World of Warcraft 'Season of Discovery' is the best WoW experience I've had in a decade

Image of the WoW Season of Discovery logo
Season of Discovery makes classic World of Warcraft feel new again. (Image credit: Blizzard)

As an off-and-on fan of World of Warcraft since Vanilla World of Warcraft, I have a love/hate relationship with the game. Mainly I love the game but hate how much time it takes for me to level up, get gear, and dedicate to be able to play fun content with my friends. Retail, or modern, World of Warcraft is trying to solve this by offering new, easier, experiences and faster leveling in the upcoming World of Warcraft: The War Within expansion. That being said, Season of Discovery solves it in a much simpler, and more effective way. Progressive level caps. 

What is World of Warcraft Season of Discovery?

Have you ever wanted to tank as a Shaman? What about as a Warlock? Heck, even Rogue can tank now in World of Warcraft Season of Discovery. Have you wanted to heal as a Mage? Thanks to the power of Runes in Season of Discovery, Mages can now use chrono magic to turn back time and heal themselves and party members. This is the main selling point of World of Warcraft Season of Discovery for the long-time World of Warcraft fan, and don't get me wrong, it is super awesome to see new gameplay options.

Season of Discovery is a seasonal release for World of Warcraft Classic, so it's the game as it was 20 years ago give or take, but Blizzard decided to offer new gameplay and content to make the game feel fun and fresh. All classes can discover runes hidden throughout the world that bring some completely new abilities and spells, and some that are being brought forward from future expansions. This makes the leveling and overall experience much more fun.

Why you should play World of Warcraft Season of Discovery

Image of Runes in Season of Discovery

Runes in Season of Discovery allow classes more options and in some cases new roles in the game. (Image credit: Blizzard)

The new roles and abilities through Runes are a great selling point, but to me, nothing is more important than the somewhat shocking surprise by Blizzard to cap the maximum level at level 25. As a somewhat responsible 30-something-year-old adult, working 2 jobs, raising 3 kids, and trying to keep my wife happy, the time sink needed to play regular World of Warcraft Classic, Wrath of the Lich King, or even Modern WoW is something I have struggled with.

Every time a new expansion or classic era comes out, my best friends always ask me to make a character and play with them. I have done this every time, but my other time commitments shortly ensure that I have fallen far behind in leveling, and once I get to max level, my friends are so much farther ahead on their gear collection grind that I can't do the same content as them. The level 25 cap means that I can hit the maximum level in a few days, play the "end game content" with my friends, and then level up to the next level cap with everybody else. It is a huge positive for people in my situation. After a few weeks at level 25, Blizzard will raise the level cap to 40, then after a few weeks, 50, and then finally level 60 for endgame, each level cap will come with new runes and raid content. 

  • DISCOVER YOUR PLAYSTYLE - Hidden throughout Azeroth are special runes waiting to be discovered. These runes can augment player characters in new and exciting ways by providing access to abilities not available in WoW Classic. Some runes will be in plain sight, others will be tucked away, and a few will require teamwork to access.
  • FREEDOM TO EXPERIMENT - Rune engraving will allow players to apply and remove abilities at will as they experiment with different builds to create a truly unique play experience.
  • A NEW APPROACH TO ENDGAME - Season of Discovery will start with an initial level cap of 25. Over time, the cap will incrementally increase to offer a more progressive endgame experience that will shift with each level band as new abilities become available for players during level-up.
  • CLASSIC DUNGEONS REIMAGINED - Each phase's level cap will provide new content for players to experience, starting with the level 25 Blackfathom Deeps 10-player raid: formerly a level-up 5-player dungeon, it has been reworked with redesigned boss encounters to offer exciting challenges that will put players' builds to the test.
  • PUT YOUR BUILDS AND SKILLS TO THE TEST - For players more interested in testing their builds and skills against others, there will be an outdoor PvP event in Ashenvale. Additionally, the Honor system and Battlegrounds will be available from day one.

If you're going to play the game, I recommend playing on Crusader Strike, especially if you play Alliance. Several of the biggest World of Warcraft streamers have made their characters on Crusader Strike and the server faced 10,000+ player queues on launch day. I love going to do a hard quest and finding 10 to 20 other players doing the same quest. I can simply ask to party up, and the quest becomes substantially more easy with some help from other players.

