World of Warcraft: The MMO To Beat Them All
We live in an age where the MMO genre is full of high quality titles, where developers are not scared to get involved in the MMO market and where players are spoilt for choice if they decide they want to play an MMO. With all that competition out there, it’s strange how so many people often gravitate to World of Warcraft as a first choice. Having played several different MMO’s over the last five years, I’ve built up a good bit of experience with the other MMO’s out there and I personally, I think I am finally able to see why so many people come to World of Warcraft first.
World of Warcraft is a seven year old game, which in the digital world is an extremely long period of time, which means other MMO’s often have a graphical and technological advantage over Warcraft, something which is very obvious to those who have seen World of Warcraft in action. MMO’s however, aren’t really rated in the same way conventional games are, so most people are able to look past the blocky models or poor skins. World of Warcraft brings things to the table that other MMO’s simply can’t. For starters, World of Warcraft has a name recognition with people who have never even heard of the game. The TV adverts are becoming an online hit and are seen on most prime time slots worldwide, the meme humour that comes from the game has transcended the game and there are so many people playing it that most people know of know of somebody who has or is playing it. People know about the game and what it is, so if and when their curiosity gets the better of them and they want to play an MMO, they already know about World of Warcraft without even learning that there are other ones out there.
It would be easy to say that it’s a simple case of them being the big dog in the yard, but there is much more to it than that. One thing Warcraft is doing and has been doing for a while now is opening up the game content and making it more accessible to those who want to see it. Rather than having to spend a few hours a night playing to see the content, World of Warcraft has tapped into the pick up and play style of gaming that consoles give a person while being able to communicate with hundreds of other people, form guilds and create teams and unity that console gaming doesn’t bring. Going from a console world to a hardcore MMO can be an especially jarring change and it’s hard to get used to. Sometimes you go too far, sometimes you don’t do enough, sometimes it drives a person away from a game and that’s a failing in some other games. If people don’t know how to approach your game, then they aren’t going to stay long. World of Warcraft isn’t too different from other MMO’s, but it has more in common with console gaming than any other MMO out there and that makes it easier to make the transition to an MMO. Even if a player does end up moving on from WoW, it’s thanks to WoW that most people know how to play an MMO.
Versatility is another thing that Warcraft can boast. Whatever you want to do in a game, World of Warcraft has you covered. PvE, PvP, Crafting, Mini-games, professions, guilds and nearly everything in between. Granted, other games have these things, but again it comes down to the ease of doing these things. Blizzard are making it very easy to do these things without having to spend a lot of gold or time to change paths. Levelling is a breeze and it’s so simple to pick up and change things that it’s not unheard of to have seen and done everything available in the game on one single character. If you are getting everything you want from a game under one roof, you are not likely to swap games without a good reason, which most games are unable to give now.
Warcraft has a great story too. I think one of the weaker aspects of games like Star Trek Online, Lord of the Rings or even Star Wars: The Old Republic is that their story was first played out on TV or movies, which leaves more people wanting to experience those scenes and stories, not the all new ones involving people you have never heard of or care about. Warcraft doesn’t have that drawback in it’s storytelling and I think it helps it. There have been some amazing stories told in the game world that people have gotten to be a part of in a big way and it keeps getting better in the World of Warcraft. Games like Star Wars, no matter what stories they tell or how great they are, it always feels like a secondary task because of the established stories in the movies. Star Wars is all about sticking it to Darth Vader and unless you get to kill him, it’s not really Star Wars.
All in all, World of Warcraft has everything that a player could want. It’s more than just name recognition for Blizzard and the Warcraft IP, it’s the game itself. A seven year old game needs more than just a name to bring people in and in Warcraft, Blizzard have a game with a reputation of being easy to play, rewarding to master and engaging to just about anybody with an interest in gaming. No matter what you want, World of Warcraft has you covered.