WoW Is Old Enough To Ride A Bike

By Alec Meer on November 21st, 2011 at 5:14 pm.

Celebrate good times and slowly dwindling subscription numbers, c'mon!

Actually, I’m not quite sure what age kids really start riding bicycles, at least without stabilisers and/or a worried parent holding onto the back of the saddle. I think I was at least around seven when I first managed a brief, unassisted pedal down a country lane (and, more excitingly, was rewarded with a second-hand Superion for my efforts. I still have that somewhere) so I’m going to go ahead and say that Blizzard’s MMO should be capable of such a feat.

Yes, World of Warcraft, the main man of the MMO industry, has been around for seven years this week, which is an alarming prospect. How did it get so old? (By which I mean ‘how did I get so old?) And it’s remarkable it’s only seen three expansions in that time, given what a cash-cow it’s been for Blizzard, Vivendi and Activision. There are gentle celebrations in honour of this birthday, primarily in the form of a ‘feat of strength’ item dropped into the inventories of any players who sign in between now-ish and December 3.

What this really means is a brief fireworks display, a bonus tabard and a 7% bonus to experience and reputation gains “while active.” So, hooray for age. And for people being able to level up an alt a little bit quicker. More details here.

I fired up WoW for the first time in a couple of years lately, cos some goldfarmer had somehow nicked my account and it got it first suspended and then banned for trying to sell stuff. Bit of a pain, but to Blizzard’s credit their scary automated support system got it all sorted for me, including restoring items, characters and whatnot the rotter had wiped. Which’ll be handy in the event I ever go back to Azeroth. Maybe to be a panda? (That still seems like the silliest decision on their part, but maybe it’ll drag people in from outside their current audience. By people I mean ‘pandas’). Anyone else had account hacking fun/horrortimes?

, .

62 Comments »

  1. Kleppy says:

    I still can’t believe I played this for a couple of months. What an awful, awful game. This turned me off the prospect of playing or even getting excited about an MMORPG entirely. WoW killed the potential of the genre for me.

    • Nim says:

      No it didn’t.

      Go actually try some other mmos rather than complain about WoW.

    • MCM says:

      Uh, to be fair to him, if he didn’t like the GAMEPLAY of WoW, there’s absolutely no reason to believe he’d like LOTRO or DDO or whatever (including SW:TOR). The gameplay is across the board the same: pick a class, press your particular combination of 1-2-3-4 until a monster is dead, collect loot. Justify this with a few quests thrown in, do it with a group of people for better loot, or potentially play PVP of varying quality.

      Sure, if he hates the WoW setting or the art direction of whatever, there’s plenty of reason to think he might like LOTRO or a different game. But if you don’t like the actual gameplay of WoW, you’re not going to find much different. Maybe EvE or PotBS or something, but they’re really not the same genre anyway.

      And the really said thing is that WoW is pretty clearly the “best” MMORPG in terms of features and polish – especially when it comes to the UI. I don’t think game developers appreciate how important the UI customization of WoW is.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Um, how do you know it didn’t kill the genre for him? You a psychic or something?

    • Joof says:

      What? How did DDO get into the list of WoW/LotRO/TOR gameplay?

    • paterah says:

      Ugh, so many wrongs in this. If you think only games similar to WoW exist in this genre then you are way off. There are games for everyone and also Swtor is not the only upcoming MMO. Also DDO is nothing like WoW. EvE and Potbs are not in the same genre, what? As for WoW.. it is far from horrible. It must be doing something right for so many people to enjoy after all.

    • Was Neurotic says:

      Like reading about jellies arguing about the consistency of blancmanges, the vague swirl of the words in the preceding posts leaves me dizzy and wishing I’d bought a cleric with me to this site.

    • MCM says:

      Hey paterah, maybe you should research the phrase “De gustibus non disputandum est “.

      The guy said he doesn’t like WoW and that as a result he didn’t think he’d like any other MMORPGs. Don’t take it as a personal insult.

      You come off as a really defensive, which is a pretty sure sign of cognitive dissonance – you feel defensive because you’ve invested a lot of time and energy into WoW. So I guess that’s to be expected.

