There’s an old question about if you replace all the parts of a toy, whether they break or get old or whatever, to the point that none of its original parts remain, is it still the same toy? You can apply this to all sorts of things; computers, cars, things like that.
Though the other day it got me thinking about this with World of Warcraft. Blizzard recently gave everyone who had a subscription 7 free days of game time to come back and check out their latest patch, so I gave it a shot. It was free, so why not?
World of Warcraft has been changing pretty heavily since its release ever since Cataclysm. I’m not just talking about new content or balances to skills and dungeons, I mean major changes to the core parts of the game itself.
Let’s break it down in a quick, not all-encompassing list:
In Cataclysm they changed the entire world in a story event. There was no way to undo this as it wasn’t instanced like a dungeon or raid, it was a permanent change to the two continents and everything in them from Vanilla.
It was an interesting change at first, really giving a feeling of this living world that was affected by real world time. But after playing it more I found something I didn’t like here, an annoyance compared to Vanilla there. Little things added up that made me wish the Cataclysm itself was an instance or something I could exit and go back to the original world, the one I started in.
They did a ton with every class, things I’m not even 100% sure about. They completely changed how the talent system worked, removed talent trees entirely, restricted many abilities from certain class specializations, the list goes on. Warlords of Draenor, the latest expansion, brings in a much needed stat squish, but everything else with classes is a pretty hefty change and fairly intimidating. Let me just go ahead and say I really don’t like what they did here, at all. But not nearly as much as…
Ok, WoW is an older game and needed some graphical updates. It got some with each new expansion, with many coming in Mists of Pandaria, but the biggest graphical update came with the latest patch in the form of new models for every race that came before Cataclysm.
I’m just going to say it: they’re horrible. They’re ugly, they’re too goofy and cartoony, and they ruined some of my favorite character models. This is just my opinion, some people probably like them. But I think they went back on established designs they had in just about every Warcraft medium (comics, card game art, whatever else) in favor of a more Wildstar-esque style that really just doesn’t fit with what they have had all this time.
You could probably keep the list going with things like main characters, but that’s something I can rant about for hours, and not really the point of the post. My point is I realized why I can’t get back into World of Warcraft after having left a while ago: it’s literally not the same game I came to love and enjoy. Sure it isn’t bad per se, and compared to many other games out there it’s still in the higher areas of the gaming pantheon.
But it really just isn’t the same, and it finally clicked after going back for that 7-day trial. I logged in and just gave a sigh after a half hour or so with the current incarnation. My guild is still gone, and they won’t be coming back because it isn’t the game we all fell in love with so long ago.
No, I don’t care about that fruity last line.