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Taking a Look Into the World of Warcraft Again

Above you can see the character I play in World of Warcraft since a very long time. I played the game since 2005 until around 2014 but after that I didn’t renew my subscription regularly anymore. I still played Mist of Pandaria to the end, but when Warlords of Draenor came out, I tested it and I pretty much disliked what they did with the game. To be honest, the glorious World of Warcraft days are over anyway, the game was fantastic when it came out, and the following two expansions Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King killed a lot of time in my life, but it was absolutely fun. Same for my friends, it was in fact hard to find people who didn’t play World of Warcraft at that time. After that, the developer started to kill the game, this happened slowly but it happened and a whole guild of real life friends stopped to play the game.

World of Warcraft was a game for people who love challenges, and the game offered a lot of challenges. It was amazing even if some people say it was pure “timesink”. Over time the developer Blizzard decided to make the game more accessible to players who hate to work for something or who hate to complete challenges in the game. I was in a guild with 30 people, and I knew at least half of the people in real life because they were from the same city and we did regularly hang out together. So, over time, people were less interested to log into the game, and at some point we had only 10 active player in the guild. I still had contact to some guild members that didn’t log into the game anymore, because as said, I knew some personally, and then there were also those far away but we still did chat in our Teamspeak server regularly or we played other games together.

What people hated was the casualization of the game, because the developer simplified it to the point that fun and charm was completely removed. In 2012 when Mist of Pandaria was released, we were only 6 people from the old guild, still actively playing the game. But it was not the same anymore, not only because we were much fewer people. but also because we hated the development path too. We actually started to hate it much earlier, but you can adapt to some things. We played it until 2014 and looked into Warlords of Draenor but this expansion was the straw that broke the camel’s back. We all stopped to play World of Warcraft, because it was simply not the same anymore. At times, friends mentioned that they had a test account and that they would test the game for a week, or they paid for a one month subscription but not a single person of the old guild did play it still actively, it was more testing if someone decided to take a look again.

That’s what I do right now with a friend, because we got a 7 days trial account. I do currently level through the Draenor world, and I always liked questing. It’s party fun, but just because I always liked leveling and discovering new worlds. But it is really annoying how they changed the class I was always playing. I always played my mage, but now they removed so much spells that it is simply not the same fun anymore. It’s really sad what they did with World of Warcraft, this was such an awesome game back then, but now it’s a super simplified version of what it once was. I had the greatest gaming evenings in World of Warcraft together with my friends in the past, it’s sad to see the game in such a horrible state. I still have a couple of days to test the game, and I will use the time but I don’t think that it will ever be the same excitement as in the past. The new worlds are still charming, but the gameplay got much worse. I totally get why so many people either stopped to play, or why they prefer to play on private realms with old expansions.

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24 Comments »

  1. I played Worlds of Warcraft off and on, for about ten years. I managed to take three of my 11 alts into Pandaria, and one into Draenor, to the point of building a garrison. But by then I realized I could never catch up to the new content, and really didnt want to. There was a fierce dividing line between ‘old content’ and Legion. I no longer played in a guild, and while I enjoyed the game play, it just wasnt the same. I no longer understood the language, and realized I probably never would. So I left, yesterday.

    Now there is a gap to fill (smiling and shaking her head) online. Eventually I’ll find something, but it won’t be the same.
    Mercifully, like you, I have other interests as well, but I can understand why you played, and why you left.

    • I had so much great moments together with friends in WoW, or even with strangers… I also met new friends during the decade, and thanks to WoW I do now have contacts all around Germany. So, I know what you mean with the gap to fill. World of Warcraft was a super interesting experience back then. During Warlords of Draenor release, I made some steps with my mage and completed some quests but then a feeling did hit me, almost like in the Forest Gump movie…. after so much time running forth I couldn’t do it anymore, I finnaly stopped on my path. πŸ˜€ The truth is, the last expansion I really liked was Wrath of the Lich King, after that me and my friends started to hate all those changes that Blizzard made, but we kept playing anyway, because playing it was similar to having tea time with the family, except that it was about having adventures with friends and strangers… so, maybe Warlords of Draenor was the point where I thought “What the heck am I doing here? Why do I play a game that I don’t really like anymore?”. I think since Cataclysm it was a hate-love between me and the game. I liked to discover new worlds of the expansions, but I absolutely hated the new gameplay changes and Blizzard’s streamlining process that became more and more visible.

      So, now that I am back for a test… I still feel the same. My main characters were sitting at level 90, and there were new worlds to discover. Seing something new this week was interesting again, but looking at the mechanics and what was streamlined by Blizzard makes me still cringe. I just leveled through Draenor this week (it didn’t even took me three days, so much about streamlining), and now I am standing in Dalaran to check out Legion. It’s autumn, and currently I am in gaming mood… so, I might get my mage through Legion as well. But as said, I still torn back and forth, I like parts of what I’ve seen this week, and I hate many things too. I asked myself why I am now also interested to get my character through Legion…. it’s not really that I gathered a positive impression, it was rather mixed and mostly negative… so, it’s probably just me filling the autumn-gap.

