All Roads Return to WoW: The people are still the important part

Keep your people close.

I know a lot of you don’t enjoy WoW, or at the very least you’ve burnt out, but I’m still having a lot of fun playing, and I can only see that going up. The main reason: people.

I got back into WoW basically because I knew that a buddy who plays League of Legends was around. I didn’t think – not in a million years – that I would be back with my old raiding guild just a month after I started playing again. It’s actually pretty exciting and has turned out to be the thing I missed most from the game experience on the whole. It’s really nice to have a group of people consistently around for a game. I have that to a smaller extent currently in LoL, but I spent hours with these guys (and gals – hi Ishi!), for good or ill, and it’s been fun to reconnect.

If you find yourself bored or disinterested in any game, I’d recommend one of two things – get to know some people in game, or get to know some people in real life. Either way, you win and win big.


WoW: Cataclysm – What Is Coming And Always Should Have Been

picture-11What follows is a very long narrative of my history with WoW and an admittedly romanticized look at the new expansion. I am not discussing hardcore game mechanics. I’m not theorycrafting. I’m writing about the scope/themes of the game and what those things mean in a social/cultural context. If you make it to the end, I applaud your effort. If you put in that much work, I also hope you’ll leave a comment.

When I first caught the rumor that Blizzard would be announcing another World of Warcraft expansion at this year’s Blizzcon, I was completely apathetic. I haven’t played the game in nearly 6 months, and only then after some friends and I rallied from a similar hiatus for WotLK. The game had long since lost its former charm, which surprised even me. I was fairly hardcore for a while there. I wasn’t bleeding-edge by any means, but I led raids in a T6 guild before calling it quits on The Burning Crusade.

To understand why I quit I should probably begin with the reason I started. I joined WoW late in the game, late fall of 2006 in fact, because I was living in a small town with little to do. I had just graduated college, I was working my first serious job, and I wanted an enjoyable way to spend my wee hours. I also only had a Mac at the time, so WoW was one of few options for an MMO.

rogueI got hooked fast; I almost made my way to 60 before TBC dropped, but not quite. From what I can only think to call “an academic perspective (meaning thinking about gaming/culture in a social context),” that was actually a good thing. I got to witness the first flight from Azeroth, and it was massive. I played on a med-high population server and I immediately noticed the lack of players in town. Trying to find groups for Sunken Temple could be a nightmare, where before the expansion there were plenty of people around. Now granted, this would have happened to a degree, even if the expansion wasn’t a new continent. A lot of the people I was playing with were playing alts, and they would have returned to their mains for new content either way. The problem, though, was that I was no longer a part of the same game.

People always say that the real game is the end game, so when the expansion dropped, everyone was rushing to 70. And then they were rushing to get geared for raids. And then they realized they didn’t need the gear and they would just raid for gear. But all of that was taking place on a different continent. It was a whole different game. Where I would once see 60s roaming the same zones I was leveling through, there was now nothing but people rushing to grind through the Dark Portal. That kind of excitement was great for the first couple weeks, but after that, Azeroth was a ghost town. There was the occasional blood elf and then people like me, desperately trying to be a part of something out of our reach.

I wondered then why Blizzard hadn’t just changed the original world they created. Part of what kept me interested in the game was that things felt dynamic. The first time I walked my toon into Orgrimmar and saw Onyxia’s head on a pike it was exhilarating. Sure I was a few years late to the party, but there were still people around, having fun with what was there. That’s the kind of stuff that made me want to be level 60. It wasn’t just gear, it was the parts of the game I wanted to see.

I got over that pretty fast. I made it to Outland without any Azerothian raids (barring Kara, of course, though much later), hit 70, and started raiding (alright, not that much later). I leveled another toon to 70 and raided with him. I made that second toon my main and kept on raiding, picking up all the flashy gear I had seen around town. And then my guild hit T5 and we had to make some changes. We had primarily been casual raiders but the regulars wanted to progress and we couldn’t do it with our casual members. Several horribly terribly awful guild mergers later we were moving into T6 and my interest just died. Read the rest of this entry »


WoWPals Helps You Find Local Players

Are these actually your neighbors?I spent a couple years as an officer in a fairly serious raid guild. Most of my guildmates were from other states, and for some reason we had a boatload of Canadians. I picked my server mostly at random, based on population stats and the fact that it was PvP. It might have been nice, though, to have a way to locate players around me and see where they played. Come to think of it, that also may have been a terrifying experience, but for the sake of argument, let’s pretend it would have been…neat.

A couple guys from Israel have recently launched “WoWPals,” a site that helps you find and connect with local players. For the most part I do think this is a great idea. As fun as WoW is, it can be easy to neglect physical relationships in lieu of the virtual type, which have their own value. By using the service, local players can connect and potentially even plan to spend some time away from the computer.

I’m not entirely sure why the developers went with “WoWPals.” It’s bad enough trying to explain to people that you’re playing WoW tonight instead of going out. Try explaining that you’re going out with friends you met on That one’s sure to get some laughs.

For the record, redirects you to a singles site, but simply seems to be parked. The domain couldn’t be that expensive, right?


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