World of Warcraft, produced and published by Blizzard Entertainment, is a massively mutliplayer online…Wait! Wait a sec! Does this game even need any sort of introduction? In its decade of crazy success, WoW has been a staple in the MMO industry’s buffet. With four expansions under its belt and a fifth to be released soon, hardly anyone in the digitized world does not know about World of Warcraft. We here at MMOGames are in no way fanboys or fangirls, but WoW’s fame, or infamy, is known so well that I should just end the review here. I really can’t do that though because even if the game is 10 years old we want every game to have a review. So for old fans, and maybe the new fans out there who haven’t heard of it yet, I give you World of Warcraft.
The Graphics Department!
Presumably, anyone who’s going to read this review with the sole intent of finding out more about WoW is someone either very young, or J.D. Salinger, so I’m sure, you’d all want to know how WoW is capable with its visuals. In its initial release, WoW was pretty, fantastic, beautiful, and just downright breathtaking. There were very few MMOs at the time that could match WoW’s visual presentation and the possibilities for immersion was just staggering. With its massive world and innovative design, WoW captured the imaginations and hearts of every gamer that came across it.
At present, however, while still plenty decent, falls miserably short against other, more recent titles in the industry. Through its ten years of existence, it was not able to keep up with its rivals as it started to become more and more dated with each passing year. Warlords of Draenor, however, is set to see that fact obliterated by updating the graphics, models, and animations to make it suit the current era. The previews and beta tests look great at the moment, but until the final product is out, we’ll just have to wait and see for it to settle if it’s really worth all the hype.
As a little side note, music in WoW has always been an accomplished one, delivering eargasmic sounds since its conception. Fitting right in with its fantastic environment and tasteful lore, you can never go wrong with appreciating the game’s aesthetic presentation as a whole. The music gives justice to every encounter and area that any player finds themselves in, even one as foreign as Pandaria.
Being one of the very first to put the MMO in the mainstream, WoW hosts one of the simplest forms of gameplay. Based around the holy trinity, players shred through content as either a tank, dps, or healer, and in one of 7 different races on both factions capable of being one of 11 different classes. Each race have their own unique traits that give, more or less, an advantage in some way, like the undead having a racial skill that breaks certain crowd control effects on them, or dwarves having an innate defensive cooldown that removes DoTs and prevents additional application. While none of the racial abilities and passives are game breaking, some can really give a player an edge in certain situations. Sargeras knows I can’t ever live without Will of the Forsaken in PvP.
Tried and true, WoW’s holy trinity is enhanced further by the plethora of skills and abilities that each class can learn through talent trees that vary greatly from one another. A lot of the classes can perform any of the three roles adequately, making for some very complex gaming, however, at the same time, very simplistic, because once you’ve fully explored the linear talent pathing, there isn’t much to deviate from anymore, drastically reducing the possible experimentation a player could have in building his or her character. It rather depends on perspective as to how this sort of system is to be treated. There are those who like to have a near unlimited options, and there are those that like to have their MMOs to be just like their fighting games: character skill static. In terms of gameplay, whether PvP or PvE, player skill is far more important than how a player prefers to set up his or her talents, though, it goes without saying that gear also goes a long way, so don’t expect anything else apart from that.
WoW can never be said to have a dearth of content, as its long life has given rise to four expansions, and, as stated earlier, has a fifth coming up soon, each expansion has boasted a large number of things to do. True, a lot of people would say that the only thing that would ever matter would be the current endgame content, but that isn’t necessarily the best way to look at a game. With as many as five continents to explore and grand level cap of 90 (soon to be 100), WoW has an almost endless stream of content that range from raiding, achievements, and PvP. Believe me, listing every single thing a player can do in WoW would get me in trouble with my editor.
Though not the best, but still certainly not the worst, endgame raiding is comprised of several, usually massive, raids comprised of many bosses to encounter with their own unique mechanic that delivers quite the challenge for the newcomer, though I’d have to admit that it can be considered easy enough for any MMO veteran. But the creativity that goes into the raid designs have become better and better as time went by, making some encounters depend solely on teamwork rather than a healer or a dps carrying the entire raid. Loot distribution is also quite innovative with the introduction of personal loot, lessening the drama from loot conflicts at the end of every boss. No one can touch your personal loot but you and that’s a welcome addition that relieves weary raiders unlucky enough in the past with rolls. This, of course, is not without its fault, as any raider could end up with nothing, given that personal loot also has a small chance to produce anything. A lot of times, it can be frustrating and can end up worse than the archaic manner in which loot is traditionally distributed.
Questing alone is a monumental encounter with the possible content, as there are hundreds upon hundreds of quests that detail more on the lore of the series as well as providing for some interesting tasks for a player to do. While not necessarily innovative, as other MMOs past the creation of WoW have already done, the quests in this game boast great storylines that get players more and more involved with the world of Azeroth. Lore is a major factor in WoW’s enjoyment, as each and every story, no matter how minuscule, is a treat for the senses that delves into its rich body of traditions and knowledge. Through questing, players get to encounter a lot of secrets that lead to different experiences and obtainable items that would otherwise be missed by the crazed power leveler, as well as inching them closer to the level cap to commence on end game activities. There should be more about endgame itself here, but again, there’s just too much to talk about, but let me just say that if you like mounts, vanity items, pvp rankings, gear, and all the like, you certainly would be getting your money’s worth in World of Warcraft.
WoW, being one of the older giants of MMO gaming, has a large population filled with interesting and varying personalities. A lot of WoW’s population are filled with immature douchebags that feel like they’re God’s gift to gaming, but that shouldn’t make you detest the game. Ever been in a MOBA community? The people here are quite tame compared to that, and what MMO doesn’t have its own dark side of their population? The fact is, there are so many people playing this game that it is unlinkely that new players find no one to play with because there is always new blood out there seeking to make a name for themselves either in PvP arenas, PvE raiding, or both. Recent experience tells me that the issues MMOs of present time have in common are that of population, unable to keep or maintain any semblance of a real society as the game ages. WoW is one of those MMOs that have gotten past that, though it is mostly due to its age and influence.
Still Not Dead!
At first, I thought that it would be easy to make a review for World of Warcraft, considering all my experience and exposure to the matter, but trying to expound on a game this massive makes it very difficult to cover all the points of interest. While mostly praise has been said throughout this review, WoW isn’t safe from negative points as well, but are mostly nitpicks to be decided on by the individual, such as loot distribution, balancing issues, and grinds to a certain degree The game is too large to explain everything, and since its conception, there have been innumerable critics with different points of view, and this humble review is but one of them. Certainly, WoW is no perfect game, but it is grand and splendid enough to be worth any player’s time and money. With Warlords of Draenor nearing, the game will only be revitalized and strengthened and we will definitely see it last at least a few more years. I can’t see WoW tanking any time soon.
We give WoW a solid 8/10.
Related: Blizzard Entertainment, Review, World of Warcraft