      And no, I don’t think EvE and PotBS are really in the same genre as WoW, no. Mostly because they are somewhat or very different in terms of (1) setting, (2) play experience, (3) characters, and (4) end-game. I’ll grant that PotBS is sometimes a weird hybrid of EvE and WoW, but there really isn’t much in common except that all 3 are computer games that you play online with other people.

    • paterah says:

      Listen hero, EvE is an MMORPG, potbs is an MMORPG, DCUO is an MMORPG, FFXI, Darkfall, I could go on and on. All of these belong in the same genre I have no idea why you think only WoW and other similar games are the only ones in it. WoW and EvE are in the same genre, are the complete polar opposites? Most probably yes. The only point I was trying to make in which you were dead wrong is that 2 games that play differently actually do belong in the same genre.
      You also seem to assume that I’m a long time player of WoW, why exactly? If anything it should be the opposite. You are the one saying that the genre consists of WoW and its offsprings, I’m trying to give ways to people to enjoy this much hated genre by the general PC community. But by saying “if you don’t like WoW you won’t find much different” you just pushed him over the fence.

    • Plagiarist says:

      MCM: Maybe you should look up armchair psychologist. That’s an absurd response to paterah’s statement.

    • Gassalasca says:

      I also played it for a couple of months. Some of the best time spent gaming in the past 6 years. Glad I stopped when did, when it still had some magic for me.

    • Kleppy says:

      I understand there are different MMO’s out there which play differently, but I also played Lord of the Rings online for a while and it was the exact same game as WoW, only with a Tolkien-esque skin and a few gameplay changes. The basic formula is just no fun for me, sadly.

      I also enjoy a good story and striving towards something in a game, and MMO’s tend to have neither. At best you’re striving towards, what, becoming level XX and raiding? Maybe if the journey was worth it, but I don’t find hitting number buttons and watching a character swing at another character (with WoW most swings don’t even seem to connect, it felt like I was being told “imagine this hit the kobold!”) all that fun.

      Different strokes etc.

    • Premium User Badge

      Joshua says:

      Unfortunately, LOTRO and WoW are actually mostly the same thing. But as argued, DDO is very different, apperently much more action oriented, with you yourself doing the dodging, and the dungeons provide a very clear objective each time you want to play, apperently. EVE online is an entirily different beast because the world revolves around the players (or more accuretely: the world IS the players), unlike most of the slaughter and carry quests many MMO’s offer.

  2. Nevard says:

    I’d play it for another seven

  3. weego says:

    Barring about 4 months last year when I was trying to launch a startup I’ve been subbed/active for the whole lot, raided from MC to ICC and now just PVP. What a long, strange trip it’s been.

    Never been hacked fwiw.

    Also I would like to say as an interesting aside that I’ve swapped servers/factions at least 3 times, have been in at least 10 raiding guilds (mostly 40/25s) and played with god knows how many people and yet not met a single one that was an active poster (troll or otherwise) on any of the community sites (mmo-champ/AJ etc) that seem to think their voice is a massively important and representative part of the overall wow community). Seems unlikely but I often think mmo-champ is just about 50 people with multiple troll accounts trolling each other in a vicious cycle of fail.

    For the people who didn’t get on with it, for me the people I play with make it. Without that I really agree there isn’t all that much there, but then unless it’s a hybrid I can’t see how that isn’t true of any MMO.

    • Nim says:

      The best part of wow is the people you get to know. I agree, it is what has kept this game going, excellent people to play with from all walks of life.

    • Torgen says:

      The friends you meet in-game is a major contributor to the genre’s profitability. Everquest was the first MMO where people would join because folks at the office were playing it and talking about it at work. How many players have you talked to who say that they weren’t that excited about the game any more, but they had so many friends there that they didn’t feel they could unsubscribe?

  4. CaspianRoach says:

    Eh, it’s old enough for me not to care anymore.

  5. Matt says:

    That means it’s been 7 years since I would do bong hits with my housemate and watch and laugh as he totally botched the group raid he was doing. How time flies….

  6. Rao Dao Zao says:

    LEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOY

  7. Harvey says:

    yes, i JUST had my poor naked toons reinstated myself. Do the account hackers have some new system in place? I consider myself smart enough to avoid phishing scams and the like, so how did he get me?

