World of Warcraft Keeps Calling My Name

Stormwind
Source: Jessica Marello, Fair Use: World of Warcraft (video game)
The gates of Stormwind have always waited in-game to greet me (in various states of disrepair).

October has arrived and friends are posting pictures of pumpkin spiced lattes and apple picking orchards. I start to ponder what to wear to the Halloween party at the end of the month, and whether I should actually try a pumpkin spiced latte. But something else is clawing at the edge of my thoughts, something not Halloween-related, something that is not a caffeinated beverage; the World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor expansion is being released in November, and my subconscious mind suggests that I might want to pass up that latte and restart my game subscription instead.

This isn’t a new or strange feeling. There have been a dozen times where, after a long break from this popular MMORPG (massively-multiplayer online roleplaying game), the urge to play it again came along. A new expansion ushered these feelings along; the promise of new content, higher levels and added perks add excitement to the game. My latest break began in February of this year, when I decided that maintaining a subscription for a game I barely played at the time was silly. Don’t get me wrong – World of Warcraft is my favorite online roleplaying game. No matter how many times I tried new games to replace it, they never held my attention like World of Warcraft did.

How to Raise Cloud Serpent
Source: Jessica Marello, Fair Use: World of Warcraft (video game)
Cloud Serpents were easily one of my favorite parts of the Mists of Pandaria expansion.

So why did I cancel my subscription? Despite World of Warcraft being played by millions of people, I felt very alone. Only one member of our friend group plays consistently, and spends most of his online time raiding with his guild. We had formulated a plan to have an “alt group” that we could play together, but it fell through. My boyfriend and I played for a time, but it wasn’t the same. While we tried to complete dungeons with other players in the Dungeon Finder (a random player queue), we found that most players weren’t very welcoming – they wanted to get in, get gear, and get out. It isn’t uncommon to be kicked for not being good enough, or speaking up to the group leader.

So we slowly fell out of love with World of Warcraft for a time; I hung on longer than my boyfriend, following my obsession with mounts and pets. I found a guild full of genuinely nice people and was content for a time. I even got a mount or two by running old dungeons with them. However, they ran dungeons and raids together that I was not a participant in, either due to time constraints or a lower item level. And running dungeons with random players left me with that same dreaded feeling in my gut. I distracted myself for a time with raising my Archeology and Cooking professions on Pandaria, completing the farm quest line on my 90-level characters, and finishing the quest line to receive Cloud Serpent mounts.

How to Farm
Source: Jessica Marello, Fair Use: World of Warcraft (video game)
I loved Harvest Moon games as a kid, and having my own WoW farm made me so happy inside.

Lately, I have been missing the elements of World of Warcraft in my life. I really love the Druid class, and being able to shapeshift into various forms for different purposes, like fighting or traveling. And it is really hard to let go of all of the drake mounts I have collected thus far (and still want to collect). And the moment that pet battles were introduced, I was so happy; my pets could fight other pets, like Pokemon! I became obsessed with battling wild pets and catching them in crates. It sounds bad, and sure it was a time sink, but I had so much fun.

What do I find so great about Warlords of Draenor? For one thing, they are finally updating the older character models to sport more detail, updated animations and new visuals. Players will be able to go to the barber shop and alter their character’s faces after the change, in case they want a better look. While my worgen will still have that horrible sneer on her face, at least her human form will look up to par! And to reign in returning players, Blizzard is including a level 90 boost for one of your characters, so no one is left behind. That feature alone makes resubbing very, very tempting. I’m all for skipping the grind on my Pandaren shaman.

Westfall
Source: Jessica Marello, Fair Use: World of Warcraft (video game)
My poor Pandaren shaman, whom could really use a level boost to get her out of Westfall!

The main aspect being introduced in Warlords of Draenor are the garrisons; players will have their own instanced garrisons, where they can add structures like stables, armories, workshops, farms and more. There will be new quests attached, as well as the ability to recruit followers and command them to complete missions, loot dungeons and make items (while you are offline). And there are still the quests in Draenor itself, along with new dungeons to try – preferably with friends, because you know, Dungeon Finder problems. I just want players with manners, is that so much to ask for?

So, should I answer the call? Admittedly, I have returned to World of Warcraft for every expansion thus far (The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, and Mists of Pandaria). And the subscription price – while more expensive than the Minecraft server I previously purchased monthly – is not going to put much of a dent in my wallet. And, just like in the past, I can cancel my subscription whenever I desire (as long as I pay by month). There are some days I don’t feel like playing again at all, and other days that I truly miss it. I just can’t figure out if I miss World of Warcraft, or solely the experiences I shared online with friends.

Wild Pet Trap
Source: Jessica Marello, Fair Use: World of Warcraft (video game)
What’s that, I can catch wild critters and train them like Pokemon? (spends hours doing just that)

Ex-World of Warcraft players: are you returning for the Warlords of Draenor expansion?

Current players: are you excited for the new expansion, and is it worth coming back for?

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