Monday, March 23, 2009

Why Should I WoW?

Had someone recommend I give World of Warcraft a whirl on a free trial. I've been hesitant to sign up for an MMO, since I wouldn't be sure what I'd want to do on one. Probably need someone go over the options.

9 comments:

Tom Foss said...

Some people like it, I guess.

Me, the only MMO I've played is Kingdom of Loathing. Broke + no free time + moderately addictive personality = MMOs are a bad idea.

user@example.com said...

I didn't enjoy WoW, personally, and I definitely didn't go in thinking "it's popular, it must suck". It just didn't grab me like EQ2 did, for some reason. OTOH, I fell in love with Vanguard when I tried it a few months ago (it has apparently improved dramatically since launch, although it's still buggy and unpolished in parts) so my judgement may not be entirely normal.

But mostly you fight things and go places and do things for npcs to get more delicious xps and gps and increase your numbers. And explore the pretty scenery. And learn to turn off certain chat channels. I spend quite a lot of time fiddling with housing in games that have it, but WoW doesn't yet.

Akusai said...

But mostly you fight things and go places and do things for npcs to get more delicious xps and gps and increase your numbers. And explore the pretty scenery. And learn to turn off certain chat channels

That was my general experience with the beta and the two months I paid for it before I got fucking sick of increasing my numbers just so I could increase my numbers further. There are two goals in WoW: number increasing, and waving the ol' E-Peen around. Neither of those is attractive to me.

Not to say they didn't do some things right, just that the overall architecture is little more than grind, and the story just isn't that interesting.

Their major success, as I see it, was to adapt the psychologically addictive reward schedule that keeps folks pouring quarter after quarter into slot machines to electronic media. A variable time-based reward schedule has been shown to be extremely addictive; even though the payouts are infrequent and more money is lost than won, each payout that does occur reinforces the player's behavior, as does seeing the odd big win on one of the many, many machines nearby. WoW's loot drop schedule functions in exactly the same way.

Of course, you have to get the player to value what's being payed out, which is easy for a casino; money is generally valued by most people. But what about the Flaming Pauldrons of the Lesser Demon?

Luckily, years of MMOs before WoW proved that players can and will value worthless ones and zeroes so long as you manufacture enough scarcity for some but not others.

I spend quite a lot of time fiddling with housing in games that have it, but WoW doesn't yet.

It never will. I'm convinced of that. It's really less an MMORPG than an MMO tactical wargame. Its entire system is built around killing, looting, and raiding. There is really little to do that isn't combat except window dressing like emoting or chatting, or shitty fetch and delivery quests. Every class serves a function in combat, and every profession exists only insofar as it can add to somebody's combat ability, directly or indirectly: either you're mining ore to turn into new weapons, or you're skinning to build armor, or you're selling whatever it is you're scavenging to make more money to buy better shit.

What I'm hoping is that Darkfall will get over its initial hiccups and turn out to be the MMORPG I've been waiting for all these years: almost zero emphasis on class, race, or equipment, full pvp and looting, completely open world to conquer and build onto, coalitions decided entirely by players...It seems like it's actually trying to replicate an awesome fantasy world instead of just making a narrow, combat-focused game with classes and leveling up.

shinobicow said...

Well, i spent three years playing WoW. It definitely had its ups and downs. I would say that i agree with the comments before this one, but the thing about WoW is that as a massive team based game it really does come to be pretty fun.

The leveling from 1 till max is just about as fun as any other game, but the rewards are pretty much useless as you will upgrade them as soon as you gain a few more levels. If you're not interested in grinding alone for weeks to get to the top levels, i would sugest that WoW is not for you.

If however, you like the concept of raiding with a bunch of dudes over ventrillo, its actually a pretty fun game. I have never been much for the player vs player element; i hate playing shooters and i don't really like fighting games. As a Dungeons and Dragons nut, the raiding aspect let me enjoy co-operative modes on much larger level, and as i live in an area with little access to people who like or play DnD on a regular basis, it brought those elements out. If you can get into a decent guild at this level and don't mind carving out the time to raid, i'd say give it a go. The game becomes its own reward, pretty much without respect to the gear you get.

If however, you can't do the above, go play a good rpg with a good story, there isn't much point to WoW other wise. The time commitment doesn't outway the ammount of fun you'll have doing pvp at level 80.

user@example.com said...

Yeah, other games have more non-combat stuff than WoW. VG and EQ2 (yes, mentioning those again) have much more interesting crafting systems - in WoW, and other games like LotRO (which is good, btw) you just click and wait. In EQ2 you have a real-time system where you use abilities to increase durability and progress towards completion while avoiding complications which pop up at random to interfere with you. In VG, it's a turn-based system where you only have a limited number of action points to spend on increasing the item's quality whilst you complete the various stages of construction, using various utility items from your stockpile to handle complications and use your better abilities, but your stock is limited, and if you run out you're in trouble.

Both are good, fun systems, although for VG you really need to set up hotkeys to save you having to click buttons every time.

VG also has a nifty card game for diplomacy, and quests for crafting and diplomacy levels. Optional, if you just want to fight, but pretty cool if you want some variety.

In the end, though, if you don't fall in love with the world or make friends in-game, the only thing keeping you there is numbers and fighting.

And playing dress-up. That's always fun.

King of Ferrets said...

In my opinion, if you don't make friends in-game, it gets boring fast. My friends are spread out between 3 or 4 different guilds and a lot of them stopped playing, so I got bored and I'm probably going to quit soon.

King Aardvark said...

I had some friends over at my house the other day. While I was cleaning up the kitchen, they were wasting time on the computer. One guy brought up his WoW guild's webpage, and the two of them started talking shop. I poked my head around the corner and yelled "NERDS!" and pointed at them in a mocking manner.

So you might want to avoid taking up WoW as a hobby.

Anonymous said...

WoW has several elements built in to re-enforce the "multiplayer" part of MMO. If you don't enjoy PvP combat, there's a limit to what benefits you can enjoy in game. The most entertaining content in the game is built for groups of players working together rather than individual players, and of that content, some of the most fun stuff is for 10 or 25 people. The "professions" (crafting) sub-system is another area where meaningful success is dependent on other players.

If you've got friends who can help you advance in level quickly and show you through some of the group-oriented elements, it might be worth a try, but without a support network, you'd probably spend a lot of your 10-day trial grinding levels, or using the interface to try and find groups.

Akusai said...

I think the multiplayer is what WoW does best, but it's one of the things I, personally, most disliked, as I really don't care for multiplayer gaming at all.

I think they made a correct decision in imbalancing their classes. It means that if you want to get anything major done, you have to engage in tactical multiplayer. Some people bitched early on that they couldn't solo in WoW, but that's like buying some gay porn and the writing angry e-mails to the producers about the lack of women. WoW is designed to foster tactical multiplayer and competitive wargaming. There are plenty of solo-friendly MMORPGs out there. WoW has a different goal.