Lars Norberg Saturday, March 17, 2012 - 22:06

So here we are again, facing the End of Days as so many times before. Yes, I am of course talking about the final days of the 3rd expansion of Blizzard Entertainment's masterpiece World of Warcraft. The Cataclysm has ended. Now what?

Where do we go from here?

We have all been here before. When raiding loses its charms. When prices drop to the floor at the Auction House. When there are no more raids to look forward to. When you know nothing will really change, no patches be made, no class changes or fixes done. The End of Days. When the answer to everything is that the next expansion will fix it.

So how do you tackle these days? What do you do?

For me this is a time of joy. The long grind is over. Or over for now at least. I turn my head towards different goals. This is for me a time to level my alts - and I have a few. To solo low level instances, or current level ones for a challenge. I can powerlevel professions easily in a day, rich or not, because everything at the Auction House is basically free. There's nothing there isn't too much of. A time to buy, not sell. And of course I stockpile mats for the glorious goldrush that each new expansion sets off. I made well over a 100k gold at the start of the Cataclysm, and expect no less from Pandaria.

The long and winding road

But does it ever end? Another expansion, a new beginning, followed by a new grind through the tiers, then a new ending period before yet another expansion. We have all been here before. We have seen it, done it, and outgrown it. So why do we persist? What is the point?

The answer is simple for me; change. Because it is NOT the same. Each new expansion has a different feeling, a different taste. The gameplay changes, the graphics improve, the World of Warcraft of today barely bares any resemblance to the one of Vanilla at all. If it had remained unchanged, I would have quit years ago. But the constant changes, the way Blizzard keeps reinventing their own game keeps me interested. They are indeed brilliant game designers.

Vanilla was for me the longest grind ever. The Burning Crusade wasn't very much different, yet it marked the beginning of a new adventure for me, as I discovered gold farming and the joy of soloing instances and world elites. Then came WotLK, which featured a rush of epics, beautiful landscapes, and the best music ever made by Blizzard. I became a Guild Master during this expansion, consumed enormous amounts of alcohol, which I guess is a requirement to cope with the headache of leading a Guild full of scrubs from the darkest corners of the Stormwind Sewers. I sweet talked my way into the heart and home of one of my raiders, and actually started a real life relationship based on something as simple as that she liked my voice on Ventrilo. Didn't work out in the end, but I got 18 months of free food and a roof over my head. And I scared the living daylights out of her violent ex husband which previously had been dumb enough to threaten me!

Not something I often admit, but if not for him, I would probably not have moved to Sweden at all. I wanted to show him that what you do in life gets consequences, and to challenge me is not something you should do unless you really are man enough to take me on. Which he wasn't. Most violent offenders aren't. So for me WotLK was an incoherent blur of pretty graphics, vast amounts of alcohol, sex, violence and a free roof over my head! *good times*

Then came the Cataclysm, and I stopped raiding. Not a single serious raid for me all through the entire expansion. I've defeated a single one of the Tol Barad bosses, and that's it. The only consistent thing through Cata has been my UI. I keep working on it, improving it. I've gone from being a total scrub to actually having some sort of skill in Lua, the programming language used to develop World of Warcraft addons in. I've gained a skill good enough to actually put on my resymé, how cool is that?

I also loved the new and improved quest experience in Cata. The world reborn. Every questline from zero to max upgraded. Forever discarding the old Sisyphus model, the solo leveling experience now has a a new sort of epic Scooby Gang feel to it. I've mean really, is John J. Keeshan epic or what? I've managed to do all the new quests in all the zones of the Eastern Kingdoms so far, and I'm saving Kalimdor for a rainy day. Which I expect will come one of these days while we wait for Mists of Pandaria.

And now the Cataclysm concludes, and we're gazing upong Pandaria on the horizon. What will the taste of Pandaria be? What will I do to keep myself interested during yet another expansion?

A new dawn

I have plans for Mists of Pandaria. As Blizzard appears to actually encourage PvP in it, Goldpaw will answer the call of war once again.

