World of Warcraft (Second Opinion)
Reviewed: 02/22/2005


You have no idea how long it took me to write this review. You couldn’t possibly imagine the amount of self coaxing it took to just sit down and commit the time to tell you about this game. But I care about getting the word out, so I tore myself out of my “world away from world” to tell you all about my misadventures in a game that will surely go down as one of the most important videogames of its time.

Now bear in mind, this game popped my MMO cherry. Until Word of Warcraft, I hadn’t played any MMORPGs, mainly because they all seemed way too time-consuming and a little bit too “hardcore” for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love to rock as much as the next guy, but from what I saw there just wasn’t a nice enough playtime/reward ratio for me to bother. World of Warcraft changed that. With this gem, I can play on my lunch break or I can spend all weekend questing through dungeons and still make progress. It’s completely up to you, much like everything else in the game.

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Yet another Reggae Death Squad Dance Party

After you’ve registered and selected a “realm,” you start the game by choosing from one of the two main factions, Horde or Alliance. Each faction consists of four unique races. From there you choose a class for you character. For instance, my main character is a human Paladin member of the Alliance in the Shadow Moon realm. After you’ve selected the gender and the exact look of your character, you’re ready to hop into the lush world of Azeroth. As is the case with any MMO, you start as a lowly level 1 character completing menial tasks for money and experience. You can quickly grow out of it as the leveling up curve is very easy for newbies to the game. It usually takes about a half hour of killing monsters for people to get around level 4 or 5, which I’ve heard is in stark contrast to other games that required far more questing for any level up.

Around level 5 or 6, you’re able to get to another town and pick up two jobs or professions. The professions include alchemy, enchanting, engineering, tailoring, blacksmithing, mining, herbalism, skinning, leatherworking and other secondary jobs like cooking, fishing and first aid. You get to pick two but really most people will pick one job to provide the resources for their main job. For example, you could do mining and blacksmithing. You’d mine the metal ore and smelt it into bars that you then use to make mail and weapons you need. Generally, you pick a job that will directly address any needs your class might need. For instance it’s good for magic users to do alchemy so they can create potions to restore mana or enhance their skill in some way while those that wear leather armor should stick to leatherworking. It’s a great system that can provide you and your friends with essential items. Whatever you don’t use can be sold at the game’s auction house to make some money.

The game flows perfectly, so one won’t ever have to quest in one town to the point that it becomes dull. You’ll probably want to constantly find new regions, as they all have a unique flavor to them with new monsters and quests. Every environment is gorgeously detailed. The capital cities are massive and do just what large cities should do in these types of games: provide just about everything you need. Everything seamlessly meshes and unless you have your texture settings lower there’s never any bad pop up.

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Looks like someone took the whole “drinking and raiding” thing a touch too seriously

Of course, the great gameplay and beautiful graphics wouldn’t mean much without your homies. There’s nothing quite as awesome as hitting up a large, elite instance with four other guys from your guild. Especially when they include a hot rogue chick, a wicked black warlock and a fighter that has no qualms with dancing anywhere, any time. Joining any guild with people that will help you out is a good time, but if you have a friend that’s considering getting the game, make him or her do it. Nothing can compare to raiding a town with buddies from school. Grouping with other good players is the essence of this game and it greatly rewards you for doing so because well, everything is easier with another guy taking shots at The Man. Also, when in groups everyone can choose to either pass or roll the dice for a rare drop item so nobody hordes everything, no pun intended. The dice usually favor those that would need the item. So there’s no worries about partying with a greedy grunt, especially if he has bad luck.

Of course once you get your guild and group together, you can really have some fun with the PVP system in the game. World of Warcraft‘s PVP system is vital to the flow of the game. While you can play on servers without PVP, I personally don’t find those as fun. Whereas on a PVP server going into a contested town with a raid group and obliterating the town can be quite a bit of fun. Of course there are plenty of miscreants in the world that like to take their level 55 character and camp level 10 guys all day. And there are those that will wait in hiding until a monster starts attacking you then the guy will “gank” or straight up kill you, but in the words of the immortal hair band Poison, every rose has its thorn. Sure you’ll get killed a bunch at lower levels by the opposing faction, but you’ll get your revenge if you keep plugging away at it. Still, that’s just the name of the game.

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Taking to the skies

For everything World of Warcraft does right, I do have a couple minor qualms. First of all, this is the fastest selling MMO ever and already set the record for most players logged on at any give time with over 200,000. So naturally one can expect some technical issues. As expected the larger cities will lag, especially the two with auction houses. And there have been some bugs with certain quests or abilities not working, but when you have this many people playing you just have to be patient with the servers. Really, it’s nothing that’s been too big of a deal. For the most part, Blizzard’s handled themselves pretty well (I should get paid for that endorsement) through the funny glitches that sometimes happen.

If you’re looking for a new MMORPG this isn’t just the best choice, it’s the only choice. For players of any preference or skill, this game will satisfy. Whether you want to stick to the quests, make items for your job or go out and kill members of the opposing faction, this game can do it all and I highly recommend you take advantage of it.

-Cory Buck

Score Breakdown
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Excellent
Story Great
Graphics Excellent
Sound/Music Great
Replay Value Legendary
The Verdict: 9