Expansion Packs: The Great Equalizer
Tree Heals Go WOOSH had an excellent post (that I almost missed) last week, describing experiences taking an undergeared alt into LFR. There’s a bit more to the story, of course, and I recommend you go and check it out, but the part that really jumped out to me was her final point:
Expansions are WoW’s only true skill equalizer. Gear may be reset each patch, but only an expansion asks us to look at our abilities from a fresh perspective and apply them to content for which we are, often, undergeared.
This equalizing effect is really the thing that gets me excited for Mists of Pandaria. I’m crazy: I loved that first month or two of Cataclysm where the heroic 5-mans were the endgame for the most of the player-base and most of us were barely geared or undergeared. We had to work for those heroic kills and there were no ilvl 410 players carrying us. I loved seeing what I could do with my character’s abilities when she didn’t have the cushion of gear (which I eventually got in spades as we started doing raids).
I’m not saying that I’m perfect and all those starter heroics were walks in the park. They weren’t. They were hard, especially at the beginning. I made mistakes. I went OOM. My parties struggled at times. I got frustrated. But that made the victories all the better and the praise (I lucked out and usually got pleasant LFD groups) that much sweeter. It made me feel – darn, I’m good at what I do and it’s not just because I have full ICC tier. Strip me down and my heals still sing!
**Note: I still reserve the right to absolutely despise Stonecore – both in normal and heroic incarnations.
It was really my first time experiencing that on Rhianon, my main. By the time she got to the level cap in Burning Crusade, the expansion pack (obviously) was already months old and most of my fellow dungeoneers were in great gear. She got kitted out with crafted goods quickly by fellow guildies as well. In Wrath, I lagged about a month or two behind everyone getting to max level and into heroics as I was in a period trying to figure out my guild/server situation (story for another post!). Cataclysm was the first time I was on the “edge” with everyone else – and man, I loved it.
Just thinking about it makes me excited for Mists’ launch. Of course, all the other awesome stuff that’s been coming out about the game makes me excited too, but I really just am looking forward to the total RESET that happens with an expansion pack.