Monday, September 11, 2006

Wondering Why: World Of Warcraft

Hey folks,

This will be a lengthy review, which I wont have time to complete in one sitting, so bear with me.

For WoW, I dont think I need to list the features, if you dont know:

A little history on me and WoW, I played both Closed Beta, Open Beta, and bought the game the first day it came out. Prior to buying it, the highest level I achieved was 23.

At the beginning of the game I was very impressed, the quest system was quite massive, as I normally played Korean MMO's and thus questing in general was new to me. The graphics seemed not be choppy, and were well detailed(which is not a big factor, but if they arent done well, I find them hard on the eyes), and there seemed to be many possibilitlies.

We'll start with the positive aspects:

The questing system is quite good, and bad at the same time. In the beginning it hides the fact that your grinding, and this continues for quite some time. However, as the game progresses I found the general goal of the quests didnt change, and they became harder, spawn wise. Such as trying to kill the Princess at the beginning of a server, its well..impossible, unless she happens to spawn on your body. But I will give them credit for the questing, because not only did it hide the grinding, but it also spread it other games, which can improve upon it, and in general has benefited the MMO genre.

The crafting system, is for me the pinnacle of WoW brilliance. Not only was it brand new(a few other games had crafting, but none to this extent), but it gave optional things to do than grind, including hunting for materials, selling your goods/services, and training your skills. It is very well thought out, takes a decent amount of time to master a craft, and most of the crafitng skills have their uses at some point or another in the game. Also, by having the chance to pick multiple skills, you could benefit from one skill by using another and so on. Again, this aspect has spread to almost every MMO now, and has been improved by some for the general betterment of the MMO genre.

The Player vs Environment; this is another prime aspect of WoW, which thus far has one ofthe best PvEs of any MMO. The environment is intelligent, with camps attacking you, changing, immense, and the balance between instanced and non-instanced is near perfect. This is the feature that initially convinced me to buy WoW after the open beta.

Lastly, the market/mail systems were another stroke of brilliance which has been, or will be, copied by most other games. The ability to auction goods IN the game, as opposed to on the forums of other games, greatly increases the "experience" of playing the game, and keeps the economy quite healthy. You dont have to run around town to town asking to buy something, when you can just check the market. Only thing I could see them improving upon, would be the ability to become like a wandering merchant selling wares off the market. And the mail system that allows transfer of items to and from users without them being online as something desperately needed and again maintained a "real world" economy.

Now..its time for the bad parts:

Before the battlegrounds, the open PVP world, and raids were the method of PVP. It saddens me, because something this integral to a game was given little to no attention. The open PVP is quite stupid frankly. Not only are some quests required in areas that there are bound to be enemies there, but unless you have 20 hours a day to play, someone is bound to be higher than you. Getting jumped by level 60's when your a level 30 is QUITE common, and in normal games, this would already mean instant death. But WoW goes one step further, not only can be you jumped by people higher level, and in places you need to be, but if you tried to fight back, they would resist all your attacks. Because it seems the higher up in level they are relative to you, the MORE resistances they gain and thus you essentially can do nothing but die. If they then choose to camp your corpse, you are required to spend the money to repair your armor afterwards. Overall, the open PVP is a pathetic, and horrible attempt at PVP with little to no balance, and favours the "no-lifers" entirely. Had their resistances been lowered, or at least remained the same, one could have a chance of defending by calling a few pals. But as the system stands, its impossible. The battlegrounds are an improvement on PVP, but too little too late, and many current players agree they should just be removed.

Although PVP is integral, it is not nearly as important as the characters themselves. The characters in WoW have NO dynamics. There is no way to modify your stat points, unless using equipment which mostly everyone of type X class has. And most of the "desired" equipment simply requires more time or money to buy, relying little on skill. The skill system itself requires nothing but again, money, as it can be bought, then "reset", and bought again; provided you have the funds (nothing ebay cant solve). This makes the characters in WoW, skill less, any 4 year old with the ability to control a mouse could create a character far superior to yours just simply by playing longer. Had Blizzard put in that extra step, and allowed the player to allocate stat points, they would have been closer to a brilliant game. (Although that would require balancing, which blizzard is horrible at)

Finally, we go to cost. This is GENERALLY not an issue in any MMO, but Blizzard has been pushing the boundaries. Not only was their game quite expensive, but they charge a premium monthly fee, and from what I hear, the expansion will be around $70-80 CAD also (same price as the full game). I understand the business side of making profits, but this is milking their users for as much as they can before they realize the shallowness of the game.

I'd also like to make special note of the "shittyness" of the WoW community general.

Overall Rating:
- their additions to the MMO genre saved them from an abysmal score.




