If someone asked you about the game would you recommend it to them?
If asked about the game I would say that I love it. The game came from a recently horrible expansion that pushed me to the verge of quitting on multiple occasions to probably what might end up being the best expansion ever made. The game is better than it has been in many years.
So that means I would recommend it? Absolutely not.
I would never suggest warcraft to anyone. The game is not the type of game you can join in on now. Too many levels, too many professions needed, too many details to learn, just too much crap to deal with that it is not worth it. While you can, it is not exactly easy or fun to do so. Unless you are going to get someone to hold your hand the entire time you are leveling and getting used to the game I don't see the game as being very new player friendly.
Starting at the beginning where new players start.
The leveling speed is way to fast that it would never allow people to get in touch with the characters, to get a real feel for how they play. The actual challenges there are while leveling are few and far between and the few that are there can push even the most dedicated types off the cliff instantly.
The speed you level at means you do not really learn how to play your character so those few moments you need to use all your abilities you won't know how to. And because you are getting new abilities quicker as you are leveling quicker you might completely miss out on learning the important ones or even noticing you have them.
If you plan to join in on group content the dungeon finder system is not very new player friendly either. You will constantly be paired with people that are probably heirloom geared and while it might be fine with most groups you will surely get many groups that will have someone picking on the new player for not having heirloom gear, if that makes any sense.
You will be out classed, out played and out performed at every turn while leveling as a new player in group content which for some people can be a huge put off thinking that you can't compete. You will never be placed with people that are like yourself and just learning with over powered gear.
God forbid you attempt to PvP as a new player because that would bring the most hard core player vs player type of person to tears because there is no way a new player could ever beat someone with all their uber gear hand me downs. And it is not like you would have the time to build up some gear because by the time you did you would be in a new PvP bracket and your gear would be useless again thanks to that super fast leveling. So group content is unwelcoming to the new player.
And how about that wonderful warcraft community, or the lack of it more specifically. Like I mentioned the people bashing the new player for not having heirloom gear. How could they? Doesn't matter to the warcraft community. Our community thinks that everyone should have the best of everything all the times or they are a scrub. Our community thinks everyone should know all their abilities and how to use them instantly even if they are new.
Our community thinks that people should know the lay out of every dungeon like the back of their hand because they have been out of so many years and there is no excuse for anyone not knowing them. How about this is someones first time there? Nope, not a good enough excuse when talking with our wonderful community. You are just a low life piece of shit scrub because you do not have gear you are incapable of having and do not have knowledge that someone that has been playing 8 years does, and have never done something that has been out for years even though you just started. Yeap, piece of shit, that is you, so says the wonderful world of warcraft community.
Now on to the problems of professions for the new player and what quick leveling does to that. First aid, if they decided to take it and level it, will always be behind. You will be leveling so quickly that you will never be able to gather enough cloth to keep it up. If you happened to be unlucky enough to be questing in an area with no humanoid mobs for a while it is entirely possible that you will have skipped over a type of cloth completely by the time you get to mobs that drop cloth again.
So this means going to the auction house, if you have the gold, which you won't as a new player that had no previous knowledge of the game and you will be stuck looking at 40g stacks of the cloth you need, if you are lucky. When you open your wallet and see the cobwebs and 3 gold sitting there you will realize you only have two options, abandon your quest to level first aid or find mobs that drop the cloth you need and grind them to catch up even if you are getting no experience for them.
Same goes for cooking and the drops because you are leveling so fast. And lets not forget fishing which back in the day would level with your level because you would spend some time fishing here and there and making food to eat for buffs because even those stupid small buffs helped because they were needed. Now all of those are left behind because of speed leveling, even for the new player that does not know better, and the lack of need for any buffs when leveling anyway.
What about those main professions? If you were a smart player you did one of two things as a first timer and that was take two gathering professions or one gathering profession with a crafting profession that went with it. If you took two crafting professions don't ever expect to level them as a new player. You will never be able to afford all the materials needed. It is just completely impossible. Not going to happen for a person with no experience in the game and no gold reserves to pick off of to level up those professions.
Lets go to those gathering ones and the wonderful addition of cross realm zones. Thanks to the new CRZ you will have 5 or 6 or even 7 servers all competing for the materials that are only enough to support one server meaning your pickings will be slim to none.
You can go from level 15 to level 25 without seeing one herb to pick, I know because I have done it, all thanks to the CRZ. And if you are lucky enough to see an herb or a mine one of two things usually happens. You are either too low of a level to pick/mine it because of your speed leveling putting you in an area well past your gathering professions now, or while you are fighting your way there to get it someone lands on it with a flying mount and takes it. Yeap, been there too myself.
