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GAME REVIEW - June 14, 2006

by Devon Varesko

World of Warcraft (PC)

My Rating: 8.5 out of 10

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft is an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game). As of today, it is also the most popular MMO in existence. After a couple months of playing it myself, it isn't so hard to see why.

One reason World of Warcraft is amazing is because it has so many sever types to choose from. There are Role-play servers, PvP servers, Regular servers, and Role-play + PvP servers. Just about any combination you can think of is there. Nobody has to miss out on their style of gameplay.

It also has many well-known races and classes which have shown themselves in Diablo 2, Everquest, and Lord of the Rings - among many other games and movies. Races include Human, Orc, Night Elf, Troll, Dwarf, and Undead. Some of your class choices are Paladin, Mage, Warrior, Hunter, Priest, Shaman, and Druid.

You have the ability to specialize in different abilities following your class path as you level. This helps you differentiate yourself from other players as well as lets you learn what you think will help your playstyle the most. This specialization is something that has become prized in MMO's, since everyone wants to be as unique as possible - well, almost everyone. To help further differentiate, you also have the option to learn what I call "sub-skills" such as fishing, cooking, and herbalism.

If you have ever played the original Warcraft series, you already have a good idea what this game will be like. Well, forget Warcraft 1 - it sucked, but 2 was good and 3 was magnificent!

Cartoony graphics? Perhaps, but the gameplay and story-telling is exceptional. From the very start of the game, you are given a slightly personalized version of a story - your story. This helps you feel like part of the "world" and tells you part of the reason you are in your kingdom or tribe.

Exploring the towns and countryside, you will be greeted by appropriate music. It just feels right. Also, as day changes to night, you will see torches lit in various places, lighting the road for passers-by.

Learning the User-Interface isn't as much of a chore as some other games, but realizing its full potential will still take a decent amount of time.

There are some very generic monsters and creatures, but because of the way Blizzard has crafted the Warcraft "world", none of them will look quite like anything you have seen before. And as should be expected, there are many Warcraft-specific creatures which don't show up in other fiction.

Another great reason why WoW is so popular, is that it can be run on most computers. The requirements for graphics aren't too steep, and yet it still looks quite good in action. The sounds are all fitting as well. When you are in the Elf towns, you hear mystical, magical music. When you are in the human towns, you hear choirs. And in orc towns you hear some sorta orcish tribal music or something... point is, it's fitting.

It does have some drawbacks though. For instance, you will still be forced to toil through a grind in order to get anywhere in the game. Finding quests also isn't very easy, and when it is you aren't usually offered many quests beyond kill quests, craft quests, and collect quests. There are some occasional dungeons to keep people interested. And there are special PvP arenas where you can gain a lot of XP, but these are often full and you'll have to wait in line to participate. This may be different depending on your server.

There is also a problem where if a server has more load than expected, you will have to wait in a "queue" (or line) for other people to leave the server before you can join. Of course, you can always play on another server, but if the "queue' is on YOUR server - the main one you play on - then it's a problem.

Finally, because of the sheer number of servers, it will be difficult to get on the same server as your friends. I said friends in plural because if you have say 20 or so friends playing, they will likely be on 18 different servers, and it will be difficult to get many hours in on each server or get you main character on the same servers as your friends' main characters.

You may also have trouble getting a group together to complete certain group quests and dungeons. This will drastically slow down your ability to level, holding you back from enjoying parts of the game. There is also a common feeling that there is little to do after levelling up to the maximum level. Although this is typical of many MMO's, it's something which should be corrected by properly managing end-game content.

In summary, World of Warcraft is probably the most well-constructed and well-thought-out MMO to date. It is based on the previous Warcraft games by Blizzard, and I believe anyone who is a fan of those games should try this one out. It's main problems are in the technical side of things, mostly surrounding lack of advanced graphics which can help you justify buying a high-end video card, and server handling (i.e. mostly server queues and PvP battlefield queues).

Related Links:

World of Warcraft Official Website