Review by randomdudeftw
"There are better ways to spend your time and money..."
As my most recent game card is about to expire I thought it would be a good idea to go into why I let it expire and only logged in with it once or twice. I've been playing wow since late 2005 with one break of about a year. The first time I stopped playing it was because I wanted to focus on other things and felt that wow was taking up too much of my time. Then it was a sudden decision that I didn't really discuss with anyone.
This time, however, it was a more gradual slide into disappointment with the "new" content offered in Wrath of the Lich King and the direction the game has taken that led me to stop renewing my game time. Simply put, I'm done with it and Blizzard.
I would break the game down to its various components and rate them individually like so many others do, but this is a quick review in which I'm going to give you the reasons why I stopped playing and why I advise other players to take their time and money elsewhere.
1) Blizzard can't leave anything alone.
During the nearly 4 years that my account has been in existence Blizzard has constantly tweaked and re-tweaked virtually every aspect of the game, completely re-doing the talent trees several times. This is asinine and unnecessary. One of the big reasons I finally threw my hands up in the air was that I was sick and tired of having to re-spec my characters for the Nteenth time.
Not only that, but they are constantly re-working how certain spells and abilities function, often to the detriment of a class that was neither broken nor overpowered to begin with. But because a bunch of whiny kids with no skills throw a temper tantrum about how overpowered a certain class is, Blizzard steps in and nerfs the class that was working fine. Abilities are supposed to be effective...otherwise why have them in the game?
Then came the Deathknight class; I thoroughly enjoyed playing this class when Wrath came out, but predictably the class was only in existence for a short period of time before being nerfed. The class was supposed to be heroic and now they are trying to make it just like every other class because they don't know how to follow through with their ideas.
To summarize this section (because I could rant about this for days and provide NUMEROUS examples of Blizzard's stupidity), the number one reason to avoid wow like syphilis is that Blizzard is constantly changing things that don't need to be changed. If you don't mind the possibility that the class you love could be randomly gutted to placate the inscrutable goals of a developer gone mad then feel free to enjoy this title and have to learn your class all over again after every major patch.
2) Forced Multiplayer
I shouldn't have to do raids or enter battlegrounds/arena to get good gear, but unfortunately those are the only two ways to get the best weapons and armor for you character. And of course gear you obtain through dungeon raids is really only suitable for more raids while pvp gear is really only suitable for more pvp. This is bad game design, but what does that have to do with forced multiplayer?
Simply this; the only two ways to get epic level gear for your character is by taking part in activities that depend on the multiplayer aspect of the game...and that is total BS.
Now, some "clever" people like to point out that it's a massive MULTIPLAYER game whenever someone like me complains about the best content coming from raids. But you know what? Multiplayer is only part of the game; MMOs are about being part of a persistent world that is interacted with by massive amounts of other players at the same time. It shouldn't be about hitting players over the head with the multiplayer aspect, forcing them to join large guilds, run most frequently by immature knuckle-draggers, and compete with the guild master's BFF for gear that you need. And DO NOT get me started on hunters ninja-ing drops by rolling need...
Look, I don't object to players who love raiding getting tons of content; I'm happy that they get spiffy stuff for doing raids. Good for them. I'm just saying that not everyone signed up for the mindless histrionics involved in guild politics that are apparently a necessary part of raiding. Stop generating content for one type of player and ignoring the fact that there are tons of people that want more single player content. My bimonthly game card is worth the same amount as the game card purchased by a dungeon running hamster. Or it would be if I was ever going to purchase one again.
So to summarize this section, don't play wow unless you are comfortable with having to join a large and often poorly led guild in order to fully experience the game. I realize that I didn't go into pvp but that's a whole different headache and what I've said here is enough to keep me from playing.
3) The Economy
While it could be considered brilliant that the wow economy mirrors the current world economy (in that it is FUBAR), it is instead just sad. Pathetic, even, since Blizzard seems to have a problem with players having spare gold. The game can be very daunting for a new player for financial reasons alone.
A big part of this is due to Blizzard's lowering the amount of experience needed to level up for most of the game. It doesn't take as long to level up as it used to, which would be a good thing except that the amount of gold you get from killing mobs and questing hasn't changed. So now you have to replace your equipment and train in new skills with less time in between each level for earning the money you will need. Also, there is no reason to attempt to get good gear for a character below level 60 (maybe even 70) since you will end up replacing it after a very short amount of playing time. This is bad game design.
It also doesn't help that any time an enterprising player finds a way to make a lot of money Blizzard seems to do something to take that away, or they come up with money sinks to make you pay for things that you already worked your butt off for (like paying to use a flying mount in Northrend).
I could go into details about the colossal quagmire that is the auction house but I think what I've said here is enough; the game's developers don't really know how to manage the features of the game in a way to present a balanced economy to the players. It's a pain in the butt to make money in wow and when you do get it you usually have to spend it on things of dubious value.
4) More of the same
So you thought buying an expansion would add something to your game? Ha! Guess what you get? Second verse, same as the first; and then the same with the third. The same kinds of quests with the occasional unique one thrown in as some lame attempt to justify forcing you to pay for more of the same thing. Seriously, we need a new RPG paradigm beyond go to new area, get flight path, do fetch and carry quests, do kill stuff quests, do kill boss quest, go to new area and get flight path...
It's all the same folks, and if you're one of the players who are still enamored with this lackluster game mechanic then I pity you. Blizzard doesn't seem to give any more than lip service to creating truly new content, and this is simply unacceptable for a game you have to pay for every month.
Look, this is basically Everquest with better graphics and some different features; if that's enough for you then have fun. I, however, expect better from my entertainment and wow has let me down one too many times. I really don't recommend this title; take it from someone who has played the hell out of this game...there are better ways to spend your time and money.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 06/30/09
Game Release: World of Warcraft (US, 11/23/04)
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