Ashley Zoch

Friday, June 17, 2005

Damn Your Worlds of Warcrafts

I've been enjoying frequent business lunches with the boys at Darebin council lately. They've slowly been chipping away at my resolve to get me to join them in the multiplayer online game World of Warcraft. Much to my surprise Mark finally cracked and I decided it was an opportunity for me to try it out with partner of equal n00bness (n00bism? n00bliness? Who knows).

We fired it up (after much patching and restarting) and joined the guild. Shortly after, we were slaughtering level 1 Rattlecage Skeletons and Dusk-Bats (much to our glee). I selected a nice zombie looking Undead Warrior called Mortyss and Mark has a pale bald Undead Mage called Dracombe (much better names than the common 13 year old's fair - Imgunnaslayya, Gnomekilla or BillyGatessux).

We've been pumping through quest and dungeon alike and are currently teetering around the high 20s in level. We're fortunate in that quite a few other folks got suckered in at the same time so we have a good bunch of friends to 'party' with (never has party meant something as far from the common use as in role-playing). It beats playing with childish and unpredictable strangers by a long shot.

We've run a few dungeons using the guild's Teamspeak server for communication. It's a lot of fun and involves enough strategy to keep the mind interested. It's warming to see teamwork occurring without the need for someone to act as boss. Folks know their roles and perform them willingly for the benefit of the group. It works well.

The mechanics of the game are very well put together. It's basically Diablo with a bunch of other people playing, but it's big enough not to feel like you're being led through a linear plot. It seems that Blizzard has put some effort into keeping players of wildly disparate levels away from each other and this is good. It's nice that everyone's level 60 (the maximum) friends aren't rushing them through dungeons to level their characters in a couple of days.

The looting (collecting treasure from monsters) could use some more fine tuning. There's some options there, but everyone I have played with has their own additional policies on the distribution of treasure. I've seen many mistakes and the odd bit of bad blood from folks grabbing stuff their shouldn't have. It's a minor annoyance.

Blizzard have carefully placed milestones as your character levels to maintain your interest. As you become stronger you can visit more locations, make use of more convenient (and exotic) transport and delve deeper into your character's chosen skills. I guess that's common in a lot of games, but it's well spaced in WoW - just enough to keep the addiction going.

That all feels a bit like a review. I was a bit hesitant to play a long term subscription based game due to my plans to head overseas. WoW is rich enough in content that I'm satisfied with the amount I have played already. My concern now is what will happen to my poor Mortyss when I do go...


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