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The death of Warcraft

Posted on 20th Dec 2012 at 07:42 by David Hing with 39 comments

David Hing
I feel a great sympathy for the City of Heroes players who have recently lost their favourite MMO to the grim abyss of cancellation. There is something incredibly final about an online game being pulled as there is so very rarely any way of clawing that experience back. Instead, all that remains is an inert double-figure-gigabyte folder sat on your hard drive and mere memories of your polygon-formed world.

My favourite MMO was killed off years ago and I didn’t even notice. It didn’t hit headlines, it didn’t bow out with a fanfare and it probably happened whilst I was playing it. What I’m trying to say is I miss World of Warcraft.

I will endeavour to keep this as far away from “back in my day” territory as I can.

The death of Warcraft
A vast world, sometimes teeming and frantic, other times quiet and mysterious.

Warcraft has always been the poster child for grinding to level and subsequently levelling to grind. The realisation that you’re gearing up to be able to do different instances so that you can get better gear so that you can do different instances has an oddly sobering and almost despairing feel to it the first time you arrive there, but in its earlier forms, the game had a somewhat rewarding structure. It was more than just kit and quests. Instead, there was an enormous world that felt rewarding to explore in itself, long before achievements came along and encouraged people to bomb through it all on the back of a motorbike.

When changes started to happen, I was probably one of those championing the streamlining, welcoming more efficient sets of quests and faster levelling, delighted at more accessible raids and eternally grateful that I could see more of the world whilst not having to give up my day job to do so. At a certain point, these were probably a good thing, but during the earlier days of Cataclysm as I rode across the Northern Barrens to the Crossroads with a low level Tauren Paladin sat on the back of a Kodo, lazily shooting an onslaught of pig-men with a shotgun, it occurred to me that this journey used to be somewhat of a rite of passage. The Crossroads was the first major hub outside of the starting areas that felt part of a larger world and the achievement and character progression milestone of getting to it had been condensed down to a tedious roller-coaster. A tedious roller-coaster with a gun, but still an experience with far less weight and gravitas behind it.

Shortly after this, I realised I was being flung through a flooded Thousand Needles on a whistle stop tour of all the places I had previously spend days exploring and powered through the world in general in no time at all. It was as if Blizzard had seen people power levelling and assumed that’s what everyone wanted. I remember carefully exploring every single new area on my first play through and absorbing every single quest and encounter, timidly pushing into new areas to see if I could handle them yet before being chased out by crocodiles or the occasional unexpected dragon. I even remember not seeing quest-denoting exclamation marks pop up on the mini-map and having to explore towns themselves for quests.

The death of Warcraft
Faster levelling. Noise and gimmicks. Powering through the broken world on a motor-tricycle. Ok fine, I did like the tricycle.

I’ll sometimes fly off into an introspective rant about how the game isn’t as it was, but something always brings me back to reality on that one. Yes, it’s different, but if the changes hadn’t been made it’s unlikely they would still be retaining a subscriber base of 10 million and I might really be talking about the actual decline of the game as opposed to just being patched beyond recognition.

Blizzard has managed to keep Warcraft fresh and engaging for a huge group of people whilst also opening it up to a much wider player base than could have reasonably been expected. Cataclysm, although drastic, was a stroke of genius with the developers clearly realising the best way to keep the old world interesting was indeed to blow it up and pretty much start again.

Warcraft isn’t dead or even dying by any conventional wisdom, but it is for me. Being propelled through the old world on the back of whatever garish machine the last quest giver has given me past the corpses of old familiar NPCs and through the ruins of towns that sometimes almost felt like home when I was feeling particularly pathetic/drunk only drove the point home.

I’m curious about monks and pandas, but probably not enough to head back and make it 10 million and one subscribers. What I loved was the world when it was new to me, when it was a vast open space to be conquered. I can’t go back to that – I can only try and find that feeling somewhere else.

