World of Warcraft Visual History

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Love or hate WoW, it has introduced over 10 milion people to MMOs. An optimist would argue that means there will be 10 milion more gamers out there soon looking for a more mature experience in terms of complexity of gameplay that may just drive a new level of MMO's for us old timers.

A pesemist would say however that the simplicity of WoW has reduced the likelihood of more complex MMOs because Blizzard has shown you dont need depth to make money.

Personally I like WoW, I played for 2 years and enjoyed every minute of it. I strongly beleive it's effect on the industry will be seen as a positive going forward.

I do have to ad though (coz it irks me to see uninformed comment). The look of WoW is excellent. If you played Warcraft then you understand why WoW looks like it does. If you are not a Warcraft Vet, then you probably think its "cartoony" or some other nonsense. Its not the game sucking..... its just you...

Razorback0z:
Love or hate WoW, it has introduced over 10 milion people to MMOs. An optimist would argue that means there will be 10 milion more gamers out there soon looking for a more mature experience in terms of complexity of gameplay that may just drive a new level of MMO's for us old timers.

A pesemist would say however that the simplicity of WoW has reduced the likelihood of more complex MMOs because Blizzard has shown you dont need depth to make money.

Personally I like WoW, I played for 2 years and enjoyed every minute of it. I strongly beleive it's effect on the industry will be seen as a positive going forward.

I do have to ad though (coz it irks me to see uninformed comment). The look of WoW is excellent. If you played Warcraft then you understand why WoW looks like it does. If you are not a Warcraft Vet, then you probably think its "cartoony" or some other nonsense. Its not the game sucking..... its just you...

Pessimist here, I don't think WoW's dominance on the market will last forever, in fact it's a good thing, it forces game companies to not release bad MMO's (see Star Wars: Galaxies), since they have to compete with that bohemian of a game.

My pessimism kicks in when I see this trend, the trend of charging us for things that should be free. Let me stop you right there before anyone think's I'm saying MMO's should be free, I understand that, keeping the high quality servers up and connected to a juicy fat pipe so Kim Jon Il can farm to his hearts content and you and cyber with a cute NE hunter is Teldrassil costs money, not to mention game masters and constant content updates. I'm talking about FPS's and RTS's charging monthly to play or adding lame micro transactions and map packs, things that used to be free, now not being free because people are used to the idea of constantly paying to play rather than paying once, just for the game.

Maybe this problem is less about WoW and more about this economy and companies trying to make a buck to impress the stock holders at the end of the fiscal year with a nice pie chart, but I believe it undoubtedly had something to do with it.

The Modern Warfare 2 map pack costs 15 dollars and you get: 2 ported maps from CoD4 and 3 original maps.

I played Counter-Strike for years and years, and have gigs and gigs of custom maps; their cost to me? Zero (unless you count bandwidth).

Sure most of them weren't designed by professional map designers, but it doesn't mean they weren't good; besides that, the official designers released official maps for free frequently, to keep people playing their game, and not charging them for it.

It's very frustrating.

John Funk:

Zing:

theultimateend:
-snip-

WoW never did take that much of a time investment unless you were a raider, I started playing while I was still in High School and still managed plenty of time around going to school and studying.

Blizzard never really appealed to a niche market, I mean they gained their 11 million subscribers before they made most of the changes to help casual players. Even with their subscription base rising maybe they felt they'd lose customers? Who knows, I just don't see why they'd change what worked. in my opinion you make a dynamic game with a sense of accomplishment by creating challenges that are worthwhile. I mean look at this timeline, I remember C'thun, top guilds were stuck on him for 6 months. Same with The Four Horsemen. Illidan was down in under a week.

C'thun was unkilled for 6 months because he was bugged and literally unbeatable. He was killed the day they fixed the bug. The 4H were unkilled for so long because you needed to farm 8 warriors their 4pc set bonus to give them the bonus to hit with taunt because one single resist meant a wipe. Kel'Thuzad went down days after the first 4H kill.

I think objectively in terms of game design the fights are only getting more complex. Obviously, there's innate organizational ease when only dealing with 25 instead of 40, but I DID the 40-man thing back in the day, and I wouldn't go back if you paid me.

I knew someone would call me out on that. You're right of course, but content still generally took longer to go down then current stuff, mostly because of the 40-man thing and now guilds get weeks of practice on PTR's everytime.

