World of Warcraft
In the competitive gaming market, very rarely does a game come out that is so outstanding, that it simply blows away its competition. In this case, World of Warcraft (WoW) has excelled. It’s far surpassed its competition rocking the charts all around the world.
For those who need an introduction, World of Warcraft is a PC/Macintosh game based off of Blizzard Entertainment’s Warcraft series, set 5 years after the events of Warcraft 3. It’s a Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) in which you create a character and play simultaneously with thousands of others online for a small monthly fee. The background is set in a fantasy world of Azeroth with two opposing sides, the Horde and the Alliance in a constant war with each other.
The character creation system is very fluid and easy to learn. You select a faction you want to fight for: there’s the Horde, an evil side containing Undead, Orcs, Trolls, and Tauren; and the Alliance, the good side featuring Humans, Dwarves, Gnomes, and Night Elves. After selecting your side, race, and gender; you select a class you wish your character to focus on, with each class focusing on a wide variety of traits and skills your character can learn. You can choose the Warrior, Paladin, Druid, Hunter, Shaman, Priest, Mage, Warlock, and Rogue; each class varying by race.
The graphics in the game are outstanding. The art style used is very unique in the sense that it fits the general cartoon form of the Warcraft series, with various locals across the world rendered in acute detail. The character models, clothing, armor, weaponry are varied well so that no two characters look alike. The downside is that it requires an intense computer to handle it. Fortunately the graphics settings can be lowered at will, while still looking fantastic for those with lower-end machines. The music and sound effects used are well done, with the music generally matching the theme of the area you’re in, but not too obtrusive that it will constantly annoy you.
The gameplay itself is the meat of WoW. The interface itself is very fluid and dynamic, and quite easy to understand if you are new to these types of games. The world is gigantic and would take hours to cross each continent by foot; fortunately there are aerial mounts and other services that can take you across vast, scenic distances within a short amount of time. The game is centered on accepting various quests, grouping with others, and building your character to an immensely powerful being.
The game has built-in Player vs. Player (PvP) support that enables users to attack those of the opposing factions, often making really intense battles with large raid groups that can attack everything in cities and towns. The game also includes vast dungeons where you and a party can fight off enemies while receiving loot and treasure.
Blizzard currently has future plans to constantly update World of Warcraft, including expanding some of the PvP functions, adding some new dungeons, equipment, fixing bugs, and adding new features. Unfortunately they have been a little slow at implementing some of these promised features, and lag is a constant problem on many servers.
World of Warcraft is an excellent game for the beginner or experienced gamer alike, introducing people to a land unlike our own, and has been noted to be one of the best MMORPGs out in the market. Although WoW is playable on a 56K, I strongly recommend a broadband connection to play.
Pros: Great graphics, solid gameplay, excellent storyline.
Cons: Steep system requirements, monthly fee, needs a fast connection
**** (Four out of four stars)
A low-level Tauren Warrior.
A Night-Elf Hunter and his pet outside the gates of Ironforge.