Luckily there are plenty of new worlds out there. I end up casting my eyes over the colossal deck of characters and items to buy in the shop whilst trying to work out why a foul-mouthed stranger has been calling me a “feeder”, but turn away from that venture as my ship has finished filling its cargo hold with asteroid-ore. The autopilot is locked for the nearest starbase and gazing around, this place feels big, unknown, new, unconquered and just a little hostile, so maybe I’m on to a winner here. Or maybe in those lanes full of creeps.

The death of Warcraft
Docking request successful.

Sometimes I just like not knowing what I’m doing. I suppose the death of Warcraft for me was the moment I understood it.

39 Comments

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Harlequin 20th December 2012, 09:28 Quote
Drop me a pm and I'll send you a 10 welcome back thing to wow ;-) pandaland us ok to play through for the story at least once
saxovtsmike 20th December 2012, 09:52 Quote
DAT epic moment when my Human Warrior first went into Stromwind.
Never forget that overwhelming feeling.
alain-s 20th December 2012, 10:30 Quote
The first time I did the Deadmines with my hunter lovely feeling. Before that I thought it was just leveling your char. But after that the pictures was complete for me :D

Also the TBC was the best expansion for loved playing Black Temple
Morkrah 20th December 2012, 10:48 Quote
I at least died a little inside (a lot in fact) as when the burning crusade came, the rank 14 gear on my warrior that id spent most of my younger life getting, was now accessible to everyone and dwindled in power with every new level up.

I never really recovered from that, wow was never the same. If only id known blizzard had that idia...

stopped after that and never looked back.
Psyance 20th December 2012, 11:14 Quote
WoW died for me just after WotLK release, I just couldn't bring myself to level to cap again after spending all the time raiding in TBC (which i still rate as the best expansion to any game).
I can't pinpoint what I didn't like, it just seemed to rub me up the wrong way.
faxiij 20th December 2012, 11:46 Quote
It is not what it was back in BC or even in Vanilla. Actually, Vanilla was a bit tedious. I think BC did most things just right.

WoW is still a great game. It has changed a lot, yes. You just have to accept it for what it is, not compare it to what it used to be. Then a lot of casual fun can be had with WoW, which is something that wasn't possible a few years back, when a certain time commitment was necessary.
rollo 20th December 2012, 12:46 Quote
Played alot in vanilla and TBC, Quit hardcore raiding at end of TBC sunwell had burned out the bulk of the player base that i played and raided with. Alot of the big guilds merged at end of TBC to keep the players who wanted to raid still raiding.

Ulduar was the last great raid zone very few zones have compared to it for feel or epicness. And it also has a red button that you have to press once to see what happens.

Played Cata but got bored quickly and said id never return. Still have not to this day.

No other MMO that is sub based will survive long as long as WOW has so many players ( Rift excluded which seems to have its own player base)
maverik-sg1 20th December 2012, 13:03 Quote
I've played WoW since 9months previous to The Burning Crusade.

The thing about new games is that they are just that, new and exciting, expansions are all the old stuff, re-jigged to bring some freshness to those who have done it all once already as well as new stuff for those who don't want to do it all again (level alts etc).

Judging a game like this can be very subjective and very much a personal point of view that will split people's opinions - here is a snap shot of my own opinions and point of view.

Vanilla was awesome it was a great levelling experience and I raided up to ZG and MC although I have to admit I never played that well.

TBC was also good - vast world to see, (Blades Edge Mountains - never ever again what chuffin aweful design), levelling was good, lore was good, dungeons were good (maybe too much for the casual gamer though), this is where I really started tobecome focused on raiding, do more theory work, more reading, more strats, better selection of gear etc... I still recall completing my T4 set and the pride I had :)

Wrath was every bit as good as TBC for me - Naxx was good intro, Ulduar was epic, truly epic and I really enjoyed ICC - this expansion went on for 6months longer than it should have though and people started to migrate.

