When I quit raiding (before the release of the patch that introduced the Siege of Orgrimmar) I had been thoroughly done with World of Warcraft. I had decided to become a casual, and then found myself spending so little time playing that I didn’t feel it was worth the efforts and costs of subscribing.
Since then I have tried to entertain myself with a variety of games – Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Fallout 3 Collector’s Edition, Fallout: New Vegas, Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Borderlands 2, Blacklight Retribution to name a few. I also tried a few MMO’s both during my WoW times and after: Defiance, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Firefall when it was in Beta, Guild Wars 2, TERA, Aion and a few others.
I have to conclude that so far, none of the MMOs I have tried have come close to capturing my heart and attention for as long as World of Warcraft, which is why it took such effort to leave it. The social aspect, the enormous choice in activities, the (original) storyline.
It has its weak points, as does any game, and these are glaring:
- There is definitely a sign of Horde favoritism in everything I see. It used to be small, but it grew with time. I understand they are the “cool” faction, but Blizzard has chosen to put the blame on the players themselves, claiming they “were not involved enough” to create their own cool warcry/culture. That is a sign of weakness on their part. They are the designers and I feel they should make sure that the factions are balanced when it comes to exposure. Sometimes this means one faction should get more PR and the other less, but not in favor of the stronger one.
- There is also a lack of strong female protagonists and supporting cast in the last expansion and it is a growing trend with Warlords of Draenor. In Cataclysm we watched strong and independent Tyrande become a wavering waif in front of Varian Wrynn. Jaina Proudmoore snapped and became the stereotypical “mad ex”. In WoD, Seven warchiefs, Velen, Kadgar and some paladin who was in the TBC opening animation are shown. There was talk (but no show) of a female Draenei paladin. I understand that before the opening of the portal, female characters basically are restricted to Orcs, Arrakoa and Draenei, and that previous WoW Lore does not support any of it. But times change and the number of female players who want female lead players is heavily on the rise. I think there’s been enough time spent on the male Orc power trip.
- Mobility in WoW is still old-fashioned. You have a few movement directions and a jump. If you have an appropriate class you can have a roll, backflip or the like. But with the number of action-MMOs on the rise, WoW still sticks to the old model of movement. This could work, but wouldn’t it be nice to have more action-oriented mobility to support the new active tanking model (other than the monk)?
- Storytelling used to be the main focal point of the original game, TBC and WotLK. A lot of effort was placed into weaving events from various regions together, so that if you levelled a character in various areas, you would find intricately interwoven bits and pieces of lore that painted the whole picture. While still present, the current storylines show a certain lack of effort in that department, possibly due to rushing content or having less developers that are of the old and true bent and more that favor the “something to do and shiny rewards” model of play.
- The current storyline with Garrosh in Draenor for Warlords of Draenor is awesome to set up the Iron Horde as the new enemy for Horde and Alliance. But Garrosh is not the final boss, so he is doomed to die an ignoble death at the hands of some NPC in a 5-man, likely Thrall. Garrosh was set up for Warchief, and the intense dislike caused him to relegated to “end of arc” boss to get rid of him. Yes, people claim it was all part of the plan but I do not buy it. He was sidelined because a lot of people hated him. Then he escaped his righteous defeat at the hands of the PCs to set off a whole expansion pack (robbing them of their kill likely not once but twice). He is starting to be like Kael’thas, rehashed until he is a pale shadow of himself and ready to be taken behind the shed and shot.
But there are many good things about WoW and the related games. Hearthstone is a lovely diversion, and the Naxxramas expansion is a heart-felt shoutout to the days of raiding that place. I love it to bits. While playing the NPCs all the time is a drag, the casual play is a quick option to find a game (if you don’t mind being stomped by the low-level alts of people with massive amounts of epic cards), and the Naxxramas class challenges are a blast. Arena is supposedly a lot of fun and I will definitely make a report on it when I save enough gold to fuel some games.
I am unlikely to resub WoW and get Warlords of Draenor unless it shapes up to be awesome. Strong female protagonists on at least somewhat equal footing to the big brown orcs, a more serious and intricate questline that gives us a story rather than a vehicle to get from quest zone A to B, and some love for Alliance. Even then, I am unlikely to step into a raid again unless it’s raid finder – the long hours, preparations and occasional conflicts have taken their toll.
I have started up a small trial account to keep track of the game and its people. You can only level to 20, trade skills to 100 and cannot trade, pet battle, buy stuff on the AH or use the mail, but it’s great for a bit of a diversion. And I can still go for some achievements and even PVP for a change.
What about this blog?
I had thought long and hard, and decided not to close or sell Twisted Faith. Even if WoW is currently out of the picture, there’s plenty of Blizzard’s games to go around. Hearthstone provides amusing adventures, guides and tips for me to write about, and I can still do something fun with the Trial account. Let me know if my Trial Adventures seem interesting to you guys – I will gladly start a diary on that one.
I may be a very, very infrequent poster – but as long as I am alive I will be writing about something!