I can already see people racing to the comment-section…people ready to type: “They went wrong when they went farther than Vanilla!” OR: “Warlords sucked! So terrible!” OR: “They don’t even follow their own timelines and canon! That’s where they went wrong!!!”
This blog post isn’t about any of those things actually…
I will admit that Blizzard has taken some strange directions when it has come to the World of Warcraft series. I have my own opinions of what expansions were good, what ones were bad, and what ones get a real-stink even though they were decent. Also, like other people…there are mechanics I enjoy and others I find a waste of space and completely useless. HOWEVER! This blog was something I have actually given a lot of thought to. It was something I was considering a long time ago when I was writing the versus post on GW2 versus WoW and how they each compete with one-another.
So, all other personal opinions of Good/Bad aside…here is where I think the World-of-Warcraft really went wrong.
New Content gets shoved down your throat making older content irrelevant!
This is it! This is the major problem with World-of-Warcraft!
And if you’re confused or even rolling your eyes at me…at least allow me to explain:
When I first started playing WoW, I was playing the trial right before the release of Cataclysm. I got to level 20, wandered around…a few weeks later Cataclysm was released and BOOM! The entire terrain was different! I was confused!
Suddenly there are new quests talking about the Twilight Hammer or some nonsense…but then there are quests talking about demons and Legion? A friend looks over to me and says: “Oh, you’re doing Burning Crusade quests now. Those were pretty fun.”
Burning Crusade? Already? At level 20? When did I finish out the campaign of the main game? Was there even a campaign?!?
Do you see what I mean?
I had no idea that I had moved into the first expansion. Was it mixed with the vanilla version of the game? Was this what was happening with Cataclysm? Were there some quests I could no longer do because I was so many expansions in? Did having new expansions mean you could not play old content??? None of this was explained to me…and needless to say, this would not be the first time these issues had me lost in the sauce.
At some point that same friend that said I was in Burning Crusade mentioned that…due to Cataclysm, I would never see the world as it had been before…and this actually really upset me. I feel like I really missed something amazing. But, I kinda had no choice. I just had to roll with it.
Then there was the issue with trivial quests.
I did not know that WoW did not really have you “on the rails” and that you could pretty much go anywhere and do anything (to an extent). I just did quests which lead me to new quests, which lead me to new areas, and etc. So, around the time I had reached lv.60 on my main character, I was in Outlands and was having an issue with leveling up.
But it should have been no big deal, right? I thought that the higher level you got, the longer it took to get to the next level. I thought that was part of the ‘challenge’ of the game.
But I guess it wasn’t…
One day a different friend of mine asked what level I was. I replied: “I am 65 right now.” and his response was: “You’re still lv.65? You should have been maxed out by now. What the hell have you been doing?”
He was rooming with me at the time so I showed him where I was in Zangramarsh. He was flabergasted: “What? Why are you doing low-level quests? No wonder you aren’t leveling up. You need to head to the higher-level areas.”
Low-level quests? I didn’t know there was such a thing. I tried telling him that I was doing the quests in order- and then I also mentioned that these low-level quests were giving me upgraded gear to which he said: “Just dungeon. You get much better gear and will level up a lot faster. It’s better than questing.”
If it was better than questing, then why make the quests? If I was just going to skip whole sections of the game once quests became low-level, then why have them?
This was where I started to see that the player-base of WoW really must not care for the lore of the World or even the stories in the game. Because, I was merely following the quests to hear the story…to learn about the characters and to help out the NPCs of the world. I also did it because it earned me reputation…it got me achievements…but if I were to talk to people about it, they would just tell me that doing all of these things was just a waste of my time.
…and what REALLY frustrated me was when I was being told these things by people that had been playing since Vanilla. They had been there since the beginning. They had played all these areas before. Because they had already experienced it, of course skipping it seemed like no big deal to them. But, for someone who was new (like me) and who did not know the lore, the story, the history (also me)- skipping it just seemed like a waste of a game. Why buy it and play it if all I am doing is skipping huge chunks of it to catch up to the rest of the players?
Catch up to the rest of the players or you’re just wasting time and space.
That was what I was quickly learning about the WoW community and how it ran. There is never a chance for new players just to enjoy themselves and to experience old content without being judged in one form or another. Unless they are unlocking mounts or trying to get some gear for TMog purposes…exploring old areas and doing trivial quests just seems completely stupid and taboo to most players nowadays.