Cataclysm for me was bitter sweet, the developers spent too much time and budget re-hashing the old world, re-skinning what was still a respectable world and using the cataclysm as an excuse - also once you'd been to an area and levelled (80-85), there was very little reason to go back......I levelled a character from 1-85, it was faster, some of the new quests were fun, but it had certainly lost that epic feel, especially Hinterlands, WPL, EPL (I was happy not to have to do Felwood though lol)

They got some things right, tabards for heroics to gain rep and help you gear up...but then made 50% of the heroics so horrible, you'd not want to go without a guild group, the first raid tier was very good, Firelands was okay (but really felt as though not much thought had gone into it - Ragnaros Heroic remains the best fight in Cataclysm) and Dragon Soul was disappointing (compared to Ice Crown Citadel, Molten Core or Black Temple, I never managed to go to Sunwell in it's prime)... but still 'fun' and challenging.

Now we're in Pandaria - the levelling experience is really nice, good lore and enjoyable questlines.

But also very very bad - removing the things I liked about Cataclysm (Cauldrons, Mass Summoning, Tabards for Rep) and creating a weekly points cap and attaching said points to a daily quest grind that people (end game raiders like me) really feel forced to do to remain optimised and useful to the raid groups.

Yes people's love for this game is dying, it's happening to this old veteran (I find it much easier to play other games with wanting to do more in WoW) the guild and comradeship mean more to me - I still enjoy raiding I just dislike how much Blizzard feel the need to make it so time consuming outside of raids.

I am sure if you and I sat in a pub and discussed this game we'd disagree on a lot but the conclusions will be the same - to us, this game has lost most of it's appeal.

Disappointing to me that all other MMORPG's that have followed since WoW all follow the same formula's and that makes them the 'me too' failures that they become (people playing MMORPG are already invested in WoW a 'me too' product is not enough to tempt this player base away).

WoW's community are ready for the next innovation not the next 'me too' product.

Bring on the innovators, the new style of game that can really move the WoW disciples to the next big thing!!

This serves as a warning to the FPS (CoD etc....) every story has an ending........ :)
sixfootsideburns 20th December 2012, 13:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by saxovtsmike
DAT epic moment when my Human Warrior first went into Stromwind.
Never forget that overwhelming feeling.

I don't mean to flame, but am I the only one who finds this type of comment more than just a little sad?
dyzophoria 20th December 2012, 13:59 Quote
I actually miss the world .. of warcraft, Ever since getting a new job, I didnt have time to play really, wanted to start my pandas,lol, alas I guess the world is dead to me as well now, hope to spend some time in the near future
Drekz 20th December 2012, 14:03 Quote
WoW hasn't died, what kind of misleading article is this?

Sure it has its pros and cons, but it's gained subscribers lately and has been dubbed having a superior expansion to cataclysm.

Despite most people won't ever get over vanilla and even TBC, it's had a successful and very unique expansion.
S1W1 20th December 2012, 15:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drekz
WoW hasn't died, what kind of misleading article is this?

I don't think he said that it is dead, rather it is dead for him. Although he may no longer enjoy WoW for the reason specified, I'm sure millions of others still do...
Roskoken 20th December 2012, 15:33 Quote
EVE wins eh
Gradius 20th December 2012, 17:59 Quote
WoW sucks BIG TIME! I never understand how that crap managed to get 10M online fools! And yes, I played for a month, it trully sucks. FFXI WAS the best (after absyssea it doomed the game).
Digi 20th December 2012, 18:29 Quote
I miss SWG tbh, in it's original incarnation. The open-ended tree system and world after world of sandbox has never been repeated and probably never will be. The feelings you have here are similar to those.

I played WoW from 2005 to end of 2010. It was great fun in vanilla and great fun in TBC but the game became easier and easier to the point where it was a joke and there was nothing fun to do, the grind was the game and the game was a grind. When it started to feel like a job away from my IRL job, I dumped it and haven't looked back.

Kudos to those still enjoying it, I won't run it in to the ground. If you still have fun playing it then that's great but I would guess that most refuse to realise that they, in fact, are not enjoying it any more.
saxovtsmike 20th December 2012, 18:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sixfootsideburns
Quote:
Originally Posted by saxovtsmike
DAT epic moment when my Human Warrior first went into Stromwind.
Never forget that overwhelming feeling.

