Who's that Pokemon?

I've been taking a bit of a break from WoW for the last little while--I've been leveling alts whenever I have a free moment, but I've been completely avoiding my main server, Sen'jin. My laptop can't handle raiding anymore, and I don't really feel like explaining for the millionth time that Jon and I left our last guild because we were hoping it would help the guild leader become less dependant on others. (Given who re-joined the guild shortly after we left, I'd say that we failed to accomplish that, but on the plus side, playing the game is relaxing now.)

So how have I been spending my non-raiding time?

Well, besides rolling an Orc Hunter and doing far more Warsong Gulch (player-vs-player 'capture the flag') than I care to think about, I've finally done what I was convinced I could never do, and leveled up a Tauren Druid. On top of that, he's male--so that's two barriers broken down right there.

It's Druidbearmon! Okay, so that's not his actual name...

With my new Druid, it feels as if I'm seeing Azeroth for the first time again. It's been so long since I did most of the quests Horde-side that each one is new and exciting (though I still remember enough to find the trickier ones!) and there was a whole Tauren-only quest chain I'd never done before involving cleansing the water wells of Mulgore. On top of that, I've been making a conscious effort to do every quest in every zone I level through to get the full experience, and it's been amazingly fun. It feels so much more satisfying than doing only what's necessary to progress to the next area. Sure, I might be a bit slower, but if I hadn't done that I might never have fought in an epic battle against the Centaur of the Barrens, or watched a Horde-aligned Dwarf (!) turn into a Trogg, or jumped off of a cliff only to be whisked away at the last second.

And, speaking of Mulgore and the Barrens, I'm in love. I'd never realized before how gorgeous the early Kalimdor zones are--I'd always been rushing to get to the next quest hub, to finish the next set of missions, leveling as quickly as I could. This time, though, I was moving slower, and could appreciate the scenery much better. And besides the beauty of the zones, I also noticed various interactions between NPCs that I hadn't seen before, and stuck around to watch. There's a little orc kid who goes fishing to feed the guards, another whose father is fighting up in Ashenvale (the conversation with his mother may have had me sniffling a little), and the wyvern trainer in Freewind Post will occasionally blow a kiss to his pets. (I laughed so hard when I heard him!)

I've finished up all of Mulgore, the Barrens, and Stonetalon Mountains now (save for a few dungeon quests), and I just need to find Page 7 of the Shredder Operating Manual to be done with Ashenvale, too. I'm questing in northern Thousand Needles now, getting ready to head out to the Shimmering Flats and help out the goblin racers (and maybe the gnomes, too...creepy little guys, though). I'm still not bored, I can't imagine ever getting bored if I keep playing this way. And it makes me wonder, if maybe the reason so many people say WoW is boring and easy is because they don't take the time to explore and challenge themselves. I certainly never had this much fun when I rushed to reach the level cap, and it seems like every few quests I run into another rare elite monster that's a challenge to take down, that normally I would have just avoided to save time.

I love this. :D

The Kodo is named Matilda. I am such a sucker for bad puns.

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