All the ways that WoW changed me

In a recent conversation on what types of reward GW2 may offer players at max level and whether it will be enough to satisfy more reward-driven players, it dawned on me how much I’ve changed my outlook or rather my expectations towards certain aspects of MMOs – since WoW. Now, overall I certainly haven’t changed my mind, I still love the genre for the same reasons: a vast world, beautiful fantasy settings, secrets to explore, character development and real people to meet on the way. Yet there are aspects I’ve fundamentally changed my opinion on or rather my wishes in; maybe I should say that they’ve been satisfied to a point where I no longer appreciate them. And WoW has certainly much to do with it.

I’ve never been a particularly reward-driven player, or rather I would say I’ve never cared so much for items. Items and reward are not the same thing although they usually coincide, especially in MMOs as item-centric as WoW. I play for challenge, for that feeling of accomplishment first and I play for the team; shinies are nice in addition but they lose all value if there are no requirements and restrictions. That’s when I feel “rewarded”, when I overcame an obstacle with others – these are the things we take with us. I would argue that there are actually a lot more players playing for the reward of challenge than realize it – but then, I guess it’s a valid point that if GW2 offered nothing for all the collectors and achievers, that would hurt its popularity. Item drops are of course not the only way to satisfy in this department: I expect them to come up with special dyes, lots of cosmetic items and things like titles or rare pets. If that creates enough opportunities to “show off” in the game I can’t tell, but whoever expects to collect tier/pvp sets and weapons in abundance will get disappointed in GW2.

Personally I couldn’t care less. Whatever value I might ever have put in rare gear or upgrades has been completely and utterly smashed by WoW. To say that I got tired and sick of loot wouldn’t do matters justice. Mind, I still like cosmetics and GW2 offers plenty of that plus the great dye system; but whether I own anything special, expensive or best-in-slot is the least concern in my mind. I loved how my bags hardly ever filled up last beta (and yes…I know about that ‘deposit collectible’ feature….now), give me less loot ArenaNet!

So, that’s my number one for the list of “things that WoW changed for me”. Of course there’s more –

1) Item / gear rewards;Β 
See reasons explained above.

2) Raids and endgame;Β 
Raiding was a big motivator for me to play WoW. I did little else in vanilla and never stopped raiding until Cataclysm. WoW was obviously very focused on its raiding endgame by design, but I simply loved the big scale raids, coordinating so many people, the teamwork, the whole guild effort involved.

The present: These days I loathe the idea of raiding – the whole organisation, the downtimes due to numbers, the headache that is recruitment. I want a close-knit team of a few good men ready to roll in a few minutes. I want content to be accessible for a small group of quality rather than a big ass raid.

3) Roles and healing;
There’s never been a more passionate priest or healing coordinator than myself in WoW. That is the one thing I can say with confidence. I’ve played my holy priest through 6 years of WoW and countless raids that I coordinated. I loved being a healer, being needed support, having that sort of responsibility.

The present: I haven’t played a healer, not even a support class ever since WoW – not in Rift or any other game I dabbled at since. I love my aggressive pyromancer in GW2 and if anyone’s ever going to ask me to join their group just for healing rains, they can drop dead! Oh sweet, sweet mob-centric gameplay, oh sweet not carrying anybody! As for the holy trinity in general, I doubt I need to repeat here how great I think it’s missing in GW2. I prefer to be recruited for playing well rather than for being a role. So far I’ve seen zero indication that GW2 enforces any type of stricter group or spec setup. People have been asking a lot of things in general chat this beta but they haven’t asked for tanks and healers. Healing, control and ressing is everybody’s job or nobody’s.

4) Specs;
I’ve spent unimaginable amounts of time writing guides on raid specs, reading up on stats and talent builds during my time as a raider and coordinator. There wasn’t much freedom there for me; the WoW endgame raid scene was big on things like cookie cutters, optimization and meters.

