*** This was originally posted to the official World of Warcraft forums. ***
I’ve been reading several threads, here, and it seems that everyone who posts here are level 100s – very experienced and long-term players. I thought it might be interesting to post some observations about current WoW from another point of view, or two.
I played WoW for 4+ years, from before BC up until WotLK was new. I played about 8 hours a week, reaching level 60 not long before BC was released. I reached level 70 before WotLK, and quit the game just two levels into that expansion.
When I started WoW as a pastime, I chose to play an orc hunter because I liked the concept of lone hunting through the wilderness. 90% of my play time was solo play, 9% grouped with some real-world friends (my old D&D game group), and 1% in a guild raid (with the guild my D&D group were members of). I never joined that or any other guild.
I was a solo player. The couple of guild raids (20? people) I was a part of were rather disappointing – not bad, just not as fun as my solo playing. Although one of my favorite memories of all my play time was a PUG raid on the elven city in Ashenvale, (can’t remember the name). I was top level (60), then, and that 1-2 hour long battle was just crazy fun. There were between 10-20 of us Hordies attacking and from 0-20 Allies defending – the numbers rose and fell as people came and went. (I had a grand total of just one PVP experience before that, in a battleground.)
I enjoyed this game until the end where it started to feel like a repetitive grind. So I just moved on to other things.
Recently, my sons got me into Hearthstone with them, and this got me interested in trying WoW again. So we, (my two sons and I), all got accounts to play together. We’ve played a few hours, and are enjoying the time. (We’re only up to the Northern Barrens so far.)
The game plays much as I remember it, at least at low levels. The change in landscape kind of threw me off for a bit. (For example: I tried to run from Durotar to Mulgore at 4th level!) But the biggest surprise/issue for me and my sons was the enormous variation of mounts and pets everywhere. It’s kind of cool to see an occasional dragon rider overhead, but the city streets are sometimes packed with huge beasts running to and fro, or standing in front of vendors and auctioneers. It’s gone from “oh cool” to “geez, just get out of the way.”
Both my sons have commented that it ruins the mood of the sort-of/kind-of medieval fantasy to see so many motorcycles and machine mounts running around. Especially in Thunderbluff, (where we all began). I kind of agree with them – it’s a bit overwhelming, the variety of the super-fantastic when you’re still challenged by normal wolves in a near-stone age environment.
As my family is playing, I’m remembering many of these quests we’re undertaking. And playing as a [small] group is very different than playing solo. My older son (14 years old) is picking up all the quests, running around as an orc warrior killing and looting everything, gaining xp hand over fist. My younger son (11 years old) picks up just one quest at a time as a tauren shaman, does it in a straight line there and back to turn it in, gaining xp much slower. I want to point out about this: They both are intentionally role playing a bit – the feral orc running into the thick of action, and the peaceful tauren helping NPCs and avoiding unnecessary conflict.*
It’s an interesting lesson for game designers to see how my boys enjoy the game in two very different ways, and how I’m now experiencing the game in a very different way than I previously did. I’ve read many threads here discussing various late game aspects that I probably won’t ever see, (and honestly don’t care if I see).
Anyway, that’s my story, for now. It’s interesting to see the game from different points of view.
* It would be nice if you could gain xp and levels without being a blood-thirsty kill-em-all player. I know I’ve felt . . . icky . . . doing some quests that I wished could be done in ways other than attack and bring back their head.