    I Hadn’t played in awhile. The rotter (i like rotter, I’m going to use rotter all day now, thanks RPS!) Took all my gold and clothes and also for some odd reason transferred one of my poor fellows to another server and faction changed him to a filthy alliance! Of all the slights! the venerable old orc (born 2005) was MOST displeased.

    • Milky1985 says:

      “I consider myself smart enough to avoid phishing scams and the like, so how did he get me? ”

      I have heard quite a bit that peopel get hacked despite not falling for phishing scams etc, you never know if its true or not but there is a kinda open secret that there is something going on with blizz with reguards to wow accounts getting comprimised, some sort of backdoor to teh system.

      Hell myself i’m affected in a minor way (didn’t play for a long time, started playing again, then on the same week i started playign again i started getting wow spam, despite the ONLY thing i logged into being wow, no third party sites) which makes me think they need to sure up security themselves cause theres a leak somewhere!

    • ix says:

      One way it can happen is if you have an account somewhere else (say on a random forum), same e-mail and password, then a compromise there almost certainly means they’ll try the same credentials on your WoW account.

      Also, I’m pretty sure that many of the bigger Chinese gold farmers have the resources to try to brute force as many passwords as possible, even with Blizzard playing whack-a-mole and banning suspicious IPs as it happens. There are also lists of common passwords, and lots of ways that you can botch putting one together. People try to come up with mnemonics, such as “to be or not to be” = 2bon2b, but that’s actually quite a common password.

      Not saying that that’s what’s happened, but I highly doubt you have a different password for every site you frequent, and long enough passwords in each case that they can’t be guessed or brute forced anymore. I know I don’t.

  8. Grygus says:

    Got hacked once back in late 2009; never did figure out how it happened. Blizzard took two weeks to get me my stuff back, and by that time I’d already geared back up and didn’t need most of it anymore, but I will say that they were quite thorough about it. At first I felt kind of violated, but in the end I changed to a more complex password, dropped the $7 for an authenticator, missed out on ~10 days of raiding, and that was about the extent of it.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    I thought it was much older than seven years – it feels like it’s been around forever.

    • Premium User Badge

      stahlwerk says:

      Feels the same to me. The first time I saw this was on an acquaintance’s (Ti) PowerBook G4, which was still pretty new at that time…

  10. Premium User Badge

    Carra says:

    I had my account hacked a few years ago and at the time it felt terrible. Thousands of hours went into my account so seeing that all gone was very unpleasant.

    Most annoyingly, my account had already been frozen for half a year. Luckily a guild-mate sent me an e-mail. After paying my €15 subscription fee and contacting an admin in-game it got solved rather quickly.

    In Blizzards defense, they restored everything like it was before, no items lost. Kudos to their support system for fixing it properly.

  11. cloudkiller says:

    No hacks for me, but it has been years since I logged in. I still miss WoW and would probably be playing it (semi-casual with some weekly raids) if my old guild mates didn’t turn into douches and sour me on the whole game. I think I would have played WoW forever and been perfectly happy doing so.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    I had my account hacked. The hackers used it to broadcast gold-selling spam.

    However, the totally ignored my inventory – my unbound epic hat was still in my bag.

  13. piderman says:

    Yep. Though here in the Netherlands it was old enough 2 years ago already.

    • InterstellaUK says:

      Old enough for what? Quick, someone fetch a cream tea!

  14. Gasmask Hero says:

    I quit from this last spring after about 1.5 years of play. It wasn’t the game that made me quit, it was my fellow players. The constant undercurrent of raging discontent and apathy, the constant bitching about minor problems, the constant minor griefing…I suppose it was this, overall, that finally did it, especially after Cataclysm. After working your way through Ice Trolls on a 12 alt in a particular quest in Dun Morogh, nearly reaching the end…then having an 85 drop down on you from above eliminate everything in the area, leaving you nothing then turn to face you waiting for your rage

    And of course you can do nothing about it. This being a PvE server.

  15. MCM says:

    Not sure why, but the idea that Alec Meer’s computer has a keylogger or other malware on it seems totally unsurprising.

