Hotel WoWlifornia: you can never leave

I quit WoW when SWTOR was released. I was so incredibly burnt out on WoW, compounded by five years of guild leading and three of raid leading. I’d been really excited about SWTOR for a couple of years, and I found Cataclysm a tiresome and unengaging chore – were it not for my responsibility to my guild, I’d have quit WoW at the end of WotLK, and been happier for it.

So off I marched to a galaxy far far away, and I was pretty confident that I was done forever with WoW. I mean, never say never, right? But I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to play it again. So when SWTOR didn’t have the staying power we’d hoped, I sampled GW2, Rift (again), TSW, and flitted through a variety of other games (and lost part of my heart to Firefall along the way). I was singularly unmoved at the launch of Mists of Pandaria, the first WoW expansion in which I’d been entirely uninvested. Admittedly, I was happy to hear from the blogosphere that the Pandaria questing experience was excellent, and pet battles and the Tillers did pique my interest somewhat… but you couldn’t have those without the rest of WoW, so no dice.

A Walk in the Jade Forest

Yeah, so, it turns out it’s harder to resist WoW than I thought — especially when all your friends go back to it within the span of a single week.

I’m not entirely happy with Mists of Pandaria, mind you — what they’ve done to paladin is heartbreaking (so much so that I’m probably actually going to focus on a different character this expansion, for the first time ever), and I still hate the new talent system. I’m unlikely to commit fulltime to WoW as “my game” ever again; there are too many other games out there that offer me things WoW doesn’t.

But I can’t deny that I’m having fun. Mists of Pandaria might just be “more of the same”, but Blizzard has refined the formula time and again; the execution is so polished it gleams. And it’s nice to have company, too; it takes a lot to build a guild, and since WoW we’ve only ever reached critical mass in SWTOR. It’s very comforting to log into a game and know you’re going to see another dozen names around, instead of wondering if anyone’s going to be around tonight, and that’s an experience I’ve been missing in my recent gaming life.

So, Azeroth, I’m back. I haven’t moved back in, and I’m not sure I’m planning to, but I guess it’s a good thing I never gave back my key, right?

10 Responses to “Hotel WoWlifornia: you can never leave”

  1. December 13, 2012 at 18:42 #


    I found this site via a link on Rohan’s blogroll. This post expresses almost 100% the journey I’ve been through recently. I left WoW for SWTOR, but that proved to be a pretty big disappointment. After I have done GW2, and returned to Rift for Storm Legion, TSW is the only link I’ve skipped out on.

    Now I have found myself drawn into WoW again for people, I’m not happy at all with what they did to Boomkin nor to the talent system. So I’m playing my elemental/resto Shaman instead. I only play the game when duo leveling with my partner (who stayed with the game throughout), so I am still playing Rift at the moment but I can feel the draw. I’m in a largish guild so I have a lot more options in WoW than I do in Rift longer term…

    • December 14, 2012 at 08:53 #

      That all sounds very familiar :) I’m sorry you’re not happy with boomkin, though; what did they do to it? I’m thinking of making my boomkin my new main, but I never had her at level cap in prior expansions so I don’t really have much to compare her playstyle to. It feels the same to me, but my experience playing her has so far been restricted to questing and easy dungeons, really.

  2. December 14, 2012 at 00:23 #

    Welcome back. Enjoy your time in Azeroth and your other games as well!

    • December 14, 2012 at 08:48 #

      Thanks! :)

  3. Chris Kronteres
    December 14, 2012 at 05:59 #

    As a longtime Paladin I have been called a complainer after claiming my paladin just no longer “feels right”. Would you be willing to elaborate on the changes you walked in to find. I don’t mind you being as specific as you like. This issue is close to my heart. THX

    • December 14, 2012 at 08:45 #

      For me, it’s that the class feels de-hybridised.

      I played pally as my main from early Vanilla to the end of Cataclysm; primarily as Holy, with offspec dalliances with Prot and Ret. I was even keen enough that I wrote a holy pally blog for many years, at Banana Shoulders. I can’t speak for other paladins, but I knew my class pretty well, and I used all the tools at my disposal – for instance, if I was trying to save a clothie from killing themselves on giant packs of mobs I’d be just as likely to taunt off them or slap a BoP on them and put up RF myself, if heals weren’t going to keep them up.

