Immersion is important - my rant

The title might be a little bit “D’uh” but it’s actually really hard to deliver - yet it is something that Blizzard openly offers at the back of the box.

I wanna have a discussion over what I think it means, and I particularly want to focus on what we’ve lost over the years and how we can get it back and maybe even improve it.

Question: Should I split this up into 12 threads… ? :expressionless:
Anyway, they can be read and discussed in isolation.

Chapter 1: Seamless world
This is probably one of the most notable issues of modern World of Warcraft.

While the vanilla game offers and delivers hours and hours of gameplay between each loading screen, this is not the case for modern World of Warcraft at all. You’d think there had been some progress with better technology on this front, but no - precisely the opposite is true.

There are many reasons for this, most of them having to do with the emphasis on dungeons, scenarios, arenas, and other instanced content, but also the size of the world. The size of the world has meant Blizzard puts up a lot of portals and, guess what, you get a loading screen, not to mention a total displacement of where you are, whenever you take one.

World of Warcraft featured and still features the flight point system. They are flight points and not teleports precisely so that this sense of place is maintained and there are no loading screens.

So - how to fix this?

Chapter 1.a
Well, firstly we’ve got a lot of cases where we’re not even loading anything. Scenarios that take place on the current location are a great example of this, but entering a dungeon (Mythic) or raid dungeon (non-LFR) is another great example of this.

Even if the dungeon does not physically fit inside the outside gameworld, though often it does these days, it’s simply a matter of phasing the player and rendering a different terrain.

The most prominent example of this technology is the Garrison, and the technology was actually put into the game during WoD. Unfortunately this incredible technology was misapplied and then forgotten like most other things in WoD.

I know you can do this, Blizzard. Do it.

Chapter 1.b
In other cases we change location rapidly. Good example of this are mage portals or ships moving to another map. In these cases it’s harder to avoid, but I think it would be possible for the game to “see it coming” and pre-cache the new area, then briefly fade to black. It’s not perfect, but it’s better.

Another decent idea would be to just have less of this sort of stuff. Yes I know people get upset with travel times, but I really don’t care. We should not completely destroy the immersion of the world just so someone can be 2 minutes faster when seeking to kill The Lich King for the gazillionth time.

Chapter 2: World transport
One of the noteworthy thing about the modern game is that, even when I do want to take physical transports to really go out and about to experience how the world is connected, I often simply can’t do it.

Pandaria, for instance, is completely unreachable without the use of a portal. This is a massive shame as we just had a content patch set there, and we all know that these portals are sort-of a cop-out.

I mean it really were that easy to teleport people in and out of the Shadowlands, why the heck did we do the whole Icecrown thing? Also, why can’t I hop on the space ship to Argus in the Azuremist Isles? Because it’s closed? Okay, fair enough - how do I get there without the aid of Chromie? Why can’t I go to the Broken Isles? We know where it is.

At least with Kul’tiras you can get there by boat - not being able to do that, given it was Kul’tiras, was simply too ridiculous even for this design team.

Chapter 3: Buffs and debuffs
Buffs and debuffs are to be used exclusively to describe effects that are happening to my character’s body an soul. They are not to be used to describe quests or to give awareness of world events. Use the calendar and quests to do that.

Not only is this adding a lot of bloat to our buff frames, but it also just plain doesn’t make sense. My character cannot innately feel that you can do tBC dungeons this week or that the Alliance particularly appreciates help - that’s ridiculous.

Chapter 4: I need to know
One of the most strange additions in recent versions of WoW is NPC’s that invade our minds across the world in order to inform us of what to do.

Usually such characters become memes because people get annoyed. They won’t shut up and they often sound silly.

That whole concept just needs to go completely. Many things are good about the world quest system, but I’ll make an exception for this.

Chapter 5: Reading the lore
One of most noteworthy and perhaps most famously annoying features of vanilla WoW was its teletyping quest text.

I recently found out why this was done: Many of the alpha testers at Blizzard were confused about where to go or felt the game didn’t have enough story. This confused the designers as they had written over 2000 quests full of lore.

As soon as they teletyped it, FORCING people to read it, the problem went away.

I’m not exactly going to propose that solution, but something’s going to have to be done.

