World of Warcraft
Reviewed: 05/03/2005


If you haven’t heard of World of Warcraft by now then you haven’t been paying attention. World of Warcraft hit the online RPG scene like a ton of bricks. The game was even unavailable in a lot of stores for a while there. Blizzard did a good job of keeping their product in high demand by not releasing enough copies (due to server instabilities, etc). Whether or not this was planned is another story. World of Warcraft has since taken over the MMORPG community.

World of Warcraft starts traditionally enough for a MMORPG. You once again get to create your avatar from a variety of choices. 4 races from the Horde and 4 races from the Alliance. Blizzard has set the game design up nicely, resulting in a classic Horde vs. Alliance overshadow. There are 9 classes to choose from. Hardly a large selection, but it gets the job done.

On the Horde side you have:
Orcs: big, strong and GREEN
Trolls: Go back under your bridge
Tauren: MOOOO!
Undead: Let me eat your brain!!

The Alliance compose of:
Humans: Well we have to make a appearance, don’t we?
Night Elves
Night Elves: Mysterious and shrouded shadows
Dwarves: Strong and short
Gnomes: See above comment about Dwarves, exclude strong 😉

Now that you have chosen your character, it’s time to march into the world of Azeroth. Depending on your race/class your experience in WoW will be completely different. I have tryed most of the classes and they all have their own completely unique style of play that gives the game a new enjoyment with every new character. It’s hard to rate anything “as is” in an MMORPG, but overall the gameplay in WoW is excellent.

I'll put my own screenshot soon

When compared to most MMORPGs it is very action based. It is still the run of your mill turn based setup but the fighting in World of Warcraft is more fast paced and less boring, if you will. Let’s say it is pretty much on par with Asheron’s Call (not that the styles are similar) in terms of “action-like” combat but World of Warcraft’s leveling goes alot quicker. It’s a game where you can actually advance later on by soloing still. It’s probably the best “pick up and play” MMORPG on the market. You don’t need to spend half of your life to make it to the next level. This also means that more people will get to a higher level faster. There is less of a “eliteness” to reaching max level (right now it’s 60) since the effort doesn’t quite require the same amount of dedication as in most MMORPGs out there.

Depending on your class, you will have a entirely different experience. Even so, the system is always the same. You setup your macros to your hot bar (you can use the mouse to click them instead of your macro) and execute your skills from there. There is a limit to what you can have on a single line but you get plenty of macro bars to work with so there is always a place for your skills. This hot bar setup will be crucial to how you play your character. You may be constantly changing your setup as your character progresses.

I'll put my own screenshot soon

I only play on the PvP servers since that is the only real way to play this game. You will always have some kind of threat near. This adds a great deal of excitement to the game. You will only be able to play on one side for that server so pick wisely cause you won’t be able to understand anything the Horde is saying if you are the Alliance and vice versa.

Questing is pretty normal but there are A LOT of quests. You may get overwhelmed if you leave too many uncompleted. Otherwise you may choose to just hunt and stay away from the rewards of questing. Some of the quests are quite enjoyable and range in type. You will get your standard “fetch” quests but there are also some very interesting quests as well.

I'll put my own screenshot soon

Character progression is a solid system that normally doesn’t have you waiting too long for your next advancement. There are skills/spells/talents that you will learn and advance in from the trainers of your class. At level 10 you will start your character on his own path. Each class has 3 talent trees to work with and you will gain 1 point to use each level. The setup is very similar to Blizzard’s own, Diablo II. It works well enough but sometimes you are hoping for a little more customization. Sure you can make your own build but there aren’t as many real options as there should be. If you don’t like the way your character is going you can revert your talents for a price and go again.

There are also professions. I have really only gotten into alchemy and herbalism. You get to choose from a variety of different professions to help you along the way or to sell for profit. You get to have 1 gathering trait and 1 crafting trait. You also get cooking/fishing additionally. For crafting skills there is alchemy, blacksmithing, enchanting, engineering, leatherworking, first aid and tailoring. The gathering skills are herbalism, mining and skinning.

I'll put my own screenshot soon

When you enter Azeroth you will immediately notice the attention to detail and personality that Blizzard has created. The game may not be the best graphics out there with a huge polygon count but World of Warcraft just oozes fantasy. You get the feel that you are in Azeroth. Blizzard did a great job bringing the game to life without trying to make it look like life. A MMORPG should have a fantasy feel and that is exactly what World of Warcraft puts across. The music/sound effects tend to be forgetful but it sets the mood.

Their isn’t any real story to speak of but Azeroth is filled with a back history and legends of its own. Blizzard did a great job of creating the world and everything in it. This is basically what you have to rate a story on a MMORPG on and Blizzard does the job nicely. If you have followed the Warcraft series at all, this will be a all too familiar world for you. If not, then that’s fine too. Azeroth caters to the vets and newbies alike. You may even run into some funny references to the strategy game but I won’t ruin them for you 🙂

I'll put my own screenshot soon

World of Warcraft doesn’t break any ground in the MMORPG genre. It just does alot of things well. While you will find many flaws in alot of MMORPGs, Blizzard put together an all around package when they made Word of Warcraft. It’s quite possibly the best MMORPG out there today. Let’s just hope for a awesome expansion sometime not too late down the road!

-Tim Wilson

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