World of Warcraft is one of the most iconic and well-known MMORPGs on the market; in fact, many MMORPGs use World of Warcraft(WOW) as a template to create new games in hopes of them being as big as WOW. With a diverse player base, strong community, and immersive gameplay, WOW is an obvious contender for one of the best classic MMORPGs. As online gaming grows, newer games compete for supremacy, but many fail. Blizzard regularly releases expansions and updates to keep WOW one of the most played RPGs on the internet. However, it is not completely free to play. Players can download the “starter addition” which allows players to explore the world, and advance up to level 20. There are some features, besides higher leveling, that are restricted to paid members, but WOW is still fun even in the starter edition, which will get you started and allow you to upgrade whenever you are ready.
The controls are relatively intuitive, so no problems there. Camera and character movement is with either the WASD or arrow keys. It is pretty quest based. The storyline has always been a centerpiece for WOW, which is evident in many of their cinematic trailers; the action is shown, but the story is featured. The narrative is based around quests, instances, and dialogue/cut scenes. Each new expansion usually includes a new instance, which expands the story, bringing players deeper into the lore of Azeroth.
There are two factions: Horde and Alliance. Traditionally, the Horde is seen as the “bad” faction, but many members of the Horde feel misunderstood. Horde is an aggressive, war-like faction, with many of their members looking monstrous, but that does not make them inherently “bad”. The Alliance is generally peaceful, but after the Horde attacked, spurred by the deception of The Burning Legion, war erupted between the two factions.
Each faction has its own lore and races. Pandaren are available for both factions.
Alliance features dwarves, gnomes, humans, night elves, draenei, and the worgen.
Horde features orcs, tauren, trolls, undead, blood elves, and the goblins.
Druid – The most versatile class. Druids are effect support characters but can also call upon their feral nature and shapeshift into powerful beasts.
Hunter – The archer class of WoW, Hunters prefer to attack from a distance and lay traps. Hunters can tame beasts and fight in melee range when the need arises.
Mage – Masters of the elemental arts, Mages have high damage potential but suffer from low defense.
Paladin – Holy warriors who can wear plate but can also cast supportive spells to aid their allies in battle.
Priest – The main supportive class in WoW. Priests have the most powerful healing spells but can also inflict heavy damage with shadow related spells.
Rogue – The premier melee damage class. Rogues can dish out a lot of hurt in a short period of time but suffer from lower defense and health compared to other melee classes. Stealth gives them a tactical advantage and allows them to start a fight on their own terms. Other important abilities include lockpicking and the handling of poisons. Also, a huge power is the rogue’s ability to stun and incapacitate for a large period of time.
Shaman – In touch with the spirit world, Shaman’s use totems to channel energy towards those around them — be they friend or foe. Shamans are a hybrid class capable of both melee and magic attacks.
Warlock – Sinister spell casters who use the diabolical arts to summon demons to serve them. Warlocks learn curses and DoTs that weaken and damage their opponents.
Warrior – The primary melee fighter and tank. Warriors in WoW can do much more than absorb damage, properly trained they are capable of inflicting heavy damage.
Monk – Monks are a new hybrid class. They perform melee DPS, tanking, and healing roles. Their talent trees are Windwalker for melee damage, Brewmaster for tanking capabilities, and lastly, Mistweaver for healing. They use pole arms, staves, one-handed weapons, and fist weapons. They will use cloth and leather for armor with agility and intellect as stat bonuses. They’re also the newest class that uses the chi system, which, like death knights and warriors, build up chi (runes for DKs and rage for warriors), and pull off finishers (like rogues) with their weapons.
Death Knight – The first ‘Hero Class.’ Introduced in the Lich King expansion, Death Knights start the game at level 55.They are a hybrid class, able to tank and/or deal damage. They are a melee class with casting abilities like the paladin, and can raise undead minions. Although they will have minions, they will not be a pet class (unless they have appropriate talent), but will use some of their mechanics. They are the only class to use the rune resource system. It is also notable that death knights have their own talent trees comparable to current classes.
The graphics are stylized, which is endearing and familiar. The stylization is detailed without attempting to be too realistic. Movement is smooth and actions are mystically pleasant. The voice overs are well-done. Sound effects and audio are appropriate and enhance the immersive feel of gameplay. In general the basics of the atmosphere are pleasing. It is one of the reasons so many players flock to this MMO, which brings me to the interesting part of WOWs atmosphere.
The community in WOW is massive. Within the factions, there is a sense of pride and community that is unprecedented, especially with the Horde. So many members of the Horde, feel like they have to defend their faction with cries of “we’re misunderstood”. The general notion of this outcast faction draws them together, binding them in unity. It is easy to feel at home in Azeroth, which is millions of players continue to keep WOW one of the most played MMOs on the internet.
World of Warcraft is popular for a reason. It has immersive gameplay and detailed stylized graphics. Even though many MMORPG developers seem to try to make a “WOW Clone” none have succeeded. In the hearts of MMORPG gamers, there will never be a game as wonderful as World of Warcraft. If you have not tried WOW yet, then now is as good a time as any to try out the starter edition. You can play as long as you want on the starter edition; there is no time limit, only a level cap. Joining the millions of players already raiding and questing is just a click away.