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1. Ultima - played at launch for 3 years.
2. DAoC - Played on and off for 2 years
3. CoH played in beta through launch for 1 year. Still play on occasion
4. SWG - Played from beta 2 through everything until NGE hit, left soon after (2.5 yrs)
5. Matrix - played in beta
6. D&D - played the stress test
7. EQ2 - Played for about 2 months
8. AC2 - Tried a 14 day free trial twice
9. FF11 - Played for about 1 month
10. Horizons - played from about 6 months
11. Eve - Tried 14 day trial
12. Saga of Ryzom - Tried 14 day trial
13. WoW - Played at launch for about 3 months. Returned several times (3) for usually 1-2 months each time. Currently playing 55 paladin on shadow council
As you can see Ive just about played most mmorpgs around so I have a large basis of comparison. My review..( based on 10 being highest and 1 lowest)
1. Graphics - While definitely simplistic, there is much attention to detail. However, one thing bothers me is there isnt much difference from low settings to maxed out ones. Sure I get to see footprints in sand but where are the better graphics ? Where are the shadows ? Where is the sparkling details one should see if they're able to crank everything to maximum ? Also the areas all look to similiar. You have 4 basic areas, swamps...snowy lands, burned out areas, and deserts and they all look the same. Too cartoonish for my taste and pixelated. Score - 4
2. Combat - From a balance perspective, the game shines. There are issues with shaman still but otherwise pretty fairly decent job. Each class has a defined role with some flexibility as to playstyle. Game is level-based though so its pretty easy to balance the classes unlike say in a skill-based one. Attacks are basic and simplistic. The attack or spell you use at lvl 6 will probably be the same one you use at lvl 60, only stronger. Score - 5
3. Crafting - If you've ever preferred playing a decent crafting game then WoW isnt for you. Most are pretty pointless and cost way too much time and gold to bother with. I worked on armorsmith till lvl 278. At 225 I trained for armorsmith (from blacksmith) and found out there were only two recipes I could buy. The rest were all drops. Now after spending a month grinding into the late night for mithril and iron, this was quite depressing. The recipes for decent stuff usually are found on AH but the prices are ridiculous. Finally, loot drops and quest rewards especially at the later stages are almost always better than anything crafted.
I played a warlock to lvl 60 and went alchemy / herbology. The problem there is many times potions will drop. Or there are repeatable quests to get them. In Tanaris, one can farm water pouches from NPC and turn them in for crates of goods. Many times there will be mana potions or healing ones in there. Same thing in Ungoro Crater, repeatable quest which gets you nice potions. Also, since WoW servers allow multiple toons to be made on each one, players arent dependent on each other for goods. So even though potions are a consumable, most dont sell tons of them. Anyone can simply just create another toon and craft potions if they really want them.
There arent any vendors you can use to sell your own goods. And since there isnt any housing, one cant set up a shop or mall either. The AH or spamming is pretty much the only way to sell stuff.
No decay means tons of peeps will simply never ever need your goods. Also since WoW allows multiple toons per server peeps simply will take their lvl 60 toon and farm a low lvl instance for gear for the next toon they make. Many times I ran across a lvl 10 rogue who already had gear in his bank for every level. Again, lack of relying on others (a staple of most mmorpgs) is the glaring issue here.
Score - 3
4. Community - What can I say to some up WoW's community...hmm. Well worst mmorpg community comes quickly to mind. I have never in any mmorpg seen such an awful foul-mouthed community of children ever. If they arent discussing their mating rituals or getting drunk, they're arguing about something ridiculous. I cant recall how many thousands of times Ive seen some poor fella ask a simple quest like where is something and bam major flame war breaks out. Just try selling some item and watch out because 50+ peeps will give their opinion on whether your price is fair.
Most of the players in WoW seemingly are NOT mmorpg vets. They have little clue on how to act, conduct themselves, nor play their class properly. Many times Ive seen warriors with no shields trying to play the rogue. Or watched in horror as a warlock ran into the middle of a mob and dropped an AOE on them (then swore at priest cause he died). Its a really lucky day if you actually find a decent group to run all the way through an instance.
