that game Blizzard made some time ago that just really stunk? Youre
right, me neither. The golden boys behind some of the most beloved games
in the industrys history arent about to sit on their laurels either.
World of Warcraft, Blizzards gutsiest move to date, was on display at
E3 with several updated features as well as that pesky new playable race
well talk about later. As the stakes in the online RPG race increase,
one may wonder whether this was a wise move on Blizzards part. After
sitting down with the newest playable build at their booth, Im ashamed
for my lack of faith. For all intents and purposes, theyve still got
Midas golden touch.
able to spend a good chunk of time on the current build with one of the
games artists. Speaking of art, my hat is off to the visual team behind
World of Warcraft. The environments must be seen to be believed. True
there are several games out there with good graphics. In fact as
technology improves, finding a next-gen game with really bad graphics
will become more difficult. What are they all driving at, by the way?
Realism. Games today want you to think youre watching real actors and
real environments. This is not so within the confines of World of
Warcraft. Every building, every tree, every slobbering troll oozes with
distinct style. So distinct that my guide hinted that while traversing
the countryside, one could find their way using landmarks. Im not
talking about some rock that looks like Elvis Presley either. A tree may
stand out to you or a certain landmass might just look unique. Thats
the level of artistry Blizzard is gunning for, and thats just out in
also had the pleasure of playing around with the new Night Elf race.
Many were looking forward to Blizzards announcement about the Elves
inclusion and judging from my time with the newest addition, they wont
be disappointed. Personally Im a bit more taken with the Dwarves, but
the Night Elves signify a very mysterious and attractive experience. I
had the pleasure of playing a druid character, which, as you know, have
the ability to morph into different forms of animal life. If you thought
they were cool in Warcraft III, wait till you look over at your fellow
as he takes on the form of a grizzly. Youll be glad hes on your side.
The Night Elves will probably make up a large part of the population due
to their insane popularity. For the record the existing races available
to players already included Humans, Orcs, Dwarves, and Tauren.
cool addition is the various modes of transportation available to
travelers in the Warcraft universe. Aside from the personal mounts you
can come by, players will be able to board ships, zeppelins, as well as
hitch a ride on one of the various Gryphons stationed throughout the
the myriad of people thatll probably be playing World of Warcraft, the
developers promise that the game will retain a personal flare thanks to
its use of "instancing." In other words several parts of the game, such
as key quests and other locations, are usually overrun with players, or
"camped." With instancing in effect, each group will get their own
chance to play through a scenario as if they were alone. The exact
guidelines of what is deemed worthy of instancing is still being worked
out. I also spoke with the developer about other aspects of online games
like player housing. While he was unable to give a concrete answer, I
got the distinct feeling that housing is a feature the developers want
to add, but not at the cost of the beautiful environments they worked so
hard to create. It will be interesting to see if they can find a happy
medium between the absence of housing and the urban sprawl found in some
online RPGs today.
certainly has experience with online play through their Battle.net
service, and they are bringing all of it to bear upon World of Warcraft.
The developer promised regular updates as well as top of the line
service for those having quirks with their game. This game is definitely
Blizzards baby and they are not taking any chances.
many online RPGs converging on the next year, players will be inundated
with choices about how they want to spend their valuable time and money.
Blizzard definitely has the tried and true track record that will equal
thousands of automatic purchases on the part of Warcraft fans. Does the
World of Warcraft have enough clout to draw in those not so easily won
over? Only time will tell, but given its performance at E3, come next
year Blizzards baby is going to make some serious waves.