      I wish they would go back to the roots, now it just feels like watching a movie. But you are right, at the end it doesn’t matter, because there are many more activities beside playing a certain game.

  2. It has taken me a very long time to come to terms with the game changes, and how they are/were necessary. The game evolves. It changes, and when it does the developers take a huge chance, knowing no one will like the new expansion, and then some will leave, and eventually the players will learn to adjust to it.

    But while that is happening, the lower levels (where you and I were happiest) have been smoothed out in some places to be almost featureless, effortless, and mainly a waystation for the next region, no longer a place in itself or FOR itself. I noticed this a year ago, about half way through the Badlands the rewards and quest points were cut in half, and I was seeing very strong hints and suggestions that “just over that hill, people are waiting for you in Burning Steppes” and when that happened, I realized someone was telling me my play time was up in Badlands. Get out. =)

    But I was on a fascinating quest, and wanted to finish it (Rhea’s Last Egg, which always made me weep a bit), so I did.
    Same thing happened in the Speedway, with the goblin barge. I made up my mind I wanted to do ALL the quests, and there must have been a hundred of them, linked, and I enjoyed every one of them. To hell with the hints to ‘get out and get playing” elsewhere.

    I would like to find another ‘daily’ game that I can pick up as I choose, but from what I was seeing yesterday, most of the ones I remember have become so complicated just to download, and the graphics. Mein gott the graphics are dreadful.

    I admire your determination, but I really am not geared mentally or gamewise to try Legion. I never really finished Pandaria, and always regret not getting back to it. It also seems that questing is falling by the wayside in favor of dungeons and instances. Not my style, sadly.

    Yes, you’re right, too. I have to paint some window casings, and finish the curtains, get the rest of the wood in for winter, why am I spending time on a game? Then again, why not. (wicked grin)

    • I find it difficult to come to terms with it, but since I have a passion for gaming, it’s also hard to stand on the sideline playing no games at all, especially in autumn. Maybe my way to come to terms with it is to turn my back on the product most of the time, paying much less than previously by just using or trying it when I am in the mood, which happens much rarer now. Years ago I wouldn’t have had any issues to pay a full year of subscription, but then it was like one month max per year until I finally stopped to pay for it all. I just dislike that the gaming industry is now run by greedy investors, that know what they are doing. I don’t believe a single dev post if they say it’s necessary for the gameplay, I think what they really mean is that simplifications are necessary to reach a much broader and more shapeable customer base, so that they have users paying for idiotic things like level boosts, digital ingame items and what not with real life currency.

      So, I just don’t accept their opinions nor do I see the whole streamlining process justified… but yeah, as you I probably came to terms with with by minimizing the time spend on this hobby to a bare minimum, as same as the money spend on it. And then, doing other things, like photography and so on. I am just grumpy when it comes to the modern gaming industry πŸ™‚

      By the way, now that I am taking a look again, I experienced the same like you. Warlords of Draenor XP boost was so strong that I barely had to complete 3 of the locations. I was sad when I hit 100, and as you my XP was cut because I was much higher level now. I still wanted to see the alternative Nagrand and the other areas. So, while I could already level in Legion, I did it like you, I decided to complete my quests in Draenor, purely to see the story. So, maybe this is a good way to come to terms with it too… just not caring what the game or developer wants to shovel in our faces, rather care about what you want to complete. Also I agree, the quests are still made with love. That’s why I said I have a hate-love with this game. There are still things I love and questing in Draenor is interesting, and the areas are too. Back then I loved PvP and PvE, keeping up with everyone else. Right now, it’s just me enjoying the quests like you did.

      Talking about determination, I am not sure how far I go. As you said, there are many other things going on in real life. Currently I am just in the mood to do questing, not sure for how long I can keep this mood up. I have no real goals and I am not stressed about leveling. Back then I liked to keep up with everyone else, doing PvP and PvE, but that’s not my goal right now. It’s the end of the expansion anyway.

      • I came into Draenor at the very earliest possible level, quite by accident, without even realizing what I had walked into. I hit Blasted Lands and was suddenly surrounded by Alliance Troops, and quests, and a true war field. From there it was a steady gallop to Outland and through the portal, and I’ll say one thing for WoW, when they want to get your attention, they do it most spectactularly. I got all the way to the garrison stage, which I had always been curious about, and then lost interest for quite some time, no idea why. Then just last month started trying to figure out where the hell I actually WAS (sometimes Im a slow pony on these things) and build onto the garrison–but this last expansion into Argus did me in.
        The game is now two expansions beyond me, and from reading the forums I realized that was not the game I was used to, or wanted to tackle. much too frenetic out there.
        So this week was my last round, and then I deleted the game. Done.

