Friday, September 18, 2009

The world of warcraft

Warcraft, or warcrack, as it is called by some wags over the internet, can come in for some stick. The grind, and the repetitive nature therof, is often targeted, with a suggestion that warcraft is a terrible game. I admit to thinking this for a while, having burnt out on warcraft.

Of course, what I forgot about at the time was that I had burnt out after putting more time into it than I'd put into most other game titles I'd ever played. Few game mechanics can survive scrutiny over hundreds of hours of play, and Wow is no exception. It must be noted that some people do still play Wow, playing different content and mode that is wired into the game. Its a fantastic creation, no doubt, and theres a lot of fun to be had of it. That said, the main points against this game really do stand:

Wow is best played intensely. If you only have half an hour or so a day to devote to it you will end up frustrated, because you will find many activities deeply inefficient, and you will be unable to experience much of the more interesting content- the instances, or raids if you reach higher levels. If you have the time to sink into it, it is fantastic.

There is a lack of permanence to your actions, in that if you kill someone they will return a few hours later. Blizzard are actually looking at tech to improve this, and ultimately its just a staple of the genre you have to accept. Its hard to get involved in the plot because of this, however.

The players. This can be the biggest strike against wow for me, is that many players do really treat it like homework. Instances are some of the best fun you can have at lower levels, as a team fighting through deadly enemies and defeating powerful bosses. Those who take the game "seriously" however, will repeatedly play through the same instances several times, because there are certain loot that drop randomly. Not only does this drain all the fun out of doing the instances, its also a bit pointless, as within five levels or so you'll find better loot anyway. One simple way to stop this would be for the bad guy to drop sufficient amounts of loot for everyone. There's no reason not to do this, as encouraging players to endlessly replay the same bit of the game really isn't going to sell you on the experience. One other issue with instances is that you can use a high level friend to kill everything for you. Do not do this. It is not fun.

Even if you manage to find a group to do these instances with, they can still suck. They can either not take it seriously enough, messing about to the point of distraction, or take it far too seriously and reprimand people when they make some stupid mistake. Other people are extremely irritating online, and were one of the reasons I played left 4 dead left. Ideally you want to be able to play with friends in wow, but you have to level at the same rate or you won't have the same experience.

I could go on, but these are the major things that spring to mind, only the latter is really fixable, the other two are sort of staples of the genre- I can't see a way round either really.

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