Image from the official World of Warcraft website.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve Googled this question–Should I play WoW in 2019?–or something similar to it at some point. I can’t count the number of times I looked towards the internet for answers to the big question of what game I should be playing right now. I mean, I want to get maximum enjoyment out of my next grind. So I take this shit seriously! And thanks to the internet-at-large I am able to research and be smart about my decision, but what if most of the people answering the question in general aren’t answering it the right way? I’m writing this piece in short because I think that when I Googled the question in…question, I never felt like I had gotten the right answer for me.
Should you play World of Warcraft in 2019?
I dunno, because that depends on a lot of things. Most of the gamers that I know are very aware of what World of Warcraft is, but they aren’t very psyched-up about the gameplay. WoW is an MMORPG–Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game–in a very traditional way. There a lot of players and there is a lot of nerdy shit going on like elves, goblins, orcs, sorcery, and magic. If traditional fantasy isn’t your thing, then this game probably isn’t either. That would be my first question: Do you like this kinda stuff usually? If yes, then continue. If no, then keep reading my blog post but don’t play WoW probably.
World of Warcraft’s gameplay, for those unfamiliar, is knowledge based. Once you learn how to do something, it’s pretty easy to do that thing, but there is a lot to learn. And if you want to advance to the end-game material, you need to not only know how to do things, but how to do them well. This is where the game leans more-so onto the nerdy populace that enjoys not only playing a character, but completely mastering it. Input mastery is a big thing in the game, and learning a good “rotation”–the order in which you use your skills and abilities–is how you become better. This is where the gameplay can be a big turn-off for some. It’s pretty traditional for an older RPG, but modern-day RPG’s are very different in design and emphasize action-based combat. Think about swinging your sword with the X button in a video game. Every time you press X the sword swings. Now imagine you press X to use the ability Swing Sword and after a two second cast-time your sword swings. That’s the difference in playstyle I’m talking about.
It seems a bit needlessly complicated at first glance to have the gameplay revolve around that system. A lot of waiting, right? But the trade-off is that there are lot of different skills and abilities to use. Being a Warlock in an action-based RPG would be a lot of aiming and hitting the same couple buttons, whereas being a Warlock in WoW involves using an entire spellbook to kill off the enemies in a much larger world. If you think that gameplay style doesn’t sound right for you, then that’s the second filter, I think. You probably won’t like this game.
If you’re okay with things so far, then let’s keep going!
Different Ways to Play
The things that you can learn in World of Warcraft are pretty diverse. This is where my personal opinion of “Yes, you should play this game” comes from (that is my opinion by the way). WoW was released in 2004. It mastered the base idea of what an MMORPG should be and then expanded upon that with the expansions to the game. There is a lot of disagreement on whether or not the expansions made World of Warcraft better, and this is where a lot of distractions can enter the conversation of whether or not playing it is right for the gamer asking. I’ll talk a bit more about Vanilla (Classic) World of Warcraft and my opinions on why it was good in another post, but want to focus for now on the current game’s diverse options of how you spend your time while logged in.
Questing is the heart of the experience. It’s the gateway to most of the different things to do and is the core gameplay element. To take on a quest, you talk to an NPC with ” ! ” above their head and have at it. These NPC’s (non-player characters) guide the player towards stopping the current threat on the game’s town or world by killing monsters, rescuing civilians and gathering supplies, and also guide them towards collecting pets and battling them (think Pokemon), doing dungeons (harder, more sophisticated levels) with up to four other players, raids that involve over twenty players sometimes, achievement collecting and so on.
Me questing while riding a bat and kicking it with my minions.
While playing MMORPG’s, any of them, there is some burnout that happens. The core gameplay is repetitive, and in between exciting highlights that happen such as achieving a certain level or obtaining a certain item, there are moments of wondering if I’d rather be doing something else with my time. But the reality is that shaking up how you’re spending time is how to keep enjoying the things that you do. If you’re burnt out on a game, for sure take a break and read a book, watch a show, chat with a friend, climb a big hill with trees on it and shit, and get away from being too cooped up.
But I rarely experience the burnout myself anymore. I genuinely enjoy shifting my focus from subcategory to subcategory within the game. One day I’ll be thinking about how insane it is that the World of Warcraft universe is so big, and that you can take your character to so many parts of it and see the story come to life in beautiful detail. Another day I’ll focus on the lore and who these characters I’m interacting with are, or who these gnarly bosses within dungeons are. Sometimes I like to jump into the number game and see what all these stats mean, and other times where I want to see what pets are fun to collect and add to my collection. Players can also make their character look different by going through their collected gear pieces they’ve unlocked and picking their favorites.
There is so much to wander around and do in this game. The only drawback is if you rely too much on the experience, or really aren’t interested in this type of gameplay or art style.
I’m going to be talking much more about World of Warcraft on this site and delving more into the specifics of all the broad strokes I just did. I want to explore in detail why it is that I enjoy this game so much and keep coming back to it.
I think that with certain good questions in your mind, you can make a good decision as to whether or not World of Warcraft is a valuable way to spend your time. I’m going into the game with excitement towards exploring art, lore, strategy, social groups, industry standards and discussion, challenging gameplay, effort and payoff, etc. There are so many things I’m looking forward to accomplishing, and the checklist is very appealing to me.
What are some of the things on your checklist? Chances are there are a few different options for you out there right now to help fulfill that list for yourself, and I decided to use WoW to try and fulfill mine.