        Something will surface, but for now it’s back to my own camera, and getting the wood in, and painting window casings. I’m like someone who has just given up smoking, I keep searching for the lighter, the ashtray, the cigarette.

        • I guess it’s not really bad to take a break from gaming. πŸ™‚ I often do this. Mostly during spring and summer of course, because I prefer to do things outside during this time. But it also happened in winters and autumns to me that I couldn’t find a game to enjoy. I noticed the more I search, the harder it becomes. So, sometimes I just stay away from it and gaming mood builts up automatically, as happened this week. Then it’s not really a search, it’s more an impule πŸ™‚

  3. Over time I have downloaded and played and dumped almost every large game out there, from Rift to Eve to games I don’t think even exist any longer. None of them took the same way Wow did. But now when I try to go back to Rift, to Eve, to castle building games and beyond, it turns out they too have changed. The graphics are dreadful, movement is WASD instead of mouse driven, the story lines are non existent or just icing on the cake, and most importantly, I have left my fingerprints on all of them in the form of email addies I no longer have, coupled with passwords and character names that I have long since deleted. They won’t let me in. Even when I get in, they tell me I can’t play here until I change the server–I tried a couple of first person shooters but that is so not my style..

    It does look as if this break from gaming is permanent, unless i get really lucky (and even SimCity was a failure, from what I read) or something appears that I haven’t played. I feel like I’ve just uncovered the bottom layer of the candy box, and every piece has a bite taken out of it. MY teeth marks, lol.

    • I definitely know that feeling. I gave this feeling my own name and I call it “gaming depression”… I think with the time we have seen so much games that it gets harder and harder to impress us or we get bored of the things. When I talk about myself, I think my demands are really high now. This summer I thought it would be very difficult to get me back to gaming, I actually thought I lose interest in this hobby. But talking about myself, I probably just have those gaming mood swings lol… sometimes I think it’s the end, and months later you find me playing a new game, or something I played in the past. But as we said, it wouldn’t be the apocalypse if that becomes permanent, if I really stop playing games forever. I know a person that does only have this one hobby, it’s a person in my circle and I told him once that it is never good to just have one hobby. About you and me, it seems we don’t have this problem. I don’t have enough free time to care about all my interests at once, I guess you neither… so, for us it would not be the end of the world when we stop to care about gaming πŸ˜‰

  4. ah, but there lies the hook. I’m a games junkie. For 15 years I played one major game (usually WoW or Evony or something Other) but humming along in the background I had Yahoo games. The good, early years,when cheating was carefully concealed and the parlor games were beautifully done. So that no matter what else I dumped, or got weary of, there was always Yahoo dominoes, or Pool, or their manic version of Scrabble. When that ended about two years ago one of my regular props disappeared.

    And frankly if you’re a graphics freak as I am, the graphics, the movement, the scenery are all terribly important. Even in games when your character never shows their face on the game screen but is just an avatar somewhere, it still matters.

    The only one out there that I can compare to WoW for graphics is a numbingly intense game called RailNation. Do NOT attempt this unless you have three or four months you wish to devote to it. Seriously. It runs in the background, and when you quit for the night, it continues to evolve. Fascinating, and the trains are stunning. No. Will not go back.

    And you’re right, we get harder and harder to impress, our standards are both old school and something better than what’s being offered.

    My husband used to be concerned about how involved I got with particular games, since he has utterly no interest in any of them: I told him, if it wasn’t for Yahoo dominoes or WoW, you and I would be playing monopoly every night. He never fussed again. He HATES board games, lol.

    • I can make compromises with the graphics if the engine is super fluid, and if the gameplay is fun or addictive. But yeah, I don’t make too big compromises either. You mentioned movements,… I’ve played or tried a ton of different MMORPG’s beside World of Warcraft, and most of them failed miserably when we talk about movement and translation of keyboard input. It was either that or the whole netcode was that horrible. There is not a single MMORPG where the netcode and engine was so fluid like in WoW. In WoW I have the feeling that the software is really listening to my keyboard input and it performs my commands like there is not a delay. How the own character is listening to keyboard commands, and how it is performed in the game world, it’s just done super well in WoW. In other games I noticed a delay, it’s not a second or something like that, rather milliseconds but it’s something your brain does notice after decades of playing games lol. My friends think the same… a big plus of WoW was always the engine… the software and servers are running so smooth, it’s hard to find an as well coded alternative MMORPG. When your PC is that fast that it can run the most beautiful-looking engine, but the software or serverside code is that horrible that you feel a millisecond or nanosecond delay, it totally puts you off. This is another reason why I often came back to WoW, because that reason alone makes it hard to find something better in this genre.

