The second big patch to hit World of Warcraft since the release of Legion in September has landed. And it includes some really huge updates to the already enormous game, like flying on the Broken Isles, a new raid and more character development options.
In other words, the patch, with the modest name of 7.2, is a big deal. It's actually so big that people are hoping for it to usher in a new golden era of #WoW. Something every player (no one's above nostalgic romanticism) of the 13-year-old game has longed for since Garrosh jumped through time and everything went to shit lore-wise. Or since Blizzard implemented easy raiding, with the Looking For Raid option, and welfare epics.
Everyone has their own reason for WoW's declining popularity. In truth, it probably just has to do with the fact that the game is really freaking old and everything has a limited amount of time in the sun. Even World of Warcraft.
So let's look back and reminisce about the time when WoW was actually hot shit and most things Blizzard did was a god damn miracle content-wise.
So What's In 7.2?
Patch 7.2 implements a brand new and highly interactive zone called the Broken Shore, complete with a new dungeon and raid where you'll fight Kil'jaeden, one of the biggest baddies of the WoW universe. Yes, really—he's the second-in-command of an evil intergalactic empire of demons.
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On top of that, players get flying on the World of Warcraft: Legion continent, the Broken Isles, new ways to develop level 110 characters through the Class Campaign and Artifact Traits, profession updates, balance changes, new items and a bunch of other stuff.
Whether or not these content updates will cause a new golden age to dawn upon Azeroth, we take this as an opportunity to look back. Through rose-colored glasses on the times when WoW reigned supreme.
Here's 8 standout moment from more than a decade of World Of Warcraft content.
1. The Times Spent In Blackrock Mountain
For several expansions Blackrock Mountain was the hottest place in Azeroth. In Vanilla, it was the place to be if you weren't a part of the very small percentage of players that actually progressed further than Blackwing Lair, and in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm you returned to face a resurrected Nefarian.
The iconic charred mountain and the Mordor-like lands surrounding it was created when Thaurissan, emperor of the Dark Iron Dwarves, summoned Ragnaros into the mortal realm. The place is the stuff of legends, containing an abundance of content from the two first raids in the game to a myriad of (huge) dungeons and an eternal opportunity to gank (and get ganked by) the opposing faction. It's also the place where this happened.
2. Coming To, Leveling And Flying In Outland
Stepping through the Dark Portal and entering Outland in The Burning Crusade is something no World of Warcraft aficionado will ever forget. Being the first expansion to the game, The Burning Crusade brought content-hungry players new stuff to do for the first time in years. And boy did it deliver.
The whole leveling experience in Outland, with its sundered landscapes, fatalistic story and trippy sky was amazing. And getting to level 70 meant access to a flying mount for the first time. Taking to the skies on your own accord, playing through challenging dungeons and new raids full of lore-heavy characters like Kael'thas Sunstrider and Illidan Stormrage ensured that the early days of The Burning Crusade were spectacular.
3. Getting Down To Business With Arthas
Arthas, the villain we all grew to despise playing Warcraft 3, finally met his just demise in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. As the last boss of the very last raid in the expansion, and being the pivotal character he is in Warcraft lore, this battle was probably the most epic we will ever experience in World of Warcraft.
You actually felt like everything you had done in the game so far had led you to this showdown. And the whole leveling experience in Northrend and the Icecrown Citadel raid did an amazing job at supporting this feeling, making the insanely difficult and, in the end, tragic fight against The Lich King stand out as one of WoWs very best moments.
4. Karazhan, Both Times Around
The tower of Medivh has guaranteed some of the most chill raiding in World of Warcraft. Here, banding together just five or ten players was enough to enjoy some accessible content finely tuned to satisfy demanding and casual players alike. This was the case when the area was introduced in The Burning Crusade and when we revisited it in Legion.
On top of that, Karazhan has always had an ironic, uniquely humorous approach to its bosses, mechanics and story that made the place less solemn than the rest of the Warcraft raids and dungeons. A welcome breather when you spent most of your in-game time in the Black Temple (a very serious place) or the Emerald Nightmare (it's like the Upside Down in Stranger Things only worse).
5. Seeing The Sad State Of Azeroth After The Cataclysm
When Deathwing emerged from his lair in Cataclysm he basically had his way with Azeroth as a whole, destroying and corrupting whatever landmark he saw fit. Seeing this change to a world you had grown to know just as well as your own was quite a disturbing experience.
The expansion also introduced flying to the old continents of Azeroth for the first time, which gave you the ability to get a nice overview of Deathwing's destruction. Add to this some kickass new zones and the memorable raid of the Firelands, where Ragnaros returned a hundred times stronger than in Molten Core, and you had an expansion that had plenty of amazing content from the get-go.
6. Facing Off Against A God With The Help Of The Titans
Ulduar is arguably the best raid World of Warcraft has ever had. From its hauntingly beautiful location in the Storm Peaks of Northrend, to the enormity of its ancient halls, to the mechanics and lore behind the boss fights.
Whereas battling the Lich King was the epitome of a single raid encounter, not a single boss, trash mob or mechanic in Ulduar fell short. This raid was fun and wondrous the whole way through, and treading the halls of the Titans to battle their ancient adversary Yogg-Saron gave you a feeling of being connected to the story of Warcraft.
7. Vanilla PvP
You may call it unbalanced or overly punishing, but you can't deny that the player vs. player experience in vanilla World of Warcraft was something else. From the very early days, where players would flock to Hillsbrad Foothills to participate in the endless war between the towns of Southshore (Alliance) and Tarren Mill (Horde) to the eternal struggle in Alterac Valley and maddening grind of the old school Honor System.
It was a simpler time. Confusing, at times frustrating and based upon a hopelessly broken system, but silly and entertaining enough to be really, really enjoyable. With how competitive gaming has evolved, we won't ever see unbalanced PvP like this again, but everyone should look back at this messy pile of content with fondness. Unless you played a really underpowered class of course.
8. Everything In Suramar
Almost everything on this list was added to World of Warcraft in 2010 or earlier. Fortunately, it hasn't all gone bottom up since then as Legion managed to right many of the wrongs of Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor.
Suramar, the level 110-only zone, being one of them. Containing a rich and well-developed story, an interesting faction grind, two solid dungeons and an incredible raid, Suramar is probably what people will remember as the most successful new concept in Legion.
Here's hoping that patch 7.2's Broken Shore, the new endgame zone, is just as interesting, challenging and well rounded in its questing, storytelling and mechanics.
When did you have the most fun playing World of Warcraft?