      So what feels wrong, to me, is that each spec of paladin can only do that one thing. Holy, for instance, has lost Righteous Defense, Exorcism, Holy Wrath, and Consecrate, which are core spells I’ve used for seven years. (Well, OK, five years in RD’s case.) I keep going to use them and really feeling the lack of them. Now all Holy can do is heal. It’s got zero AoE DPS, which hurts while questing, and it doesn’t even use Judgement any more. The core spells of my spec are still there, sure, but everything else is gone. I can still do my job from a raiding perspective, sure, but playing a paladin was a lot more than just raid roles, to me.

      So that’s what saddens me about pally, and why it feels wrong. And as a final straw, paladins get the blandest, least interesting talents of pretty much any class, with zero meaningful playstyle difference between pretty much any of them. I dislike the new talent system overall, and paladin talents seem to be the worst of the bunch.

      • Chris Kronteres
        December 14, 2012 at 09:25 #

        I am longtime Ret. I used to walk tall, unafraid of any monster the game could throw at me – never once fearing overworld trash… then Pandaria came. Now there are times I cannot outheal the damage while trying to fight – Holy Power is either damage or healing but my white damage is a joke. Flash of light is completely useless – warriors with glyphed victory rush heal better than I do and I am supposed to be a healing warrior! By the time you build 3 holy power you have to choose between one decent hit or a modest heal and dont forget Inquisition – now we get to spend the power on 30% damage buff to our useless white damage while we try and get back to 3 holy power yet again! By then INQ is almost gone so you can either heal, hit, or refresh it… I feel like I am juggling 3 plates and all of them have my dinner on them. My gosh DK heal WHILE they fight AND generate resources – they are truly Dark Paladins in my book. I feel lost without my auras as well – bringing them up with my seal of choice was how I started every road trip and every dungeon. And you can forget levelling with PROT like I did in the old days. Sure you will live forever but you might as well go make a sandwich once a fight starts. Hammer does not feel right for RET but that is a personal problem for me. Once I was a holy avenger and now I struggle to keep my faith as my health falters. But then again my wife says they rotate which class gets screwed each expansion for job security so who knows.

        • December 14, 2012 at 11:03 #

          I must be playing a different game.

          When I jump into my Ret offspec I tear through mobs. I might die if I overpull, just like an Arms Warrior or a Mage. But we are real DPS now. Keeping Inquisition up isn’t NEAR the chore it was in Cataclysm since we can bank extra HP. Ret is an actually fun spec this expansion.

          As Prot, I never felt like more of a hybrid. On Stone Guard and Fend, I do a ton of healing through Glyph of Battle Healer and Lights Hammer. Hand of Purity is amazing on those fights and I can tell you a well time Lay On Hands has saved my healers life more than once. I love being able to self heal. It feels like Paladin tanks should have always had that.

          The talents are great. We finally have choices. Before it was just look up the accepted spec on EJ and do it. Now we have things like SW and HA siming out so close it’s a real choice. I love being able to switch between fights. Hand of Purity is amazing for Stone Guard and Fend, but not so great for Gara’jal so I switched to Clemency so I can always Sac the other tank.

          You didn’t see this much because it rarely every affected Holy, but Ret and Prot would constantly be hurt by collateral damage from a nerf to the other spec.

          The old trees were top heavy because they had to make sure all the good stuff was high up.

          We have to accept that WoW has 33 classes now. A Ret Paladin is a different from a Holy Palain as it is from a Arms Warrior. Actually, it’s probably closer to an Arms Warrior. This gives the devs better knobs to balance the classes (at least in PVE, you’ll never have a balanced PVP in this game).

          This is the expansion where I’m enjoying the Paladin the most.

          • December 14, 2012 at 11:31 #

            We have to accept that WoW has 33 classes now. A Ret Paladin is a different from a Holy Palain as it is from a Arms Warrior. Actually, it’s probably closer to an Arms Warrior.

            And that, fundamentally, is what I don’t like about the MoP model. I can appreciate that it allows for each individual spec to be more focused in raid situations, for instance, but that focusing is at the cost of hybrid versatility, and that’s not a direction I enjoy. I’d far prefer the Wrath model of Paladin, where every spec was viable but not forcibly isolated.

            I can accept that WoW has 34 classes now. I just don’t particularly like it, and I find it less fun than when it had 10.

          • Chris Kronteres
            December 15, 2012 at 02:32 #

            Goes to show how different the experience is player by player. I was just saying that my DK now feels like what i (thought i) remembered paladin feeling like. I must not be sync-ing with the changes very well. This may be a sign to take a good long break from my main or reconsider that I may need to change with the times and just do what feels right.

Leave a Reply