I spent a long time trying to get into World of Warcraft. For years, I avoided the game, knowing i couldn’t afford the subscription. However, with the release of Legion, I felt it was finally time for me to bite the bullet. So I’ve spent the last month levelling a character to prepare for Legion‘s launch, and the results have been somewhat surprising.
For this article, I’m not promising an in-depth review of the expansion. I have no previous experience with the game with which to compare and contrast the new content. I don’t have the many hours spent doing raids or working up to bosses. The point of this article is to give a new perspective. Removed from the nostalgia, and the mindset of a hardcore WoW fan, I offer you a fresh take on a new expansion.
So, as I said, I’ve spent the last month of so levelling characters to take into the expansion. Which meant a lot of time grinding the Invasion events before the launch. Honestly, seeing these invasions was the first thing that made me think “Okay, this is cool!” It’s hard not to think that when you see these gigantic demons descend from the sky and get pummelled by 40+ people. For the first time I was seeing what everyone was talking about as opposed to my previous experiences grinding in starting areas. For the first time I was thinking “I could get into this.”
Of course, the novelty wore off fast enough. Getting to level 100 in under a month is no easy task. It required many rotations of all the invasions every 2 hours. Needless to say, I got pretty good at recognizing patterns in each one. However, it was still pretty cool. I imagine that’s what most people feel like doing a raid boss for the 20th time.
I leveled four characters to 100 before settling on Demon Hunter. From what I’ve heard, this is regarded as the noob class at the moment. I can’t really argue much, since I can pretty much murder big groups with 3 button presses. However, it’s pretty much the perfect perspective for me to come into Legion with. Every other class has been off questing, building their reputation with epic feats. But the Demon Hunters have been literally frozen in time for years. My character is just as clueless as I am about what happened in Northrend. The only thing either of us are sure about is that Gul’Dan is being a dick, and demons are bad. So call me a noob all you want, I’ll pass my inexperience off as ‘roleplaying’!
Finally the launch night came. I prepared for it with my boyfriend and his WoW veteran friends. I fully expected a clusterfuck of failed logins. We all did. According to Blizzard’s history, they have never had a 100% successful launch. There have pretty much always been server issues as everyone tries to login at once. However, this one happened so smoothly I was apprehensive. We got the quest to move into the expansion 10 minutes before midnight, with almost no lag to speak of. I really have to hand it to Blizzard, because I didn’t notice a single major issue until 4pm the next day.
So, with all of us teleported to new Dalaran, Legion had officially begun, Sadly, that also meant the race to 110 had begun. As I said, I started this patch with some WoW veterans. These people were well versed in rushing through to end game content. They didn’t read the quests, they wanted to finish the areas as fast as possible.They wanted those few brief moments when they were the first to do things in their guild. I fell behind very quickly as a result.
While I’ve played MMO’s before, I’ve never been hugely into them. However, I do love playing RPG’s. I like hearing the story of a universe, I like seeing the effect big events have on small villages and I like stopping to enjoy the scenery. In short, I like taking my time to soak in new experiences like those found in Legion. I had never intended to be the first at anything in his expansion. I just wanted to see what Legion had to offer.
However, being reminded that I was 2 steps behind every few minutes was beginning to take it’s toll. My competitive streak was coming out, and I found myself rushing quests, before realising I had no idea why I was there to begin with. If you asked me to describe the scenario during those few quests, I wouldn’t know where to begin. Eventually, I ended up having to stop entirely lest I breakdown from the pressure to level. There was a certain way that the WoW veterans played, and I couldn’t play that way. I had to take it at my own pace, and remove myself from that environment.
However, there was one thing that struck me when I started. While I was falling behind, I explained to my companions that I was reading the quests, to which he responded “Oh, yeah! I used to do that when I started!” Does that mean you grow out of reading the quests? You stop caring about what’s happening and just get on with the objective? In that case why should Blizzard bother making a world at all? Why not have a train track from A to B with a chunk of XP at the end? It simply makes no sense to me at all why you would sacrifice the very core of a game just to see a number tick higher that little bit faster. Yet, this is apparently how veterans play the game. At what point does being the first to do something become more appealing than actually doing it?
So I left the other players behind to take the slow path with my boyfriend begrudgingly plodding along beside me. I still have to take breaks occasionally and remind myself it’s not a race or a grind to level 110. But I’m enjoying myself. The environments are beautiful, in particular Aszuna and Val’Sharah! I never can resist a magical forest environment. And I love doing the little flavor quests. For example, the blue dragons are awesome! I loved learning about their history and defending them from the WoW equivalent of crack fiends. Some of the areas are dragging, for example the long series of trials you have to finish in Stormheim. But on the whole, the world is diverse and detailed enough to keep me going.
I think it’s important to remember to stop and smell the roses sometimes. Life can often rush past you and leave you feeling drained. The whole point of video games is to give the player an escape from that. To give you a break from the daily grind, Blizzard has made an expansive, intricate universe filled with surprises. So why add yet another grind to that? Other players can enjoy being the world’s first, but I’m perfectly content with being the world’s last. So long as I enjoy the journey, I’ll take my time making it to the end.