A Year Of World of Warcraft

Although I participated in the World of Warcraft beta and even imported the USA version of the game before it was released here in Europe, I got stuck into Everquest 2 instead and didn’t properly start playing WoW until the end of October 2008, just over a year ago. In my year of Warcraft I haven’t accomplished as much as many other players – I haven’t hit level 80 yet and I haven’t done any raiding – but instead I’ve played it in a very casual style and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I think WoW has been the right game for me at the right time. Previously my MMORPG gaming had been a lot more full on and time consuming and I think I just needed to tone it down for a while and enjoy a game that is, by design, very easy and casual. WoW’s like taking a bath, there’s nothing new or unexpected and it’s very comforting and relaxing. I’m sure I’ll get bored of WoW (probably sooner rather than later, depending on how long it is before Cataclysm comes out) and the itch to get stuck into something more fulfilling will occur (I had it with EVE Online a few months ago) but right now it’s doing me just fine, say thankya.

Anyway, for your interest, here are couple of things I really like about World of Warcraft and a couple of things that drive me crazy.

The Good

Immersive World

One of reasons I started playing WoW was because I was very disappointed with Warhammer Online. WAR felt just like a giant arcade game with no sense of immersion or the player existing in a vibrant, living world. Warcraft, on the other hand, does this very well and when you log in, you feel like you’re in another world.

Casual

WoW is designed to be easy and friendly. It’s not a hardcore game and it’s not for players who want a huge challenge. Yeah, people say that it’s dumbing down the genre and that may well be true but there’s plenty of MMORPGs out there now that cater for different audiences and I’m happy enough with the one Blizzard have aimed their game at.

The Bad

Community

For a MMORPG, WoW has a terrible, terrible community. I’ve never met so many rude or childish players in all my life. For someone that successfully championed the PUG for years in Everquest 2, WoW completely destroyed my faith in grouping with strangers. Ironic and sad.

Infrequent Expansions

I know Blizzard pride themselves on being able to release games and expansions whenever they’re totally ready and never before but, c’mon, MMORPGs really need a continuous stream of content to keep people interested. EQ2 has had some fantastic expansions that really helped grow the game and SOE’s yearly release rate kept me interested for over three years solid. I worry that Blizzard’s slow expansion schedule will cause me to bore of WoW prematurely.

Anyway, there you have it. A year of WoW for me has come and gone. I wonder if I’ll still be playing it come November 2010?

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22 Comments

  1. Kropotkin says:

    I 100% agree with you on the WAR description of it being a kind of arcade game. The biggest mistake the developers made was to have instanced zones. This provided an artificial structure that kept on reminding you that you were playing a game. I don’t want to see the word ‘loading’ on my screen when I’m playing an MMO! I certainly don’t want to see a splash screen either.

    Granted WoW has these things too, but they are relatively infrequent. You can see across the landscape and know that if you trekked across it you wouldn’t see a loading screen. Instead you’d marvel at how the lighting and textures would shift as you entered each realm. WAR and Age of Conan failed to appreciate this and created instanced zones. This results in the whole gaming experience becoming disjointed as you have sence of where you are in the world. In WoW, you always do.

    As for community, WoW has around 11+ million people playing it so you’re experiencing the often quoted ‘Men in Black’ phenomena of ‘A person is smart, people are dumb’. The larger the grouping, the more likely you are to encounter douche-bags.

    Nice article BTW.

    • Gordon says:

      I found WAR very much like an arcade game and didn’t feel any connection to the world. I think WoW does very well with it’s endless landscapes and lots of major cities and race identities. It’s very important for immersion.

  2. Longasc says:

    We might be playing Guild Wars 2, who knows. The community in Guild Wars 1, Aion and NCsoft games in general seems to be even worse, there seem to be no ingame GMs at all. None in GW and apparently they are rare in Aion, too. LOTRO players are really friendlier, older and more mature in general, but they seem to suck like some pensioners at times, too. :P

    I might have replaced Sauron by November 2009, and if I need a player for a 10 Nazgul-Raid, you will get a Ringwraith-spot and a free fell beast flying mount.

