I started writing this post about two or three times before I decided I wasn't going to write about pugs. I could return to my regularly scheduled grumblings another time, but this post will be pug-free.
(You're off the hook, Mr. "Gnomer-is-so-boring-and-I-spend-so-much-time-yawning-that-I-forget-to-tank.")
I was on Neve, working on some quests in Hillsbrad while waiting for the LFD queue, when a thought struck me. "You know," I said to a fellow guildie, "this has to be the first time I've leveled in Hillsbrad without constantly looking over my shoulder."
Old PvP habits die hard. When I first showed up with Neve in Hillsbrad, several months ago, I was completely unnerved by the Alliance characters just blithely passing me on the road. After having spent my formative WoW years on a PvP server, I was used to ganking as a way of life. If you were out farming for ore, you kept a close eye on your surroundings before you stopped and picked that nugget of Iron up. Even when you got flying in Outland and Northrend, that meant you had to watch the skies as well as the ground. You could be out questing at 3 AM server time --Stormscale is a Pacific Time Zone server and I live in the Eastern Time Zone-- and found yourself caught from behind while working your way through Stromgarde Keep. After a while, you get twitchy when you go through different locales, wondering where the next attack is coming from.
Switching to a PvE server does help eliminate that inherent nervousness, but I think what really helped in the long run was leveling on the Alliance side. No, I'm not talking about some great kumbaya moment about how we're all one great happy family, but rather going out and leveling in unfamiliar places. Redridge Mountains. Darkshore. Dun Morogh. Loch Modan. Wetlands. Westfall. Azuremyst and Bloodmist. All of those places are strange territory to this Hordie, and the lack of opposing faction toons finally allowed me to relax and enjoy the environment.
After that experience in low-ish level areas, returning to Hillsbrad on Neve was almost a non-event. I saw a few Alliance toons heading up to Alterac, but since I didn't have the PvP flag turned on, there was nobody to worry about.
Except for the fellow Hordies who thought that Neve needed company or something to protect her from the big bad Murlocs.
Now, if I could only figure out how to attack people on my own faction....