I started playing World of Warcraft in October, 2006. I have friends who’ve been playing since the game was released in November, 2004. I played it for a couple hours last night after taking a three month break, and I didn’t find the playing experience as fun as I once did, which prompted me to create this post while I have that kinda objective opinion about it in my head.
World of Warcraft is a MMORPG – massively multi-player online role-playing game. You create and control a character in a world where thousands of other players also play. You complete quests that reward you with items, gold, and experience points, which all help you reach the highest level of 70.
There are three types of game-play you can choose when you create a character, two of them being available regardless of how you choose to play:
- PvE – Player versus Environment: Players fight against computer-controlled creatures.
- PvP – Player versus Player: Players can attack other players from the opposing faction, in addition to computer-controlled creatures.
- Role-playing in PvE or PvP: this is the D&D-type (Dungeons and Dragons) mode, where players are expected to behave as if the virtual world is real; that is, all communication should be about that fantasy world – no facet of reality should be mentioned in-game.
The game has an annoying learning curve. It comes with its own used by players in addition to having too many acronyms, along with theories about how to play your class effectively, which isn’t officially documented well; you have to go to independent websites like wowwiki or wowhead to learn the finer points about how to play the game optimally.
The good points about it:
- The virtual world is huge.
- There are a good variety of play-styles from the classes you can play.
- The tools (chat, audio) that allow you to interact with friends make the experience more enjoyable.
- The PvP competition is challenging and fun, if you’re into that kind of thing.
- The ambient music is excellent.
- The graphics are very good; it works well on low-end machines (PCs and Apple).
- The story-line and lore is exhaustive.
- Its open environment allows you to do anything you want; that is, you don’t have to follow the story-line at all – you can do whatever you want.
- Patches are introduced every few months that deliver new content and bug fixes.
The bad points:
- Once you’ve leveled a character to 70, starting another from scratch can be tedious: there isn’t too much variation in quests and environments, even if you play a different class and faction.
- It’s learning curve is long and difficult; you’re always learning something, which could be good, I guess.
- It has a reputation of being addictive, where people don’t know when to quit, neglecting real life obligations.
- There’s not a lot to do after you reach end-game content. Creating a character with a different class and faction introduces some variety, but the variety of game-play doesn’t change much: you have to complete quests, do instances, and participate in battlegrounds. Some people will never see end-game content that requires 20+ people for an instance, missing out on character rewards and a lot of the story-line.
- The game’s story-line is too exhaustive; I stopped caring about it because there were too many characters with unpronounceable names in its history. A lot of it is silly, too.
- You have to pay about $15 per month to play it.
I haven’t played in the past three months. Now that I’m in end-game content, I got bored with routine tasks. I’m in a guild that’s progressing well towards the final goal, but it’s often frustrating: you have to learn how to kill certain bosses and mobs, along with organizing the group in the first place. I did play for a couple hours last night, but afterwards I thought: what the fuck have I done or accomplished tonight? I played a game. Great. I felt dissatisfied with spending my time playing the game when I could’ve been doing something productive, although I probably wouldn’t have done something productive; that is, I probably would’ve read J-Walk.
Summary: it can be a fun game, especially if you can immerse yourself into its fantasy world and have friends to play with, and you can play responsibly.
Blizzard, the game’s manufacturer, claims there are over 10 million players. Not all of those exist in one virtual world. There are dozens of servers, each split up by global region (eg. North American servers) and the style of play (as described above).