I’m sort of ashamed to admit, but I relapsed. I went ahead and done the biggest mistake a nerd can make. I resubbed to WoW.
It all started with a friend sending me the new scroll of resurrection thing, asking me if I’d be willing to give the MMO another shot and possibly subbing for a bit, so he could get the special mount as a reward. The offer was quite lucrative as the scroll enables a free upgrade to Cataclysm and the option of instantly leveling one character to 80.
I decided to stop being a pussy and downloaded the game. For reference; I originally left WoW a few months after Sunwell came out (pre-WotLK) with a bitter taste in my mouth. I haven’t had any desire to go back since.
But wow, maybe I should have. The game has changed so much. I kept up with the major changes and features new expansions brought, but I didn’t imagine they left it in much better of a shape than it was before.
First of all, the achievement system completely blows the Tome of Knowledge out of the water (I’ll be comparing WoW to WAR a lot, because that’s the last MMO I spent a lot of time on). The guild system is vastly superior to anything I’ve ever seen before, with the leveling and guild spell features being unique and fresh. LFG and LFR systems are something I expected being designed a few decades into the future and the fact that Blizzard managed to overcome the major technical problems and actually implement them amazes me to no end. But forget the technical wonder, the thing actually works. Playing with random people from random servers has never been so fun!
Trying PvP I was blown away. The dynamic of huge hit point pools that makes characters unkillable with sustained damage, counterbalanced by completely random bursts of lethal damage to keep you on your toes, along with the rock-paper-scissors game of 10 second long disables, diminishing returns and PvP trinkets makes WoW’s PvP the best competitive gameplay currently available in gaming. Arenas are the perfect example of fun PvP in small doses and rated battlegrounds broaden the options by providing bigger melees that are incredibly engaging. It’s such a nice change from WAR’s frustrating ORvR cluster-fornication and grindy scenarios.
Then there’s the meat and taters of Blizzard’s pride; the PvE. Having leveled and new character I can tell you that it’s a completely fresh experience. Gone are the days of grindy quests, repetitive gameplay and disjointed narrative. Leveling sucks you in and spits you out when you ding 85. Sure you’ll be all smelly and sticky but that’s probably because you haven’t showered in such a long time. Eww.
When you blitz your way to 85 a whole new world of raid content opens up. Gameplay suddenly takes a turn in a new direction, a direction you’ll be challenged to master. Conveniently enough the decisions of spec, gear, forging, enchantments and whatnot is made easy, there’s only one that’s correct for most of the classes. But fear not, if you want to delve deeper into the game and enjoy min-maxing there are endless nights of googling and doing math awaiting.
Judging from the raid content I experienced the days of not standing in fire, continuously pressing a pair of keys or watching health bars empty and fill up are over. It was immediately clear to me that Blizzard really learned the lessons taught by previously developed PvE content, as you will be struggling to not stand in shadowy circles, dodge lightning and fireballs that are made hard to spot for your enjoyment. Pressing a pair of keys is made even easier with the advent of long and complicated macros no one understands, the pinnacle of which is pressing a button that appears in the interface during the encounter in rhythm with other players (obviously Blizzard picked up on the cravings for Dance Dance Revolution related gameplay). And if you like being a healer you’ll love the changes on that front. Forget about watching health bars. Actually, forget about watching anything, because spamming AoE heals doesn’t even require your attention!
It should be clear by now that I was blown away by the game and can’t see myself unsubbing any time soon. At first I was scared about getting addicted but quickly realised that I can hardly be faulted for being addicted to perfection. As long as Blizzard manage to stay true to their current development policy and keep pushing out new and engaging content, I’m willing to keep throwing my money at them. MMOs don’t get much better than this.
PS: Sorry for the lack of screenshots but I was too busy enjoying myself to press Printscreen (not to mention the fact that I’m playing the game with a gamepad now).