Vid over at Manalicious had a fun idea, to compare your characters, Then and Now! Before I dug into my screenshots folder to find out what old Rades looked like compared to new Rades, I figured that things probably hadn't changed that much. Most people's early shots show the default UI, which they eventually switch away from, but I still use the default one.
And of course, Rades has never been anything but Beast Mastery.
(I'll do a second post later for Morgion, my current main.)
I'm actually going to reverse things and show the current Rades first, so it's easier to compare with the previous iterations:
And now, here's Rades in 2008, at a mighty level 15!
It's really not that different.
There's not much on those action bars yet, but I immediately noticed a few things - certain abilities are still in the same location, such as the pet taming/management abilities and professions on the sidebar.
I didn't have many addons at this point - Carbonite is there, huge and ugly, taking up most of the screen. I never did use it for anything but its movable, shrinkable minimap, but man did that thing come in handy. I also had Kharthus' Hunter Timers, which I still use, and Omen! Teaching myself about aggro and (pet) threat early. No Recount yet, though.
Appearance-wise, there's been very little change. Rades did start out with purple hair, but at some point I got tired of it and changed it to black.
Dinging 60 in Hellfire Peninsula. Not much has changed interface-wise, though I see I had begun the habit of putting Omen in the lower-left corner of my screen, tucked away.
Something kinda funny - my Hunter's Mark macro is "x2" in this picture, while it was simply "x" in the level 15 shot. I remember I wanted to create a new macro, but didn't want to erase the old one, so I added a 2 to test it out. For whatever reason, I never did rename it, even though I got rid of the original. It's been x2 ever since. You can see it in the 2012 shot.
Character selection screen! Oddly, this was the earliest one I have. There's been a lot of attrition here. Drokka (Dwarf Hunter) and Aquas (Draenei Paladin) are gone, as are my bank alt Moonpaw, my Shaman Leisl, and my friend's Warrior Maxatore.
Crafting my very first epic-quality item, Surestrike Goggles! My guild at the time was just me and a few real-life friends, and I didn't do dungeons or anything, so this was a really big deal. Those mats were NOT easy to get, haha.
Yep...I got nothing.
Anyway, I was terrified of grouping, as I didn't want to be THAT Hunter who screwed everything up and wiped us. Despite this, I practiced my trapping like crazy (thanks BRK) and really worked on pet micromanagement. Ironically, by the time I started doing dungeons the trapping practice went mostly to waste. The pet management was, and is, of course helpful.
One of the things I DID do before Wrath was join a pug group to kill Onyxia! I was happy that I did not die to fire, though I have no idea what my DPS was.
Showing off my fancy Undead Slaying gear from the Scourge Invasion event. This gear will always have a special place in my heart because after the Surestrike Goggles, they were the first Epic pieces I had earned. I went all over Azeroth checking those Scourge spawn points relentlessly, so I'll never get rid of them.
Rades spent some time at 79 farming battlegrounds, enjoying the power of being at the top of a bracket that (I think) not many people stopped at. I racked up a lot of honor and battleground marks...marks that I would keep for a long time.
Also, since I didn't know what Recount was yet, this was the only numerical indicator of damage I had ever seen in the game!
AUGH 44 MINUTE WARSONG GULCH LOSS
What did I do when I wasn't PVPing, since I wasn't questing?
Camping Loque, of course!
Ironically, considering how weird my level 70 ding was, my level 80 ding was nowhere near as exciting.
I actually dinged 80 in Wintergrasp, of all places. From the experience I got...from killing an Alliance guard. Way to ruin my special moment, NPC.
After that, I joined Celtic Siege, started running dungeons, and eventually moved on to Heroics and other endgame content.
Here's a special shot for Vid:
After a while, I began pugging into raids. Couple months in ToC...
...and then into ICC. Looks like I had picked up Vuhdo around this time.
After pugging ICC with TTGF fairly regularly, I joined up with them and really haven't looked back since.
We took down the LK before 4.0, and that was essentially the end for Rades as my raiding main, since with 4.0 came focus. I hated it immediately, and though I've gotten used to it now, I'm still not a huge fan.
In Cata, I still got Rades in on alt runs or to help fill out friends' groups, but most of my effort was put into my Death Knight, Morgion, who I'll do a Then and Now for next.
However, LFR has been awesome, because I've finally been able to take Rades to current raid content and keep him geared up. (I didn't get Cataclysmically Epic until I won a Kiril, Fury of Beasts from LFR) I also have to admit, I missed Huntering in endgame content. Maybe someday Blizzard will do something horrible to Death Knights and make me hate them, and I'll end up raiding as him regularly once again.