So you need to find lesser played areas if you want to have any chance of gathering materials but as a new player you will not know that would you? Unless you were lucky enough to roll a gnome or dwarf, you are basically shit out of luck when it comes to leveling mining or herbalism and lets face it, look at the numbers, not many roll dwarves or gnomes.
So to the auction house again, to offset your lack of being able to gather stuff thanks to the cross realm zones and speed leveling, so you can level your associated profession. Lets say you are doing alchemy and want to get that up some, you look at the herbs on the auction house and see 50g a stack and that same wallet that was filled with cobwebs before is still not any better.
Looks like you are not leveling your main crafting professions either, not right now at least. So your gathering profession has been left behind because of the lack of herbs to keep you leveled with your leveling movement and the cross realm zones making the few herbs that are out there even harder to find leaves you, just like with the cloth, in the position to make the choice to stay behind killing mobs you get no experience for while trying to find a needle in a haystack, or better yet, a herb that you can get to before someone on a flying mount from another server gets to it first.
Lets say you do happen to grin and bear it and deal with all that crap. With the cross realm zones meaning massive amounts of high levels taking all the resources you need to level. Jerks in randoms telling you that you suck because you do not have heirlooms even if it is impossible for you to have them. Speed leveling where you do not get a chance to ever get comfortable with an area or your spells and abilities. All that junk, you dealt with it and now you finally get sent to BC content.
I don't know about you but one of the questions I get the most from new players, and I have helped a ton of them, is the "how do I get to..." question. Usually this is how do I get to BC or Northrend. To me, you and the other people that have played the game it is a no brainer but to a new person they get lost all the time.
Funny side story. I was in my horde guild when someone hit level 68 and asked how to get to northrend. I told him how to get there, simple enough right? He said this was his first horde character and he had only done it on alliance before. I said my standard line, no big deal, we all have to learn some time, and told him where to go once again. A few minutes later he says in guild that the people in stormwind are not all that friendly to him. I laughed and said that is because you are a horde now, why are you there? He said, he was going to take the boat because he knew where that was. I really thought that was funny. He made it to northrend, but he had to fight his way thought the alliance port once he did. He was cursing like a sailor in guild chat because he was dying every 3 seconds but it was fun for me thinking about it.
He is not the only one that gets lost with things like that, most new players and even new to a side players get lost like that. It is more common than you and I think. Just because we know where everything is doesn't mean everyone else knows and it surely means someone brand spanking new to the game won't know.
At least BC content, even if it blows by too fast now, and northrend content, which always blew past way to fast, is a lot better than vanilla content. You will not be finding much in the way of gathering nodes in abundance in BC areas at all, never had, and it is even worse now with the cross realm zones. There are some BC ores that sell on my server for 1000g a stack now thanks to the cross realm zones and blizzard never modifying the repawn rate to ore and herbs. Typical blizzard stupidity of course, but it just means a little more hell for the first timer and it also means with those high prices a lot more 90s farming the herbs and ores you need to level just to make some quick gold making the pickings even slimmer. Now multiply that by 7 realms worth of 90s doing that for gold and you can just feel the nightmare of leveling gathering professions in BC.
Their professions will still be taking a beating in BC but at least the questing does slow down a bit to allow the person to start to get comfortable with their character. Dungeons will be the same, lots of people that will all think that everyone knows everything and if you don't you suck. PvP again is the same, you will continue to be brutalized by people in gear you are not even capable of getting and even if you were by the time you get it, you out grew it.
The saddest part here is that BC has some of the absolute best PvP objective areas in the game and you can not participate in them. Not because of the previously mentioned gear thing but because the fights are for level 90s there, not you, the new player, level 63 in crap gear, and learning how your abilities really work for the first time since you started because this is the first time you stayed at a level long enough to notice, oh shit I have a new ability. Game play for you will start to get a lot better here, but is it too little to late?
When you reach northrend things start to get even better still. If you went through the hell of getting your gathering professions up at least to the point where you can gather stuff in the basin when you get there you will experience your first time ever as a new player were gathering material is all over the place even with the cross realm zones and you will love it.
The leveling speed is still a little faster than it should be but it is not as horrible quick as it was 1-60 at least. You will also, for the first time, really start to experience some great story telling but the sad part is, as a new player, you will probably reach 80 before you get to the best story lines in that expansion and you will miss them completely. At least northrend seems to be a lot better balanced profession wise, flow wise and story wise.
Then you take a step backwards. Think it was bad asking once an expansion "how do I get too..."? Get ready for asking it a million and one times because the 80 to 85 experience will throw you all over the world with no rhyme or reason what so ever. What was a tight game with some problems with speed leveling and profession leveling before becomes unwound and a hell of a lot harder to figure out where you are going thanks to bad expansion design.