PvP has always been close to my heart. The wild and violent slaughter of hundreds of thousands of members of the filthy Horde warms my heart to think about. And there are so many ways to do it! World PvP, Arena, Battlegrounds, City raids, and so on. There are as many ways to kill a Horde as to cook a gnome!

My alts will mostly be leveled to 85 prior to the Mists of Pandaria launch as well, and all their professions maxed out along with it. This opens even more possibilities for me to get disgustingly rich! And as always I'll be happy to share all of my knowledge with every single one of you. And this time not only by blogging, as I fully intend to make videos out of every single project and journey I embark on. Yes, there will be guides, howto's and tons of vlogs coming to you from this direction, starting soon. I will be reporting on a regular basis from the MoP beta once "public" access is given and the NDA lifted. Because contrary to popular belief, I don't think that "everybody" got the annual pass and the beta access along with it.

Which takes us to the final part of this excerpt from my wandering mind.

In Goldpaw we trust

So far I've managed to get my beloved guild Vagabonds to level 3, and I expect level 4 or possibly 5 in time for Mists of Pandaria. Which is pretty good considering it's mostly done through cooking dailies by yours truly alone. But I do not plan to keep this a solo guild for all eternity to come. Even though it is cool to have a guild packed with my own characters.

As the world once more changes beneath our feet, so does my intentions for my guild. Once more I plan to step into the eye of the public and call for people to join me. But probably not in any manner that any of you would expect. What makes this different, you might ask. A guild is a guild, and recruitment is recruitment, right? You either PvP, raid, or advertise yourself as a "social" guild, right? Wrong.

I like to think in concepts. And the concept behind my guild will be different than most. My concept is not to hide poor raiding skills under a "social raiding" banner like so many do. My concept is not to force people into working their arses off for me masked behind the pretense of being "hardcore and progress oriented". My concept will not be to gather the scum of the earth and all their drama under the pretense of creating a "social leveling" guild "for fun". Those are classic concepts, that cover nearly all guilds in existence (maybe with the exception of Gevlon's The PuG), and the one thing they have in common is that they DO NOT WORK! Lack of imagination is such a common thing.

What I need in order to have a guild experience I can enjoy, is something far far different. Every time in my life I go down the road of "fitting in" or "being normal", I fail miserably. Normal guilds are for normal people, and I was never one of those. At the age of 35 I've finally began to understand myself, and I now know what is needed for me to live the life I truly want. I most take pride in my weirdness in all things. I must embrace my own insanity and stop hiding it from the world. You'll understand what I'm talking about sooner or later. For now, I am not yet ready to reveal all the details surrounding my future projects. But they are cool, that much I can say!

The show must go on

So where does this glorious website fit into all of this? Where will the UI be? Will I have time for it? And gold farming posts? And macros? And guides? And, and and and...

Chill. And yes! There will be time for everything!

The Friendly Druid will be around, and better than ever. Not so far into the future the website will receive a makeover, marking the beginning of a new era, if you like. Pretty close to the release of gUI™ v2.0, a couple of YouTube channels will be made public. Channels containing video guides for the UI, gold farming, soloing, as well as the thousands of tricks I've learned over the years. And there will be more games than just World of Warcraft included, both in the website and the YouTube channels.

And gUI™ v2.0 is coming. And sooner than you might think. The constant updates to the gUI™ v2.0 beta screenshot gallery over at Facebook should be a big hint about that.

It's cool, it's smooth, it's gotten a major visual overhaul, as well as a complete rewrite of most of its core engine. The performance is higher than ever, bags and nameplates no longer mess up your raid framerate, and it's easier to use than any other UI out there. It is indeed probably the best UI in the world. And if not, show me what's better, and I'll improve accordingly. gUI™ v2.0 will blow your mind. Not to mention Laevia™ which is another UI I am developing. Built on the same engine as gUI™ but with a look so different that you wouldn't have guessed in a million years. More info on that later!

So rest assured that this druid is NOT quitting World of Warcraft, regardless of any other games that may or may not catch my attention. I'll be around. Working on my UI(s), leveling my characters, killing Horde by the hundreds of thousands, making video reports of every single adventure so you all can join me in celebration!

Feral Forever!