From April 2009 through to circa 2012 we had an addiction to World of Warcraft, the epic MMORPG which pitches players into a living breathing world. The amazing thing about the game is its sociability – the entire world can join in and players run around destinations interacting with each other. You can be off on a quest somewhere and bump into Jeff from Burnley or Francois from France on his own quest, it’s pretty epic.
The series launched in 2004 and immediately turned into geek heaven. At its peak, over 12 million users were logged across the world and totally geeking out. It is a great game, for sure, and highly immersive, but there are underlying problems which forced us off the thing for good. As such, this post is a homage to an amazeballs title which may still interest you, but is now as dead as death to us.
World of Warcraft
Righto! WoW is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG). Okay? In these things, there’s an enormous world which has been created and let loose into this are the world’s players. Typically restricted by continents (i.e. Americans don’t usually get to play with Europeans – a wise move), nevertheless there are millions of players able to run around in the world and, to some extent, interact with each other.
Launched in 2004, it was an ambitious game! The internet wasn’t quite there back then – we were at university, for instance, and didn’t even have a connection in the halls of residence. To get online, you had to bloody walk all the way down to the IT building. What time of madness was that!? Only techy people, with their dialtones and that, had it all worked out.
A massive hit, expansion packs soon arrived in 2007 and 2008 to shake up the in game action. Simply put, within these worlds the character you’ve picked (being able to go for good or bad guys) has to be levelled up by heading out into the enormous world and completing tasks. As you do so, you can (to whatever extent you want) interact with the other players from around the world, form guilds, complete dungeons together, chat to people, hang out somewhere and troll like a git, or just ignore everyone and go your own path.
It’s proper nerd heaven, really, and we got rather fond of the game and fell into its addictive trap. Whilst the compelling gameplay and groovy graphics are fab, the soundtrack played a massive part in generating atmospherics and drawing you back into the game. Have a listen.
We used to simply visit certain areas, like Westfall above, just to wander about listening to the music. In traditional RPG style, as your character becomes more skilled, so you can move on to tougher areas and a place like Westfall, tough as nails early in the game, becomes a waltz in the park after you’ve thumped in 100+ hours.
That’s exactly what happens – you thump the hours in as the months tick by, you get more gold (as in real life, it’s tough to get cash early in the game, so much so many players take to begging in communal points such as Stormwind Castle – this is considered extremely bad manners in WoW’s world), you get a horse to travel around on, you explore, you immerse yourself into the game, and it becomes your second life.
Whilst the game can be incredibly addictive and enjoyable, there’s no denying the repetitive nature of the quests makes things rather tedious. It’s a glorious, vast, vibrant, and imaginative world you can explore and it’s that exploration which makes the game so enjoyable – you’re part of a living and breathing world!
On the downside, you’re placed into a magnificent world… but the vast majority of quests are more or less exactly the same. Wherever you go, it’s a case of “Kill 10 of these to get this” or “Go there, collect that, return here” and then there’s a case of mindlessly grinding to level up. Some gamers, clearly just bored with existence, go off and grind for hours on end for swag and XP.
As you might be able to guess, the game has been accused of destroying many peoples’ lives as it does have the capacity to leave you ignoring the outside world in favour of fantasy. South Park picked up on this and, although the episode was backed by Blizzard, the show pretty much nailed the way it overwhelms some individuals.
The game is still highly popular and rumbles on. We loved our run from April 2009 to some point in 2012, but the repetitious nature of the title has ensured we won’t be returning again. However, it’s a fantastic big old game with a great community, so if you’ve not experienced it yet then we encourage you to nerd up and dive on in.
As you can see above, the series also produced a movie adaptation. Video game to movie adaptations are notoriously bad, to the extent the world doesn’t even have a half decent video game movie yet… except for the fabulous documentary the King of Kong from 2007. That’s it. Everything else is rubbish… although Warcraft just met with middling reviews, which is a step up, we support. It’s up to you whether you give that a whirl. Innit.