Sunday, August 10, 2008

My 10 days in World of Warcraft

In the realm of MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role-playing games), one game rule all, World of Warcraft! WoW owned about 60% of the market in the online gaming market in the world and after trying out the 10 day free trial, I can see why.

As a rule, I don’t play MMORPG. I find it too expensive to buy the game, then pay a monthly subscription for a game I might not even liked! Even if you like the game, chances are that you will get tired of it after awhile. So as a rule, I don’t play MMORPG.

So it tells you a lot about the game when I say that I seriously considered subscripting for it once my trial was over. In short, World of Warcraft is a very good game. Its fun and there seems to be a lot to do in the game. Quests come in bunches and the world is big (a very important thing for explorer players like myself) so there’s a lot of places to go. WoW is one of those games where you will forget the time as you play; the mark of a good game in my view.

As it’s a free trial, I tried all the races and all the classes available. There doesn’t seem to be that much difference in the race you choose, expect whether they belong to the Alliance or the Horde. What’s more important is the class you choose. Most of them seem well balanced but there were some notable difference with them. The class basically dictates your playing style, which is a good thing to me as it gives variety. I personally liked the ‘hunter’ class the best, but I guess this is a personal choice.

However there are a few things I dislike about the game. For starters, the graphics is kind of ‘cartoony’. That’s not a problem in the landscapes (the trees, mountains and rivers are all bright in color, even the undead region is pretty bright), but the NPCs look like cartoons as well. The fearsome Thrull from Warcarft 3 look like some sort of midget with an oversize body in WoW. Another is the strange Horde/Alliance divide. If you choose to make a Horde character, then you can’t make an Alliance character on the same server. Seem like a stupid rule to me, but this is a minor complain as you can just switch server quite easily.

A good game to be sure, but is it worth $20+ per month? That’s a question you can only answer but I highly recommend the free trial so that you can play the game first before deciding. If nothing else, you will get 10 days of play from a good game. Now if only I get free trial for LOTR Online and City of Heroes; then I can make some comparison.


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Anonymous said...

Some comments from a current WOW player...

I think you rolled your characters on a PVP (player vs. player) server. On PVE (player vs. environment) servers you can have characters on both Alliance and the Horde.

The 'Cartoony' style is modeled similar to Warcraft III models - which sort of make sense as the World of warcraft is linked to Warcraft III. The animations I feel is done pretty well - when you run/jump and use various abilities there are hardly any clipping/gliding of the model as opposed to various other games.

In terms of exploration, the land is huge by itself. The first expansion the Burning Crusade added another huge chunk of land, the Outlands. The second expansion Wrath of the Lich King is on the horizon - when its out it will add yet another huge continent - the frozen shores of Northrend.

I think the beauty of WOW is that it is simple enough for anyone to pick up and play, but beneath this simply access there is an amazing amount of depth - if you do play further you will realize that there is alot of complexity if you want to master the intricacies.

Lastly, have been on several online games - have not gone back to single player games much since. The difference between is significant - the constant update of content, special events in game, (e.g. WOW have special events/items for dates like valentines day, Chinese new year, Christmas etc and even one for the current Olympics.) and of course the sense of participation in a living world. After trying MMOs single player games seems so sterile, so empty....

Ghost said...

I'm afraid you are right about the state of Fantasy RPG nowadays. It not what it used to be. The last good RPGs I had played was The Witcher and Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. Try those out.

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