Ranking World of Warcraft’s core races

Today, I’m going to look at World of Warcraft’s core races and running them down from best to worst, in my humble opinion. Wait, there’s nothing humble about it! Why would I be writing a public gaming blog if I was humble? This makes no sense.

Best: Gnome

Obviously. I mean, hate on the little dudes and dudettes all you like, but Gnomes are objectively and subjectively awesome. They have spunk, they have technology on their side, they have awesome emotes, they look cute as a button, they have the best facial hair in the game, and they’re perpetually the underdog in any given situation. Love my gnomies!

Draenei

Other than being slightly difficult to spell, Draenei — especially the female models — look pretty terrific while still bearing a very different body structure and features. I’ve always found them really appealing, especially if you want a “good looking” race that isn’t human. Other pluses include a self-heal, magi-tech totems, and a home that doubles as a spaceship.

Undead

Very few MMOs let you play as any sort of zombie character, so World of Warcraft’s Undead/Forsaken automatically distinguish themselves for this fact alone. I think I love the concept of the race more than the actual models (there are too few visual options that don’t make them look like drowned rats and the bones sticking out of the gear is a downer). Still, it’s pretty awesome to play a recently dead character that has a Halloween town for a capital city and one of their own as the war chief.

Tauren

Despite being too big and having slow running animations, I’ve always had a fondness for the Tauren. The mixture of native American culture and cows, weirdly enough, works. They’re kind of the “nice guys” of the Horde and have usually sported a really good class selection. Plus, the cow puns. Oh the cow puns. They moooved me.

Goblin

As the shortest race for the Horde, the Gobbos aren’t quite Gnome-levels of terrific, but they do have appeal. I like their fun little racial abilities, their quotes, and even some of their punk-rocker looks. I kept going back and forth in making my Horde Warlock an Undead or Goblin, and to this day I’m not sure I made the right choice.

Human

Yes, it’s the “boring” and “way too popular” choice, but there’s a lot to be said for humans. Armor looks fantastic on them and they get perhaps the most character creation options for visuals out of any of the races. Plus, the racials aren’t half-bad and the class selection is pretty much everything except Druids.

Dwarf

Dwarves are fine… in theory. My first WoW character was a Dwarf, in fact. I’ve always tried to get behind this race because I like to support the shorter characters, but the Dwarves seem so vanilla and bland in this game for some reason. Plus, I don’t like giant beards overtaking armor, nor am I a fan of the rather generic-looking female options.

Worgen

Great starting zone. Transformation options. Another Druid race. But that’s where the joys of Worgens kind of stop for me. You can’t stay as human in combat even if you want to (which, as a Druid, I did). The animations and visuals for this race suffer, as do the voices. Even though I played a Worgen Druid for a while, I never connected to it.

Pandaren

I think the best thing that can be said about Pandaren is that the models are well-detailed and you do get the option to choose your faction. But they still, three expansions later, don’t feel like they fit in World of Warcraft. I’ve tried rolling one and given up each time because it didn’t look right at all. They’re still pretty shunned by most players, so I guess if you really want to set yourself apart, here you go.

Troll

I’ve come to the conclusion that Horde is for masochists that enjoyed looking bad. Especially in Vanilla, where a pretty race was nary to be seen. Trolls, nobody likes Trolls. They’re just off-putting in their stance, their overgrown teeth, their three-fingered limbs, etc. Plus, their homes look like they just came out of the stone age, so why are they players on the level with some of these other races?

Orc

Yet I’d rather play a Troll than an Orc. I never even considered playing an Orc. They’re brutes that are ugly no matter which gender you pick, and Blizzard’s harping on them for story beats have made them even less appealing. Rawr, yes, but I’m not playing you.

Blood Elf

Yeah, don’t act too surprised that the despicable Elves are at the bottom of this list. That said, I’m putting the Blood Elves one notch higher because the Horde really did need at least one attractive-looking race early on, and their gold-and-red aesthetic is a nice color combination.

Worst: Night Elf

Where do I even start with these. They have plagued the game like cockroaches ever since Vanilla. People playing them don’t stop doing that jump-flip. Their Druidic forms are terrible. Their eyebrows stretch to the horizon. And THEY ARE ELVES. Arrogant, know-it-all, tree-hugging, we-know-better-than-you, we’re-connected-to-the-earth jerks.

