18 Aug 2008

WoW FEATURE - The Diary of a MMORPG Virgin

For a game that, in it's fourth year, shifted almost a million copies in the US, there has to be something very special about World of Warcraft. I have done incredibly well to avoid playing it considering its overwhelming popularity worldwide, but the truth is, it failed to grab my interest on release and I've neglected it ever since. I never felt the need to see what all the fuss was about, cursing whenever the gaming press forced some over-excited news of subsequent expansions or praise of its brilliance upon me. Dont get me wrong, I love RPGs, but I do find the Tolkien-inspired fantasy world to be wearing a little thin these days and the frequent mention of grinding and addiction was enough to keep me away.

Now, on the back of all the success Blizzard have had with the franchise, I'm finally willing to take the big dive and immerse myself for ten days of free trial play.

To be honest, I'm slightly unsure as to what I'll find here. Any other game genre and I'd know what sort of thing to expect, but I'm new to the MMO scene and there's something almost sinister about World of Warcraft. Like a puppy dog with a pound of TNT sewn into its stomach, it seems that hidden beneath it's cute exterior is something not entirely pleasant.

Aside from the Grand Theft Auto series, it is probably the game that gets most coverage in the news. Media vultures have been quick to latch onto several deaths in the community that occurred after long stints of playing the game. Gold-farming is also a common activity in MMOs, ID theft another... not particularly wholesome associations. I'm sure you could say that it's a veritable minefield of deceit, death and dependence if you weren't willing to lift the cover on the game and give it a go yourself.

As such I go, with an open mind and thirst for fun.

Logically, WoW's sales figures must speak for themselves. There must be a reason as to why people love to play this game and that's exactly what I intend to find out. How far will I be able to get in ten days? I don't know. Is it really a player-murdering, identity-stealing bitch of a game, or do I just need to remember to eat regularly and avoid any player characters whose eyebrows are too close together? I also don't know, but it's a worthy experiment in the name of geek science.

More to come in the next few days...


Nick said...

This games drought must be bad if it means that you are actually considering playing WoW. ;)

Good luck. Try to approach it with an open-mind, but make sure you're guarded enough not to get addicted - I don't want to loose you as a friend!

If I had a computer as fast as yours i.e. not archaic, I'd be playing Dwarf Fortress!

Rowan Davies said...

I tried Dwarf Fortress, but man, that game is like being shoved into an entirely new existence and being told to get on with it. It blew my mind a bit. I love the concept though, but I just... well, you know me.

And no worries about WoW. So far, so tedious. I am trying though! It's just so... souless.