Maybe you’ve steered clear of World of Warcraft in the past because, frankly, you’re not all that interested in crafting any wars. That’s completely fair! But what if I told you that the Warcraft part of this World is only the tip of a big, beautiful iceberg? In fact, it’s entirely possible to spend dozens of blissful hours playing WoW without engaging in the story at all! After logging hundreds of hours avoiding any and all major plot points concerning the conflict between the Horde and the Alliance, I’ve put together a list of alternative in-game activities to help you forget that you’re frolicking through a nation at war.
If you’re in the mood to party, there are several large-scale events and holidays in the land of WoW throughout the year. Each event comes with its own set of vendors, special quests, mini-games, and even refreshments. Some of the biggest and best events include Brewfest (Fantasy Oktoberfest), the Darkmoon Faire (Fantasy County Fair), and the Midsummer Fire Festival (Fantasy Burning Man).
At Brewfest, you can dominate in the sausage-eating contest, ride a keg pony, or drink so much ale that you puke all over a Pandaren wearing lederhosen. The Darkmoon Faire offers a fortune teller, a roller coaster, and the chance to shoot your character out of a cannon. Also there’s a petting zoo, and you can’t beat a petting zoo.
My personal favorite Darkmoon Faire activity is the concert featuring Blight Boar, a Forsaken metal band that plays music so intense that it summons a Death Metal Knight to wreak havoc on the crowd. You can fight the terrible apparition to the death—you’ll just have to book it back to your body once you do or you’ll miss the rest of the set.
If you like things a little hotter, then you can wait for summer and spend your time tossing flaming torches at the bonfires of the Midsummer Fire Festival. It’s just like Burning Man, except instead of buying ecstasy from a man in an ankle length fringe jacket, you can fight the frost lord elemental Ahune.
Fishing in World of Warcraft is pretty much identical to fishing in real life, except you can do it as an elf or an orc instead of as a boring human, and you never have to actually touch a gross, slimy fish. Once you’ve acquired the fishing skill and picked up a rod, you can cast your line in pretty much any in-game body of water. You can even pick up fishing quests and trade specific fish for rewards! Some might say that a nice day of fishing is its own reward, but anyone who says that is a chump. The real reward is a mysterious Bag of Fishing Treasures given to you by Old Man Barlo of the Terokkar Forest. What’s inside? Maybe a pearl, maybe some gold, maybe some of Old Man Barlo’s hair! Whatever it is: score!
Look for Love
World of Warcraft doesn’t technically have a romance mechanic, but nothing good ever comes easily. Do you want to find love, or are you some kind of coward deterred by trivial matters like “this isn’t a dating sim” or “you can’t go on dates with NPCs” or “are you okay, we haven’t heard from you in weeks”? I say, to hell with the rules of the game. You keep typing /kiss at that super jacked orc lady and see what happens. I’ll be over here winking at Lady Sylvanas Windrunner until she finally realizes what’s been in front of her the whole time. All’s fair in love and war(craft).
Become a Chef
Remember all those fish you caught earlier? Now’s your chance to do something worthwhile with them. With the Cooking skill, you can turn your Kitchen Nightmares into Kitchen Dreams That Are Good Actually. By completing a set of Cooking achievements, you can achieve the official title of “Chef.” From there, there’s no stopping you from doing whatever you want (as long as what you want is to be called Chef). As a skilled World of Warcraft chef, you can cook such delicious dishes as Pickled Meat Smoothie, Banana Beef Pudding, and Fermented Fungus Souffle. Fun fact: I only made up one of those dishes. The other two? Those are the real deal, baby.
Get a Hot New Look at the
There’s nothing more embarrassing than realizing your Draenei Paladin is rocking last season’s horns, or your Dwarf Warrior’s beard is in need of a trim. Thankfully, every major in-game city has a barber shop where you can switch up your facial hair, horns, ears, and more—just like in real life! A recent update to the game added more character customization options, so you may be surprised to find just how dramatic of a change you can make. Sure, you’ll have to provide the ‘80s makeover montage soundtrack yourself, but you can’t have everything. Don’t be greedy.
My friends, let me preach to you the good word of Blingtron. Blingtron does not judge, Blingtron does not hurt, Blingtron does not take. Blingtron only wants the best for you. Blingtron 6000 is a funny little robot friend that you can find only when you are not looking for him. (Usually, though, he’s somewhere around Stormwind.) All you need to do is click on Blingtron, and he will bless you with a random collection of items, varying in value. Whether it is trash or treasure, Blingtron will hand it out and we will all be grateful.
Sometimes Blingtron will ask if you would like to party. Say yes, and you will find your character transformed into a sexy lady with a wide-brimmed hat, or perhaps a dapper gentleman (also in a wide-brimmed hat). However, exercise caution, for Blingtron giveth, but he also taketh away. If Blingtron asks you if you would like to attend a party, and you do say yes… there’s no one in all of Azeroth who can save you. But you get a hat! Love Blingtron. Fear Blingtron. Respect Blingtron. But most importantly, have fun!