I don't mean to flame, but am I the only one who finds this type of comment more than just a little sad?
Why do you feel sad for me ? I meant overwhelming feeling IN A GAME.
I was stunned and impressed at the same time, no other COMPUTER GAME gave me that feeling (of beeing so small in a Huge town full of other players) again.
No Storyline in a shooter or other RPG could hold me for that long time.
BTW. I quit Wow half a year b4 Pandaria, just to start again with its release and do the storyline in Pandaria, and QUIT AGAIN.
My spare time is better spend with my GF, son and REAL LIFE. Doing a 50h job doesn´t help that too.
blinkieleblind 20th December 2012, 18:53 Quote
i have been thinking about having a look at the new expansion. A couple of my mates still play and i don't get to see them often so it could be a good way to 'hang out'.
I agree with most of the comments that TBC was the best expansion but it is true that you had to invest a lot of time in it. If my mate sends me scroll... i will probably have another look. shhhh don't tell my fiancee
lysaer 20th December 2012, 19:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sixfootsideburns
I don't mean to flame, but am I the only one who finds this type of comment more than just a little sad?

Yes you are.

There is no difference in a game from having an overwhelming feeling whilst watching a movie or reading a book.

In fact I would say games can drum up those feelings a lot better than most movies.



Sent from my GT-I9300 using Tapatalk 2
Eiffie 20th December 2012, 19:22 Quote
WoW was a great game for me and probably still is for the vast many who play it but like the article says, after I had worked out what the game was about and explored what I wanted to explore and lost it's mystery. . . that was when i stopped really caring about it. I didn't enjoy many of the instances during BC so it was time to pack up and leave. I wish I could go back to pre-BC when I was a lowly Tauren on the plains of mulgore, killing boars and harpies under the shadows of thunder bluff and just staring out in awe across the vast plains of the barrens. Almost all of my real life friends played alliance so discovering the game on my own and not being dragged through it by those who were already leveled was quite the experience. I wasn't in it for the levels or the exp or the loot. I just enjoyed walking around the world and finding things for myself. Once I had pretty much uncovered the map, it didn't feel like there was much to do and BC, while it added a lot of good instances and restructuring of the gameplay mechanics, it didn't really add enough new land for me to explore, it felt so small in that regard.
Star*Dagger 20th December 2012, 19:24 Quote
I am so happy that people who like WoW have a place to play.

That keeps 10 million people out of MechWarrior and EVE.

Enjoy the show,
S*D
zelachang 20th December 2012, 19:32 Quote
I played off and on from vanilla to wotlk. I truly miss the days of vanilla and thinking about why, I think its mostly because the game had some measure of difficulty back then. Things weren't streamlined, finding decent people to group with could be a challenge, things were imbalanced. When things went right, it was actually rewarding, not because of the loot but because things didn't go right so frequently. The first time my first guild killed the two trash mobs in MC, it was a relief because we had spent near a week trying to do so! Being rank 14 was a huge time commitment but it was nice because you would be the only one on the server with that title.

Starting with TBC and much moreso in WotLK, the game just became ezmode. Group with 24 people you barely know and breeze through a raid. Yeah you get loot, but no sense of success.
Otis1337 21st December 2012, 05:25 Quote
There are a few privet servers running that run Vanilla and TBC that are high pop.


I quieted at 2.4.3..... ish. Loved the game, had some of the best gaming times of my life on it leveling and raiding with my friends and guilds. there was alot of "dat feels" moments in the game and looking back i know its just plane not going to happen again because WoW managed to pull off something very unique. It wasn't just technically a good game, but it had that something extra you can put your finger on... I tried to fill the WoW sized gap with GuildWars2, while it technically better in almost every way.... its boring as sh!t.

