Is WoW stronger than ever?

Maybe it’s just me.

As I play through the Wrath of the Lich King, I keep feeling… “So, where do we go from here?”

What’s funny is, nothing really has changed in the game. Not in terms of having things to do. There seems to be no valid reason to have any complaints at all, at all.

In the first expansion, a new continent was added, the level cap was raised, new factions were added along with new gear for those factions, a new Profession was added, existing Professions had tons of new recipes to level through, new specialties for Professions were added, many new instances were created, Heroic modes were added for those instances once you reached the level cap, and new raids to move through after that came into play. The first raid was made HUGE and had a player requirement that most guilds could meet, even if the rest of the raiding environment was too difficult or too time consuming. Daily Quests were added as a source of income and rep gain.

It was a major success. The feel was… epic. Just epic. Even a year and a half after the expansion had been released, there was STILL stuff to do, and have fun.

Part of that, of course, was the addition of new content periodically, such as the Sunwell Plateau. But we still found ourselves loving Karazhan, and the new Badge rewards, and PvP, and Zul’Aman timed events, and so on. Epic.

So, how is Wrath any different?

A new continent was added, one that feels even larger than Outlands. And can I say, I LOVE not having the entire stupid science fiction aspect in my fantasy game? I love science fiction, sure, but if you want to add sci-fi to an MMO, Blizzard, please make Universe of Starcraft and let me play a Terran Firebat, okay? Okay, nuff said. Continuing on, the level cap was raised, new factions were added along with new gear for those factions, a new Profession was added, existing Professions had new recipes to level through, new instances were created, Heroic modes were added for those instances once you reached the level cap, and new raids to move through after that came into play. The first raid was made HUGE and had a player requirement that most guilds could meet, even if the rest of the raiding environment was too difficult or too time consuming. And new Daily Quests were available for income and rep gains.

In fact, all raids are supposed to have a 10 man component that makes them much more accessible, far more craftable BoE Epics were added, daily quests for Professions were added, some quest chains had new in-game cinematics, the graphics of gear were improved across the board, zones were designed with the idea that you could fly built right in, such as Icecrown, and lots of small touches were added like toys for mini-pets, cooking quests, motorcycles with sidecars, and new quest types that included controlling vehicles and flyin dragons to rain fire and destruction on the earth, and perform dragon versus draqon aerial combat.

So, how could anyone possibly feel like the game is less now than it was before?

Well, all I can do is go by how I feel in the game.

The first thing I feel is that we now have one continent too many.

When we had Azeroth and Outlands, we complained about having to return to Azeroth every time we wanted to interact with the Auction House. There were plenty of other reasons to go to Azeroth, we had the Sunwell Isle, the Caverns of Time, Zul’Aman in the Ghostlands and Karazhan in the Pass. We complained about the Auction House being Azeroth-only, but there were still plenty of reasons to pop back to Azeroth for other things. There still felt like reasons for returning. And a Community Moderator informed us that the AH was in Azeroth to force us to visit the old capital cities, so they felt vital and alive for new players, instead of a vast ghost town.

Most of us made bank alts to hang out in the main cities and interact with the AH, mailed our stuff to them, and moved on.

In Wrath, we have the exact same situation, no Auction House on Northrend. Still. But where there is a reason for returning to Azeroth once in a while, the single Caverns of Time instance, we now have almost zero other reason to return… and try as I might, I can think of no reason to ever return to Outlands. The continent of Burning Crusade is dead as a doornail, unless you are trying to level a Death Knight.

It does not feel as though we ADDED Northrend to the game, adding content. Instead, it feels like we replaced Outlands with Northrend. Outlands are now this slum part of the city nobody visits unless there is one specific thing they wanted… then they go get it and get the heck back out again. Outlands serves no purpose except as a place to level through as soon as possible to get to Northrend… and then, the vast majority of players there are Death Knights.

Which brings me to my second point, which is that Burning Crusade was out long enough that the majority of players that wanted alts, had plenty of time to level ALL of them to 70 AND get them decent gear. I started late, having stuck with my Druid for ever and ever, and I still managed to get a Hunter and a Priest to 70 and raid with all three 70s long enough to get them all Exalted with Violet Eye, AND get a Shaman to the mid 50s. Sure, there may very well be new players all the time, but seriously… how many folks are starting ANY alt except a Death Knight now?

And Death Knights start at 55, and leave their starter zone at 58… able to enter Outlands directly from Eastern Plaguelands, never having to step foot in Azeroth except to say ‘hail to the chief’.

I don’t know how your guild rosters look these days, but I’d say a solid 30% of our online players in the guild at any given time are Death Knights. This has created a noticeable imbalance in the tank/melee DPS ratio to healers and ranged, because the general consensus is that DKs are a lot of fun to play… which is great, but it certainly underscores how rare any alt other than a Death knight is. 

I don’t particularly care how having so many Death Knights will affect raiding composition in the future, but it is a contributing factor in making me feel that the alt game is slowly dying. With experienced players having the ability to instantly create a level 55 Death Knight for the alt urge or to learn a new Profession, who exactly wants to go back and redo the 1 to 55 level game? Especially after having had so much time to level alts already? And how will new players feel when they create their new level 1 main character, and enter an empty world… until they reach level 10 to 12, enter their starting zone’s capital city, and experience the joys of Trade Chat for the first time?

