What Blizzard did right/did wrong with World of Warcraft
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There is a lot of people who do not like World of Warcraft. However, if you really press them, I wager the majority will admit that they, at some point in time, enjoyed this game.I honestly think WoW, when its broken down and objectivly and impartially reviewed is a damn good game. They did a LOT of things right.

However, I left WoW for several reasons and those reasons are things I now think about when I investigate and chose to play the next MMORPG coming out.

Below I briefly list some of the good and bad aspects of this game (My opinion only, however feel free to add yours).

Did Right

It Took the standard MMORPG, and just made it better. There was nothing groundbreaking about WoW compared to other MMORPGs of the day (EQ, UO, DAoC). But Blizzard did its homework. It looked at each of the preceeding games, found out what worked, and what didnt.

World Size. You really don't quite understand just how big this world is. At first you're looking at the map and going, "wow that's pretty big,". Yea well its not really a huge world as most MMO's have much bigger worlds rather call it an average sized world. What Blizzard did do right is it made the zones the right size for travel. Its not too large that you despise crossing it, but large enough to give you the feeling of real distance. The ruins, the buildings, trees, everything is breathtaking. The zones themselves are designed well, each with its own distinct story and feel.

Instances - From Dead Mines to Black Temple, every instance offers something to each player. Whether you raid for items, farm for rep, or just brave the depths of Nax for the honor, instances are grand. I can tell you that the 25-40 man raids are amazing and the encounters are very different from the Tank&Spank which is more common in the 5 man groups. Every person is blasting away, playing as smart and strategic as possible, it takes untold skill to fight to the end. Another big plus is with the recent raiding zones there is a de-emphasis on trash mobs, allowing players to get to the real meat of the game quicker.

Depth. Warcraft has an excellent story alongside the game. They remained true to the Warcraft lore. There are currently six chapters worth of story available on wow's main page . Quests have well thought out storeylines. Although there remains the Kill 10 rabbits kind of quests...at least WoW tries to give a reason why the rabbits must be exterminated. Quite often there is a twilight Zone like catch at the end of many quests and many enjoyable surprises (unless you die). There are a huge amount of easter eggs in this game. Coming across one can leave a smile on your face for days. Also seasonal events which are far better designed than most other games including  Carnivals, fishing contests, ram-racing contests etc.

Community Resources. There really isn't much to say here that isn't already known. WoW's community is huge and growing. Web resources now are abundant on the net. In fact, the hardest part about playing WoW can be deciding which website/guide to use. Quests are easily found. Maps now show you where everything is. Every piece of armor and its stats are listed with drop rates and locations. Tradeskills are little more than 9 - step plans to accomplishment.

The Auction House. This was one of the most significant additions to MMORPGs from WoW. Although there were earlier incarnations of player vendoring in other games, Blizzard took the concept of players becoming entropreneurs and made it streamlined and slick. Even today the AH is the most used aspect of the entire game.

The Playerbase. The greatest achievement of WoW is its accomplishment of taking MMORPGs out of the dorm room and putting it on the table of most houses in America. The last estimated figure put WoW at close to 10 million players. No matter where you go, what your doing, there are always players questing, just sitting around, or having a dance party. This playerbase is something that will place WoW into the history Books and every future MMORPG from here on will benifit from.

Did not so right

Mostly static world. Like most/all MMO's, things that started one way, stay that way for the remainder of the game. I know, this sucks, and I don't really have anything to say that makes up for it. But where WoW has disappointed is that it has spent time making new things better yet leaving the older zones to stagnate and fester. Many times they create new quests that involve older zones and areas, but its usually just a brief jaunt and you get the feeling that your almost being forced to visit.

There is also a little too little variation in the enemies you fight. Most every trash mob can be recognized in at least 5 different zones. They take the same skin, apply different colors, or add a couple random things sticking out of it and change the name.

Raid or Die. Everyone reaching for the same carrot, everyone running around in the same armor sets. One of the things that kept me playing WoW for a year and a half was the fact that from 1-70 you could progress through soloing, grouping, dungeon-crawling, world questing, you name it. Once you got to endgame, the only options were PvP or raid content. The raid affected most every aspect of the game. For example, in the end game there is no other means  to advance a profession than raiding. In addition, loot from raids seemed to be better than anything that the player could make so there didn't seem to be much point in leveling up professions.

This also led to a huge requirement for Guilds. And with that a hard core atmosphere developed in many. DKP, Raid attendance records and other player measurments were not invented by this game...but in WoW they were augmented 10-100 fold. Alas, World of Warcraft is a game that does not equate success with casual. In this game raid progress became a measuring stick of all guilds .....stagnation breed discontent ...and drama befiting the Lifetime/Oprah/and Hallmark networks was and still is prevalent.

Group roles and forced grouping: Nothing possible without healers and tanks. You always need at least 1 tank and 1 healer (priest etc.) for bigger encounters (like 5 man instances, raids etc.). Especially for Heroic this is a pain in the butt for small guilds as the chars need to fill those roles somehow. No real possibility for groups consisting of 5 different classes unless someone has the ability to tank and another the ability to heal. Eventually all 5 man content falls under a familiar formula.

Grindfest. If there is one word that epitomizes this game is 'Grind'. However, lets be honest ...WoW did not invent the grind. The XP grind to get from lev 1 to lev 70 is small when compared to other games which preceeded it (Anyone remember the good ol days of Everquest?). However, WoW incorporated multiple layers of grinding...specifically faction grinding. There are over a hundred factions in this game, each requiring a significant time to gain exalted status. Many of which are requirements in order to advance in the game and instances (I.E heroic instances and keying). When you step back and look from a distance...getting to level 70 was the easy part.

Lack of meaningful PvP. PvP content is totally meaningless - it's all instances and affects nothing (except personal reputation).  Nothing in WoW affects anything else, for that matter. In the end its all about bragging rights ..and you are completly unable to bragg in game because of the inability to speak to the opposite faction after/during the fight. You have to take it to the forums (where it is soundly diluted). In the end, the experience leaves you somewhat empty.

The importance of gear. Blizzard made no apologies for this design. Nor should they. ..this game is a PVE game. Success in this game is measured in instances and raids. in the PvP and arena areas most players would like to value skill over gear, but in the end the gear itself can make such a huge disparity between players that players need only to know several tactics and not make mistakes to find the majority of wins. If you didnt raid or pvp grind then you were basically screwed no matter how well you knew your character because the person with the best gear won 97% of the time. For a long time PVE gear was far better than PvP/Arena gear...however this is being adjusted and they are now more comparible.

Addiction. Yes, there is no use hiding it, WoW can be addicting to play. But, I strongly believe that with our gaming history, you won't be struck down by temptation. We have played many games, some with which were equally addicting , it is just that this game has reached such popularity, its addictive qualities are more public. I myself, only play Fri-Sun and spend the week instead working on different things and studying. I simply chose not to dedicate my life to it, and I feel no inclination to change that (and I'm not just saying that).

Good luck out there.

Hope this helps

What Players like about World of Warcraft...and the vocal minority
This is what I think Blizzard did right with WoW
This is what I think Blizzard did wrong with WoW