3dfx:
Sadly I have been there for all of these events, migrating to WoW due to the Diablo 1.10 patch (the one that destroyed my years of work), I got to experience all of these events first hand, but reading them in this timeline reminded me of a post apocalyptic scifi intro. Expecting to see:

January 2011: Warcraft established as an official religion, highest member rates of any other organized religion, many other religions laughing at it, calling it a joke

November 2011: The Church of Warcraft is now the worlds dominate organized religion

April 2012: The Vatican is renamed "Light's Hope Chapel"

October 2012: Crime rates plummet due to most of the populations dedication to Warcraft

December 2013: New world order is instated after world peace achieved due to 99.97% of the worlds population now following the Church of Warcraft

July 2017: Off world colonization begins, the first livable outpost named "Lordaeron" on the planet M247 in the Pegasus galaxy, which has been renamed to "Azeroth"

January 2032: M247, codename: Azeroth, goes down for routine maintenance, forums burst out in nerd rage, demanding achievement points and game time, new world order collapses.

Haha, that was good for a laugh.

OT: I stopped playing WoW and I never plan on playing it again, but I do enjoy reading things about it and hell, sometimes I enjoy a good PvP video.

Still hate Paladins though.

This timeline made me sad. I was able to look back and see where the addiction started. The pre-WoW times were a happy time, filled with sunshine and outdoorsy stuff. Not its all dark rooms and energy drinks.

Dang you Blizzard and your drug like MMO!

On a more serious note, 8 months WoW free and counting...too bad that will likely end when Cataclysm comes out :(

3dfx:
Sadly I have been there for all of these events, migrating to WoW due to the Diablo 1.10 patch (the one that destroyed my years of work), I got to experience all of these events first hand, but reading them in this timeline reminded me of a post apocalyptic scifi intro. Expecting to see:

January 2011: Warcraft established as an official religion, highest member rates of any other organized religion, many other religions laughing at it, calling it a joke

November 2011: The Church of Warcraft is now the worlds dominate organized religion

April 2012: The Vatican is renamed "Light's Hope Chapel"

October 2012: Crime rates plummet due to most of the populations dedication to Warcraft

December 2013: New world order is instated after world peace achieved due to 99.97% of the worlds population now following the Church of Warcraft

July 2017: Off world colonization begins, the first livable outpost named "Lordaeron" on the planet M247 in the Pegasus galaxy, which has been renamed to "Azeroth"

January 2032: M247, codename: Azeroth, goes down for routine maintenance, forums burst out in nerd rage, demanding achievement points and game time, new world order collapses.

This sounds an awful lot like "The Future of Halo"...

anyway, nice timeline.

That was beautiful *Sniff*

I plan on Subbing after catacalysm and actually play the game instead of let my subscription go to nothing.

I'm on a WoW hiatus, and have been for some months now, but I'll resub some time before Cataclysm hits to prepare for it.

I still think it's a great game and that most complaints are driven by nostalgia or by wanting to have a kind of hardcore experience with the game that is not Blizzard's objective to provide.

However, I think I already played it too much. I will stay after the cataclysm for some time, but I don't see myself playing it indefinitely again. I want to have different experiences in different games, and my playing time is limited.

So let's hope Cataclysm is very good, it may be my farewell to the game.

John Funk:
...but I DID the 40-man thing back in the day, and I wouldn't go back if you paid me.

Amen to that. Hell, if they made a 20 man Molten Core, (which it sounds like they are doing) you still couldn't get me to go back to Blackrock Mountain. No way in hell.

3dfx:
Sadly I have been there for all of these events, migrating to WoW due to the Diablo 1.10 patch (the one that destroyed my years of work), I got to experience all of these events first hand, but reading them in this timeline reminded me of a post apocalyptic scifi intro. Expecting to see:

January 2011: Warcraft established as an official religion, highest member rates of any other organized religion, many other religions laughing at it, calling it a joke

November 2011: The Church of Warcraft is now the worlds dominate organized religion

April 2012: The Vatican is renamed "Light's Hope Chapel"

October 2012: Crime rates plummet due to most of the populations dedication to Warcraft

December 2013: New world order is instated after world peace achieved due to 99.97% of the worlds population now following the Church of Warcraft

July 2017: Off world colonization begins, the first livable outpost named "Lordaeron" on the planet M247 in the Pegasus galaxy, which has been renamed to "Azeroth"

January 2032: M247, codename: Azeroth, goes down for routine maintenance, forums burst out in nerd rage, demanding achievement points and game time, new world order collapses.

