Why I’ve never played World of Warcraft

I’ve played a lot of MMORPGs over the years. Some became my virtual home for long stretches of time, others…didn’t. That’s just the way things go. Yet I’ve never even tried out this juggernaut of the industry, the one MMO basically everyone and their grandma have played.

WoW Grandma
Quite literally…

I do not think that it’s a bad game. On the contrary, I’m sure it’s a highly polished experience that plays very well and is lots of fun. You know, like pretty much every game Blizzard have ever made.

So why not play it?

One reason is timing. WoW and Everquest II were released within a month (on November 23rd and November 8th 2004, respectively), and a friend of mine had convinced me to play Everquest II, which turned out to be, for me, one of the greatest MMORPGs ever and would become my main MMO for about seven years (with breaks in between).

Another reason is that the Warcraft-franchise doesn’t interest me at all lorewise. While I quite like many places’ names – Alterac, Lordaeron, Khaz Modan all sound pretty badass to me – I didn’t care for any of the races and characters in Warcraft II and III. I didn’t have the slightest emotional connection to their stories and fates. Which is strange because with Starcraft it’s the polar opposite.

The by far biggest reason though is…let’s call it defiance on my part. I don’t like what Blizzard has done (or not done) with the game during these almost 14 years, and I don’t want to give them my support. Simple as that.

I know this might be rather difficult to comprehend for big fans of the game, but I can only shake my head in sadness when I think about what they could have done with this behemoth but didn’t, or what they shouldn’t have done but did anyway.

I mean, they made pretty much all the money with their smash hit of a game. And how much of that went back into expanding and improving it? 20%? 10%? Even less? Of course I don’t actually know. But when I compare some numbers (6, soon 7 expansions to EQII’s 14, soon 15) or features (no player housing to EQII’s, which is as good as they come; 13 races and 11 classes to EQII’s 20 races and 26 classes…), I can’t help but be underwhelmed by WoW’s content- and gameplay-options.

I have to admit that it’s a bit unfair to compare any other game to Everquest II because the crew behind that game has pumped out boatloads of content from day one and didn’t ever slow down. I’ve got no idea how they did it with the comparably low funds they must have had during all that time.

On the other hand, why not hold all game developers to the highest of standards? Especially when they make so much money with their game?

I also don’t like that every expansion seems to drastically tinker with classes, gear, zones, pretty much everything. I’m a creature of habit, and while I’m of course fine with a class I play getting more options or just becoming stronger, I can’t stand a character I’ve played for dozens or hundreds of hours and whose playstyle I really like being completely turned on it’s head. I mean, if I didn’t like the playstyle just the way it was I wouldn’t have spent so many hours playing it, would I?

Finally, there’s Blizzard’s arrogance that rubs me the wrong way. The you think you do, but you don’t-speech by WoW’s executive producer when asked by a fan about classic servers is infamous by now, and rightly so. While I don’t think that he’s completely wrong with that assessment when applied to the majority of the playerbase, it’s still incredibly arrogant and condescending to say something like that right to a player’s (and now probably ex-fan’s) face. Just now pretty much everybody is up in arms about the recent story events, and Blizzard’s reaction is, again, the political correct version of we know, you don’t, stfu already.

The gist of statements like that (and most of my other complaints as well I guess) is this: they can pretty much do whatever the hell they want with this game and still make a fortune, and they know it damn well.

It’s their game, of course they can do whatever they want with it, right? Yeah, sure. Meanwhile I’ll do whatever I want with my own time and money, which is to give them to someone else.

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4 Replies to “Why I’ve never played World of Warcraft”

  1. I was there on the day they launched the Crushbone server on EQII, which was about 3 days after launch, when our MUD guild decided to jump in. As broken as many things were in the early days… or, if not broken, badly thought through… there was, and remains, a lot to recommend EQII.

    The housing remains my favorite implementation. I like that there is a furniture making trade skill path, but even more so I like that there are quests out in the world with rewards you can display in your home. I rarely buy/build any furniture, but my house is full of things from adventures, from weapons on the walls from the kill quests to the rewards from various heritage quests.

    The downside is for me is that it remains a difficult game to which to return. I have many fond memories, but looking at all those skills or trying to figure out what to do or where to go, along with the need to basically fully re-reuip every ten levels works against me.

    And, in the end, everybody who was in our Crushbone guild back in 2004 ended up playing WoW. And so it goes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Funny thing, I blame a single thing on me ending up in Team WoW and not EQ2. I played the EQ2 beta (or was it just a trial?) and I absolutely HATED the sound the character’s armor was making while I was moving. That’s when I stopped playing. I wasn’t interested in WoW at all at the time, saw some pretty screenshots, had played WarCraft 1-3, StarCraft, Diablo 1 &2 .. but WoW didn’t really pull me in. But then a friend showed it to me in 2005 and I did indeed give it a try and then I got hooked.

    > I mean, they made pretty much all the money with their smash hit of a game.

    You’re probably right, in the grand scale of things – but up to that point in 2005 I hadn’t given many game companies as much money as I had given Blizzard (see list above, I basically had bought everything besides their really old titles). I guess that absolutely pales in comparison to what they made with 14 years of MMO income, but I’d say Blizzard was a medium-sized studio back then that wasn’t lacking in funds.

    I stopped playing WoW, but I guess I’m nosy enough to come back yet again for the upcoming expansion, but I don’t feel like I have to go all fanboy and defend them – it just happened to be the MMO that I had the most fun in, by a large, large margin.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s quite similar to my experience. I was in the EQ2 beta from about three months before launch, going there directly from EQ along with a number of people on my friends list. I stayed at launch but by the following summer my wife and I were literally the only people left from either the ex-EQ crowd or the many people we’d met in EQ2. when the very last person on either of our friends lists quit we decided enough was enough and we went too – back to EQ.

    Quite a few of the people who abandoned EQ2 did so for WoW but it was another five years before I finally decided to see what all the fuss was about. I’d been led to believe it was an easy mode, dumbed down version of EQ but I was surprised to find it was in fact extremely similar, just with better graphics and more user-friendliness. I shouldn’t have been so surprised – after all, WoW was made by a bunch of EQ player s and modelled specifically on EQ.

    I still hugely prefer EQ2, which is one of my top three MMOs (with EQ and Vanguard, so basically the top 3 is EQ, EQ2 and EQ2.5). WoW would probably make the top 10 (I’ve played more than 150 MMOs now).

    I would say it’s definitely worth trying and you can do it without giving Blizzard any money by playing the F2P option that lets you play up to level 20. That’s the best part anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

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