  16. deadly.by.design says:

    That would’ve been seven years of my life that I could never have gotten back. (which is a funny saying, but you know what I mean) Not that I’m using my free time to cure cancer or anything, but MMOs are the easiest genre to pick on for wasting time. (Nobody’s going to tell their grandkids stories about their epic mount…) Just use the /age command without grimacing.

  17. Sian says:

    I played WoW extensively until Burning Crusade hit the shelves. Suddenly all was aliens and even more colourful laser guns that somehow still shot slugs propelled by explosions. The changes they made to the story killed the game for me. Too bad my girlfriend was hooked by then. She’s still playing and has convinced me to come back to the game twice since I left, but I never stayed longer than a week. I just can’t stand playing the BC content and the game itself has become so incredibly dull, at least for me.

    • MCM says:

      This is the danger in taking Blizzard storytelling seriously. It is all awful Warhammer ripoffs that they feel free to retcon on any whim whatsoever. There is no integrity to the story. Just forget it.

      Some games are about storytelling. Blizzard never made one of those games.

  18. h4plo says:

    I played from release through most of TBC (both raiding and casual, time permitting) and had a great time. I don’t care what anyone else says, WoW nailed movement and device input/character responsiveness in a way that I have not seen before or since. I’ve never felt more that I was directly in-game than I did when playing as my rogue, particularly in vanilla.

    Also, I got hacked – and it was awesome. I hadn’t played WoW in a year and a half, and it was well into the Lich King expansion. Got an email saying I’d been hacked, so I logged in, took care of everything .. and realized that the hacker had actually re-subscribed my account AND put Lich King on it – so I got to play for free for a month. On top of this, I not only got all of my stuff back via in-game mail (it took a few days), I ALSO got to keep all of the gold that the hacker made while using my account. As a skinner and herbalist, this made me somewhat wealthy.

    The best part? The same thing happened for every character I had.

    • sebmojo says:

      I love Wow – not playing it now, but I couldn’t be happier with the times its given me.

  19. MessyPenguin says:

    I wanted Superion i got Metroplex though :)

  20. AMonkey says:

    I played WoW from the Black Temple BC patch till the Lich King patch in WotLK. Those first few months of WoW were some of the most magical in gaming. Realising that all these people around me were real, how massive the world is, all these mechanics and abilities I didn’t understand; amazing. The music (like in Teldrassil) can still bring back some of that emotion but I doubt I’ll ever fully experience it again.

    Then by late WotLK (7/13 hard mode ICC done) I realised that magic didn’t exist anymore and I was really only playing the game to get digital purples. And if you took out the gear grind I would have no reason to play it. I imagine everyone who quits WoW gets that realisation.

    I played Cata for a month and was disappointed with how lazy Blizzard had become (which may have started in WotLK or even BC depending on who you asked) and that the game wasn’t very good.

    • Starky says:

      I think most people will agree that TBC was damned good, an improvement on vanilla in almost every way, at least until blizzard starting nerfing all the content into face rollingly easy difficulty – but that was kind of fair – everything was hard at the start of the expansions life and got progressively easier as TBC drew to a close (so that more and more people could see the content).

      The problem with Wrath was that it started at that facerolling easy, nothing but spam tanking and AOE dungeons, which been great for really casual players, but left nothing for more organized players to do – where TBH had a really nice balance, literally something for everyone – pretty much every level of player always had -something- to aim towards, to achieve.

      I quit before Wrath and only came back for a month, face rolled some 5-mans and quit again, I’ve heard Cataclysm is better – with dungeons that actually require some teamwork and effort.

      Still most people get bored of something eventually – WoW can’t reinvent itself enough for long time players to maintain intrest – that isn’t a fault of the game just the nature of gaming. Their are only so many new mechanics, new bosses and new dungeons before everything is same-old-same-old to a veteran.

      Sadly it tends to make most Ex-WoWers sound like bitter old men hating on blizzard – when the reality is it’s just a natural to grow tired of a game and it’s mechanics after a long period of play – and view it as much easier/too easy. It isn’t that the game has gotten easier in most cases, simply you have a player find the same difficulty too easy as you hit the skill cap – except with Wrath, that genuinely was badly balanced, Blizzard even admitted it) .

