A recent blog post (sorry, I forgot the name of it and the link) posed this question: if you could reverse time and start playing WoW for the first time again — but knowing all you do now — what would you do differently?
Now that blog poster started playing a year ago at the release of TBC, which is when WoW basically received a huge overhaul in terms of design and direction (mostly for the better). For me, this question would take me back to 2004, and would be a trickier answer.
So we’ll assume this has happened. It’s 2004, I’ve gone back (nooooo!) and WoW is really the only good MMO that will be on the market for at least the next three or so years. I decide to join, once more, at the very beginning… but I have the advantage of my 2008 brain. What would I do?
For starters, you have to realize how different WoW was back then. The classes had yet to receive their individual class reviews, which meant that they were largely imbalanced and had a lot more crap skills and talents than they do today. Nobody played warlocks — they were easy kills. Druids were equally reviled. Shamans were the “OP” class of choice, and cocky rogues were everywhere. The end game in November 2004 was, I believe, MC. Battlegrounds were just a twinkle in the developers’ eyes. Many of the features that we take for granted — multiple hotbars, meeting stones, multiple icons on the mini-map, combat damage scroll — weren’t in the game and hadn’t been fashioned by mod makers yet.
My list of a truly hypothetical “do over”, knowing what I know now, would be as follows:
1. I’d roll Horde. I’ve played Alliance most of my WoW career, and pretty much run that leveling content into the ground. I’ve done Horde too, but not quite as much.
2. I’d search for a good mature guild to join out of the gate. Good guilds are what keeps me playing WoW.
3. I’d plan out and roll four different classes, one for each Horde race: Tauren Druid, Troll Hunter, Undead Priest, Orc Warrior. I’ve never played a warrior, and never gotten a priest to level 30 (or a shammy to 50).
4. I’d concentrate on mining/skinning as my two main professions to build up cash. Only in 2004, and on newly released servers, was the fact that the AH wasn’t populated with high level characters’ farmed items. Bag space would be at an incredible premium.
5. I’d take my time. I’d know that TBC was two years plus away, and I wouldn’t be in any rush to hit the level cap. End game for me wouldn’t be raiding (again, I’d know that TBC would wipe out any hard-earned gear), so I’d probably just work on getting my Tier 0 set and have fun finishing up quest lines and whatnot.
6. I’d engage a lot more with guildies, instead of selfishly focusing on my own leveling process. There’s a reason why group Deadmines is still fun even if you’re a 70.
7. Knowing that the honor system would be revamped, I wouldn’t bust my hump in BGs, except to have a bit of fun earning rep rewards (like AV).
8. I’d probably play a lot more casually, devoting more time to non-online games.