We can only dream... that colonization of another planet would happen so quick!

I would have thought the Corrupted Blood Plague or the Scourge Invasion Plague-spreading might have chimed in. Or some of the other BlizzCon's. Ah well, you've gotta draw a line somewhere, eh?

Scrythe:
This timellines feels very... empty. It's a brief summary of a very small number of important blips, but this is in no way a definite timeline of the game.

It was still an interesting read, although I question why certain facts were picked up on over others - for example: Why mention the Leeroy Jenkins question on Jeopardy and not the actual LJ phenominon? Why no mention of the Corrupted Blood Plague, the "death" of Barrens chat, or any major world events?

Maybe someone will make a much more in-depth timeline that can include worlds events and major storyline points - and yes, non-WoW players, this game actually has storylines. It isn't a neverending grindfest.

I've heard quite a few people mention the "Corrupted Blood Plague" now and I'm insanely curious? Maybe it's because, at best, I was only even a casual player, but I have been playing since the beta and I've never heard of such a thing? Also, since when did they stop chatting in the Barrens? Is this something people only know about because they played 24/7?

Oh yeah. If the game is anything but an endless grindfest... then why is every damned quest in the game one of three types and they all take roughly the same time to complete no matter what. Aside from that, I'm still logging on, doing my daily heroic grind for emblems to get gear that will be inevitably be made obsolete by this patch, whenever it comes out.

My humble opinion is, that, the game used to just be stupid fun and now, after all these years, it has become way too elitist and complex. Because GOD FORBID you should try to do heroics with a gear score lower than 5k and be a tank with less than 40k of hp. Seriously? Why does it matter how many hp I have when I'm I can't be critically hit at all and I dodge or parry almost every attack?

makes me wantto play WOW but i wont, im keeping my soul safe. at least until LOTR online is free.
WOW actually looks alot better than i thought.

We can only dream... that colonization of another planet would happen so quick!

Well the point I was subtly trying to bring across was that with the entire world working together man kind would progress as a whole at an astronomical rate. Similar to what happened with the dark ages, which set the human race back by centuries due to holy wars and the like. Look how long it took us to harness the power of the atom under pressure. Look how fast we progressed through space because of the US and Russia and their space race.

The problem with colonizing another planet isn't the colonization, it's finding a livable planet, and getting there. If we can harness anti-matter (which we're already exploring), we have the means to get there, considering anti-matter is probably the closest we'll ever get to Einstein's zero-point.

I digress, the point was the world working as one, blah blah.

Xzi:

Rednog:

icyneesan:
Now only if they took all the stuff thats happened in WoW and convert it into a really good RTS and named it "Warcraft 4". Then I'd be happy.

I highly doubt there would ever be a warcraft 4, unless they placed it several thousand years into the future where none of the previous heroes/ events still mattered. Otherwise WoW and Warcraft 4 would clash terribly in terms of story.

WoW already destroyed Warcraft's story. This is like the 8th time Deathwing has come back from the dead, FFS. He died in Warcraft 2, he died in one of the books, he died when Medivh's apprentice went back into the past.

Deathwing never died in any of the books, and Medivh's apprentice (Khadgar) never went into the past. You're thinking of Rhonin, and Deathwing didn't die then either. The only one you could make a valid argument for is Warcraft 2, but at the end of Warcraft 2 you see the shadow of a dragon flying into the Dark Portal to escape Outland as it collapses, and it was supposed to be implied that that was Deathwing surviving.

Interesting read. I never played WoW but It's good to know the game that millions of others play. Still RealID could have been the greatest experiment in internet anonymity and trolling ever.

Heh, a lot of history. And even it's not the detailed list. If I wasn't unemployed right now, I would have reactivated my account right now, so many things I missed back in the day, I never even hitted lvl 70 when The Burning Crusade was out (yup, definitevly I missed a LOT of things).

Cataclysm seems like a great re-start for people like me who stopped playing at some point and for newcomers alike, there's quite a lot to catch up in the game's storyline and it would oversaturate and scare many people off.

World of Warcraft's impact on MMO games? Horrible.

First of all, It's not even a good game, Repetitive, Play for 2 hours and you've seen everything.

It absorbed the entire MMO player base, and ruined other games, forcing developers to have to use god awful micro transactions, just to make money.

