The World of Warcraft (WoW) highway is riddled with potholes. They’re not exceptionally big, but they’re not comfortable to drive through, either. A player can miss a few of them on their first travel down the highway to the level-cap, but the potholes become ever more apparent the more often one takes the WoW highway. For some legs of the trip, the potholes are a large enough problem that even fathoming a second trip down that leg is unquestionable.
That, in a nutshell, is our take on WoW. We keep up with WoW news only because WoW is the largest highway of them all, and the precedent its builders set influences the design decisions of all its emulators. And sure, we occassionally muse about what it would be like to delve back onto the WoW highway, but when we remember how annoying those potholes can be, and what damage they can do to the car that is our sanity, we shirk the amusement off and move on with our lives, hoping that a greater highway will ultimately be built.
One of the loveable lads at Penny Arcade recently mentioned in their podcast that there’s enough to do in WoW that he can avoid the parts he dislikes, but we’re obviously more discriminating. The mere idea of returning to Outland pains us, as does the horrible grinding required to max one’s professions, or obtain the gold necessary for an epic flying mount. Nevermind that once we’re at the end of the highway, there’s nothing but a painful cul-de-sac of daily quests to occupy us while we hope a garage door of an instance opens up so we can pray for epic drops or sad tokens. Oh sure, there’s the nearby PvP off-road trails that we can drive over to, but it’s poorly maintained and we’ll inevitably run out of gas before we’ve had our fill of fun.
That’s not to say we’d recommend a newcomer to the land avoid the WoW highway altogether. It’s like Niagara Falls – cool to visit once, but not so exciting that you’ll ever want to go back. What we wish we could do, though, is tell our past-selves what race and class to roll, and then live vicariously through the fresh journey ahead, because much of our chagrin towards WoW is due to the evolution of character races/classes over the years. If we had only rolled one character who was supremely to our liking, who we knew would play the way we wanted him to at the end of the road, and if we only had to travel that great highway once, perhaps we’d look back now and say, “Heck, that journey wasn’t so bad.”
Alas, we’ve been on that highway plenty a time, and we’re tired of all that traveling, and all those potholes. Fundamentally, the highway is a solid, beautiful ride, but the longer you’re on that road, the less you want to tolerate as the trip goes on. From a distance though, the highway is worth studying, even if just to see the car-wrecks.