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[Column] World of Warcraft: WoW Isn’t the Killer

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,659MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

World of Warcraft is a divisive game in the genre with one side saying it's killed innovation, the other its champion. In his latest op-ed, Rob Lashley offers a few thoughts about how both sides have a point. Read on and then head to the battleground in the comments.

A couple weeks back a friend of mine sent me a direct message on Twitter and asked that I take a look at Trials of Ascension. ToA is a MMORPG in development that was attempting to get funded on Kickstarter. While ToA has some really interesting ideas I thought the presentation was lacking and did not stack up to the quality of pitches we have seen recently on KickStarter and told my friend I did not think it would get funded. In fact I told him I thought the project would get pulled before they reached the end of their campaign window. It was at this point he told me I had been wrong once before about a Kickstarter and I reminded him that I had to be wrong some of the time otherwise it would not be fair to him. Unfortunately this time I did end up being correct and ToA pulled their campaign before they reached the end of their pledge drive. Forged Chaos, the developers behind ToA, issued a mea culpa to the backers promising more refinement on their project in an attempt to make a comeback in the future. Hopefully they can find a way to make it back.

Read more of Rob Lashley's WoW Isn’t the Killer.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • Mors.MagneMors.Magne LondonPosts: 1,420Member

    I don't think the 'sales pitch' at Blizzcon helped. Having a middle-aged man appear enthusiastic about a fantasy plot-line looked strange.

     

    In contrast, if Blizzard had had the same middle-aged man demonstrate the fantastic gameplay that his (named) team had created, that  would have been a different matter. 

  • DistopiaDistopia Baltimore, MDPosts: 16,916Member Uncommon
    Couldn't agree more with your assessment of difficulty there, the only thing difficult about tedium is sitting through it. More often than not older MMO's offered tedious activity not difficult activities.

    For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson

    It is a sign of a defeated man, to attack at ones character in the face of logic and reason- Me

  • UhwopUhwop Wilm, DEPosts: 1,663Member Uncommon

    I could be wrong, but didn't millions of people play Lineage 2 before WoW ever released?  Didn't the original lineage have over a million playing it years prior even? 

     

    Maybe a better statement to make would be that WoW was the first "Western" MMO to have millions play it? 

    Not to be a stickler or anything, but I always see people talk about WoW as the first and only MMO to break that million player barrier and no one ever talks about the lineage series.  They may not have been the biggest MMO's in the West, but then WoW attributes a majority of it's subs to the Eastern market as well. 

  • GrakulenGrakulen Staff Writer St. Charles, MOPosts: 463MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon
    Originally posted by Uhwop

    I could be wrong, but didn't millions of people play Lineage 2 before WoW ever released?  Didn't the original lineage have over a million playing it years prior even? 

     

    Maybe a better statement to make would be that WoW was the first "Western" MMO to have millions play it? 

    Not to be a stickler or anything, but I always see people talk about WoW as the first and only MMO to break that million player barrier and no one ever talks about the lineage series.  They may not have been the biggest MMO's in the West, but then WoW attributes a majority of it's subs to the Eastern market as well. 

    In the second to last paragraph I did specify in the west. Sorry that I wasn't clearer on that sooner.

     

     
  • UhwopUhwop Wilm, DEPosts: 1,663Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Grakulen
    Originally posted by Uhwop

    I could be wrong, but didn't millions of people play Lineage 2 before WoW ever released?  Didn't the original lineage have over a million playing it years prior even? 

     

    Maybe a better statement to make would be that WoW was the first "Western" MMO to have millions play it? 

    Not to be a stickler or anything, but I always see people talk about WoW as the first and only MMO to break that million player barrier and no one ever talks about the lineage series.  They may not have been the biggest MMO's in the West, but then WoW attributes a majority of it's subs to the Eastern market as well. 

    In the second to last paragraph I did specify in the west. Sorry that I wasn't clearer on that sooner.

     

     

    My fault.  I should pay better attention to what I read. 

