We’ve had a few weeks with Shadowlands now and against my initial expectations I’m still fairly well engrossed. I’ve broken with tradition of Healer or Tank and taken on a DPS class (Frost Mage) as my main for the expansion. And it’s going well! The initial ‘Go-go-go’ rush to keep up and get geared enough to be comfortable is behind me. While my gear isn’t yet perfect — I’m happy.

Oops. Note to self: Remember to update the transmog on the new helm.

Few pieces still at Heroic Dungeons level, but a guild rush through mythic 0’s last night to get a few gear-stragglers up to speed for raid night on Sunday landed me a few pieces, including the Empyreal Ordnance trinket which is a fairly significant upgrade all on its own.

So yeah — the gear rush is done. Time to take it easy and let it come in as it comes in.

It’s typically at this point of an expansion I’ll be logging in really only to either:

  1. Raid
  2. Ensure I’m ready to raid

But this time around I’m not yet feeling done. I attribute this primarily to the fact that the leveling process wasn’t a slog. It didn’t drain my will to live play while going through it. Essentially: It didn’t overstay its welcome.

It told its story, in a reasonable amount of time, and then got out of your way.

It’s the first example I encountered of Shadowlands actually respecting your time as a player this time around. This is a theme Kaylriene also dug into recently.

But it doesn’t end there. The demands on a max-level character are significantly less. Artifact Power is mercifully removed, a thing of the past. There are no weapons or armor sockets you need to carry on leveling indefinitely to keep up with the Jones’. I feel remarkably free to just do what I want.

And I love that.

I don’t think I’ve been this engaged with WoW since Wrath.

I’ve even started playing the Auction House again!

Setting up TSM again was pretty interesting. Very different from how I remember it.

I didn’t jump into the AH early enough to make the mega crazy bucks associated with an expansion start — but I’ve still done fairly well for myself, and a whole new wave of demand for enchants has kicked off with the raid opening just yesterday too, which has brought many of the Eternal Crystal requiring weapon enchantments back into a price range where they’re actually viable to craft and sell.

I’ve not historically been a big one for money making, except in Wrath where I had most if not all of the crafting skills to maximum and specialised primarily in dealing with the consumables — like enchantments, leatherworking leg patches, etc.

So I jump started myself this time around with a WoW Token purchase and AH sale to let me buy my way to max skill in enchanting and tailoring, and then work within in game means from there. Without playing the AH for the past several expansions, I was typically just making enough to keep up with consumables and a few bonus roll tokens each week. with the gold mostly coming from the mission table and a few grudgingly-run world quests. ;)

I’ve also embarked upon an Alt project!

My (currently very bad looking, untransmogged) Paladin!

My Paladin was my main in Cataclysm, but was never really leveled beyond that point. I had him in the first zone of Pandaria with maybe one or two levels (by the old, pre-squish reckoning) but nothing further.

I’ve taken the opportunity of the new-found freedom of Shadowlands and the squishing of the prior expansions alongside ‘Chromie-time’ to speed his way along to the new content.

Technically he could start Shadowlands now. Level 48 is all you need — I’ve already had Darion pop-up his quest text/voice-over, but the speed you can level in the Chromie-time setup is crazy. From a few intermittent /play check-ins, it seemed most levels were whooshing by in 20-30 minutes.

Not entirely sure yet what spec will end up being mained here. Prot seems likely, but by no means a given.

I’ve also kicked off playing my Druid again a little (very little) — as you can see; still only level 50. I’m just part-way through the opening Maw story-line. I’ll be focusing on Boomkin — certainly while leveling at least, but it seems almost inevitable that Resto will make a return too.

For all this though, certainly remains to be seen how long it will engage me to this degree. For Wrath, I played expansion start to expansion end. I very much do not believe we’ll see a repeat of that experience here, but will I perhaps make a return for each raid tier at least instead of just the first and last? … Maybe.

Right now though, I certainly do hear the siren call of Cyberpunk 2077. I also hear that it is every bit as buggy as you might expect, so I will probably *cough* possibly end up holding fire on this one at least a little… Then there is also Valhalla and Godfall which I really haven’t had a look at yet, although on the latter of those two — reviews have certainly not been kind.

So again… Any pull factors outside of WoW are pretty light right now. And it’s doing a good job of not pushing me out as well. So watch this space I suppose on how it goes!