The present in frank: I don’t give a shit what spec is best and I choose my traits as I go. In fact, I love experimenting and I’ll play whatever is the most FUN and efficient to ME. I won’t ever respec again for anyone but myself.

5) Mounts;
I always liked the idea of a mount, that loyal companion carrying me through the world. I’m fairly traditional in that I prefer horses plain and simple (alternatively a ferocious tiger is okay too), stuff like giant turtles, spiders and erm….green polar bears with shades just seems weird. When WoW introduced flying mounts I was in heaven……at first.

The present: I don’t miss a ground mount in GW2 and I certainly never want to play a classic MMO again with flying mounts. I’ve missed being on foot in WoW, that sense of distance and all the chance encounters. And yes, I could’ve walked through Azeroth and yes occasionally I used a waypoint in GW2 – still, grouping and raiding as much as I did in WoW, getting everyone to wait for me wasn’t an option. It’s also simply a different feeling if the game leaves you no option but to be on foot. As for flying mounts, they were so fast and so convenient, one must wonder what the whole zone design and all the mobs below were designed for. To be rushed through once while leveling and never return?

These are mainly the things I came up with when thinking about all the ways WoW changed my preferences. One can certainly argue that some of the change is due to the effect of time; I’ve been there done that for a very long time, I moved on to wanting different. And while that may play a part, I still don’t think it’s the main factor but rather the way how these aspects were designed and realized in WoW: I might not feel so sick of loot today if WoW hadn’t pledged itself to putting every candy-store out there out of business. I might be less tired of big raids if….literally everything in terms of grouping, recruitment and social control hadn’t gone down the drain ever since WotLK and LFG. I might still enjoy healing had there not been such a rigid focus on roles that left healers with nothing much to do but staring at healthbars and getting most of the blame by lolkids. I might still be interested in what an ideal spec is if I wasn’t so full of spite for anything resembling a cookie-cutter. And I might still find joy in mounts had not every player in WoW run around with one million gazillion mounts to choose from that would all run, fly, crawl, hover and whatever else at five-hundred percent LUDICROUS SPEED (or however much it is by now).

Yes…..I actually might!

Time for some questions!

It would be most intriguing to hear how other longterm ex-WoW players think about the effects WoW had on them (or alternatively another MMO you’ve played a lot), how it might have changed their outlook or wishes for MMOs to come. So, what about you?

Do you think WoW has changed you as a player? In what ways?
Do you think extreme experiences (burnout) have to do with it or is it just boreout / want for new?
How much of the ‘blame’ would you attribute to game design, how much to your personal playstyle choices?
Have your expectations towards a new game changed due to WoW or another MMO you’ve played?
Do you wish for different things in GW2 than you used to wish for?

I realize in retrospective that this could be an excellent meta-topic to share and debate among a wider circle of bloggers, to examine all the dis-/similarities and get a more universal look at the impact WoW has had on the current MMO player base. Ever since the WoW era, many have moved on to blogging about different games but WoW is still a common denominator among us. Well, maybe someone else will take up these questions sometime.

[UPDATE: Since there’s already been few reactions by other bloggers asking to write their own take on this topic (which is awesome), I will definitely make a follow-up post with a list of all responses in a couple of days. Let me know in the comments / on twitter if you’re writing your own post (if you haven’t already), I’d loathe to miss somebody. Thanks – I look forward to some great posts and/or comments!]


  1. Excellent post, and nice new look on the page, though a bit white, but that’s most likely my screens fault.
    WoW changed a lot for me and especially after quitting I knew exactly what I do NOT want anymore in games I play.

    The most serious issue I had was all the time spent out of the game, for the game. Being a guildmaster, raidleader, altoholic, auction house gambler, farmer and what not I was reading, watching and following news, guides, hints and solutions that right before quitting WoW become more like a painful job than a game.
    After quitting I still suffered from the short span of patience I had for problems, riddles and overall tactics. I was very quickly looking up things on wikis before even trying to work things out on my own.

    When I started playing GW 1 a few months ago I avoided wikis as much as possible, spending more time in actualy gameplay, the environment and the story. Lo and behold the fun came back.