Let’s move on to point number three… the depth of the game.

In Burning Crusade, the Professions added a ton of new recipes, and some seriously amazing items… most of which you had to actually HAVE the Profession to enjoy, and even after crafting the item, you had to keep the Profession to equip it. Most of the desirable recipes were either random world drops, stupidly difficult reputation rewards, or rare drops in high end raids.

And there were many complaints.

The funny thing is, though, that the system catered to the collector in all of us. No matter how good you were, there was a recipe, somewhere, that MIGHT drop that would be a ‘oooh’ item for someone. For most collectors, it is the hunt, the chase for that elusive item, that keeps the blood pumping.

In Wrath, we got what many of us had asked for. The recipes that people will want are accessible to everyone based not on random chance, but on time and effort. You want that Jewelcrafting recipe? Then put in the time to do the daily quest, and you are guaranteed to get it eventually. Want that Enchanting recipe? Disenchant enough Blue items and you can buy it with Dream Shards. Want to make craftable BoE Epic leather? Pick up some Arctic Furs off the AH and buy the recipe you want, when you are ready.

It’s great for everyone that has a Profession and is in a small guild, or is in a big guild where someone else on raids is the designated ‘Profession Drop’ person. No more trying desperately to find that one person on the server that got the Recipe drop you want, no more feeling that there is only one person in a guild that you go to for an item. And the mat cost is also easy to obtain, all you need is gold. Want that Epic? not only is the recipe obtainable, but the modern equivalent of the Heroic Drop, the Frozen Orb, drops often and is easily obtainable on the AH.

But… the hunt, the chase for that rare recipe, it’s gone. The need to run a instnace to get that special mat to craft it… it’s gone too. In many cases, there may even be a feeling that there is no reason at all to go past a certain point in a Profession, because there is nothing special waiting at the ‘end of the rainbow’.

Cooking is the most blatant example, with most recipes turning green at 425, and nothing new to get after that. Each Profession is now very nice to have for it’s own reasons… but once you have it, and you’ve leveled it, if you get the recipes you want from the trainer and the vendor, you’re done. There is no need to lift your view from Dalaran, and eye the array of instances and raids open to you in search of the next recipe to add to your collection. A handful of reputation recipes is about it.

I think that is enough for you to see where I’m going with it.

There is more to do in Northrend, and everything that has been provided to us in the expansion has been done with an eye towards learning from the past, and fine tuning everything to be smarter, more accessible, and special. Quests, professions, mini-pets, daily quests, factions, graphics… there are no missteps here at all.

But the difference between Northrend and Outlands, to me, is that the player base is two years older at the core, two years wiser to the rules of the game, and two years more advanced in completing content. Towards the end of Burning Crusade, leveling was accelerated to keep folks interested, keep them in the game long enough for Northrend to give us all something new to do, but has ended up with everyone bunched up at the same starting line, looking for the referee to shout ‘Go!’.

And everyone is leveling at their own pace, but we all started at the same point, and it’s not that far to reach the finish line. Even the slowest among us will be hitting max level by the end of January, even if you are flipping back and forth with two or three characters.

So after everyone on the server is 80 in month or two… what will we have to keep us interested in the game?

The same things as before. Raids. Heroic instances. Crafting and Professions. Daily quests. PvP. Alts.

So, my thought is… is there enough depth to Northrend, enough depth to Professions, enough depth to existing instances, and enough fun in PvP and raids to keep all these hordes of level 80s going?

And for how long? Three more months? Six? A year?

Is there enough depth to the game to keep non-25 man raiders going for six more months? If the next patch brings another raid, Ulduar, but has no other content, no other recipes or instances or quests, will Northrend continue to satisfy?

I have to tell you, I don’t personally think so. I think the initial rush is going to be over soon… soon in MMO game terms, maybe two or three months. The first character will hit 80. Then that one will work on Professions and instances and raid, while an alt gets leveled.

But six months down the road, with all alts at 80, all Professions maxed, all desired BoE epics acquired, and the choices being narrowed to raiding, running instances, PvPing, or leveling an alt in the wasteland of Azeroth from level 1… I think it’s going to slow way the heck down. There will always be players that will hang on forever, just look at Everquest 1 or Star Wars Galaxies.

But I honestly think that, as things stand, give it six more months and people are going to wander away. A lot. Especially non-Raiders.

I’m very curious to see where we go from here. Very, very curious.


My hope?

If I have one thought about this, it would be to hope that Blizzard has given some thought to revitalizing all of the old content, slapping it with a fresh coat of paint.

Yes, they removed requirements for many things to make it easier to get a group to do… things like removing the need for Aqual Quintessence to take on Ragnaros in Molten Core, or needing the Urn to summon Nightbane in Karazhan. Things to encourage folks to go back into old world content that they hadn’t seen before, and for folks that are too lazy or busy with other things to grind those old quests or reputation chains to get those items.

But the one thing they haven’t done is give us a new reason to go back to old world raids, other than seeing the content. Seeing Molten Core brought my guild in there, but that only happened once. Onyxia, we did a few times. UBRS, the same. Especially for the Jenkins titles.

But if they add that one special element to the old raids and content that people pretend they are above caring about, the LOOT, then you’d see some actual running of the stuff.

