Minimum System Requirements: 56K Modem 800 mhz CPU 256 MB of Ram 32MB 3D Graphics card with Hardware Transform/Lighting 4 gigabytes hard disk
Blizzard, one of the (in my opinion) world\'s best computer game companies has made another classic. Some were skeptical of a completely online RPG from Blizzard, but they succeeded fantastically. Combining the rich land, characters, and lore of the famous Warcraft series with fast and streamlined graphics makes one of the best MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) I have seen in a long time. Having been privileged enough to get into the open beta before it was closed, I thought a sneak preview would be appreciated by many gamers. The game is pretty near what the final version will be like, so I decided to review it as if it had already been released. So here it is! Read on and enjoy.
As I mentioned before, World of Warcraft has excellent graphics. Instead of a more realistic style, it fits a fantasy style game without being cartoony. The characters and items are nicely detailed and well done. The buildings are good as well, and the developers did a great job with the many different terrains that all resemble those of the original Warcraft games. From rugged yet beautiful deserts, thick forests, to underground caverns and dungeons, you\'ll have plenty of beautiful areas to explore. Also, you\'ll only see one loading screen when you start. No loads between areas! Since I have a lot of memory and a newer graphics card, I played on the highest video settings with speed and no lag. However, I assume that the game could be played on any newer computer fairly well. Overall, I\'d rate World of Warcraft\'s graphics as very good.
A fairly good job was done on the sound as well. There are many nice background songs that are very unobtrusive to the game, yet add atmosphere as well. The battle sounds are OK, and change depending what you\'re attacking and what weapon you use. Different armor will make different noises as well. Most characters you talk to will say something when you first talk to them and when you leave, and will also say goodbye. Most NPCs you left click on will say a simple quote. Some veteran fans will notice quotes from Warcraft III, such as the peasant and peon.
As is with most MMORPGs, there are lots of things to do. With World of Warcraft, the possibilities are endless. Let me first start with a description of the character creation. When you begin, you\'ll have a choice of eight races, four from each faction. The Horde races are Orcs, Trolls, Tauren (giant bull men), and Undead. The Alliance races are Humans, Dwarves, Night Elves, and Gnomes. Each race has four different racial abilities, usually a passive resistance or some such. Your starting point is decided by your race. Their are nine classes available, but some are only available to certain races. The classes are warrior, rogue, mage, druid, shaman, paladin, warlock, hunter, and priest. The character creation is not extremely detailed, but gives many options for face and hair. When you begin, you\'ll have many quests available, and will eventually start to travel around the world. The quests get harder, and some may require assistance from other players. As you level, you can visit class trainers who will be able to teach you a great many abilities over time. Also available are profession trainers who can teach you abilities like skinning, leatherworking, mining, tailoring, first aid, etc. The game gets more involved the higher level you get. You will get powerful new abilities for your class, and can get a mount. You can gain experience up to level 60, and after that you can join with other high level people to attack monsters like dragons, or perform raids on the opposing faction\'s villages and towns. With all these things available, the gameplay is virtually endless. It is also extremely fun. World of Warcraft gets my high rating for fun gameplay.
If you are stickler for nice, good games, I wouldn\'t suggest this game. Being a fantasy game, this has the usual fantasy game appropriateness downfalls. Magic is very relevant and very widespread in World of Warcraft. Many classes use magical attacks and magical abilities. Magic is drawn from a plane called the Twisting Nether. One thing I approved of in this game is that there is no mention of any kind of god, even though there are priests. Priests and Paladins use divine magic, mainly for healing. I don\'t know if this will offend some people or not, but I thought I\'d mention it anyway. One thing that I found bothered me more than anything else is the warlock\'s use of evil magic, including the ability to summon certain demons. I will say that demons, while evil and foul, are not necessarily satanic, just creatures from a different plane of existence. The idea is still disturbing however. I really think that there is no sin in playing a game with magic, however. In my opinion, as long as the player understands that none of the ideas in a game are real, God doesn\'t mind to much. Violence is not too much of a problem in this game. You will fight of course, but there is not very much violence. The worst is that a little blood will spurt out if you are hit with a piercing or slashing weapon.
Another thing I think people may be offended by are the females in this game. It is a fantasy game, though, and while it is not appropriate, I wouldn\'t expect much different. Some of the armor and clothes may reveal the midriff on the perfectly apportioned and full chested female models. Some people may run around without any clothes on, and females wear very small panties and a revealing bra. But this rare, and usually only near newbie areas where some people try to cause trouble. I merely avoid these people, as they are often immature. A demon succubus can be summoned by a warlock that is very scantily clad and wears a thong (though I\'ve yet to actually see one). Some of the speech clips your character can say have a little innuendo as well.
Lastly, people are people, and not all people are nice. World of Warcraft has the best chat filter I\'ve ever seen, though it lets through d*mn and h*ll. I found that while I was playing this nothing really bothered me personally too much. But some things I still found disturbing and annoying. Everything wrong with video games is here, but only to a minimum. If you can get past these, you will enjoy this game very much.
Graphics - 9.0 Sound - 8.5 Gameplay - 9.3 Appropriateness - 7.1
Overall Score - B++