  • jesteralwaysjesteralways BangladeshPosts: 1,049Member Uncommon
    Judging by how you wrote your article i guess you did not like pandaren race and their lore at all,  like many others who thought pandaren doesn't fit in wow. i for one loved them, gameplay wise MoP was horrible but lore was awesome to say the least. in my eyes this expansion had the best lore since the launch of game. i have been in love with warcraft since warcraft : orcs & humans and not because of the game itself but because of the 2 books that came with that game when i opened the huge box that contained the game. i fell in love with the story of game and i don't know about you guys but i have always been able to releate to warcraft lore. when they turned a april fool joke into a major role player in founding durotar i thought it was nicely done. when they added eredar/draenei into warcraft i thought that well put into lore, i always felt that this is how warcraft is, finding unknown and incredible stuff, giving birth to our wildest imagination into a fantasy world. i am a very simple person with less than enough imagination to even write a story. every novel, short stories i read from blizzard regarding warcraft always made me want more of that. of course some of them did not meet my expectation and i did not like certain characters they introduced along the way  but it is blizzard's story, their fantasy world, their dream that they brought into game and books/comics/manga. who are we to tell them what they should fantasize about or not? who are we to tell them what they should be adding to their fantasy world? it is ridiculous how some people claim  that some part of warcraft lore doesn't fit warcraft  at all. if you don't like it create your own story and see if any game developer/publisher company will take it to make a game. 

    i want an open world, no phasing, no instancing.i want meaningful owpvp.i want player driven economy.i want meaningful crafting.i want awesome exploration, a sense of thrill.i want ow housing with a meaningful effect on my entire gameplay experience, not just some instanced crap.i want all of these free of cost, i don't wanna pay you a cent, game devs can eat grass and continue developing game for me.
    Seems like that is the current consensus of western mmo players.

  • mlambert890mlambert890 NY, NYPosts: 135Member
    My take is that i have fun playing WoW and have since release (nearly a decade. ..scary) apparently a few other folks do also. It seems many people, though, have more fun arguing and analyzing over the industry with the seriousness of discussing ethnic cleansing in Darfur. If that's your thing then great! I have more pandas to go talk to though. If that sends some people into a righteous rage because they feel it spits in the face of all that is holy then... sorry? I guess? Im sorry that you feel that the game I like playing is ruining the industry and your life? Not sure what people expect to hear honestly. It seems "live and let live" remains elusive. People seem to have a burning need to not just ignore something they don't like, but rather build elaborate straw men to justify demanding that you not like it either. Or justify deriding and ridiculing you for liking it. Consider the ageist comment about a middle aged man excited about a fantasy plot. Newsflash. .. who do you think WROTE most fantasy? If you choose to abandon all your interests if you reach middle age then more power to you! Lots of folks choose not to though and that should be considered ok.
  • RocknissRockniss Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,034Member
    I totally agree. Mists was what jumped the shark for me, and i thought that's it, but now with Warlords and this heavy influence of orcs throughout, I want to play for the story. Orcs are my favorite race, they remind me of a bstter time in my life when my brother and i were care free and we enjoyed warcraft 2 together.
  • madmikethegmmadmikethegm Little Rock, ARPosts: 41Member

    My problems with WoW were more about the players than the game. 

    There was the tedium of endless dailies and faction grinds that caused players to just want to burn through it to get over with, and didn't care if you wanted to read the quest story text.  There was the lack of patience from group members who cried "epic fail" because you didn't sprint through the dungeon in the shortest possible time.  There was the mindset of players who felt a character was worthless because its DPS was 0.1 off of what some guide said it should be.

    After getting into it with one of my guild mates about how newer guild members couldn't get gear from a particular dungeon if we never invited them to a group BECAUSE they didn't have the gear from that dungeon I felt it was time to find a new game. The last straw had been placed.  You say they need the gear from Ramparts, but then don't invite them to Ramparts because they don't have the gear from Ramparts? Huh? You want them to PUG it? What are we a guild for then? Yea, time to find a new guild and a new game.

    Yes, I encountered some of this stuff in UO, EQ, and AC, but nowhere nearly as often as I did once I started WoW.

    Overall, maybe WoW did more to advance the popularity of the genre as a whole, but in my opinion it's done amazingly high DPS to the player mentality and maturity level.