Chapter 6: Ambient noises and music
One of World of Warcraft’s most striking features in its original state were the way music was applied. Whereas most games, including WoW’s source material, plays very loud and bombastic music, World of Warcraft was very ambient, quiet, and laid back. So much so that many people would start playing other music over it.

But what this did was it accentuated when the music did start and made something even more epic because it stood out, and it was just really soothing as you listened to all the sounds of the world. The ambience in World of Warcraft: Classic is utterly superb, even if it’s just a few loops of sounds. Just the sound designers absolutely nailing it.

More could be done today, but instead of trying to use ambience to immerse us into a world the music team has completely taken over and started writing as if they’re making an orchestral movie score for a Marvel movie.

I can’t hear anything!

So I tone it down, and all is well in the world, but then all the music is super bombastic but there’s no weightiness to it. And then I start listening to the ambience and… guys, you gotta put some effort in here. It’s not completely worthless, but it’s not what it used to be.

Chapter 7: Onward we march
For me, one of the most compelling aspects of being in a massive open world with other players is that we share a space - just like in the real world. Although we may be in the different places and doing different things at the same time, we are doing them at the same time.

So in my ideal world that means that what takes place in Stormwind today at 14:52 happens at the same time as what takes place in Oribos today at 14:52. The world moves and breathes - it doesn’t revolve around me.

Unfortunately the game is not getting updates. Most of the locations we can go to do not even remotely resemble their current situation in the lore. That is, in my opinion, unacceptable. The world is too big and it’s full of outdated content that nobody plays.

Fair enough that people wanna visit the bronze dragons and have a bit of nostalgia, but we gotta keep the current time straight. To hell with it when you literally use the bronze dragons as the plot driver like with WoD, but generally I think the world should reflect what it is.

Chapter 8: Collections
Many players in World of Warcraft now have exceptionally large amounts of collectable rewards. Many of these rewards are cool and all that, and I have many of them myself, but I’ve come to the conclusion that they are just becoming far too ridiculous.

Nothing destroys my sense of place and world more than standing in Lake Shire and then someone comes down riding on an ungodly horrific dog made of 5 Draenei stitched together to buy cheese and, instead of being intimidated and running for dear life, the cheese vendor says “Good day to you!” and waves kindly.

I mean honestly, if the guy is that tolerant why does he have a problem with Orcs? As a matter of fact I can literally sit on the back of a dragon that completely destroyed his village and burned his house down about a decade ago and he’ll still be “Good day to you!”

WoW solved this using racial mounts. By simply tying the mount to my race and tying my race to my alignment the problem went away.

Is that a little simplistic and boring? Perhaps - but at least it’s not what we’ve got now.

I get that people are very proud of their collections, but it’s really over the top now.

Chapter 9: Emotions and identity
One of the most important aspects of World of Warcraft is the fact that it’s an MMORPG, and that means we all get to have individual identities in a massive world, and these identities are not our real identities necessarily.

Even though we’re not actively roleplaying like it’s a D&D session (unless it’s on the RP realms) and even though we’re all having fun playing a game and not actually pretending it’s real life we’re still roleplaying.

This is because an identity formed by our character’s history, race, location, equipment, experience, class, gender, and body language is plastered on top of our normal appearance. What results is a combining of our mind and a different body as seen from the perspective of others. For example, my friends in WoW call me “Kitler” - why? Because I was a very stern Feral Druid raid leader for 3 years. I am still me to all the rest of the world, and they wouldn’t flinch if they saw me IRL, and nobody’s pretending I’m actually a cat - and yet…

This is a really powerful aspect of the game and this is the only kind of the game that exists which can deliver this, and I really have to say that this aspect of the game has been neglected badly to the point where it’s upsetting.

Everybody’s been very focused on our ability to change the appearance of our characters with transmogs and re-customisation that nobody ever really stopped and said: What does it do to our sense of identity when we can, at a moment’s notice, change the length of our hair, or our race, or our gender, or literally whatever else? Where is the sense of identity here?

But worse still, the game is full of animation systems that would allow us to express all sorts of things with our characters, but we can’t use them. Lip syncing, smiling, frowning, furrowing our brows, facepalming, and many other such animations that already exist. Why are they not in use specifically for player characters? Why can I not access them with /commands? Come on. Give us facial expressions!

