Saturday, 8 March 2014

Flashback: World Of Warcraft

I consider myself a veteran of the original WoW, I played Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Litch King and Cataclysm also, but I quit.  I used to play at least 48 hours a week, more hours than I was working at a job!

But the good old days came to a close, I was just PVPing, they added the "easy" button on raid and group PVE progress... The whole vibe changed, I changed, so I stopped playing....

Recently I've said I fancy a taste of it again, luckily I can get that taste without paying, with the free Blizzard "World of Warcraft Standard Edition"... Which lets you play to level 20... So I set about giving a few things a look-see...

Of course I had to go see my favourite faction boss first of all... I'd heard he'd had a little accident...

You see when I played it was never possible to see the enemy raid your world  boss, I mean once on Thunderhorn (EU) the first server I played on (which was PVE) did a Horde raid show up in Don Morugh to take on the Dwarven king, but they never even tried to get in the gates... It was a huge deal, world PVP then, a huge deal, this is before Alterec Valley, before you even queued for things, before even Meeting Stones outside the instances, if you wanted to go there you went to the door and walked in... Or in the best case your group had a warlock and they summoned you, with the help of at least two others!

Going on foot as a human to Ironforge was no big deal back in the day, you'd just walked up and down from one end of Westfall to Lakeshire and back anyways, you'd not yet reached the marching that was the marshes to Menethil, or even the Arathi Highlands.... You were green, this was vanilla WoW, zones had one flight point you didn't get a mount til 40, and so you walked... For months everyone on my server walked.

With the initial release of the game Ironforge was the main Alliance city, it had not only a bank but an auction house, I remember I never knew about the Auction house, I was living my adventures out of Stormwind, and I had no-one to sell my copper to, there was no trade chat with auction items, so I just spammed it selling 20 x copper bars for 10 silver, and I was making a bomb!... Only to later realize the folks buying from me were taking them and selling them for 1 gold per stack at the auction.

You therefore had to find somewhere to live out of Ironforge, now you generally didn't want your Hearthstone set to the city until level 60, you wanted to leave it set out where your quests were, so you made the arduous journey and flight back to the city - suffered the lagging and crowding the commons outside the AH and bank in Ironforge had - and you hearthed back out after your business.

But as the servers stabilized and I formed a guid with my friends, we picked somewhere to log off.  Myself and the other guild master we both played Warrior, so of course we spent a lot of time at the warrior training, I also spent a lot of time in the original PVP system when it went live, and the battle master was in the warrior training area.  With a secondary GM in the guild being a hunter and her training close by the guild HQ became Bruuk's Corner, a dwarven tavern in the warrior quarter of Ironforge, where we would retreat to to log off and hopefully not suffer the massive lags of logging on later.

I was happy in returning to the game to see the world, though changed by the cataclysm is still recognizable.

Though in some places old friends have new digs....

And other old friends have different places to be in the world...

Would I resubscribe to WoW?  Well I spend my final days in the world trying to solo different places with my highly PVP geared mage & hunter.  I also rolled a new dedicated Alt - a Druid - and took it to level 80, my first max level healer.

I just fell out of love with how easy the game was becoming, patch after patch, simplifying and pointing the way.  When I realized I'd done a whole quest zone in my Druid - a complete 8 levels - in a little over an hour (this was level 72 to 80) and I thought... "I never even engaged my brain there, I never even had to read the quest text"... I knew it signaled a death knell for me.

I spent sometime solo'ing the original raid content from vanilla, ZG being a favourite and all the Blackrock stuff... But then my subscription lapsed and so the shades came down on my WoW days.

Going back, the simplify stick has been out with gay abandon... You can level in a zone in minutes, not even hours.  You can mass loot things, a feature which annoyed me, and I can't even quite say why it annoyed me so much, it just bugged me, people can't be arsed to pick up their winnings... That's a new low, really.

But then the ultimate insult to the old game, you no-longer have to return to your class trainer to learn new skills, they just come up on the screen... This is just... I can't say how much this annoyed me, whomever came up with this being a good idea really should have thought again.  It's a little like how they'll next remake the Karate Kid... "Danial-san, go paint fence, *tick tick tick* *DING* you now know Karate" NOOOOOoooooooo.

Just don't do this, what a ridiculous premise, yes going ALL the way back to the city to train, or the finding the warrior trainer behind the backsmiths was a right of passage, but it was part of life, part of the game, part of progressing... You soon learned to look forward to every even numbered level... "ooo what have I got coming, overpower! Coooooolllll".... Now it comes up in a sad pale blue text... Boring, and very missable.

If they changed this because there was some Level 80 Warrior stumbling around with only Heroic Strike & Charge, then so be it, they were a moron, if they had a million support calls for characters not having any skills "ah hey my warlock has only shadow bolt, but my friends has loads of skillz" the GM should have replied, "That's because you're not visited your class trainer to learn anything new you putz".  The game should not have lowered itself.

And it was already pretty much the defacto lowest common denominator out there, a game so accessible as to win the hearts of the masses and become the biggest, and arguably best received, MMORPG in history (so far).  But its lowered itself to the point now as to be a running joke.

And they've done this time and again, Blizzard this is, they've lowered the access level to gear, they've raised the inflation rate of gear levels, I moaned about this on Shut Up We're Talking #50 in 2008.  I've been proven so unholy true I'm astounded.  Mists of Panderia raised the predicted bar into the vertical exponential increase range... As pointed out by MikePreachWow

I dunno, the game I played, the game I loved and lived will never come back, ever... It leaves a legacy too high for many to follow or compete with... And its not a Free to Play, so I'm not going to re sub.

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