The great Retcon

When I first got the game and began leveling up I remember distinctly being told that the game began at 60. Raiding was where it was at, everything else was merely hurdles to overcome to get there.

Obstacles placed in the way by the games designers so that only the worthy would persevere through it all.

Raiding was the real game, everything else just got in its way.

I bought it, hook, line, and sinker.


I started that day looking at all the zones and quests starry-eyed, filled with wonder, like I was part of a story that was ongoing. I was happy to be where I was, discovering things as I went.

Once I bought into the game starting at the level cap that all went away.

Leveling up was no longer fun, it was an obstacle in my way. Less a lore filled joy to experience and more something to simply get through as efficiently as possible. So I turned on instant quest text, grabbed some addons, and started smashing my way through.


I no longer looked at each quest, I didn’t have to.

The arrow told me where to run.

The mousover told me what to kill.

The sparkles told me what to gather.

Then the arrow told me where to go turn it in.

It was fast, efficient, and boring as hell.

No one likes doing chores, and that is exactly what leveling had become.

I look back on it now and realize I was wrong.


The game does not begin at the level cap. The game begins at the character creation screen.

I would hazard a guess and say that 95% of the content of the game has to do with something other than the level cap.

There are stories out there, great stories, just waiting for me to be a part of them.

Unfortunately I already did them, blazing through with quests unread, just following the arrow under my feet.

I didn’t just kill critters as I quested away, I killed a huge chunk of the game for myself.


That’s why I am so looking forward to Cataclysm, it is going to give us something people only dream about in real life.

A fresh start.

A chance to live out the dream of  “If only I had known then what I know now.”


Cataclysm is going to be just that, for me at least.

I plan to roll a shiny new character, currently planning on a druid, and turning off all the helpers.

I will read the quests and follow the story where it leads me.

I am not even going to spoil the new areas by blowing through them to get to 85. With the new Looking for Group tool I can instance my way through those five levels on my level 80’s without ever leaving town.

Most of all I will keep in mind that leveling is not a chore to be done, nor is it an anchor holding me back.

It’s 95% of the game, and I plan to have fun with it.

4 Responses

  1. Well said.

    I actually started playing with all of those addons already running, so I never really got into reading quest text or paying attention to story to begin with. I’ve tried turning quest text back on, but it just moves to slow. I don’t necessarily need it to be instant, but it does need to happen closer to the speed at which I read or I just can’t stand it.

    I can’t handle reading along: I….need…you…to…deli..ver…this…mess..age…to… /scream.

    But, I share your plans for Cataclysm, save that the leveling to 85 will be left out all together. I’ll be starting over fresh and new and going from there, likely with one of almost every race in the game.

    In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Deathwing has been killed before I get around to finishing up the questing with various races and get a character back up into Northrend.

  2. I second Psynister: Well said indeed.

    I also feel spoiled now. When I first started playing, I had no idea about the end-game. I didn’t know anything about quest helper addons, or any other addon. It was as simple as me and Wolfsy, my 1st pet, against the world!

    I did have instant quest test though. It’s way too slow as gradually appearing quest text.

    Now that I know about the end-game, I enjoy what progression the guild I’m with sees. However, sometimes escaping to get back to questing is just the break I need.

  3. Great post! (I got here via a RT from wowcynwise.) I enjoyed the game so much more when I got to a point where I was reading the quests and diving into the lore. LK was really the first time that even with my capped-and-going-for-the-new-cap characters, I was reading quests and exploring as well as grinding. I still remember the !!!! OMG OMG OMG !!!! moments from those 70-80 levels, and I still find myself wanting to replay characters with an eye toward exploring quests in specific zones. 🙂

    There are some places where I do feel like the quest-writers didn’t put quite as much work into the quests as they could have (the classic “five bear asses” quests come to mind), but they’ve done so much better with that over the years; Cataclysm is going to rock!

  4. Interesting. I used QuestHelper (and other level-helping addons) throughout my experience but just disabled the annoying arrow thing. I still read quest text, felt engaged in the story, and all that stuff. But, I did almost no dungeons and I’m now at 80 with very little to do. I, too, was told that the game starts at the level cap, but I don’t really buy it. The game has seemed to end for me there since raiding is out of my (current) reach and re-doing all the same heroics day-in and day-out is pretty boring. So, for (perhaps) different reasons, I too am looking forward to Cataclysm if only to casually over-gear the current raiding dungeons and then try to return to see them!

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