What is the number one area I’ve seen people return to in old content, time after time after time?



Two reasons; seeking the rare Tiger mount, and trying to get the Turtle polymorph spell.

Does anyone try to get the faction rewards for ZG? No.

But if they added a new faction for the old raids, a new faction that had relevant rewards for level 80s, perhaps like the new Bind on Account items to give to your alts… if there were bind on account drops added to the boss loot tables… or things 80s would love, like new mounts, new spells like Polymorph: Rabbit, new quest rewards for the new faction… well then.

Even more fun… what if there was a single massive quest chain added, unifying all the old world raids?

A quest chain that required you to collect a drop from each end boss of each raid, in order to follow the quest, and in the end, you would gain a bind on account legendary item that would be tied to a title like the current Achievement for completing them all? Perhaps you could earn a token letting you buy one legendary bind on account item for every time you completed the entire chain, that looked as sweet as the Death Knight weapons, and scaled in power for your characters.

If you knew, knew going into Molten Core, that not only were you entering a massive raid with lots of history to it, but that you could earn a new faction rep that had recipes or items to get, and you had the chance to get a drop that would be actually worth having, do you think you would be more excited to go? Or maybe knew that there was a mount that you had a reasonable chance to get, or a new class specific item or spell?

You wouldn’t need to make a heroic mode of the raids… maybe tune things up a bit to compensate for 80s, but people already try and run them with as few people as possible, to maximize drops. I don’t think level of difficulty for stuff tuned for 40 level 60s is that big an issue.

There are just so many ways to revitalize the old content… and I think, honestly, that something will have to happen by July, or we are going to see some serious issues.

33 thoughts on “Is WoW stronger than ever?

  1. Yeah, I know what you mean, on my huntard I hit 70 midway through netherstorm (alternating with shadowmoon)
    Later on, with my druid, I was a bit more careful and since i had that nifty flight form early on, was able to do things a bit faster, but still this was pre Wrath, so i still went through those two final zones fairly well.

    Fast forward to 80.. I hit 80 puttering around in ZD / SB (alternating when i got tired of the scenery) I had not even touched Icecrown or stormpeakes, and had only one round of wintergrasp under my belt. This was doing just questing, only 3 dungeons (uk, nexus, drakwhatever between ZD and grizzly) I still haven’t scratched the surface of the quests available to me. I’m just now opening up the sons of hodir questline. (very fun so far) have activated a few areas of icecrown and working on my ebon blade rep, they have some fun dailys by the way.

    I haven’t even started work on the oracles/wolvar rep chains beyond the initial quests.

    I guess now i need to decide between fully fleshing out my current 80 main, and bringing my alts all up to 80. (I prefer the term “situational mains”.) (Hi, I’m Katt, and I’m an altaholic.) 1 bank, 1 dk, 1 mage, 1 druid, 2 huntards, 1 lock, 1 pally, and 1 priest. (only the priest and the bankrogue are under 40, only the lock and the pally are under 60 )


  2. Long time no chat BBB-

    I will whole-heartedly agree with your assessment here. I see big problems for maintaining interest. To me, WotLK feels not like an expansion with 10 new levels but simply new content to replace BC.

    Here’s my specific issues:
    – I think the game is too easy now and has been ‘dumbed’ down too much. This means, I think that instances don’t even need pure tanks to complete….boo. There have been some 3 person group quests that can be solo’d. Gimme a break – I fondly remember HAVING to wait for help with certain mobs. Maybe I’ll find some hard challenges but so far – not a one. Perhaps heroics will change my feeling but then again – I didn’t want to be doing Heroics 2 months after a release anyway.

    – The rate at which you level / gain XP is out of balance, completely with the content and scope of the zones. I’ll bet I could be 80 (currently 77) even if I skipped entire zones – let alone completely roughly 1/3 the quests available. I understand that rested XP and getting ALTs to 70 was important – but why, oh why, did they leave Sonic-boom-like XP available for the release of this expansion ?
    Note I also seem to think it used to take progressively more XP per level , getting a feeling of accomplishment. Not only do I think you can get that Next-level too fast – I think that it’s also possible to get to 80 w/o ever leaving dragonblight. Sorry but I remember XP ‘drying up’ in BC and before forcing folks on- (if you wanted to level).

    – Agreed about the thrill of the chase / drop. It’s why I got hooked on these games to begin with. EQ1 did this for me. Just one more kill…famous last words. A chance that you might get that Named to pop…to perhaps get what you need. The thrill – yes, exclaim out loud thrill, that came with finally getting an item… Making everything ‘easy’ such that you can either craft or Quest your way to Naxx readiness is great…with a but. Again I go back to , it’s too easy, and ..dare I say it…it takes too little time/effort. I felt getting Kara ready – despite having to farm for drops – was more satisfying. Anyway -I have mixed feelings on this last point…….

    To summerize – I feel like Outlands zones were pulled out, replaced with Northrend, levels 70-80 did not need to be provided – rather I feel cheated with the work needed to get from one to the next. It all boils down to difficulty and time , to me anyway. Prior I got a sense of accomplishment – now I just just get…… that Next Level.

    To me anyway, I feel like I’m redoing what I’ve already done 100 times before – with some very fresh paint on the walls. I hope this changes as I get to 80 but I fear that it won’t. Granted I thought I wouldn’t be 80 for 6-9 months…shows what I know.