      So, yeah that’s why we are maybe hard to impress by new or alternative things. It’s not just the game, it’s about all kind of details like how fluid that the code run, how much love was spend to design the game world, sound and story… and there are probably hundreds more factors we take into account without even noticing. So, for game publishers, I am probably a hard to convince customer πŸ˜€ I played tons of alphas and betas, and of course I gave feedback about issues I found in the related forums. But you notice right away when developers hate the truth… they either take the community feedback and improve the game, or they call people who give valued input flamers or they think you want to spread FUD. The hard truth they will always learn at a later point is, that there are games out there that are perfect in almost every technical aspect… and if they as developers can’t achieve the same or something better, the product will be one of those dead MMORPG’s that nobody wants to play one year after the release.

  5. I think ‘intuitive” sums it up. If I notice the way bodies move (or don’t move), if there seems to be too much correcting for speed, or direction, if I have to think about where Im heading every time, then something is off. I just finally got into Drakensang, and the movement there is choppy, awwkard, and right now I have to run with one eye on the little map and one eye on the monsters. I like the game, but it does wear me down after awhile. The customization of your main character is marvelous, but that gets lost in the game, which is a bit too far away for my taste, visually. But it’s free, it’s workable, and will keep my games jones occupied for now.

    I can recall a game where I couldn’t even figure out how to move. WASD didnt make it, the mouse was worthless, you had to use the numberpad, and I finally got stuck behind a staircase, and quit. The Drakensang environment seems richer than it was several years ago, and denser. This is both good and bad, i think.

    I saw the devs and mods in WoW slowly back off the General Discussion forum (the land of the negative), over a one year period. And I don’t blame them. People needed a whipping boy and the mods were the targets. They were called every name in the book, they were treated as if they were responsible for the game’s problems; the proverbial goat tied to the tree. I don’t think Ive seen anything quite that toxic in a game forum before, and it became the snake that bit all of us, I guess. say you’re leaving, and someone will insist that you are lazy, stupid, and don’t know your butt from a teakettle. Ask for help and the big guns would come out about how you needed to learn how to play.

    Games evolve. They have to, or they become static, like a board game. And when they evolve, they alienate people (and how we hate change, eh), until everyone gets used to it, and then they change a bit more and it starts all over. I’m sure they’ve made mistakes in judgment, and it does seem they are sanding down the rough edges on older content in favor of the new stuff. What’s funny, I was in Draenor for a very long time before i realized I was in Honor Hold and points north and west, with new buildings and altered scenery. Not that it helped, without flight it’s a gallop every time. I do like the way they could reuse old landscapes to advantage, and they were quite lovely.

    It isnt that I want to go back, it’s that I want to never have left in the first place. Or needed to. Wow and I have outgrown each other.

    • That counts for the German WoW forum as well. I don’t think that I ever saw a more toxic online forum (laugh). But the community generally became toxic since Blizzard introduced pure anonymity with realm phasing, dungeon finders and so on. Back then when all that was not a thing, people were much more friendly, because they were always from the same server and they knew if they would treat others badly, at some point no-one would want them to be in the own group. Now you can do stuff with people from other realms, and they simply don’t care anymore what others think… it’s both in the forum and in the game extremely toxic. It’s now a game where you can be toxic, and the community can’t punish you because the chance is very little that you get into a group with the same people again.

      Yeah, games envolve, but not always to the good. The developers of WoW left the boat a long time ago, now there is a new generation of developers behind the game, with completely different goals. Anyway, I am still questing this week but I see it as it is… probably just a mood… it’s raining outside (I’m not ready yet for autumn lol, but huh, what can I do). Another friend wants to join me this week so that we can play WoW together. But I warned him that he shouldn’t activate because of me, he should be prepared that I could get annoyed by the game at any time. But he is like me, he doesn’t really love the game anymore either, he also just wants to take a look again after 2 years break. So, he said, he would also just look into the game without much goals, just testing.

      • I came back after two years, (Oh the siren call of that game) and found major major changes, including that insane ‘buy your way to the top” level 100 and 110. I liken it to giving little kids swords and hoping they don’t cut their noses off. Immediately the game became divided between the haves and havenots. I think that too might be a major problem, as well as phasing, which I never did understand. Now the 110s dominate the forums, and “old content” is relegated to the back room.

