[WoW] Freely Returned

I find it ironic that I am returning to World of Warcraft at the exact moment subscribers are apparently leaving in droves. I am also returning for free deciding to create a new priest in a new server rather than removing 10 years of dust from my priest of old.

Yes, a decade of dust. I bought World of Warcraft to tide me over for Guild Wars 1. That $15 was a lot back then, and so when I really was hitting the leveling wall I quit. A friend used my account for awhile so I have a few expansions. He quit with Pandaria.

I would say it took a pretty perfect node to get me back. I love Heroes of the Storm so am constantly seeing “advertisements” in that. I am bored in Guild Wars 2 with that expansion nowhere in sight. I just can’t bring myself to get back to The Secret World, where I dislike combat, or Lord of the Rings Online, for sentimental reasons of keeping my memories back in the good ol’ days rather than what appears to be a pale horse. And, I can play for free in World of Warcraft up to level 20.

My strongest memories were of Elwyn Forest; gliding through the treetops on the flight service. Then there was that haunting, perfect music. I picked up a new human priest on Ravenholdt (RPPvP), and away I went. What was new after a decade gone?

The UI is slick as ever, and while I didn’t need the tutorial overlay, it was really well done. It seemed much more interactive than mere text bubbles popping up to be ignored. I am well aware that one of World of Warcraft’s crown jewels is the polish of interface.

I blasted through Elwyn at a speed I really didn’t recognize. I never needed to sit down to replenish. I was barely scratched. Even Hogger, a “group” event, didn’t even cause me to pop a healing potion. This was all fine, and I expect that a few expansions in Blizzard will need to speed up the early sections.

At level 10 I became really confused because of the new trait system. New to me. I don’t have a clue as to when it was done. I clearly remember the old tree’d trait lines with points. Now I just clicked a specialization. Well, since I will be solo’ing so much of the game, the damage spec for priests seemed right. Right?

Wrong. After choosing it, I peeked at some comments on leveling a priest. I was supposed to go Discipline. That seemed so weird. Shadow spec replaced my main attack with a weaker one. Discipline gave me a new, very strong attack in addition to my bread and butter.  At level 15, I guess I got more character options (Talents). Nothing seemed overly helpful. I chose the passive.

To be honest, I was pretty disappointed at how I was receiving new skills and abilities around level 10. It seemed too simple. I remember it being more complex. I remember having more choices in my skill rotation. It really is not exciting to level up, at the moment.

Elwynn Forest was pretty much as I recall. I was just starting to get annoyed with the “running game” when I moved on to Westfall, which has had a revamp from the Cataclysm expansion. I really enjoyed that zone’s quest arc, and I hope to enter the dungeon soon. I’ve moved on to Redridge Mountains in the mean time.

I am honestly not sure how long I’ll walk this path. It is interesting to see this MMO after 10 years. In one sense it is satisfying knowing I am so far out of the loop that “completionist” at this point is laughably impossible. On the other hand, will I just be leveling indefinitely or will some group content along the way change things enough? How much effort do I put in to it? Right now my mindset is that this is MMO filler. Very polished, highly regarded MMO filler.

Once I hit level 20, I will know for sure how far I want to take this. If I do subscribe, joining a guild is top priority.

–Ravious

7 thoughts on “[WoW] Freely Returned”

  1. Beyond Penance being stupidly overpowered (and it pretty much stays OP until about level 85), the main reason to pick healer is it’s quicker to level by repeatedly running random dungeons than it is to quest as DPS. Play a tank and you get the best of both worlds.

  2. I’ve been tempted to come back to WoW as well. I read something about managing your own keep with the latest expansion which sounds very appealing.

    The latest GW2 trait changes left me confused for a few hours. I have it down now, and there are some interesting builds as a result of the changes. However I still find myself in WvW rather than doing any of the same-old PvE content. I can only zerg so long before even that gets old.

  3. “the main reason to pick healer is it’s quicker to level by repeatedly running random dungeons than it is to quest as DPS.”

    This is not true. Running a dungeon *once* with the quests available for it is better than questing as a DPS, but repeatedly running a dungeon without quests is worse than questing as a DPS in terms of XP/hour.

