This past weekend I upgraded my main account for the upcoming expansion Warlords of Draenor (henceforth it will be referred to in this post by its acronym WoD) and bought a 6-month subscription so I can play WoW over the summer. For the few who may be wondering, I gave the free Boost to 90 that comes with WoD to my Level 75 Horde Paladin on Cenarius. More on what exactly happens to Boosted chars in a bit.
Anyway, when I logged into the game for the first time since last summer the first thing I couldn’t help but notice was how EMPTY the servers were. As a reminder, I play on four servers and when I logged into ALL of them the result was the same: Azaroth was virtually empty. Not even Trade Chatter was happening. I logged in during what’s normally a peak time on the weekend and the result was the same. The two likely rational explainations that came to mind are people are just waiting for WoD to come back or there was yet another round of mass guild transfers to the top servers.
Unlike the extremist elitist vocal minority who view even the slightlest abnormality to what they envision WoW to be as a sign “WoW is dying”, I think the time has come for Blizzard to revisit the idea of merging realms. The Connected Realms thing they’ve been doing for almost a year now has clearly failed. I think enough data supporting that conclusion is present. The intent for Connected Realms was to make it much easier for players on medium-pop and low-pop realms find people to group up with and quest together with in-game.
The single-biggest complaint folks of different experience levels in Azeroth all seem to agree on is it doesn’t matter what Blizzard does: You simply can’t force folks to play or be nice with each other. That said, everyone pays the same $15 monthly subscription. Drastic measures should be considered and the Boost to 90 is a step in the right direction.
Speaking of which, I got to use the Boost to 90 feature in the live game last weekend (WOOT!) as I mentioned before. I used it to boost my level 75 Blood Elf Paladin to 90. What makes this one so special is it was the very first Horde Character I leveled past 30 and the only Horde Character I made on Uther when I first started playing WoW that I didn’t delete to consolidate my account two years back. Said Character now lives on Cenarius with a few of my other Horde characters.
Anyway, here is an overview of what happens once you initiate the Boost to 90 Feature. As a reminder, it can only be done in-game from the Character Selection screen.
- Once Boost to 90 has been completed, it cannot be undone. If you want to boost another character, it will cost $60 after the free one you get with WoD. As advertised, you can log into the game with the newly boosted character as soon as you finish the process.
- Your newly boosted character will be moved to the Alliance/Horde Shrine in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms pre-WoD and presumably Stormwind/Orgrimmar after WoD goes live.
- Your Boosted Character will be given a new set gear appropriate for the Primary Spec you chose during the Boosting process along with Four Embersilk Bags (WOOT!). If your character had Dual Spec before, the second spec will be reset as will both sets of talents. Glyphs and spells/abilities will not be effected.
- The gear your character was wearing previously along with the contents of your bags–including the bags themselves–can be found in your mailbox. It’s interesting to note Soulbound bags will no longer be Soulbound, meaning you can either give them away or put them on the Auction House or something.
- Your Primary Professions (Alchemy, Herbalism, Jewelcrafting, Skinning, etc.) and First Aid will all be bumped to 600 BUT you will still need to train the recipes for the Primary Professions (!).
- Your riding skill will be Boosted to Artisan (Normal flight) and you will have both Azerothian Flight (level 60+) and Cold Weather Flying (level 68+) trained. You will also be given Pandaria Flight–usually 2500G–as well as a faction-specific flying mount if your Character was under level 60 pre-boost.
- Characters you create and then Boost or Characters who were under level 60 pre-boost will have to undergo a brief training session as a layer to help get folks famiiar with their level capped character.
I can confirm any flight paths you didn’t get pre-boost will need to be manually acquired the old fashioned way or in some cases, do some quest chains to unlock them. Sholazar Basin, Hyjal, Twilight Highlands and the Faction Shrine on Pandaria all immediately come to mind. If you want to quickly make a TON of gold and Faction rep fairly quickly, just do the quest chains in the Cataclysm, Northrend and Pandaria areas from the beginning.
One thing I can say with absolute certainty is the Boost to 90 and the other available microtransactions are not to “blame”. The fault lies with the extremist elitists (who are proud of being called that buy the way) who feel since they are the loudest vocal minority, Blizzard should cater to them alone. If you want to read about the thousands of idiots holding out hope they will wake up tomorrow to find WoW reverted back to The Burning Crusade, just go to MMO-Champion. It really is sad most vets really are convinced players who joined from Wrath of the Lich King to now are the sole cause of everything they view as wrong with WoW. They feel the game has become “too easy” compared to what they view as “the glory days of WoW”.
