An MMO tourist journeys to Azeroth, but is World of Warcraft worth jumping into as a new player in 2022? Read on to find out.
World of Warcraft feels like a game that is truly eternal – it feels like it’s been around forever, and it also feels like it’s going nowhere anytime soon.
That means, while I was a console gamer up until 2020, it’s been a game I’ve long admired from afar. Still, I consider myself somewhat of an “MMO tourist”. I play just enough to have fun, but never engage deeply with communities or mechanics to get to the high-level content like raiding. That means I’ve played a fair chunk of Final Fantasy XIV, Lost Ark, and more. I even reviewed New World last year.
Still, I couldn’t help but get caught up in the hype surrounding World of Warcraft’s 2022 expansion, Dragonflight, and so decided to jump in a week or so before the new expansion to test the new player experience.
New World (of Warcraft)
A key part of any MMO is picking a class, and I decided that, for this first run at least, I’d hop into Azeroth as a Warrior.
That’s provided to be a good move so far – playing solo as a support-focused character is a mistake I made starting FFXIV, and being able to hit things until they’re defeated makes for a pretty smooth leveling curve, as it turns out.
Once I created my character, things got very, very New World. If you’ve played Amazon’s MMO you’ll know that within minutes your ship runs ashore on a mysterious island, and the same happens here as you and your crew are marooned on Exile’s Reach.
While, yes, World of Warcraft in 2022 maybe isn’t the best-looking game, I was pleasantly surprised at how much happened in the short time I spent on the island. Within minutes I was healing fallen comrades, learning the basics of emotes, diving into a spider-filled cavern, and completing side quests.
I even got to use a giant boar, supersized through magic, to trample a load of enemies — and you can’t do that in any other MMO. It’s a good first impression that clearly highlights both the possibilities of World of Warcraft in 2022 and the unique charm it has. Whether it was some fun Ogre dialog, or getting to jump into a very short but fun Dungeon to slay a reanimated dragon, I felt more prepared than ever to return to the mainland.
Getting lost in the big city
After that initial tutorial World of Warcraft kicked me into the Battle for Azeroth expansion, and this is where I find myself at the time of writing.
MMOs, particularly in the early stages, can feel so focused on leveling up and beating up the same enemies that you start to feel like you’re going through the motions. And yet, while I was able to carve through plenty of fodder in my time, I’m already starting to see the wheels of political machination starting to spin in Azeroth having broken out of prison in Tol Dagor with my new best bud Flynn Fairwind (why are characters called Flynn always so charming?). I even met Jaina Proudmore (I know her from Hearthstone!), although she’s sadly gone missing.
It’s also where I’ve started to get more than a little confused about navigation throughout the game. One side quest picked up in Boralus sent me to a new location that I stumbled on through a series of portals. Before long, one portal too many had sent me to an area that appeared to be just full of content I’m not ready for yet and a lot of various in-game races having a party.
Still, early impressions (can they be early impressions if a game came out in 2004?) are very positive, so much so that I’ve installed the game on my laptop, too, to squeeze in some questing away from my desk.
So, should you start playing World of Warcraft in 2022? I’ll be following up on this article in the coming days with an update to my journey, but I can honestly say I’ve already had a great time and am looking forward to spending time playing with friends and family that have badgered me for years about it. Your mileage may vary, but the introductory experience is promising.
For more on World of Warcraft, be sure to check out our coverage of Dragonflight, and I’ll check in soon with more adventures from the game.