People will think its just a virgin geek game, it really doesn't have to be, and trust me, its a real shame you didn't play before they fuked it up with CAT

Good bye WoW, you will be missed.

https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTbX6KPrKvTIcQyr6TdyADPbpo8AO6lTwJ8R338blPsowLWkbEm
SAimNE 21st December 2012, 08:03 Quote
you should have tried AION when it came out. more than a challenge to explore, and with the pvp area having free flight it was insane. plus the music was/is amazing which really adds to the experience.... now it was nerfed down and made easier to level and build your chars... a negative imo... but it's still fun. Only drawback is arguably a positive... its f2p... which is good for your wallet... and bad for the average intelligence of the users :|
Digi 21st December 2012, 09:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Star*Dagger
I am so happy that people who like WoW have a place to play.

That keeps 10 million people out of MechWarrior and EVE.

Enjoy the show,
S*D

LOL. +1

I have this same thought on a regular basis. :)
SubtleOne 21st December 2012, 17:32 Quote
Guild Wars 2 for the win! Single purchase price, none of that endless grinding, etc. Grinding is the bane of MMOs. It is an excuse to make you play over the same content 200 times just to be able to graduate to the next content.
DriftCarl 21st December 2012, 18:48 Quote
That feeling with WoW ended for me long before cataclysm came out.
I saw the changes during WOTLK and I didnt like it at the time either, the social hubs were not as fun anymore, the raiding was boring, we never felt like we progressed properly. It was either we wipe, or we beat the boss, it was never a progression like in the old days. You could literally see the improvements from each fight as we went a long, learning from experience rather than just watching little graphics fly across the screen. It seems almost autonomos now.
Back in the 40 man raid days, anyone could go on a raid, as long as you had a few tanks and some healers, then any DPS class was viable. Now you have to have specific classes for specific bosses, and with the smaller raid sizes, that leaves almost no room for just anyone to join.
It is probably the fact that blizzard have run out of ideas for boss fights, recycling abilities but just giving them a slightly different graphic and name. WoW for me is as dead as SWG. I will never go back to it, I would actually rather SWG re-open Pre CU and play that.

I havn't found an MMO that I enjoy since quitting wow, none offer the kind of social online experience that I am looking for. There is one I am keeping an eye on called The Repopulation, it looks promising so I hope that will float my boat
Woodspoon 21st December 2012, 20:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Star*Dagger
I am so happy that people who like WoW have a place to play.

That keeps 10 million people out of MechWarrior and EVE.

Enjoy the show,
S*D

+1 agreed
Jqim 22nd December 2012, 15:15 Quote
When I quit wow it was because it was messing with my head. I have an addictive personality and relied on it for emotional stimulation for about 2 years, I thought I was a good tank. Never raided never did heroic stuff but spend a shed load of time on that game instead of meeting people and studying.

If they have made the game really that much easier then great! I could have a mess around on it without having to give up the rest of my life now more meaningful life. Also if everything has changed I can start a new char and enjoy the story of the game as it will be fresh. Also I always played horde so if i get to play alliance as a new wolf or panda or something then it will all be new.
rollo 22nd December 2012, 16:13 Quote
Wow has got steadily harder since release vinalla required specific requirements as road blocks. Tbc had sunwell muru on release was borderline broken. Ulduar was the last great raid of wrath and I never played enough of cata to say enough.

Heroic raiding changed alot, raiding became an execution in perfection 1 mistake in 10man heroic and your raid wipes. 25man heroic you have similar mistake limits.

Most of the encounters are doing simple stuff perfectly whilst meeting insane Dps timers. Don't know how game is now but I dou't its changed alot.

I know most of our guild in wrath said the end at lk heroic once be died we only killed him twice total. ( before the huge buffs took place )

Remove heroic mode and bring back sunwell style and people will not say wow is easy. In truth that was the problem for the casual playerbase they could never get better in vanilla and tbc. These days lfr as its called gives out epics for been able to tank and spank but that's not real raiding.

