Then and Now: A Retrospective on the Author

I thought I said I wasn’t a fan of memes, but this was too good to pass up, especially as a long-time, vanilla player like myself. Vidyala over at Manalicious decided to talk about “then and now” when it came to such important things as her mage’s looks, her UI and even where she played. I’d consider myself pretty boring in that regard. My gnome hasn’t really changed much; there’s been some cosmetic differences in the 6 years I’ve played her, but I haven’t even been in a different guild!

A Gnome’s Life

This is how I looked at level 10. This is the hair I had from the first day until the day that you could change your hair at all, and even a little after that, I believe. Pigtails with my signature red color were how I rolled. I wish I could find the pictures of when I first created my gnome, but I’ve gone through several hard drives since then and now and a lot of my expansive screencap collection has been lost to the sands of  time reformatting. I rolled a gnome mage because my friend rolled a dwarf hunter and wanted us to start in the same starting zone. Gnomes looked really cute so I went with a mage, every time I’ve even remotely dabbled in an RPG, I’ve always fixated on casters. Go figure.

I’m still in the same guild that I joined the day we made our characters. I’m the guild master now since my partner (who was GM before me) has taken a break from the game. It’s so strange being a part of something that long. Very little has “changed” in that regard.

Life has changed around me though, from when I took that screenshot. I lived in Virginia at that point, before shortly leaving to live in NYC. I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin now. Crazy, huh? I’ve gotten different partners, lost and gained weight, got several different computers.

I no longer am friends with the person in a lot of those early screenshots. I’m not friends with a lot of people I used to play with – they’ve either moved on or we no longer maintain a friendship.

I was also a really terrible mage back then too. I only really cared about exploration, wall-walking and nosing around in places I wasn’t supposed to be. When 1.9 put the hammer down on most forms of easy, legitimate exploration (well, maybe I’ll devote a post to that at some point) I had to actually play the game the way it was intended.


This is what my mage looks like now.

Kidding, kidding. I think we all know what she looks like! But it is funny to think that I can change into a dragon now. That I have a legendary as well. I gave up a lot of the weirdo off-beat stuff I used to do and started learning how to raid, do dungeons, participate in PVP.  Started grinding for crafting mats, as well as collecting pets and mounts and achievements (when they finally came in.) It was rewarding for a long time, and it is definitely something I didn’t expect when I started playing that I’d have one of the most powerful weapons in the game. Or that I’d be able to be a childhood dream of being a dragon. (Hey, I was 6, okay!)

Gear, UIs and…Whatever Else

To say that my skill as a player and my  expertise have undergone some changes over the years is a vast understatement. This is the part of a trip down memory lane I’m not looking forward to.

Holy shit, that’s the BASE UI. I haven’t seen that thing since 2005! MonkeyQuest was the best mod and I think that was the only one I had at that point other than Decursive. Holy crap, what is all that stuff on my bars? Rank 1 Frostbolt/Fireball? Most stuff isn’t keybound? Detect Magic! Wanding by click! PVP trinket! Two kinds of health pots! Arcane Missiles when I was clearly fire! Whoa.

Dang girl, you looking FINE. This was the melange of gear I had when I started getting carried through raids. You can note the Tier 2 helm from one Onyxia kill, the weapon from Molten Core, the off-hand from Zul’gurub, the wand from BRD, the chest from…a 5-man dungeon. Remember when trinkets weren’t really DPS boosters? Other than the ones that came out of raiding, you had trinkets for fun stuff! Like making your mount go faster!

Onto Burning Crusade and see if I had gotten any better at dressing myself or playing with my UI.

Well, at least it doesn’t take up my entire screen. I still am using three spell school’s worth of spells. I still have tons of consumables and all my portal spells on my bars. Clicking on trinkets. Jesus sodding wept. Also look at Omen! I raided with the guy who made that add-on and thusly, we were all his guinea pigs for every version of it. Loved having to update it sixteen times a raid.

Let’s skip ahead to the now, I think I’m done at remembering how terrible of a mage I was.

There we go, hot off the presses. Everything nicely keybound, a clean and efficient UI. Just how I like it. Everything’s roughly in the same place but it definitely is nicer to look at and a lot less confusing.

It’s funny to think about how much and also how little has changed. I think WoW has been a big part of my life for so long that it is inevitable that some things would be different. I’d like to think that I’m a better mage and more importantly, a better person now. I used to not care as much about how other people treated eachother in games and now I am a blogger who advocates treating eachother well in and out of game. I’m still in the same guild with the same color hair with my gnome, but I feel like my priorities have changed the most. It’s always fun to go down memory lane, as long as you appreciate and acknowledge where it lead you in the end.