While Kate is working the latest World of Warcraft expansion pack from the bottom up, I am tasked with taking my level 85 character to level 90, exploring what's new for the high level crowd. It's not going well so far.
Pandaria is gorgeous, filled with sweeping vistas and landmarks that make me eager to learn more about this new land. Unfortunately the tired gameplay gets in the way.
In a year filled with innovative MMO releases like Guild Wars 2 and The Secret World, stepping back into the glowing purple shoes of a high level World of Warcraft character is akin to the feeling of stepping off the automated walkway at the airport. One second you're scooting along at an exciting clip, forward momentum bolstered by the magical walkway; the next you're trudging through ankle-deep mud.
I've grown accustomed to a certain standard of questing over the past few months. I crave dynamic stories and spontaneous events. I want to be surprised around every corner.
Instead I'm doing the same things I've been doing on and off for nearly eight years. I am killing eight spiders. Why eight? Shut up and kill the damn spiders. Oh, and collect some objects on the ground while you're at it. Kill these wasps for their stingers. Not all of them have stingers. I don't know why, maybe they hide them.
That's not to say Pandaria's quests don't have their appeal. There are dramatic and humourous story moments around every corner. It's just that once the clever narrative is done we're back to collecting and killing by numbers. It's incredibly hard to stay motivated. I'm only now approaching level 86.
Perhaps were I a raider I would be more into the expansion. Then again if I were a raider I would be upset that the armor and weapons I've amassed since the previous expansion have been rendered all but useless yet again by new high-powered equipment.
What I really want to do while I attempt to stay awake through kill quests is play the battle pets game. Wandering about the level 85 Pandaria zone I spy countless creatures I wish to add to my Azeroth Pokedex, but they are too high level for my inexperienced beasts to fight. I guess it's a good thing that I am passionate about something in the new expansion, right?