The reality is WoW has become better as time went on. What hasn’t changed is the entitlement attitude these same elitists seem to think post-TBC players apparently have. Most of the people I’ve befriended in WoW over the last seven years and seven servers started post-TBC and you know what? None of them asked for things to be just handed to them. None of them asked to get to content before anyone else, either. 10 out of 10 times they played WoW to escape the stress real life brings first and to have fun second.
No normal person can honestly say the forced gating in TBC and Vanilla WoW were “WoW’s best days”. Know something else? This was also the period when Account Selling was the most rampant. Blizz prettymuch killed the Illegal Account Selling Market with Boost to 90. See? Blizzard knows what it’s doing. It effectively killed two birds with one stone. No longer can these account selling websites hide behind the mantra “We do what Blizzard won’t”. Blizzard effectively destroyed what up to now has been a very profitable business.
Anyway, I’ll tell you about the good times I remember from back in the day. Back when I first started out mid-TBC on the US PvE server Uther, as other longtime players said servers had a real sense of community. Unlike today, ALL of the servers has 1-3 top guilds. You didn’t have Elitist wanna-bes worshipping Paragon and Method, which are the two top US Guilds today.
I left this out until now but World PvP wasn’t hard to come by. All you had to do was walk into a contested zone and within 5 minutes you were getting updates on a skirmish nearby in neeed of backup. Raids on ANY faction city were a big deal. That’s because unlike today, if the rapid-spawning guards didn’t kill you, you knew at least 200 players of the opposing faction in the city probably would. Some vets say raiding Stormwind/Darnassus/Orgrimmar/Thunder Bluff was made easier in Cata thanks to Azerothian Fligjht despite flying sentries being added to said cities to discourge flying raiders.
Either way, simply GETTING TO the faction leader was a challenge in and of itself. See, back in the day faction pride actually meant something. Up until about Mid-WotLK, you had to plan at least a day in advance if you wanted to raid a faction city. That’s because back then, even during off-peak times players in full Raid or PvP gear would drop whatever they were doing and rush to the defnese of the faction leader. A popular and effective strategy that fell into disuse starting with Cata was forming two raid teans. You’d have the real raid 40-man team and then you’d have a smaller 5 to 20-man raid team who would go ahead of the actual raid team and keep the opposing players occupied somewhere else in the city, usually the auction house or bank. That freed up the actual raid team to go for the faction leader. Again, it was a very effective stratedgy as on some servers this happened so much, players got used to it and didn’t react until the faction leader announced they were being attacked and by the time defenders could get there, all they could do is watch their leader fall.
I don’t blame Faction Change but I do blame the same PvPers who whined about the lack of PvP opportunities for switching sides, effectively killing the World PvP Community server side. Yes, I know I’m sounding like the very people I’m pointing blame to but it’s the truth. These very same people who are quick to bully new/inexperienced players and talk down to Blizzard deserve the blame. These are the very same people who are CONVINCED the direction Blizzard is taking the game in Warlords of Draenor and the expansion following it is the main reason Gref “Ghostcrawler” Street quit the company. Yet at the same time he was the face of all that evil according to the Elitists.
The way I see it, something fundamental about the MMO Genre has been lost over the last decade: Specifically the “Massive Multiplayer” part. While I’d be the first to welcome a single-player version of WoW, the fact of the matter is it’s an MMO first and foremost. Sure, you CAN level all the way to cap without help but at the end of the day, the game was designed to maxiize player to player interactions. None of that gated crap you see in Nintendo’s online system.
The toughest fights in both PvE and PvP can’t be won alone. That said, here’s what I’m going to do on ALL of the servers I play on during my time in WoW this year: I’m going to do my part to bring the WORLD back in World of Warcraft. Specifically:
- I’m going to help anyone who asks for help and offer my services to players.
- If someone asks for info on something in-game, I’m going to help them if I can.
- Since I have multi-passemger mounts, I’m going to give low-level players a lift cross- continent to pick up some Flight Paths they would normally get to later.
- I am going to do dungeons and raids.
- I am going to do battlegrounds.
- I am going to hit outposts of the opposing faction.
- When I do LFD I am going to be nice to people.
I’m basically going to do what I have been doing since day one.