Why You Should Start Playing WoW Again
If you’re like me, WoW was one of the most fun (and intense) gaming periods of your life. Many people I know went down a WoW hole for sometimes months, sometimes years. If you’re really like me, you’ve tried to go back several times, but the game had changed so much, it never really captured you again that second or third or fourth time. Well, it may be time to fire up your blizzard.net launcher again, because I have some compelling reasons to join fight.
- The Battle for Azeroth expansion promises to be exciting and feel more like classic WoW
Due for release in 2018, Battle for Azeroth promises to reignite the old divide between Horde and Alliance by creating zones each faction is tasked with attacking. These are 20 player cooperative battles that Blizzard says are inspired by and designed to feel like classic Wow. Acknowledging that players want more classic-feeling content is a big step for Blizzard, especially considering they spent years making expansions to change, warp, and even erase many of the features people fell in love with in the beginning of the game. First with Legion, and now with BfA, I think we can see pretty strongly that Blizzard is seeing more success from dismantling some of the more “out there” changes they made than adding/changing the core components of the game.
2. Legion erased many of the annoying, inconsistent, and rushed parts of the game
When I tried to restart WoW the last time, which was just before Legion came out, I was overwhelmed. There were so many little ticky tacky things to learn and remember; everything seemed so large and unwieldy that it quickly became a hassle rather than fun to play. For example, the garrison system. It was built like a Facebook game inside of WoW. You had to manage timed contacts, recruit people to do your bidding, wait for herbs to grow, and so on. This all happened in your own garrison, which for me, defeated the purpose of an MMO. If I wanted to farm and play time management building games, I would not be playing WoW. I want some epic content, meaningful battles, awesome loot, and I want it all while side by side with my friends and fellow horde.
Legion essentially erased the embarrassing garrison system, which I’ve heard from players was likely a rushed expansion that was a trial for some other content. Legion also pared down and streamlined much of the unwieldiness of the world. They got rid of some spells and abilities, changed the way weapon drops work in in-game raids, changed some long grinding quest lines for top ranked gear, and so on.
3. Leveling is fun again
Blizzard has implemented a new level-scaling system that makes leveling more fun and streamlined. Rather than needing to follow a fairly strict path from 1 to 110, the zones now scale to your level. As I leveled up one of my new characters this weekend, I played with a “refer a friend” friend. Even though we were getting bonus XP, we didn’t outgrow any zone we were in. In the past, if you played with a “refer a friend” friend, each zone’s quests would quickly become gray, giving less and less XP.
Some players who figured out how to game the old leveling system complain that this new scaled method is slower. I personally like that leveling isn’t so overwhelming. The last time I played, I felt like I still didn’t have a handle on my character by the time I reached the upper levels. I wanted to spend more time exploring the world and learning to play my toon. I’ve found that this new leveling system eliminates a lot of frustration around not knowing where to go and what to do next as well.
4. WoW Tokens
These may be contentious, but for me, they’re a dream. WoW tokens allow you to exchange RL money for in-game money. I bought one token for $20 when I created my new account, and I was able to auction it for about 171,000 in-game gold. I don’t consider this cheating; I don’t think it shows I’m not willing to put the time into the game. What this does is eliminate annoyances that would likely mean I would quit the game one month into it. Let me explain:
I don’t have many friends that play anymore, so I am unable to get things like bags without buying them for myself. A lack of bag space is a huge problem in the early levels. It makes questing harder, and it really impedes your ability to level your professions on pace with your character/zone level. I spent about 8k on bags as soon as I exchanged my WoW token, and for me, it’s so worth it. I likely will buy things like rare battle pets or other non-essential items with my remaining money, or perhaps I will spend a little more on leveling my professions than I otherwise would. None of these expenditures give me an advantage in PvP combat or an unfair edge against another player. They’re convenience purchases, which I’m totally OK with. The fact that I can spend $20 and eliminate so much annoyance is pure genius on Blizzard’s part.
In the end…
Many people speculate about the number of subscribers WoW currently has; Blizzard itself points out that almost all numbers and charts published online are simply fabrications. Some numbers we know are correct (because they come from Blizzard) show that Legion created a huge uptick in WoW subscriptions that is going down much slower than what typically has happened after other expansions. By the end of 2015, WoW only had about 5.5 million subscribers (and come on, if you played the game then, it sucked).
After the 5.5 million number came out in 2015, Blizzard stopped providing updates on the number of subscribers. However, about a year ago, Tom Chilton–a big time game dev for Blizzard–reported in an interview that the game had about 10.1 million subscribers (just FYI, Blizzard maintains no numbers were given during the interview; Polish magazine maintains this was the number Chilton reported). This means that with Legion, Blizzard almost doubled their active subscriptions. I think these numbers show that WoW is back, and the next expansion should be a home run. Blizzard spent years trying different formulas, with varying levels of success. But they now have a system that works, and the numbers back that up.
And, let’s be honest, I need some folks to play with. So throw your hat in the ring and join me!