        Im one of those players who prefers to start my new alts at the bottom, and work their way up. And having experienced dungeons and PUGs in the good old days, I knew I never wanted (nor needed) to do THAT again. There is no sense of community or sharing, since most people in a guild are now all on the same page, and desperate to finish those dungeons, get those trinkets. What has been lost in the meantime, is that sense of accomplishment in the progression. When you start at the top, there is simply nowhere to go, no matter how good your armor, your swords, your spells. No wonder they get bored. im thinking too, these are the Millenials, for the most part, and they have that sense of entitlement where all sentences begin with ‘I want”. I’ve always enjoyed games as a loner, and rarely do I find a game where the team is worth the effort. It was easy in the past to join a guild and then pot along on your own, now and then grouping up for a raid or a dungeon. We helped each other. But now its all pugs, and being kicked for talking, or not talking, or just because someone doesnt like your race, hair color, or sword. Or being a loner.

        It’s basically not the game we once knew, and while it’s hard to come to terms with that, it does happen. Like going back to the neighborhood where you grew up, and finding it’s been turned into a shopping mall. I miss the game we knew, but not the game it is now. So that’s what I think we’re mourning, that old neighborhood thing. Best to keep Azshara the way it was before the goblins got to it, best to keep Felwood and the Badlands in the scrapbook, and while I will allow Draenor (as far as i got in it) in there, that’s the limit of my memory.)

        We are having early autumn too (well, early as far as Im concerned) and that means I have to get out there and stack some wood. Winter, sadly, is coming.

        • I never really understood why someone would want to start a game almost at the top. Back then we played the game to achieve things in the game… where is the fun if you can purchase everything. But you nailed it, I and all my friends think too that Blizzard and many other game developers had to adapt to a newer generation that is not used to achieving goals on their own. Progression in a game is not seen as fun anymore, now people want to get straight to the point. It’s hilarious, because it’s like like putting a movie into the Blueray player and jumping to the last minute to see the end. It’s dull.

          I often play games alone too, but only because in my circle there are different tastes. We don’t always like the same genre, but fortunately we have some genres in common. But then again, most of my real life friends are gamers, so that is another fun factor in multiplayer compared to playing in clans or guilds with strangers that might or might not become gaming buddies. It’s fun to play with real friends, and when we have a game together, I definitely enjoy this more than playing alone. There are team games where you can dominate if you coordinate with friends. We sometimes play FPS games like Battlefield or Counter Strike GO, and there it is easy to dominate matches when you play with people you know well. But even World of Warcraft was the same… when we played actively, we dominated in the battlegrounds and in the arena PvP. In battlegrounds for example, it happened that we got thrown into already running matches that looked quite bad for the team, but we joined and made the team win. But as said, I also liked to play games alone… just silence, no Teamspeak, just concentrating on farming herbs with my mage πŸ˜€ Uh, that was always relaxing back then.

          About kicking… yeah. In the two years I was away, someone took over our guild, plundered all the gold and kicked everyone out of the guild. So much about the community. I would have understood it if one of the members used the “guild-take-over” feature to be the new guild admin and to do something with it. I think that is what the feature was designed for, that guilds don’t die out… but with this toxic community, it’s rather that someone comes along and destroys what was built up by others.

          We have heavy storm outside today in Northern Germany… makes me not regret to spend more time than usual at the computer. It can be quite cozy if you are inside and when bad weather is outside πŸ™‚ But I’d prefer spring or summer where I could roam around with my camera outside and finding interesting photo subjects. I gonna be a couch potato in the cold season, at least most of the time. πŸ™‚

  6. Absolutely. There is no sense of progress, of improving your spell rotation, of learning your own style. Most weapons and spells now, from what I’ve read, are almost always one- or two-shot and down the bad guy goes. My very frist character was a male warrior, in the days when warriors wore armor and were huge blocky fellas with arms like tree trunks. I got him all the way to 60 (there was no personal flying at that point) and then quit. It was in Silithus, I think. He was as far as he could get. When I came back I began making female toons, and experimenting with them. Slowly the ceiling was raised to 70 and then 80, and new areas opened up. It was never not interesting, and some of the dungeons were even soloable by a higher ranked rogue without a noticeable decline in difficulty. You finished the quests you were on, and then went to the next ones. And people helped each other.

    That’s a shame about the guild. Not much you could do, not after all that time, either.

    I do wonder which came first: offering the higher levels for cash, to encourage people to play, or offering the higher levels because that’s what the Millennials asked for? Wow has a wide wide player base, from (I suspect) ten to 80. Im 72, so I’m in the upper tier, but it would seem that trying to attract just one segment of the population is a risky venture. And you’re right, it does seem stupid to watch the climax of a movie without seeing anything that came before. No wonder they’re bored, there’s nowhere to go. Sanded. I just realized, that’s what the game feels like now. All the play bumps, the quests, the mobs, have been sanded down so much you just slide right over them to the next bunch.
    And that may be what appealed to me about Draenor; they hadn’t pared it down, it was hard, it was fast, it was complicated. And no flying. The pace forced you to pay attention, even when you had no clue as to what you were doing.