    1. Thanks! Hmmm, now I wonder – but I believe my main content page has always been white, only the borders before were grey. πŸ™‚

      “the time spent out of the game, for the game”
      this is something I recognize very well. there’s a fair bit for me that I know was self-inflicted too in the sense of that I could’ve taken things a bit easier – but at the same time it doesn’t help if pretty much the entire endgame and community in a game are ‘wired’ that way. game design does affect the playstyle and mindset that players will adopt.

  2. I think I’ve been FAIRLY consistent in my years of MMOing, with one notible exception.

    I started with the “modern MMO” with Ultima Online, and I played with friends. After that, some of us went to EQ, I soloed in DaOC for a while, Anarchy Online for quite a while, and duoed in Neocron. After that, it was pretty much me, myself, and I. I consider myself an achiever/explorer in that I need to see progression in my character in order for a game to hold my interest. Most games slow that down in mid 30’s, so I’ve played…dozens of dozens of MMOs over the years…but all mostly solo.

    Thanks to social networking, though, I’ve become more interested in playing with other people. For some, that’s a “duh” moment, but for explorers, having to please a group dynamic is not condusive to the “oh shiny!” way lof life XD

    1. hehe, I hear you….I am an explorer myself although the social component has always been important to me too. I’ve soloed in plenty of the less well-known MMOs but that lead to me giving them up as soon as I’d taken 1000 screenshots or so. πŸ˜‰

  3. Wonderful post, and most every point I agree with. The part that is sad, in my POV, is how well WoW began- did nigh everything right to a high standard. Over time, it began to do everything wrong.
    Sadly, I have a hard time enjoying other MMOs with less fluid animations. Before WoW, FFXI and EQ1 were adequate in their art. Also, the responsiveness that WoW controls introduced ruined many other titles for me. However, the appreciation of the gameplay involved with other titles has increased due to the decline of WoW’s.
    I never tire of a good thing. There is always the opportunity to keep enjoyment long after freshness has faded, but it is at this stage that the construct is tested. If a system stood on rewards, on false social ties, it will fall. If it holds a healthy balance between intrinsic and extrinsic, if it allows and promotes gamer control, it will remain a hub that players return to time and again.
    There are only too many places to point out how the evolved game design of WoW ruined things, from x-realm bg’s to forced speccing, to *ever* claim that the issue might lie with the player. Blizzard have shot themselves in the foot time and again, and even the apologetics are coming around it seems.
    I don’t more or less look for something in GW2, I think they are doing a wonderful job. The removal of a dedicated healer and the staged world are double nails for myself, so I am eagerly awaiting TL2 in its stead. Perhaps Wildstar will present a solid product, perhaps EQNext, perhaps Vanguard going F2P even.

    1. I agree with you that we don’t tire of a good thing; I try to balance my WoW criticism here and there by paying tribute to the time factor or personal factors, but the main reasons why I left WoW will always be that Blizzard basically screwed it up for me and my guild. the list of things they ruined since mid-TBC is endless. and yes, it’s a shame considering where we came from. I know where it’s going though and I want no part of Mists of PokΓ©mon.

      I’m not sure I understand what you mean by ‘staged world’ for GW2, by the way; do you mean that it’s not open world / sandbox?

    2. ‘Mists of Pokemon’: I chuckled. Thank you for that.
      By staged world I mean the organic-ness of the world. My perspective via beta events is that the conflict, the tension is ‘set up’ by the devs, versus making the world, and letting the conflicts naturally arise by the players themselves. This doesn’t fall categorically into open-world or sandbox necessarily.

    3. @ahtchu

      Vanguard had so much promise. I still believe that it’s failure is the reason the MMO market has sank. In 2007, Vanguard was a defining moment for the genre. I’ll have to do write an entire post to fully explain why I think so. Otherwise I’d have to hijack your blog’s comment section!

      And no, a good thing never gets tiring.

