nerfshamans (nerfshamans) wrote,

A Tale of Two Warcrafts

Just looking at the name of this LJ, it should come as no surprise that I think World of Warcraft is a great game. Its great because, unlike every other MMORPG, its actually fun. Allow me to explain. I bought EverQuest the day it came out - for some reason I have no problem remembering this date, it was April 16, 1999. I played the game quite a bit for three months, and put in about 100-120 hours playtime. I think I got to level 11 or something. By level 11, I was in the exact same area I was in at level 5, which was the zone outside of town. I was killing stupid bears and snakes and shit. And thats it! EverQuest would be, literally, "go and kill stuff. Sell what it drops to vendor". You do this 1000 times and you get a new level. You do it 2000 times again somewhere else and move up another one. This was the game! There was no game to it. It was just hitting the A button and watching your gimp swing a sword! Not fun, not fun at all. They called it EverCrack because it was so addictive, and this name fit - crack isnt any fun to do, its bad, its evil and ruins your life, but youre too fucking hooked to stop. Thats what EverQuest was.

But World of Warcraft is FUN. The combat is dynamic and interesting, and the game constantly shuttles you to new areas to keep it fresh. Yea, at level 30 youre fighting the same murlocs you fought at level 7, except theyre blue and have more HP, but no matter. The quest structure the game hangs its hat on does the trick, giving you ample experience for the grind work. Some areas are undeveloped on the quest side, and a lot end abruptly when you expect a longer chain, but the team is always adding more. PVP can be annoying but its fun. Warsong Gulch is TFC for MMORPGs. Its easy to get money. The game is huge, beautiful, and has tons of stuff to do.

Too much stuff, in fact - my character, at level 43, is burnt out. Well, I am burnt out. Ive put a lot of time into the game and its fun, but I need to take time off. I need some time to come back to the game fresh. I doubt Ill abandon it completely - its a great deal of fun, and I know the good stuff comes at the end, but still. Ive put nearly 9 full days worth of playing since late April when I got it - that is about 200 hours in two and a half months, or nearly 20 hours a week.

So, with that, I decided to put WOW to the side for a little bit - could be a few days, a week, a month, three months, I dunno. But I need a game to play, and only one came to mind - Warcraft III. I got this game last summer because I got bored of Age of Mythology, and immediately took to it. The game is just a masterpiece of design, and has so much for everybody. The game forces you to be quick and on your toes at all times, individual control of units is a must - its almost like a shooter in that regard. It also requires an in-depth knowledge of the game system - much like a top-notch fighting game. At the same time, its undeniably a strategy game, and there's no rock-paper-scissors type stuff to it - the interaction and play is much deeper. Comparing it to Age of Mythology is like comparing Street Fighter 2 to DOA. Theyre both good but you can tell which one is clearly superior.

I played it a lot last summer, but as soon as I got into (I had like a 5-8 record) I had to leave for school and didnt have any time to play. But Im getting back into it, its still amazing. My favorite race is the Orcs, but Ive been messing around with Humans. When I started, I was playing humans a lot like I did Orcs, but it just doesnt work - humans are much softer in the beginning of the game, and require early expansion and tons of resources (a lot more wood, in particular). Its not all negatives, though - humans are much better prepared for air assaults (if you dont see it happening early and train troll berserkers, you're sunk - but the rifleman is a core human unit and can attack air) and much better healing powers. So its interesting and fun to play around with them, but radically different from Orcs.

Is Warcraft 3 the best strategy game ever? Yes, by far. Rome: Total War comes close, but its messy the same way Civ2 is. Warcraft 3 is totally focused and fine-tuned. Is World of Warcraft the best MMORPG ever? Yes, by a mile.

How does Blizzard do it?

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