Featured Graphic by Stephanie Hall
Story by Nicholas Massey
When someone asks me, “What video games do you like to play?” my mind starts to race.
I see a vast open area with all sorts of avatars people have created intermingling with one another like on a school playground. I also ask myself, “What genre of games?” and, “Do they want to know what games I have logged the most hours in? Or do they want to know which games I prefer the most?”
I also start thinking about recent news in gaming and think about all the time and effort that goes into building these works of art. These are a lot of thoughts to take in, but for the most part, my answer to that original question is always the same: I like to play World of Warcraft.
World of Warcraft, or WoW, is a Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game, or an MMORPG. To those who may not understand what roleplaying is, I would reference “Dungeons and Dragons.” In “Dungeons and Dragons,” players create imaginary characters and pretend to go on fictional quests as those characters.
MMORPGs are most easily recognized by the massive amount of people in the game’s online world. WoW’s massive world is known as Azeroth. WoW uses stats, like “Dungeons and Dragons,” such as strength, dexterity and intelligence to define your in-game avatar’s limits and track their progress.
Is WoW the First MMORPG?
WoW is often called the first MMORPG, but that is a common misconception. WoW, however, was one of the first early MMORPGs on the market. Its claim of that title is due to the overwhelming response people had to the game when it was originally released. To many people, WoW was a groundbreaking game on release. It featured many aspects of a standard MMORPG — quests to collect and turn in, a unique all-encompassing story and freedom to explore a large, online environment.
But WoW’s main draw, as any gamer will tell you to this day, was the game’s graphics. WoW, on its original release, was one of the best-looking games around, and to this day is still competitive graphicly speaking to many other MMORPGs. It is with these amazing graphics that people became drawn to play it in massive numbers.
This overwhelming swell of people who enjoyed the game fabricated the claim that WoW was the first of its kind. The positive experience that people had with this game led players to introduce it to anyone who would listen, and I happen to be one of those people.
“Dragonflight” and “Wrath of the Lich King”
WoW is in a unique dual state currently, with both “modern” and “classic” releases available.
Modern WoW is titled “World of Warcraft: Dragonflight.” In my opinion, though it may be unpopular, “Dragonflight” is the weaker version of the game when compared to the classic release of WoW, “World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King.” Nonetheless, as a self-proclaimed WoW enthusiast, I will give credit where credit is due to the modern version of the game.
WoW has undergone many iterations over the years, and “Dragonflight” is no exception. However, this latest expansion to the WoW family makes the game fresh with the new features that came with its release.
The first and most highlighted feature is “drake riding,” in which the player can ride on the back of a drake in free form. This is a big change from the usual, mostly linear flight that had existed up until this point in the game’s history.
Another big update was to the “professions” a player’s character could learn and practice in the game. This included things like gaining experience from crafting items.
These two updates alone have drawn a lot of lost players back into the ranks of WoW, and, in my honest opinion, make “Dragonflight” worth a try for any gamer looking to join the fold.
Competition for WoW on the Rise
It’s important to mention another MMORPG competitor that many believe has become the “WoW Killer.”
“Final Fantasy XIV,” also known as FF14, a game produced and published by Square Enix, has seen a major rise in its success recently. This is due to a lot of die-hard MMORPG fans jumping ship from WoW to FF14 in the years after WoW’s “Battle for Azeroth” and “Shadowlands” expansions were released and not received well by the player community.
FF14 was more appealing to me at the time also, but I stuck it out with WoW hoping that things would improve, and, eventually, they did. The improvement came in what I spend most of my time gaming in: “World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King.”
My Day-To-Day Gaming Experience
My day-to-day gaming experience is simple: I have some sort of free time, so I jump on my computer and log into “Wrath of the Lich King.” Anything, from activities like social roleplaying events to fighting other players in the Battlegrounds, to going on quests or navigating a dungeon makes for a good time.
One of the game modes I mentioned, Battlegrounds, is WoW’s player vs. player game mode, where players can pit their characters against each other in combat. Players can compete against each other by capturing the other team’s flag, gaining control of more points than the other team, or defeating an enemy’s commander to gain glory for their faction.
Questing, navigating dungeons, and conducting “raids,” however, are the main forms of the player vs. environment aspect of WoW. These activities range from slaying monsters that are terrorizing an area to liberating a dungeon under the control of evil forces. In particular, “raids,” which are the most engaging part of WoW in my opinion, are massive dungeons players must traverse, with difficult enemies going toe-to-toe with a group of others.
- Retail WoW rating: 7/10, solid with much appreciated updated features, but still has room to improve.
- Classic WoW rating: 9.5/10, though a re-release of its original form, one of the greatest MMORPG experiences out there.
- Overall WoW rating: 8.5/10, not too shabby for a game that has been around for so long.
Nicholas Massey is a Gaming Reporter for MTSU Sidelines.
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