Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Recently I tried the trial of World of Warcraft (WoW). This would seem normal for most people, but I played WoW for 6 months last year. I tried the trial cause I wanted to compare WoW's graphics to Saga of Ryzom's, when both were set at maximum. (my computer is a beast, so it can handle it )

And /somehow/ I found myself playing WoW again, and actually enjoying it.

I said I was going to post a WoW rant, and add it to my list of MMOs I hate, but I don't know if I can do it. It's not a bad game actually. After trying out so many other MMOs and seeing the differences, WoW is actually a well-polished game.

Here's some of the things WoW does well:

1. User Interface

The user interface in WoW is very well done, and easy to navigate. The additional use of 3rd party UI mods allows the player to customize it even further, and add helpful information.

2. Quests

Most of the quests in WoW are mindless "Kill X number of " or "Collect X number of from ". But they are laid out so well, that they flow from one place to the next, and are quite easy to follow. The quest window is very well done as well. There are some quests that I actually enjoyed completing, like "The Curse of Stalvan" or the Van Cleef arc in Westfall/Stormwind.

3. Character Information

The character window displays all the stats and numbers of the character, including DPS, etc. The display of the numbers gives the player a better sense of how powerful they are. It also doesn't allow the developer to put in "Stealth Nerfs", like CoX and it's "Minor/Medium/High damage" descriptions of powers.

4. Artistic Style

Some people might not like the cartoony look of WoW, nor the fact it's not "raising the bar" on graphical quality. But you can't deny that the artistic style of WoW isn't consistent and interesting. Everything looks like it fits together, and as well, it doesn't appear fake by being "too perfect". The ridiculous armour sets in the later game are rather stupid though. Mostly it's the mismatched colours of things that I dislike.

5. Music

The music is very well done, but it does tend to get repetitive after a while. Places like the Tirisfal Glades (the Undead area) have nicely fitting music. Dark and creepy FTW.

6. Sound Effects

The sound effects are well done as well, and I really never noticed this until after I had been playing the Saga of Ryzom for a while. In Ryzom, half the time my character makes no sound attacking, or his attacks all sound weak. The spell effects are okay, but still lacking. In WoW, all the added sound effects, like the ever-so-simple "Hello there." when you click on an NPC add to the richness of the environment.

7. Graphical Effects

The spells and other abilities in WoW all have nice graphical effects, and fit with the artistic style of the rest of the game. They aren't mind-blowing, but they don't seem weak either. Just right.

8. Animations

The animations are nice, and look semi-realistic at the same time. Again, they aren't mind blowing, but they look good. Far from some of CoX's animations that just look stupid or weak.

9. Soloability

Now many hardcore, old-school MMOers would say soloing isn't something that's supposed to be in an MMO. I think they just haven't evolved with the times, and are still stuck in their old EQ days. People want to be able to play when they want, and not have to worry about taking an hour to find a group, only to wind up with a bunch of idiots that get you killed in less than 60 seconds.

I loved the soloability of my Scrapper in CoX, it was one of the main reasons I played the game for so long. Now some say you should just play a SP game instead. But not wanting to team with other people, doesn't mean you don't want to interact with them. My RL friend hates playing /any online game/ with people he doesn't know. Cause they never work as well together as him and his RL buddies.


Now all of WoW isn't great, but the negatives are more subjective than anything.

1. Community

This is my #1 gripe with WoW, by far, and many other people's as well. WoW is soo popular, and become so mainstream, that it's attracted every /idiot imaginable/. The vast numbers of immature "B.Net kiddies" is also a huge turnoff. But if you could get into a good guild of mature people, you can simply ignore/avoid the majority of the idiots.

2. Mindless grinding

There's no way around it, it's basically the way all MMOs are designed. But with many of the oh-so-boring quests, it becomes even more apparent.

3. Heavily Gear Based

I'm not one who likes a gear dependent game, but that's probably because I enjoy FPSes so much, where player skill is the defining factor. I can beat less-skilled players with pistols while they hold a rocket launcher. I can't see why it couldn't be different for an MMO. But I can see where gear is required for game balance. Try playing a tabletop game of DnD 3.5 and only give the players regular (non-magical) gear. Watch how fast they die later on. I'm in a tabletop game like this. We keep getting massacred.

4. Horrible Honour/PvP system

The honour system in WoW is a total joke, TBH. It basically rewards those who spend the most time PvPing in the Battlegrounds. It doesn't matter if they are skilled or not, you still get points for losing. Hence why people were playing their friend's accounts to get more time in to hit the higher ranks.

But all PvP does is give the top people better gear, and so if you don't PvP, it makes absolutely no difference.

5. Ugly Armour styles/colours

The artistic style in WoW is good, but the colour schemes of most items is horrible. I swear that the art director is colour-blind. The styles of some of the armour is also retarded, and completely unrealistic. But then again, the entrie game is meant to be cartoony.

6. End game Raiding

I have never made it to lvl 60 in WoW and participated in a raid, but from talking to my friends who have, it's not something a lot of people enjoy. I personally can't allot 5-6 hours to raid some instance in the vain hope I get epic item. The girl I work with raided multiple times a week with her guild and took over 4 months to get 1 piece of armour she wanted.

7. Lack of Dev communication \ Major updates

This is a combo deal in my mind. The WoW dev team doesn't listen/talk to their players, probably for the main reason that the players are mostly idiots, and there is such a huge number of them. WoW also hasn't added anything substantial since release because the game had so many problems at release, and Blizzard has been hemorrhaging talent ever since then. Now I don't think this is an excuse, but I can understand why it's happened.

But for example, EVE Online is not much different. Though they do communicate with their vastly smaller playerbase. But there have been numerous things they have stated were "Coming Soon.™", and years later still haven't delivered. I'm not sure, but this seems to almost be the case with all MMOs.


I can't think of any other major flaws/good points to WoW at the moment. I mostly had to some here and vent about the Community of WoW, as I've seen these players in my time in Ryzom. Since the newbie area is free forever, there are a large number of idiots running about, trying the game out. They've annoyed me to no end, especially the ones I've had to team with to accomplish tasks. I had to just run off and quit my team at one point because they were annoying me so much.

*** WARNING: ***

If you use "u", "k", "kthxbai", you type like some 4 yr old, and/or you can't listen to instructions or just run off while in a group to kill something, stay away from me in RL. If I find out I will curb-stomp your ass. If you don't know what "curb-stomp" means, go watch American History X. Maybe then you'll use your fucking head for a change.

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