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The “World of Warcraft” post

May 3, 2010


My avatar on Azeroth rapid-transit…

Named such because I don’t anticipate ever doing another…

Wonder why I haven’t been posting anything much, anonymous reader? It’s ’cause somebody bribed me into playing this game, that’s why.  See, there’s an exclusive mount you can only get for a limited time, and even then, you have to bring a new member into the cult fold in order to get it. I had resisted for four years, and my friend basically tells me, “I’m going to bankroll you for 3 months so I can get this mount.” And since I was going to spend some of my free time playing a game this summer anyway…

So, here’s my critiques about the game as of right now:*

1) The time it takes

…to get anywhere!  Part of Blizzard’s evil genius is how long it takes simply to traverse stretches of land in the game.  My hunter (for which I thank my friend for helping me set up) finally reached a point in the game where she (yes, I’ll get to that) can run about as fast as a mount.  With that, it only takes a boring amount of time to get to one of the scattered quests you have to do to get experience in the game, rather than an obscene amount of time.

2) Cross-dressing within the game

Another addicting element is the eye candy – the graphics of the game in genneral, and the character graphics in particular.  Blizzard knows sex sells, and that men outnumber women in gaming in general.  Here’s an older study that says about half of men playing WoW are playing with a female avatar…

http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1506905/20070131/index.jhtml

Me? I don’t deny that I picked a female as one of the two characters I play (and you can have up to fifty on one account) because they are smoking hot.  I suspect that’s why other males playing chose them too.  Giving credit where credit’s due though – the graphics in the environment are jaw-dropping in spots.  I try (while running back and forth through far-flung reaches of Blizzard’s servers) to stop once in a while and just look around at all the stuff around me.

3) Required assistance in the game

I think, of everything that annoys me in the game, this point gets me the most.  See, there are certain quests one has to do in the game that are impossible to do on your own.  When this was first explained to me, I was OK with it, but as I thought about the implications, I started resenting it more and more.

Think about it – you are required to have assistance in places. Not because you’re playing the game inefficiently, or you made the wrong choices in setting up your avatar.  No – simply to play in that area and finish what you have to do, you must have another with you, either to act as a punching bag while you act as sidekick, or to keep the heat off each other. And further, keep in mind the game itself sends you out to do these things in the first place.  The whole setup stinks – either it’s poor game design: the game ought to be smarter than to send me out to do things I probably statistically should not be able to do, or more likely, it’s a plan on Blizzard’s part: I get someone in my friend/family circle to join up and pony up their fees as well.

4) Lack of customization of armor/clothing

This is one that’s pretty trivial in the grand scheme of things, but it still grates – built into the game there are several customizable options for your avatar – mail characters stuff/money and get charged. Spend money changing your skills, or your haircut.  But no customization of the armor or clothing? Not even the chance to pay to change the color of the stuff you’re wearing?  Even a kid with a coloring book doesn’t have somebody telling them how to color their bumblebee…

And finally – the ancillary industries surrounding this game put me off.  You can Google for yourself just how many how-to manuals exist in order to win back some control over money/strategy for this game.  Call me retrograde, but I shouldn’t have to study to play a freaking game.

* much of this is (probably) mirrored on WoW suggestion sites – I sincerely don’t have the time to find out – but, just skimming over one such site, I found under “travel & miscellaneous” the suggestion that you should be able to make flight connections between points in Azeroth – so, in essence, your flight on your hippogryph can be routed to the shortest available path to get to your destination.  If art must reflect life (and since you pay virtual money to fly anyway) it should reflect it in as many ways, both mundane and fantastic, as possible.

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