Gordo’s Gaming Blog

My adventures in the many worlds of gaming.

Posts Tagged ‘World of Warcraft

My Relationship with WoW

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I make no secret that I despise what WoW has become. The world’s biggest timesink. Yet I still see fun in it. Even when I read about incoming features that I hate, I nearly always see things that I love at the same time. My interest in this Titanic of a game has been sparked again recently by my friend offering me a ‘Scroll of Ressurection’, causing my account to regain activity for 10 days.

Those 10 days are drawing to a close, but they’ve certainly been thought-provoking and insightful. I’ve hit one of the lowest milestones in the game, in getting to level 70. In some ways, that’s where my interest in the game ends. I’ve no desire to lose hours of my time grinding an instance for a piece of gear that allows me to progress to the next level of instance to grind. I love instances, I love raids, but not when I’m doing that instance for the hundredth time. I really enjoy learning the instance, how the bosses work, I like a challenge, and I enjoy the ‘process’ of a raid, the organisation, and the feeling when it all works out, and that boss is down. But the raids in WoW take that enjoyment I experience and stretch it to the limit.

WoW grabs you with pretty graphics and easy gameplay, and sucks even the most anti-gamers in, and pretty soon they play it religiously, barely stopping to eat. It’s something we’ve all read stories about. And yet, for some reason, I don’t feel the same way. I’m not compelled to play 16 hours a day until I’ve got my ‘Epix’. I’ve no desire to spend my life in Alterac Valley. It got me thinking, why?

I think the truest answer is, that WoW is a game for people who’ve never played a game before. I mean that in an extremely loose sense of the word. Not people who’ve literally never played a game before, but people who’ve never connected with a game. People who’ve never seen what a game can really be, all the range of emotions it can bring. WoW simply provides a medium through which people can enlarge their ego, by getting better gear than someone else. That makes people feel good, but a game should be so much more than that. A game should excite you, frustrate you, make you laugh, make you sigh (because men don’t cry!), make you feel empathy, and act on that empathy so you end up feeling better about yourself and the situation you worked on. To me, WoW does none of that. Maybe that’s because I’ve seen all those things at work in better, greater games. Sorry WoW, but you’re too shallow for me. You don’t provide those things. I’ve no connection with the world, or the other characters. You just have me, as a player, looking at the next piece of gear on my wishlist. But I tend to think, ‘It doesn’t have to be like this’, and pretty soon I end up logging out. And I think unless Blizzard take WoW in a totally different direction, I might not ever be able to truly enjoy it.

Written by Gordo

July 14, 2008 at 8:36 pm

Posted in MMO

Tagged with , ,

Game/TV Duality

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Games based on TV shows and TV shows based of games have a long history. The classic examples (and as far back as I can remember, I’m afraid!) are Pokémon and Mario. Nintendo had a good franchise in the video gaming industry, and expanded it to enrichen the experience of the followers of the franchises. Whether or not they did that, is a matter of personal choice, but I remember, as a kid, playing the Pokémon games on my gameboy, and then switching on the TV to see the anime. As I was a kid, I cared little for the cheesiness or blatant moneyspinner that was the TV show, I just enjoyed seeing a different angle on the universe.

Recently, TV shows based on films have been on the decline. Indeed, there’ve been several video games based on TV shows, and practically 1 per film that comes out, but that’s often shovelware (though there are those who argue that the Mario & Pokémon TV series’ were the TV’s equivalent of shovelware!).

Sci-FiAnyway, I was interested to read earlier a joint MMO and TV series being produced by the Sci-Fi channel. It certainly is an interesting prospect. It could work if they seperate the two franchises into seperate departments. I think the TV series should show the universe as a whole, the political and military movements of it, and the lives of the political and military leaders, while the game allows the player to explore it on a ground level, seeing how the changes affect the life of the average Joe. Having the two angles on the game could really increase the players’ immersion.

On a side note, conerning the World of Warcraft Film, which is kind of related – I think the company responsible are going in the right direction in making a ‘War movie’ not an adventure movie. The people who go to see the movie will undoubtedly be mainly players, and to allow them to see the major characters in the game doing something other than just standing stationary in their cities will be quite exciting for them. However, if they went to see what would effectively be 2 hours of CGI rendered gameplay, they wouldn’t be impressed.

Written by Gordo

June 2, 2008 at 5:46 pm

Posted in General, MMO

Tagged with , ,

WAR – the MMOMessiah?

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The MMORPG community is a large and complex one, not easy to analyse at all. However, many players are looking for the next mass-popularity MMO. That is, the MMO that becomes the largest game in the world. There is a consensus that World of Warcraft, long the undisputed King, Emporer, Tsar and High Priest of the MMO world has had it’s day – the best is behind it. Whilst the upcoming expansion pack ‘Wrath of the Lich King’ will undoubtedly sell like hotcakes, I can’t see it fulfilling the players’ every dream.

WoW nowadays is a mix of people playing for the social aspect purely, some who are doing a little bit of the raid content and endgame PvP, and Pro-gamers and 1337 raiders. Many of which have played the game for far too long, and are striving for something else, only sticking with WoW until that messiah comes.

Many people saw Age of Conan coming, and thought it would be that game. As much as it would be nice if it were, I guess I always knew it would not – why? It’s too different. It explores adult themes, and WoW has always been quite a teenager-friendly game. The graphics are good, but need a decent rig to run; single mums who can’t afford to spend that much on a PC could play WoW and enjoy it, a little time away from their busy lives – but no way could they do the same with AoC. Also, AoC is a strongly male-orientated game; I’ve yet to meet a female gamer on my server (yes, I guarantee they do exist, but in WoW, there was a pretty large percentage, considering this is a video game, once the realm of only middle-aged men and teenage boys). That has the result of repelling women, repelling men who normally play with their girlfriend or wife, and repelling men who hope to meet a woman in the game (yes, I’ve met ingame couples in previous games that have ended up with a real life marraige!).

As well as this, the combat in AoC is more skill-based – it rewards people who’ve played RPGs and fighting games for years, and makes progression much harder for those who’ve not. WoW didn’t do this; it’s combat was so simple, anyone could pick it up and learn to play in minutes, yet it had the depth, that it attracted ‘Pro-Gamers’ (and still does) – a mistimed skill can cause a wipe for a group in the toughest of dungeons or fiercest of battlegrounds.

What am I getting at? Well – WoW is, as far as I’m concerned, history. There’s room for a new MMO on the block, one which will take over the world like WoW did. And, this Autumn (Fall for the American reader), Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is coming out. This game comes from a 30 year old IP, one that, probably, of all the IPs you could use to build a game on, has the most content available. It is similar enough to WoW in all the good respects, and different enough in the bad. It’s a game that’ll be built for the average Joe’s PC, so it can tap into the mass market. It has a realm vs realm PvP system, giving you automatic allies, and a common cause with them. It promises quest that affect the state of the world you reside in, large scale battles allowing you to even take your enemies’ city for a limited amount of time. All you actions, directly or indirectly, lead to the promotion of your side – but simultaneously, another body of players will be doing the same, belittling the effort you made. This game could be special, and I’m definetly going to be checking up on this game as it progresses. I have my collector’s edition pre-ordered, and I can’t wait until the Open Beta, when I should get to see the game for myself, and see if it really works. And if it does, could it be the WoW-beater? The messiah of MMOs?

Written by Gordo

May 27, 2008 at 6:54 pm