  3. First off, I love wrath, i got to 80 in 7 days, sucks to be on the unemployment list, had to wait for guildies to catch up for heroics.

    And for the record, I do not want to level a DK, my 80 druid tank is to much fun for me, I don’t want to learn how to tank as another class, but I almost wish that blizzard would allow me to start say a healer, at 55, and lock my option for a DK, I wouldn’t mind one bit. then I could actually run heroics with 2 toons, instead of being 1 tank trying to run with 1 of the 3 healers in the guild, and the 15million DPS classes. Maybe I should make another Druid tank, instead of a healer…. LOL!


  4. Interesting perspectives from people who have been playing the game for a very long time. Speaking as someone who has played for a little less than a year, I have to say I am enjoying WoW immensely. I am enjoying the discovery that goes along with all the quest lines and zones and instances and figuring out how to play various classes. Levelling is secondary to enjoying the game in other ways. I’ve never been to Northrend, never quested in Outland and I personally have no desire to make a Death Knight. I’m just having a great time levelling my Druids, my Warrior, taking some through Hinterlands as Alliance, some as Horde, some levelling through the 50s in Azshara and some in Un’Goro.

    There is so much new content, so much fun content, even in the “old world”, for those of us that are new to the game that Blizzard is going to have to try real hard to screw it up for me. I mean, yeah, Northrend sounds like it will be great and I do want a bike. I’ll eventually get there. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the journey. The journeys, plural, of characters in various race/class combinations questing in various zones all heading the same general direction.

    And there’s more than just quest/story related content . . . there are battlegrounds! I could eat up months of playing without levelling at all just playing the battleground games. And there is social content! I love the holiday events. The player interaction they involve, some of which is relatively pointless relative to the “game”, but are just fun to do. That are both especially enjoyable with friends and also provide a vehicle to make friends within the game.

    Maybe my perspective will change after years of playing the game too. I’m guessing, though, at that time there will still be new players looking at the World with fresh, wonderstruck eyes like I do for now.


  5. I am feeling the ‘meh’ now. The last few levels have been painful (i just hit 79 now on my main). But here’s the thing. 1) The game is very new still. 2) There is still a ton of content most people have not seen. Maybe you missed the 60 raids or 70 raids, or the 60 or 70 dungeons. Maybe you missed the rep grinds for vanilla or TBC. Maybe there is a pet you can get, or a mount you can collect, or a rare recipe drop. While leveling through, i’ve had to deal with inaccuracies in quest helper, just like everyone else. What if we did quests blind, ie no helping at all. That would make the game a great deal more challenging. I’m not sure it’s my type of challenge to spend half an hour looking for a sparkly item somewhere in the game world, but whatever. Point being, there is still alot to do. For me personally, i have 3 toons still at 70, i have 4 toons i need to bring their professions up, there are rep grind to do, i’ve only seen 2 northend dungeons.


  6. Honestly I think many of you who have yet to reach 80 will find much of the content exciting. I agree that it certainly felt like smashing my face against the keyboard as I erk’d through each of the 1.55 million exp levels. Once I got to 80, however, suddenly I had time to explore all this other stuff I had skipped while leveling.

    Like Dalaran. The first time I went there at 74, I was lost as all get-out. I wandered in circles for several minutes, before accidentally finding the flight master and getting myself the hell out of there. When I hit level 80, I went back and really explored the city. Found the quirks contained within, and where to go for whatever I needed (banks, prof trainers, portals, battle masters, etc.

    Like Wintergrasp. While I was leveling, it was an exp boost that I greatly appreciated. Once I hit 80 and went to actually TRY the battle portion of it, I found it was lots of fun. Whoa whoa, I can use these shards to buy a giant freaking mammoth? Win.

    Heroics, rep grinds, maxing professions, exploring the continent (and I mean actually looking at the stuff you’re flying over), finishing out zone quests you skipped, pushing for achivements, timed Stratholme runs, Sartharion + drakes, Naxx, Malygos (man I totally love that fight), titles, money, fun stuff, etc, etc, etc.

    There’s seriously tons of stuff to do in this new content. That coupled with going back just to see how much stuff you can solo now at level 80 has made this expansion tons of fun for me.


  7. I read the official forums and I remember someone suggested making an heroic version of all dungeons months ago. The Blizzard’s response read as if this was a radical and interesting idea and would be taken under serious consideration.

    It is possible the reworking of Naxx provided sufficient data to estimate the amount of work involved of making this a reality.

    It would be great to run heroics version of the dungeons I skipped.


    I disagree with Solidstate as to the lack of developer resources. It is possible, in my opinion, to build a team of a very few senior members and many junior members to develop an heroic version of the old dungeons, especially if they were to be released one or two at a time. The impact as to new content would be minimal.

    There is a risk this team would fail miserably and the revamp project never released but that’s pocket change to Blizzard. The potential rewards of such a project far outweight the risks in my opinion.


    I do not see a mass exodus from WoW happening anytime soon. My impression is WoW is the Wiii of the MMOs and will tap a huge market base that no “serious” MMO can tap at the moment.


