Should A Lapsed World Of Warcraft Gamer Return To Azeroth?

A reader named Ryan writes: "I've got a question that I hoped could be posed to the readers of Kotaku. I'm curious if World of Warcraft is a series to even bother getting back involved with, after I'd spent some time on it (this is prior to the Lich King and Cataclysm releases/updates/mandatory you-must-buy releases).

"The reason I'd like to have a 'hive mind' answer is because I'm (hoping) guessing that I'll get both aye and nay answers, and maybe gain a little more insight than asking on some plain ol' gaming site where everyone's going to tell me YES YOU MUST BUY.

"Part of me wants to get back into it, feeling nostalgic for my youth and days of AD&D, and part of me knows it's a money/time suck."

What do you say, readers? Don't let Ryan down.


    Play RIFT instead, it's got that old 'Vanilla' WoW feel to it, before the series got dumbed down and smplified.

      I'm always confused by people who thought the game was simplified.

      The bosses have more mechanics, there are more avenues to gear up, there are more classes, races, battlegrounds, raids and features.

      And, as to the game becoming easier, perhaps on the basest level. But why is that the people complaining how "easy" the game is now have never cleared all the bosses on heroic mode? Or have rarely finished all of the raid bosses on normal? They aren't usually people in the 2200+ bracket for arena or RBG either.

      I mean, by all means prove me wrong and link me to your armory where you have cleared all current content because it was so easy and so quit because you were bored - but unless you have actually 'finished' this simplified, easy-mode game then how can you really judge the difficulty in its entirety?

      And before anyone calls me a fan boy and rants and raves, I'm in no way saying WoW is perfect. There are plenty of issues with it, but I'd prefer people substantiate their arguments than present subjective opinion as fact.

      After all I could say that Rift is one repeated world event over and over and a flawed class system which seems to promote choice and instead enforces "cookie cutter" specs with mandatory talents - but unless I explained why you would have to take it with a grain of salt, wouldn't you?

    If you're looking for nostalgia of "the good old days," that Zeppelin sailed long ago.

    I wrote a review/four week leveling diary for GameArena back when Mists of Pandaria came out. It might help you or it might not help at all! Here is the link for my entry at week four (it contains links to the earlier three weeks, also):

    P.S. Kotaku people, hope it's okay that I linked to another gaming source in your article comments. I don't mean to lead people away from here but my writing on this topic isn't on Kotaku for me to link to! :(

      Kotaku link to other sites all the time when sourcing articles. They shouldn't be to strict on this stuff.


      Nice and to the point, i like it.
      Short answer:

    Why not go for something different and try FFXI... just be prepared for VERY LONG cutscenes, if you choose to do some of the stories (regular quests may also have some long cutscenes, as they have their own stories to tell as well).

    I'm wow sober for over 2 years now and no interest getting back into it. Wait for phantasy star online 2 to be released.

    I've played WoW since the vanilla days and I reckon if you get yourself into a friendly guild that doesn't care that you've not played in ages, then you'll enjoy Mists a lot more.
    The shame being that these guilds are getting to be few and far between.

    IMO, if you have a friend that's still a player, get 'em to cast a Scroll of Ressurection on your account or just pay for a single month of playtime.
    If you can't find yourself into a group of people that are going to encourage you to play, or are mostly spending their time talking about how much Blizz has screwed the game up, then at least you haven't wasted too much time or money.

    IMO, Mists has improved the game in many ways but we already know that it's not to everyones liking.
    The game has changed, quite a lot, since Wrath days and definitely since Burning Crusade days.

    I still enjoy playing but that's mostly the social aspect since I've been lucky enough to find a US server and an AU server guild that likes to help people, is friendly, and is also a little insane. :)

      that wouldnt happen to be the southern cross on the shadow council realm would it ?

        Nah, don't think I have a char there. Oceanic server I'm on is Aman'Thul, US is Rexxar.

    I had the same feeling when WotLK came out, but it didn't take long for the grind to get to me and then started to remember why I quit in the first place.

    A difficult question which I, unfortunately, am in no position to answer.

    I'm in a similar predicament myself... Except rather than disappearing from the land of Azeroth, which I have never set foot in, I disappeared from the land of Gielinor (Runescape) for no apparent reason even to myself let alone my clan which I abandoned without warning. Heck,,, for all they know I could even be dead. (Just recently I have found old worried messages on Youtube asking if anyone had seen me...)

