REVIEW: World of Warcraft

While the World of Warcraft (WoW) servers are down for schedule maintenance, I’ll take this short break to write up my thoughts about this game. I know WoW has been out for a while now but I’ve finally gotten around to playing it.

REVIEW SUMMARY: The “short version” is that “I like it,” for now. Feel free to read my extended comments.


Introduction:

Not sure if you know, or care, but my journey to WoW had been one fraught with many indecisions; I must’ve bought and returned the game at least five times since it’s been released. As you, my friends, all know, I’m often fickle and emotional so I guess that’s why it’s taken me so long to get here.

About a month ago, I played WoW on a friend’s guest pass for 10 days. I quickly worked my human warlock character to level 10. But stopped after about the 5th day because I couldn’t login anymore (see below).

Note on Guest Passes:, they’re good for trying a game out but for WoW, expect to play it during off-peak hours because you WILL sit in the login queue for a good amount of time while their regular paying customers cut in front of you in line.

After the trial, I liked the game enough to buy it (again…), but it sat on my shelf for another two weeks — I was going on vacation for 3 weeks and didn’t want to burn my free-trial while I was away. It sat there until I found out my mom’s new PC is finally powerful enough to game on; so, I pack it in my suitcase unopened…

Now, I’ve been playing it for 9 days (minus time for sleep, meals, server down time due to maintenance, etc.) and leveled 17 times. Depending on where I was in the XP bar, I would either level once or twice a day. I’m not sure if this is typical for my level and class. Granted, most of these sessions are 5+ hour affairs — I’m on VACATION!!

WoW has many of the features that are ubiquitous in MMO games. In my review, I’ll only discuss those that stood out for me.

Disclamer: Like I had mentioned, I play a Human (because that’s the best looking toon) Warlock (because they get a free mount). I make no assumptions about its overpowered-ness or playability. But do bear in mind that my opinions may be biased because of playing that race and class combination. Basically, your mileage may vary.

*Deep breath*On to the review…

Gameplay:

Compare to other MMOs (EQ, EQ2, CoH, DAoC, etc.), WoW is very newbie friendly. Face it, we’re all newbies in the beginning. A friendly interface will hold our hands during those tender early levels long enough to get us hooked.

The Grind:

First question everyone asks about an MMO is “What’s the grind like?” At least, that’s the question I always asked and that’s why WoW sat on my shelf for so long. I’m wonderfully surprised that the grind can be characterized as “enjoyable” to “endurable,” mostly due to their quest system.

Questing:

In their friendly interface, quest-giving NPCs are highlighted with a big yellow

exclamation point (!). Quest-completing NPCs are highlighted with a big question mark (?); they also show up, as a yellow dot, on my mini-map as you get near them. I’ve completed several quests while doing other things at the time because the dot popped up on my screen.

You know those other games where the word “quest” is in their name and they want to give you the impression that they have a lot of them by using the word “ever” also? Well, WoW doesn’t need a gimmick like that; but come to think of it, maybe “WoW” is short for “Wow, there are a lot of quests here!” I have to admit, probably 45-50% of my XP is gained from completing quests. Another ~45% are from working toward the quests themselves. That leaves about 5-10% actualy “grinding” and most of this time was spent just getting enough XP to finish out a level.

  • Quest Sharing: This is a very nice feature. Someone in your group can share a quest with you that you don’t have so you can complete the same quest alongside with them. Wow, what a concept! Of course, some quests cannot be shared because they are the middle steps in a long series of quests.

  • Another nice feature is that quest mobs seems to have very short timers. There’s been occassions where I was able to kill a quest mob before I got the quest and then a short time later, kill it for my quest. Very friendly indeed.

As an aside, one item that’s worth mentioning is that many of the quests are little mini-arcs in the story. It is a lot of fun following the quest steps as the mini-story unfolds.

Grouping/Soloing

This is one of those areas where I think my class selection really helped me out. Warlocks are very solo-able with their pets. With that said, I’ve also grouped several times to complete quests.

To say that WoW is “group-friendly” is an understatement. Basically, there is no level limitation between the group members. I was in my low 20s when I grouped with a level 60 (max level) guildmate for a quest because noone else was around to help me and I was able to get XP (not very much, but still) and quest loot. Sure, people say that this will give way to twinking, but you can choose not to group like that.

Programmability:

Surely, this is not something that is to be expected in an MMO game but yes, WoW adopted an existing scripting language (LUA) into its interface to make modding possible. I’m using several mods that range from helping me to get a good auction price to finding new abilities for my hunter pet (an alt of mine). There are tons of mods out there. It’s great that Blizzard let’s players have that capability.

Tech Spec:

Probably due to its cartoony graphics, the hardware requirement is not as high as in other MMO games, which is fortunate for me. As it turns out, my mom’s PC only have 512MB RAM; so while the game is playable, there is a lot of lag in busier areas. As it turns out, my personal laptop (with 1GB RAM), was able to play it very nicely (even with the integrated Intel video adapter). I can’t wait to see it on my desktop at home!

Overall:

For now, I’m really enjoying the game. Long time readers know that I’m fickle and proned to quick judgement. I’ve, often, given glowing reviews about something only to come back dissatisfied later on. So be sure to check back whether I’ll be unhappy with WoW later… ROFL.

4 thoughts on “REVIEW: World of Warcraft”

  1. World of Warcrack is an extremely addictive game. As you get higher in lvls it becomes harder and harder (requires more XP than the previous lvl) yet you still find yourself questing and grinding to get the next reward, be it mount, new spells, new eq and weapons.

    Personally the game has swallowed a very large majority of my free time for the last couple of months. It truly is a great game with wonderful interactions and virtual freindships to be made. I’ve found I really have to set myself goals in the game (much as in rl), otherwise I get bogged down doing nothing worthwhile. I thought your review was well written, though perhaps a little more research (playtime) would give you more perspective. Having alts is a big part of the game, if you’re like me you try about every class or race to see which “sticks” the most, and most people’s mileage will vary. Not only is there the regular World of Warcraft world to explore (and it is truly big), but there are “instances” where great loot drops, and there is PvP such as Battlegrounds which I personally love. Pitching your character that you’ve put time and effort in to against other people around the world has a sick kind of joy to it :-@. Guilds of warcrackers are popping up everywhere, with their own websites and dedicated players with a love for the game.

    If you’re like me and have an addictive personality then be warned. It is one of the best games available for online multiplayer.

    Anyway, before I go too far in what sounds like an ad for the game, lemme finish by saying I can’t wait to read further updates on how you find it and your experiences.

    Feel free to look me up on the Azjol-Nerub server:

    Anarkos 39 NE hunter

    Berk 29 Tauren Druid.

    Good luck, happy hunting and beware the ninja. :D

  2. Ya gotta be real though – the graphics in WoW are some of the weakest in any modern MMORPG. The characters are all different (unlike EQ2) but other than that overall the graphics are low-res and cartoon-like.

  3. While I will agree with you Scott – I will also say they are what I would expect from Blizzard and appropriate to the game. High resolution textures and monster graphical requirements are not what makes this game work. SWG has great textures but gameplay was marginal and I hate to say that even EQ1 was fun with the older textures.

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