Posted in Gaming, MMORPGs, WoW

Trying WoW – First Impressions



Of all the MMOs I’ve dedicated time to over the years, WoW has not been one of them. Let me clarify: I did play Vanilla WoW right after launch for about a month. I don’t remember a whole lot other than I rolled a rogue, druid and hunter, and they were mostly all night elves. I remember fishing. A lot. I really enjoyed the fishing.

I don’t recall that I disliked the game. But I also don’t recall that I was swept away by it. That might be because I had just played EQ2 prior to trying WoW. In fact, I think I dropped my EQ2 sub to try WoW at my sister’s prodding. I don’t remember why I drifted away from both games in the end, but I did.

Here’s a secret: I’ve actually been proud that I am not a WoW player. I know that sounds silly. And it is. I mean, I don’t hold anything against WoW. It obviously must be doing something right to have so many subscribers. Maybe I just thought that set me apart from folks that seem to get caught up in WoW time and again.

I guess I always had it in my head that WoW wasn’t for me, despite me being an ultimate casual. When I think of WoW, I think of those crazy “More Dots” raiding groups. You know like…


However, I’ve been hearing so many good things about the new expansion, and that’s really impressive for a game of its age. After some time thinking about it, I decided to download the free trial, which now includes the MoP expansion, which was a big draw to me.

Go ahead. Point and laugh. I think the Pandas are cute, and that’s what I rolled. I also considered rolling a Worgen, but there was just a lot more Panda customization, and that drew me to my new monk. I might try a Worgen later because I like the idea of Worgen Death Knight.

WoW Noob Impressions

So, I’m pretty much a total noob to WoW. I’m not actually sure I should even try to play a brand new character from scratch at this point in the game’s development. But I figured, I might as well try the game and see what I think about it, to have that experience under my belt.

I rolled a Panda Monk, Aywren, on the Argent Dawn US server. I wanted an RP server, and AD was a name I remembered from back in the day.

First ever screenshot!

The first thing I noticed was that character customization, compared to other games, is quite low. I’m so used to detailed sliders and such. But that’s fine, as I still created a character that I like to look at.

The second thing I noticed was that the art style of the game has aged quite well! Starting in the Pandaria expansion, I found the visuals to be colorful, vibrant, and smooth. Much smoother than I thought it would be – then again, what I remember was running off a computer 10 years ago.

The Pandas are well animated, and moved fluidly. I don’t know about older zones, but these zones are very pleasing to my eye, and I like the way my character looks. The oriental atmosphere is strong in this zone, and I’ve been surprisingly delighted by the look and feel of everything.

The game holds your hand. A lot. At first, this was great. But I don’t need it to keep reminding me to press “M” for map and press “C” to view the item I just equipt. Overall, the learning curve is low, and I was able to jump into the game without a problem. Just wish the tutorial would teach you how to auto loot – I had to Google that.

The story and quest line has been low-stress so far. I like the NPCs, and I while the story isn’t taking my breath away, some of the quests have delighted me. The world feels much more alive than I remember, seeing NPCs wandering around, some even stopping to acknowledge you as you pass through. There’s a lot of voice acting, which I like. There’s also a lot of Blizzard-brand humor, which I find amusing.

It’s so cute!

Leveling is moving along at a fair pace. I played a few hours last night, and got to level 6 without trying very hard. Lots of equipment loot from quests is nice, and not a ton of quests throwing “!” in your face all over the place, which is good. Just a nice, streamlined momentum through the area. The quest giver even appears to move through the zone with you so that you don’t have to do the run back to turn in stuff.


I’m interested in what I’ve played so far, and will continue to level and quest through this zone. I have a feeling that I’ll be seeing level 20 sooner than I know what to do with. That’s where the free trial ends.

Interestingly enough, Blizzard has the base WoW game for sale for $4.99 until next Tuesday. I couldn’t have timed a sale better myself. If I still intend to play after this weekend, I’m totally ready to pick up the box and a month’s sub for $4.99 and see where it takes me.

I’ll keep the blog updated with my thoughts and progression!


I'm a technical writer by day, gaming gal by night. I have a wide array of gaming interests, though I most often blog about MMOs, RPGs, and Nintendo fanstuffs. Like what you just read? Check out my Webcomic and Fantasy Fiction projects!

14 thoughts on “Trying WoW – First Impressions

  1. Welcome to WoW! The Pandaren starter zone is gorgeous, but it was wholly created just 2.5 years ago, so it’ll look better than the zones you’ll hit once you’re level 10 – 15 or so. Due to WoW’s longevity and legacy, things get worse again graphically once you hit 60, but then when you move on at 68-70, graphics begin to improve again, and every expansion continue to improve apace.

    I’m super interested in seeing how the game looks to an outsider who’s mostly new to the game, so I’ll be following this series with interest!


    1. Thank you for the welcome! I was really surprised with the quality of the landscape and graphics when I entered the Pandaren zone. I knew it was newer stuff, but they really pushed the quality much more than I expected.

      I somewhat guessed the older zones would look older, but thanks for the warning. It’ll be interesting to me to see the game’s graphics as a work in progress. I know if I look back at my art from 10 years ago, I wince, too. 🙂


  2. Noooo, not you too!

    On the bright side, WoW is probably going to be awesome for you as a casual solo player. I’m not going to lobby for anyone, assuming that you know pretty much nothing of the factions, but I’ll be very interested to see who you choose to align with and why. 🙂

    If you decide to stick with it (i.e. buy it) I can introduce you to some casual-solo friends that will welcome you into their guilds and help you with any questions you have. Just let me know.


