In 1969, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross released a new book, entitled “On Death And Dying.” This book described a five step process which people could use to deal with grief, tragedy or other significant changes in one’s life. The process is thought to be deeply personal and the book warns that not everyone may experience all five stages. In fact, some people may end up going back and forth between certain steps, until they are able to completely work through the issues associated with each stage and move on. It’s very important that this process not be rushed or extended, due to time frames imposed by the individual or by others around them.
With that said, let’s apply the Kubler-Ross Model (also known as the Five Stages of Grief) towards my feelings about the re-release of the Amani War Bear.
The First Step: Denial
It all began with this thread on the official boards. Needless to say, the community was pretty divided about whether or not bringing back the Amani War Bear was such a great idea. 13 pages of discussion later, one of the blue posters chimed in with this tidbit:
“One never knows what might happen with Zul’Aman and the treasures of old found therein…“
People immediately tried to rationalize away this cryptic response from one of Blizzard’s own.
“If they wanted to bring the mount back, they would have done it already.”
“They better bring back the drakes from Wrath, too.”
“It’s not going to be the same mount. It’ll be different.“
Eventually, it was confirmed that the Amani War Bear was going to be re-introduced to the game, along with re-vamped versions of Zul’aman and Zul’gurub. This mount would be called the Amani Battle Bear and have a different color scheme than the Amani War Bear that we all know and love. The new skin and name led people to believe that this was going to be a different mount. Below is a side by side comparison of the old and new Amani bear mounts.
On the left, we have the original version. On the right is the new bear mount that we can expect with the next patch. You can see that with the exception of the red hues from the original model being made a light shade of purple that the models still appear to be identical.
You can see the head cover still partially covering the bear’s face. You can see the length of the tusks or horns on the sides are still the same. The flaming skulls are still present near the hind legs and the saddle still appears to have the same number and style of bones on the front and back of it. Those of us who have come to realize these things have probably already moved on to the next stage of grief and are quite motivated to do so.
The Second Step: Anger
There appears to be plenty of anger on both sides of the fence. On the one hand, you have those who worked very hard to clear Zul’aman to obtain an Amani bear, which many would agree was no easy feat. These players feel that bringing back the mount would diminish their achievement and such a thing would no longer mean anything if it were to be made so easily available.
On the other hand, you have the people who were unable to get a bear mount either because of how difficult such a thing was to do back then, because they came to the game after they were no longer available or because they simply didn’t have the opportunity to do it. These players feel that the mounts are being used to lord an accomplishment over those who do not have them and the time has to come to even out the playing field by bringing the Amani bear back into the game.
I have an Amani bear mount on my druid and I have yet to find anything else in this game (next to Val’anyr) that I have ever been more proud of. I farmed Zul’aman every three days like clockwork to make sure the rest of my fellow raiders got their bears and for me to get mine. I 2 healed that place at a time when other progression guilds wouldn’t even go near it, because it was that difficult.
It’s not about boasting or having something I can hold over people’s heads. It’s about pride. I am proud to be the owner of an Amani bear mount. I am proud that I was able to see other people that I raided with ride around on their mounts and know that we did that together. That I was a part of that. I was proud to be someone that could be sitting in Dalaran and have someone who was new to the game ask me where I got my mount from and congratulate me on getting it.
What is there to be proud of when your mount or your achievement becomes the next Bronze Drake? When your title becomes something that 25 people can stumble into Icecrown Citadel for and with no strategy in sight manage to get for themselves within a dozen attempts or less. When your gear becomes something that anyone can buy with less than a day’s worth of Heroic farming. What’s left?
The Third Step: Acceptance
There are things in this game that I want and that I have accepted will be things that I will probably never have, such as Mimiron’s Head or that Lady Sinestra achievement. I accept that it’s not Blizzard’s obligation or job to give me such things. It’s mine. If I want these things, it’s up to me to find an opportunity to have them. I don’t believe that because I pay $15 a month to play this game that I am entitled to what someone else who pays $15 a month has, just because we play the same game and pay the same amount of money to be here. There are some things that I am simply not meant to have, hopefully not for lack of trying. Sometimes things just turn out that way and I accept that.
I accept that the Amani War Bear is back, whether we like it or not. I accept that some people will not understand why myself and others will be so passionately opposed to this, just like I accept that I may never understand the need to distribute achievements or items in such a way as to appear giving or fair to an audience that appears to hold such things to such a high standard of expectation or even obligation.
I will be happy for those who manage to get their hands on the new Amani Battle Bear and I can’t say that I would turn down the opportunity to get one on my priest, since I have the Amani War Bear on my druid, which I no longer play anymore. I hope that those who do win the new mount will feel the same sense of accomplishment and pride that those of us felt when we got our mounts for the first time. I hope that it’s not treated as something to enjoy one moment and then discard when something better comes along.
And if people don’t feel that way, I will just have to learn to accept that, too.