  3. TREX says:

    I haven’t played Wow in 5 months and reading this article makes me want to play again. Nice arcticle!

  4. Melanthor says:

    childisch behavior in PUG.

    I had this expierience also in the beginnging. This changes the moment I changed the server. I am now playing on an very old RP-PvP server. The people on that server are in general nice. One reason often claimed is that is due to Horde. Since this does not seem that attractive to younger people.

    I ran PUG alot. I PUG raids and so on. In most cases 85% it is a good atmosphere. The PvP part make it attractive for everybody to go for challenges in raids. The RP part is sadly more or less a niche part. But can be found if you are looking for.

    At least you have no random names like UberRoxxer. If you find a non matching name just report and it will be fixed.
    Also PvP world does not necessary means to get kille while leveling all the time. On my way to max level it ususally does not happen more than twice. And usually can be avoided easily.

  5. lsg404 says:

    I fail to see how can you crave for more content if you are not even toplevel.

    If you are not 80, you are yet to see this content:

    - probably around 60+% of the available quests in Northrend

    - heroic instances

    - endlevel (thus, the best balanced) battleground combat

    - raids (tons of easily pugable raid content)

    hell, you are yet to experience all this if you are level 79!

    Plus, you don’t get the content through expansions, Blizzard gives content through content patches, mostly new raid instances, battlegrounds, and sometimes, quest hubs and the general “maintenance” (tuning, buffing, nerfing certain parts of the game)

    Besides, quit yer whining about the community and get yerself a nice guild, put in the effort to find one which suits you, that is also a huge part in the game experience. Bytheway, on my Realm, I would say I’m OK with the community in general, and yes, the generally high chance of running into retards in PUGs is the straight consequence of the easy content you seem to enjoy otherwise. Guildruns are way more entertaining than pugs, in every possible extent.

    • Gordon says:

      Content doesn’t just have to be vertical and it’s not always about adding more levels to the top of the game. I like the whole experience from level 1 onwards and enjoy taking my time over it. The problem is that because WoW is so quest orientated, by the time you’ve done the quests 2 or 3 times, it becomes pretty tedious.

      Another thing to note is that the best selling expansions for EQ2 were the ones that introduced content for everyone, from level 1 onwards. They really added a lot to the game and made it more enjoyable for everyone.

  6. TREX says:

    What’s with the new expansion?

  7. daydaily.com says:

    i love world of warcraft very much
    especially, dot.A
    :D

  8. Rob says:

    I am the opposite of you. I chose WoW in the EQ2 vs. WoW fork in the road. I have played WoW since launch and whenever new content comes out I am ready ( and have high enough level characters ) to experience it. So, I am somewhat unfamiliar with the frequency and quality of SoE game updates to EQ2. However, I know that when Blizzard releases an expansion they sort of roll out the end game as time goes on. With WotLK you started with Naxx being the end game, then they rolled out Ulduar, then ToC, and now Icecrown is coming soon in 3.3. These updates come with numerous game changes and tweaks, but the major releases are packed with content. It is sort of an on going story.

    All of that being said in Blizzard’s defense, while I play a LOT, I play casually, and I am already wearing thin on running the same old heroics and such. I am still addicted to the game, but I can see how people would be bored with the content and ready for more expansiony goodness.

  9. Jeremy S. says:

    WoW your experience is very much like mine.

  10. WoW sucks says:

    You guys are a bunch of losers!!! Wow sucks and guild wars is way better!

  11. Polly says:

    I’ve just returned to WoW after a 7 month lay off and man I’m happy that I did! Roll on cataclysm

    • Matthew says:

      I agree. Coming back to an mmo after taking a break from it always feels good. My break from wow was 2 years XD.

      Only problem is that now that i’m working and no longer a student >.< i’ve enough cash to buy all the games i really want but not enough time to play them all /sigh

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