Wow

Whoa.

Update: So, in case you hadn’t guessed: I have not posted for the last three weeks because I have been playing World of Warcraft pretty much non stop.

I’d played the beta because it seemed interesting, but I wasn’t really impressed enough to want to run out and buy it. But then, when February 11th came along and the game arrived in the stores, I somehow got gripped by the WoW fever in the office and bought a copy. (Regretfully, I missed out on the collector’s edition.)

Then I fell ill for a week. Implausibly convenient, yet true – there’s been a an epidemic in Vienna. It turns out that playing WoW is just the right kind of mindless activity when you have a cold and can’t do much else.

After that week, I was pretty much hooked. And I wasn’t the only one, although there are some pockets of resistance. Luckily, I had a week of holiday coming up. It was originally reserved for a ski trip, but that fell through. I just basically decided to indulge and ignore pretty much everything else in my life.

Last week things got a bit quieter, as I actually had to go back to work.

Anyway. I like it a lot. Among other things, this game is a testament to art direction over technical prowess. Blizzard doesn’t use many fancy techniques and they don’t have a lot of polygons on screen, but they make incredible use of what they have – not unlike Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, or Grand Theft Auto. (As an illustration of what I mean: Penny Arcade made fun of Everquest 2‘s horned devil – Tobe pointed out the constrast with Blizzard’s.)

What else is good? The audio. The interface. The polishing (love that log-in screen). The writing – to my surprise, as I always had a bit of a prejudice against clichéd fantasy settings. The gameplay mechanics – Blizzard’s are masters at this kind of game. Although everything is quite simple, the game somehow always manages to avoid degrading into ProgressQuest – probably because there’s always something significant on the horizon, in multiple areas of gameplay, and on multiple scales. The pacing is excellent.

I have had some very satisfying experiences in WoW so far, and am looking forward to many more. Not bad, considering I have never been very interested in MMOs before. I could write much more, but well, it really has been a long time since I’ve updated, so… time to hit ‘Post’.

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