Yes. I play. Don’t look at me like that. Most people these days have played at least 1 MMORPG (massive multiplayer online roleplaying game). World of Warcraft, affectionately known as WoW, is my fourth such game. Before that, I played The Realm, Everquest and Runescape. To put things into the proper perspective, I believe that I was in second grade when I rolled up my first character on The Realm, a good aligned female human warrior if I remember correctly. Compared to the MMOs of today, The Realm was a simplistic experience comprised of 2-dimensional graphics, very few rules and very little social interaction.
Online games are an interesting beast comprised half of the content that the creators intended and half of the content that the players create be it through roleplaying or raiding or even the contents of the chat channels. Looking specifically at the World of Warcraft, the designer made content is wonderful and seemless, although there are large chunks that not every player will get to see. If I were to log on to my server and ask people honestly how many of them faced C’thun when he was the toughest thing out there, very few would be able to say yes. Only a handful more have gone back to see the fight since then, I know I haven’t. With a lot of the lore, the story of behind the game, being wrapped up inside 10, 25 or 40 man raids, there is a lot that people are missing. The other thing to note about the designer made content, the armor and weapons in particular, is that a lot of models, that is item designs, get recolored and reused, especially in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Its ok though, Blizzard, we understand that you don’t have nearly enough people to make new 3D models.
And then, its the turn of the players. The players of the World of Warcraft certainly make things interesting. Whether it be the scattered clumps of roleplayers, or the people harassing each other in Trade Chat or the legendary Barrens Chat. For some reason, possibly the anonymity of the internet, people are just plain mean to each other while playing WoW. This is something I don’t understand and merely put up with while playing. Like any other place, there are some nice people but on most servers you have to try to find them.
The best thing I have found in the game is Achievements. A fairly recent addition to WoW, Achievements give you something to shoot for other than just getting to max level, getting a lot of epic gear and killing bosses. Can I kill 30 turkeys in under a minute? Sure! Can I catch 1000 fish? Why not! Can I do over 5000 quests? The sky’s the limit. Its something I like to call “gotta catch ’em all syndrome” and its what happens when most of the video games you played as a kid involved the concept of there X things out there, now go get all of them.
In summary, WoW is a good social game with an odd atmosphere and some over-used graphics. If you can deal with people teasing each other and you are either an adult or have an adult check out the sort of conversations that tend to happen in Trade Chat, then this is a game you should try. I’ve been playing for about 4 years now and I still enjoy it. And so, I have decided to award the World of Warcraft with 4 out of 5 hearts. Not too shabby, Blizzard. Now go get more art people so my armor can have a theme other than dark, brooding and skulls.