    • sebmojo says:

      Lazy? Lazy? They redid basically the entire old world from scratch. Didn’t have to, they just thought it would be cool.

      Lazy is one thing they aren’t.

    • Milky1985 says:

      “Lazy? Lazy? They redid basically the entire old world from scratch. Didn’t have to, they just thought it would be cool.

      Lazy is one thing they aren’t.”

      Really? Have you seen the stuff coming out in the new patch, its reskinned old areas (somethign they have already done before with an entire dungeon being an old area with new mobs) as new dungeons.

      The firelands stuff you could tell there was a questline there, but it felt like it wasn’t designed origionally for dailys from the way it played, it felt like it was meant to be a new area but then they realised it was over too quick so turned it into a daily grind.

      2 of the current heroic dungeons are retreds of an old dungeons,and one of them you have to go through the sodding thing twice to complete it once (every single group I have been in that has got that one there has been at least one “god sake not this one”)

      Not to mention that a lot of the new “bosses” are old bosses ressurected.

      It smells of lazyness or “most of our development team moved to titan but we still need to make content, so we will give 5 people the task of doing it rather than 100″

  21. Xanadu says:

    Seven years ago my wife was pregnant with our first child*, and I decided NOT to play WoW, as I knew I’d play it far too much and that would not sit easily with parenthood. Still haven’t 7 years later, which surprises me given the rest of my gaming history. Now the kids are older and need less maintenance I’m sinking a lot of time into other MMOs, mainly GW, but seem to have avoided the WoW bug. As a big RPG player the past 30 years (back to BBC text adventures and Adventure on the Atari 26000) I feel I’ve missed out on a big slice of gaming history, but no way would I have managed to justify the sub, and if I had I’d have missed out playing dozens of other games the last few years.

    * Now riding bike without stabilisers. So’s his little brother. You’re a slow starter, Mr Meer!

  22. Ajh says:

    A scary hacking story? Hmmmmm..I have an amusing/sad one. The guild I fill in for as a healer got their guild bank emptied by hackers on tuesday afternoon. They demoted the hacked player to no access and reported it. Everything was restored late tuesday night. They got hacked and emptied AGAIN on wednesday afternoon.

    Luckily we had raid materials still because the people that make them had half the mats in their bags anyway.

  23. Highstorm says:

    My account was hacked when I played several years ago, even though I’m pretty cautious. Rumors were that some of the wiki sites (and I only ever went to the main ones) had malware of some kind.

    They made off with all my goods, but Blizzard put most of it back. The stuff they missed, they overcompensated with hundreds of super high quality gems and stuff. I ended up with a net profit of 10,000 gold or so when all was said and done. I’ve got an authenticator now even though I’ve long sworn the game off.

  24. Premium User Badge

    liquidsoap89 says:

    I was hacked about 2 years ago. Didn’t play WoW when it happened, and didn’t bother to go back after it happened either. I’m half expecting to one day log on to my mage again and see a naked undead man running around.

  25. Joof says:

    I stopped playing about a year ago, and then started playing again about 6 months ago, and apparently in the interim, I had been hacked, stripped, and had my main character moved to another server. I put in a ticket, watched an episode of Community, and by the time the episode was done, I had all my characters and stuff back in it’s rightful place. It was pretty awesome how quick it was done.

  26. Jake says:

    I would have made more effort to learn to ride a bike if I had got a Superion out of it. I assume if you ever forget how to ride a bike, Superion gets taken away.

  27. Swanny says:

    Has it been 7 years?
    I got into wow after playing EQ and Anarchy Online (THERE was a crafting system!).
    I still am not a fan of the generic fantasy setting, though, i much prefer sci-fi.
    Played on and off, for a couple months at launch, then through most of BC, quit for a bit, to play other stuff.
    Have been back since mid-wrath.
    Wow is inevitably social – it remains what you make it- if you’re a hardcore gamer, leveling characters solo gets old fast.
    If you get in a good guild with shared interests, it’s one of the best games out there.
    Wow can be hard, very hard in areas, just do arenas or heroic raids.
    Cataclysm was hard when it dropped, healers had to relearn everything, and it was up to players to keep themselves alive.
    It’s the facerolling entry that gets lambasted the most, i’d argue lvl 1-85 is just an extended tutorial.

