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World of WarcraftWorld of Warcraft

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft


Successfully running for the last six years, it holds a record for being the world’s most popular pay to play MMORPG. With over 11.4 million subscribers, and is currently the world’s most subscribed to Fantasy MMORPG. The best of all facts is that this wildly popular game has recently launched free to play with some limitations, and if you haven’t guessed it yet already, yes, we are talking about World of Warcraft, WoW.
Released back in 2004 by Blizzard, a company which needs no introduction besides the fact that they are the makers of WOW, this is the game which actually set standards for MMOs. Almost every MMORPG we play, our minds subconsciously compare it to the World of Warcraft. It is true that despite many new and innovative features in newer games, we just can’t think of them more than a clone of WoW.

The game is also credited for giving birth to the awesome gamer language which includes words such as ‘pwned’ and ‘haxor’. Gamers of all ages have spent hours and hours in the World of Warcraft and not to mention a fortune has been spent on the game collectively. And now in 2011, the good news arrives. WoW has finally gone free to play.

So, if you are one of those gamers, who haven’t been able to save enough money for the subscription yet, be amused. You can now enjoy the most awesome MMORPG ever made, free to play, with a few restrictions though. So, here goes a review of what you are going to experience in the World of Warcraft: Starter Edition.

An Epic Storyline

If you remember Warcraft, as the real time strategy game before it was World of Warcraft, you might also remember the world of Azeroth. The story line of WoW picks up from the same place where the story of Warcraft left us. The storyline, although not very apparent in the gameplay, does exist and there are a number of storyline quests as well. It might shock a few gamers, but WoW has a long story which is much better represented in the WoW literature rather than the game.

Since the free to play edition of the game is based on the Burning Crusade expansion, the story continues with Illidan setting himself as the lord of Outland. Draenei, race that belonged to Outland did not settle for the slavery and landed onto an island near Kalimdor and joined the alliance. Blood elves, joined the Hordes. And so the story continues.

Choose your Race and Class

There are two factions in WoW to choose from; the Alliance and the Horde. Each faction has races which further divide into classes. In free to play, you can choose all but Goblin and Worgen which are introduced in the latest expansion and won’t be available unless you upgrade.

The Alliance: Human, Dwarf, Night Elf, Gnome, Draenei
The Horde: Orc, Undead, Tauren, Troll, Blood Elf

There are total nine classes to choose from. However, not every class is available for every race. All of these classes are what we generally see in MMORPGs. Since most of the other games are heavily based on what WoW introduces, we don’t feel the need of introducing each class individually. These classes are Priest, Rogue, Warrior, Mage, Druid, Hunter, Warlock, Shaman and Paladin.

Getting your feet Wet

WoW first merged the role playing element into real time strategy and that is what became the standard for MMORPGs. Therefore, we can say that the general gameplay of the game is pretty standard in every way, and the free to play edition let’s you enjoy most of it, well up to level 20.

The player starts from the character customization screen and with most of the races and classes open, as noted above, WoW really gives a wonderful experience of creating an avatar out of the given options. Each player starts from a different part of the world depending on the race chosen.

General game play involves questing which is a very crucial element of the game. Many quests are available all the time and many of them are storyline quests, whether it be a main storyline of the game or a smaller sub-plot for the region that the character finds themselves in at the time. Players can even choose a profession in order to craft or gather things in the game. Quests bring rewards, experience points as well as faction reputation to the player.

Then there are dungeons, where you will meet monsters and other creatures as well as other players. The free to play version also allows PvP combat. A number of PvP modes including capture the flag are also available. However, there are a few limitations for the non-playing members and that shall be discussed later in the review.

In short, the overall gameplay of WoW is free of all the so-called innovative and unique features that are making MMOs more confusing by the day. In fact, the game only offers features that are necessary to make the game addictive while keeping it simple. This may be enough, and may even be a good thing for a player starting out, but as time goes on one will find a longing for those additional features, and once you get a taste there is no going back.

PVP

Being one of the crown jewels of the WoW Realm, PVP is not just a part of the game, it is a HUGE portion of the games experience. For those who wish to avoid the carnage that comes with PVP, you can choose to avoid PVP by playing on a PVE server, but truthfully, where is the fun in that?

WoW’s PVP can be downright brutal at times, not as brutal as other games that have given us game ending death throes, but still brutal. Once you reach level 20 and you start to wander into the contested zones, all players become fair game for the rival faction. Ganking as it has becoming commonly know is commonplace in several populated zones. So watch your back while you are out there trying to complete those quests in Stranglethorn Vale. That or recruit a high level friend to have your back out there. It is a dangerous world, and that is just part of the fun!

For those individuals who live by more honorable codes of PVP combat, over the years Blizzard has introduced many Battlegrounds for PVP action. The range of gameplay styles in these Battleground vary widely, and really add to the PVP gameplay experience. Not only giving those players who enjoy PVP something else to do, but creating a vastly rewarding system too.

Lastly, but not leastly, the Arena seasons really take team PVP combat to the max. With great risk comes great reward. Each season opens up a new set of gear for players who pay their dues in the Arena. Grab a couple friends for 3v3 action or a couple more for the 5v5 and create your team for battle. Button mashing is not going to cut it here though, finding the proper team balance to go along with a solid team strategy will be needed to succeed in the Arena.

How Free is Free

While the free to play does allow you to enjoy the game completely free till level twenty, there are a few restrictions on what free players can and cannot do in the game. After all, subscribers are paying a fee and they ought to get some benefits. So, here is what the free edition ‘does not’ bring to your table.

• You can only carry a maximum of 10 gold
• Trade skills are capped at 100 rank
• You won’t be able to trade via the Auction House, mailbox, or player-to-player
• You can communicate through whispers but not the public chat. Even the whispers are only restricted to people added as friends
• You will not be able to create or join guilds
• You will not be able to invite other players into a party or to join the part with players above level 20
• Voice chat is unavailable
• Starter Edition accounts are ineligible for character transfers
• RealID features are also disabled

Graphics and Sounds

Although the graphics are not as great as we are seeing these days, they have a special allure and style that is all their own. Over the years the graphical engine has been greatly enhanced with the expansions. Combining cartoony art with anime style and a touch of realism, character designing is wonderfully done. One of the most commendable things is perhaps the environment of the game, which definitely merges a realistic appeal in the overall appearance of the game.

While graphics may seem dated to an extent, sounds will forever remain legendary in the history of gaming. The game has a very deep and original score along with effects that make it impossible to play without sounds on.

ConclusionThe Final Word

Great’ is the word which we can use to describe WoW in the simplest way, but talking about the ftp WoW Starter Edition, it is simply the greatest thing that ever happened in the world of MMORPGs. Even with it’s limitations, the game simply has so much to offer a player. How anyone could play the starter edition and not upgrade is beyond me, with a world that is just so simply breathtaking and immersive. Gameplay that has something for everyone, whether you are a hardcore PVPer, achievement seeker, crafter, or just love exploration this game has your fix. So, any gamer lucky enough to witness this historic moment is bound to play, PERIOD.


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2 Comments
  • Dracona
    October 27, 2011
    Reply #1

    It is a good game, but I don’t feel that it’s a good enough game to pay the +120 dollars for the expansions and subscriber fees. If they reduced the whole set of expansions down to say…60 dollars. Then I might consider it. It’s not worth it paying that much money for a game that has been around for that long, but has still neglected to update it’s graphics.

    • Nephistic
      April 9, 2012
      Reply #2

      I agree, the price is a bit absurd. But lately they put Vanilla and Burning Crusade together in one game, lowering the total.

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