     

  • RhoklawRhoklaw Ft. Bliss, TXPosts: 3,498Member Uncommon

    Heres the thing about WoW...

    When it first launched, it was an old school MMO with a rich story and lots of known lore with a huge history of popularity from the original series. WoW the game is not what ruined MMORPGs. Blizzard simply listened to the masses because once the money started rolling in, they cared more about $$$ than hold true to what MMORPG meant. Things like dungeon finder simply and utterly ruins the point of an MMO.

    What do I mean by that?

    MMORPG were designed to incorporate meeting new people, making friends in order to tackle certain adventures. When I played EQ, there was a time I remember when I was still a young barbarian shaman and I had spent nearly a week hunting with my new friend, who was a gnome cleric. One day, I was out adventuring with some random people I encountered in the area I was hunting in. Then all of a sudden, my gnome friend shows up asking to join in. The party I was with was happy with my healing and didn't really care to have another healer in the group. I told them it would be fine cause I can switch to doing dmg and buffs. After a short debate, they let him join and everyone soon got along great, despite having 1.5 healers.

    Maybe it was EQ mechanics, maybe it was just EQ itself, but when I first saw the dungeon finder on WoW with it's designated TANK, HEALER, DPS slots, I was thrown back for a loop. Really? The game is going to justify popularity over function? The least Blizzard could do was allow the party members to decide if they would do a dungeon with more than one tank or healer. To flat out format a group structure just screams whats wrong with WoW. WoW community is like a half breed with its old school RPers and it's spread sheet FPS gear score fanatics. OMG, gear score, what a stupid thing to put into a game.

    I'm sorry, WoW is a giant MMO that basically took every RP aspect in MMO's and simply shit on those ideals in the name of $$$. Plain and simple.

    WoW is a great MMO, crappy community, but great MMO. What WoW is not is a great MMORPG and it never will be again.

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  • GrakulenGrakulen Staff Writer St. Charles, MOPosts: 463MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon
    Originally posted by jesteralways
    Judging by how you wrote your article i guess you did not like pandaren race and their lore at all,  like many others who thought pandaren doesn't fit in wow. i for one loved them, gameplay wise MoP was horrible but lore was awesome to say the least. in my eyes this expansion had the best lore since the launch of game. i have been in love with warcraft since warcraft : orcs & humans and not because of the game itself but because of the 2 books that came with that game when i opened the huge box that contained the game. i fell in love with the story of game and i don't know about you guys but i have always been able to releate to warcraft lore. when they turned a april fool joke into a major role player in founding durotar i thought it was nicely done. when they added eredar/draenei into warcraft i thought that well put into lore, i always felt that this is how warcraft is, finding unknown and incredible stuff, giving birth to our wildest imagination into a fantasy world. i am a very simple person with less than enough imagination to even write a story. every novel, short stories i read from blizzard regarding warcraft always made me want more of that. of course some of them did not meet my expectation and i did not like certain characters they introduced along the way  but it is blizzard's story, their fantasy world, their dream that they brought into game and books/comics/manga. who are we to tell them what they should fantasize about or not? who are we to tell them what they should be adding to their fantasy world? it is ridiculous how some people claim  that some part of warcraft lore doesn't fit warcraft  at all. if you don't like it create your own story and see if any game developer/publisher company will take it to make a game. 

    I have mixed feelings on it. I probably will play through the story though just to see what I missed before I play WoD. Thanks for your feedback. I agree with a lot of what you say. I too love the story. I have a number of WoW books that I have read.  

  • GarbracGarbrac Brockville, ONPosts: 22Member Uncommon

    I agree that WoW has done a lot for the genre.  They have in a sense changed the way we used to look at how an MMORPG is supposed to be. And that exact same idea needs to happen again.

     

    With WoW being such a major success companies have done nothing but follow that money path. Rehashing ideas, basically providing the players with the same old lollipop just in a different flavour.

     

    The concepts Warlords of Draenor are introducing are in my eyes simplifying the game as a whole. 

