I still have her number hidden in my backpack as I dial it now - six digits to adultery and authentication. I click on login, pushing past any sense of shame and indignity because I'm a man with needs, and she's the only one that can fulfill them right now.

'World of Warcraft.' It's been awhile.

I've been in the market for something to play when I'm not playing 'Halo' competitively - a game that can be played hardcore, but not require a humongous lead time or a timesink to be good at it. I've missed knowing exactly what I was going to be playing when I got home at night. After I quit 'WoW' for good back in 2009, I was hoping that 'The Old Republic' would bring that back that feeling of having a game to look forward to coming home to.

Unfortunately, even with it being a perfectly viable game (my sister adores it and in her mind it's completely replaced 'WoW'), I couldn't get it into it, no matter how hard I tried. A couple of alts later, I quit 'TOR' and focused exclusively on 'Halo' for a bit.

I still craved having something to work on constantly, but not technically consistently. I've been tearing my hair out waiting for a beta invite to either 'Wildstar' or 'Elder Scrolls Online,' but seeing as my inbox contained nothing but free 'WoW' time, I figured I'd see what the old gal's been up to lately.

I tried logging on to my old hunter, but my talents were all still set from roughly two expansions ago, and I had no idea what I was doing with him. Rather than sit and use up all 10 days of free time organizing my talents and my backpack, I decided to roll up a new hunter and see if I could feel the same way about this game that I once did.

First thing I noticed right off the bat was how many more tutorials there were now to bring you up to speed with your class. When I rolled my first rogue back in vanilla 'WoW' (2006), I didn't know how to play my class until I rolled my second rogue when I came back to the game during 'Burning Crusade,' and even then, I didn't really know how to play it until I played with an actual raiding guild during the 'Wrath of the Lich King' expansion. Now, beginning quests teach you the very basics of your class in simple terms. I almost felt as if I was being coddled. Azeroth used to be a very daunting and unforgiving land, and call me a hardcore elitist, but I miss that concept of trial by fire.

Second thing I noticed - and some may not see this as a bad thing - the opening areas are riddled with fetch quests. Riddled. Everyone needs something, and they need five to 15 of them. Now, to be fair, I know that there's quite a few brilliant quests over the course of 'WoW.' Some of them still stick with me today (the quest where you have to shovel through piles of poo as a monster does his business stands out as one of my favorites). But let's be honest: we as a gaming society really need to push past the fetch quest mentality and start giving gamers a bit more dynamic content (something 'SWTOR' does actually very well). I digress.

Now more familiar with the trappings of this new breed of Warcraft, I decided to hop back on my old hunter to see if there was any hope of recapturing that spark, but it was just not to be. My talents were still a mess, my action bars askew, and nothing seemed right or familiar anymore. Commands that I used to use fluidly and flawlessly were now hidden under a jumble of streamlining. It felt so wrong now.
So wrong.

I realized at this point that I had no reason to sort through all of this, because it was missing that ingredient that made this game great: friends. I had no guild, no friends, no unction to get all of this corrected, because it wouldn't bring back those awesome times I had PvPing, raiding or just dueling in Goldshire. Most of my friends list hadn't logged on for literally years. There was no one to work through these changes for except me, and at that point I decided that there was no point in continuing this experiment.

I had missed this game, but it wasn't really the game itself so much as the game with other people. Sure, I could start anew, start on a new server and build back from scratch, but without all the awesome people I had met along my journey.

With this in mind, I took one last round trip through Stormwind, took in the sights and sounds one last time. I took a peek in my bank and found all of the rifles I'd used leveling up, along with other knick-knacks I'd gathered from bygone days, then I used my Black Battlestrider to run up to the Stormwind flight point one last time, and made my way down to the Dark Portal, to Outland, to my dwarf's final resting place on one of the floating rocks of Nagrand. There, my hunter shall rest with his noble spirit beast Eberta beside him, possibly for eternity.
Or until I get the wild notion to try this again. One or the other.

Dear Bethesda: PLEASE LET 'ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE' BE GOOD. Signed, Aaron Waite.

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