    And of course when you are in a game with people from CRZ there is just no opportunity to be friends, often they are gone before you can even wave at them So unless you are with friends already or in a guild, it’s truly become a single player game. What’s funny, there is a quest in the mage tower in Stormwind, for beginning mages, which involves you trekking all the way to silverpines and the Worgen town of Pyrewood. When the quest is given, you are about a lvl 20, and that can be a very long trip on foot. The reward is tempting, but it’s almost impossible to do (I tried it just once) without a fair sized group with you. I did it once years ago when it was indeed easier, and completed it but I was also a lvl 45 mage. And it still wasnt easy. It’s one of the more senseless quests in the game, since you get the quest at a level that gets you killed before you even get in the door…

    Do you have deep winters in Germany, or just nuisance value storms? We live in New Hampshire on the northeast coast and we get the cold stuff, and the snow, and the wind…

    • Oh the good old days. I think the game world was much more interesting due to the fact that we couldn’t just fly over it. Because we actually had to discover the world by hiking πŸ™‚ At least this is something that Blizzard did admit and the last thing I heard was that they now disallow flying during the first patches of a new expansion, or something like that. Silithus was beautiful, I was stunned when I saw the swarms in the air. Also you might remember the cool group quests in each areas. I liked that, because I wanted to beat them but when friends were not online, I simply had to look for strangers via local chat. So, on this way you already had to deal with strangers during the leveling phase and the people were so friendly at that time. I made friends just because of beating a group quest together. One guy from that time is still playing other games with us today, he lives in the south and we in the north of Germany πŸ™‚ That was what made World of Warcraft a great game back then, you even could socialize because the whole game at times wanted you to do so, at least if you wanted to beat certain features. Killing elite quests was therefor a real mistake as well.

      About higher levels, you could argue that the Death Knight during WotLK was Blizzard’s first experiment with offering people an almost finished class. Who knows, maybe it was a test to see how the community would react and if there is demand, but this is just one of my other conspiracies. But about your question, I guess it was a mix of both… the trend that people would pay large sums of money for digital items, upgrades and what not became clear long before Blizzard came up with this kind of stuff. There have been, and there are still so many games that are pay-to-win… also I saw this trend already when Facebook was new. I think it’s just the market reacting to the demand of people who want to pay for progress (laugh). I can just say again that it is so funny, because people like you and me or my friends, we stopped to play games when we achieved everything (the point where boredom hits you because you saw everything), it’s hilarious that people want to skip the feelings of achieving something difficult or something that took you efforts and time. It really doesn’t get into my mind. Yeah, in vanilla WoW it took time and efforts, but when the big number 60 popped up on my screen, it was like “Whoaa dude, that was a long adventure” and I remember how a friend told me “Well, the adventure just started” and damn was he right. I can travel at times in real life, but I can’t afford to travel the whole world nor do I can afford it regularly. But this game was basically like a replacement. It gave me the sense of traveling, discovering and feeling like Indiana Jones, except that it is fiction. But still cool.

      It’s just super stormy today. No freeze, just much rain and wind force. Our storms can look quite brutal, but they are not that brutal like the ones in some US states as I saw in the news. Although I heard last year a small village in East Germany was destroyed by a storm. So, it occurs more often now that the weather can become really dangerous. But anyway, when our storms get strong, they can unroot big trees, but most of the time you still can’t compare it to US weather catastrophes for example. Today is one of the days where I don’t want to stand under a tree. There were also weather warnings today not to be near trees and to be generally a bit more careful outside. Born and living in Germany since 35 years, I’d say the weather became more moody, brutal and choppy over the last decade. I saw my first tornado 5 years ago over the Baltic Sea, I never saw something like this. And 3 years ago I saw a windrose in our district and thought it would form a tornado but it didn’t. It seems this becomes more common here too. To mention another example, summers can now get quite brutal too, I mean brutal humid and hot days. Totally insane.

      Deep winters were quite common here in the north, but that is something that changed too… as a child I could play in 1 meter deep snow and the air freezed my ears to the point that I thought I could accidently break them when I touch them lol. I still have a picture of me, building tunnels in the high snow (smile). But that is about 2 decades ago. We still had snow each year but it became less and less. Usually it was then like 20 cm the last decades, sometimes more or less. But the last 5 years, we usually had green Christmas, not white. Last winter you could go out with a pullover because it was sunny (laugh). The year before it was a bit colder with minus ten degrees and a bit of snow. But you get what I want to say… it’s not the same anymore, we still have some winters, but I believe our climate is really changing now and I’d say that white winters starting to become less common. And they are also not that cold anymore. The weather is simply strange now and hard to describe.

