You might have noticed a significant uptick in World of Warcraft based content on this website.  Aside from that being a sentence I never thought I’d have to say, here we are with yet another entry in the chronicle of my WoW experience.  Last time I checked in, I was significantly overwhelmed by creating a high level character and was coaxed into starting a new one at first level.  So how did that go?

Going in with my extremely limited knowledge about World of Warcraft and its bevy of classes, I wanted to go with something simple and straight forward.  Naturally I gravitated towards making a panda character who also uses a sword and shield primarily.  I think it’s called the warrior class, but I could be wrong.  After a short customization period, LargeDouglas was born.  I initially wanted to go with ‘Bigger Douglas’ or something to that effect, but apparently the cowards at Blizzard weren’t ready for my radical new ways of doing things.

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Very quickly, my two friends appeared in my world with their own ludicrously named pandas who I think were a mage and a monk.  We ventured forth through the tutorial world of the panda-folk, an Asian inspired, pagoda-heavy region with a lot of questionable names and accents on display.

Compared to diving in at level 110, level one was significantly more manageable and easier to keep track of.  I had time to get used to abilities and how to navigate some of the menus instead of it went last time, where I was essentially drowning in menus.  I will say though, even at this rate, there was still a lot going on from level to level, which I imagine is a result of accelerating the leveling path over the past 50 years this game has been running.

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I’m proud to say that in this excursion I only died once, and it was because I didn’t pay attention to an NPC who very specifically told me not to go into this windy room until the wind subsided.  My negligence may have led to my demise, but in my defense, my friend who has played this game for years also died this way as well.  Actually I believe he died twice there if memory serves.

By this point you’re probably wondering if I actually enjoyed myself or not.  If I’m being honest, I really wasn’t blown away or won over by this fresh start.  It was a better experience than my last dive into the World of Warcraft pool, but it’s still World of Warcraft when all is said and done.  Meaning that regardless of which way I try to play it, it’s still a game that does nothing for me.

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Sometimes I had to kill 10 monkeys, or kill 10 rats and collect their parts for whatever grim needs the quest giver had.  Sometimes, when things got really exciting, I had to pick up driftwood or fireworks.  It’s even more disappointing considering I had thought for years that the jokes that people made about collecting 20 boar pelts had to have been a relic of the early days of World of Warcraft.  Surely over the years they would have removed as much of that tedium as possible?  Nope, from what I experienced, about half or more of the quests I embarked on involved me killing a bunch of stuff and collecting enough of their parts to progress.

I get that every quest can’t be this life-changing experience that’s going to revolutionize how I perceive quests, but they really front load the game with as much tedious nonsense as possible.  I might be being a little to myopic in my description of World of Warcraft, but it’s just super hard to get enthusiastic about this game.

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But it wasn’t all doom and gloom.  There were a couple of moments where I genuinely sat back and thought something I’d experienced was pretty cool.  It seems utterly useless, but the panda-folk can balance on these vertical beams and bounce around on them and fight other people on them which is an objectively cool, martial arts thing to do.

Also, the world design, especially in the land of the panda-pals, was really pleasant.  From the pagodas, to the rivers and caves, this starting area was a joy to be in and meander around.  Also, I think it’s all on a big turtles back or something?  Which once again, is objectively cool.

Ultimately, I still don’t like World of Warcraft.  It has its moments where it can charm you, but no amount of that can make me ignore the core conceits of its mechanics.  At this point, I’m not playing it because I want to play the game, I’m playing it because I get to talk to my friends.  On that front, World of Warcraft succeeded, but I can’t imagine paying $15 a month for the ability to talk to them.

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