Back when Warlords of Draenor was announced, I thought that this might be the expansion that might get me back into WoW, at least for a little while. In practice I ended up checking out MoP for a couple of months last year but still haven't bought WoD to this day. And if I'm being honest, I don't think I will any time soon.
Everything I read about it just sounds thoroughly underwhelming to me. I'm not against log-in rewards, but the way Blizzard implemented them with garrisons just sounds horrible. (What could be more against the spirit of the original World of Warcraft than sitting in a small base all day?) Professions, which I used to love, have finally been relegated to the realm of complete pointlessness. And while I've heard that the quests are supposed to be quite good, a couple of decent quests are just not enough for me to want to invest the time and money (full box price + sub) in what I know is only going to be a secondary MMO for me at this point.
I can't even say that I care very much about the story anymore. I don't know if Blizzard's storytelling genuinely got worse over time or not, but fact of the matter is that it all broke down for me in Cataclysm. Up until then I had always known what was going on around me in terms of lore, because I read all the quest text and actually listened to NPC dialogue. But then they started confining world-changing events to their novels and comics and I just didn't know what was going on anymore. Important NPCs seemed to have full personality transplants from one patch to the next; it was thoroughly confusing. Sure, I could look up summaries of what supposedly happened on YouTube, but that's hardly the same.
Cataclysm also killed my ability to connect to WoW via nostalgia. I know that you can never go back and truly relive those early days, but I think that I would absolutely be willing to pay Blizzard to be able to take the occasional trip down memory lane in the old newbie zones, even today. Thanks to Cataclysm's old world revamp however, I can't even do that anymore. The new questing experience isn't bad, and it made it fun to level a couple of alts purely for the novelty value of seeing the new storylines, but that experience was fairly short-lived. Now I just miss the dusty canyons of Thousand Needles and the lush meadows of Southshore.
It's really kind of sad because for all the flak that Cataclysm got for things like dungeon difficulty and lack of endgame content at launch, I never thought that it was a bad expansion. I had some good times there: fighting some genuinely challenging bosses, mucking about on Darkmoon Island and doing rated PvP. But looking at it now, I think the destruction of the world I used to love (that Cataclysm sold as a feature no less) severed my ties to Blizzard more thoroughly than anything else.
Of course, this being the year 2015, there are ways to get your WoW nostalgia fix even if Blizzard doesn't want to provide it...
To be continued...?