World of Warcraft is easily one of the most harmonious games I have ever played. The basis for a harmonious game is a balance of mechanics, story, aesthetics, and technology. I feel that World of Warcraft, or WoW, does amazingly in each category.
So let’s start with mechanics. The mechanics in WoW are incredibly involved and may be rather daunting to new players, but in the long run everything comes together to make amazing gameplay. The game has many classes, things like Warlocks, Paladins, Death Knights, Mages, and a lot more. Each one of these classes has it’s own advanced set of mechanics. They have dozens of spells and abilities that make each class very distinct from the others. Obviously class mechanics alone don’t make a good game, but WoW goes in-depth with Quest, Raid, and Player vs. Player mechanics. Quests are primarily seen in the leveling and progression phase, and help the player learn to play the game at the beginning. They introduce different class mechanics, as well as Player vs. Player and Raid mechanics. The primary role of quests lies in storyline, but i’ll talk about that later. Raids are an amazing end-game mechanic found in WoW. These raids are made up of complex instances that require elaborate teamwork from 10 to 40 players. Everything from killing the simple standard enemies in the instance, to the beautifully scripted boss fights requires a lot of time, effort, and skill. Another iconic mechanic is the 100% player driven economy. Prices are not set in stone by any developers. The economy is fueled by pure supply and demand in this perfectly capitalistic economy using the Auction House. Last but not least, and my personal favorite, is the Player vs. Player mechanics. Players can group up to fight eachother in arenas to fight in small skill-based and very competitive battles, or can group up for the larger team-based battlegrounds which include things like Capture the Flag and Domination based maps. The amount of mechanics detail that goes into the classes makes player vs player battles incredibly interesting. Fighting in arenas requires the player to have extensive knowledge of not only his/her class, but every elses as well in order to succeed. The combination of all of these mechanics makes for one amazing global mechanic system. For an example of complex mechanics, here’s my favorite character. His name is Alechilles. Alec + Achilles = Alechilles. Get it? Got it? Good.
As you can see, he does a lot of stuff. He’s got 5 pages worth of class specific spells and abilities, plus 3 pages of race specific and general abilities. On top of that he has 18 Talents, 6 of which can be active at any time. On 3 different characters I have 36 different keybinds memorized, all of which do entirely different things depending on the character I’m playing at the time. I’m not trying to brag about crazy memorization skills or anything. Just pointing out the fact that combat in this game, especially player vs. player can be incredibly involved. Besides, if you had 5 months of time played on WoW like me you’d probably have them all memorized by now too.
Here’s me and my Arena partner. We team up for 2 vs 2 Arena’s a few times a week.
Next up comes story. Some people may argue that the game lacks a bit story-wise, but that’s because everyone is too lazy to read any of the quest dialogue presented to them as they’re playing. I don’t intend to spoil the story of WoW, and I certainly don’t think I could ever write a decent summary of the lore behind WoW without writing a novel, but I will explain how they do it. First off is obviously the quest system. As you level through Azeroth you will find yourself doing hundreds if not thousands of quests throughout your gametime. Some quests are simply there to help you level up by giving experience and items for simple tasks, but there are also important quests that make up the main storyline as well as many smaller region-specfic storylines. If the player takes the time to read through the quest dialogue rather than promptly pressing “Accept Quest”, performing the task at hand, then promptly again pressing “Complete Quest”, he/she will find themselves engulfed in a world filled with diverse culture and fascinating lore. Outside of quests lies the raid instances. Raids are where the player encounters what are essentially the most important events in the game’s story. This is where the main villains and primary story events happen. Not only are they fantastic sources of a storyline, but they are actually incredibly fun to do as well.
Now we have aesthetics. Some people look down on the aesthetics of WoW because of relatively low resolution textures compared to many games nowadays, but that isn’t necesarily what’s important. You have to look past the simplistic textures and realize the true beauty of what you are looking at. It’s not the pieces that make up the world that matter, it’s the beauty of the world as a whole that really stands out. WoW is full of stunning scenery including anything from the most extravagant of cities, to angelic forests, to ominous mountain ranges, to bewitching otherworldly scenery. Words can not describe the true appeal of this game, so naturally I’m including pictures.
This is one of my favorite cities in the game. It’s called Dalaran. It’s rather small, but it’s very nice looking. It also happens to be floating.
This here is Icecrown Citadel, showing off some of the more ominous, but just as impressive scenery in the game.
This is Crystalsong Forest. In my opinion one of the most beautiful places in the game.
This… thing is Deepholm. When I said “otherworldly scenery”, this is the kind of thing I meant. The average player reaction when first walking into this place was something along the lines of “Woah…” I would consider Deepholm to be one of the coolest places in the game.
Finally comes the technology. Now, if WoW had been released, or any time in the past couple of years you would probably think it seemed rather low-tech, but the reality is, this game was released in November of 2004. Yes you heard right, this game has been around for TEN years and has been the most highly appraised and most widely played MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game) every year since then. Ten years later WoW is still dominating the MMORPG scene. WoW was basically the first game of it’s kind. Games like Runescape and Diablo brushed on the scene somewhat, but WoW really took off. At the time of release, WoW’s technology was revolutionary. They managed to get thousands of players in the same world on massive servers, something that had never been seen in scales like this. All of the other big MMORPG’s these day all got their inspiration from WoW. While WoW’s technology may not be brand new and exciting anymore, it revolutionized gaming with it’s release and changed the gaming scene forever with it’s success.
Complex mechanics, deep storylines, brilliant aesthetics, and ground-breaking technology all come together to make one of the most impressive and revolutionary creations in gaming history. The technology sets up the basis for success, then the mechanics come in to make it fun and challenging, next the story enters to give the game immersion and intrigue, and finally aesthetics arrive to make it beautiful.
To sum it all up, World of Warcraft is freaking amazing.
If anyone reading this happens to play WoW, feel free to add my battletag: Alechilles#1984
I do strictly PvP now since it’s too hard to organize raids on a college schedule.
Oh and by the way, FOR THE HORDE!