      I opened Google Maps to see New Hampshire state. I am a bit surprised because of the first things I noticed on the map… You have woodstoock two times… one in the northern forest, and one outside of the East state borders. Why do you have Woodstoock two times? πŸ˜€ Also, is it the woodstock where the famous concerts were with Jimi Hendrix and all those other legends? I love that type of old but legendary music. Next I noticed some places there are called after German places. I see Berlin and Hanover (we write ours Hannover). Are these German immigrant communities? You even have a place called Lebanon. I am not so surprised about New Hampshire and Manchester because I guess it is named that way because of the British colonization. I hope I can see the US some day, but your country is so large that I would have difficulties to decide where to do holidays. I find your national parks interesting as hobby photographer. πŸ™‚

  7. I was never a fan of Death Knights. I tried, more than once, to start one, but it was just too confusing, and brutal. I wanted to try goblins, too, but the voices were harsh, and the starting zones were a nightmare. Not worth the effort. But I think you’re right; the DK was possibly an experiment to see if people would take to starting at such a high level. Ilove goblins, but not if i had to go through that again. I also tried Worgens, but they damn near broke my heart. But the starting zone, that worgen city, is just stunning. All that effort to construct that, and just leave it as it was, abandoned.
    One thing I disliked, and never got past, was the idea that unless you were a certain level you could NOT get quests in some areas. Level 68 in Northrend, level 42 in Tanaris. That sort of thing. I seem to recall being able to take quests that were above my level and running them. Not easily, but it was doable. Now that may just be skewed memory, but it feels as if it happened–

    I did enjoy playing Horde this time, however. The story lines are less about kings and such, but more about themselves, about loss, about personal issues. I found some of the exchanges terribly moving.

    As to flying, I agree, walking and horses got you into the game, got you wandering around. And frankly by the time I had pounded up and down the streets of Dusk Wood a few dozen times, i was damned glad to have a horse.

    Woodstock where the concert was is in New York. There is a Woodstock Vermont on the border (way up north) between New Hampshire and Vermont, and then our Woodstock, which is at the edge of the White Mountains to the northeast. Yes, I know. It’s terribly confusing.

    New England was the first place immigrants touched down when they arrived, and has been that way since before we were even a country. The first settlers were most English, but the Germans, Dutch, French, and everyone else came too, sooner or later, and when they did, they settled towns and, being homesick, they called the places by names that were familiar to them. The names on the towns all across the country for the longest time showed the origins of the people who came there. Berlin used to be pronounced the ‘regular way” ber-LIN, but during WWII they were uncomfortable with the name, and had a choice to either rename the town or change the pronunciation. So now it’s called BER-lin. Maine at one point had a fad for naming town for countries and famous cities: China, Mexico, Lisbon, Lebanon, Poland; and there are also enough Indian names, especially in New England. It’s fun to watch ‘beginners’ work through them, lol.
    I guess there’s enough diversity here (and it is a huge country) that you could just pick one state and learn it, one photo at a time. The Parks are amazing. I’ve been lucky enough to spend time in some of them, and there is nothing quite like it, no shopping malls, no 8 lane highways, nothing but mountains and water and wildlife. If I were going to go to just one place with a camera I would go back to the Olympic Rain Forest in Washington state. Bring an umbrella, it really does rain a LOT.

    I missed going to Woodstock because that was the year after I got married, and I only knew about it from the news. There are two kinds of people my age in this country (wicked grin) : the ones who went to Woodstock and the ones who didn’t. And of the ones who went, most of them arent really sure they were there. It was a very strange event, lol.

    • I played a Frost Death Knight for a while, but as you it was also just testing for me. But I was loyal to my main class anyway most of the time. I always played Horde Frost Mage and if I tried other classes, it was just out of boredom or because I wanted to quest again. Not sure why, but Frost Mage was love at first sight, maybe because I liked the CC gameplay, I don’t know. Hehe yeah, I know what you mean, when I got my first horse in WoW it was like Christmas, because no more running πŸ˜€

      Ah ok, we have the same here in Germany with some double town names. Thanks for explaining all the other things, I love to read and hear about history. It’s very interesting to hear how places got their names. πŸ™‚

      I play the guitar and I do especially love to play 60`s and 70`s stuff like Hendrix, the old Rolling Stones songs, CCR, Jefferson Airplane and stuff like that. I just can’t count it all up, I love too much music from that time and play many of the songs on the guitar, except that Hendrix is quite difficult and I still need to improve playing his songs. This guy was a guitar god, and it’s difficult to immitate his soungs. Today’s music is mostly cobbled together sounds, and what I like about older music is that it still sounds like handmade music and not so computer-studio-polished like todays music. I would have liked it to live at that time music-wise, and Woodstock would have been on my list for sure. Yes, I saw a lot of documentaries on YouTube about Woodstock, I am pretty sure it was quite crazy πŸ˜€

  8. If you are truly into guitar music (as I I am, but only to listen, not play, sadly) try Mark Knopfler–he is one of the most laid back guitarists out there, and even in his early days with Dire Straits he was always the same. And Richard Thompson, although he may be difficult to understand, what he does to a 12 string guitar is amazing. There is also chet atkins, and a few videos of Chet Atkins and Knopfler that break my heart, they seem to be having such a good time at this. J.J. Cale, who looks like he just shuffled in off the street but oh he can play… Pete Townshend. Willie Nelson. I’ll stop, I’ll stop. =) (one more.). Duane Eddy, he comes from the fifties. Just type in any name in YouTube and you’ll get a list of these. I get lost in there sometimes.