Guilds are like nothing Ive ever seen in other mmorpgs. In other mmorpgs, joining a guild is an important step in playing the game. It usually involves a recommendation from another member. It might require joining them for an instance or group hunt to test out your skills. It could require tribute of goods or gold. Some even have websites that require filling out applications as well. In WoW its a completely different animal which is a reflection of the lack of maturity of the community. Peeps will invite players to join their guild without even talking to them first. Others will spam looking for others to sign their charter and arent required to join after (for some reason many just want to start a guild but dont care if anyone joins it ???)
I've bounced around in several guilds. Some disbanded. Others were maybe 5 players playing 30 toons (all alts) so nobody was ever on. Most are full of selfish players that rarely group together to benefit each other.
Some servers are designated as role playing. However very little RP goes on there. Again the maturity factor here really hurts. What WoW really needs is an Adults only server
Score - 1
5. PvP - Two major glaring issues with PvP in my opinion. One, its way too fast. There really isnt much time to bother with strategy. Its just mash buttons and hope you win. After experiencing SWG where one might spend 30 minutes battling a bounty hunter, this WoW PvP leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Second, the Honor system doesnt work. I played on several PvP severs, they were all the same....GANKFEST. Many times I had to log off in disgust because of the ganking that would occur. Dont get me wrong, I have no problem getting attacked by an enemy if I quest or explore in neutral or enemy territory. However, when I continually getting slain by a lvl 60 rogue and Im only 12, well thats just stupid. The Honor system is supposed to penalize someone into NOT attacking such lower level players.
My last night playing on a PvP server went like this....I was a lvl 14 paladin. I was in Westfall trying to quest. A swarm of horde were there doing some major griefing. They kept killing the quest giver I needed to turn in my quest for the pocketwatch and collecting oats. This horde literally just sat there and killed him anytime he spawned.
Other horde players camped the graveyard and would gank anyone reviving. Or they would camp the griphon so we couldnt fly out. Many stood in the entrance to DM so no alliance could approach to get in.
This went on for 5 days. Finally I gave up and moved on to a so-called Role-Playing server.
Score - 1
6. Animations / emotes - Combat animations really are quite awful in WoW. I get really bored watching my paladin doing the same slash over and over and over and over and over again. Oh wait, he just did a different slash for a critical hit, neat. Oh here we go again, slash over and over and over bleh. Emotes, like the community are simplistic and uninspiring. After seeing the same naked elf dance in IF a few thousand times you get tired of them. Absolutely the worst Ive ever seen in a mmorpg.
Score - 1
7. Game Economy - In short, a total mess. Because of the 5+ million players, gold farmers have set up shop in the game. Prices have skyrocketed since launch day. And because prices for items have gotten so high, many players are almost forced to buy gold from the very source of the problem (how ironic) Its quite common to see a blue item sword with average dps selling for 150g ouch. At launch even epics didnt go above 100g, now they sell for 2000g.
When I came back after a several month break I was shocked at the number of tells I'd get from peeps offering to sell me gold or directing me to their company website. At least twice a day I get one offering this. I have never ever been solicited in any other mmorpg before.
Score - 1
8. Sound - Basically non-existent. Besides the music you hear upon entering SW or the occasional grunt while swing your sword, its just silent. If you crank the volume you might notice your mail armor making a clinking sound while you walk. Otherwise, its obvious Blizzard cared very little for doing anything innovative here.
Score - 1
9. Immersive Factor - There are some neat things here. You'll run across schoolchildren following a teacher around. You'll see and hear two kids chattering on about fishing. During the Holidays, Blizzard does a real nice job in adding festive things. In small towns like Goldshire you might hear a vendor announce they're leaving soon so stop by to check out their goods.
Score - 7
10. Quests - The one thing WoW really shines in is the quests. They're immersive, well written and interesting. They also take away that awful feeling of "ah I need to grind". Yes some are repetitive like kill and bring back 10 buzzard wings. Most though tell a story and lead to many more fine quests. Blizzard did a fine job here.
Score - 9
Total score 33, Rating - 3.3 / 10