  8. Lack of developer resources will pretty much ensure no reworking of old content such as you suggested B3.
    Achievements were put in place to give people a reason to go back, including doing old raids. Up to a limit, they have been successful. But Blizzard have been pretty consistent in their stance of not re-visiting old content and for the most part I think they were right to do so, if indeed it freed up developer time to think up of new and exciting level 80 content.

    Yes, maybe in 6 months we’ll all finally get bored with WoW, after playing it for over 4 years. Then again, Blizzard keep finding ways to keep us entertained and happy and very very busy 🙂


  9. Not a month goes by that someone in my guild doesn’t talk about wishing they would revamp old-world Strat, or Scholo, or BRD (personally, my favorite instance in the game, hands down).

    I don’t know if it’s even necessary to slap much of a new coat of paint on it. Heroic Scholomance that buffs it all to level 80? Count me in! Heroic BRD? Heck yeah!

    But a revamp? Or a new progression that picks up where Stratholme left off for level 70+? I’d be there in a flash.

    EQ1 did this, and did it well, when they revamped some of the old world zones for the highest tier of players. While I had moved on from EQ1 by that point, talking to friends who still played, it revitalized the interest in the older world content.

    I think Blizzard does themselves a disservice by not going back to those old instances, the ones chock-full of lore, substance, and depth, and make them more desirable for the level 80s than just another achievement.

    I hope they do something like this – it seems like a pretty low-hanging fruit to me.


  10. I agree with most of what you say B3.
    I felt a sadness come over me when i realised that all of the no-one would work towards the things i had achieved in Outland. I felt even worse when i visted Shattrath and found it COMPLETELY deserted.

    I have a friend who had used to always only manage to level his chars to about 40 and give up, but he got one to 55 once. He has since started a DK and is now lvl69. He absoulutely ripped thru Outland, skipped most of it by all accounts. Thinking back to my first experiences of Hellfire Peninsula just after TBC was released….grim times indeed. I had a badly geared Warrior and was resting after each mob it was so tough (+repeatedly dying). Second time round was easier with my druid, but by no means easy…pop and heal every 3-4mobs or so.
    I watched my friend nail about 8 mobs of his own level and finish on about 60% HP….that’s when i REALLY understood what had happened to Outland. It has become a transitory place, a means to an end.

    Although i am happy my friend is finally catching me, i sort of dont agree with the means by which he has done it. There is just NO way he would ever achieved this sort of level without a DK starting at 55 and the massive nerf of Outland.

    Northrend….now then. I agree with earlier posts, and have said this same thing to other players….Wrath is still a baby. Lots of the “staples” of Outland were not included in it’s initial release, such as Netherwing and BT. So while Wrath is in it’s infancy, i’m taking the oppurtunity to relax…i am currently chasing the “Loremaster” achievement…nothing else would ever have gotten me to spend this much time in Azeroth again, but here i am all the same.

    Oh and i agree about the heroic gear requirements being far too low… used to seperate the clueless idiots from the informed players… i’m finding myself in heroic with the sort of Mage who likes to do the pulls…..shocking.


  11. We’re seeing a direct impact of this already in our guild.

    We were raiding Kara and ZA prior to the pre-Warth instance nerfs but are definately casual. We have a good core of people but a number of them after getting their mains to 80 have ‘take a break from WoW’. My wife and I play WoW together and are both feeling the same after hitting 80. It’s all a bit ‘Meh!’

    Our hope is that, as the rest of the guild catch up with those of us who hit 80 early we’ll get some of the zing back and get on with the 10-man raid progression content we were all so very excited about 2 months ago.

    Unfortunately the plethora of DKs being levelling in the guild mean we have a huge healer shortage. We’ve gone from having 5 solid raid healers in badge/ZA/BT Crafted gear to having 1 80 healer (my better half). It’s so desparate that I’ve put my War to teh side having pushed her to defence cap and maxed profs to level my pally to help out with healing!!!

    I think it’s those of us who were raiding that have something still to aim for but for more casual players who have no goal to start raiding… who knows what will keep them playing!


  12. /agree
    I wrote a short post on the official boards the other day about making even the older profession materials viable somehow to the current recipes. I think the people at Blizz are far smart enough to come up with a solution, I just hope it doesn’t take too long to implement.
    Keep on blogging!



  13. I think the main take-away (so-to-speak) from B3’s post is that there is still something (and a lot of something) to do in WoW. In my old way of thinking of things, the game is not all about raiding anymore. As much as I want to be the hard core raider again, unfortunately I can not.

    In order for Blizzard to keep my 15 bucks a month, they had to provide me something else as I transitioned from a low to a high-stress job. I can not spend 10-20-30 hours a week playing this game anymore, and I love the fact that they are opening content up to me without having to do so. Even if I don’t raid 3-5 days a week w/ my guild (and they are, bastards) I still find I am able to do things with them.

    Raiding once a week is totally viable now…. in TBC you were doomed to a life of endless kara runs @ one per week. I really believe this is not the case any more.

    Take the above with a grain of salt, as I have not hit 80 yet and so have not started raiding… but I have to say I think this game has gotten better. Does it have its flaws still? Yeah, but I’m having a hell of a lot more fun now than I ever did…. and as selfish as that is – I’m O.K with that 🙂



  14. I guess that sometimes, the magic just goes out of something, and there’s nothing you can do to stop that..

    When we started playing, we didnt know what was out there, every new area was an adventure, every new level brought better abilities and (especially for us druids), completely new ways of playing the game.

