Once More Into The Breech In Azeroth

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screencap of My main WOW toon Plondorenigh
My main WOW toon Plondorenigh

I had been a lapsed World of Warcraft (WOW) player when I saw an article a few weeks ago saying that the game would be reclaiming player names from inactive players. What started as an effort to prevent the loss of my player name became a renewal of my love for WOW. There have been some good changes.

I first started playing WOW in 2007 and played for two years straight. I got my main toon, Plondorenigh, up to the level cap at the time (80) and then I stopped liking the game. Once the questing was done, all that was left was raiding and farming materials to make new gear and level my professions. It was too much like work.

I needed raiding gear but by the end game time I had trouble getting help from members of my guild to get the gear I needed to do well in the raids. Farming the materials (mats) was a pain – almost as much fun as fishing in real life *ugh*.

That’s when I walked away.

There had been three major content updates in the time I was gone with the newest Warlords of Draenor going live back in November of 2014.

Coming back I basically had to relearn the game. Much was the same but the button rotation, talents, and abilities were different.

Much of the game mechanics was simplified. During my first experience I had sheets of paper with different formulas trying to track my equipment “stats” and I was reading several websites who had the best character “builds” so I could tweak my character for the best raiding configuration.

I had several spreadsheets for my professions like mining and skinning to track my progress there.

Now most of that isn’t needed. The stats are more streamlined and the talent tress have less items on it to track. Now you have three talents per level to pick instead of so many points to use. You also don’t need to work as hard on professions since those have seen a reduced focused.

The game play now seems easier. I remember walking through areas and worrying about triggering a fight with some bad guy. Today in some cases I can walk a few feet close to a bad guy and they won’t notice. You almost have to touch them to “aggro” them.

There are also more flight points in the leveling zones so one doesn’t have to risk so many fights to get back to a questing area or dying while trying to get back to turn in a quest.

Some quests now have non-playing characters (NPC) help you fight when needed so there is a better chance to beating the “boss” at the end of a quest line without multiple deaths. The new content “Warlords of Draenor” has special buttons to use in some zones to call in help for a fight.

I boosted my main to level 90 when I came back and after 15 days of playing I am now level 98 with the goal of the cap of 100. To make that kind of progress before I would have had to play for a month or more.

I know hardcore gamers probably hate how the game seemed to be “nerfed” but the game makers know how to keep people like me playing – make questing get progressively harder but not making it so hard that you give up on a quest like I use to do before and stroking the ego with achievement announcements on a regular basis.

screencap from a recent raid
Just call me Target Head

I also like the token for gold program. You buy a token on the WOW website for real money and you can auction it off in the game and get a set amount of gold – about 25,000 gold. That way I don’t need to farm materials to make stuff to sell or “grind” mobs for gear to auction. Selling one token pretty much sets my main up for awhile and I was able to pass on some gold to my other characters (alts).

I didn’t know if I would meet any new people but within a few days of returning I got invited to an active guild who included me in some raids. I miss my old guild and friends from my first tour but my new guild might make up for that.

So far I am liking my WOW experience and plan to stay for awhile. I will be paying on a month to month basis so I can walk away if it stops being fun for me but I think I will stick with it through the summer.

If you are a lapsed player like me, check out the game. You might fall in love again.

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