Friday, July 28, 2017

I miss seamless, open worlds





People frequently attribute preferring vanilla WoW with having rose tinted glasses. And whilst I can understand that argument in some cases, I can't think of another MMO that has created anything close to vanilla WoW's world.

I'm not disagreeing that some of my fondness to WoW is as a result of it being my first "real" MMO (played Guild Wars 1 for years prior), and my ignorance in not having ever been presented with a world so vast before. But to attribute it all to that ignorance would be dismissing what vanilla WoW actually did right.

What happened to seamless landscapes? A loading screen didn't take me to Orgrimmar, I fucking walked there, through the gates. I miss the journey. Never really at any point was WoW all about the journey and not the destination, it always had that late game content people craved, but when did MMO developers stop giving a shit about the journey altogether?

I miss the massive mountains surrounding each zone. They weren't just player barriers in disguise, they were physical mountains, and challenges to players like me. I knew that if I climbed it, I'd be able to drop into the zone next door. The world was more than the paths that guided you through it, it was a sandbox that enabled you to find your own paths. I feel like the illusion of size in WoW went to shit when they implemented flying mounts, and died altogether when Cataclysm came around, even Deathwing did less damage to the world than Blizzard did.

I miss the physicality and interaction too. I had to walk place to place, I had to interact with the map and my quest log to figure out where I was going, I had to work for my mount, I had to walk to the dungeons, I had to rally people in group chat to defend against gankers, etc. It wasn't convenient in any way but I enjoyed being immersed in the world so much that I never felt like I was in a rush to reach max level.

At this point I don't play WoW for a number of reasons, primarily because the game is focused solely on the end-game gameplay loop and probably aimed at people that aren't my age group, and more at players that favor convenience and seek frequent gratification. I just fucking wish another developer went back to the routes of what made WoW great, I haven't felt immersed in an MMO world in years.

Anyone else feel the same?

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