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Enjoying the spoils of progress

Matthew Rossi

I enjoy a lot of aspects of World of Warcraft, and one of those aspects is the actual playing of the game. I like combat, whether I am tanking or DPS, the active working through of encounters and even the unfolding of trash pulls. I like learning what new mechanics do, how fights unfold and how they can be successfully completed. I love all of that -- but what I also love is the period after mastering content.

I shamelessly admit it here. I love when content goes on farm. I was ecstatic as Firelands went from hard to easy. I love feeling my gear improve, seeing my DPS or health go up, looking at my avoidance and mitigation and realizing that yes, I actually can get passive unhittable just through gear. (I'll miss that when the two-roll combat system comes out.) I like going back, months down the road, and tearing Baleroc in half like wet tissue paper. Remember me?

Part of this is simply because I like WoW best when I'm killing stuff. I don't like to sit idle in Stormwind or Orgrimmar, and I'm not terribly moved to stand around hawking my crafting wares or playing the Auction House. These are fine activities, to be sure, but they're most certainly not what I like to do in the game. No, the reason I played seven years ago is the reason I play now, because I like to hit things in the face with the largest possible things I can.

And taking their stuff -- I mustn't forget how much I like taking their stuff.

A covetous streak

I came to gaming via table top RPGs, and I suspect I will forever have a streak of covetousness in my nature because of it. I cannot get enough of killing monsters and taking their stuff. My colleague Anne Stickney likes killing internet dragons, and I absolutely agree with that. But for me, a big part of the attraction is all the things those greedy bosses have scattered about their lairs. I get giddy about it, really. I love looking at my gold at the end of the night and seeing that I got more of it than when I started out because I took it from those dead guys. It's kind of like being a pirate who only picks on old gods, giant monsters and cultist armies. I even get excited when loot I can't ever use drops, because I like watching other people get excited. I even like doing runs to get people legendaries, even out-of-date legendaries they'll never use, because I like seeing people get all excited and possibly turn into dragons or bat-people.

Before transmogrification, I often ran old content for that drop I never got just to stash it in the bank. I did this with Ashkandi like it was a religious ceremony, really, farming for it almost weekly for several years. Nowadays, I absolutely adore old dungeons. It's an extension of the farm experience, but instead of it being easier, it's so much easier that we can do 10-man raids with four people and everything blows up. Seriously, doing Razorscale in one phase is so much fun, as is blowing Algalon up before the tank swap. It's never been easier to talk people into going; there's always some piece of loot someone wants for their dream set.

The perfect storm

For me, it's kind of a perfect storm that keeps me coming back. I enjoy any activity where I get to kill big, awful scaly monsters and then rummage through their loot pile, and I'm probably always going to be a sucker for it. I'll settle for colossal star-borne constructs, robots, tentacle whatevers, if it has a pile of loot or I can smash a ton of faces in on the way to smashing whatever even vaguely facelike region it might have. If there's no loot and no face, I'll smash it even harder for having the temerity to deny my face-smashing, loot-grabbing fun and call it good. Usually they have at least one of those things, though.

As a result of all this, the period of time between the last big patch of an expansion and the next expansion is always my gravy time. There are a maximum number of things available for plundering, and the plundering is about as easy as it's going to get. Once the new expansion comes out, there will be that awkward period of going out and leveling and running new dungeons (although we get to smash and grab in those, so I enjoy that part) to get geared up to do the newer raids. But right now is when we get to sit back and enjoy the gear we already have and reap the fruits of our successfully sussing out the encounters. This, for me, is a time to romp gleefully over the skulls of our enemies and haul bags of their stuff away in carts.

Or just in our astonishingly large backpacks. I used to keep multiple dragons in there! Luckily, nowadays they just all live in a kind of mount barn I keep secreted somewhere on my person. I love progress.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from leveling up a new goblin or worgen to breaking news and strategies on endgame play.

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