10 Things You Should Know Before Starting Out World of Warcraft
With patch 8.3 around the corner to wrap up World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, a new raid will will be released. The new expansion Shadowlands was announced a few months back and it wouldn’t be out till later this year. Thinking of picking up WoW? We at ARDENT list 10 things potential new players should know before starting World of Warcraft.
1) Subscription-based Model
World of Warcraft requires a subscription to play. Players pay a flat subscription fee of between 12.99 to 14.99USD a month to be able to log in and access all features of the game. This naturally allows the creation of a more serious and older community of players that aids in creating a less toxic environment as compared to other MMORPGs that are free-to-play.
2) No Pay-to-win Model
The game does not feature a cash shop offering perks that increase your stats, give you shortcuts to achievements or make you a better player. The Blizzard shop features cosmetic skins for your mounts and other e-services related to your account. Sure you can purchase WoW tokens in exchange for in-game gold, but gold is primarily used to purchase consumables and materials. Crafted weapons and gear are no-where as powerful as those dropped by the hardest bosses in the game, so don’t worry about your rich friend outplaying you in the game. It’s really quite a fair playing field. In summary, you can’t pay your way with real-life money to get good in the game.
“BUT I SEE A LEVEL BOOST!”
Relax. Next point.
3) WoW Starts At Max-level
New players who are starting out World of Warcraft often ask me what’s the maximum level and how long it takes to get there. At the point of writing this article where the maximum level is 120 in the Battle for Azeroth, it’ll take a player anywhere between 3-5 weeks conservatively to level to max level, which begs the next question: What do you then at max level?
World of Warcraft offers a variety of things to do for players. Some join a guild to start raiding and clearing dungeons together in search of better gear and killing monsters in groups from as small as 5 to as large as 30. The feeling of achievement is certainly something worth experiencing!
Some players indulge themselves in PvP; taking part in battlegrounds and forming arena teams to duke it out against each other.
Some players play the game to collect mounts, collect pets, engage in pet battles and more! WoW truly, starts at max level. The journey till then is a tutorial and an unravelling of the game’s storyline.
4) The Starter Account
For those who want to take a sneak peek into the game, World of Warcraft offers a starter account completely free-of-charge for players to take a look at how the game plays out. Starter accounts come with some limitations such as the inability to join a guild, a level 20 level cap but that should be sufficient enough for a new player to see the game.
However, do understand that in 2020, World of Warcraft will be 16 years old. The starting zones are that old. The game has evolved tremendously since then, with questing becoming more narrative-based and tighter amongst other improvements only seen in the newer expansions. Understand the core systems, feel free to ask existing players how the game is, and see if it’s the right fit. Dungeons are accessible at around level 15 for both Alliance and the Horde so players can get a taste of how a 5-man dungeon feels like.
5) Alliance and Horde are not friends!
If you’re joining your friends in a realm, please choose the same faction as they are! The Alliance and the Horde are the two warring factions of Azeroth. Players cannot party, or quest together since well, we’re at war with one another.
6) World of Warcraft does not necesssarily require a lot of time
World of Warcraft takes up more time for players than it used to 10 years ago. Years ago, players at max level could log in, go for raids or go for arena matches and log out. Nowadays, there’re world quests to do, reputations to grind and weekly dungeons to complete. While these offer end-game players more things to do, they’re not by any standards mandatory to enjoy the game. You still can clear a good amount of end-game content just playing a couple of hours per week if time doesn’t allow you to.
7) You don’t need a beast of a computer to play WoW
One of the best things about the game is the low entry requirements needed to play the game. Sure the game may not look very pretty, but what it lacks in graphical prowess, WoW makes up for in accessibility. I was raiding with a Macbook Air 2013 6 years ago when my desktop broke down and could still enjoy the game to a great extent. Too often have I heard conversations about players feeling thankful that the game is playable on their laptops and aged desktops because well, not everyone is able to shell out thousands of dollars every few years for a spanking new machine to game on.
8) You’ll make good friends in WoW
Like most MMORPGs, whatever route you take, and especially if you’re playing in a guild that does raids weekly, you’ll be making some good friends in the game. Executing strategies, overcoming hardships and solving drama in between guildmates sure makes for an experience embodied in an MMORPG setting that you’ll remember for years to come.
9) WoW is more accessible now
The game has gotten a lot more accessible over the years, with plenty of quality of life changes that may be enjoyed or hated by each individual player. With raid-finder systems automating the formation of raids as compared to how I had to ask around in cities for a good 30 minutes to get a raid group going, the game has gotten a lot less social. Don’t mistake accessible for ‘easy’. Boss strategies are more complicated now, but due to the presence of platforms like YouTube which feature video guides as compared to the 2006 era of WoW where players took weeks and months to down bosses, that era has indeed passed. Blizzard Entertainment has acknowledged that gamers of today have lower attention spans and want things to be faster; satisfaction achieved quickly.
10) WoW Classic?
Has the era of old school hardcore World of Warcraft died? Last year Blizzard Entertainment released WoW Classic, the original, vanilla version of the game that released in 2004. Players who wish to experience the game as it was released in 2004; the game that shook the world and brought the MMORPG genre to its forefront of gaming audiences worldwide can do so in WoW Classic, at no extra cost. Just download the WoW Classic client and voila you’re good to go!
And there you have it! I hope these pointers shed some light for new players in the game. If these 10 points make you pick up the game, feel free to hit up anyone of us in the ARDENT guild on US- Frostmourne if you want to play with us! See you in Azeroth!
Ilhammi enjoys the stealth and racing genre (particularly drifting) in his video games. While he enjoys being stealthy in his games, this contrasts his real-life demeanor of being an outgoing, extroverted individual who enjoys deep conversations about technology, the gaming industry and more.