To say that World of Warcraft is very different from what it was fourteen years ago would be a huge understatement. That’s because like all MMOs, Blizzard’s long-running Tolkien-esque theme park, which is still the biggest in the genre, has gone through numerous changes. While some of those changes were indeed good, some were downright bad. Regardless, the game is no longer what it once was.
All About How It Feels
First and foremost, the most noticeable aspect of World of Warcraft that has changed over the years is its sheer size and scale. When the game was new, a lot of players felt that Azeroth was a huge expanse. That’s because it truly is. But even the most colossal of game worlds is going to start feeling small once players become accustomed to it. Thus, Blizzard decided to expand it and make it actually bigger, giving players new cities, open areas, and dungeons to explore and take on during their grind.
At the same time, however, devs decided to put numerous improvements and functions that have made travelling easy. Inadvertently, it made the game feel less grand in scale, with almost everyone teleporting from one place to another in a matter of seconds regardless of distance.
It wouldn’t be right to take away all those conveniences for the sake of role-playing and nostalgia, but it’s undeniable that a lot of players miss the feeling of actually travelling the world.
Lore to Grind For
Another aspect about WoW that seems to have evolved would be how challenging the game is, as well as how special it is to be a part of the lore. In its earlier days, when the level cap was still at 60, it took players months of grinding to max their levels. And when they finally did so, their reward was, well, more grinding. This time around, for endgame gear, which in turn will give you access to tough content that will give you even lots of WoW Gold, rare WoW mount, more powerful endgame gear.
More importantly, for a lot of players who are concerned about the lore – and there are quite a lot –these end-of-endgame content gives them the opportunity to not just know about what has happened to the story as a whole and their beloved characters, but also participate in them. A good example of this would be Icecrown Citadel, where players would have to power through eleven raid bosses in order to finally have the chance to kill Arthas, the Lich King himself.
This is in stark contrast with how the game was ever since Legion, wherein players are given a powerful Artifact Weapon right at the very start of the expansion. It’s cool and powerful, and being given one is never a bad thing. However, it does take away the sense of reward, as it’s just given to players instead of being earned. Plus, right at the very beginning, you are already hailed as some sort of “chosen one” who’s worthy to wield it. Being this much-awaited man of the hour and being given a powerful weapon right off the bat–it sounds more like a cliché rather than an achievement.
Now it may seem like the changes done to WoW are starting to take away what made the game great, to begin with, but there is one upside: the game is currently very welcoming to new blood. Thanks to many innovations that have made the game a lot more palatable, the post-Legion era has become the second best time to join WoW, with its official launch being first. And with Battle for Azeroth reigniting the old Alliance vs. Horde tiff, thus giving the game a World of Warcraft II feel, Azeroth’s two major factions are going to need fresh meat. There’s a silver lining in everything after all.
Fourteen years and still staying strong – that’s World of Warcraft for you. How? Through constant changes! Evolution is the name of the game. If it were the same as it was on launch, the longest-running MMO wouldn’t have had a run that is undoubtedly still good. So, for better or worse, embrace change, for that is the only thing that’s permanent, be it on Earth or Azeroth.