WoW: How New Leveling Killed My Desire To Play Retail

WoW: How New Leveling Killed My Desire To Play Retail

Before getting to the heart of the matter of this little humor post, a bit of contextualization is necessary. Like many gamers dangerously approaching their thirties, WoW was the first huge video game slap in my life. I still remember, on the way home from college, fantasizing (it’s the right word) about my future journeys in Azeroth, as well as the journeys I was about to begin, “embodied” virtually in my personal. Wow, that was also my first real online experience. I became aware, literally, of the omnipotence of the Internet, and of the fact that people could interconnect in fantastic worlds.

All this to say that no other video game in the world makes me more nostalgic than WoW. The satisfaction of making your character stronger, teaching him new techniques and rubbing shoulders with increasingly formidable monsters and instances is something that I have never managed to find anywhere else.

mood ticket

This article is a mood post. It is obviously very subjective, and only reflects my “intimate” feelings on a question.

Sesame, don’t open

And then the years pass. I am forced to let WoW go for a while, even if the MMO continues to inhabit my thoughts, in a more distant way. And a few years later, a handful of months after the release of MOP it seems to me, I reinstall the game. My very first impression is grandiose. The graphics have become sumptuous, and I immerse myself with delight in the world of WoW.

But very quickly, another feeling begins to tickle me. The levels follow one another at full speed, and the evolution of my character no longer gives me as much pleasure as before. No need to open my quest log to read, role-playing style, the thrilling missions available to me, where to go and who to defeat. Everything is indicated on the minimap, which has become a high-end portable GPS. Dungeons, once sacrosanct instances from which you emerged exhausted but happy, have turned into equipment turbo-boosters. No more saying hello or connecting with other adventurers. The group is made automatically, then comes apart, and you are teleported to the next dungeon. And repeat again. The little flavor of completing a dungeon has turned into fast food-style force-feeding. We chain. Time flies. No time to linger.

World of Warcraft

And I haven’t told you yet Sesame. Small “bonuses” that bring your characters directly to level 50 or 60, on the edge of the content of the most recent expansion. So there the leveling is completely dissolved in space-time. Exit the pleasure of learning to discover his character and his class step by step. This one is delivered turnkey, ready for new instances. So of course, sesames are optional, and Blizzard does not require us to start our adventure at level 50. But they sealed the coffin of the rise in levels, laborious but oh so exhilarating.

The Waste of Wonderful Worlds

I reread the beginning of my post, and I admit that it’s a bit old grump, who thinks that “it was better before”, etc. But let me explain why, from my point of view, leveling “the hard way” was cool. Besides the “satisfying” side of improving your beloved character level after level, there is also the challenge of cherishing Azeroth and its wonders.

As a teenager, when my father asked me “how big” was the world I was roaming virtually, I replied that it would literally take me several dozen hours of walking with my troll to cross even one. continent. And he was stuck. Well ok: a few years later I learned that I was exaggerating a bit, since Kalimdor is actually only 20 kilometers from north to south.

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft

But all the same: kilometers and kilometers of magnificent landscapes. From freezing tundras to arid deserts, through dark swamps and lush forests. World of Warcraft is also a fantastic world of incredible depth. All dotted with NPCs, each with a story, anecdotes and secrets. And I pass the verse on the architecture of the cities, the detailed decorations of the objects present in the buildings, and of course the colossal bestiary of each small region. World of Warcraft is, as its name suggests, a world, a real one. Carefully crafted for almost two decades by very talented developers. But that, we tend to forget when we teleport from dungeon to dungeon at the speed of light, without taking the time to do a quest, because “too long and not worth enough in EXP”.

The titan turned two-headed hydra

So what’s left of the WoW of my teenage years when each new expansion sweeps away dozens of regions to explore all at once? When each new continent empties and then renders all the previous ones obsolete? When it becomes possible to climb 50 levels without leaving Orgrimmar, by chaining identical dungeon runs?

It is with WoW Classic, in 2019, that Blizzard provides an answer to all these questions (and to all old nostalgics like me). A return to basics, certainly exciting, but which can also be read as an admission of weakness. Directly related to failing to create a single great gaming experience that satisfies veterans, casual gamers and newbies alike.

Personally, I would have liked to revel in each expansion at my own pace, without being forced to rush through the opuses that I hadn’t had time to practice when they were released. The gaming experience, on Retail, seems horribly truncated to me. And it’s a shame, because it seems to me that each extension has its share of tasty details and sumptuous regions, too quickly buried after the induction of a new opus.


After long weeks of waiting, players of the Classic version of World of Warcraft can finally rejoice: the Wrath of the Lich King expansion finally has an official release date! The “Happy Travels” experience bonus is also making waves!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.