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Yes, i am aware that there is a multitude of general reviews of The World of Warcraft and a myriad of positive and negative reviews have been expressed by anyone from a person like myself who has solid experience within the game and professional reviewers who are paid well to do exactly that. This review is fairly unbiassed though as I have no affiliation with blizzard or any other MMO company nor am I seeking to unfairly criticize or uplift WoW. I simply am seeking to give a person considering buying this game an idea of the pros and cons of the World of Azeroth.
WoW, either you love it or you hate it, simply look at the reviews, they willed be titled something like "BEST GAME EVER!" or "DON'T BUY THIS GAME!!!". I personally do not agree with either. WoW as a whole I think has it's general flaws and cons, but I will explain it from start to finish.
1. Character Creation
Character Creation in WoWis fairly simple, yet perhaps over simple. As of WotLK there are 5 races for both factions within the game (Horde and Allicance). Available to the Alliance are the Humans, Dwarves, Night Elves, Gnomes, and as of BC the Dranei. Available to the Horde are Orcs, Undead, Taurens, Trolls and as of BC Blood Elves. This race selection is fairly decent, with each race having their own little advantages and disadvantages but not so drastic that it majorly impacts the gameplay (apart from where each race begins for the first 10 or so levels). You may then select your class. This is the major decision you will make. Your Choices are the:
Warrior (Good at tanking and depending on talent specialization can be a decent damage dealer),
Mage(often called the glass cannon as it is possibly the most fragile class but inflicts very high direct damage),
Hunter (One of two classes who can train a combat pet, the only class who does high damage with guns/bows)
Rogue (Very Explosive Damage, known for their poisons, high damage ambushes, stuns, and ability to sneak up on an unwary foe and kill them before there is much time to react)
Priest (When WoW launched Priests were the premiere healers, but since the role has been filled by other classes. Also depending on talent specialization can do very high damage)
Druid (An extremely versatile class known for their shapeshifting to tank, damage or heal, often called the Jack of all trades, but master of none)
Shaman (This is the class I am least familliar with so I can offer you little beyond they have capacity to heal and damage)
Warlock (2nd Class that cantrain Pets, known for their indirect damage mostly through the use of damage-over-time spells)
Paladin (Another hybrid class known for survivability and diversity, able to heal to a limited extent and deal damage/tank)
Death Knight (WoW newest class, you must have a character above level 55 to create one of these. They begin at level 55 and are known for versatile damage dealing and tanking)
After you Choose your class, you customize your characters cosmetic features such as gender, hair, etc. Finally, you choose your character's name and enter Azeroth.
Character Creation Pros: Simple, Variety of races and classes
Cons: Characters have a generic look to them due to a lack of variety in cosmetic features, names can be tough to make (there are over 10 million people)
2. Early Levels (1-20) Note: This section is different
After a short intro the screen zooms on your character and you begin your adventure in a small, isolated starting area. Tips appear to help you learn how to walk, talk etc. In front of you is a person who will give you your first quest. One of the things that is good about this game is that there is enough quests so that you will almost never be forced to mindlessly kill to gain experience and level up. This "Grinding" is practiced thoroughly by many players but is not nessecary to level up. There are three ways to gain experience.
1. Complete Quests (This gives you experience, and somtimes depending on the difficulty of the quest grant you new armor, weapons, money, food and water, potions and reputation with the faction that the questgiver belongs to)
2. Kill Monsters (This gives you experience as long as the monster is close to your level and will usually grant you money if it is a humanoid, or some other vendor sellable item such as wolf meat. On rare occasion you will loot armor or weapons)
3. Exploration (This gives you experience, but it is not used to level up as the exp. awarded is not substantial)
This first quest starts a chain of quests within the area that include killing monsters, exploring caves, gathering grapes or whacking lazy woodcutters. This continues until you reach around lvl 5-6 when you recieve a send off quest to leave your starting area and go to the first village. After this you quest, kill and explore until you reach a major city. Within these cities are trainers for classes and professions (learned skills used to gather or create items to use or sell), mailboxes, auction houses (the main source to buy things from players on the server), banks (used to store items), PvP battlegrounds, vendors that sell basically anything and much, much more.
Before I get into the next section, I should explain the WoW armor/weapon system.
You have been hearing about armor and weapons (assuming you have read this thing from the beginning) There are 4 types of armor in the game
Cloth: The Lowest Level of armor, used by Mages, Warlocks, and Priests. Gives little armor value but makes up for it with useful Stats.