    I levelled very slowly because I wanted to explore, spent hours travelling back and forth across Kalimdor and Azeroth to help Guild-mates, without ever worrying that I wasnt levelling fast enough, and without even knowing what Raiding involved.

    Now in Northrend, I and most of my Guild-mates level mechanically, following guides and using addons like Carbonite which reduce questing to a ‘follow the arrow and hit this’ process. We are our own worst enemies, wanting to have the bragging rights of being level 80 decked out in full epics along with maxed-out professions, because thats what all our peers are doing.

    So, in one sense, players who rush through content and dont stop to read the quest text, or to actually search a quest solution out, are cheating themselves. Taking time to enjoy the content, and not treating every achievement, skill up, or title aquirement like it was some life or death sprint, would make the game more enjoyable and sustainable for all.

    Its almost like WOW has started to mirror real life too much – instead of a sense of adventure, we have a ‘materialistic’ culture where the aquisition of ‘Epic’ wealth overshadows the process of earning the rewards. In the end, the game becomes no more satisfying than real life – simply aquiring status symbols doesnt bring anyone happiness or satisfaction..


  15. I agree. I’m at lvl 79 and honestly I feel I’m running out of steam. It certainly was not the case when 70 rolled around. I couldn’t get into the raids and heroics fast enough. Yet, now /shrug. Leveling has become punishing with only a regular flyer, not a swift flyer. And the new instances, honestly, don’t cut it. I used to love running instances, because when we cleared it I felt accomplished. Now I find our groups asking “Is that it? That was the last boss?” Sure, it’s nice that everything is not a 6 hour Kara, but clearing a whole instance in 30 minutes just isn’t satisfying.

    Plus, no more Isle of Quel’Danas dailies! I need my golds to buy that swift flyer I NEED for leveling. And I do think adding new reasons to go to old content would be amazing. Having started in the BC era I still haven’t seen alot of it, just because there was no reason to go.


  16. I have a feeling we will see several Isle of Q like patches. New factions, new dailies, new badge rewards, new 5-man, new 10/25-man. Add in a new one every 2-3 months and you can hold folks for some time.

    That said, hasn’t Blizzard announced they are working on a new MMO? It would make some sense to allow WoW to die and “convert” everyone over to the new game.


  17. I think what I’ve most missed in this expansion is challenge. I started late only beginning this year and for me hitting outland was a challenge. I actually had to learn my class in order to complete heroics/raids etc. Which is significantly different to heroic/10man raiding today. So far I’ve only been in single boss 25’s (guild is taking there time lol) but in 10’s the only challenge I found was Malygos and I’m sure our second night of that we’ll knock him over. I’m really hoping once my guild hits 25’s that they aren’t the walk through 10’s were.

    I’m loving some of the quest/chains content and lore but theres just not enough of it. In another two weeks I believe I will have finished every quest chain I can find, I’ve leveled my professions and am even trying to level fishing. When those are finished whats left? The idea of logging on just to do dailies and farming 25man content for months leaves me cold.


  18. I hear you, B3. There are so many things I would like to see, from classic WoW content, to higher level BC instances, but no one wants to go do them anymore. And why should they? There’s nothing for today’s 70s in say, The Botanica or Karazhan. I saw all my friends rush to get to 80, while I kept my little hunter back at 70. I would love to see maybe some faction rewards or mounts or *something* implemented that would keep old content alive and kicking – just doing them for achievements simply isn’t garnering any interest.

    My Death Knight is my main for now, simply because I enjoy tanking with him. What I found interesting is there is *still* a lack of tanks despite the DK being a tanking class. No one wants to tank or heal, at least on my server. I’ve found I’ve had a harder time convincing a group that I’m a viable tank than anything else simply because so many DKs are DPS, and the few that are tanks aren’t any good.

    While I don’t forsee a mass exodus, I *do* see a lot of people getting bored very quickly. Several friends of mine already have several characters at 80 and are more or less done heroics. Only Wintergrasp is holding their interest, and even that won’t last long. I’m currently entertaining myself by leveling up Sharvhan’s JC, helping my partner get his warrior’s old Valour set (and get a Lightbringer set for the DK simply for irony), and seeing how many BC instances a rogue, BM hunter (and gorilla), and a holy pally can trio. I hope people can make their own fun in old content, even if it gains nothing but laughs and nostalgia. It’s working for me. 🙂


  19. I’m feeling it a little, yeah. As a 25man raider, I’ll be done with all available content very soon. As soon as the end of this week, maybe.

    Heroism badge gear? Done with it. Heroics? Tired of them. Professions? There’s nothing outright A-MAY-ZING I can’t pay someone else to make, even the Chopper is BoE. Wintergrasp & Archavon? Please stop dropping tier pieces I just spent a lot of dkp on, jerk.

    There’s not a lot to look forward to besides raid drops, and Valor badge gear. I find myself looking forward to Dual Specs, but that won’t have an impact on the amount of content not around to see.

    There is some hope in achievements, which allow you to start things easy and ramp up the difficulty. That might amuse us for a while, but a lot of them are exclusionary, kill X boss with X less people. While certainly an accomplishment, it’s not really fun to make people sit for it. Sartharion w/ 3 drakes & “And They All Go Down Together” type achivements add a little more flavour and difficulty, BUT in order to get the ‘reward’ at the end (drake!), you’ve got to do the ones that exclude friends, too.

