Jan 24, 2014
So many positive changes have come to World of Warcraft since I’ve been gone – it’s great to be back in WoW!
Back in Warcraft is our column that’s dedicated to anything and everything World of Warcraft! Whether it’s questing, dungeons, raids, news, walk-throughs, videos, PvP, PvE – if it has to do with WoW – you’ll find it here. Enjoy!
For a long time my life revolved around World of Warcraft. It’s what I did day in and day out. I would work my Monday through Friday job during the day – watching the clock, waiting for 5pm to come. I would then rush home where by night my friends and I ran an elite top-ranked guild that laid waste to our enemies across Azeroth on the daily.
Playing WoW since open beta I have to say, I was consumed by the game. Going in, I had relatively little MMO experience with only a year or so in Star Wars Galaxies before, but I had been an avid PC and console gamer for over 20 years at the time. It was about 4 or 5 years into the game though, during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, that many of my friends started to become bored with WoW and began to play less frequently – myself included.
Cataclysm had already been announced and I was incredibly excited for it, so I decided to hang around and check it out. I actually took all of my PTO for the holiday time that year – 3 weeks – so I could play non-stop and without interruption. Sadly though, World of Warcraft had lost its luster. After only about 4 weeks of time in the new expansion I decided to put World of Warcraft on hold. I packed up my things, put all of my characters on the shelf, unsubscribed my account, and moved on to try out some of the many other MMOs that had been flooding the marketplace.
In the years since, I’ve played many MMOs – Age of Conan, EvE Online, Lord of the Rings Online, Guild Wars, and Star Wars: The Old Republic, just to name a few. With every game that I came across though, there was always something missing and they never gave me the level of enjoyment I used to get from playing WoW. Even though I knew I wasn’t going back to Warcraft, I was eagerly searching for something to fill the void that WoW had left. For a long time I felt like a gamer without a home, bouncing from one game to the next trying to rekindle the feeling of days gone by – but never actually finding it.
That’s when Blizzard announced the fourth expansion pack to the game – Mists of Pandaria. Pandas? Really Blizzard? That’s literally how I felt about it. At the time it confirmed for me that my time with World of Warcraft was truly done and over with and I would never play the game again. But, having been a long time player, I grudgingly added it to my Christmas list that year thinking that I would check it out – as long as someone else bought it for me – I certainly was not going to pay for it myself!
In 2012, on Christmas morning, I was tearing open my gifts and what landed in my hand? The brand new Mists of Pandaria expansion pack! I thought it was cool that my epically awesome fiancé would get that for me, but even after Christmas it just sat on my desk uninstalled and collecting dust.
Finally, on a whim one Friday night in January, I sat down to install the game, re-subscribe, and actually check out what all this Panda hype was about. I had been hearing from a lot of people that “it’s really fun” after all. It felt strange going back to a game that I had literally abandoned over two years before.
I decided to start completely from scratch, making an Alliance Night Elf Monk on the Elune server (I had always played Horde previously). The first night ended up being somewhat of a bust. By the time I got Mists of Pandaria installed, got my game client completely patched up, updated all of my old UI addons, fixed my in-game UI, and created a new character it was pretty much time to call it a night. However, the prep work was done. I was ready for my next session to actually dive into the game and start checking things out.
Once I started playing, I was immediately hooked again! Having missed out on almost all of the content and changes from Cataclysm, plus all of the new content and changes from Mists, and playing Alliance for the first time, the game felt completely new. Sure, there were plenty of things that I remembered or were familiar, but things had changed so much it didn’t feel like more of the same. The game had a new, fresh feel. It felt more mature on many levels – content, game play, UI improvements, etc. I was surprised by how much I was enjoying it. Honestly, I was surprised that I was even enjoying it at all!
I even began telling my friends to come back and give it a try, to which I always got the same answer, “meh”. Many of them were in the exact same boat I had been in – burnt out from the game and no longer excited about it. Even though many of my old WoW friends didn’t want to come back, that didn’t stop me. I really was enjoying the game again so I trudged on solo, found a new guild, and began making new friends.
After several months I hit 90 and started doing some of the low level raids and more advanced content. I will say that I still don’t like the Panderan as a race – but hey, I don’t have to play one either. The continent of Pandaria though is nothing short of amazing! All of the new quests, zones, dungeons, raids, even the overall changes to the gameplay are really, really, really well done. Was that enough reallys? As cheesy as Pandas sounded, I will admit that Blizzard has outdone themselves with the Mists of Pandaria expansion pack. It is hands down the best xpac to ever hit World of Warcraft.
Fast forward to today, I’ve been back in WoW for almost a year now and I’m truly loving every second of the game. Not to mention the recent announcement of the Warlords of Draenor expansion pack! Once again, I’m excited about what’s in store for World of Warcraft and I’m incredibly happy with the direction the game has taken.
I’ll wrap things up with this. A good friend, whose WoW story is almost exactly the same as mine, recently made this comment, “Xbox 360 and PS3 released and I was content playing Warcraft. PS4 and Xbox One come out and once again I am content playing the same Warcraft…greatest game ever?”
I would have to say…yes!
Are you still playing or recently returned to World of Warcraft? Let us know in the comments below or talk about it on our forums!
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