Guild wars 2 has grinding if you want the best set I've had to grind for it.
javaman 22nd December 2012, 20:25 Quote
Wotlk killed the game for me. I started just as bc came out and managed to clear kara and the next 2-3 raids for gear. Wotlk released and grinding again was slow and dull. It was really the craic that kept me coming back. Eventually the guild fell apart due to the casual slow nature of progression abd upon hitting 80 i quit. I really didnt enjoy instances and raids in wotlk. Cataclysim was really good. I enjoyed it reinventing my character but again grinding to 85, getting there and going in circles with dailys killed it for me. Looking long and hard i want to go back but cost really holds me back. Is there enough new features and will i get my moneys worth or will it join the backburner of games im slowly working through
Evolutionsic 23rd December 2012, 02:21 Quote
TBC killed it for me, Aion was amazing for awhile,

Both games gave me probably the biggest rushes of my life and i wouldn't change a thing!

Guild Wars 2 was also okay, but i guess as i'm older i generally think when playing i should be doing something better with my time these days =/
jb0 23rd December 2012, 14:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by S1W1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drekz
WoW hasn't died, what kind of misleading article is this?

I don't think he said that it is dead, rather it is dead for him. Although he may no longer enjoy WoW for the reason specified, I'm sure millions of others still do...

Or possibly that World of Warcraft as he knew it is dead. Which it is. There is still a game with that name, but it's a completely different game than that game he liked almost a decade ago. There is no way to play THAT game anymore.
sotu1 23rd December 2012, 19:43 Quote
Firstly, that headline smacks of attention seeking journalism. We all know it's very slowly dying, but was that really the best we can get?

Secondly, I'll play the game when it hits free to play and I can play in my own time.
sofalover 2nd January 2013, 10:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by saxovtsmike
Quote:
Originally Posted by sixfootsideburns
Quote:
Originally Posted by saxovtsmike
DAT epic moment when my Human Warrior first went into Stromwind.
Never forget that overwhelming feeling.

I don't mean to flame, but am I the only one who finds this type of comment more than just a little sad?
Why do you feel sad for me ? I meant overwhelming feeling IN A GAME.
I was stunned and impressed at the same time, no other COMPUTER GAME gave me that feeling (of beeing so small in a Huge town full of other players) again.
No Storyline in a shooter or other RPG could hold me for that long time.
BTW. I quit Wow half a year b4 Pandaria, just to start again with its release and do the storyline in Pandaria, and QUIT AGAIN.
My spare time is better spend with my GF, son and REAL LIFE. Doing a 50h job doesn´t help that too.

No it's because you're a **** who uses the 'word', DAT which to my knowledge is a digital tape.
brn_gomes 2nd January 2013, 14:45 Quote
Great article, I differ from you in the sense that I really enjoy understanding the game, and in that sense WoW just keeps getting better and better from the chaotic mix of elements that it once was, now things really start to make some sense, elements are better explained, and you can still address to play the game almost as it once was, the problem is you wouldn't have much people to share that experience with. However, I do enjoy that sense of overwhelming greatness that sometimes is lost when you look at the big picture and that's absolutely one of the best feelings in the world this one or warcraft's to be part of something bigger and don't really understand quite why or how but you play along. Really emotional and fine article good 2013 and best wishes to all.
Star*Dagger 4th January 2013, 03:20 Quote
WoW will always be around for the same reason the GOP/Tories will never completely die: there is always a market for the lowest 20% on the intellectual continuum.

I am truly happy that WoW and the other theme park games absorb millions of high fructose corn syrup guzzling and GMO eating clownbirds and allow simulations like EVE Online and MWO to be less contaminated by inferior Gamers.

