World of Warcraft in the Beginning

Many have great memories of adventures that have spanned from when World of Warcraft first launched through to the present day. The game has evolved quite a bit over the years, and especially for the many quality of life upgrades that were made along the way.

Way back when, one could only get a mount starting at level 40, so it took quite a bit of time to travel around Azeroth on foot. Flight points were by far the fastest modes of transportation, but you could only use them if you first hoofed your way over and discovered each Flight Master individually. When you used flight points you also could only travel directly from one to the next. They didn’t automatically connect to your final destination like they do now. So you’d have to make your way to the first point, talk to the flight master, fly to the next point, talk to the flight master, and so on. Accessing dungeons or raids also required additional travel time, as you had to make your way to them manually, and there were no mass summons or personal flying mounts back in that era that could speed up the process, either. So assembling five people for a dungeon run involved quite a bit of waiting around while people slowly made their way to the particular dungeon. It often took even longer for raids to get up and running because you’d be waiting for 40 people instead of just 25 or 10.

Battlegrounds and Arenas also did not launch with the original game. The first two Battlegrounds areas, Alterac Valley and Warsong Gulch, went live on June 2005, and you had to physically travel out in the world to the particular Battleground portal for each location in order to queue for them. As there was no time or resource limit on those games, they could run very long, and indeed some Alterac Valley matches on the servers I played on at the time could span multiple hours or even, in some cases, multiple days. For Battlegrounds, specifically, there were no cross-realm Battlegroups originally, so you could only face-off against opponents from your individual realm that were on the opposite faction. Way back then, you also couldn’t step up and challenge another guild on your own faction to an all-out War Game in Warsong Gulch, either, because War Games didn’t even exist until shortly after Cataclysm launched.

Travel around Azeroth and assembling groups for anything from PvP to dungeon runs and raiding is much more efficient now than it was in classic times. I think it’s especially fantastic being able to freely roam around the world and do other activities while you wait. Then, once the group is assembled, you can teleport directly into battle with your comrades as well as your friends from other realms (thanks to the advent of Real ID’s cross-realm support). And that’s, well… awesome.