    Without meaning to steal the limelight I'll share a little bit of my story. It started at the end of 2010 I had been the leader of a large clan of about 100 members for 3 years then and for a while I had felt that I had begun to mainly come online just to hang out with my clan and make sure they were all ok. I had next to no personal ambitions, yet my clan more than made up for that as I enjoyed helping them all along. My departure started with my getting caught up with a bit of school work actually, which kept me offline for a couple of week, but after that the holidays were there and I guess I just got distracted by other things... I had many opportunities to return and come back and say "sorry I haven't been on for a couple of weeks guys, I've just been a little busy", but the longer I put that off the harder it got. Eventually school started to become more time consuming and although I had many opportunities and had every intention of returning it just never ended up happening. School ended up getting to important and returning ended up getting to difficult for me.

    Jumping forward 2 years now though I have finished school and deferred a place at university for 12 months. Perfect opportunity to jump back in? No... Now I have discovered the joys of working a 40 hour week while studying another language and having the intention of picking up a second job to help save money. Yet I still hold that desire to regain contact with my clan and even that nostalgia is starting to wear on me. I should probably just jump on one weekend and say hey but that just scares the hell out of me now, well not really. But it's kind of like a barriers that needs to be crossed, but I don't know exactly what is on the other side. I would not be surprised actually if I were given a hero's welcome and asked to be leader again on the clan which is still actually going strong, but I don't want that. I just want to return explain everything, say sorry and maybe even a proper goodbye which could now perhaps be the hardest part. It would help to move on, but I've never been ready to move on. It feels like I have no other option though. Things have changed, I'm not sure that I like the state of the game now and even worse, I found out that I had been hacked and have nothing after sneaking online one day. I do know for a fact that my old friends are now billionaires and would probably give me what I need without hesitation but that just makes things even worse as I don't want that... What makes things even more difficult now though is that a part of my dream in life is to actually, call me evil, make a successful mmo. so now I am actually ready to try other games so I can learn more, but with all of this behind me that's not easy.

    Well I any ways I better stop now before I write too much and put some people out of work here. This has been very therapeutic, maybe I should actually be speaking to someone in person about my problems. x3

      Funnily enough I used to be the guy who answered all of these kind of questions back in the day. Now it's almost as if I need to speak to my 14 year old self to get some advice, but really I still know all the answers. Kind of sounds like the plot to a bad movie actually. The story of my life?

    It doesn't matter what MMO you play, FIND A GUILD, every MMO will be boring if you have no one to play with, but if you find the right guild that meets your play style then i can guarantee it will be your greatest gaming experience.

    I personally wouldn't recommend WoW because it's an average MMO at best. It's great for introducing people to the genre but that's really about it.

    I'd say find yourself something new.

    You've done WoW before and while on the surface the game has changed a bit, the underlying mechanics (grind, grind, grind) have not changed at all.

    I only say this because I had a free week and decided to go and see how the people in my old guild were and to try it out after a near 3 year break. To say the least, the game wasn't very fun and my old guild was so fragmented after guild issues encountered in WotLK and Cataclysm that they all hated each other. The guild imploded shortly after guaranteeing that I had no reason to go back at all.

    go ahead and go back, you'll know in a couple of hours if you want to keep playing.

      How so? If you played for the sole reason of fun raiding or fun PVP you won't find out whether this expansion is any good until you hit the level cap, which will be hundreds of hours of gameplay :S

    I say no, i personally have gone through this thought proccess a number of times. Having played in BC quit, played and raided the entire Wrath then got bored very quickly in Death wing.

    Every time i've gone back i soon realise i dont want to grind shitty dungeons with aussie ping. Or i find myself just wandering aimlessly wanting to do things but knowing that it will take y number of hours for the next few weeks and then realise its not worth my time. Then after a few days of logging in for an hour and doing nothing you realise its such a waste of time unless you have a core group of real life friends to play with.

    My fiancee and I bought Mists of Pandaria just recently after taking a long break from WoW after Cataclysm failed to interest either of us.

    It was ok for a while but we've honestly stopped playing it, the magic is well and truly gone. Back in the days of Burning Crusade and Lich King we would play it for hours and hours, but Cataclysm and a lot of the changes it brought have just kind of ruined the community and feel of the game so much. It's just not as fun as it used to be.

