Friday, February 25, 2011

What I learned in my two days back in World of Warcraft.

Andrea and I played WoW for a couple of good years there. I started in college with the original game, and then Andrea jumped in with her own account when the Burning Crusade (the first expansion) was released. the siren call of the female Dranei Warrior (pictured to the right here) was too much for her, and she created a bad-ass fighter who could cudgel you with dual-wielding two-handed weapons. I myself went in for a human paladin tank and never looked back. We played a bit of Wrath of the Lich King (the second expansion), but got into some casual raiding (you know, like casual drugs) and slowly started to fall out of love with the game.

This is all ancient history. To be quite honest, it was before I started the blog, and while I play a ton of video games still, The Hopeless Gamer would be nothing (not to mention any hope of planning a single RPG session) if I still played. I'm not specifically knocking WoW here. If I didn't have a good group to play games with or buy games for, I'd probably be a pretty dedicated MMO player (and gosh darn if DC Universe Online doesn't constantly beckon me to buy the darn thing).

Anyway, from time to time we'll get little cravings to get back into the game. I use the word cravings because it really is like an addiction, and as much as you think you may have kicked it, there's little things that can bring back the good memories you had while playing the game. This week Andrea out of the blue downloaded a trial of the game just to see how things have changed since we quit after one of the larger patches from Wrath of the Lich King. The latest expansion, Cataclysm, offers a ton of changes and updates to old content we've probably seen a million times.

She downloaded it, then I downloaded. If she was going to get her fix, I deserved to get a little taste too, right?

So I downloaded my free trial as well and started up a human hunter. It's a combination I always wanted to play in the original version (visions of a Strider-like ranger running through my head) but was never available until Cataclysm was released. I saw changes immediately in how the game was played, the class was played, and most significantly how the game was presented. I know WoW has always been a very easy game (part of why it's so addicting is that it's so easy to avoid more challenging areas and still progress in the game), but this was some progressively-simplified kind of questing I was doing. At first I liked it, but then, even with new quests in a starting area I've played tons of time, it felt like going through the motions more than ever before.

So what have I learned about playing WoW while still trying to run a blog, handle my other writing duties, and actually plan for our game tonight (which incidentally is our first game with the Battlestar Galactica expansion Exodus)? I've learned that WoW is a great distraction, but sometimes you don't really want to be distracted. I had this great idea for a new story to write this week (I'm not giving up on it, no way), but both that and work on some other projects really have gotten sidetracked with a mere two days of playing World of Warcraft.

You know what else I've learned? I've had a feeling for a while, but at this point it seems inevitable that WoW can't last for two more expansions. They've broken the original world to provide new content and simplified questing to a point where the things that used to take time to hunt down and find (an in the process forced you to explore the world around you) are literally pointed out to you on your mini-map. The world lacks any kind of mystery at all, and so I just don't care to explore it anymore. Blizzard has got to have a new MMO up their sleeve, and I'm betting we'll start hearing snippets about it early next year. Afterall, how is WoW possibly going to compete with the upcoming Star Wars MMO The Old Republic? They need something new and shiney. God help us all when they announce Starcraft Universe. A sci-fi MMO with the depth of the original WoW would kill me.



  1. "A sci-fi MMO with the depth of the original WoW would kill me"

    Ha ha, I'm right there with you. I managed my only character in WoW to get to level 34, with his original gear. I didn't have any idea what I was doing, but I lost interest about halfway through. Now, a sci-fi MMO just might call me back...

  2. I agree with a lot of what you said, although I think I've managed to balance my mmo time fairly well with anything in RL at this point. At least I hope so, if I count WoW + EQ time I've been playing them for like.. 11 years lol.

    With that said, it does have its stale moments and lack of mystery. I think that's inherent when changing an existing world, though. What I wanted and received more than mystery was a sense of evolution. Was nice to see something actually change in the familiar world and not just another space alien planet/plane (which I'm sure is the next one =p).

    And yeah a sci-fi MMO seems like the place to go from here. Hopefully the star wars one is going to be sweet enough to try. If not there is always the next Blizz MMO which I think is a first person shooter style... which could be sweet!


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