It’s no secret that I’ve been playing WoW for almost a month now. As much as I hated to throw in the towel on WAR, I felt I had to. This decision raised a lot of questions for me. There’s one big one though: “How does a WAR-type player survive in a WoW-type game?” WoW and WAR have always been compared, and the resulting flamefest is only a small indication of just how different the two games and playerbases are. Oil and Water is an understatement.
There were three and a half metric shit-tons of things I hated about WoW when I last played it, prior to Burning Crusade. Going back to WoW with a free-trial, I figured I’d give it a shot and see how things have changed. Here’s what I hated, and here’s how they changed it up.
* Then - I always felt like I was just doing the same ol’ thing. Killing five million Murlocs was awful. Really awful.
* Now - After getting to level 61 last night, I can honestly say that I’ve never grinded. Not one time did I feel I had to sit there and farm a mob over and over again. Sure, there are times when you need to find a random drop from mobs, but it isn’t audaciously bad.
* Then - Questing wasn’t innovative. Kill 20 of these. Farm 5 feet from bears. Give Sammy Hagar over there some new threads. Boring…boring…and boring.
* Now - Things have gotten better. There’s a bit more variety. You still have the ol’ “Verb Number Noun” quests, but there’s some other *fun* ones too. Flying above Booty Bay dropping bombs on pirate ships was pretty enjoyable. Adding in the Phasing aspect greatly increased the believability that I was doing something important. Additionally, the quantity of most quests has gone down. Where you’d have to kill 40 ligers before, you now only need to wack 10 or 12. Finally, stealing the “Red Blob” from WAR was a good thing ™. I hate wandering around looking for skeleton arms. Now I know where to go!
* Then - You’re sitting in Ironforge, spamming the Trade channel looking for that last DPS to fill up your 5-man raid. And then your healer quit. Sonofabitch. It took forever to get into the instance, since you had to run out there to boot.
* Now - Cross. Server. Queues. – I’m in love with this feature. It’s strikingly similar to the SC function of WAR. Queue up, let the system match-make the group, kill. I wish WAR did the match-making part, honestly. It was no fun SCing it up with no heals.
* Then - ???
* Now - They have them. There’s a hell of a lot of them, too. I’m an achievement whore, so this caters to me specifically. I like to get out there and just rack up some numbers. It is a nice break from questing or raiding.
* Then - I always felt poor when I was on my Warrior. I did quests, I grinded mobs, I sold loot…and I was still piss broke.
* Now - At level 60, I went and bought my flying mount, the training required and the Cataclysm training for the old-world flying. I dropped a little less than 500g, and still had over 250g to spend. That’s some good cash. Showing the sell-value on the quest rewards was a HUGE part of this. Even though none of the rewards are useful, I can still pick the one that sells for the most.
After all this, it was pretty easy to hop back in. The level of polish in the game really speaks to the deep pockets Blizzard has. I realize that they have a hell of a staff to put towards even the most tedious minutia, but that’s the stuff that translates into a refined experience. I wish all games had the coffers that Blizzard did. That would be an interesting market, ripe with competition and innovation.