    4. @ Doone
      I still believe that it’s failure is the reason the MMO market has sank. In 2007, Vanguard was a defining moment for the genre. Now *this* is what you call a thesis statement, worthy of a dissertation!
      And no, a good thing never gets tiring. It’s refreshing that despite our differences, our critical thinking is still lockstep in other areas.

  4. Aha! Another ‘plain mount’ lover!

    I have a collection of mounts on my old main, Quintalan, but the only ones he ever uses are the Venomhide Raptor and the plain Swift Yellow Windrider. I’ve been even more reticent about using anything other than a basic flying mount for transportation on my other toons, because a) I don’t like showing off, and b) I don’t want a mount taking up most of my viewing angles. (That latter was a conceit that developed from pre-Cata days.)

    I think that a YouTube artist like Wowcrendor should pay homage to Spaceballs and Ludicrous Speed with a WoW version of that and the mounts; in my case, the fastest speed of mounts almost overshoot any mining/herb nodes before they actually register on my screen. A Pally on Crusader Aura makes it even worse.

    1. Hehe, I like that idea for a video – trust you to spot the reference! πŸ˜€
      and plain mounts, yes plx. my human priest rode her battle horse for the greater part of those 6 years. when they introduced the plated warmounts I was actually sad that most of the old versions without armor were no longer available. in vanilla there was also that very dark, almost pure black saber cat (lvl 60 epic) for nelfs that got removed.

      I liked the white bird for a flying mount…and dragons. dragons are always win, my weakness. ^^

  5. Cataclysm truly broke me as a raider. In large part I think it was because I started a guild and was raid leading. I often wonder if I had stayed just a cog in the wheel would I feel this way. Trying to organize 9 other people and recruit for the raid team drained me beyond belief. Just when we had an organized team something went wrong and I would have to start all over again. I’m not sure what the hell is going on in WoW but it is like pulling teeth to recruit and its even harder if your guild is like mine in that our focus is on making a team and not so much on bleeding edge progression. I honestly never want to raid the way I did in Cataclysm ever again.

    The biggest draw for me towards GW2 is that there is no holy trinity and if I want to take myself and my 4 elementalist friends into a dungeon I can do that. I don’t have to wait or depend on a certain team make up to beat content. I don’t think I’ll ever play a game again where you need tank/healer/dps to do content. I want to take my friends, do content and have fun. That’s what a game should be. It shouldn’t force me to make me or my friends play a certain way to beat the content they’ve put forth.

    I’m also sick and tired of chasing best in slot only to replace it within a few months. In GW1 all the end game gear is the same stats and the only thing that changes is how it looks. So if I want to stay in the basic end game gear I can or if I want to show off how much effort I’ve put in the game I can work on that gear but if I don’t have it I’m not gimped in my game play. It’s my understanding the same system will come into play in GW2 and I’m so happy about this.

    1. Not sure if you’ve seen my analysis on what went wrong with raiding, difficulty and recruitment in WoW (it’s linked above under ‘gone down the drain’), personally I think that’s what messed it up so badly for the big majority of raidguilds. recruitment did get awful and the whole switching to smaller raid sizes didn’t help. at the same time encounters didn’t get easier. I certainly burned myself out trying to oppose all the trends for a while, but then it was just too much stress for way too little fun.

      And I’m exactly on the same boat as you for GW2 πŸ™‚ so looking forward to my elementalist! I’m not sure how the looks of the high-level gear works, but yes I understood too that different dungeon sets are all equally powerful / only have minor differences in stat weighting. I actually thought they look the same too, but maybe that would be too harsh on things.

  6. I’m only a 2 year WoW player, but I agree with you on the mounts. I would rather have ONLY ground mounts in most zones. It made the game much more interesting. Also, while I like the feature of mass summon, I would rather the summoning stones be the only mass group movement option (outside of locks, I guess). I liked the fun of traveling with a raid group or trying to summon with enemy factions standing nearby.

