Back In The Mud

A few weeks ago, my wife finally got her beta invite to the upcoming MMO that I have been playing a lot of and really enjoying. I can’t wait to share my thoughts but they will have to wait until my NDA restrictions are lifted. So anyway, my wife logs in, makes her character and I start to show her around a bit, and not five minutes in, she looks over at me sheepishly and blurts out, “I miss Warcraft!”

For those of you who don’t recall, my wife and I left Azeroth about six months ago at the peak of our long and illustrious raiding career. We were burned out, bored with the repetition, obligations that we could never avoid, and uninspired by the alt options. For me, World of Warcraft had been a wonderful and enjoyable three year stretch of my fifteen year MMO addiction, but for my wife, it was her first love. Anyone who has played MMOs knows how strong that fondness runs for the game that sucked you in…

Since leaving we have played through LotRO, and four beta tests, and I haven’t given a second thought to returning, even going so far as to prepare to purchase two copies of the beta that has me hooked right now. Boy was I shocked when she gave me that look and asked if we could return.

So back to WoW we go. We have decided to roll new Horde characters, on a server where we have complete anonymity. After more than three years on Alliance in beta and live, we realized neither of us had ever played a horde character past level 10. We haven’t seen the Horde cities or towns except to raid them in world PvP. We had completely missed a large portion of the game’s available content.

Our agreed vision of the elder game will be the PvP side of things which we had both always really enjoyed but never had the time to really focus on with our raid obligations. This approach will also present me with a very interesting perspective on the perennial treadmill model MMO problem, Mudflation, and how it has effected the Azeroth economy. Starting out at level 1 with no friends, no alts and no cash will be interesting, and the first such experience since my beta character was wiped for launch way back in November 2004.

I have expressed my predictions for where the game is headed on numerous occasions, and now have an opportunity to witness first hand, what the new player feels upon entering an aged server of a game that is nearing the crest of its wave. Expansions always segregate the new and old, the haves and the have nots, but patch 2.3.x seems to have made strides to address some of those issues. Only time will tell I suppose, and I am looking forward to this journey of enlightenment.


5 thoughts on “Back In The Mud”

  1. At about level 40 the content merges will ally.

    At level 19 you will realize, “Hey, I’ve got a ton of money, rep and gear to grind all over again.”

    When you get to 70, you go “Hey, I can’t keep up with all the gear thats out there in PvP or PVE. They are ahead of me 3 years. I have to go grind BG’s to keep up.” Because you can’t find a group to pug anything until 70.

    Then you think, about the time I get done with that, WotLK will be out and all those purples will be replaced by a green.

    All PvP servers are is 70’s ganking you while you level. All it does is slow you down. You will never get a fair fight. All you think is… ‘When I get to 70 I’m going to come kill people that are leveling…’ Woo hoo great fun.

    WoW has become another job this is no longer fun.

    /sarcasm off
    /cynic off
    /wow off

  2. I spent 3 years and literally dozens of characters on Alliance and kept trying to level a Hordie thinking to see the other side content, but I could never do it. The whole big open spaces, save the balance of nature schtick in Kalimdor was just dull. Loved Tirisfal Glades and got to level 20 through Silverpine 3 times but couldn’t get any further.

    I hear you on the first love though. I think I’ll always be happy to revisit Azeroth when/if I have the free time lying around. I imagine I’ll check out WotLK just to walk in the world again, especially if it captures the Eastern Kingdoms feel like it appears it will.

  3. Well Longshot was certainly cheerful :)

    For myself – I spent my first two years of WoW mostly alliance on a RP-PvP server. I’ve raided – I’ve survived the old pvp honor system and I’ve never let others expectations for the game or those playing it impact *my* fun. But I did the same thing – I walked away from the game for a while and cooled my heels.

    When I came back I decided I was done with the Alliance and went 100% horde. Everything etomai just said he couldn’t get into really resonated with me. I was home so to speak. So in my typical slow and steady style I started rebuilding that support structure you’re talking about. Building characters up – making money – making friends – exploring.

    I think because I wasn’t worried about keeping up with the raiders anymore or having to fight to maintain my weekly honor rankings – I didn’t care about the life sucking grind that the game could indeed become.

    With the 2.3 patch in play and leveling now accelerated from 20-60 (not to mention a bit more mid-level content) – I feel like I’ve gotten a second wind. I’m enjoying my play more – seeing levels faster – and excited about where my toon is headed next…(now if I just had more money >_<)

    I hope the both of you enjoy your time in Azeroth again. There really is nothing quite like starting over fresh – some of my favorite memories come from doing this. Good luck – and watch your back!

  4. Two insights spring from this post.

    Firstly, YOU “were burned out, bored with the repetition, obligations that we could never avoid, and uninspired by the alt options”

    I think your wife felt differently, but went whither thou goest (go’ed?) because playing an MMO by yourself isn’t even half as fun as with a loved one.

    Secondly, in terms of absolute fun quality and enjoyment development, were any of the games you tried anywhere near the WoW level? That’s the problem with MMO’s today, we have one MMO titan standing there and dozens of rodent MMO’s making the footing treacherous.

  5. @Coherent: WoW is without a doubt the best-marketed MMO in history, but that doesn’t make it more fun by default. The gameplay hasn’t changed much since launch so, regardless of new content, people who didn’t like it then won’t necessarily like it now. AC2 was fun but had a playerbase smaller than most html games. CoH/V is great fun; it just needs to spice up the post-35 grind. Etc., etc., different strokes and what not.

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