But then there came a moment when I realized something…
I was on a new character and had made it to lv.83 (or something close to that) when a guild-mate asked if I wanted a run through the Ice Crown Citadel. He said it would give me some cool gear and maybe a mount if I was lucky, so, I agreed. That’s when he said: “Meet me in Old Dalaran.”
After explaining to him that I did not know where Dalaran was, he told me that it was okay, I just had to meet him in Orgrimmar and he would show me how to get there. So, I met him there, and he ran me down into The Drag where supposedly, I should have seen a portal to lead me to Dalaran. There was no portal.
He told me that was really weird. There should have been a portal there. That’s when he decided to do an experiment. He flew me to where the Pandaren were camped in Orgrimmar and he asked me: “Do you see a portal here? There should be a balloon tied to it?” I did not see anything.
I told him this and he just said it was strange. He thought maybe it had glitched. But, either way, he found a way to get me to Dalaran and told me to link my Hearthstone to it so I did not get lost.
Well…long-story short, we beat the Citadel, and, I spent a long time in Northrend doing quests and such. At a certain point in my questing (and leveling), I was given a mission. I think it was lv.85 when I was asked to go back to Orgrimmar, to watch a cinematic about Thrall on Mt.Hyjal and then speak with Garrosh etc etc. Suddenly…guess who could see portals? Me.
Turns out that at certain levels, you get special quests that try and advance you. These quests allow you to see portals only when you have done the prerequisites to visit those places! Quests are essential to unlocking content!!!!
And knowing that…it kinda pissed me off. All the time I was told to blow-off quests, all the time I was basically told just to hire mages to port me wherever. I just don’t consider that to be gaming…I consider it lazy. But, I realize it’s not really the community’s fault. They have been shaped by WoW’s poor design. They have been shaped by all the new content being shoved down their throat…and it has made them think that if they aren’t playing with everyone else then they aren’t really playing at all.
That’s why we have new people joining and immediately boosting their characters to lv.100. That’s why a bunch of new people that get recruited by their buddies get shoved into Heirloom Gear and then think the game is way too easy. This way they can hop right into the new content without giving a second thought to the old content.
So I really think the World should make a change…
…and by making a change, I think they should really start separating their content so that old content stays relevant and new content can still be enjoyed without having it feel like it is mandatory to jump into right away and skip everything else.
How would they do this? I really do not know.
Guild Wars 2 has a way of doing this quite well I think. They have quests that you can do at your leisure, but then they separately mark a campaign quest that lead you along a type of story. I guess if WoW had anything like this, it would be like the way you progress through Legion. If the rest of the expansions were made to fit this model and separated into their own zones…people could still get the story, unlock what they need to, and it could still have some importance to it (all the while they could still skip unnecessary questing if they wanted to).
But instead…you are shoved into a World where you have your starting quests, then you have to find quests to keep exploring, then at some point you are too high a level to do anything other than trivial quests. Then a guide starts blinking telling you sections to travel to so that the quests are at your challenge level, rinse and repeat until you reach max level and/or you’re playing the new content. Meanwhile 90% of the game is going untouched…
I understand this is me just being picky. I like being organized…and I like it when other things are organized as well. There have been ways that I have fixed this “issue” merely by level boosting one character to play the new stuff while my old characters enjoy the old stuff. But, it’s a lot of juggling…and it can be a hassle.
Then you have people like my wife that just like to explore. But then she sees all the new stuff she cant have unless she rushes ahead and into areas she is not comfortable with – and then she has friends that want to play with her but then laugh because she doesn’t like to dungeon and is only in her 20’s as far as level goes, and she doesn’t use Heirloom Gear to basically cheat her way out of having to grind.
But this is where I think WoW went wrong…
Will they ever fix this? No. I can never see it happening. It would take too much time on their part, too much effort…and they would have to shut down whole zones which they would never do. They never even fixed flying in Silvermoon City so why would they bother to do this?
But…all of this aside…I still love WoW. I play it how I see fit, and if people don’t like it, they can kiss my ass because I’m paying $15-a-month to ENJOY the game, not make it into a chore.
Still, lemme know what you think in the comment section down below! Thanks so much for reading, and, as always, I will see you all in the next blog 😉