Zoe’s (MMO)RPG Corner: World of Warcraft

Hi guys! After my unexpected hiatus, I am back to bitch about bad armor! And what a better place to start than here?

11-WoW 1World of Warcraft is a pay-to-play third person fantasy MMORPG and is probably the most popular in a long line of Warcraft games about like, orcs and shit. And everyone has really strong feelings about this game so prepare to be deeply offended by me, I assume.

History and Development

World of Warcraft (WoW) is the really large and sceam-y baby of Blizzard Entertainment, which has also contributed basically every designer for every other MMO featured by me on this blog. It honestly seems like kind of a shit place to work because everyone leaves angry.

Blizzard created the first three games of the Warcraft series, all of which were real-time strategy (RTS) games. Basically there was a lot of plot in those games which I don’t 100% feel like going into but here are the basics as I managed to understand them:

  • Orcs and Humans hate each other.
  • If you’re an elf, you’re probably sort of an asshole.
  • Honestly, they should all go to a non-governmental model because basically every monarch becomes evil or goes crazy or something.
  • For some reason, trolls are Jamaican and I bet there’s some weird racism going on there.
  • Serious damsel in distress syndrome despite having a “matriarchal race” that isn’t “evil”.

There, now we’re all caught up enough to move on to the rest of this review. Blizzard announced World of Warcraft in 2001 and it came out in 2004. Despite being heralded still as the be-all-end-all archetype for every MMO ever, it kind of was just a game (and also not the first MMO, so everyone calm down about that). The world was designed to be open so players could sort of wander off wherever they wanted to go instead of being stuck in a linear progression.

I never played WoW until last spring. I picked it up because here I am writing a blog about MMO’s and I’d never played what is admittedly the best selling MMORPG in the world. According to Wikipedia, WoW has 7.1 MILLION subscribers as of May of 2015, which is a massive number. Me not playing it was kind of becoming a problem, no matter how cool I looked when I said that I played Warcraft III instead.

So I picked it up. I mean, character creation, vaguely interesting designs, tons of options? Kind of seemed like something I would actually enjoy. And to be perfectly frank, I’d been looking for a reason to try it out. I mean, it’s the kind of game that people are going to judge you for playing AND for not playing so like, it’s hard to decide if you want to start playing just based on poling.

Character Creation

Let’s talk about sexual dimorphism!

This is a biological term that refers to males and females of the same species that look vastly different. IN  real life nature, there are a few of these, though often it’s based purely on coloration rather than body type. In humans and most members of the animal kingdom, this is completely untrue. Human bodies have some sex based differences, but not that much. And I don’t mean sexual organs here. I mean major physical traits like shoulder width.

You know who does have sexual dimorphism? Most of the races in World of Warcraft!

11-WoW 2

One of these is a troll. The other is a blue human lady with tusks.

I don’t really need to wax poetic about how messed up this is because other people have done it for me, but I do want to just point it out because it makes me super mad.

Moving swiftly forward, the character creator itself isn’t too bad. Races are faction locked and some classes are race locked (and honestly there are a lot of both so I don’t feel like listing all of them) but it’s not too bad. You get enough character slots that you can really kind of go for it in terms of playing different things. I like that.

The creator itself is basic, but that’s not a problem either. I play so many games that are like “Do you want to adjust the size of this character’s nose bridge?” and honestly I really don’t. I don’t really care about a lot of that, unless there are gonna be a ton of cutscenes. Even then, it’s kind of whatever.

But I did get to make myself a blue-skinned ginger troll lady and that was kind of bitchin’, I will not lie to you. Except I still really wish she got more tusks.

Story

I dunno.

If I had a dollar for every time I wrote “I don’t know what the story of this MMO is”, I would be filthy rich.

Now, it’s important to note I refused to pay for WoW and so played it only in the “free until level 20” way. But if one damn person says, “Well the game doesn’t really start until X level,” I will destroy you. If a game doesn’t start until you’re that far into it, or it doesn’t start until max level, or anything like that, it’s a badly designed game. Sticking to my guns on that one.

Here’s what I got for the story:

  1. The Alliance and the Horde hate each other for reasons.

Yup. That’s it. There is no 2. That’s really the entire plot line by level 20. If this game starts at level 50, well…too bad.

Sidenote: Wikipedia tells me that the story of WoW is apparently about a disappearing king and some disguised dragon lady, but I have seen none of that. It looks convoluted anyway.

Gameplay

Point. Click. Murder.

Combat is basic. It’s actually hard to talk about the mechanics of this game seeing as it’s kind of the mechanics of A LOT OF GAMES. Here I am actually going to give WoW props for coming up with a lot of things that I look at in other games and go, “It’s stock.” WoW is certainly the Lord of the Rings of MMOs so I’m not going to be pissy bout the controls being boring.

That being said, the controls are boring.

Pretty much the best part of this game for me was being a druid and getting to turn into a cat. I’m pretty sure I was that more than I was anything even vaguely humanoid. That’s a solid mechanic.

11-WoW 3

I call it “Fluffy”.

The Good

WoW is a solid, basic MMO. It runs on most computers, unless you have something chiseled out of rock (this is huge; my computer is a hunk of overheating junk). They do what they do well, and you gotta give them props on that.

There’s a really solid amount of customization. I like having a lot of classes and races so it’s fun for me to try out new things, and boy oh boy does WoW have that. There’s something for all styles.

11-WoW 4

Wanna be a giant healing cow? Got you covered. 

The Bad

Now I understand that part of what was going on here was that they were trying to make an open world sandbox-y MMO where you could just go anywhere and do anything, but like, if all a game is is “kill ten wolves” and “get me a shiny stone” and there’s no storyline, I’m not going to be massively invested in it. Not that what they have isn’t good. I do like mindless MMO side quests sometimes, because I get to listen to radio and murder things, but if that’s all it is, I’m not going to be on board.

I just honestly wanted this to have more storyline than it did. If your story starts at max level, I’m not going to hang around for all the hours of grinding to get there.

The Ugly

Tits. On. Skeletons.

11-WoW 5

Mmm, yeah, lookit them undead boobies.

Also a shitty community, let’s be real. I muted them all on day one and was perfectly happy afterwards, but that sort of saddened me a little. I don’t wanna hide from other gamers.

From here…?

I can’t recommend this game. But I can’t recommend against this game. I’ll be keeping it on my computer (unlike Tera, which I deleted the day my review for it came out). I might even update it and play it sometimes. It’s fun. It’s just not interesting.

I think what I’d tell people to do would be to download the free trial and give it a shot. It deserves a shot at least. It’s not a bad game and I can see why so many people like it. Give it a try. Don’t let people decide for you.

Next Month: DC Universe Online. We’re gonna talk about SUPERHEROES! I LOVE SUPERHEROES!

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