     

    Look at the new talent trees for example, this was released for MoP but it is a simplistic version of the old ones.  Anything that made your character build unique is no longer there, everyone of that class has those unique abilities. It is almost possible to be a viable player without spending a single talent within the new talent system in comparison to how the old system was.  

     

    WoD is introducing new gear changes, changes that take the decisions completely out of the equation.  If plate (or mail/leather/cloth) drops, anyone who can wear plate rolls on it, the stats will be adjusted to your primary spec. No longer will we have the endless debates as to if that Leather is best for a Druid or a Rogue.  Gear is Gear now, the only difference is if you'll be lucky enough to get a slight bonus (life steal, unbreakable etc.) to the gear that will be displayed at the time of the rolls. 

     

    I will be playing WoD, just as Grakulen to experience the story line, and see exactly how they will play this whole time travel but not time travel storyline.  

     

    I also agree that WoW has a certain aspect to it that is a false difficulty (the time sinks) but looking back at earlier days of WoW and looking at the MoP version of it the timesinks are the same they just appear different.  Before we had to attune ourselves to dungeons by grinding rep, turn cloth into bandages for hours to open a door to a 40man Raid.  Now it is all Dailies, progress your farm every day, grind rep for gear. 

     
  • tordurbartordurbar Alexandria, VAPosts: 429Member Uncommon

    I agree with everything you said about WOW (except Panderia - I like it) but I don't see that you have written about the topic of the article - "is WOW the killer?".  Your comments show that WOW is NOT the killer as there have never been as many MMOs available as before WOW was released. Most gamers still fail to realize that, even in these days of Kickstarter, it takes major amounts of bucks to build a high class game and that requires investors. What do investors want - a good return on their investment. Why do you think that there are so many WOW "clones" out there? Investors tried to duplicate WOW's success.

    What I find ironic is how influential WOW is to the "hate WOW" audience. Why was "action combat" developed for MMOs (such as Tera and GW2) - so that would stand apart from WOW. The longing for a true sandbox is another result of the "let's be different from WOW" movement. Even SWTOR with it's emphasis on story was an attempt to not be labeled as a WOW clone.

    WOW has been called the 800 pound gorilla for a reason. But there are a lot of animals in the jungle (if you pardon the analogy) and though the gorilla is feared in the jungle as WOW is feared in the MMO world, there are plenty other animals (and new games in the MMO world) that are doing just fine and more coming along every year.

  • GrakulenGrakulen Staff Writer St. Charles, MOPosts: 463MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon
    Originally posted by tordurbar

    I agree with everything you said about WOW (except Panderia - I like it) but I don't see that you have written about the topic of the article - "is WOW the killer?".  Your comments show that WOW is NOT the killer

    The title is "WoW Isn't the Killer"

     
  • Synns77Synns77 StaffsPosts: 124Member
    Have to agree personally I hated mop and didn't really think much to cataclysm either. But I'm quite interested in the new expansion, I guess I depends if I'm playing something else by the time it releases ESO, wildstar, eq next, if all these end up being poor then I guess it will be back to wow yet again.
  • YilelienYilelien Vacaville, CAPosts: 322Member
    Originally posted by Rhoklaw

    Heres the thing about WoW...

    When it first launched, it was an old school MMO with a rich story and lots of known lore with a huge history of popularity from the original series. WoW the game is not what ruined MMORPGs. Blizzard simply listened to the masses because once the money started rolling in, they cared more about $$$ than hold true to what MMORPG meant. Things like dungeon finder simply and utterly ruins the point of an MMO.

    What do I mean by that?

    MMORPG were designed to incorporate meeting new people, making friends in order to tackle certain adventures. When I played EQ, there was a time I remember when I was still a young barbarian shaman and I had spent nearly a week hunting with my new friend, who was a gnome cleric. One day, I was out adventuring with some random people I encountered in the area I was hunting in. Then all of a sudden, my gnome friend shows up asking to join in. The party I was with was happy with my healing and didn't really care to have another healer in the group. I told them it would be fine cause I can switch to doing dmg and buffs. After a short debate, they let him join and everyone soon got along great, despite having 1.5 healers.