Have you ever wished you could play Pokémon but with real animals instead? No, I don’t mean dogfighting. This is different because it’s in a video game. In WoW you can collect a variety of pets, from tiny little trees to baby dragons to just completely regular cats, and you can make them fight each other. Personally, I’m still waiting for an update that lets the pets just kind of hang out and chill, maybe play together or star in a video about unlikely animal friendships, but the technology just hasn’t progressed to that point yet. Until we reach that glorious day, you can pit your pets against those of other players and NPCs. They can also go up against wild animals, which are really just pets you haven’t met yet. Don’t worry, if your pets lose a given battle you can just revive them, and they won’t even slowly grow to resent you for exploiting them.
Express Your Passion for Fashion
Full disclosure, you might actually have to play the game as intended before you can engage in this activity, since you’ll need to at least do enough quests to accumulate a decent amount of spending money first. Once you’re feeling flush with cash, however, you can make your way to one of Azeroth’s many metropolitan areas and take yourself on a little shopping spree. Pick up some classic items at a local armor or robe vendor, or head to the auction house to bid on some more exclusive garments. Once you have all your fancy new outfits (and I guess armor with good stats for fighting or whatever) you can stage your own little fashion show. Because (let’s face it) dressing your character up in little outfits is one of the best parts of the game.
Get Lost in the
Sewers of the Undercity
In the Undercity, the domain of the undead Forsaken, you can find a series of labyrinthine sewer tunnels perfect for wandering through aimlessly before inevitably losing your way. It’ll be just like that movie Wild, except instead of Reese Witherspoon finding herself in the stark beauty of the mountains, it’s you trudging through slime and inhaling potentially deadly spores. Good thing this is a video game, so you don’t have to worry about the pervasive smell of rot and doom! You can just enjoy the journey and all the surprises it brings. And by “surprises,” I mean fungus. As an added bonus, you can collect that fungus for the quest Fungus Among Us and earn yourself some silver coins, a pine cone, and potentially permanent lung damage for your trouble!
Ride Your Little Horse All Around Wherever You Want to Go
The heading of this entry speaks for itself, but fine, I’ll elaborate if you really want me to. There are several different horses to choose from in the game, from the classic horses of Stormwind, to the skeleton horses of the Undercity, to the Felsteed (a demon horsey with feet made of fire). You can hop on that noble steed and ride it wherever your little heart desires. However, if you’re in the mood for something else, there are rams, tigers, and even dragons that you can ride, since you think you’re too good for horses, apparently.
Knock Out a Dungeon
Surprise! It’s an earnest recommendation to engage in combat-based gameplay! I snuck it in toward the end of the list, just to keep you on your toes. Dungeons are a fun chance to dabble in the main storyline without committing to an endless chain of quests. There is a clear beginning, middle, and end, and often a lot of stellar loot along the way. Assemble a party, select a dungeon (or allow the game to select one randomly for you, if you’re feeling adventurous) and, if you’re new to playing WoW cooperatively, prepare to die. A lot. One of my personal favorite dungeons is Ragefire Chasm, set in the belly of a volcano and the creature-filled tunnels that run underneath it. I’m a big fan of the hellish aesthetic and undead hounds (which you can tame if you’re a forsaken hunter).
Also there’s a boss called Slagmaw, which I think sounds like a fun, folksy nickname for Grandma. Give your Slagmaw a kiss! Or don’t, actually, because she’s a giant lava-spitting worm.
Have a Pie Picnic
I’m going to let you all in on one of my most treasured World of Warcraft activities. The Pie Picnic is the perfect activity for renewing your energy and spending time with your close good friends after tackling a dungeon together. Now, first you’re going to need some friends, and I can’t teach you how to get those. That’s on you. You’ll also need to get those friends to join WoW, and, again, I can’t teach you how to do that. I’m only human.
Once you’ve got a group together, you need to make sure at least one of your party members is a Mage who’s at least level 72. A Mage of this level should be able to cast the spell “Conjure Refreshment Table.” Conjure Refreshment Table summons a supernatural snack table, laden with slices of tasty Mana pie, which raises your health and mana levels as you eat it. Just like real pie! You’ve already done the hard work of conjuring pie and making friends, now all you have to do is sit, eat, and take in the sights. Azeroth is full of scenic spots to gather and enjoy a tasty treat, and a personal favorite of mine is Bloodmyst Isle. Of course you have to be wary of the spawn of the giant spider Zarakh and all of the aggressive, mutated animals, but you can’t beat that view!
Of course, this is by no means a comprehensive list of every single thing you can do in WoW. There’s so much to try! Maybe you want to abandon the War but keep the Crafts, and focus your time on becoming a tailor or a blacksmith. Maybe you want to swim to Azuremyst Isle just to see if you can. Maybe you just want to play through the actual story of the game, defending the interests of the Horde or the Alliance in a battle for life, limb, and country. Whatever. You can if you want. I’m not your mom. Whatever you decide to do, just remember to have fun (since it’s a game and all). The World (of Warcraft) is your oyster!