Chapter 10: Languages
World of Warcraft has a rich tapestry of languages. Much of it has been lifted wholesale from Tolkien and Gary Gygax’s works, but nevertheless it’s cool and can really provide a lot of mystery that players have to chat to each other, in regular languages, to solve. But it’s not really being used at all.

Also, Pandaren speaking the language of “Pandaren” that is just “nom nom nom” instead of the Mogu language, based loosely on Chinese, is ridiculous. I don’t care if you think a character saying “Ching chang chong” is racist. Not even the Chinese care. Trust me, I spoke to them about it.

And, of course, don’t make it actually say Ching chang chong. Make it a little more sophisticated, yeah? Just like the other languages.

And add more. And let us learn new ones to unravel hints and secrets.

Chapter 11: Vendors
Too focused on gameplay, let’s get some world. There are so many vendors in World of Warcraft that just don’t sell you anything useful. They used to be useful, but now they’re not. Who ever goes to an armor vendor or a cheese vendor to get something? I know I don’t. There’s basically just the water vendor and the reputation vendors and the repair bot, and then we’ve got the profession trainers and the banker and that’s about it.

So what did Blizzard do? Well, they deleted literally all of the world-building vendors in newer content. Why? I don’t know. Useless NPC’s are boring I guess?

Look - just compare the vibrancy and depth of Stormwind, Undercity, Orgrimmar, Thunder Bluff, etc. to Boralus. It’s a joke. Get some more interesting NPC’s in here and make them sell me some stuff I can actually use.

Chapter 12: In-game economy and the WoW Token
I’ve got many arguments against this system, but let’s make one based on immersion: Mixing real world economy with the game world means that World of Warcraft isn’t actually an isolated economy any more. This is bad because it takes away from the sense of world.

World of Warcraft’s market were so interesting and dynamic that professional market place experts and investors actually went in and researched it, but now? Nobody cares. Blizzard broke it.

And I know people are going to say “Nah the players broke it” because they were already selling gold - okay, fair enough, I’ll let Blizzard off the hook and instead accuse them of refusing to take “Play fair” seriously and letting it happen, and also: You broke it. Yes, you, making that argument.

Thank you reading - unless you didn’t and you just read this message in which case not thank you for not reading.

My hands are cramped.

I really want WoW to be a more atmospheric and immersive game again, and I really don’t want to have to play a 14 year old version of it to make that happen.

I don’t necessarily know how to solve all these, though some of them are quite easy.

Blizzard please - try to remember that you’re making an MMORPG here. It’s not a linear co-op action adventure, alright?


Welp, most of that is technically saying ‘Hey Blizz make everything much slower and more complicated and force people into accepting that’.

How do you feel about the Maw (and Covenants)?.. now, make the Maw continent sized… you still keen on the idea?.. because I can hear a large crowd, with pitchforks, gathering.


I’m on the fence on this one. It is an issue yes but I understand the need of loading screens for instanced content. As for the open world yeah we would do with less loading screens but beside the disconnected zones of SL there’s not much that can be done about it right now.

Having one loading screen for going from one continent from another makes sense imo. The boat loading screen is another issue tho and I don’t think offering real boats would be a good idea : The reason we have these loading screens, at least historically, is because the start and end points are located on different servers. (Yeah kalimdor and eastern kingdoms were two different servers back in vanilla)

Dunno if that changed ever since but there’s a technical reason behind these loading screens.

I’m not too sure about that one tbh. Doesn’t seem to impact either positively or negatively on your immersion imo.

Agree with that one, makes no sense and is incredibly annoying. The wod zone objectives would make a much better format imo

There has been improvements in SL in this regard : your quest log records what you’ve done so far in the questline and helps getting an idea of the overall story.

As for forcing ppl to read… No can do my good sir, it’ll just feel forced and yet another way to slow your gameplay etc. Can’t see anything related to that being well received for mandatory content

Yeah but that’s the nature of the beast. People won’t take well that Blizz lock their collectibles for no reason. That’s more than a decade of rewards, of course it will look foolish at some point but we’re imo better off with almost unlimited access than a per character basis.

Extremely annoying. Why do all repair vendors across the xpack sell absolutely the same 8 items ?

