Tuesday, March 15, 2005

World of Warcraft Review

After the plethora of second rate MMORPGs that have come to market lately, especially from a large corporation that shall remain un-named, finally we get an MMORPG that is both beautiful and engaging.

There is so much I could say about this game, but I want to keep this review short so you can go see for yourself!

The graphical style of World of Warcraft may not be to everyone’s taste, but it undeniably embodies the beauty and creativity of high fantasy. The world ‘feels’ alive with all its beautiful colors, and it’s flickering, glimmering detail.

Graphical character customization could be better. The options here are a little limited, but still enough to create a character you can feel good about. A wide variety of clothing options in game help alleviate this a little, but hopefully this is something Blizzard will improve after retail

The sound is just incredible. From the amazing musical score to the creaking, stomping of the ent-like protectors in the Elven lands, it’s all there.

The user-interface is very easy to use, and detailed tooltips make sure you are never lost wondering what something is used for.

Quests in this game are wonderfully compiled. Each quest is weaved together from multiple tasks that REVEAL a STORY as you complete each stage. That’s right, I said a REVEAL a STORY! As in… ‘I want to complete this part of the quest to see what happens next’. Quests are beautifully written in a true role-playing style that really absorbs you into the game and makes you feel like you are affecting the world itself. As quests progress, they also take you into new parts of the world as you become ready for them, giving you even more of a sense of accomplishment and adventure. Pay attention other MMORPG developers who have forgotten than MMORPG still has the letters RPG at the end!

As well as being able to play above land, the game features the amazing ability to play underwater. Sunken ships and sea creatures adorn the seas for more questing and adventuring.

The class system is very well put together. You choose a class when you create your character, and as you level you can learn new skills from your class trainer. These skills are extremely varied from one class to another, and blizzard have made sure that each class has some very cool skills to utilize. You also get to purchase talents as you level, which helps you to enhance your skills and differentiate your character from others of the same class and race. In addition, each race also gets fixed racial traits from the beginning (such as increased dodge change for elves etc.).

PvP still needs some work, but there is a strong foundation for Blizzard to build upon after release, which is exactly what they plan on doing with ‘battlegrounds’. The two sides of Alliance (Good) and Horde (Evil) form the basis for PvP. There are two types of server… regular and PvP. Both have the ability for player vs. player, but only on the PvP server can you potentially be attacked while questing (though only in enemy, or contested territories).

I only tried trade skills at a very basic level, but they seemed very well implemented with both gathering professions (such as mining, fishing, skinning etc.) and production professions (such as smithing, tailoring etc.). Also there are service professions such as enchanting and first aid. Any character can take 2 primary professions such as those mentioned, and an unlimited number of what are called ‘secondary professions’ such as cooking and fishing.

I must say this is the only MMORPG I have played where I have had so much fun playing the game, that I forgot all about leveling. I truly felt drawn into a world of fantasy and adventure.

Blizzard have injected the RPG back into the MMORPG genre and spiced it up with creativity and great gameplay. They have kept of the best parts of the existing genre and made the other parts even better. With ambitious plans for the future, from a developer we can trust to do the right thing, this game will only get better and better.

I for one can’t wait to step back into the World of Warcraft!


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