One thing I really do appreciate in WOW is the Dungeon Finder feature. FFXIV 2.0 is planning something similar, but I can’t imagine a better version of this available. Basically in WOW I just click the “Dungeon Finder” in the main menu, select the dungeon I want to do (or a random one), and wait for other people in my level range to do the same. The game looks for a group of similar players and notifies me when the party is ready. Once confirming I am ready, everyone is teleported inside the start of the dungeon. From there it’s a simple run through the dungeon picking up treasures and equipment along the way – and when we’re done everyone gets to teleport right back to where they were before the dungeon happened and continue on what they were doing prior.
I really appreciated the Dungeon finder. I appreciated how simple it was to use, and how easy it was to join a party and get started. What I liked the most is that there was no time wasted traveling to the dungeon, and how no matter what it was I was doing beforehand (even flying on the gryphon or in the middle of a battle) when I ended the dungeon raid I was right back to where I was before the event with all the new items, experience, and money I earned. I was right back mid-flight on the gryphon albeit a little wiser, a little more experience, and pockets heavier with gold.
Another thing I liked about WOW was how big the world felt after deciding to go traveling a bit more. I made it to level 20 without even having to grind on mobs – just doing quests and dungeon raids with other players. I found out that there are places I hadn’t even gone yet that were ranked at levels lower than what my character was. I wouldn’t need to go to these places to level up further – but I could still go on my down time and fill in more of my maps and unlock more achievements for exploration. This was a pleasant surprise as I thought much of the map would be unavailable for some time.
That all being said – I do need to gripe on how dumbed down some of WOW has become since I last played it a few years ago. Yes, the world is still there as I remember, yes the quests are still there, yes the lore and the items are still there – but some core mechanics were taken away that I really and truly miss from older WOW.
One thing I was really surprised on was how abilities were automatically learned per job and not ones I would any longer have to seek out a trainer to learn once I reach a certain level. Sure, this make sense because everyone usually snatches up abilities as soon as they are available anyway, but I appreciated the method of seeking out a trainer and the option to opt out of abilities that I didn’t want to deal with. I liked the feeling of having to travel back to a town or where people are and mingle with other players and events while going to seek out a trainer. If I had any say in it, I would have liked to see different abilities specific to certain trainers, to make more depth to the game and make it a conscious effort on the player’s part to learn something new and useful, not just have it come automatic to the class.
Another dumbed down element to the WOW I found disappointing was how different flight points became available on the map before my character had even been to the area. I was just starting out and suddenly I have unlocked the ability to travel to areas I haven’t been to, much less heard of. This made the game play too easy in my opinion and I feel I lost out on a valuable element to the game – which is having to put fourth effort into traveling to new areas and seeing new sights and then being rewarded with being able to travel there through flight later on. This is how it used to be, but that has since been taken away.
My final thought on WOW so far is how the game is really are evolving and becoming more casual over time. No longer is WOW as difficult and hardcore as it used to be. It is still a challenge, but in a way that most players can handle. When I first played WOW (and we were talking about this in-game in our guild), it was difficult to get anywhere in the game solo and there were many situations where players had to try multiple times as a group to get past certain quests and missions in the game. Now it feels like a game people can easily solo for a majority of the time. It is very new-player friendly. However, as a new player myself the novelty will be wearing off for me shortly, so I’ll see if it is still worth playing over time, or if I’ll ragequit once the honeymoon is over.