Before getting to the heart of this little humor post, a bit of contextualization is necessary. Like many players dangerously close to thirty, WoW was the first big video game slap in the face of my life. I still remember, on the way home from college, fantasizing (that’s the right word) about my future travels in Azeroth, as well as the journeys I was about to begin, virtually “embodied” in my personal life. Wow, that was also my first real online experience. I literally realized the omnipotence of the Internet and the fact that people could interconnect in fantastical worlds.
All this to say that no other video game in the world makes me more nostalgic than WoW. The satisfaction of making your character stronger, teaching them new techniques, and rubbing shoulders with increasingly formidable monsters and instances is something I’ve never been able to find anywhere else.
This article is a humor post. It’s obviously very subjective and only reflects my “intimate” feelings about a question.
Sesame, do not open
And then the years go by. I am forced to let WoW go for a while, even if the MMO continues to inhabit my thoughts, in a more distant way. And a few years later, it seems to me that a few months after the release of MOP, I reinstalled the game. My first impression is great. The graphics have become sumptuous and I immerse myself with delight in the world of WoW.
But very quickly, another feeling begins to tickle me. The levels are happening at full speed, and the evolution of my character no longer gives me as much pleasure as before. No need to open my quest log to read, RPG style, the exciting quests available to me, where to go and who to beat. Everything is indicated in the mini map, which has become a high-end portable GPS. Dungeons, once sacrosanct instances from which you came away exhausted but happy, have become gear boosters. No more greeting or connecting with other adventurers. The party automatically forms, then splits up and you are teleported to the next dungeon. And repeat again. The little taste of completing a dungeon has turned into a fast food-style force-feed. We are chained. Time flies. no time to stay.
and I haven’t told you yet Sesame. Small “bonuses” that take your characters straight to level 50 or 60, on the brink of content from the most recent expansion. So there’s the leveling completely dissolves in space-time. Get out of the pleasure of learning to discover step by step your character and your class. This is delivered turnkey, ready for new instances. So, of course, sesame seeds are optional, and Blizzard doesn’t require us to start our adventure at level 50. But they sealed the coffin of the increase in levels, laborious but so exciting.
The waste of wonderful worlds
I reread the beginning of my post, and I recognize that he is a bit grumpy, that he thinks that “before it was better”, etc. But let me explain why, from my point of view, leveling “the hard way” was great. Besides the “satisfying” side of upgrading your beloved character level after level, there is also the challenge of appreciating Azeroth and its wonders.
When I was a teenager, when my father asked me “how big” was the world I virtually wandered in, I replied that it would literally take me several dozen hours of walking my troll to cross even a continent. And it was stuck. Well ok – a few years later I found out that I was exaggerating a bit, as Kalimdor is actually only 20 kilometers from north to south.
But still: kilometers and kilometers of magnificent landscapes. From frozen tundras to arid deserts, passing through dark swamps and lush forests. World of Warcraft is also a fantastic world of incredible depth. All sprinkled with NPCs, each one with a story, anecdotes and secrets. And I pass the verse on the architecture of the cities, the detailed decorations of the objects present in the buildings, and of course the colossal bestiary of each small region. World of Warcraft is, as its name suggests, a world, a real one. Carefully designed over almost two decades by very talented developers.. But that, we tend to forget when we teleport from dungeon to dungeon at the speed of light, without taking the time to do a quest, because “too much time and not worth enough in EXP”.
The titan became a two-headed hydra.
So what remains of the WoW of my teenage years when each new expansion suddenly sweeps dozens of regions to explore? When each new continent empties itself and then makes all the previous ones obsolete? When will it be possible to climb 50 levels without leaving Orgrimmar, by chaining identical dungeons?
It is with WoW Classic, in 2019, that Blizzard offers an answer to all these questions (and to all the old nostalgics like me). A return to basics, certainly exciting, but that can also be read as an admission of weakness. Directly related to not being able to create a great unique gaming experience that satisfies veterans, casual gamers, and newbies alike.
Personally, I would have liked to revel in each expansion at my own pace, without having to rush through works that I hadn’t had time to practice when they were released. The gaming experience, in Retail, seems horribly truncated to me. And it’s a shame, because it seems to me that each extension has its share of tasty details and sumptuous regions, buried too quickly after the induction of a new work.
After long weeks of waiting, World of Warcraft Classic players can finally rejoice: the Wrath of the Lich King expansion finally has an official release date! The “Happy Travels” experience bonus is also making a splash!
Wrath of the Lich King: Classic
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