I logged on to claim my
anticipated World of Warcraft anniversary gift, just like I and
millions of other players like me do every year, I was mostly thinking
about what I had to look forward to in the mail (where else but in the
gaming world will you find people who give gifts for their anniversary
instead of expecting them?) and hoping beyond hope that my WoW 2011
anniversary gift would be a mini-pirate pet of my very own. Of course,
as most of us know by now, my hopes were quickly dashed and I
didn’t receive my mini-pirate, but as I watched the 7th
anniversary achievement flicker across my screen I found myself
contemplating WoW’s past, present, and future and how it and
I have evolved along the way.

WoW 2011
- The Past

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fires of Molten Core bring about fond memories.

I can vividly remember the
first time I logged on. It was two days after the initial release of
the game and I was excited and nervous at the same time. Excited
because I had a new toy to play with, but nervous that I would
ultimately hate the game and my money would be wasted. That was not the
case, when I logged onto the game I was transported to a world where
magic was alive and I had no desire to leave.

Back then WoW was a place where
only the strongest survived and it took virtual blood, sweat, and tears
to accomplish anything worthwhile. Leveling was hard and instances
raids (taking 40 players at the time) were even harder. Sure I died a
half a billion times along the way, but I was having FUN. I
wasn’t the only one having a good time in Azeroth and as word
spread people flocked to WoW wanting their chance to take on Scarlet
Monestary, or venture into the Molten Core. WoW had a spark and despite
the tons of changes to the game, various expansion packs, and other
gaming competitors it managed to retain that spark through it all.

WoW 2011 - The Present

Fast forward to WoW 2011 and
things have greatly changed. In fact WoW 2011 is barely recognizable
from the game that was released seven years ago. In an effort to
appease the more casual crowd, which ultimately makes up the grand
majority of WoW players, everything from leveling to instances has been
simplified (much to the horror of the more hardcore). However, despite
the changes we’ve seen along the way WoW has aged
rather well.

Still boasting over 10 million
players, WoW 2011 still continues to draw in players, myself included,
day after day, hour after hour. The magic that many will say was lost a
long time ago is still there, even though sometimes I have a hard time
seeing it myself. Despite reporting subscription losses, WoW 2011 still
boasts over 10 million players each of them still dishing out almost 15
dollars a month just to continue to hang out in Azeroth. I think with
these numbers, its safe to say that even though the game is no longer a
spring chicken, its still got it going on.

WoW 2011 and Beyond
- The

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hope we get to see many more
of these achievements in the future.

So what do I think
WoW’s future looks like? Well I’m hoping for a
bright one since I’m not quite ready to give up my addiction
(do they make a patch for that?). I feel like that in order to continue
to be successful WoW must find some middle ground between casual and
hardcore instead of heavily leaning one way or the other as they have
done in the past. Appeasing both of these player bases will be the key
to many more years of success. I also think that instead of building
upwards with more levels, Blizzard needs to build outwards as well,
enriching the world we already have.

My hope for these things lies
in the newest WoW exapnsion; Mists of Pandaria and I believe
I’ve seen glimpses of these things in the information that
has been revealed so far. While there is much negativity associated
with this new expansion I’m holding out hope that it will go
above and beyond everyone’s expectations and will manage to
keep the spark behind the game burning brightly for a long time to
come. Will WoW be around to see it’s 10 year anniversary? No
one, including myself, can really say for sure, but the game has made
it this far, leaving me able to give a very confident answer of well
why not?

I know this has probably
sounded much like a sappy love letter to Blizzard, and maybe it is, but
you have to admit, making it seven years is impressive for any game.
Seven years is longer than I’ve been married to my wife,
longer than my daughter has been in this world, and far longer than
most games in this genre can ever hope to make it.

So I think we can all agree
that this WoW 2011 anniversary is a truly extraordinary feat and we
should celebrate it as such. Therefore let us give some credit where
credit is due, put down our torches and pitchforks, delete that nasty
forum post and lets raise our glasses in a well deserved to Blizzard
for giving us a place to successfully waste our time for the last seven
years. Cheers!

Feel free to share your stories
of the WoW of old or where you think the game is going in the future in
the comment section below!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our World of Warcraft Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Amunet, also fondly known as Memtron, is an organic life form best known for its ongoing obsession with Blizzard Entertainment's numerous properties. To that end, Amu has authored hundreds (thousands?) of the most popular World of Warcraft guides, editorials, and Top 10 lists on the planet. When not gaming and writing, Amu is busy chasing after her three children in a perpetual loop of ongoing disaster.