Comic Mischief

"A game that keeps a smile on the player's face is a wonderful thing" – Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo

World of Warcraft: It’s so over.

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I’m done with WoW in nearly every way.

I certainly no longer want to blog about it, but I feel like capping things off with one final post.

It’s been 10 years, and I’ve only ever cancelled my subscription once. It was at the end of Wrath of the Lich King, and after a big guild falling apart, I lost interest.

Today, during Warlords of Draenor, my account is still active, but only because a few old friends have returned and I want to hang out with them. Meaning I log in once, maybe twice a week.

Yeah, I’m paying $15.00/month to play a boring game once a week for a few hours. That bothers me.

I’ve been trying to work out what went wrong this expansion. I’ve never been so completely disinterested in playing. Even levelling to 100 the first time was a chore. I was the slowest one in our group, and I forced myself to get there in the end.

I’ve narrowed it down, and I guess here’s what went wrong for me and World of Warcraft, a decade in:

1. Archeage*

* I’m going to make comments here that are subjective. They’re my opinion, not fact. Nothing like this can be “fact”.

But Archeage is simply a better game. The graphics blow WoW out of the water in every way imaginable, not that graphics are the most important thing in a game. But as someone who never had any problem whatsoever with WoW graphics, there’s no longer any denying it. After playing an MMO with beautiful graphics, it’s impossible to really appreciate the cartoon, over-bright world of Azeroth anymore.

The class and skill system is better. Even if you get to end level (50) and decide you want to play another class – you know what you do? You run over to the Nui (graveyard/skill trainer), pay a small in-game currency fee, and choose your new abilities. You do have to level each spec from 10-50, but there’s no painful rerolling an entire character. There’s no losing your bound items.

There are no outdated race/class restrictions. (Something I expect WoW to eventually get rid of, but at this point, still exist.) If I want to play an Archer style one day and a Warrior style the next, I can.

There are no Armor restrictions. A Mage isn’t forced absolutely to wear Cloth. It’s often better to, but it’s not a requirement. My caster character in Archeage runs around wearing a plate chest when she’s tending to solo stuff because it looks prettier.

The questing system is better. You can get extra progress or overachieve in many quests, meaning if you are asked to kill 10 demons, you might be able to cap out and get an “Overachieve!” for the quest at 15 demons. This nets you greater rewards in terms of XP, but is in no way a requirement.

You can submit quests early, for less of an XP reward. The system is flexible and smooth. There’s no forced tediously riding back to a quest spot because you accidentally didn’t loot one item. Unless you want to, of course. Then you’re free to run back and collect that last item.

The crafting system is massive. I mean massive. There are different proficiencies ranging from the ordinary kinds like Tailoring, to things like Handicrafts, Metalworking, Carpentry. Profiencies cap out at 90,000 skill points.

Levelling up your proficiencies is slightly different. You can make endless amounts of one item forever if you want, you’ll continue to get skill ups, although obviously the cheaper/easier an item is to craft, the smaller your skill up. Or you can work on creating the higher end items at each tier level. For example, I recently got 30,000 Tailoring and crafted a new tier of sash for a nice ~400 odd skill up points.

There are massive – and regular! – scheduled world PvP events, with a small handful of daily quests for Honor. Where the PvP really shines, though, is out in the open world, unplanned and often accidental. Sailing your trade packs across to the other continent? Watch your back and prepare for warfare.

The exploration is superior. This partly comes down to how much better the game looks, but you can also craft a multitude of ships – from small clippers to huge galleons – use your glider to float far away, or just adventure out in the open seas, looking for war or maybe just scenery.

The mount and combat pet system is so much cooler. In WoW you get a certain level, purchase your riding skill and mount from a vendor, and off you go. In Archeage, you receive a quest to escort a baby animal to an NPC. Once you arrive, you receive a quest to grow some food for the baby, then raise it as your own. To raise it, you have to feed it, wash it, play with it. Once grown, the baby becomes your mount. Not only that, you can name it, purchase/obtain armor for it (with actual stats!), and it gains experience while you level or with a certain amount of distance travelled. Combat pets are the same – they can be named, wear armor, level with you, and actually engage in the fight with you.

Not only is it freaking adorable, but the whole system is fun and adds another activity to do in-game.

The land system is far superior to anything available in WoW (yes, including the barracks), but this part will have its own point in a minute, where I’ll explain further.

 

2. Blizzard seem to have lost the plot slightly

I’m sure many people will disagree with me here, but I just feel like Blizzard have lost the plot lately. I normally pay little attention to class balance. I enjoy playing my class and that’s that. It’s okay if I’m not always going to be #1 at everything. It’s fun, so it doesn’t matter.

That changed this expansion. At the start, Shaman were terrible. For the first time ever, it felt like I couldn’t do anything to improve. I was just stuck with crappy DPS and spent most groups terrified I’d be kicked. They gave us some minor buffs. Fine. It’s the start of an expansion, we’re still balancing, it’s all being worked out.

But then, why change something that was “unintended” but the change can only be a nerf? Your priority right now – especially given they acknowledged Shaman were underperforming – is to fix the underperformance, then tweak the insignificant unintended stuff. Unless it’s game breaking – it wasn’t – worry about it later.

They’re still tweaking us even now, with notes coming out recently indicating a small nerf to Fire Nova, but buffs to other stuff.

People were reporting the issues to Blizzard in beta, and yet here we were, start of the expansion and all those reports had gone pretty much ignored.

And just strange decisions, like let’s remove Reforging. You know, that shiny new feature everyone was so excited about. Let’s remove Hit and Expertise from gear. So we’re trying to make gearing “easier”, but then we’re going to implement things like crafted gear with completely randomised stats.

I just feel like the game is in this bizarre situation where they don’t know what direction they want to take it, and there are so many things that don’t make sense and are at odds with one another.

 

3. Celebrated features in WoW are lacking

The garrisons, for example. The way people talk about them, I was really expecting something a lot more. Instead I got a garrison in a forced location with all the building spots mapped out, no room for customisation beyond selecting from a list of buildings, and a follower system pretty much torn directly from another MMO that didn’t quite make the cut in popularity.

I just can’t get excited or even interested in garrisons. Not when you compare them to the land and customisation in a game like Archeage.

Seriously, there are more customisation options for my restaurant in Disney Magical World!

But it’s something WoW has done for a long time now, taken a popular feature out of one game and tried to implement it in their own style. Negative, anti-WoW me at present sees that as them taking a great idea and squishing it to fit into their game.

It’s not done well, but it’s there, and it’s a feature that gets celebrated by the community. I celebrated those features once too, but having wandered away from Azeroth and seen such features in their full, proper form, it’s hard to appreciate WoW’s watered down offerings.

I just can’t see the appeal of a dull work order or follower mission where I click a few buttons and come back to check it later. What’s the point? Why would I want to do that when I can check my farm and actually do tasks myself, and customise it?

 

At the end, the point of this entry is to say WoW and I have had a major falling out. If my friends were to stop playing, I’d cancel my subscription instantly, without a second’s hesitation.

I’m not going to try and find it interesting anymore. And I’m not going to try and wait to blog until I have something to say about WoW. It’s over.

What I am going to do, is start posting a lot of Archeage info and resources. That’s where my interest lies now, and there aren’t a lot of resources out there about it yet. So that’s what will be coming up. 🙂

And yes, I’m aware a lot of this entry probably sounds like whining. It won’t happen again. 😉

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