    I think that they did a really amazing job with the content in Wrath. The leveling game was awesome and the new heroics and raid instances are pretty awesome.. I just hope it’s not going to be Ulduar + Icecrown and that’s it. Or maybe Blizzard is really hoping to bring us an expac a year? That would keep me interested.


  20. Hey there’s still that rumor of an Emerald Dream endgame zone…

    Plus they haven’t even relseased Icecrown Citadel yet! Forget about new content, they haven’t even released all the expected content yet!


  21. Gastone, I love your idea for alternate questlines for the existing dungeons and revamping them for that.

    What Blizzard has done by releasing expansions the way that they have (and maybe all MMOs do this, I don’t know since WoW is my first) is really make it feel like different games instead of a continuation of the same game. I think that they may have shot themselves in the foot to some degree in doing this because now people expect this from the future expansions Blizzard releases.

    What I think would be neat is if the next expansion that wasn’t as much about a new continent to explore, but rather added a ton of new quest content and factions for 80-90 level players all throughout the existing world, along with the new dungeon questchains for old dungeons that Gastone is suggesting. Why not have a quest chain that starts in Dustwallow Marsh, then takes you to Netherstorm, and on up to Howling Fjord? This would help us feel like were really playing in the entire World of Warcraft instead of “now I am in Northrend, forget about everything else.”

    I don’ t know if people would like that or not, however, since now the expectation with an expansion pack is a whole new world.


  22. We now play a game tuned towards the casual, non-raider populace. A game where you can run heroics as soon as you hit lvl 80, and many people don’t even bother with the regular 80 dungeons.
    Personaly, I’m gonna do them anyway.

    Either way, I like the idea of old dungeon upgrades.
    Stratholme is one of my favourite instances ever, even against all the Northrend ones. I’d love a reason to go back there, other than cash.


  23. I have to agree with the need to spruce up old content. I think in a way the achievement system and heirloom items were a start for this. What I think would be really nice is if they took an old world dungeon, made an “epic” version of it to run if you are level eighty, but have it with an entirely new storyline that meshes with some of what is going on in Northrend.

    Take Deadmines for example. You could rework an epic version of Deadmines that centers on the Lich King trying to get a foothold in Westfall and using the Deadmines as a base of operations to start out. You have quest givers in Northrend giving quests that give players a reason to go there, you do not disturb the storyline for the newer players just leveling, and then you give new content for the experienced players with a rich story line.


  24. While I agree with you that it is sad that when a new expansion comes out, it replaces current content. But….aren’t we done with that content? In vanilla, Onxyia was slain, Rag, C’thun, even KT…they were killed. We specifically may not have done it, but…they’re still dead. Same thing with BC. I feel a little sad that I never got to complete the escort Marshall Windsor quest before it’s gone, but I am happy that the game has moved past that. I’m definately enjoying the less-static-ness of Wrath. It may seem a little weird, but I feel a sense of accomplishment completing a major quest chain and having an obvious impact on the world, vs seeing that epic monster tormenting the down respawning as I’m there.


  25. I see your concerns but I do have to say that so far I’m just enjoying the ride and haven’t thought much about 6 months from now, etc. I do love how they’ve made the Lich King, the ultimate end game boss of this xpac, such an important figure throughout the content. You run into him in quest chain after quest chain making him an important and intriguing figure for everyone, not just those that are pushing through the raids. I do like your idea of the all encompassing quest chain that would require you to go through the old content as well. It would be neat and would also effectively join the new with the old.


  26. I will have to respectfully disagree regarding the second point – suggesting, or rather, prediction mass quits after so and so many months. I think that at this point the WoW ball is rolling down such a steep hill that it’s not gonna stop soon. It gets old – this particular anecdote less aimed at you, more at doomsayers in general, mind – to read the rants of people who saw two of their friends quit the game and suddenly decide WoW is dying. Especially with official statistics being what they are.

    That said, it can’t go on literally forever, of course, but I doubt we’re gonna see a steep decline because Blizzard “missed” with something.

    Now, on the other hand, I agree with your thoughts on revitalizing old content. I’m positive to it, rather than being a naysayer bitching about how they’re taking time away from making actual new content. People were saying that when the concept of heroics was launched, and we can clearly see now that it was a resounding success.

    In particular, I like the idea of bind on account items used as incentive. They could really make it a whole lot simpler, rather than add in new factions or rewards. Just make L60, possibly L70 raid items too, bind on account. Grab a few friends and clear molten core so you can level your alt in full T1 when they ding 60. Heck, if they wanted to do something a little more complex, I guess, take the T1-6 items, make them pale yellow heirloom items, and make them scale from 1 to 70 only, and stop there. If that ain’t incentive to roll a new L1 paladin, full Judgment from day one, what is? Sure, having equal level epics from head to toe will make levelling trivial, but when the muffin hasn’t it been, eh?

    Good post, though.