Anonymous said...

Cry more, noob.

Anonymous said...

hey carebear, why dont you choose a game that has no pvp if you're gonna whine about griefing

RedFlame said...

I was the one doing the griefing thanks.

Anonymous said...

You don't get a huge repair cost when PvPing, since you don't lose durability to other players. :P

Anonymous said...

I think this would have been a valid review if you had posted it about 1 year ago. World of Warcraft has made strides to be alot better than it once was in the realm of PVP. The battlegrounds are generally fun and the Honor system is getting a complete overhaul in the expansion, which many believe is due to come out before the year's end. Also, I dont know where you got your pricing information, but the Expansion is set to retail at $30US... Not sure what that amounts to in Canadian dollars, but that's not bad for an expansion IMO.

bonedead said...

I really don't get why you talked about dying in open PvP at all. They had PvP and PvE servers from launch. Most PvPers will tell you that Battlegrounds ruined PvP due to the fact that it killed open PvP. What is the point of a server even being a PvP server if there's nobody out there.

RedFlame said...

Yes, I agree to an extent about the battelgrounds issue. But I felt I had to at least address open PVP in some context to give the reader a feel for it.

Anonymous said...

You said it took no skill to get good gear and you could just buy whatever you wanted... that's not true. That's why most good gear is Bind on Pickup.

You do raids (which I'm assuming you have no knowledge of, as it seems you haven't gotten past level 30), that get you epic gear. This epic gear is better than other gear (hence epic), and you can only get it by being skilled. At least when it comes to BWL+, MC is weak sauce.

In short, GG, get to level 60 before you rate a game, you only experience about 1/50th of the game play.

Anonymous said...

oh yeah, and I almost forgot: there really is no such thing as outdoor pvp anymore, not since the whole civ thing (besides the idiot raids on XR). All there is is ganking, which is present in pretty much every mmo... ever.

Anonymous said...

i think you are completely false in stating you have not effect on higher lvl's. i am lvl 54 and over the past 10 days i went from lvl 49 to 54. my point is i have killed over 100 lvl 60's just soloing in western plaguelands. i never have issues with the horde resisting my skills. maybe some carebear should um....yeah go back to playing super mario brothers.

RedFlame said...

Pray tell, what player skill is required to do a raid? Very very little, the monsters dont have some sort of AI where they learn how to beat you.

By player skill I mean like creating a better build than someone, having some sort of aim, or using interesting skill combos to beat your opponent. All of which do not apply to WoW.

So thank you for reinforcing my point that A) WoW is ENTIRELY item based. And B) the community stinks.

For your additional information, I was one of the first level 60's on my server, and I abused the level difference quite well.

Thanks for taking the time to comment, but please use logical arguments.

Calvin said...

As for raids, how exactly would you propose enemy AI "learn" from people beating them? Blizzard has tried their best to make raid bosses difficult and distinct. The fact of the matter is, anybody can learn how to beat a boss, then post all over the internet describing their strategy. But for guilds that don't do this, raid bosses are very unique, and learning their tactics is both fun and paramount to victory.

As for time being rewarding, is this some new system to MMOs? Is there really an MMO where a working-class guy who can only log on for a couple of hours a week, but has incredible skill, can actually beat some highschool kid who sucks but is online for eight hours a day? That doesn't sound like a very fair system.

Finally, what is this "community stinks" generalization? Not only do different servers have entirely different playerbases, but WoW is a huge game. You see less and less of the same people than you would in lower population MMOs. This follows through with the Greater Internet Dickwad theory, and it's expected you'll find some sour apples.

Plus, anything is better than the community of a certain unnamed MMO, whose private servers are loaded with people not even speaking the same language as me, and happen to love bananas.

Howdy said...

At first I thought this was a serious and good blog about MMO's reviews.

After read this review, I felt forced to hit alt + F4.

I'm sorry, but you hit lv23 and you fell that you already can write a review about WoW?


This game STARTS (literally) once you hit lv70. If you haven't played it until lv70 and do at least ONE big raid, well... you don't know CRAP about WoW.

I'm sorry, but only a retard would completally AVOID a game wich is played by 9 million (and counting) persons.

Joe said...

I own both World of Warcraft and Guild Wars. WoW is better. Much better. The only thing worse is the cost. This should at least get a 9 if Guild Wars did

asasdf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
asasdf said...

i wonder, if having allocatable stat points would really make the players rely on skill. There will always be cookie cutter builds, the noobs would just go read about them on the forums and copy them. It would still be a fun idea though, as there would probably be a mass amount of new builds to play around with.

also, there are talent points that are allocatable. there is a small bit of customization.

also, there is skill required in PvP i think. there is a large amount of spells/skills that u have, and knowing which ones to use when, your reaction times, strategies to beating your opponents, all will make u a better pvper.