Add some somewhat usefull stuff here and there, it doesn’t take much to give some diversity to these npcs

I’d argue that it instead gives more value to the in-game economy, as it cease to merely be virtual bits of data and gets an equivalent to real products. The fact that you can buy in-game gold with it isn’t really immersion breaking imo, especially since it doesn’t impact your experience in anyway now that gold is barely relevant compared to let’s say vanilla.

The ability to play wow “for free” is very attractive for a lot of players, especially students. I won’t go into the “But it’s either that of gold sellers !”, But I believe that the wow token is overall a good thing for the game.

The only immersion breaking thing for me are those garbage store and blizcon mogs :face_vomiting: (yeti pajamas… ffs WHYYYY!!!)


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Thats a thumbs down from me :-1: !

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You work for Activision and detected fun, eh?

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Thanks for the post Ish, I don’t disagree with much of what you say at all. A few years ago I would have, as I was far more into my content and cared only really for doing it as efficiently as possible.

I’ve since slowed down, and I venture into Azeroth to make a char, conceptualise them, adventure and if i get gear and do stuff along the way, marvellous. In a way I’ve reverted to my vanilla mindset, albeit I don’t tend to play classic either…

…by that I mean in vanilla, I wasn’t “on the clock”. I could have a 4 hour play session where I achieved very little in terms of exp gains, or loot, but I was doing something that captured me somehow, an obscure quest, finding some wierd hostile NPC’s out of the way and trying to see if there’s something worth tracking down there like a chest, or a rare.

Now it’s hard to play the game without a mental “today I want to achieve…” Flag up. It’s weaker that I had been, but something about the game has changed in that i feel on a pervasive level the game is continually pointing you towards stuff you should be doing. Or where that’s absent, there’s nothing to invite you to “get lost” anywhere outside of instanced content. Even the open world has been reduced of late to mere world quest locales, mini “hubs” in a zone as it were and even if just pottering about, you get a couple of objectives flashing on your screen directing you to do something, steering you.

I mean I don’t mind the game as is at all and I wouldn’t say stuff needs to change, because I realise I’m just one individual with my preferences…but I think that’s why I’m alting so much these days, trying to recreate “a journey” by exploring the time walking levelling up in as many ways as I can and avoiding endgame, because to me endgame is way too prescriptive at the moment and everything about it is created around that with no attempts to hide it. It’s almost like the Devs have given up and conceded “yes this game is ultimately about instances and repeated instance content” and I find that a bit sad. Part of the parcel? Sure thing, but it feels like they’ve given up on WoW being about anything other than that to me.


This post has nothing whatsoever to do with travel speed in the Maw or anywhere else. I don’t even invoke the Maw. Going into the Maw is in violation of Chapter 1 (forced cinematic then loading screen to enter), chapter 3 (although the buff is a UI element), chapter 4, chapter 5, chapter 8, chapter 10, and chapter 11. It also has mediocre ambience - there are no screams in the Maw.

On the gameplay discussion side:
I liked them at first, but then I learned to dislike them.
This was also the case with the Horrific Visions.

The problem with these is currency. Stygia in this case. They’re super fun while you’re exploring them - I didn’t mind being unable to mount ffs I played 400+ hours of this game without a mount in vanilla and Classic and with alts. It’s really not that bad.

But then you clear it. Alright, it’s cleared. It’s done. I’ve finished it. And then what does Blizzard do? Do they give me a new challenge to entice me with? Do they up the difficulty? No! Instead they just make me do it a billion times for a token that’s useless in 6 months but essential right now. It’s a skinnerbox, it’s obvious, and I don’t like it, and slowing me down when trying to get my chores done will annoy me.

I will make no further comments on the gameplay of The Maw. That’s derailing.

Blizzard have technology to prevent it. They literally have the tech to load new areas and change the terrain and then phase you away from other players automatically when you cross a threshold. They actually said during WoD that they would apply it to instances - they just never got around to it.

I think it does. I like to pretend that I’m receiving information in my UI about my character and what she does. I get info about what NPC’s say to me, I get information about whether I’m feeling hot or cold, happy or sad, if my skin is rotting away or if I’m blessed by the spirits of nature and being rejuvenated.