    I like the idea of not looking up strats like someone else mentioned. It would bring back some of those experimental raids where we actually have to pay attention to each other and boss mechanics for a much longer period instead of following a cookie-cutter fight outline. Everyone seems so focused on progression compared to other guilds that they don’t focus on the raids being fun as much as possible.

    I’m just starting back after a few months off and I’m going to try to shift to more fun.

    1. I’ve never played WoW when there was mass-summons or mass-rezzes hehe, so that’s all alien to me! πŸ™‚ I knew it was coming with the guild ranks in Cata, but I stopped before mine got that far. not unhappy to have missed that.
      the whole raid preparations in WoW were nuts; I’ve never seen people go as far in any other game. the more scripted and complex encounters are, the worse requirements for raiding get – people are natural optimizers. my guild did try to raid ‘blind’ at the beginning of Cata but that was a painful experience with only half the team ever sticking to it, heh…
      so from that PoV too I like GW2’s approach to combat and roles.

  7. Ground mounts? If you started out as an Everquest bard you dislike anything other than drums instantly. It’s all I wanted ever since I saw that lambent blue bard speeding past me just after zoning into Eastern Commonlands. It’s an image I can still recall 10 years after the event.

    Second place: Leaper mounts in EQ2. Whoooheee.

    As for other things, WOW has turned me into a min/maxer, with first steps into it with knowledge of the EQ main hand and offhand damage formulas and application of instrument modifiers to damage output or resist increases for bard songs in EQ.

    The sad thing about min/maxing is the fact that it restricts choice, since there’s only one best solution, usually.

    1. To be honest WoW became such a jungle of stats with all the added complexities of enchants, gems, glyphs, reforging etc. that I don’t even blame people starting to theorycraft and follow guides. it’s just bonkers how complex and unnecessarily confusing Blizzard has made some things since vanilla. soon EVE players will find WoW appealing for all the maths and spreadsheet work! πŸ˜›

      I like tactical fights, but tactics don’t lie in too many skills and grasping confusing stats or encounter mechanics. I’d rather spend more time fighting fights than prepping for them.

      speaking of bards! did you know Allods recently introduced them? I only noticed yesterday, definite checkout for me (I like Allods alot anyway)!

  8. Color me crazy, but I like the way WoW handles mounts currently. You level all the way to sixty limited to ground mounts, the way the gods intended. When you hit the Outlands, you get a flying mount which is the only reason I can stand leveling new characters through those zones now. It’s as if all of the Outlands were designed to make you think “Holy crap, I wish I could fly around that.”

    More generally, how did WoW change my view of MMOs. That is a very cool topic, you may have given me my next post πŸ™‚

    1. I look forward to that πŸ™‚ I will probably post a wrap-up of all the responses by this Friday or so, so if it’s out until then I will make sure to include you.

      and Outlands heh….I agree on Hellfire, but other than that Outlands had such amazing maps and creatures. I think Zangarmarsh and Nagrand will always be my favorites. what does it say about zone and level design if people prefer to get it behind them as fast as possible?

    2. For me, the ability to fly is incredible, *because* it facilitates exploration. I don’t fly over or around stuff unless I’m in a hurry. Most of the time, I fly through a place, taking screenshots everywhere. The simple ability to move my point of view willy-nilly pretty much anywhere I want it means I can take “photos” of WoW’s game world that I’d never have the opportunity to take if I were stuck to the ground.

      That’s why I love flying, and it has nothing to do with skipping content. No, it’s all about exploring content.

  9. It’s hard to separate things changed by WoW from things changed by how I’ve aged while playing WoW.

    I’d say one of the largest areas is about social investment online. Back when I was raiding, I was in a group with a core of 20 or so who I’d known and played with for years. And now I never see them, and with small exception haven’t spoken to any of them in a couple years now. And I miss them, miss the time we spent playing together. Miss the petty arguments and loot drama. I remember the bittersweet pain of the last year I played where every couple of weeks another of my friends would say goodbye forever, until I did the same.