  27. I can see both sides of the problem, and I think an important thing to remember (and as you kind of mention) is that a lot of the cool stuff you mention – the array of daily quests, Zul’Aman, the really nice badge gear, etc. – wasn’t there at release. Glancing over the Patch 2.1 release notes, I see it wasn’t just Black Temple, but also BC staples like Netherwing, Skettis; then it wasn’t until 2.3 that Zul’Aman showed up, which coincided with the revamp of Dustwallow Marsh. So kind of like how the reason I didn’t see the fabled “Green is the new Purple” syndrome in the early Wrath quest rewards that I saw in BC is that my level 60 gear was really, really terrible, I think a chunk of any Wrath content concerns may be because we’re coming from an Outland that was fleshed out over a year and a half to a brand-new Northrend.

    But, of course, I can’t pretend like they’re not just handing out recipes like candy nowadays. While it’s not a grand role-playing experience to look up what mob drops so-and-so enchanting pattern and then go grind them until they do, there’s something to be said for having that level of indirection that isn’t there when they’ll hand over the recipes for a couple of shards.

    I do really like the idea of sprucing up the old content, too. Blizzard seems to have SOME interest in this with the achievements and holiday-specific bosses, but especially in the case of the latter there’s not a lot of immersive enjoyment to be had in blowing through the SM graveyard on your way to down the Horseman your five times for the day.

    So… all in all, you may be right to be concerned, but I figure there’s a decent chance that Wrath will feel at least as enjoyable long-term as BC did.


  28. Not a bad reasoning in term of ‘game’, but try to think of it as history. BC really didn’t bring any major history related stuff to the game. Yes, you were attacking the burning legion right in their homeland, and you fought Illidan and his captains for a while, but, for me at least, it felt more like ‘let’s tell this side stories instead of going forward’. Now, you beat Illidan, you fought Kil’jaeden which unless you are familiar with the warcraft lore, you really didn’t know who the hell he was, and suddenly you have a scourge invasion.
    Northrend is a direct continuation to the frozen throne, Arthas is finally making his move, horde and alliance are fighting back together against him, we discover a major plot during half the game, we really are going somewhere now.
    There’s a lot of history and things going on in a game that is ‘the same as it was 3 years ago’. But again, for me at least, there’s a sense of being a part of something huge going on.


  29. Empty old world … definitely is. I got sucked into playing again with the expansion, just started a couple days ago. Of course I did it the silly way and decided I’d reroll. Make that mage I wanted, it was my first character’s class but I’ve never gotten one over 20 (it’s WoW on hard mode, for sure). So yesterday evening I was questing in Hillsbrad – and this is on Greymane mind you, a server listed as “full” – and there were three people my faction in the entire zone. THREE. In Hillsbrad. Yup, it’s empty.

    I like the idea of redoing the old dungeons. So many that no one goes to anymore. I suspect though that they would have to be tuned to a lvl 80 heroic difficulty. Smashing lvl 30s or 50s or whatever would get boring quick and wouldn’t justify dropping lvl 80 gear. Anyway for how long now have people been asking for heroic Deadmines?! They could quadruple the number of dungeons people run with one patch.


  30. I totally agree. To be honest, I was the one of three people in my guild who decided to switch mains (sadly in my case from a druid/priest combo), to become a death knight. A few people in my guild rolled DKs just to get through the starting area because we all raved about it. Some of those leveled to 65 to use them as a professions twink. Darkmoon Cards the easy way anyone?

    But since hitting 80, getting some of the crafted stuff made already (in less than two weeks) and doing dailies again until my eyes feel like bleeding (including Netherwing for the dragon)….I’m bored. My guild’s behind me and the only choice for major raiding is to either push for people or leave guild. I’m seriously bored.

    The only reason to go back to Outlands now outside of leveling a toon is to grind for a mount or three (or more). Maybe the occasional roleplay. I hit hard enough to be competitive with my boyfriend, who is in 25man epics (this meaning I can stay within 5% of the difference).

    Maybe if old content was revitalized, some stuff added for BoE items to encourage more leveling of toons or other reasons, I wouldn’t be so bored. Either that or the subscription may end in a few months. Who knows? I completely agree with you, there may be issues. But there is a major content patch coming up soon – maybe there is hope.


  31. Being a casual, non 25 man raider myself I face the concerns you mentioned. Which is why I semi-planned my time going in. My druid main hit 80…over a week ago, but I’m still slowly doing quests and dailies on her, getting her geared for heroic 5’s, haven’t tried pvp yet. And Winter Veil starts today so I’ll be busy with that.

    i’m not starting to 80 on my first alt until I’m satisfied I’ve done everything I can on my main, then it’s wash, rinse, slowly repeat with alt #1 and then #2. Ok, I’m odd, that’s all I have that I play. after my rogue hit 69, I SWORE no more trips from 1-70 for me and omg no more outlands! I won’t even play a DK because I can’t bear to quest through that giant spacerock again…lol

    To sum up, I hope I have it timed out that I’ll be busy until next release. But if not, I’m sure we’ll be seeing patches that bring new achievements, content, dungeons, raids, to keep us JUST hooked enough until then.


  32. Thanks for writing what I’ve been feeling.

    I’m casually hardcore – only at 74 right now (with a 60 Death Knight), and I’m really enjoying Wrath but going to Shattrath depresses me, and I’m not feeling that there is enough to hold me here for another 1-2 years.

    If WoW is going to continue to hold me for the long run then it’s going to have to give me a sense of newness, discovery and vitality more than just one continent every two years.


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