    Maybe it was EQ mechanics, maybe it was just EQ itself, but when I first saw the dungeon finder on WoW with it's designated TANK, HEALER, DPS slots, I was thrown back for a loop. Really? The game is going to justify popularity over function? The least Blizzard could do was allow the party members to decide if they would do a dungeon with more than one tank or healer. To flat out format a group structure just screams whats wrong with WoW. WoW community is like a half breed with its old school RPers and it's spread sheet FPS gear score fanatics. OMG, gear score, what a stupid thing to put into a game.

    I'm sorry, WoW is a giant MMO that basically took every RP aspect in MMO's and simply shit on those ideals in the name of $$$. Plain and simple.

    WoW is a great MMO, crappy community, but great MMO. What WoW is not is a great MMORPG and it never will be again.

    I have to agree with this. We no longer play MMO's. We play single player games with other people around us.

     

     We can then choose to do a dungeon/raid with a bunch of people we dont know and continue our single player game. We are missing the point of MMO's.

  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 20,008Member Uncommon

    WOW didn't kill off MMO's of course, as pointed out, there are more than ever.  But in the AAA space it definitely inhibited variety , with every developer afraid to stray too far from the core WOW model for fear of not appealing their gigantic player base of more casual gamers.

    Before WOW developers were searching for the holy grail, the set of features that would bring in the millions, so they tried out various mechanics with differing degrees of success.

    Once Blizzard hit the jackpot that was the end of the differences in designs in MMO's, they largely became copies of each other with only subtle variances made to try and distinguish them from the giant, most met with limited commercial success.

     

     

     

    In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
    "I don't have one life, I have many lives" - Grunty
    Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon

  • popezaphodpopezaphod Oswego, NYPosts: 45Member Uncommon

    "I’ll be the first to admit that if they did start a progression server beginning at version 1.0 I would subscribe as soon as the server went live."

     

    I agree with you 100% on this.  I would love to play WoW and mastering Molten Core again, and then to slowly release "new" content up to but not including Burning Crusade.  

     

    I played WoW from Open Beta until I quit after BC came out, then dropped back in for WotLK for a few months before quitting again before the Cataclysm.  I was disappointed in BC but liked most of the changes in WotLK - except for limiting raids to 25 people.  I think I enjoyed Vanilla the most, however.

     

    I do expect that I would find certain things tedious - like running everywhere until Lv 40, no trainers in minor cities, etc.  But overall, nostalgia would win out.

     

     

    (I also think that RIFT got a lot of things right and is a great theme park MMO.  I got burned out on it, but I still recommend it to people who want something like "WoW 2.0".)

     
  • ZibooZiboo Sacramento, CAPosts: 142Member Uncommon

    Well written article.  Agree with you 100%. 

    People like to blame WoW for everything, but the fact it brought forth MMO's into the mainstream has allowed the variety of OTHER MMO's to be made much easier.  Even the Kickstarter going back to the sand-box ones, wouldn't have the support they do without Blizzards success with WoW.

    Proud member of Hammerfist Clan Gaming Community.

    Currently playing: RIFT, EQ2, WoW, LoTRO
    Retired: Warhammer, AoC, EQ
    Waiting: SWToR & GW2

  • ThomasN7ThomasN7 87.18.7.148 1, NJPosts: 6,690Member
    Wow has it's good points and bad points but from a gamer's perspective the worst thing they ever did was dumb-down the game for casuals. Everything is way too easy now, too boring and in my opinion WoW just needs to die an honorable death so we all can move on to better games. Games that bring a challenge to the table and that are actually interesting to play.
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  • DhraalDhraal VillachPosts: 40Member Common

    I agree that it was not harder, it was just more tedious. I was there from the beginning, and I joined a raid guild and did raids from MC till Naxxramas. We had only 4 alliance and 1 horde guild who did raids. So we were fighting about server firsts and world bosses. Not many people saw the content, the items were special, epics were rare. And when I did instances people got impressed that I was able to heal them as a Druid, because most of them only wanted to take a Priest as healer. So this was fun especially when no guides were available and you did raids while the world top guild did not kill the boss yet.