    I’ve played other games, other mmo’s. I’ve joined guilds and corps and kins, and I’ve found fun people to play with. But they’re not real friends, they’re internet friends. I simply cannot muster up the same level of investment in a relationship that can only be transitory.

    On a more positive note, I do see some lasting influence from the times when I hardcored-up about the WoW AH. A game economy and the real world economy are very different, a lesson learned about one doesn’t immediately apply to the other. But there are some lessons to be learned about the approach to each. The need to track value and budgets. Understanding investment and opportunity costs. Understanding the cost of time and labor and just prices. It’s not applicable to my job, but it did help a lot when trying better to understand personal finance. If you look at my transition from ‘throw money in a savings account’ to ‘build and maintain an investment portfolio allowing me to live well now but have enough money when I retire’ you’ll see WoW’s fingerprints.

    Also, like you I lost my fervor for healing (holy priest/heal-lead pride, represent! woo!) and only play dps-y characters. I despise dance based encounters, where you spend the whole time either running around avoiding spell effects or sitting there doing your one-and-only single target dps rotation. I much prefer encounters where it’s all about reacting correctly to what’s happening. The boss gains an armor stance, use bleeds! The boss throws up a damage shield, use big slow attacks! The boss is dodging, use focused attacks! I find rotations and priority systems boring, I want reactive combat. Shrug.

    1. Woot for fellow, ex-healing leads! πŸ˜›
      Everything you describe in that last paragraph applies to me – which is also why I look forward to much to GW2. some people keep criticizing the more chaotic / less role-based (and therefore also less scripted and repetitive) combat, but I just love the idea of it! I’m tired of preparing fights rather than fighting them and I’m tired of the same old motions.

      I hear you on the social investment; I’ve felt very burned out in this department several times through my WoW time. as awesome as some of it was, it also hurt extremely and these days I’ve become more distanced and cautious about the whole internet friendships deal. I think they are very real as long as you have them and share the game together, but I don’t expect them to last longer than that.

      never played the AH game, but plenty of gold bloggers confirm it’s a complex world of its own. πŸ™‚

  10. I’ll have to agree on each and every of your points. I feel exactly the same. And I have one to add.

    WoW is often designed to encourage grieving, in a very (IMHO) immature way. That made me never ever want to play a game again that supports grieving in any way. I like the GW2 concept of “whenever you see another player you want to play with them”. Also Diablo III has own loot for every player.

    There is the thing with the ore where the player get’s it that doesn’t fight the mob. The same is true for chests. They even changed it that you can’t loot chests while in combat, making ninjaing them extra easy (how hard would it have been to make the chest unlootable as long as it’s guarding mob is in combat?)

    There is the concept of tagging which rewards only a single player (or group) with the kill. And in a raid you don’t get credit (people could cooperate to avoid grieving).

    And if you did the Skketies escort quest back when it was hot you’ll know that the same is true for limited quest givers.

    Farming often has to happen in an area with not enough mobs, forcing people to grief (best is to tag a mob with a low aggro spell and hope that the other player gets aggro and is forced to kill your mob). That turns a mindless grind (farming) into grieving.

    Loot is always designed to create drama. Like putting spirit on the only heroic 5 man epic caster weapon during WotLK. The weapon is clearly BIS for every caster but the spirit guarantees that there will always be the discussion between “spirit = healer weapon” and “BIS = everyone can roll”.

    Let’s assume you play on a PvE server. There are enemy cities and camps that flag you for PvP just for being nearby. Seriously, I play on a PvE server because I don’t like to be flagged! Flagging should only happen on offensive action. And then there are holiday events that force you to visit those cities. If you desecrate a bonfire you get flagged for no real reason. There even was a PvE quest in vanilla for alliance that asked you to raid a horde questgiver which flagged you. At the end of a PvE quest chain.

    There is the thing like putting a PvE encounter in a PvE area (wintergrasp) and make the availability of PvE content depend on PvP. Even on a PvE server.