Yours in Advanced Tactical Plasma,
Star*Dagger
OcSurfe 8th January 2013, 21:56 Quote
stopped playing WoW at cata release, its been slowly stagnating since the end of burning crusade!
drlawyer 11th February 2013, 20:58 Quote
I read your post, and while I do not share your overall view of the game, I found myself nodding in several places. Your perspective is valid, accurate, and I can feel your sense of loss. I too remember the first intrepid steps I took into Darkshire after questing for a bit in Redridge - and pulling what seemed to be an entire forest of spiders, wolves and worgen. I was with a friend I had met in game, and we were both level 20-ish. We decided we clearly weren't ready for the much more difficult zone. Believe it or not, I had really not even looked at the world map at that point, but opened it up and really looked at it around that time. Then I realized... Elwynn Forest had entertained me for hours, as had Redridge. They seemed massive, considering having to traverse them on foot. Then I realized... there were DOZENS of zones like these. And dungeons. I remember flying between Stormwind and Ironforge and seeing the Blasted Lands beneath me, with the ominous looking black dragons that looked undefeatable, like inevitable, certain and doubtlessly fiery death. And thinking "I'll never be able to take those down." That was almost six years ago, before BC came out and turned the game on its ear, leading it into what truly was the game's golden age. WLK was good, but felt faster. Cata was a hot mess, too much changed, too much streamlined. I find myself now, in Pandaria. I like it. It has a newness to it, but it hearkens back to the days of old. But no, I don't think I'll ever enter a zone with the kind of wonderful terror I felt creeping slowly into Darkshire, it's shadowy forest steeped in death and decay, with blinking eyes and waves of diseased beasts waiting to descend on me. I don't RP, but sometimes, as I play my main, I can almost hear him complaining about his old bones creaking, reflecting on his many battles. And someday, I know he'll retire. How soon that day will come, I cannot say. But I think there are more days behind him than lie before him.
Sloth 11th February 2013, 22:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by drlawyer
I read your post, and while I do not share your overall view of the game, I found myself nodding in several places. Your perspective is valid, accurate, and I can feel your sense of loss. I too remember the first intrepid steps I took into Darkshire after questing for a bit in Redridge - and pulling what seemed to be an entire forest of spiders, wolves and worgen. I was with a friend I had met in game, and we were both level 20-ish. We decided we clearly weren't ready for the much more difficult zone. Believe it or not, I had really not even looked at the world map at that point, but opened it up and really looked at it around that time. Then I realized... Elwynn Forest had entertained me for hours, as had Redridge. They seemed massive, considering having to traverse them on foot. Then I realized... there were DOZENS of zones like these. And dungeons. I remember flying between Stormwind and Ironforge and seeing the Blasted Lands beneath me, with the ominous looking black dragons that looked undefeatable, like inevitable, certain and doubtlessly fiery death. And thinking "I'll never be able to take those down." That was almost six years ago, before BC came out and turned the game on its ear, leading it into what truly was the game's golden age. WLK was good, but felt faster. Cata was a hot mess, too much changed, too much streamlined. I find myself now, in Pandaria. I like it. It has a newness to it, but it hearkens back to the days of old. But no, I don't think I'll ever enter a zone with the kind of wonderful terror I felt creeping slowly into Darkshire, it's shadowy forest steeped in death and decay, with blinking eyes and waves of diseased beasts waiting to descend on me. I don't RP, but sometimes, as I play my main, I can almost hear him complaining about his old bones creaking, reflecting on his many battles. And someday, I know he'll retire. How soon that day will come, I cannot say. But I think there are more days behind him than lie before him.
That experience of looking at the world map was almost exactly the same as my first character went from Durotar to the Barrens (during TBC). Having been guided around by a friend the idea of checking the world map never came up, how much more could really be out there? I was told to check the world map to see how to get to the Barrens and my jaw dropped. It was a brutal run just getting there, the zone was way bigger than Durotar, and it was just one of many other zones on that continent, which was only one of two on that planet, which was also just one of two planets. Even after getting to 70 I'd missed several zones and there were mysteries abound. Just getting around required some thought and logistics on what routes to take.

After recently taking up Blizzard on their offer of 10 free days of Pandaria that mystery is gone. It should have grown, Cata changed Azeroth and now there's a whole new continent but there's no drive to explore it. Eventually the on-rails quest lines will either take me there, why explore early? Everything will then be shown and the mysteries will be gone. Off to the next zone. It really is those little secrets that make the game, and really any MMO, so exciting as a whole living world.
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