    I think one reason you might have trouble with Hendrix, a lot of times he wasn’t quite there, and just threw himself at the guitar. Improvisation, all the way. A good hit of acid and some marijuana would probably move you closer to what he was playing…

    It does seem sometimes that by the time people from this side of the country began to move west, the really good names were beginning to disappear, so you have places like New Madrid (MAD-rid), Bent stick, Mud creek. In Texas Houston is pronounced Hue-stun; in New York City there is a street called Houston Street, pronounced HowSton. In case you ever need to use it.

    My odds on favorite from the beginning was always the assassin rogue. Oh, I loved pickpocketing, and sidling around bad guys in caves and such. And what fun, opening chests. Second to that was the Firemage. No contest.

    • I can play one Mark Knopfler song, I play “Sultan of Swing” on guitar. I love that song. Over a decade ago my grandpa gave me a Dire Straits CD and said I should listen to it… I liked the whole CD and listened to it up and down πŸ™‚ I am not aware of the other names you mentioned but I will take a look! Maybe I know some if I hear the songs, but I don’t know the names yet. I will check YouTube! πŸ™‚

      I do improvise a lot myself, because it’s more freedom than playing or learning guitar songs of artists. Most of the time I do my own stuff on the guitar, but of course I also learned many songs I like. You’re right, the reason why it’s hard to play Hendrix is that he never played the songs the same way. I can play many of his songs, it’s just that I don’t copy it, it’s hard to do because his playstyle was so diverse.

  9. your grandpa was a wise dude. He knew good music. I spend more time in YouTube than anywhere else, it’s like having an entire record collection right in front of me. I missed a lot of the 70s music, I was too busy being hooked on classical stuff, and my radio was permanently tuned to the classics stations. Someone had to steer me toward Knopfler, JJ. Cale, even the Rolling Stones, and Pete Townshend, all of it. So now I have to play catch up with about 20 years of music.
    There is one song you might like, to me it’s the epitome of diverse playing styles coming together: “why worry”, written by Knopfler, for the Everly Brothers; in this one video they sing the song, Knopfler accompanies them, and Chet Atkins, who is considered to be the dean of country music/guitars. It’s an amazing video.

    I’m seriously considering downloading “Cities Skylines” which promises to be a good winter game for me: I have always loved SimCity, but apparently the last version was dreadful, and this, from what I’ve read, is far superior to most of the others. And I do love building games.

    • That’s true, YouTube is just awesome… no more large music collections at home πŸ˜€ Oh, “Why worry” sounds beautiful! I also like country music, but recently I developeda real love for blues. I currently like the The Teskey Brothers, for example the song “Pain and Misery”, although this is a newer band. But I like to play guitar to this type of music, it’s very relaxing. πŸ™‚

      You might like “Cities Skylines”, I liked it too but it’s one of those games where progress is a bit too fast. I can’t play this game longer than a week without getting bored of it. SimCity is more challenging anyhow. Skylines is more like a sandbox game where you can just place everything and build your city… it was not very difficult to earn a lot of money in the game, and to have everything running well. Anyway, it can be fun for a while, it’s just not a game that could keep me busy for a long time. Many people say that, you need to be aware of this. But if you install user modifications, you can add interesting things and increase the play fun a bit. Yes, the last really good Sim City was Sim City 4, everything after it was a complete joke. So, Skylines is not really better than Sim City 4 but it is superior to all newer Sim City games, that’s true.

  10. I have SimSity 3000 and that was an amazing box game–you could build entire environments, and they were stunning. Trouble is, it won’t play on newer machines, and that breaks my heart. Im a fairly slow constructer on these things, and sometimes I like to try different ways of doing stuff. That’s the beauty part.

    I will check out the Tesky brothers. If you are into blues, Keb ‘Mo is good, really good. I found him a few years back on “Playing for Change” and he just blew me away. If you like southern rhythm and blues, Mama thornton, R.L. Burnside, John Lee Hooker (especially with Bonnie Raitt) Lol. I just spent an hour deleting music from the YouTube History, it does accumulate over time. It’s a lot like eating chocolates. You keep sampling, and suddenly the box is empty…=)

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