I’ve been experiencing a strange urge to return to WoW lately. I suspect I just want to see that world once again, before it is all destroyed by an upcoming expansion. Laugh all you want and call me a nerd, but I have an emotional investment in it. Certainly it’s a make-belief world, but emotion is emotion and whatever causes it is not necessarily concrete. Books, films, music, and so on are make-believe, too. I haven’t played for over a year, and I can’t say that I miss it, but the thought of all of it just being gone one day unsettles me.
What’s worse, is that I’m not sure just how “gone” it will be. From what we know right now, all of Blizzard’s game servers will be updated to the new version, just as it was with both of the previous expansions. This essentially means that the world I knew and loved will only possibly be preserved on some secret private server, run by some hacker and hunted relentlessly by Blizzard’s legal department.
I do, of course, understand that when something ends something else begins. And judging by Blizzard’s track record, the post-cataclysm World of Warcraft will be an improvement over what the old one was. But…nostalgia is a wistful longing for a time, disguised as longing for a place. All the positive and negative emotions that I’ve experienced in this game are tied to the areas in which the events occurred.
As curious as I am to see a volcano erupt in the middle of Ashenvale, I know I will miss the colorful forest and its ravines. I remember visiting it for the first time, after pretending that Kalimdor didn’t exist for months and months into the game. I remember doing quests there and accidentally walking into a world dragon, and how scared I was. I remember power-leveling people there. Some of those people I later met in real life and saw my in-game relationships transition into real ones.
And that Dwarven airfield by Ironforge? There is no way for a player to get to it, but we didn’t know that at the time. I remember the hours my friends and I spent trying to find a path that would lead us there. Oh, the fun we had! I was so curious to find out what was going on with all those planes. Now, provided it still exists, I will be able to simply fly myself there atop my red drake. Maybe it’ll even have NPCs and quests, but the mystery will be gone. And the memories of the good times will no longer be triggered.
Am I complaining? No, far from it! I want to see the new world, new quests, and new characters. I want to visit Gilneas and maybe even roll a Worgen, provided they are suited to be warlocks. As someone who majored and minored in history and anthropology respectively, I am ever so eager to try my hand in archaeology. Still, I know that I will miss all that which will be lost. Except maybe the Barrens. Stupid horde deserves to have a huge fiery chasm in the middle of their zone.
My solution? Well, there isn’t a practical one really. If it was up to me, however, I’d keep a few “old world” servers around. Maybe without the ability to play…just leave the landscapes, the monsters, and things like that. You know…for the old times sake.