On the other hand I hate what they started in W3 and then done with the story and lore in WoW.
First two games are my favorite game universe and the managed to ruin it...
I still replay them from time to time. I count those replays in double digits now.
Know that there are others who do like the changes. Although I haven't experienced them as changes actually, becouse I played W3 first and then the previous parts, so I've seen the originals through the lenses of the new ones. I think what you probably mean by changes for me sets the world of warcraft apart from your general epic fantasy. It's very eclectic and very diverse that way, while still having its own general identity. It has many different faces as opposed to one, I like that. Of course that means there's more chance you won't like some of these faces.
I'd even defend the Pandaria expansion.
I completed Warcraft 2 two times now, so I understand its charm. Still have to finish Beyond the Dark Portal though.
I could never get the hang of RTSes,
Well, RTSes are extremely tense and demanding, not the laid back "errand boy" kind of quests in WoW. Raiding and PvP is probably more less laid back but still, you control only one character, in RTSes you have hundreds of things to do at the same time, so it's absolutely different kind of game, i would say hectic. Though on easy difficulties it could may be some fun for you too... unfortunately Warcraft 3 has only normal.
WoW original maps were awesome
I came during the cataclysm era, but I think nostalgia is working here, especially the starting areas are beautifully designed, you should give them a chance.
so my love of WoW's world comes from WoW itself. Accelerated levelling and quest arrows killed the game for me, and community pressure to level didn't help either.
WoW original maps were awesome, delicious to explore. Say, you're wandering around in a forest, and there's that unclimbable hill. You look up and see lanterns shining on the path high above. Follow the lanterns and find a hidden path leading to the top of the hill; kill the monster, collect treasure, enjoy the view. The grayed quests sent a message: "you're not doing anything awesome". Why thank you for the reminder, game.
I can absolutely relate with what you wrote, as I spent a lot of time time doing gray quests once. But I get what they meant by this design - they want you to have many, many toons, and to have a unique leveling with each one. So you max level of your one char having done only a fraction of quests possible, you start with other choosing other quests instead. Then the other not doing quests at all but just dungeons. Then the other where you level with pvp. And so on. It could still be fun too, actually, after I gave it some thought.
Though actually I think, it's kind of controversial, but there are others who think the same I know, and changes made in Guild Wars for example prove that i'm not alone, that the whole concept of levels doesn't work in multiplayer games at all, espacially when paired with concept of gear. After all it was just taken as a legacy from tabletop games where everybody level at quite the same pace. It worked good in single player, but when you compete with others in MMO it unbalances the game. So I'd love to see an MMO which gets rid of levels totally, there would be just gear and spells/abilities.
The other thing is, i kinda felt lonely there. Through cross server dungeon finding, everything seemed so depersonalised, gear, gear, gear, suddenly you meet a cool person but then goodbye, i'm on another server. And being not the average wow player as I am, it was hard finding a common language, and when I did, it happened only once every few hours of play.
It depends on the people who you meet. I've met a great friend from the Netherlands and while I stopped playing WoW, we are still in touch via e-mails. The guild he had was not a hardcore 1337 raiding or PvP guild, but more of a "bunch of friends" type. People were helping each other.
Yeah I know, but recent implementations make some "random encounters" hard, apart from guild interactions.
I also found a very nice guild on a Defias Brotherhood server (RPPvP). I participated in a wedding they organised for a new couple in their ranks, the level of preparation was jaw dropping, they even have their chauffeurs drive them in a bike, there was a whole ceremony, people were giving presents (hard to craft items for example). That was one of the most interesting experience, almost all the guild was there on a predefined time, and most of all - the couple didn't know beforehand, they were shocked!
The problem is, most of them are old timers, and weren't, of course, interested in exploring WOW from scratch as I was. Actualy all mature and interesting players I met were old timers, the new players were mostly dumb. So I felt, i'd have a good time with that guys, but not until I hit level 85 and get experienced with the game.
Concerning private servers: since questing is not a priority for a majority of WoW players, it follows that it is not a priority for most private servers, too. Which means quests, including quest scripting and especially phasing (environmental solipsism), may be plain broken there. If you find a private server that does quests well, please tell me.
Many things are broken on such servers. I've tried one because a friend asked me to (I was playing WoW on official servers atm). After maybe 30 minutes I have logged out of there and never looked back. I mean, fish coming after you and attacking you ON THE GROUND?
Thanks for the warning. I guess i'll just have to earn some money for WoW.