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Why the Old Country is also the “Motherland”

May 5, 2009

logo-warcraftNerd that I am, and addicted as I am, WoW Insider is my home page. Whenever I open Firefox, unless its by taking a link from somewhere else, WoW Insider is the thing that pops up. I don’t agree with a lot of things, or even most things that get put up there (And I’m seriously sick to death of hearing about Karatechop. SRSLY guys, find something new!) But it sits there anyway because it’s a good place to get a quick run down of some of the big news that comes up. In the vein of not really agreeing with things, one of the articles this morning was titled “The End of Vanilla WoW” in which the idea was proposed that now that we have Death Knights and all, leveling any other class is simply too much work.

Now, there are two philosophies to approaching the game. (Really there are far, far, more philosophies to the game than I could ever cover, but right now we’re talking about leveling and it’s my blog-o-verse so I can simplify it as much as I want to. Neener neener neener!) One is that Warcraft is a great game with tons of content that works for a number of playstyles, and another is that “The game doesn’t actually start until max level.” I’m in the former camp. The concept that everything is crud until you hit 80 (Or 70, or 60 back in the day, probably 90 in the future) makes me wonder why people even got hooked enough to level their first character up anyway.

This is where our roots are. It would be a crying shame to loose all the content prior to level 55. I’m an alt-o-holic, one of my favorite things to do is create a character, work them up to 20, then probably delete them to make room for another character to push through. When I wrote Aeodh’s story, she’d only just hit level 10, and I’m considering restarting her on a different server anyway.

barrens1Even now the music in The Barrens can bring back memories of when my very first character got his first set of shoulder armor. I thought I was so cool, I was so much more advanced than all those pitiful level 10s and their armor-less shoulders. I mean really, I was 133t.

So maybe Mulgore quests can severely tax your bag space, and Elwynn pits you against that scourge of the Alliance, Hogger*, but these things have meaning to us because we’ve all been there. Because we continue to go there. I think level 14s are cute, and I love having Wailing Caverns and Uldaman in my LFG channel once in awhile. It’s certainly convenient for us now that instances only take 45 minutes or so to complete, but then again BRD felt to epic to go through at the right level. I mean, the place is HUGE and has about a heptillion** quests associated with it. Even Mauradon was huge, it felt like three instances pieced together (Purple, Orange, and Princess).

elekks-at-sunsetAnd if you go back and remove leveling to 55, you not only cut yourself off from the really classic stuff, but also from some really nice Burning Crusade stuff. I’m not much of a fan of Blood Elves all the way around, but the Stillpine Furbolg chain on Azuremyst is one of my absolute favorites. Or the Kessel Run. Or the Draenei race-only quest that gives you the tabbard.

If we took away all that good stuff, what would be the point of the holidays being in starter towns? Wouldn’t Ghost Howl and Humar and Bjarn get lonely? What would you do with all the low level gear you get from the Deadmines when you farm for the parrot? For that matter, what would you do with the majority of your proffession’s recipes? Would we still have to go back and pick peacebloom? Who would bother to go get Lucky Charms?!

mulgore1I don’t particularly like Death Knights myself. I’ve made a couple to see the quests there or to have a good bank alt on a new server, but I don’t particularly like them. It’s not because they’re all named “Deathmoo” and “Evillolz” (although that’s certainly annoying), it’s not because they ride around on epic mounts before level 60 and take nodes from lowbies, heck it’s not even because they have been so OP at PvP… No, I don’t like Death Knights because they seem to have spawned a sense of entitlement about these things***. I just don’t understand it.

By the time you hit level ten and get your pet, or bear form, or defensive stance you really feel like it’s a milestone. Level 40 is always huge for me, even with the “driving age” lowered to 30, it still feels like a big step. 60 just wouldn’t mean anything at all if you didn’t have to start somewhere smaller.

Still not convinced? Well, how about this then: In a world without darkness, does light even matter? Even if you only play the game for the raids and PvP at endgame, how can you say “I like this part better” if there’s nothing to compare to? Play for raids, play for PvP, play to twink, play to explore, play however you want to… because there are so many different ways to play. The world can be improved upon, but that doesn’t mean hacking away at the base it rests upon.

rain-paint

*Seriously guys, what’s with this Hogger thing?
**Not a real number, or rather, it is if you go with greek roots, but Americans calls this sextillion and in Europe it’s a trilliard.
***I’m not really sure how I feel about Heirloom shoulders either. Doesn’t it get boring to look at the same model for 80 levels?

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