The stories are all over the place, the speed of leveling is too slow compared to what you have become used to and there is no real flow to anything you do. The one good thing is that it seems gathering, while not over plentiful, will be enough. So while the speed of leveling and the gathering of resources has gotten better since you left original content the flow of the game will seem to be off, to a new person at least, because the expansions do not really flow from one to another all that well and did not flow to this one well at all. At least the other two were single areas, this one is all over the place and it is really easy for a new person to feel a bit lost and disconnected from the game in a big world because of it.
Also at this point you should have all types of flying but a new player might not. While it is possible they can fly it is nearly sure they do not have fast flying because how does someone that has never played the game before and does not know how to work the auction house come up with all the gold needed for that. Even more so when you did not ever have many extra gathering materials to sell unless you took two gathering professions. In truth, the only way in hell you will have any money as a new player is if you had taken two gathering professions and used the auction house as often as possible to sell them and even at that, you would have still been sort of screwed because you would have been slowed down trying to play catch up on two gathering professions back in original content instead of just one thanks to the cross realm zone.
When moving to the current expansion you will feel, thanks to the blazing speed of leveling before hand, that you are getting absolutely no where leveling wise which will be a shock to the system of any new player who had gotten used to the feeling of personal progression as fast because they were always getting new gear, new levels, new skills and now they are getting levels much slower and skills not at all. At least there will be lots of new gear for them.
While I love the mists leveling model and think it is the best to date, fast enough to get there without much work but slow enough to get to know the zones and where we will be spending the next couple of years, to a new player it would be a nightmare. It will take them longer to do 85-86 than it took them to do 1-40 most likely and this could be a huge turn off for many. At least they will no longer be caught in the worst addition ever made to the game, the cross realm zone. They will finally be playing the game on their own server as they should have been since day one.
Most gamers, even if new, as long as they played any type of leveling system game before will understand that those last levels are the hardest so a great many new players will just grin and bear it and do what they have to do.
Then they ding 90 and are excited to finally made it to end game. They are most likely broke, with just quest gear, extremely limited knowledge of their class but at least will have learned something because mists leveling is harder than anything they had ever experienced up to that point and they will want to play the game as they believe it was intended to be played, at end game.
Then they get hit in the face with more leveling. Leveling reputations to buy gear. Level item level to get into dungeons. Leveling item level to get into the LFR. Finding a guild that does raiding. And even harder, finding a guild that is willing to accept people that are completely and totally new to the game and are willing to teach them while actually getting bosses down.
Usually casual guilds of the lower end go two ways when it comes to new players. They either let them in and let them raid and down nothing, or they let them in and do not let them raid until stuff is on farm and they just need a body to fill a space and down stuff. One means you start right away and get nowhere and the other means you wait until you get lucky enough to get into something but at least get some experience downing things. The choice is yours but either way, you will be lucky to find yourself in either situation as someone that knows nothing being new to the game.
If you finally want to move into something more steady you will need to learn a little about your class and gemming and enchanting and so forth and so on. If you do not have anyone in that lower level casual guild that held your hand and taught you it is off to the internet where you get the shock of your life, learning you need a hell of a lot more than just that character you leveled to play at max level, but you need a ton of other things.
Now when you do start reading and seeing what you need to do and notice that your wallet is still filled with cobwebs you might start thinking you need to level some other characters for profession purposes, just to take care of yourself being you have no gold to buy all those things you need.
So you level an engineer for a scope, a blacksmith for a belt buckle, a jewelcrafter for gems, an enchanter for enchants, a scribe for shoulder enchants, a leatherworker for leg enchants, and an alchemist to make flasks and it starts all over again. Leveling another character having a hard time finding materials, blowing through content too fast to really learn your class, etc. All so you can play with that one class you leveled at the max level the appropriate way.
With all the things you need to do at end game and all the the other things you need to do and dealing with a crappy server economy, a horrible cross realm zone design, a horrible community that will blast you every step you take just because you are new, and the feeling like you need to do 101 things just to catch up to where everyone else is all while having to think about all the crap you now need to do with every single piece of gear and you have no money to do it, it just is not worth the effort for a new player to even attempt to play catch up in this game. Can it be done, yes? Is it worth it? No, not at all. The game is great yes, but it is not wroth starting from the beginning, not at all.
So would I recommend warcraft to someone else? Never in a million years. As much as I love the game, it is not new player friendly at all.
Ghostcrawler joins us on the podcast Monday at 8pm PST - Monday evening Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street, the recently departed Lead Systems Designer of *World of Warcraft*, will join us on the WoW Insider Show. Begin...
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