With so many MMOs on the market, it’s hard to decide on one. Should you go the fantasy route and play World of Warcraft? Should you dive into the cyberpunk genre? Maybe you want to try your hand at internet spaceships? There are lots of choices and thanks to the advancements we’ve made in graphics, every single experience is entirely immersive. The mark of a good game is one that you can lose yourself in and we’re not exactly in short supply with that these days. So what is it that sets World of Warcraft apart from the others? How do you justify playing a game that is still stuck on the archaic subscription fee system while so many others have gone free-to-play? I’ve put a lot of thought into it and I think I’ve come up with some solid answers.
Play World of Warcraft for the Stability
There aren’t many MMOs out there that are quite as stable as World of Warcraft. Sure it has its problems but so does any other game, right? Having been around for longer than many other MMOs (EverQuest* and a few others excluded) it’s had time to learn from its mistakes and is running on an extremely stable server farm. In fact, the only real time I’ve seen issues are during DDoS attacks and expansion drops, which are resolved relatively quickly. I mentioned immersion earlier and the best way to get immersion is to get into a game that’s always up.
Along with the stability I’d also like to mention the low system requirements. Yes, they look pretty high on the box, but Blizzard has always made a point of ensuring that its game runs on just about anything. I could make a joke about it running on a microwave, but let’s not go there – this time.
Play World of Warcraft for the Community
If you speak to many of the people who play World of Warcraft they will tell you that the community is toxic, and at some points it is, but when a game has millions of subscribers there are bound to be a few bad apples. In our opinion the good outweighs the bad and the experience is worth it. Never before have I seen a game that stretches so far beyond the digital realm and begins to impact the lives of the people playing.
Do you know how many weddings and other real life relationships have occurred and evolved thanks to World of Warcraft? An interesting story that comes to mind is one I read about a guy walking through Walmart when he spotted someone wearing a Horde t-shirt. He immediately grabbed a pool noodle from a display shelf, tossed it to the guy and grabbed his own before shouting “For the Alliance!” The story goes they had a pool noodle fight in the aisle for a good long time before the staff broke it up. Can you think of any other game that has had that much of a cultural impact? Can you think of any other franchise that is so instantly recognizable?
On the subject of the community, I actually found that many of the servers have a thriving role-play atmosphere. This is in direct contrast to most other MMORPGs I’ve played where the players simply run from place to place grabbing quests and generally ignoring each other. The role-play on the Wyrmrest Accord server is outstanding and the environment around you definitely supports it. You can sit in chairs, drink at the pub, and do odd jobs for money. I haven’t seen this in any other MMORPG, even EverQuest 2 which is certainly more geared towards it.
I had a chance to speak with some of the community and asked them what their best experiences in and out of game were:
When I first started playing back in late BC, a friend brought me through Westfall, eventually to the Deadmines. That's when I got hooked on WoW. I was thinking "A giant field, with a small town, with a house, concealing a basement passage, through a mine, to a "secret" dungeon. Wow... how big and crazy is this world? This is freaking amazing!" I felt the same thing the first time I saw the inside of Blackrock Mountain.
I've met a lot of people through this game that I now consider friends. Also, I save money because I'd rather stay home and play World of Warcraft than go out to the movies or go out drinking every weekend. -- Michael James Gerber
One of my favourite moments would be just after flying in Stormwind became available - my friends and I would fly up as high as the map would allow, group up and dismount into the harbor. One time we completely misjudged and all died in a heap on top of some poor guy who was just waiting for the boat to Darnassus -- Carolyn Siggers
I had a lovely conversation with a fellow player while we were waiting for a couple of others to join us in a random dungeon that other members of our party had bailed. Turns out she was a mom and had only been playing for a few months. She started when her son, in the army, deployed to the Middle East. It was something they could do together. -- Jonathan Van Ark
1. Most memorable was finally getting my Ashes of Alar after YEARS of trying.
2. I met some amazing friends of all over including my boyfriend of 6 years who I'm marrying soon -- Alexis Brandy
The world of Warcraft was first conceived as a Real Time Strategy game in the 90’s, and it rose above the competition, squashing Command & Conquer, ultimately carving out its name in the hallowed halls of gaming history. Back then, no one could have possibly predicted how the franchise would grow, and when it finally became a full featured MMORPG, it simply never stopped. It steamrolled the competition while capturing the hearts and minds of people all over the world, making the drive to play World of Warcraft even more prevalent.
Better with Age
There are obviously many who are of the opinion that World of Warcraft is an old game that doesn’t warrant the attention it gets, and they’re right when they say it’s old, but there is much more to it than that. Fine wine gets better with age and in my opinion, so does World of Warcraft. First of all the world isn’t stagnant; it’s constantly updated by dedicated developers who not only bring bug fixes, but also new expansion packs when the time is right. We’re actually on the cusp of the latest expansion: Legion, which will probably once again change the world entirely, much in the same way that Cataclysm did a few years back. With each expansion pack a new story and a new villain is introduced, and players must work together to find a way to overcome the challenges that are presented. It truly does get better with age.
WoW has a huge expansive universe that includes the MMO, the RTS games, several books, and now, the world famous Warcraft movie that seems to have set the new standard for video game to movie transitions. If you’re looking for something to lose yourself in, this would be the one. The creators of the game have poured their hearts and souls into it, bringing us a world to explore and learn about for many years to come.
So what it all comes down to is this: Yes, there are lots of other MMORPG’s out there. Some of them are prettier than WoW, some may have bigger worlds, and some may have more interesting classes. All of these things are absolutely true, but when you jump into WoW it’s more than just a game, it’s a community. To be perfectly honest, when I play World of Warcraft I really feel like I’m a part of something.
The global community is united in more than just the game – I could literally pass by someone on the street and strike up a conversation about a garrison quest I did recently, or what a pain the ass the naval missions are. I could start a friendly rivalry with a Horde player or I could even sport Alliance colors in my everyday wardrobe and have people know precisely what it is, though I may be smacked with a pool noodle.
Play World of Wacraft for the Future
The future of Azeroth is unfolding quickly and with this next expansion we’re finally going to see the return of the Burning Legion. It’s unclear where the story will be going (unless you’ve played the beta) but if the cinematics are any indication, it’s going to be awesome. In the end, WoW is an amazing game that has become a full-fledged franchise, and it is definitely something worth sinking money into. Sure, it’s a subscription game in a world of F2P titles but it’s hard to put a price on the experience that you’re going to get when you play World of Warcraft. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to take down the latest raid boss, max out your crafting, or hang out in town for some role-play, there’s no limit to the things you can do, and with any luck, this is only the beginning.