RedFlame said...

Joe: Please don't treat the number rankings as absolutes. The 9 for guild wars is relative to the style of play (as I mentioned in the review). For a casual player it deserves its ranking, for a hard core player it certainly does not.

asasdf: I do agree that people would pursue cookie-cutter builds; but any truly well defined stat system will have power for the players to counter cookie-cutter builds. For example, if you went mass agility so that you could not be hit, I could go massive dex to hit you. Or if you went pure strength to do large damage, I might do hybrid strength/vit so that although I do less damage, I have more HP, etc...

I have very little problem with the talent system, EXCEPT that you can reset it at any time. The decision should be final, if someone wishes to copy a superior talent tree build then they should have to restart their entire character, not spend some of their ebay'd gold to reset it.

And lastly, I do agree on the picking the right spell, I should have made that more pronounced in my review. However, as you stated earlier, people follow cookie-cutter strategies, many of them turning out to be superior in every way. This is not unique to WoW, but definitely some food for thought in future MMOs.

RedFlame said...

howdy: I think it is absurd that you would expect someone to go through 70 levels in order to "experience" the game. The core systems do not change from level 1 to level 70. If you are cannot build the character you want from level 1, at level 70 nothing will be different. As I mentioned, the raids have no effect on overall game play except to further reward people with more time.

seanyboyyo said...

Thanks for the review.

its a decent game I agree

Anonymous said...

"The environment is intelligent, with camps attacking you, changing, immense, and the balance between instanced and non-instanced is near perfect."

What's your native language? You need to play a game for more than 10 minutes before rushing to notepad to write your reviews. You also need to learn to write.

I've read a few of your reviews and they all follow the same pattern of playing for a couple of minutes and then writing any old crap. I don't know why you bother, nothing I've read matches my experiences of these games and all of your reviews are really badly written.

Give it up.

Anonymous said...

Don't read his reviews, they are retarded and he is totally biased and doesn't know what he is talking about.

Joel said...

LOL at this review, I had so many problems with reading this for reasons that I can explain so easily.

The game is not a grind at all, the highest lvl is 80 currently, meaning it's possible for anyone that can be dedicated to something to get to the highest lvl.

Getting to it's actual point. Your trying to be the best player in the game, and although that does mean a higher lvl, in this game it means your trying to be better than others, and once again, for this game it's equipment.

To the fact that it technically takes "skill" to obtain the equipment, making it more of the achievement type (morely to it's achievement system)

I personally LOVE this game compared to all, it keep you doing quests that you know you havn't done before (unlike Rappelz) AND it's more party friendly.

To obtain those piece's of equipment that better you in the game, you will be needing to run raids, meaning 10-25 man dungeons, and that keeps it even more fresh.

Me and MY PARENTS have been playing this game since it was in CBT, and we're waiting for the next best thing still.

Joel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joel said...

Oh, and a little more, there is skill to the game, it takes skill to actually know HOW and WHEN to use skills at just the right time.

Ex: A rogue is fighting a warlock and has the lock almost down when the lock fears him and he's running in circles dying, but he has a trinket to get out of it and vanish to go and kill the lock instead of dying.

That ex both explained how he had to kill him (generally speaking) and how skill plays into the game, he took the time and effort to get that trinket just to pop outa that fear and kill the lock, if not for the trinket he would have died.

Yes this game takes skill, your too childish to understand the point of the game. You called it a grind, even though it has the aspects of crafting... Now think about this, why did you buy that game? to frolic in a meadow, picking up flowers and killing just maybe one or two monsters, or to QUEST and adventure across an EXCESSIVELY large 3 continent's (and alternate universe), then just maybe pick up a few skins or ores here and there.

You missed the whole point of the game and ran into the conclusion that you saw and then tried to get other to see... people are trying to escape life, not look for something... Oh, I don't know, Fagish?

RedFlame said...

Joel, you're commenting on a post that is over 3 years old. You're also using mechanics that did not exist at the time of the post.

However, you are certainly missing the point of the "skill" discussion. Please, never consider raiding a skill. The first person to kill a boss, MAY get an exclusion to that rule because they had to figure out the monster AI. But do not kid yourself, that is a trivial task at best because no game developer includes "real" AI due to the high CPU costs.

Your wonderful example described nothing more than counter-spells/items. How did anything in that scenario involve skill or higher reasoning? I could write a bot program that can perform those exact tasks more efficiently - do you claim that it also possesses "mad skillz"?