I got WoW very early on, within a few days of it’s initial release. I went into the game knowing virtually nothing. I had never heard of Warcraft or any of its lore, all I knew was that it was an MMORPG (Massively Multilayer Online Role Playing Game), something I knew I could get into. It didn’t take long before I could not stop playing, everything from the art design to the leveling and getting new gear was so enticing. I got a few friends I knew from school to start playing and then it became even more fun. There was something about early WoW that made the world feel truly alive, like a real living breathing world. Everyone was new to the game, there were no max level people, there were no characters with full “epic” gear, even mounts (player driven transportation, ex. horses, expensive and only available at level 40) were a rare sight. You really felt a sense of connection to the world, as if you were growing just as the world was. When you started getting to the higher levels (30+) you really felt a true sense of exploration, realizing how large and diverse the world was.
But again no experience is inherently aesthetic. Take character leveling. While most study participants reported that they enjoyed leveling characters, others did not. What was a pleasing aesthetic experience for some was irksome to others. Some players simply wished to reach the level cap in order to access high-level game content (which for them was aesthetic).
This is what I believe kind of ruined WoW. The simple joys of the game were tossed aside and people were just focused on speeding to max level and end game content. It happens to every MMO that comes out now. WoW was always a competitive game, but it never felt like a speed run when I played. It took some of the best guilds many attempts before they could even finish Molten Core (first 40 man raid dungeon in the game), but now everything is streamlined, and virtually everyone has full epics. At the time when WoW was its best the max level was 60, and remained that way until 2007, when it was increased to 70 with the Burning Crusade expansion, which was still a lot of fun, but not like Vanilla WoW (60). I think the max level now is 90, soon to be 100 with a new expansion, so its really changed a lot. When Nardi wrote this book the max level was 80, and that’s basically when I called it quits for WoW.
Other games are enticing, but in WoW what you do is persistent. It stays around. You can share your achievements with others. I mean, I heard that Oblivion was a simply awesome game . . . but I can’t see the point anymore of playing a game where you increase level, get new cool looking armor and weapons that do neat stuff and you play your game on your own. -Windsong
I found this quote to really stand out to me. I have always been fond of gaming, but during my WoW phase I no longer played anything other than WoW. Nothing yielded the same satisfaction that WoW did. You could log into WoW and not do anything at all, you could just log in to chat with people, or even to to a low level zone and help out people. I loved going to the opposite faction cities and attacking people on their own turf, having that false sense of security. Having good gear gave you a sense of pride, a visual stamp of your achievements. People in game were always able to recognize someone in good armor, or when someone was carrying an epic weapon. It gave you something to aspire to and work towards. Getting epic gear wasn’t an easy task early on, it took organization of 40 people of all varying age groups and walks of life, to come together and function as a unit, each with specific tasks in some elaborate dungeon in a virtual world.
That’s a pretty long video, but it reminded me a lot about things Nardi said in the first four chapters.
Also this is just a funny video about some angry kid who was addicted to WoW back in its early stages. Its just humorous to me the way the media had presented WoW and how condescending they were when talking to that kid.