World of Warcraft – Problems for returning players

It’s no secret that a few weeks ago I subscribed to World of Warcraft. The first time I played WoW was a few years ago at the end of the Burning Crusade expansion and into the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. I was only 13 at the time and towards the end I played it on and off, finally quitting a month after Cataclysm came out. I enjoyed all the time I spent with WoW and I think it helped me a lot with other games that I play. The appeal of any MMORPG is, of course, being part of something larger than yourself, along with a whole host of other draws. However, I don’t want to talk about that today. Recently I started a brand new account and, having got a Human Paladin to level 100 and having progressed at a fairly average rate through end game content, I wanted to look at how some of the changes made are slightly overwhelming for me.

I’ll say now that this article isn’t aimed at people who haven’t played World of Warcraft. I’m not going to be explaining all these aspects as, having tried a couple of times to do so in this article, it takes too long and ends up being a very watered down explanation of everything in WoD.

First of all, I dislike, and am confused by, how obsolete gathering professions are. They always used to be a staple of end-game content, what with blacksmiths, engineers, tailors, etc. requiring different things from each profession. Blizzard were clever in limiting each character to having only 2 main professions each as it meant no one character could get access to everything they needed. It stimulated the Auction House economy and, if you had nothing to do, you could always gather resources to store or sell. Now, not only are gathering professions obsolete, but the prices for items needed to “level up” the gear you get from garrisons are incredibly inflated compared to other gear and other expansions. Since I have skinning and blacksmithing, whenever I am out in the world and see resources it makes me question why I have these professions rather than blacksmithing. That said, I am sure that Legion, the next expansion, will change this to make gathering professions appealing again.

Next, the lack of flying mounts. I know this has annoyed a lot of people, and to me it’s more of a pet-peeve than anything, and of course, due to a bad reaction by subscribers, Blizzard are now going to introduce Draenor flying in the next patch sometime in September, in a way that I actually think is rather inventive as it will be unlocked by getting an achievement. I actually prefer this way to just buying it when you reach the level cap in past expansions but this should have been in the expansion from the beginning. At least it shows Blizzard listens to its customers.

With Garrison missions I feel like there is a lot vying for your attention. Since I came in halfway through the expansion this is probably a problem specific to me rather than the vast majority of people but it feels like there are more daily quests both in and out of the garrison than in past expansions. With a level 100 zone in each area of Draenor there is a lot more range of quests, which is good, but it does mean that, if you just pick up quests without completing them right away, they stack up quite quickly.

I also feel like there is a lack of guidance as to how to develop your garrison, and I am on the fence about this. While I like that you can personalise it, there used to be a certain satisfaction in knowing that what you’ve done is the most optimal thing to do, which brings me on nicely to how useless I think the new talent trees are.

I really dislike them. I disliked the change to the talent trees in Cataclysm and I really dislike the change for WoD. While it gives people the freedom to personalise their character, to a certain extent, without compromising what they do, I feel it is oversimplified and kind of dull. You only get a handful of talent points now and, while each appears to have a larger impact when you first acquire it, I don’t feel that the cumulative effect is that great. I doubt Blizzard will change this though.

The really strange thing is that I really like the new expansion, even if the story was somewhat weak. I liked the design and aesthetic, the prevalence of voice-acting, the more straightforward questlines in each area and the improvements to guilds and social interaction. But all these changes, most of which are fairly minor, sometimes feel overwhelming. WoW also hasn’t managed to shake the sense of duty that comes with doing “daily quests” or things like that, which makes me torn as to what I need to do. I started to try and work out in my head how long it would take me to do the 1 most important daily quest, gather the resources in my garrison, sort out my auctions, send my followers on missions and do 1 dungeon and 1 battle ground. It was getting on to be around 3 hours, depending on the battleground and the group for the dungeon. That, I think, is my biggest problem as, having gotten into Dota 2 and with an ever increasing mound of games that I cheaply bought now that the 360 is outdated, I just don’t have the time to commit to WoW, and I think that is perhaps WoW’s problem, one that they can’t fix.

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