World of Warcraft celebrates its 18 birthday this year. This long-running MMO has built a cult following and mostly steady fan base through the years. Even though it’s cited as „the greatest MMORPG of all times“ It did have its ups and downs. Some expansions were a bust, some were more popular and brought back tons of old and new players. Regular content updates are just one of the factors that keep it alive and burning. But how is WoW on new players? How forgiving are its core mechanics, strategies, and activities? What if you’re returning player who missed the last couple of expansions? Is it worth getting into World of Warcraft now?
World of Warcraft is objectively worth playing in 2022. Unlike tons of other MMOs, it has great catch-up mechanics meaning that both new and returning players can comfortably play and even thrive in its environment. Its player base is more or less steady (peaking during new expansion releases) and even 18 years after release it still has regular content updates.
Now that we’ve covered the basics it’s time for an in-depth analysis of the matter. So, keep reading!
Evolution of World of Warcraft
Chances are great that at some point in time you’ve played WoW or tried getting into playing WoW. If you’ve ever played any other MMORPG besides WoW you are also probably aware of the fact that a lot of systems, mechanics, and concepts are „borrowed“ from WoW. Numerous MMORPG-s were called both “WoW clones“ and “WoW killers“ and nearly all of them failed. They were either abandoned by developers or their player base. And yet WoW still stands, and reigns and continues to be one of the most popular games. From the first Vanilla version to Shadowlands WoW has implemented massive changes, reworked the continents, implemented various new item systems, and endgame systems, added loads of end-game activities, collectibles, etc. Its 18 years long history might feel a bit overwhelming for both new and returning players. But is it really overwhelming and difficult to catch up?
State of World of Warcraft in 2022
Shadowlands is the latest World of Warcraft expansion, with Dragonflight being announced just a few months prior. It introduced new zones, new features, an updated leveling system, updated gear system. And plenty of other features. Objectively leveling got easies for new/returning players that missed a few expansions. The class system got better (well, balanced out). PvP is still a sorry affair, especially for new players. Grind is still present, sometimes WoW can feel like a job but the latest patch 9.2 introduced catch-up mechanics for returning players so they can rejoin Mythic+10 dungeons and normal Raids. Blizzard has also introduced time-gating mechanics a while back that purposely limit your progression on a weekly basis.
New Zones and Leveling in Shadowlands
Shadowlands introduced us to 5 news zones Bastion, Ardenweald, Maldraxxus, Revendreth, and The Maw. They were well designed with different in-game cultures kept in mind. But nevertheless, all zones are gorgeous and filled with things to do. Shadowlands also introduced us to Oribos the Eternal City, the new player hub for this expansion. It is easy to navigate and all notable locations are within reach.
When it comes to leveling, Shadowlands crunched the numbers a bit. The new level cap is 60 currently. So players will need to level up to 50 before heading into Shadowlands. Leveling has been re-designed with new and returning players in mind. From levels 1-10 New characters are introduced to the gameplay, activities, and mechanics of WoW, they can even participate in the mini-dungeon. Levels 10-50 can either choose to play Battle For Azeroth or „travel back in time“ to level your character in any other expansion of your choosing. That way you don’t have to go through all of them cause some of them genuinely haven’t aged well both gameplay-wise and graphics-wise. After you hit level 50 you can rejoin other players in the latest expansion – Shadowlands.
Latest Expansion introduced us to Covenants- those are sects that you can join. Each Covenant controls a piece of territory and offers covenant-specific campaigns, abilities, Armor sets, traits, bonuses, pets, and mounts. Joining a covenant will grant you access to Covenant’s Sanctum where you will partake in various quests and activities. There are 4 covenants available to choose from Kyrian, Necrolords, Venthyr, and Night Fae. You can change your covenant any time you want, and as of Patch 9.1.5. you can do so without penalty and cooldown.
|Kyrians||Bastion Zone||Based on the concept of Angels. Their main purpose is to carry the souls of the dead to the afterlife|
|Necrolords||Maldraxxus Zone||Based on the concept of the Undead Army.|
|Venthyr||Revendreth Zone||Vampiric punishers that are charged with purifying the souls of the wicked|
|Night Fae||Ardenweald Zone||Defenders of Nature. They tend to the souls of those who had a deep connection with nature.|
New Infinite Dungeon – Torghast
How to make sure that you never run out of endgame content? Introduce replayable ever-changing procedurally randomized dungeon. Torghast is a new feature in World of Warcraft, it might sound like a grind at first, but that’s because it is. You can decide to take on Torghast solo or in a party. Torghast is a place to farm currencies like Soul Ash, Cosmic Flux, Phantasma, and Soul Cinders. The latter is needed to craft the highest level legendary items. As you proceed through the Torghast the difficulty will rise due to modifiers (also known as Torments) zone-wide effects that increase the challenge of the overall dungeon.
Customization in Shadowlands
Shadowlands also introduced us to revamped customization. There are loads of new hairstyles, tattoos, earrings, skin tones, and facial features available. You don’t have to start a new character to take advantage of these changes. Simply visit a barber shop in any city back in Azeroth and you will be able to change the appearance of your old character.
All in all World of Warcraft is worth playing in 2022 especially if you are a new player joining the ranks of either Horde or Alliance. Most of the negative feedback online is ultimately generated by old hardcore veterans who are nostalgic about some of the features that WoW left behind during the years. It’s still an objectively great MMO, with a great, engaging, fun storyline and addictive features. Often time it will feel like a chore, but if you keep it casual and remember to have fun first and foremost you shouldn’t have any problems at all.