So now we have about a thousand WoW Clones, or other different games ruined by terrible payment plans and lack of players.

Interesting, though I do think that WoW is literally the high-water mark for that brand of MMO. We've seen about 5 years now of MMOs that more or less failed because they were "too much like WoW." You picked up Warhammer Online, it felt like WoW, except that it came in beige rather than white. You played Eve, you fell asleep at the spread sheet. You played Age of Conan, it felt like WoW, except it had boobs and servers that invited you to be an ass.

WoW stands out as a product that really does reach the full potential of it's medium. Blizzard's a dedicated team and they had both the time and money to see their project through. Five years later the product has been further refined and what you see is basically the best distillation of what the MMORPG cut from the vein that Ever Quest (and ultima online) first found. It might not make much sense but for another MMO to beat WoW the first thing it's going to have to accept is that it can't be like WoW. Another WoW clone is going to invite failure. Unlike in other genres, when presented the option between MMO "X" and WoW they're going to pick WoW because it has the player base they know, the characters they've put years into now, and the game play that is most familiar.

Ahh, looking at that chart brings back some good memories...

I'm deciding whether or not I should re-open my account right about now :P

I briefly considered resubscribing while I worked on this. Briefly. :)

I always thought that Guild Wars made a dent and was a good competitor to WoW. The Pop was very good. and They always seemed to be major rivals.

Their not even mentioned here.

Melgrath:

On a more serious note, 8 months WoW free and counting...too bad that will likely end when Cataclysm comes out :(

15 months here, but I just ran out of games to play :(

Queue the levelling a new toon out of boredom.

Ultima Online the first 3d persistant-world MMO? UO was isometric sprite-based. Meridian 59 was 3d first person quite a while ahead of UO.

WTB fact check. Other than that, good article.

50 maynus dkp :)

i cant remember where... but it was either a interview or something like that i read..that if when the StarCraft 2 team is done with working on SC2: heart of the Swarm and SC2: Legacy of the Void ( more or less when they are done with the SC2 franchise) they are more than welcome to start making Warcraft 4. but only if they want to :)

i remember i heard it or read it somewhere but it is long ago

We often see in these large online games bitter-sweet victories and forgettable events; while it is true that the first time you sever the head of VanCleef you feel a surge of pride, it is sullied by the knowledge of the thousands that came before you and those who will soon follow.

Actual history has many more memorable events because they are truly that, history. While the actions are repeatable, none are equal to that original moment in any way, but merely act as homage to that unique moment. The Ahn'Qiraj War, however is one of those true moments of game history, set in a world where history is usually repeatable.

To most they only knew of it second-hand, a friend of a friend hearing something about a hasty Black Wing Lair run; while to others it was a frenzied pace of night-after-night raids and countless hours of grinding to help form this champion, to help herald in this event.

You may still be able to grasp at shadows of what this once was, and follow the path of those who did it before you, but in this rarest of quests there are none on par with the champions who broke the seal of Ahn'Qiraj to face the would-be god C'Thun, and quest beside us a Scarab Lord. We will remember them, always.

They, and only they, opened the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj, and ended the Great War Effort.

- Archivist, Wowhead Comments, 2/26/2008

I will never forget what an epic scope this game had in the past, hopefully to regain in the future in some form in Cataclysm. It's kind of sad to see where it's wandered over the past few years.

Interesting ide like to see what happens to the timeline after cata.

Midnight Crossroads:
No corrupted blood plague?

I was wondering this as well.

It was probably the very first simulation of a plague that incorporated human psychology and this got the attention of the CDC. It was a pretty big event.

Sonic Doctor:
WoW is a unique experience though, and is awesome. Fight with your fishing pole.

I used to gank low levellers with my fishing rod.. Though if I recall only one has a DPS rating on it!

MaVeN1337:
World of Warcraft's impact on MMO games? Horrible.

First of all, It's not even a good game, Repetitive, Play for 2 hours and you've seen everything.

It absorbed the entire MMO player base, and ruined other games, forcing developers to have to use god awful micro transactions, just to make money.

So now we have about a thousand WoW Clones, or other different games ruined by terrible payment plans and lack of players.

How exactly do you play two hours of WoW and see everything?
I am dumbfounded about this statement

It was a nice timeline but after playing and enjoying MxO for four years I find that any mention of it (positive or negative)since its shutdown makes me miss it tremendously.

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