Review by Darkartist

Reviewed: 12/09/04

WoW is well named

Graphics- 9/10
The graphics are excellent in WoW, even on a fairly low-end machine. There is a certain life to it that other MMORPGs don't have; the bounce of a character's hair when he runs, a lack of stiffness when characters run or are standing around. And the cities and towns are excellent. A good example would be Lakeshire which is a small town in Redridge Mountains (a zone in the human lands) there are NPCs (Non Player Characters, controlled by the computer) that move around from time to time rather than stand in the same place all day and night. Overall impressive, maybe not the best out there, but pleasing to look at.

Music- 10/10
In my opinion, this is some of the best music I've heard in a while in games. It's mostly in the background and doesn't demand attention. But when you enter an important place, such as Stormwind, the human capital city, the music is a bit grander and gives the place a nice atmosphere.

Sound- 6/10
Though the music is superb, the sound effects are lacking. I actually don't remember most of the sound effects, they're just kind of... there. Not bad, but not good either.

Voice Acting- 9/10
Very nice, when you click on a NPC they say something. Yes, if you click on them several times they say the same thing again, but it doesn't get annoying. There are also commands you can type that have your character say something. I don't particularly like the voice for the Night Elf, but that's just my opinion.

Gameplay- 9/10
In the beginning, there was a short opening movie about the race I chose then I was put in control of my character. In front of me, there was a NPC that had an orange "!" over his head, meaning he had a quest I could do. I talked to him and received a quest, it told me to kill 8 boars and 4 nightsabers. I went out and did so, surprised by the speed and ease of the combat system. Soon, I had a fair idea of my role in combat. I walked around the starting area, doing quests and leveling up. Soon I found a cave, and wondering what was inside, I entered and was immediately amazed and delighted to discover that there was no loading time to go inside! I went in deeper and killed some of the resident spiders. Soon, I got a quest that sent me on to the next town, I went down the road, looking around and enjoying the scenery. Soon enough I was level 9 and ready to get away from the starting areas, so I went to the capital city (again, no loading time) and took a boat to the mainland (I was a Night Elf and we started on a different continent). That was my experience, now on to a few of the other elements of gameplay.

Questing. Questing is not nearly as repetitive as I had feared, not revolutionary, but not too bad either. You talk to an NPC that has an orange "!" over his head and then do what he wants you to do. You then return to him and give him what he wants. You'll get a reward and/or money.

PvP. This is an excellent part of WoW. I believe that, in time, this could even be better than DAoC's Realm Vs. Realm. On non-PvP servers you have to type /pvp on order to attack players from the other side (Horde if you're an Alliance member or vice versa). On PvP servers you can automatically attack the other side without typing the command. Unlike other MMORPGs with PvP, you can actually enter the enemy's home cities and take them over (though this would require at least a hundred players working together for the capital cities) probably not for very long though. There are also Battlegrounds where you can enter and stage much larger scale battles with players mostly your level.

Crafting. Crafting is handled much better than in other games, I think. You can have 2 tradeskills and also pick up Cooking and Fishing. There are quite a few different tradeskills that you can get depending on what you want to do. For example, if you get Skinning, then when you slay a beast you can skin it and then sell its skin to either a merchant for money or to a Leatherworker player who can fashion it into armor.

Control- 9/10
When I first played the game, I was comfortable with the controls almost immediately. The hotkeys are almost all conveniently placed close to each other. Chatting might take a bit of getting used to. Blizzard, I know you're trying to be different and have us use /party instead of /group for chat between groups of players, but really, it's cumbersome to get used to.

Learning Curve- 8/10
It's very easy to get into this game, of course, that might be because I've been playing MMOs for a while but for a newcomer to the genre I imagine it would still be pretty easy. There is no tutorial, but I don't think it really needs one, if you're having problems you can always ask other players in general chat (talks to players across the region).

Overall- 9/10
Easy controls, nice graphics, hardly feels like a grind and good music. It is by no means perfect, but it comes about as close as a game can within a few weeks of launch. If you like RPGs and don't mind paying $15 a month, I suggest you give this a try.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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