It’s weird to think of how much this game has changed since I first started playing in late 2008. Between 2008 and 2010 when I started blogging, I didn’t really notice any changes that were made – I wasn’t particularly great at playing the game, and I mostly just mashed buttons until things died and hoped for the best.
2010 was when I started paying attention. Late 2009 I started reading WoW blogs, and in early 2010 I decided to make one of my own. It’s never had much of a focus, being a distinctly PERSONAL blog vs many others that had a purpose of some sort, however odd or vague, but it was mine, and in it I documented my discovery of healing and how much I enjoyed it, my first foray into raiding, and a lot of the ridiculous stuff I got up to with my friends. Even some of the community drama that went around got mention.
But man, looking back at my old posts I’m mostly struck by how much the game itself has changed. Looking at Lis and how even in +int heirlooms (the cloth chest and shoulders, bc it was SO EXPENSIVE to get heirlooms at all) she was regularly stopping to drink during dungeons – these days on the rare occasions I heal (though I’m trying to get back to it), when I’m wearing heirloom gear it’s rare to actually need to PAUSE, let alone drink.
Looking at when I helped Megs (the ever lovely @whatsatotem) take down Attum the Hunter and she didn’t get the mount, but I got a nice cloak that lowered my int a tiny bit but gave me mp5 that was worth it bc i needed that mana regen, because spirit wasn’t a thing yet.
Talking about how levelling Lisan from 1-80, largely through dungeons (which gave quicker XP gains, especially if you were a tank or a healer and thus rarely had a proper queue) took me six months, despite almost exclusively playing her, because the XP gains for former end-game content (45ish-60, 60-70) and current end-game content (70-80) was so much slower than the same ranges are now. (in contrast, I am over halfway to level 80 on my warrior that I rolled literally 3 days or so ago.)
I know there’s a lot of talk in some circles about how the game is too easy these days. I don’t know about end-game content as I haven’t been active in endgame since mid-Cata (and even then it was just heroic 5-mans, not raiding), but as far as the game on the whole, honestly? Yeah, I think it is, but I also think it’s a good thing.
Seriously, like… yes, I think endgame things like raiding and level-cap dungeons and so forth should be challenging (and have multiple difficulties like heroic/mythic/etc for people who need even MORE of a challenge) bc that’s the point of those things. But just playing the game? Levelling and questing and picking your stats? That shouldn’t be hard.
And it was hard before, at least if you didn’t have all the requisite knowledge of the tropes and conventions that were the foundation for World of Warcraft, make no mistake. Remember talent trees? Before they were phased out entirely (which i’m completely neutral on honestly – I like the new system but the old way didn’t bother me in and of itself) they had simplified it and added a little tutorial thingy when it unlocked. And I was so glad for that, because it meant that no one would be in the position I was in once upon a time: with absolutely no idea what you were supposed to do and no one to give you advice, and putting points willy-nilly into ALL THREE TREES because that meant you’d be sort of an all-around median rather than specialized, and that was good for levelling… right?
It’s easier to figure out what stats a class uses and what stats they don’t, which is great because that way it’s less likely that you’ll get someone like baby 2008 apple playing for the first time as a warrior, looking at the stats and saying “well intelligence says it improves mana, which is what you use for spells and abilities, but i don’t have mana, so I guess it must improve my rage!” and proceeding to wear int leather and mail.
It’s also easier to not die, which I see as a good thing, especially for inexperienced and new players, or players who have disabilities of some sort that make it hard for them to have super-snappy reflexes. It lowers the threshold for failure and allows for more people to be able to enjoy it. Like… yeah, it lowers it for everyone because unlike a single-player game, you can’t have one person playing on nightmare difficulty while another plays narrative difficulty, but like… why shouldn’t the person who wants something easy and low-stress be allowed to play? There are places for the nightmare difficulty people – it’s called endgame mythic raiding. And if that’s not hard enough… idk, lower the quality of everyone’s gear so you have to try harder?
Maybe it’s a controversial opinion these days, I honestly don’t know, but by and large I am happy with the changes Blizzard has made to WoW to make it more accessible and fun for people who aren’t necessarily able to play above casual mode.
The game has changed a lot. Sometimes I miss how it used to be – if I had the chance to timewalk an entire server back to Wrath days, I probably would take the option for nostalgia alone. But in the end… I kind of like the changes I’ve seen, and I’ll judge the rest of it when I come to it. :)