World of Warcraft - A Noob’s Journey

Reviewed by Arep | 6 February 2008
Genre: MMORPG | Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment | Developer: Blizzard
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* Originally authored by Wiz_74 *

Azeroth, my dear Azeroth, the hours I have spent traversing your wide and varied lands.

No you will not begin speaking like this after playing World of Warcraft, nor will you die in front of your computer from hunger and an exploding bladder, though addiction is almost certain. There are many here at TOG that could explain to you in much more detail the world that we call Azeroth, the many quests that you will be sent on in your journey to greatness, the people (or humanoids in some cases) that you will meet, but I have the task, neigh, pleasure of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and writing of my adventures in this World Of Warcraft.

For many years I refused to play WoW for many reasons, but the biggest was my refusal to pay a monthly subscription to play a game after having already shelled out the purchase price. A few months ago a mate of mine sent me a trial key to World of Warcraft and bugger it I thought I would try it out, reasoning that it was free and I can drop the account before ever spending a cent if I didn’t like it. {quotes align=left}I installed WoW onto my machine, and my god I have never looked back!{/quotes}

The first decision I had to make on my journey was whether I wanted to be Alliance or Horde. The Horde appealed to me with races such as Undead, Orcs and Trolls, while the Alliance was full of Humans, Gnomes and other such pretty things. The fact that the mate who got me into the game is Horde and that the majority of players in WoW seem to be Alliance had a hand in my decision also (but we wont mention that here.)

The second decision was one of Race and Class. I chose Orc mainly because their race appealed to me, but also I wanted to try a hunter and the Orcs have a special hunting ability. Each race has their own special abilities and some classes are not available to all races. I customised my character’s face and hair (although I must admit these customisations are fairly limited), named my new character Eeyoor and began my journey.

As the camera pans through the little Orc/Troll village that serves as the training area for these two races, a story is told of the history of the Orcs in Azeroth. I was a little disappointed by the visuals finding it chunky at best. So the first thing I did was venture into the options and turn everything to full. Much better! However, although you can still tell that this is an older game, {quotes align=right}I quickly realised that it was made to run on almost any computer{/quotes}, and scaled up and down an incredible amount.

I was informed that as a fledgling Orc I would have to prove myself to my race before venturing out alone in the big bad world of Azeroth. These first few quests and levels serve as an introduction to the game and how it is played. It now seems like a lifetime ago that I was standing there in that little village proving my worth to my officers.

It's easy to play and anyone can jump in and within a few minutes be running around killing and questing to their hearts contentThe game plays in much the same way as most RPG’s, gather quests, kill or collect some items, loot and then hand the quests in. Fairly standard stuff, so why has WoW taken such a foothold in the gaming market that we see today? There are many answers to this but one stands out above all the rest; it is simple. It’s easy to play and anyone can jump in and within a few minutes be running around killing and questing to their hearts content, while at the same time, it caters for the hardcore gamer very well. There had been previous MMORPG’s, but nothing as ambitious as WoW had been released before. Obviously Blizzard had spent time looking at previous games of this genre and set out to fix most of the issues seen before. Now however companies are following suit and there are more and more MMORPG’s coming out then ever before. Blizzard has shown that the long term commitment to a game such as this is not only sustainable but extremely profitable.

However, questing is not the only thing to do in the world of Azeroth. Become a Tailor and make clothes for people, be a Blacksmith and craft fine weapons for the masses, choose alchemy and make potions that will give people the edge they need to take down that foe, find yourself a quiet coastline or lake and fish for hours, these are just a few of the ways to pass time in WoW. Or you can simply sit at the Auction House and buy low and sell high. There is so much that can be done in the game, it’s not all about questing and levelling your character to some uber hero status.

The interface in WoW is simple and yet gives you access to everything you needThe interface in WoW is simple and yet gives you access to everything you need, including the standard mini-map, quickslots and status information you will find in most RPG’s. The music and sound are well suited although nothing particularly stunning. I tend to play without any sound most of the time anyway, although when in a group it is nice to have built in VOIP support. Even after this length of time, there are still a few minor bugs. However, Blizzard do a great job of keeping on top of them with a steady roll out of patches and updates.

As with any online game, you find all ranges of people. With over 9 million monthly subscribers that’s not surprising. Most are helpful and willing to pass on their experience and knowledge. The game can mostly be played alone, in fact you can play the whole game alone if so desired, but the most fun is questing with a friend, whether that be someone you have found while playing online or a real life friend that has joined in for the fun. Before you know it you will be joining or forming guilds and running through dungeons with people who enjoy the game just as much as you, playing a vital role in a situation that requires more than just yourself.

The world of Azeroth is split into 2 continents each containing many incredibly different areas, yet these areas seamlessly transition from one to another. You can start wondering off in the jungle and before you know it you are traversing the hot dry dessert. Travel between the two continents is achieved by either Zeppelins for the Horde, or by Ship for the Alliance. Each Faction has three major cities spread across the continents. These cities are where the majority of the Trainers and Merchants are and also where you will find the Auction houses. There are numerous towns, villages and outposts throughout the lands, some are shared between both Alliance and Horde while some are faction specific. Discovering new areas must be done on foot, or once you hit the required level, by mount. However you will generally find a flight point for your destination which, for a small fee will allow you to fly quickly from one location to another.

The Burning Crusade, the first of the World Of Warcraft expansions, introduces many new features, including 2 races, 1 new profession, an entire new continent to explore, and has raised the level cap from 60 to 70. The Wrath Of The Lich King, the second expansion due out later this year, will raise that level cap again to 80, and brings the promise again of new lands to explore amongst other eagerly awaited features.

don't think that once you hit 70 the game is overAs mentioned, there is a level cap currently at 70, but don’t think that once you hit 70 the game is over. Blizzard has put a lot of effort in to ensure this is not the case. There are many quests, raids etc that can only be completed once you hit this level, not to mention the epic flying mount you will have to save up for once you hit 70. Some areas aren’t even available to you until you have hit this cap, so there is still much to do.

I briefly mentioned graphics earlier, and its hard to judge this game on its graphic appeal. You can certainly tell that its a three year old game and does not stack up well to today’s stunning graphics engines, however it does suit the anime feel quite well. You tend to get so immersed in the game that you don’t even notice the low poly count the majority of the time. On the other hand the Outlands, the continent introduced in the Burning Crusade expansion, seems to be a lot smoother and visually appealing than the original lands. I expect Wrath Of The Lich King to improve on that quality even more when it is released later this year.

it is a shining example of everything a game of this genre can and should beWhether you are a hardcore gamer, or never gamed before in your life, if you are wondering what an MMORPG can offer, not just in gameplay but also the fantastic social side that can only be offered by a MMO, I highly recommend you give WoW a try, it is a shining example of everything a game of this genre can and should be.

To score this game out of 5, I would have to give it a 4, only bought down by the couple of very minor bugs and the dated graphics that a game of this age offers in comparison to today’s stunning game environments. If you see me in game, whether you choose Alliance or Horde don’t be afraid to come up and give me a friendly wave, see you in Azeroth.

Official Website:
World of Warcraft Community Site

Thanx again to the whole team in the Tog Journalism Division, who without their efforts these ramblings would never see the light of day. 

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wallens - japan.comp234 |
| 10 June 2016

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