    All of that are examples that try to increase the conflict between player. And to increase the ability to grief.

    1. A good point – WoW was certainly one of the oldschool MMOs when it came to griefing and competition. it often felt contradictory that people called ‘cooperation’ what was genuinely rooted in a fight over drops or other limited resources. in a way, even PVE became PVP. of course that can be a great motivator to play and it sure as hell keeps your playerbase coming back (add stuff like multi-class tokens to that, yey!). but is it a great way to incentivize cooperation? hardly.

      WoW has always had that heavy item-focus and drama over drop rates and rolls etc….personally I am glad the newer MMOs are outgrowing this. it’s an odd thing that especially in a virtual world of UNLIMITED resources, players should still fight over loot, rather than having a good time together (and get loot on the side). surely there’s many other things to occupy yourself. I resent pretty much everything about WoW’s reward philosophy, it just seems all so primitive.

      and I too love how you can help one another with ease in games like GW2; there’s the concern about communication, but at the same time I don’t see how it’s truly gotten worse to what I experienced frequently in WoW groups. at least now I can support someone without ‘stealing’ his kills….and mob camping is a thing of the past.

    2. There’s big difference between competition and griefing. If you fight for an ore, or a treasure chest, the game mechanics allow a griefer to pick up the ore or chest while you’re fighting the guard. There is nothing you can do if the griefer is of the same faction or not flagged for PvP. That’s not competition.

      If the game would encourage competition it would make the guard mob aggro on whoever last touched the ore/chest. Or put you both in an arena to fight for it, or whatever. But the rules are in a way that they favor griefing. The chest looting was even changed to favor griefing.

      Competition might or might not be your thing. But I’m not going to play another game that encourages griefing. WoW changed that for me.

    3. yeah, I do see the difference. what I meant more is that griefing aside, a lot of the grouping up and raiding in WoW was flawed or substantially hindered by the strong component of loot competition. I know it’s much to ask of a game to find a better incentive for coop than item rewards, but lately I’ve seen some good examples of how cooperation can flourish without competitive/mutually exclusive aspects.
      I personally haven’t experienced much griefing in WoW but it’s certainly a dated type of playstyle that I don’t appreciate either (I also chose a PvE server because griefers usually choose PvP ones for more opportunities).

  11. It’s a very interesting topic. In my dozen years of rather intensive MMO playing I racked up just three or four months in WoW and that was around five years after it began. I read constantly that WoW is “best in class” for whatever aspect of MMOs you care to mention but I can honestly say i never felt that in my brief time there.

    I like WoW. I enjoyed my fairly brief time there. It was brief for a reason, though. I didn’t think there was much to do. Compared to Everquest, Vanguard or EQ2 the options of how to spend your time in WoW seem quite limited. No housing, very limited crafting, no Diplomacy or other puzzle or card games, not as many races or classes, fewer combat pets. For me, WoW came down to leveling up my character on quests and/or grinding and not much else, and I really don’t like questing as a leveling mechanism.

    That’s the one thing I’d single out as the malign influence of WoW. Before WoW we generally progressed our characters by hunting. Some call it grinding but I’m not one of them. After WoW every MMO moved to an xp-from-quests model and I really don’t like that. Quests are great when they’re about story, lore and entertainment. As a method of leveling your character they really, really suck.

    So I’d say that’s the main way WoW changed me. It led me to understand clearly that I like hunting not questing. Even in new, fine MMOs like GW2 and The Secret World where the quality of the “quests” is well above industry standard, what I most like to do is get out into the countryside and just kill stuff. For hour after hour after hour. I did that before WoW but I thought I didn’t like it. Now I understand that I do.

    1. To differ between a hunting and questing model is a great way to describe the different play modes; I do certainly belong to the hunter crowd which is why I love open world RPGs with the freedom to choose my own path and destiny, that simulation of real adventure. when it comes to MMOs, the classics like UO or EQ come closest but at the same time they ‘suffered’ from things that do not sit well with a more mainstream crowd: WoW had the visuals, WoW removed the grind, WoW introduced the railway questing. it is a great game for genre newcomers and people who just need to be told what to do in a game and want a sense of ‘winning’ in the traditional gaming sense (aka lots of achis and items).