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World of Warcraft: On standby for Patch 8.0

Don’t fear the darkness, fear my shoulderpads!

I think I’ve arrived at a good place for the big expansion reset in World of Warcraft. No last-minute leveling or frantic goal-reaching for me. Instead, I’ve figured out my roster of characters going forward and have gotten them each to a place where they’re ready for Patch 8.0. Right now, this roster is:

  • Death Knight Syppy (above), which I would consider my “main” through all of Legion and going into BFA
  • Hunter Syppi, casual Gnome adventurer with an affinity for attack squirrels
  • Warlock Lilaca, my sole Horde character who will take me through content on that side

Additionally, I have plans for two allied races when I unlock them:

  • Kul Tiran Druid, because how can you not want to make one of these?
  • Dark Iron Dwarf Priest, as I kind of dig their looks and want to try out Disc

That right there is way more than enough to keep me occupied over the next two years. But what about the next month? Word is that the pre-expansion patch should drop soon, and when it does, we’ll be dealing with two major changes.

First up will be all of the class adjustments. I won’t lie, I’m particularly interested to see how some of these shake out. In particular, I would love for Demonology to be a fun and viable spec again. Some of those new summons look pretty awesome, so my fingers are crossed.

There’s also the pre-expansion scenario as a prelude for Battle for Azeroth. We’ll be losing our artifact weapons too, and I’ll need to do this on all three characters. I think that I’ll have enough time with a whole month. Hopefully Blizzard will also be bringing some sort of world event like it did with the pre-Legion invasions. That was pretty neat.

Otherwise, I’ll just be biding my time until August 14th, making money and running the occasional world quest for goods. I think that when 8.0 hits, we’ll lose the ability to make money from our companions, so that will be a huge ding to my money making. Will world quests also see the gold gains erased? I hope not.

What are your plans from now until Battle for Azeroth’s launch?

I’m cooling on the idea of World of Warcraft Classic

Blizzard’s been really quiet about World of Warcraft: Classic since last November’s BlizzCon — at least until recently, when the studio posted a dev blog to talk about where it’s at with the project. The big news is that the team has decided on Patch 1.12 to be the foundation for Classic, which was a major question among the community. It went on to discuss the challenges and decisions to make the game work and bring its backend up to spec.

I read it, interested for the news but also finding myself feeling rather cool toward the whole project. I mean, I’m glad it’s being done. I think there’s definitely an audience for a classic server, and it will no doubt bolster the game’s population and create an interesting sub-community of WoW players. But I’m pretty sure it’s not for me at all.

Oh, I’ll try it. It’ll make for an interesting diversion and a blog post or two. That will put me in the crowd of tourists curious how the game used to function but not really in it for the long haul. But will I stick around? It’s doubtful.

First of all, while vanilla World of Warcraft gave me so many wonderful memories, it’s not an era that I was ever eager to return to. I don’t idolize that experience, because so much of it was poorly designed and not as user friendly as I think a lot of modern players imagine it being. I don’t want to run around for 40 levels. I don’t want vanilla’s endgame to be the only endgame with very few options for non-raiders. I can’t imagine playing without features like transmog, or flight paths that don’t stop at every point, or linked auction houses, or what have you. World of Warcraft’s additions and changes haven’t always been to my taste, but it’s hard to debate the fact that the game’s gotten a LOT more user friendly and accessible over the years.

My limited gaming time is getting more precious to me the older I get, and all of those hours I could pour into the game back in 2004 when I wasn’t even married yet are hours that I would rather put into other experiences.

And I just genuinely enjoy most of where World of Warcraft is at now. I’d rather be playing modern WoW than a classic WoW on any given night, and I know I’ll be making faster progress with the former.

Probably the only thing that would draw me to WoW Classic is if Blizzard promised or even indicated that characters on that server would be able, at some point, to progress through expansions. I’d love to see progression servers or the ability to transfer between dedicated expansion servers that are set in time, but right now there is not hint of that.

World of Warcraft: Is it worth having characters in both factions?

With about a month left until World of Warcraft delivers the pre-expansion patch (according to the community’s estimation), lots of people are scrambling to finish up content and get affairs in order for the expansion. I’ve got my two main characters ready to go, but as of late, I’ve been agonizing around one big question: Should I be spending this final month whipping a Horde alt into shape?