    Since everyone is saying something along the lines of "No" im going to do the opposite:

    For one reason, mainly; why not?
    World of Warcraft is, by all means, still a great game. Its the same great game, but great nonetheless.
    Wost - absolute worst - case scenario is that you loose the $30-$40 that the expansion costs - and if you arent up to the previous expansions cap, you dont even need the new one yet.
    The loss is half a days work, i know. But the plausible gain is a gripping, dynamic, fantasy world, played with friends all working together to a goal.

    That said, only pay for the least you can - if you dont want to play WoW again, then you wont have lost too much.

    If you are still gasping for a Fantasy MMO fix after WoW, try Guild Wars 2. I heard great things about it, but for damnations sake, i cant get a ping on the game under 1000.

      I disagree that it's still a great game or even the same great game. If it was fun because of a number of factors, and they change or remove those factors it can become a less enjoyable experience.
      Oh and 'why not?': Hours and hours and hours and hours. Money has never been my issue with wow, it's always been time. All of that grinding, all of that work. I think it used to be worth it, but not any more. Especially when they've made the work that booooooring.

    Wrong place to ask to be honest. Those of us that still love the game rarely discuss it on websites like Kotaku because the thread usually ends up being full of negative posts. But if you insist, then MOP is the best expansion since BC in a lot of peoples opinion, but the game has changed enough for some old players to be put off. Personally Im having the most fun Ive had with it in years.

    Yes you should. Mists is actually a really great expansion, my favourite so far, besides Vanilla of course. There's a lot to do, and there isn't really much of a grind, just a lot of different avenues and areas to venture through. It's good fun, and like Urist said; Why not? :)

    The leveling experience is probably one of the better experiences in WoW these days. Each area in Mists has it's own self-contained story while at the same time adding to the overall plotline. Even going back to early level zones can be a good experience. I implore people to go and do the Westfall questline at least once as it is one of the BEST story driven areas in the game.

    However if you don't have a good guild you get along with by the time you get to endgame content, you'll lose interest in the game quickly. At endgame you either gear up, raid, do dailies and repeat those three till insanity kicks in. But 5.2 is meant to be a big content patch so maybe it'll help those of us who are sick of having nothing to do at level 90

    I played WoW with my wife, got to lvl 70, then realized that there wasn't going to be anything new and that I hated the boring canned combat system. Don't go back to it, there are much better games out there. EvE online, for one, is so much better than WoW.

    I'm not going to answer with a yes or a no, as it is a bit of an open question. However I will mention that I am in a very similar boat. I started WoW in early 2006. The game got a grip on me and I got sent into a spiralling world of WoW very quickly. I spent a lot of time on it. Hours and hours daily, and weekends pretty much was a WoW-fest non stop. I wouldn't say I was an addict as such, as I could easily walk away from it whenever I wanted/needed to. I still maintained life as usual in terms of work and social part of it. So, for me WoW was a time filler, and I had a lot of time on my hands. I bought a house, got married, moved out, etc etc all whilst playing a lot of WoW. So the game didn't interrfere in any way with my aspect of life.

    Everything about the game back then was catchy. Day one, it was love at first sight. Especially the social aspect of it, the servers were full, you could always have plenty of people in levelling zones and for dungeons etc. Guilds were thriving. It was all a hell of a lot of fun. Raiding was at it's peak. You could actually fill a 40 man raid in a matter of minutes. And many more things like that, that are simply no more....

    The WoW part of me came crashing down when blizzard opened up PvP to PvE and vice-versa server transfers. For whatever reason the amazing guild we had going just crumbled in a matter of days, as people off-shored. Friends lists got emptied, totally new people all over the place, it was just mayhem. So during that time, one of the most important part of WoW or any other MMO, the social part, just crumbled. That's when i really realized that i'm somewhat hooked onto this game because it really hurt to see all that you were enjoying for a while, just became obliterated. All those people you talked daily and ran dungeons etc all the time with, just were not there any more.

    After that I started drifting away from the game. I used to come and go weekly, and that turned into months, to periods of 6-7 months without logging in. Then i'll re-sub for a few months enjoy the content with the few people i have had remaining on friends or in the guild, then walk away from it again for a few months, etc etc...

    Several expansions later. Here I am doing the same thing I log on casually every now and then to see whats up and see new things. But it's not the same... All those people are not around any more. New completely dumbed down game and content.

    I am extremely nostalgic in regards to the vanilla WoW. It brings back memories and emotions that cannot be explained. I often queue up the WoW sound-track and its just so awesome to listen to the original music and reminisce the good times that were once had. And with that I have this feeling that maybe just maybe I can once again enjoy WoW just like I did back then. But then I snap out of it and realize that what once was, is just history and memories now. Only salvation for me now is the fact i still keep in touch with a lot of friends from back then through other means, most who are in the same scenario as my self.