Leather: Better than cloth armor value wise. Used by Rogues, Druids, Hunters (until level 40), and Shaman (until level 40)
Mail: The best anyone can wear armor value wise until level 40. Used by Warriors (until level 40), Paladins (Until Level 40), Hunters (After level 40), Shaman (After level 40)
Plate: Not available to any classes until after level 40, the best you can get armor value wise, Used by Warriors (after level 40), Paladins (after level 40) and Death Knights
Weapons work similarly and yet differently. Weapon types include 1 and 2 handed axes, swords and maces, staves, bows, guns, fist weapons wands and thrown weapons. I'm not going through it all, but not all classes can use all the weapons
At level 14-16, you will likely encounter your first instance. An instance or dungeon is an isolated zone that a party of 2-5 players can attempt to tackle together. Unlike a regular cave or building, you and your party enter a portal which teleports you to your own "instance" of the dungeon. Once in the instance, nobody else other than your party members will be in your instance of the dungeon. If another person/party enters, then they are teleported to their own instance of the dungeon. A dungeon contains groups of "elite" monsters. Elite monsters are 4-5 times more difficult to kill but yield better loot. Loot settings can be changed by the party leader, but usually loot is distributed by a take turn system (so you will loot every 5th mob if your party is full). If a high quality piece of armor or weapon drops, a window appears. You have three options, "Need", "Greed" or "Pass". If you elect to pass, you do not want the item and/or leaving it to other players in your party. If you elect to "Greed", you want the item, but only intend to sell it to a vendor or on the Auction House later. If you elect to "Need", it means that you want the item to equip and/or use on your character. If all members pass, then nobody gets the item, if all members greed, then an in game 1-100 dice roll takes place and the winner gets the item. If 1 or more members Need an item, then all greed rolls are discarded and the need people roll for the item. Occasionally, you will get a "Ninja Looter" who will need on a valuable item when he doesn't need need it (i.e. a Paladin Needing on a piece of cloth armor) and sell it for money and not use it. This practice is frowned upon and will usually result in a kick from the party. In all instances there are 2-5 "Bosses" who are especially tough to kill but yield especially good loot.
INFO: At this point in the post, I have realized there is alot of info I left out, so feel free to skip this if you like but in order to satisfy myself I must write it.
Guilds: Guilds are large, semi-permanent groups off players, usually consisting of 20-150 players. They are led by an individual, usually the founder of the guild. He controls who can talk in the guild chat, who can promote/demote, who can invite/remove players from the guild. To make a guild, visit the guild building in any city (ask a guard), buy a tabard, design it, buy a charter, get 10 people to sign it and there you go.
Raids: In WoW, apparently Blizzard wan't happy enough with 5-player dungeons, because there also exists raid dungeons where 10, 20 and yes ven 40 people can group together and tackle the hardest bosses in the World..... of Warcraft..
Once you hit 80: Most people participate in raids until they get the very best armor and weapons, at that point, well I'm not sure.
Gold/Character Farming: Well people, the same thing that is happening to the US dollar is happening the the WoW gold coin. People have entire enterprises and hire employees who are trained with the secrets to leveling and making gold fast. These people are paid $X.XX for every Xg they make. The companies then sold the gold online for $X.XX per Xg and use the ingame mail system to give it to the buyer. This practice is not only illegal (results in ban of farmer and buyer) it also harms other players because of a simple economic principle called inflation. The more gold that is pumped onto the market, the higher prices of in-game go. It doesn't harm those who buy gold because they get gold when the prices increase, but for those who don't, they are victims of artificially increased prices and they don't have the extra bought gold to make up for it. It's odd right? World Economic principles can be applied even to a video game. The same thing is happening with characters. Employees are paid $XX.XX for every level 80 they crate, and the accounts are sold online for $XX.XX
3. Getting to 80
After level 20, leveling gets slower and harder as more and more experience is required to level up (the experience gained from quests and monsters increases too, but not to the scale to level as quickly).You will travel the continents questing, instancing, grinding, exploring, buying, selling, making friends, and just enjoying the game and hating the slowness at the same time. Then you reach level 58. At this point you can enter the BC additional continent called The Outland. To get to the Outland you can either go to the blasted lands and find the Dark Portal, or use the shortcut portals in every major city to teleport to the portal. You can slo just get a mage to open you a portal to Shattrath (you will probably have to pay). The Outland is designed for players levels 58-68 and comes with it's own city, villages, instances and such. You will practically live here for awhile (Tip: Make Shattrath your hearthstone, it has portals to every major city and that is EXTRMELY convenientbecause you can be questing, Hearthstone to Shattrath, Portal to Ironforge, do whatever and in 30 mins. go right back. Once you're done here, you will go to the final continent and the newest, Northrend. Very much like Outland, it has it's own seperate instances, city, etc. I guess at this point Blizzard figured out that people HATED questing, so they added many fun quests, like bombing villages from a gryphon, or controlling a robot to spy on a village of dark dwarves). Well..... surprise surprise, that's all I can say. Why? because this is where I am, I have a 70 mage and a 73 warrior. Hmm..... weren't expecting that? Huh? Well, if you actually read the whole thing then I congradulate you for completing the WoW 1-73 Starter Guide and thank you for dedicating a solid hour or so to reading this randomly compiled information store.
HAVE A NICE DAY!