Monday, June 13, 2005

WoW Review - Part II

Find Part I here.

My thoughts on how to review an MMO.

Part II

WoW does a lot of things right. It has minimized the “grinding” time to reach max level while filling it with actual things to do. The questing system guides you from level 1 to level 60 leading you into new area after new area.

This is both good and bad. You learn the world, but you also lose a sense of belonging because the higher level areas lack significant towns. You go from the main cities and right into run down dumps. In your early levels you experience Blizzard’s grand vision for huge involving cities, but quickly lose it as you spend little to no time in them.

Towns in the higher level areas are no more than a couple buildings or tents with a few NPCs attached to them. The lone exception being the mid-level area of Booty Bay which is quite a site to see.

This does not detract from the overall experience, but is disappointing considering the polish put on the rest of the world.

The crafting system was well implemented by Blizzard after several changes in Beta. You can select two professions and raise all three of your secondary skills. The system is easy to pick up and is nearly completely player supported. You can rely on other players for nearly every major supply that is needed for every craft.

The gathering professions however are not balanced against the crafting professions. You can select two gathering professions and guarantee to sell whatever you gather to other players via the Auction House.

However the crafting professions where you actually make items are sparsely populated with items that are of any use to anyone in the game. Most in game dropped items are better than the equal level crafted items. There is very few end game crafted items worth spending the effort to create.

Due to rare materials being required for most end game items players only invest in the ones that give them the MAX benefit. No player is going to spend the time to get 20 Arcanite Bars to build a weapon that is worse than another weapon that also only requires 20 Arcanite Bars. Weapons are just an example of what plagues all high level crafting professions. There are too few good items to be made for profit for high level crafters.

Every player in WoW can participate in the crafting process, but in the end only the gathering professions profit on a regular basis.

Part III coming soon…
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