     

    But what was hard about it? Lets think about it:

    40 people, from which half were not paying attention because it was so boring, some removing armor on tries due to high repair costs, a lot watching tv. I often had the impression that max. 20 of the 40 people are paying attention to the game they play. On a wipe we could need 30min till everyone ran the stupid ways from cemetery, till everyone was ready again the first paladin buffs started to fade away (5mins). A new instance - e.g. AQ needed new stupid resistances which every of the 40 members had to farm. A team member used to read out poetry to us while we waited for nefarian to respawn.

     

    I would say, the one hard thing about the raids back then was to fight against the boredom with all these downtimes and to manage 40 people to be available. Both I don't miss. I think wow did not get easier it just got more convenient thats all. 

     
  • knightauditknightaudit Victoria, BCPosts: 255Member Uncommon

    Very good Article .. i agree with you on this. I do not think WOW is making mmo's easier or harder .. but they have that balance. They may not have been first, but they did do it the best. I do hope that they do get back what they had in BC and WRATH ... as i thought Cata and MOP were a bit lacking ...

     I have played a lot of games in the past but I keep coming back to WOW. People ask why? do you not get burnt out on the samre thing time and time again ... Sure ,.. that is why i play other games. But in the end there is something about WOW that just brings you back. You can fish all day if you so want .. or farm or run dungeons... or like me last night ... Solo Kara for netherhweave so I can make bags for my guildies.

  • seacow1gseacow1g Savannah, GAPosts: 254Member

    I think you and your friend are arguing totally different things. Did WoW kill the genre? No, it certainly did not. Many MMO's have been made and are continuing to be made due to the games' success. Did it however kill innovation and true variety in the genre? It certainly did for a long time and continues to do so (albeit a lot less) today. If WoW's subscriber base had ended up (somewhat equally) divided between games like SWG, EQII, WoW, DAOC, Vanguard, Lineage II etc. we would see a much more varied landscape of quality games today than what we are seeing. The fact that only one type of game was hugely successful (some could even argue that they had a "monopoly' on the genre) led to the production of endless clones, reskins and the death of player choice and "challenge" (whether it be through difficulty or grind) in the genre.

     

    Did WoW deserve its success? I certainly think it did. I LOVED Vanilla and TBC. Did they screw it up? I also think they did but different people see it differently. 

     

    For an example though;  imagine if WoW wasn't hugely successful, would Sony have made the gamebreaking changes that they made to SWG? Honestly I think they would've screwed it up eventually but I don't think they would have ruined the game as badly as they did. The success of WoW led to enormous homogeneity in the genre and even if you argue that many games tout varying mechanics the fact of the matter is that the genre has FELT almost exactly the same ever since. Players had and still have a hard time finding a variety of well presented titles that offer the various possible iterations of the genre, for almost a decade it's all felt like WoW and more WoW.

     

    image
  • JaedorJaedor Denver, COPosts: 1,140Member Uncommon

    Good article, Rob. I think my biggest gripe about all the things Blizzard is really awesome at doing is the retrofitting of lore. I get it that some ideas pop up after you've published the content and books but it seems like it could be smoother or cleverer or something.

     

    With Arthas' death in LK, I expected a big lore piece because there was a huge gap to fill. And while recreating the world was pretty huge, rezzing Deathwing was pretty meh. I mean, the Onyxia story line was really epic and this felt like something tacked on the end that should perhaps have been left off.

     

    I enjoyed the MoP lore in the bit of it I played, but overall it wasn't enough to keep me engaged. So much grind (and tedium) in every direction sent me looking elsewhere for entertainment. I expect to step back in for WoD but can only guess that returning to the roots of Warcraft will be enough to keep me hooked.

     
  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member

    My biggest and really only complaint with WoW these days is the classes.

    There is no one class I absolutely love everything about.

    Which means I have to play, level up, gear up, spend time grinding professions, etc. on multiple characters to get all the play experiences I want to have.

    I wish more was account-wide, or there were some mechanics in game for class changing similar to FFXIV:ARR.

    If I could have one character with the Paladin tanking tree, shaman healing tree, arms warrior dps/pvp tree, and a 4th spec for elemental Shaman or maybe Fire mage...

    I'd never need to even consider another MMO.

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