Oh how times have changed.

An old friend who I haven’t really seen in a couple of years came to visit last night. We went out for a beer and a few games of pool. In our conversation he mentioned the possibility of moving back to the city. I told him he could rent one of the rooms at our place… as long as he got a WoW account.

Now he is a soft-core gamer but traditionally has always stuck with the pick-up-and-play action types, FPS’s, racing games, etc. His argument against WoW was that, having seen me play a few years ago and liked the idea of the game itself, it looked like too much of a time-sink. This got me to thinking about how WoW has changed over the years.

When I started playing, leveling was slow and painful. Many areas could only be done in groups and dungeons were pretty hard (Oh how I miss Scholomance) with only a moderate chance of a successful run and a tiny chance of getting that damn blue helm.

In TBC it got a bit easier for the person with less time than the hardcore no-lifers to get a fair chance at seeing endgame. Heroic dungeons with actual epics, badges (badgers where I come from) to trade for more awesome loot and easier PVP gear meant that you stood a fair chance at being able to get your character raid-ready in a shorter time.

Recently in Wrath a new change hit – random dungeons. Now not only did you get the same rewards (sometimes even better) than in TBC, but all you need to do once you have a level 80 character is hit the Random Dungeon button, wait anywhere between 10 seconds and a few minutes, depending on if you’re a tank/healer or not, and you’re instantly teleported to a random dungeon or heroic. This feature can also be used while leveling, giving you a faster leveling experience while also keeping you stocked with blues to boot. Heirloom items also make you level much faster, and the experience gain has been boosted since Vanilla.

What this comes down to is that WoW is no longer a grind. Yes you can spend all day on it, grinding heroics and dailies, but it’s not compulsory anymore. You can now play it like an arcade game: Log in, do a dungeon, swap your emblem for awesome gear, maybe do a PUG raid once you have enough of the epic badger gear. It’s a pick up and play MMO for the new generation of gamers with a short attention span. I could say I miss the old ways, but these days my own time is so limited it’s refreshing being able to keep up with most of the rest with the amount of time I have to spend.

Oh, and after two hours and a few beers, he’s still not convinced… Guess I’ll have to slip him a trial key while he’s drunk.

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