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Have You Played... World Of Warcraft?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

No, seriously, have you? And when? And for how long? And did you return? I ask because I have played World of Warcraft [official site] but only for two months, years apart, and treated it more as any singleplayer RPG. I'm interested playing MMOs as non-ongoing things, but realise this is uncommon, so I'd like to ask folks who have played it for long stretches: once you'd seen it all, was it for hanging with cyberpals or a timesink or...?

I first played WoW in 2006, shortly before the release of its first expansion, The Burning Crusade, when a pal lent me an unused account for a month. I'd never played an MMO before so it was all very exciting. Hundreds of players! So many levels to gain! A huge world to explore! And... it all felt a bit empty. I joined a guild but the whole game seemed pointless by the time I encountered variants of the same monsters. It didn't help that the levelling process quickly sent me to zones far more drab than the starting zone. I couldn't afford cool items and skills unlocked as I levelled anyway. I was happy to hand the account back after a month.

I returned for a second month around the release of the Cataclysm expansion in 2010, having picked up a bundle with expansions for about £20 on sale. Over the years, it had become a far better solo and low-level experience. Cutscenes and quests felt more like singleplayer RPGs, with cutscenes and huge battles and other things the new instancing tech hid away from other players. I felt more like I was in a living world. Levelling was far more pleasant too, though the tweaked XP curve went a bit too far, and I'd be urged to leave zones a fair while before I finished their main quest. I quite liked this WoW. I played solidly for a month, getting quite far along the Wrath of the Lich King path and cracking a lot of dungeons thanks to the Dungeon Finder. It's a big theme park that will show you a lot of colourful places and interesting things, which I found novel for 30 days.

I can't imagine I'd play it much longer than that, but if you spot WoW on sale nice and cheap (it includes most expansions in the base game now, and of course comes with 30 days of time), maybe give it a play. If you have played it, and played it for a long time, how was that?

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