When I first leveled up in Vanilla WoW it wasn't during the initial launch and so I played most of the game alone since most players were already max level. Jump in now while everybody is still leveling up so you can enjoy the social benefits of playing an MMO.

In the first 25 levels, each class has 12 new runes that add new gameplay mechanics. Blizzard didn't allow any testing of this new season so the community gets to discover how to earn these runes together, which adds a great feeling of collaboration across the gaming community. There are still several runes that haven't been discovered yet even though thousands of players have hit the max level of 25. It's pretty fun to see this level of mystery in a 20-year-old game. The game is doing so well that World of Warcraft Classic was nominated for Best Community at this years Game Awards, and again it is 20 years old. 

Is World of Warcraft coming to Xbox or Game Pass?

World of Warcraft Season of Discovery Crusader Strike is full of players due to a lot of big streamers playing on this server. (Image credit: Future)

In a recent interview between our very own Jez Corden and Phil Spencer, Jez asked "if we could see World of Warcraft, StarCraft, or Heroes of the Storm eventually hit Xbox consoles." Phil didn't respond directly to the question on World of Warcraft, but his response was very positive and boosted, in my mind, the probability that it will be ported over. 

In the case of Blizzard games specifically, really what I'd want to do is work with Blizzard's leadership to see where they have passion. I say all this, but I'm not at all suggesting that Blizzard doesn't have passion for reviving franchises too, I know that from my visits to the team. They absolutely have the passion in this area. There's a lot of excitement for possibilities that we can all do together. But also, I want our fans and customers to know that I don't bring up games just to tease to no end ... if people have watched how we've teased things in the past. There's usually some kind of reconciliation of those hints later on ... I'm not one to try and lead people on. It might not happen on the timeline that people would love, but usually when I tease, there's something there."

Phil Spencer

The port to Xbox won't be as hard as some people think. Modern World of Warcraft has built-in controller support that changes the UI, Camera, and control scheme and plays pretty well. 

There are 3rd party add-ons that allow World of Warcraft Classic to work on controllers as well, so it's not impossible to make the transition. Also, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One all offer keyboard and mouse support and players could just use those options if the controller layout is too cumbersome. 

I think bringing World of Warcraft over to consoles could give the game a legitimate boost to player numbers but I don't know if the normal console gamer would enjoy it. What Xbox and Phil Spencer need to work on is some sort of integration of World of Warcraft into Game Pass. I'm not sure what that would be, maybe for Game Pass Ultimate members they can get a WoW token every 3 months. 

WoW Tokens can either be used for a month of game time or can be sold on the in-game auction house for usually a pretty large sum of gold. This way Game Pass Ultimate subscribers could try the game out for "free" for a month and if they like the game they can keep playing, of if they are already long-time fans happy to pay the monthly subscription, then they can get some gold to help them in the game. 

Before the ABK acquisition by Microsoft, I had a hard time paying the $15 a month to Blizzard, especially as they were wrought with controversy, but as a big fan of Xbox, Phil Spencer, and Microsoft as a whole, I'm much more willing to show my support to a company I like for a product I enjoy, and that actually makes a huge difference for me psychologically when I go to re-up my subscription. 

Jump into World of Warcraft Season of Discovery before it's gone forever

One of the biggest criticisms I have about Season of Discovery is that it is just seasonal content and has a pretty short shelf-life. The entire season will probably only last 6 months to a year. Personally, I am having a ton of fun in Season of Discovery right now, but that is probably because I feel like I'm part of something bigger going on and get to enjoy the game with thousands of other players and discover, I see what you did there Blizzard, what is new and exciting in the game. 

Don't miss out on one of the best social gaming experiences of the year, because the best part of Season of Discovery is you can play and experience the game without spending hundreds of hours on it, and for me that makes it much more enjoyable.  I hope to see you all in-game, here is to another 20 years of World of Warcraft. 

Colton Stradling

Colton is a seasoned cybersecurity professional that wants to share his love of technology with the Windows Central audience. When he isn’t assisting in defending companies from the newest zero-days or sharing his thoughts through his articles, he loves to spend time with his family and play video games on PC and Xbox. Colton focuses on buying guides, PCs, and devices and is always happy to have a conversation about emerging tech and gaming news.