    “Yeah, Penance is insane. I could not believe that this was in the ‘healing’ spec. So versatile too.”

    It’s not nearly as powerful at max level, relative to HP values — especially in regards to damage. Still one of your two best healing spells as Discipline.

  4. “That seemed so weird.”

    It is weird and, as far as I know, priest specific. Shadow Priests basically suck until level 21…at which point they actually pick up Mind Blast and Devouring Plague and are good for leveling/DPS. Every other DPS spec I’ve played has gotten a major ability and/or bonus at level 10 when you choose a specialization. Arms Warriors get Mortal Strike (rather than at level 40), Fury Warriors get Bloodthirst, Protection Warriors get Shield Slam, etc.

    That said, this was the case in Vanilla as well…Shadow Priests were actually terrible for leveling until level 28 (you got Mind Flay at level 20 but the damage was worse than Smite…but the level 28 Mind Flay you bought from the trainer was much better).

    “To be honest, I was pretty disappointed at how I was receiving new skills and abilities around level 10. It seemed too simple. I remember it being more complex. I remember having more choices in my skill rotation.”

    You didn’t. At your level the only difference as Shadow would have been having Mind Blast but not Mind Flay. I played a priest in Vanilla and BC too (hell, I still do) :P

    And if you were a warrior, you were literally depending on Heroic Strike and Rend as the only abilities you could even use for a very long time (except for Execute which you got at level 20ish I think, didn’t get your “main” spec ability until level 40). It was pretty awful.

    “I don’t have a clue as to when it was done. I clearly remember the old tree’d trait lines with points. Now I just clicked a specialization.”

    It started in Cata and continued in MoP.

    The old “trees” had three major problems:

    1, while they felt good while leveling in terms of constantly getting points, they sucked at max level if you needed to adjust one or two points because you had to redo *every* talent point…which would be 90 of them if the original system was still active.

    2, as expansions went on it became harder and harder to avoid having “splitting” points across two trees being superior — if you can have both Mortal Strike *and* Bloodthirst then you need something really insane to make it worth skipping Bloodthirst and going further into Arms, for example. It also means that early talents can’t be that good…which resulted in the early levels (usually 1-30ish) completely sucking. Now they can give you cool stuff from the start without you being able to “double-dip.”

    3, the old trees were a trap. For 95%+ of the specializations, there was one right way to do it and anything else would broadcast to people that you were a “n00b” who didn’t know anything about their class. And you wouldn’t be invited to groups as a result. It was literally just a “Can you google your class” check. The other 5% of specializations still had 90% of their talent points set in stone…they just had a few to do whatever with since the choice didn’t even really matter.

    As a leveling system the talent trees were fine, perhaps even superior…but not at max level. There the talent trees were terrible and failed at their goals.

    “Once I hit level 20, I will know for sure how far I want to take this. If I do subscribe, joining a guild is top priority.”

    You’re welcome to join my guild if you’d like — though I’m on the Greymane server (PvE). So you’d either need to make a new priest or spend real money to transfer your current priest. Not sure how much you’ve been following WoW news but, technically speaking, once you subscribe you can indefinitely pay for your subscription with gold (though it’s difficult to make enough gold to do so until max level). If you’re curious about the attitude/environment of my guild Stubborn of Sheep the Diamond’s written some posts that mentioned my guild, some of them being…

    https://sheepthediamond.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/a-bit-of-a-surprise/

    https://sheepthediamond.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/surrealism-or-a-pleasant-change-from-the-past/

    https://sheepthediamond.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/spoiled-for-shortage/

  5. World of Warcraft convinced me that talent trees, for all that players love having their options laid out, are basically impossible to balance. They’ve only got a limited range of uses where they’re a better option over anything else: as essentially a tiered unlock system, where you give players enough points to get 90% of what’s available. For most other talent designs, it’s usually worth either having a more straightforward unlock system, like a grid or web, or have players unlock sets of options of which they can only have one at a time. (This is how WoW and now GW2 handles character builds.)

    (I’m also ignoring the wide variety of character building techniques built around either minimising passives, or aggressively tying them into active abilities.)

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