      I had my best time in WoW from vanilla until mid-TBC; there the game was still closest to a hybrid between older MMOs and what it is today. the world was awesome and generally not nearly as streamlined and orchestrated. there was some grind, there was a lot more coop and difficult quests, there were less items (it did however never have room for player created content or impact…unfortunately) the problem is that once you polish everything away in an MMO, all the grind, all downtimes, unbalances and randomness, you’re basically killing the world. these things have a place but unfortunately Blizzard doesn’t agree with people like me there. I can totally understand why a more oldschool player joining after vanilla wouldn’t have stuck around for long. after mid-TBC I played the game much more because of my community there than the game itself. and at first I was just stunned with the nice maps and music…..that I probably will always be. πŸ™‚

  12. Do you think WoW has changed you as a player? In what ways?

    Yes it has, when I started Mmo’s back in 2002 first being Runescape and then Lineage 1.
    I wanted to be part of like minded players, a brotherhood so to speak .Do things together just for the sake of being together . Present – I don’t care who
    are, where your from etc… I’m gonna play by my rules, by myself .

    Do you think extreme experiences (burnout) have to do with it or is it just boreout / want for new?

    Burnout happens and boreout, some sooner for others . Not me, I love gaming since I was going to arcades back in the early 80’s
    and then getting my hands on my own atari 2600.

    How much of the ‘blame’ would you attribute to game design, how much to your personal playstyle choices? The game design is by the player choices.
    If the players start crying and leave for a different mmo, you can bet the game design will change to keep them. lazy players
    make for poor game design.

    Have your expectations towards a new game changed due to WoW or another MMO you’ve played? Yes, before it was the people, the grouping ,
    not the graphics or mounts etc. Now adays, I want the eye candy, my pc hardware is lightyears ahead of games, so I’m still waiting.

    Do you wish for different things in GW2 than you used to wish for? Played Gw1 but not going to play Gw2 so can’t really comment there.


    1. Graphics are a good point; I think eye-candy is nice too but these days great looks aren’t enough anymore imo. by now the player base has seen a lot of great stuff, we’re kinda spoiled. any game that wants to succeed longterm needs the whole package. Give me Minecraft over Tera any day of the week. πŸ˜‰

  13. “I still like cosmetics” really? you do surprise me =p

    I remember still the day the barber shop went live in WoW. “Stumps where are you? what do you think”

    “yeah it’s nice”

    “What about this?”


    and then the ire that followed =D

    Talking of cosmetics, the blog makeover – it’s nice!! =D

  14. Interesting read, although I can say WoW hasn’t changed me and my opinions that much – if it has at all. Actually, if you count changing from “it’s meh but I can deal” to “NOOO WHYYY I hate this!” and from “Best thing since slice bread” to “I enjoy it”, the opinions did change – however, there is a saying “too much of a good thing” and even if it doesn’t apply to every situation, it definitely does to this one. I think it was inevitable; WoW was not my first game and when I play it, I’m reminded how it improved and continues to improve on the mechanisms from the older games. The downside is, of course, that I no more consider the likes of Ragnarok the baseline but WoW instead and it’s much harder for new games to live up to WoW in my eyes. (I apologize to all RO fans but even if I had fun in RO, I don’t consider it a very good game.)

    Of course there are some things I do not like about WoW, especially the factions and open world PvP. I didn’t quite get what would be the advantage to splitting people as they create characters and I was not amazed by chance of getting ganked. (I think the only PvP enabled zones in RO back then were the guild dungeons, the special PvP zones and WoE castles during the war.) My opinion only grew worse after I gained some practical experience.

    1. …heh, and there I personally never considered WoW a game of particular open world PvP, no matter the server mode. it’s interesting how many WoW players have negative experiences in this regard.

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