WoW Wednesday – Eight Years Later
By Meredith Watson, OnRPG WoW Reporter
Last month World of Warcraft had its eighth anniversary. There was some hope from the community that we would get a pet as we have in the past such as the 4th and 5th anniversaries when pets were waiting in the mailbox. Instead, like last year, an 8% XP buff (though last year was 7% – see what they did there? Clever old Blizzard) and a temporary tabard were waiting for us on login. Presents aside, a lot of changes have occurred over these last years with regard to WoW – many for the greater good and some that should be scrapped. Read on for my top three best and worst changes.
The Top Three:
This is something that should have been in the game long before 4.3.0. Almost every game out there has some sort of appearance feature. Instead of giving us a separate appearance tab or the like (and free) Blizzard opted for making us pay through the nose for our “mogs”. It makes sense. We have so much gold now and have nothing better to do with it than spend it on looking good. It seems most are more than willing to pay for the service and spend the time finding the right pieces. The only downside is that a lot of low level items that can be used by alts or first time players are extremely expensive due to catering (and making a profit) to the mogging community.
Account-wide Achievements and Mounts
A very recent but most welcome change. It just stands to reason that if you earned an achievement once or gotten that special mount that all your characters could share it. After all, you are only one person doing the work. It is fantastic not having to grind out certain reps to ride certain mounts after having done it once. Or your main got some awesome raiding achievements that your alts would likely never get but now when on said alts everyone will know you are hardcore. It is all about cred now anyway.
Since Blizzard has mastered phasing it seems they use it whenever possible. Phasing is super for storytelling. It adds a new dimension rather than just reading some quest text. The lore nuts love it and rightly so. One of the best examples of phasing and indeed story telling is the Sylvanas quest line in Silverpine. Another brilliant example of phasing that was done in Wrath of the Lich King was the Battle for Undercity quest line (no longer in the game but can be done up to Wrathgate). Phasing was used before Wrath of the Lich King but very minimally and not noticeably. However, Wrath of the Lich King relied it on quite a bit and Cataclysm took it to a whole new level.
The Worst Three:
Cross Realm Zones
This goes without saying (though I have quite a bit to say on the subject) but it is awful. Some may disagree though I can’t think why they would actually like it. I’ve written about it before because I feel strongly about it. It is crap. Talking to a friend last night who happened to be in-game while I was checking my email before bed, revealed a very grumpy Worgen druid. He was annoyed because at 11:30pm, the zone he was in was full of players stealing kills. It isn’t just stealing kills but also camping of mobs, lack of resources and just bad behaviour. It is like Blizzard bottled some of the worst aspects of the game and sold it to us as the next best thing. I just fail to see the point of CRZ. Yes, I know they want the zones to feel full and for new players to have a social experience, which must mean they want new players to experience kill stealing, camping, and lack of resources. Because outside of a guild, that is usually what the social experience in WoW entails.
It has been months now since 5.0.4 was released and with it the “talent” changes. I still hate it. I was reading my twitter timeline the other day while two of my tweeps were discussing different talent builds in Rift. I remember when talents used to be a big deal in WoW. People spent so much time over them and enjoyed it. Now, talents really just don’t matter. We are playing our characters the way Blizzard wants us to play them. The only hope I have is that Blizzard will once again change the talents with the next expansion as they often do.
This isn’t one particular change but an eight year process. Over the years Blizzard has continue to simplify this game to the point that, literally, a five year old can play it. At the risk of sounding like an old woman reminiscing about the good old days, there was a time when the World of Warcraft was a challenge. Can you remember when there weren’t quest indicators? When you’d just run around forever looking for a certain NPC? Or how about finding sungrass before there were sparkles? Maybe even remembering that Molten Core required a Dwarven priest with fear ward? Now, almost everything is just handed to us (including how to play our classes). Levelling is incredibly fast and stupidly fast with BoAs. Next, like in some F2P games, we will just be able to click the map and automatically walk to the destination point or maybe the devs will come around and hold our hands while we play. If you can’t make it in WoW, you won’t be able to make it anywhere. It is quite possibly the easiest game to play.