It has been a year since I last walked on the lands of Azeroth and the Outlands, and as you have figured, much have changed. But are these changes enough for me to continue on, and keep World of Warcraft as my main MMO?
Apparently, it is!
As the year went by, you could imagine that much changes were made to WoW. I am not talking about ground-breaking in-your-face graphical updates, but the usual. You know, class tweaks in the name of balance, bug fixes and the like. Nothing much new here; however, if you would to go back now after a long haitus, you might feel a little lost and some research on where your class stands, and how to maximize the potential of your classes needs to be done.
And you will want to maximize your potential, because of the additional features and content added!
Random Dungeon Finder
A most welcomed window!
The one feature that was added, so simple, yet so essential to WoW evolving would be the Dungeon Finder system, and it's Random Dungeon reward system. While I believe that it is detrimental to the player in terms of making him complacent and not bother with exploration, it does remedy a problem I have long complained about. It is also the exact same problem that made me leave WoW.
It removed the "Chicken and Egg" scenario.
Remember how these were impossible to acquire without a guild?
I have talked in the past about how different WoW is pre-80 and post-80, and how the requirement of gear and experience is just not obtainable for a "Pick Up Raid" without having friends or a guild to go raiding. I really hated that, as I just don't have the time to commit to a raid guild, but at the same time, I want something more to do then just hang around Dalaran feeling all nostalgic about the days where I would roam the Outlands in a quest to rid it off all Fel influences, and be rewarded something more then the loot gained from their bodies.
With the rewards from running a random Dungeon, now anyone can acquire a shiny new Tier 9 armor set for himself within a very reasonable period of time, and gear up to do the easier raids which would then lead to T10 gear!
So this alone has made my time much more enjoyable in WoW, from the very reachable gear levels required to go to Raids, Raids itself as well as exploring Dungeons that would have otherwise been ignored.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you will know that the release of Cataclysm is within sight. Still a while to go, but this gives Blizzard the opportunity to start linking it's current lore to that of Cataclysm. Without too much spoilers, the end of Arthas reign of terror is now, but without time to rest, everyone now has a new enemy to face.
Say goodbye to another very important character that made Warcraft III and most of World of Warcraft possible.
The information is out there, from what happens to Arthas (it isn't a simple "Arthas dies, you win!") and who is the new enemy (the Cataclysm trailer).
Blizzard has no quelms about killing off integral characters, and perhaps, that is the future, where the story evolves based on the player's actions. It was done to huge success in the Matrix Online (and by huge success I mean it kept those who actually played the game playing), and Blizzard seems to be on that track now. Old enemies fade, new enemies appear, Azeroth will always be a constant state of turmoil which would only mean one thing for us; more fun!
Should I Go Back?
If you have no friends to get one of these babies sent to ya, uh, I could always help...
If you are reading this article to decide if you should head back to Azeroth, perhaps you should! Now more then ever, is a good time to roll a new character, explore Azeroth one last time before Cataclysm hits. If not that, then perhaps to gear up your "80 with greens", or just complete your T10 set and gear in preparation for the additional 5 levels that you can gain in Cataclysm.
World of Warcraft has been around for many years, but with it's immensly engaging lore that shows no sign of stopping, you can be sure that it will be around for many more years to come, perhaps with much more interesting surprises in store for us.