    1. Yeah, I did end up picking it up since I hit level 20 pretty quickly and at $4.99, it’s a steal. I discovered some friends who were playing that I didn’t even realize were around – most of them seem to play Horde, though.

      I went Alliance with my Panda, just because I’m most familiar with Alliance from back in the day. But I did stray from the normal path and roll a Troll druid alt, because I really like the colors of the druid forms (I know, I know). I discovered that the Troll race, culture and story have been very interesting so far, so I’m likely to work on her on the side.

      And thus begins my altaholism in WoW. ^^;


      1. Tauren for life! 😀 Also Tauren women have the best, yet least sensualised (except for dwarves, maybe? Pandas are pretty tame too I guess, though I am unsure about the infantilisation of it) dance in the game. It’s a win-win.

        I definitely approve of playing both factions, their story arcs are quite different, and seeing some of the zones (e.g. Southern Barrens) from both sides is really interesting. They’ve done pretty well with the microstories in WoW, it’s the larger, expansion-level stories that are pretty bland and uninspiring. Unfortunately I could not finish leveling my Alliance mage past level 30-something, the Alliance just rubs me the wrong way. It embodies all the hypocritical self-delusion of real-world US foreign policy to me. I may not approve of some of the Horde’s actions, but I think that their intentions are honest and consistent. Except the Forsaken, **** those guys.

        My battletag is Menashi1979 if you want to add me. Hopefully I can help with any questions. 🙂


  3. You shouldn’t expect too much of a main story. It’s not like LotRO where you have an epic quest line that pulls you along from 1 to level cap. Instead, ‘story’ exists mostly as an in-game explanation for raids. At least, up until ‘Wrath of the Lich King’ (after which I quit). They seem to have inserted more of a plot since then.

    However, that also isn’t (wasn’t?) the point of the game. There are heaps of quests, which are generally well written and plenty of interesting places to explore. It’s a lore-rich world, with plenty of references to the earlier Warcraft games that, even if you’ve never played them, make the world feel alive (I basically placed WC3 because WoW got me intrested in the story and characters).


    1. Actually, so far, the stories have been pretty good. It seems like they’ve opted to create a sorta zone-wide story for each area, which changes as you move from zone to zone. I can see that it’s hinting at a bigger evil behind all this (Deathwing, I think?).

      The lore and writing for individual quests are good. Some of it feels a little dated now that I’m getting into the level 20+ zones, but there’s still a coherent flow to the quests. They’ve definitely reworked all this since I played it.


  4. I’ve often considered trying WoW, mostly because gryphons. 😀 Er… I mean… for very well-considered and rational reasons. But every experience I’ve had with MMO’s has taught me that I tend to get tired of them quickly unless I have friends I play with frequently on it.


    1. I know exactly what you mean. I tend to get bored with them as soon as I am done exploring the game world (whether I’ve seen every corner or not).

      Having a bunch of friends to run dungeons and whatnot with changes that however. WoW pulled me in with a vast, lore-rich world to explore, but I wouldn’t have stayed as long as I did if it wasn’t for the wonderful, casual dungeonrunning and raiding guild that I found. (yes, there’s such a thing as casual, lighthearted raiding).


  5. Glad to see you’re having fun ^^ I loved the game but I mostly quit because of the players I met there. Mind you not all were like that but a certain group just… let’s say bad decisions led to my leaving. 😉

    Anyway as a casual, well part time rider, I can say that I loved exploring every nook and cranny in the game. I spent hours just walking around and looking what changed each patch. So many things, so little time. *ahem* Sorry memories.

    As a casual you’ll find many things to do in the game, professions, exploring, books scattered about, My brother told me you get to build your own base with retainers. Well more like an outpost where you can place buildings and such. He started playing again and he’s having fun.

    Just one last note, I believe that video or recording for it was taken during vanilla WoW. The time when 40-man raids were a thing. I might be wrong, but if not then that is an attempt by 40 people so quite old and well… chaotic 😉

    Have fun ^^


    1. I totally understand. I’m just behind the curve on trying it out. Felt like I wanted something different for this four day weekend, and it’s been a fun change so far.

      Haha… Yeah. I know that raid video was old. But, that’s the impression I’ve held about WoW folks and raiding all these years. I know it’s probably wrong, but it’s part of what made me avoid the game.

      For someone like me who plans to mostly solo (not a dungeon runner or a raider), do you think there’ll be enough things for me to do? I’ve already discovered the pet battles, which I can see will be a fun diversion for me to play on my own. And, of course, working up fishing and cooking. I can see that chasing achievements has become a big thing in game, as is collecting mounts and pets.


      1. I guess anything I can say is going to be rather dated. Still, you shouldn’t have any trouble levelling up solo. As you get higher level, there will be group quests, but they are/were vastly outnumbered by the solo quests.

        Pet battles weren’t in when I played and I never actually tried fishing, so I cannot say anything about either.


      2. Sorry for the late reply, I always forget to set notifications for replies v.v
        Yeah, you should be able to level easy enough on your own, I know I did up to 90. Only reason I ever grouped was to train tanking and get better gear. Still playing solo is no problem in the game. Same with professions you can just do that yourself, well those you plan to do anyway ^^

        There should be enough things to do, but my time in the game was either questing to see the story, trying to get achievements, farming older content, or collecting pets mounts. My favorite past time was exploring though. I remembered the world as it was before the Cataclysm update which changed a lot so that was an interesting experience. Oh and levelling alts ^^; I had a lot of them, I think I had most classes at or close to the level cap when I quit.

        Still can’t say much about the latest update as I quit before that, so there is more content added in that one. From what I saw when my brother played you get a garrison, outposts and you can expand that, no to mention you have minions you send on missions there. So another thing to do. 😉


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