(Editor’s Note: Do I really want to pay 15 bucks a month to play Pokemon?)
I have played World of Warcraft since just after the release of the Burning Crusade expansion. My journey began, as I suspect many did, with a free trial account. I started a Night elf druid for potential role playing possibilities. As I read the introduction paragraphs to each class and race, the druid’s connection to nature spoke to me. Having no previous connection to Warcraft, I chose Night Elf because I saw the races of the Horde as evil and I wanted to fight on the side of good. I’m not opposed to evil characters and I even admire many of them from books, TV shows, and movies. I just enjoy games more when I am the hero. I suspect that many others are like me because there are so few games that feature a villain or even an anti-hero as the main playable character. Fewer still become major successes.
I enjoyed WoW greatly and became immersed in the expansive story that felt so much larger than my character, a helpful community that mostly treated noobs like me with respect and a world that was just as massive as the storyline and really pretty in spite of the cartoonish graphics. I remember walking up to the gates of Ironforge for the first time and being awed by them. It was like the AD&D stories of my youth were coming to life on my computer screen. Keep in mind that I had not even experienced dungeons or raids yet. I just wandered the countryside with my PvP flag on (I know this because I unwittingly became bait to catch a stealthed rogue causing havoc in Astranaar) happily completing quests and reading lore to fill in the huge gaps from never having played any of the games.
The community was not a small consideration. There are several reasons that I have not played League of Legends. Gameplay, which I wasn’t sure about, certainly wasn’t one of them. I have since started to play Heroes of the Storm and I rather like the concept of those games. Primary among the reasons is that the only legendary part of the game is the toxicity of the community. I experienced this first hand. In three games (my entire LoL career), I played with exactly one helpful person out of twelve teammates. More than half of them (7 or 8) insulted, bickered, flexed internet muscle, and lamented that none of them were LoL pros because of all the noobs holding them back.
World of Warcraft never felt like that. Sure, there were unhelpful (and downright rude) people in the game, but those willing to answer even the most basic question outnumbered them at least two to one. I vividly remember stumbling upon a hunter during my early days of adventuring. The poor soul was being ravaged by a wild beast and completely unable to defend himself. I did what any honorable hero would. I killed that dirty animal and saved his life…or so I thought. He whispered to me “What the hell?” before explaining that he was trying to tame it as a pet. I apologized and we both had a good laugh about it.
I have run the gamut of noob to semi-obsessed raider before settling on my usual role of filthy casual. My original character, the druid, is still active. He has gone through a name change, several server moves, and a brief consideration of a faction change to be able to play with a friend. Instead, I created a new character (a shaman) who has become a second main. That character is now in the guild that was started by Scott Johnson, the host of The Instance. My account was compromised once and all of my gear got sold or disenchanted. I know that it is often a joke, even among gamers, that WoW is for no-lifers, but I really have experienced so much in game that it sometimes feels like a second life.
After taking another break for a couple of months, the Warlords of Draenor hype got me. I heard about the game getting a graphics update on character models, getting to go back to Outland (sort of) to meet many of the legends of the game, and an overhaul on the game that some were calling WoW 2.0. Once classes let out for winter break, I came back to the game. I enjoyed it for about a month as I leveled to 100 and chased after a core hound mount that I honestly had no chance of obtaining. Ever since, though, I have been in one of my WoW funks and I generally only log into the game to immediately log back out This is the earliest into an expansion that I have felt this way.
I even said to my wife, “I might finally be done with World of Warcraft.” That is a loaded statement because you aren’t ever truly done. Another expansion will get me interested again and I might repeat the process, but what if it is just another month or so and then I’m putting it back on the shelf. I can’t keep justifying the cost for so little entertainment value. There’s nothing wrong with moving on. People and circumstances change and it might just be time. I’d be lying if it didn’t make me sad. I have a history with this game that goes back almost a decade. Even if it is “only a game”, that’s not an ending that you take lightly.
So, you could say that quite a bit is depending on Patch 6.1 of the game. The main problem is that I don’t actually know what I want from the game. In the past, I have fallen back on other pursuits. Most recently, I really started to enjoy pet battling. For some reason, not that has me excited and I haven’t collected a single pet from Draenor other than two crafted Engineering pets. I have also traditionally leveled alts to keep busy, but the story this time wasn’t interesting enough to do again and there aren’t enough dungeons to keep me entertained through another 10 levels.
So, let’s see if 6.1 has anything to entice someone like me to keep playing. Some “no news” is that flying isn’t still prohibited in Draenor. I, personally, don’t mind that flying has been disallowed and flying isn’t something that would make the game any more enjoyable for me. A new raid is being released to some fanfare, but I’m not even geared enough for the current tier of raid content. No, not even LFR. Maybe if I stick around, I will get around to it at the end of the expansion like I did in Pandaria. Raiding just isn’t my thing anymore.
Initially in the expansion, I kept busy with garrisons, but I’ve maxed all that I wanted there. Is there anything new for garrisons on the horizon? Actually, yes. First, and maybe not overwhelming, is customizable music in your garrison. I may not be an obsessive raider anymore, but I do like collecting things in the game and this gives me one more thing to collect. It probably won’t be my first priority, but I will get around to doing it eventually. Actually, now that I read that, I realize that I haven’t even opened my pet building in the garrison.
I once dreamed of being Azeroth’s greatest Pokemon (er, battle pet) trainer. Maybe it is time to put on the old Safari Hat and tackle the tiny beasts of Draenor, especially those bastards that have infiltrated my garrison. After that, I think that I will level my skinning toon to make some gear that might get my shaman closer to LFR ready. So, there are some things that I can do in game. None of them are directly related to the new patch.
This is the first patch of Warlords, so you can’t expect the best content. Still, it is quite underwhelming. The only “new” stuff is for raiders with a few added features for the filthy casual collectors like me. If you left the game before Warlords released, come back to experience some cool new stuff. If Warlords wasn’t quite what you hoped, patch 6.1 doesn’t add enough new to make it worth returning. Maybe the next patch will have more. Otherwise, I might drop out for a break the earliest into an expansion since Cataclysm.