In other words, is it worth having characters in both factions these days? Every time I look at this question, I keep drawing up the same pros and cons and finding myself stalemated. Yes, it takes Syp to stalemate Syp — I am my own fiercest competition.

Initially, it seems like an “other faction” alt makes a lot of sense. You can experience unique content, areas, and flavor that lies on the other side. In Battle for Azeroth, there will be initial leveling zones dedicated to a single faction (at least at the start), not to mention specific scenarios (such as the pre-expansion one). Would be nice to see all of that.

Plus, for those of us who like variety, it’s refreshing to jump over to the other faction and experience a different angle and culture. I’ve mained Alliance characters for a long, long time, with only a couple of points in my World of Warcraft history being that involved with Horde.

Finally, having both sides will help with unlocking all of the alliance races — not to mention using them!

However convincing that may seem, the cons have their say as well. For a player who is devoted to making money, alternative-faction characters make it hard to transfer wealth. My Horde character cannot, to my knowledge, easily transfer goods or gold over to my Alliance character and help with saving up for Wow Tokens. At best, that Horde character will have to exist in a separate economic bubble and try to save up for a Token all by him or herself.

Another strong consideration is my guild. I’m not in a dual-faction guild, so my Horde character is with a different group of players altogether. Since I split my time between games, I am loathe to divide my attention in any single title between multiple guilds. Having the same guild across alts helps with maintaining and building relationships, not to mention jumping into group activities.

I guess the final con here is mere preference. I prefer the aesthetics and races of the Alliance, on the whole, to the Horde. I’m not as enthusiastic about the Horde faction, mostly because I don’t like barbarian-style huts and “brute force over elegance” style.

It’s all small peanuts, I know. I don’t even have to decide now, although with one month of nothing much else to do, it would seem a good time to focus down on a Horde alt if that was my intention. I really don’t enjoy how MMOs like this make factions less about pride, identity, and story and more about arbitrary walls to divide players and create inconvenience. When you’re in the Alliance ecosystem, it gets hard to invest in the Horde one — and vice-versa.

World of Warcraft: Stabbing myself in the back

Let’s mark the time and call it: I think that, as of the end of May, I am officially done with World of Warcraft: Legion. The other night I wrapped up the final of the four pre-expansion allied race unlocks, babysitting Ms. Insecure Elf up here and ensuring the loyalty of her kin forever and ever.

With the four races, the class mounts for my two main characters, all major quest lines completed, and nothing much else to do, I’ve been finding myself logging in just to do routine money-making activities. Right now, I’ve ensured my subscription through the start of 2019, so even there I’m not feeling much motivation.

So what now?

Obviously, it would make a lot of sense to spin down my time in WoW and focus on other games, and I have been doing just that. But I also figured that with nothing else to do, I might as well roll up an alt and have some harmless fun.

Love this screenshot, by the way. I can almost never get good action shots.

Anyway, meet Sypstep the Rogue. This is virgin territory for me, the first Rogue I’ve ever rolled up in my memory. Certainly the first in a half-decade or so. As I outlined in a previous post, I’ve held a grudge against the class due to memories of being ganked by many a Rogue back on PvP servers and in battleground, and also the perception that it was an overplayed class with not a lot of complexity to it.

I didn’t have much to lose with this, other than a bit of time (and if I exchanged that for enjoyment and fun, so much the better. If I hated it, no worries, I could discard it whenever. And if it turned out to be something? I’ve found a way to pass the next two-and-a-half months in the game.

Princess! I had totally forgotten about you! When’d you get that prize ribbon, you beautiful beast you?

So far, I’ve clocked a few nights in with Sypstep, and it’s gone a lot better than I had anticipated. It’s a fast, fluid class, and I really like the whole concept of the Outlaw Rogue. It partially fills my own desire for a fencing or duelist class, and I splurged on a rapier with a blue weapon effect that I can transmog when I’m level 57 or so. The occasional use of a pistol is neat as well, and I’m very intrigued by a mid-level skill that will apparently let me charm humanoids and make me use them as five-minute pets. Temporary pets? Sure, I’ll take that!

While I’ve rolled the most vanilla of vanilla races, a Human, it was partially out of my desire to re-experience some of my favorite old zones in the game. Westfall brought the feels — ALL the feels, even though the whole quest structure is different post-Cataclysm.

I figure that if we’re sticking around at the tail end of an expansion, we have to make our own fun. And right now, this Rogue is it for me. Might not be tomorrow, but at least I’m getting outside my comfort zone in this game.