    SO in a nut shell if you want to re-sub to WoW, due to nostalgia and expect everything to be vanilla cookies and cream again, you will be sorely disappointed.

    No! Its the same old same old. Not worth it. Some new stuff, but you will find yourself sitting in a city doing nothing more often that not.

    I quit after killing Ragnaros MK2 a fair few times with an enjoyable guild I was in at the time and haven't been able to go back for more than levelling my main character up to max level. The levelling experience is entertaining in Mysts but at max level the focus on daily quest grinding for reputation and gear put me off.

    For me I'm not exactly sure where it happened but the magic died and I haven’t felt the urge to play return (as it did in force after mini breaks in the past). I think for me the normal mode/hard mode raiding killed the game for me. Raiding was the key thing I enjoyed way back to 40 man Molten Core, I like the challenge being to beat an encounter that was hard and then moving on to the next encounter (farming previously beaten encounters of course). While the quirks and new challenges with hard modes started out interesting after a while it just feels like too much of the same with less of the “we did it” pay off.

    Transmogging was another fun thing initially that I think takes away the feeling of achievement and of recognising the achievement of others, to me it was a mistake and not one they are likely to reverse.
    I think for others that really enjoyed Wow for a long time and left my answer would be No, the past is the past and the nostalgia for great times you have had in the game are just that.

    The magic is gone (I miss it)……

    Nah, the new expansion isn't worth it.

    The dungeons range from decent to terrible (nothing truly special), and you barely get any of them while levelling, raidfinder kills raids by making you play through every one on easy mode many times before doing them properly, and while levelling, after the first two, the new areas become bland and boring.

    TL:DR; as an avid wow player i got bored and quit 2 months ago, despite trying my hardest not to.

      I can agree with the raiding fatigue, it does take some magic out of it by repeating bosses you have killed on LFR, but equally I'd be interested to find out how much of the tier you cleared before getting bored and quitting?

      Also did you try challenge modes? Or any of the other new stuff like pet battles?

      It's not everyones cup of tea but if you are only running heroics/LFR with a bit of raiding on the side I can see why you'd get bored.

        Cleared up to Galaron, and yeah the challenge modes were excellent although in the end i found them pointless since there's no gear and progression to be gained, and surprisingly easy after all of that talk of their difficulty, unless you want to beat them on gold in which case they were simply impossible unless you and your 4 friends were pretty much the best in the world at the game. And yeah, pet battles very quickly became yet another grind :\

    i'm only playing it cause i'm locked in for 12 months due to diablo 3... and because of that i purchased pandaria and plan to get to 90 and then quit so i can get back into Rift and the new Storm Legion addon... i can't freakin wait! got 120 days worth of cards sitting on my desk waiting to be activated :D

      Seems like pretty stupid logic.

      If I buy milk and notice it goes off, do I have to finish the carton because I'm "locked in" to owning it until I throw the carton away?

      If you don't have fun then don't play it. You've already paid, you aren't getting your money back, but why throw away your time?

        i enjoy it in small burst... i just don't/can't play it as much as i used to play rift... dunno why exactly but yeah... i do intend to get to the level cap just because i want to

    You can't really answer this without more information on why people quit in the first place.

    If it was because there wasn't enough to do, thats more or less been fixed with MoP - especially compared to Cataclysm.

    The raid difficulty has also been tuned up thanks to the introduction of LFR (easy mode) so if you are a raider there are some solid challenges, even in the normal tier range.

    Class balance is as questionable as ever, especially in PVP so I won't touch that one.

    There are new features but they are all pretty niche, its hard to say if pet battles or challenge modes will appeal to you, as well as treasure hunting achievements, new challenge-tame pets for hunters or things like Sunsong Ranch (farmville).

    But for most people, the problem is generally WoW or MMO fatigue. That is, when you have played so much that you simply don't find the game interesting anymore.

    This doesn't mean its not as good or has changed too much from back in your day (like most people seem to think) but rather that after 8 years going through the same motions, the same gearing, the same damage meters and relatively similar mechanics has gotten a little tiresome.

    And there is nothing wrong with that. No game should really keep you enthralled for 10 years straight, there is simply a lot more to do with your time.

    Still I enjoy a few hours a week with a guild I know well, even if its not 5 days a week 5 hours a night like I did back in MC.

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