Story: Join either the Alliance (humans, elves, gnomes, dwarves, night elves, draenei, worgen, pandaren) of the absolute good or the more subjective Horde of uncertainty (orcs, undead, tauren, troll, blood elf, goblin, pandaren). Pandaren is listed twice because they can choose either side. As if that’s not enough variety, the character classes with their unique abilities are: warrior, paladin, hunter, rogue, priest, death knight, shaman, mage, warlock, monk, druid, and demon hunter. One account allows you to make up to 50 characters. Guess what, I hit that limit years ago. Characters in World of Warcraft are like potato chips, you can’t have just one! The Alliance and Horde are anceint rivals, but other foes arrive throughout the ages causing them to tenatively work together to face the greater threat. Complete quests in a battle against the environmental creatures, fight against other players in both the open world and pre-arranged battlegrounds, dive into dungeons with groups, take part in larger raids, fight bosses, and on and on and on. There’s really way too much to go into any great detail without writing a novel. In fact the lore is so deep, many novels both officially and unofficially have already been written.
Over the last 13 years, the game has changed a lot. I think most of the community will say for the better, though nostalgia gamers will rant, “I remember back when this game was hard!” including the then pointless grinding to get even a mount to ride on. Die-hard roleplayers (myself included) will gripe that the vast community of roleplayers have nearly vanished in the game, instead coagulating into guilds that rarely have events or conversation. Still, what the creators of World of Warcraft made is not only still there, but the universe (bigger than just one world now) is HUGE! If levelling, experiencing and exploring are your thing, you’ve got a very long journey ahead of you.
Highlights: Always something to accomplish in the game. Customer service and developers listen to gamers, attend to their requests and make positive changes on a regular basis. Slick interface makes gaming a breeze. Easy to jump in and jump out at just about any time. Awe-inspiring moments in combat and most beautiful landscapes imagined. Seasonal events, and continuously growing maps.
Lowlights: Graphics are still fairly ‘dated’, not Playstation 4 or XBox One by far. Has gotten ‘easier’ over time. Less focus on actual in-character roleplay as before and less enforcement of this idea. Dungeons or Battlegrounds (Player versus Player) sometimes is quick and confusing to new players when joining a random group.
Similar Style Games: Lord of the Rings Online, Everquest, Star Trek Online, Star Wars The Old Republic
Final Thought: Every online gamer should at least play the free trial. If it’s not your thing, that’s cool, but certainly is the baseline for comparison for all other MMORPGs. I’m still looking for one that can top or match it, but until then, you’ll find me in Azeroth.
(Image Credits: http://www.sepeb.com/world-of-warcraft/world-of-warcraft-004.jpg, http://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/818551-world-of-warcraft-cataclysm-windows-screenshot-creating-a.png, http://nam-guild.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/deathwing.jpg, https://i.ytimg.com/vi/2uO0SJwDbhE/maxresdefault.jpg