World of Warcraft on a five-year-old laptop

I did not have the best of weeks last week.

It all started Sunday, when I came home from work and my wife told me that she was having a hard time accessing World of Warcraft, as it would just hang a lot. I noticed that my hard drive kept spinning up to 100% and staying there, especially when programs were open, and so began a multi-day investigation into the situation.

I tried out a few things, but nothing seemed to help. Meanwhile, the situation got worse, as various programs stopped working and I got a message from the system kindly informing me that a hard drive failure was imminent. That sent me to the local computer store, where they confirmed that my HD was shot. While they were able to recover my data and transfer it to a new hard drive, it put me out of operation for a few days and racked up a healthy bill.

This all meant that my gaming time last week was quite low and infrequent, obviously. Whenever my main computer goes out of operation, I have to resort to my five-year-old laptop. Now, let me sing praises for this laptop — it really has been one of the best machines I’ve ever owned. I spent no more than $600 on it back before my third child was born, and it’s functioned as my travel and work computer ever since. I chose it because it had a nice big 17″ screen and an AMD chip for gaming. Nothing super fancy, but you’d be amazed how many games I’ve gotten to work on this over the years.

But as it has been aging and my spare gaming time shrinking, I really haven’t used it for gaming much at all. At least, until last week. I booted up World of Warcraft on it for the first time in many years, and even though these specs are far below the current recommended, it worked fine. Worked even better, in fact, when I lowered all the settings. Had something like a decent 30 FPS going on, more than enough to do my dailies and mess around with the auction house.

Now that I’ve gotten both of my class mounts (DK and Hunter) and am on the verge of finishing up the last rep grind for the Void Elves, I’m really starting to turn my attention over to my Warlock. She’s got more than enough to do to fill two months between now and the pre-expansion patch, but the question is how much is really necessary. Probably not much. Technically, I could take her into BFA right now if it launched and not have to worry about progression, as long as there was a way to leapfrog the rest of the Legion storyline and start into the next expansion.

But I’d like to spend some time with her, get reacquainted, and maybe do a final tour of the Broken Isles before it becomes truly obsolete.

I find that on slower and older computers, ranged and pet classes are a godsend. You don’t have to fret so much with positioning and precise timing of attacks, just send your meatshield out and jam on a few keys. Warlock lifestyle was always somewhat relaxed to me.

And even though it was a bummer about my computer, I try to take such breaks with good cheer. Always a good excuse to get in some more reading and writing, not to mention family time. And better than the hard drive break now than in a couple of months when I’ll really need it.

Probably the best part of this mess is that I’m upgrading to a SDD for my OS and gaming, and relying on the 3TB mechanical hard drive for media storage and other programs.

World of Warcraft: Wolfhawk ahoy!

Disapproving eagle looks on while I practice my yodeling skills. Hey, when it’s the end of an expansion era, decorum goes to dirt and we’re free to follow our passions.

The happy news is that I finally, after a lot of stalling and meandering, got my first class mount from Legion. The quest chain was full of pointless busywork, but I did find the payoff agreeable. Similar to how Legion has whipped up smaller solo instances for the artifact weapons and (more recently) the allied races, so too are there ones for the class mount.

For the Hunter, it involved going to a late-night party in the woods with Odin and then hunting down various spirits of the animals. I loved the atmospherics in this one — the woods were darker than World of Warcraft usually is at night, and I really dug it. I need to get that potion that turns the nights dark in this game. Remember reading about it somewhere.

Anyway, the instance wasn’t too long or uninteresting, and by the end I had procured a wolfhawk to call my very own.

Wolfhawk: When World of Warcraft’s dev team is just picking random animal names out of the hat and slamming them together to make new mounts. Better than Beetleslug and Shrewsparrow.

The kids (and I) enjoyed the small cinematics for this. That’s something I’ve quite enjoyed this expansion, all these little in-engine cinematics that Blizzard is using for key storytelling moments. Just makes me want more of them.

Actually, as ridiculous as this combo sounds, they actually pulled it off. This mount is wonderfully detailed and looks great both running and flying. Going to be using it on this character for a while now, because there’s that spirit of pride and ownership at play.

I’m really starting to pare down on my final goals for both my Hunter and Death Knight, which means that it’s about time to just switch over to my Warlock and see what I can do before the summer is through.