Review: World of Warcraft Computer Game

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I've been playing World of Warcraft from Blizzard Entertainment for a few months now and I thought I'd write a review of the game.

In short, it's really fun and I'm hooked. I haven't played any other massively multiplayer online roleplaying games (MMORPGs, if you're a gamer who's been living in a cave for the past 5 years) mainly because I use a Mac and most of the newest games aren't available on Mac. WOW is an exception as Blizzard releases their games for Windows and Mac, so I finally get to see what the fuss is all about. It turns out the game is quite fussworthy!

Bear with me if I blab about WOW features that are common to other MMORPGs, I wouldn't know so they're new to me in WOW. :)

The Background

The game is set in the world of the Warcraft real-time strategy games from Blizzard, a short time after the events of Warcraft III and its expansion game. The brief team-up between the Alliance and Horde (to defeat the demons wanting to destroy the world) has fallen apart, and now the two sides struggle to control the territories of the world in the face of assaults from strange monsters and the actions of their former allies.

The Basics

You create an Alliance-side character (human, night elf, dwarf, or gnome) or a Horde-side character (orc, troll, tauren, or undead). You pick your gender and customize your appearance (hair, skin color, etc.). You pick a class, such as warrior, mage, druid, hunter, or priest (your race determines your available class options, as undead are basically evil and cannot be paladins, humans too "civilized" to take the shaman class, and so on). Then you jump into the game, pursuing quests, killing hostile creatures, and wandering all over a HUGE game map at the same time as dozens or hundreds of other players. You can even enable combat between yourself and other players' characters (called player-vs.-player or PVP), though if you leave that disabled you can't be attacked by other players. Questing and looting gives you experience points which advance your character in a manner familiar to anyone who's played a roleplaying game, giving you new abilities and new choices.

The Good Stuff

WOW has a lot going for it. Rather than ramble on in paragraph form, here are some bullet points about strong features of the game.

The Bad Stuff

There are a few annoying things, some of them limitations of the technology, some of them deliberate to make the game challenging, and some are just frustrating for no reason I've been able to tell so far. As with the good stuff, here are some bullet points.

Miscellaneous

Here are some other things that are neither good nor bad, just interesting from a world or game-design standpoint.

What I'd Like To See

Here are some things I'd like to see in the game. Blizzard may already have plans to implement these things; if not, I give full permission to use these ideas for WOW without any need to credit me at all. Of course if they want to hire me as a freelancer, I'd be up for that as well....
A lot of these have to do with the Cooking skill, that's because many of my characters have it and I like to cool in real life, too.