Using a UI for such character-specific and frankly “personal information”, from the PoV of my character, in order to tell me about things my character isn’t actually experiencing, is immersion breaking - and if nothing else it’s UI clutter. So much so that I found combat becoming easier once I made a buff blacklist filter I called “Stupid eternal buffs”. Got me down to 1-2 buffs outside of combat, which is what should be happening.

It’s sort of like having a tattoo that dynamically changes to tell you about today’s sponsor Skillshare. Skillshare is a~ ok I’ll stop. :stuck_out_tongue:

Yes but it’s also written linearly.

Perhaps they could do something like your quest journal still containing the text for all the quests you’ve already done, and you can hide/show them? That could be interesting. My quest log would be HUGE lol.

Yeah I know… but it did work though, interestingly.

Absolutely. I don’t know how to solve it, but imo it has to be solved.

I don’t want more value from my in-game items. I want my in-game items to be valuable as a game asset.

In order to make that argument you have to concede the fact that they deleted one of the most fundamental game systems. That’s precisely what I take issue with.

I don’t care that people wanna play WoW for free. It’s a race to the bottom. Make it bad to make it free. Like ok, who won? I don’t think anyone did.

Chapter 1: Seamless world / Chapter 2: World transport

Flight paths are where I tab out of the game to go do something else while I’m on my journey. It’s not really something I consider immersive until I can fly my own character around because I’m interacting with it.

I like mage portals and other thing that speed up getting around because then I get to do the interactive immersive stuff, playing the game. One of the many tedious parts of Classic is how long it takes you to get around.

Chapter 3: Buffs and debuffs

I didn’t really understand any of this gripe. I would like to see more classes have their group wide buffs back. It was fab in MoP, you could bring the player not the class.

Chapter 4: I need to know

I’m don’t really see it as inviding my mind. It’s more like someone barking commands as I get close. There are addons that allow you to disable the talking heads kind of thing, but it should be a setting available to all IMO.

The only one that traumatized me was when Loti got stuck on loop in Dazar’alor. I don’t ever want to hear about brutosaurs being spooked.

Chapter 5: Reading the lore

A completely optional part of World of Warcraft which should stay optional. Even in Classic you can turn off the one line at a time option of quest text. There are also addons which are more immersive for those that are into it all and will do the talking heads kind of thing.

I like to read things when it’s my first time doing them. Other than that I’m not interested. Others will just pick up the quests and get on with it.

Chapter 6: Ambient noises and music

I will listen to the in game music for a while then it has to go, the other sounds are fine. I like my in game sound, and I cant’ raid at all without in game sound (but can’t raid with music). Once the new ness has worn off I tend to listen to my own playlist while doing daily stuff.

It’s an individual choice IMO.

Chapter 7: Onward we march

This point was lost on me. I have no idea what you are trying to say. Sorry.

Chapter 8: Collections

I don’t want basic. I want new things to collect and I love my collection. I want a vast amount of choice. I don’t want to be tied to some racially deemed suitable mount/outfit.

Chapter 9: Emotions and identity

People customise their characters as they see fit, the additional customisations have allowed people to do more than before. Some races more than others obviously. My bond with other players has not changed depending on what character they play or any changes they’ve made to those characters. I guess I associate the personality with the player rather than the look of their specific character. The barbershop was a great addition to the game IMO.

I don’t think anyone is going to object to more emotes in game. Although I have to admit I spend most of my time looking at the back of my character, not the front :laughing:

Chapter 10: Languages

Something I never really use, apart from that one time when someone explained how it worked and I did it for like 20 minutes. It’s one of those things I presume they use more on RP realms. I really have no idea though.

Chapter 11: Vendors

I’ve never found the bulk of vendors very useful. They occasionally come in handy for quests to acquire special items but other than that we don’t really use them much. It’s not even useful for transmog as most items aren’t moggable. They are indeed pretty pointless.

I can’t even remember using them on Classic tbh other than food and drink vendors.

Chapter 12: In-game economy and the WoW Token

I don’t have a problem with the token, it’s just legitimised and made gold buying safe. It also offers a means to play for free.


I think people are different and personally your rant didn’t resonate with me much. What people find immersive also varies a lot.

