I caved in and bought into WoW's Pandaria expansion. I had quite a fun time today, playing the Pandaren starting experience up to being introduced into the Horde by Garrosh Hellscream.
Experiencing the contrast to Guild Wars 2 was satisfying. GW2 does so many little things better than WoW, littles touches like interacting and looting with the F-key instead of clicking, to its removal of the *mob tagging* mechanic, and so forth and so forth, it's quite astonishing how much ArenaNet has managed to improve on the basic rulesets and templates of classic MMO gaming. It's been a good thing to be reminded of. Regardless, it definitely seems to me like the genre of MMO games is in dire need of much more thorough reinvention. I can't help but feel like everything that's tried and true is now also so tired, it can no longer truely excite me. The magic of massive persistent online multliplayer worlds is gone, and without it, the gameplay experience does sacrifice too much to cater to the circumstance of it being a MMO.
That said, WoW still oozes *that Blizzard touch*, and despite its age and musty designs, I'm having a good enough time, for the time being... and then I arrived in Orgrimmar. I had bags full of low level crafting materials, and my plan was to lighten my load and put it all up on the market. To my great surprise the auctionhouse was all but empty. All that's left is a handful of extremely inflated and overpriced wares.
Upon inquery in the general chat I found out that my home server has been all but abandoned since I last logged in 2 years ago. I guess due to the new cross server play functions, it doesn't matter for the moment to moment gameplay. The auctionhouse however is tied to a single realm, and hence the in-game economy is pretty much dead in the water. Borderline unsustainable for high level characters, and a true nightmare for twinks. Since all I want to do is checking out the Pandaren starting experience with a monk, and then do the new high level zones and dungeons with my ancient main charater - a Troll Hunter - I guess I'll ride out my 60 days of gametime there anyways, and still be fine with these circumstances.
I kinda didn't realize what it meant for WoW to lose 3-4 million players since its high mark. I certainly didn't expect my homeworld to be dead. It's a day 1 realm - for Chrissake. Since empty servers don't translate into empty zones anymore, due to cross server play, it's not as bad as it might be otherwise . Regardless - it's an odd thing to see a place I've spent so much time in wither and die like this. Melancholic.
A server transfer is out of the question for multiple reasons, not the least of which is that I won't spend more money on my current stay in Azeroth. Should I just abandon ship, and start anew on a more lively server? Obviously the remaining die-hards have consolidated on a handful of choice servers. Or just hope that Blizzard will introduce a cross server auctionhouse, in order to unfuck the broken economy on all low-population servers? In a way, it's all that stands between me caring about being on a low-pop server and not.
All hail ESO's megaserver. I'm sure soon most MMOs will be built with an infrastructure just like it. Hell - WoW's already halfway there, and will be there before long.