    I was apprehensive about the new expansion (pandas? really?) until a guildie suggested i make a troll drunken-boxing tank. Combine that with Diablo III free, and, well, sold. Damn.
    I had planned on quitting after this expansion, too.

  28. Daryl says:

    Yeah I got into WoW back in November of 05 and finished playing in August of 09. The game just didn’t have “it” anymore. I realized while playing that everything I was striving for at max level was completely trivial because it would all be washed away as soon as the next expansion came out. I had been through it all twice before and lost interest the third time. I just couldn’t find motivation to carry on in a serious manner. On top of that, all my friends were starting to quit. I knew it was time to go.

    I have tried a couple of the free 10-day Cata trials here and there, but nothing has convinced me to come back. Still, I had a great time playing and I don’t regret it.

  29. zapatapon says:

    Both of my kids could ride a bicycle without stabilizers at age 3 and a half. They learn it surprisingly easily at that age.

    Hmm, wha? Ah yes, the topic. I only ever played EQ for about six months back in the day. The raw amount of lifetime it managed to suck out of me in this short span cured me for good of ever wanting to go back any MMO. I never played WoW.
    Shit, still off topic, I guess.

  30. wodin says:

    The older you get the more you relaise seven years is but a blink of the eye. It’s not a long time at all. Infact were not on this planet long. 80 years is nothing. Think of how quick a year goes and think of 80 of them. Thats the speed of your life.

  31. Premium User Badge

    matte_k says:

    Got hacked a couple of months ago, happened whilst I wasn’t online for a week so the first I heard of it was an email from Blizzard telling me my account was suspended and under investigation for “manipulation of the economy”. Turns out someone had hacked it, created a bunch of alts on servers I didn’t go on and used them for moving cash, RMT style. To Blizzards credit, I got in touch with them and 48 hours later it was fixed, all the alts deleted and account restored.
    On the flipside of that, only a few weeks ago I had my GFWL hacked and my Paypal used to buy MS points to the value of £80, which were then used to buy DLC for Fifa 12 on the 360. Apparently it was a Chinese scam, quite a few people got hit by it. Paypal have refunded me the money, but Microsoft were pretty useless, not to mention unsympathetic. Didn’t even bother following up my contact with them with an email resolution or anything…

    • Cradok says:

      Had that happen to me too. I’d never paid for anything on XBL with a credit card or PayPal, so I didn’t have that issue, but they’d spent all the points I already had. Got onto MS immediately, everything was sorted in a couple of weeks and I got two months free Gold for my troubles. The only thing they weren’t able to do was remove the three achievements that were earned, which is irksome, but I can live with that.

      I’d still love to know how it happened, though…

  32. johnpeat says:

    Someone I know was recently hacked – no damage was done to his account but they did give him 30 days of playtime as part of the hack.

    He’s playing again too – perhaps Blizzard are orchestrating this? :)

  33. skinlo says:

    Ah yes, I remember the review in PCZ (RIP).

    Which means I was just as sad when I was 14 as I am now. =/

  34. aerozol says:

    Hmm, I don’t play WoW (played for a few weeks when it first came out, got dangerously addicted, dropped it), but this Pandaren update looks kind of fun.
    Admittedly, I can see why people who take it seriously would hate it, but I assume it’s aimed at the growing Chinese market anyway, so Blizzard probably don’t really care what the current players think (well, I’m sure they do, but not specifically with this update). Probably a good move on their part, to be honest, there’s a lot more cash to be made there.

    • cocoleche says:

      I kind of agree, except that Mists of Pandaria looks like an assortment of clichés westerners have about China. Pandas, spirituality, Kung-Fu, stereotypical asian landmarks – I like it a lot, but I’m not sure the average chinese responds to it in the same way. It reminds me of the way Blizz created the “british” Worgen aka american voice actors speaking cockney. Having your culture recycled through the eyes of a stranger does rarely make it convincing. Or make you want to play in it.

  35. Premium User Badge

    jrodman says:

    Typical bike-riding age: 5.

    Some people may get less exposure though.

  36. Boarnoah says:

    I always decide to start playing it and then get discouraged waiting for the client to download all those assets =(