How many games came out in November of 2004 that you are likely to be playing right now? Think about it: that’s before Star Wars: Episode III or Batman Begins, and the series that followed it. One of the few games that is still in full production, plus has a player base consistently in the millions, has to be the World of Warcraft. Originally released on November 23, 2004 in the United States and Australia, the game has been updated regularly over the last twelve years, and to some extent, it feels like it hasn't let up yet. In honor of the 12th anniversary of this great game, let's take a look at some of my tips, tricks, and insights from the time I have spent playing this vast MMORPG.
Before the advent of Group Finder and Looking for Raid, there was just the LFG channel in chat. Looking for Group used to actually require someone to put in effort to play with others to advance through dungeons and raids. Now, we just hit a button and we are linked up with other like minded people looking to slay dragons and weird monsters to gain gold and experience.
It’s important to take the time to learn your class. That means if you have a tanking spec, damage spec, or a healing spec you should be learning how to play with that style and build a rotation for it. It may not be obvious at that time, but it will pay off later on. For example, I was in a raid pick up group as a warrior dealing damage when our second tank got disconnected and was unable to rejoin us. Luckily, I had been building up my tanking gear and was able to step up to help finish out the raid, which was a big weight off of the shoulders of everyone in the group.
One thing that we all seem to forget when running through the lower level content is this: crowd control matters. I know this can be ignored in several instances, but when used properly by a group in full communication it can make the difference in a successful dungeon or raid group and an unmitigated disaster where everything falls apart. The simple act of having two opposing non-player characters sit out of the fight to be taken care of afterwards will make the difference on group survivability and ease of the run.
Some of us remember when we ran our first raid. Depending on the group you were with, it could have been frustrating or it could have been a breeze. Ultimately, if you have run raids over the years, you will have experienced both sides of that coin. At the end of the day, if you are into the game for the story this is where you will eventually end up. In my experience, the mixture of overcoming the challenge with others and potentially getting new gear can be an extremely rewarding. I can remember the first time we completed the Heroic Throne of Thunder when I was tanking, and the rush I felt at the end of that encounter still hasn’t been matched yet. Now, I haven’t been able to get into the raids for Legion as of yet, but I have heard that they up the ante from the developer side of the system, which sounds like nothing but good news.
Ultimately we all need to remember one thing while playing games like World of Warcraft: don’t be a jerk. The other characters you are running along with aren’t non-player characters, they’re human beings and your actions and words have an impact on those around you. This is just a game, and it is meant to be a fun experience with a good bit of challenge thrown in along the way. If you work to communicate and be a good teammate, you will have an easier time finding people of like minds to play with. We are all out to have a good time; let’s not ruin it for others.
As we get ready for the World of Warcraft to get another year older, remember that there are so many other things we can take away from a game such as this, especially when it’s sprawling over several continents and other shattered worlds. We have to wonder: what will come in the next several years? Will we be leaving Azeroth to charge into a war against the darkness? Or will we keep being pushed into a defensive stance shielding ourselves from felfire being thrown at us from the minions of Sargeras? Only time will tell, but I think the loremasters at Blizzard will keep the story flowing while trying to keep us engaged. My only hope is that the next 12 years are as good as the last.