World of Warcraft - Crack for the Creative Mind
warhammer, his courage, and his clicking finger, he set out to brave the lands
of the eastern kingdoms - his sights set on the lands of Kalimdor, Blackrock Spire and the far off level 60. This... was his destiny."
- The Book of Stub 22:10
I write today about the World of Warcraft - Blizzard's newest gold mine in their long history of outragously successful games. Set in the Warcraft Universe that spawned 3 successful real time strategy games, World of Warcraft is a massive multiplayer game. For the non-game savy, that means that hundreds of thousands of people play this game together, online, from all across the world.
In this game, you are but an individual character in a massive world composed of computer and human friends and foes. The idea is relatively simple, and similar to Blizzard's disablo type games (for those of you familiar with them). You create a charcter and select a class for them, then you set out across the world, completing quests, gaining experience, and finding better, more advanced equiptment, skills, and abilities as you progress. The idea is relatively simple... but its more addictive than crack.
I've never been much for massive multiplayer (MM) games. They charge a monthly fee, which goes toward sustaining servers and finding ways to rip gamers off, and thus I always considered it a stupid waste of money. Sure they might be fun, but there are plenty of games that dont charge a feee that are fun, and plenty that allow you to create characters, explore worlds, and level up. The whole concept just didnt seem that appealing.
But Blizzard, in their infinate wisdom, capitalized on the success of the Warcraft RTS series to drag obbsessive MM gamers and "noobs" like me in. And boy did they ever.
Poised to be one of, if not the, most sucessful/ popular MM game ever, World of Warcraft (WOW) sold so quickly that the first month of game sales overwhelmed Blizzard's servers, forcing them to pull games from shelves while they upgraded. Wow indeed.
So whats so great about it? Why are so many people into it, myself included. Why do I have dreams about quests I have and visions of new lands I have yet to explore? Good question.
While there is a certain amount of strategy to the game, in the end it comes down to killing things. Maybe you shoot it with a bow and arrow, maybe raid it with 5 friends, maybe you smash it with your 2 handed axe or freeze it to death with a blizzard spell, but thats pretty much the gist. You kill things. You gain experience. You kill harder things. Etc etc...
Of course this game is a lot more complicated than that, and there are literally thousands of skills, spells, trades, and weapons of war that keep you wanting more and more. But regardless, its staggering just how drawn in one can get.
One of the things that has impressed me thus far in the game is the social aspect. You encounter thousands of other players as you run across the vast game landscapes. All of them with differing races, classes, and experience levels. Thusfar, I have preferred to venture out alone much of the time, exploring the world and getting an idea of just what this whole MM experience is all about. Several times, I've found myself in trouble, outnumbered by monsters or just in a tough spot. Then from no where another player will jump over to give me a heal spell or help my fight a tough monster, then they are off again on their merry way. In other cases, small bands of strangers will join together to form groups, in order to provide more formal help for eachother and share resources during larger quests. Its a very interesting experience for me to whitness/ be a part of, as somone who has never really played a role playing online game before.
How long will World of Warcraft hold my interest? Only time will tell. But I have a feeling this wont be the last of my posts on WOW or online gaming... and that my 3 month subscription might not be a long enough one ;)