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I mean it is kinda stupid to have timewalking, noblegarden or any other event next to your buffs like food, flask, bloodlust, arcane intellect etc


Suramar.: “Something’s not quite right…An illusion!.. what are you hiding?!”
eye tic

Sometimes I go back there, just for a vengeance fuelled rampage… allegedly.


immersion is important, but you know what even more important? MONEEEYY now hand it over

for you , lol the whole response is bassically just, “I’m not bothered” xd

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IDK how else you remind people what the weekly event is. I’d rather an extra buff than annoying popups every weekly reset. Buffs are part of the UI we don’t have UI attached to us in real life I think you’re taking it a bit too far.

Champion, I write to you in Azeroth’s darkest hour. The veil between our world and the Shadowlands has been sundered. Azeroth cries for your aid. Come to Silithus. I have a plan. A horribly dangerous plan… but a plan nonetheless!

People do play it, just not to the same amount as the latest expansion. And because it’s so vast unless you direct players to go to X the probability of meeting someone in the middle of the Badland is pretty low, even with CRZ trying to solve that.

someone is draining azurite’s from the world’s open wounds! Ya’ve got ta stop 'em!

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they should bring all dungeon to max levl and make em m+, but blizz to lazy and can find easier ways to make muneh

No i detected garbage that wants more garbage :*

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Sooo edgy…

Immersive is always difficult to pin down because it’s really just this feeling that the game surrounds you - in a sense that you can’t move past it while you’re playing it.

There are many types of immersion and there are different tools to achieve each one. One of them is total player engagement, which is what you’re describing, but I think player engagement is well, well short. It’s nowhere near sophisticated enough.

Not being engaged for some amount of time certainly lowers immersion, but for me immersion is about the feeling of presence in another world. That it feels real (not the same as realistic!) and that it gives me an identity and a place.

When stuff is put into the game that are there for my convenience but have no logical reason or doesn’t feel real, that’s when my immersion is shattered.

That’s why a Mage Portal won’t bother me - there is a mage who created it and she seems to have that power - but the portal room drives me crazy. Although the exact locations I can put a portal to are a problem, but one thing at a time.

I’m studying Chinese at the minute, actually, and I Just came to thinking: I spend 3-4 hours every day completely surrounded by Chinese. They call it the immersion method. But during this time, I’ll sometimes check Reddit, I’ll sometimes get an e-mail, I’ll sometimes get a knock on my door, I’ll sometimes get a Discord message. Did this break my immersion? Will I be less effective at learning Chinese because this happens? No. Because immersion isn’t just about constant engagement.

Having group-wide buffs back is great, but that’s not what it’s about, no. It’s about things like the Timewalking buff or the Noblegarden buff and things like that. My character shouldn’t be told that Noblegarden is up via a friggin’ buff, she doesn’t intrinsically feel that in her bones! She, and by extension I, should be looking around the world and seeing all the decorations and the NPC’s and when I talk to NPC’s they might offer me chocolate eggs or whatever, but it’s not a buff.

Where is the command being barked from? Well, the game doesn’t really tell you. It’s just… on your UI. Somehow. There’s this dislodged head on your screen with an NPC that isn’t even within a mile’s range talking to you as if you were next to him. It’s really odd.

Yeah it’s an individual choice, but I didn’t really get to pick. And you agree with my PoV anyway. :stuck_out_tongue:

Make sure the entire game world is up-to-date with current events, basically.

That’s understandable but I’m really unhappy that they let you get that collection in the first place. If you didn’t get it you wouldn’t miss it.

Sorry, but that’s how I feel. About my own collection, too. It’s not the size of it that’s the problem though, it’s just how mental some of it is.

Okay, fair’s fair, if it’s gonna be mental, then the NPC’s should treat it as if it’s mental. That would be even more fun.

Weeell then you weren’t playing that game right. In fact I’d be surprised if you got past level 20 with that attitude, but okay - it’s not a big deal to me whether it was the case or not - I want it to be the case. Or at the very least I want those NPC’s to exist because the NPC’s need them. It’s like all of Boralus - I don’t know where they’re getting their food. There is no cheese vendor, no butcher, no bakery, no hunting lodge. I mean surely they’re not all being fed by the Pandaren noodle guy? :stuck_out_tongue:

I have a problem with the token because it legitimised and made gold buying safe. :stuck_out_tongue:

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