What is World of Warcraft – An Epic MMORPG
Hey guy, Just Josh here with another article about World of Warcraft. So, what is World of Warcraft, or WoW? In this article, I will give you an overview of what this game is and if it sparks your interest, then feel free to check it out!
WoW is a game that I have spent many hours playing, hours some people may call a waste while others would call it quality entertainment. I had a lot of fun playing this game when I was active. It involved a lot more than just playing. I had to research my characters and their abilities, crunch numbers and determine what was best for the path I wanted to take, farm gear for upgrades and test them for their worth in my role.
When I first started playing this game, the roles for each specification were not as clearly defined and the talent trees that were used were a lot more convoluted. It took a lot of time to determine what was best for the role I was trying to fill. There were a lot of discussions (arguments) over what was best and whether I was able to successfully fill my role in a group. Eventually, new expansions were released that changed the talent trees and streamlined the process. This also more clearly defined each specification. There was criticism that this made the game too easy to play for a noob, but as with any MMO, people are going to complain.
During my time playing this game, I made a lot of friends online. Some of these online friends also became friends in real life. For the most part, we were all part of the same guild, fulfilling different roles to keep the guild strong and competitive in progressing through content. The ultimate goal was to reach a level where we could play endgame content and beat that expansion. After successfully beating all the endgame content, it was time to farm for achievements, improve our cohesiveness, train newly level-capped guild mates to fill in when needed and create multiple teams that would run different content through the week.
Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game
What is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, or MMORPG? Well, it is a game that is intended for a lot of different people from all over the world to be able to come together and play with each other, as if they were in the same location. This is not much different than playing a multiplayer game on a console, really. The same ideas apply, it is just on a broader scale.
World of Warcraft was based off of the original Warcraft RPG games, but expanded to allow the player to have more control and feel more immersed in a world that seems limitless. This gives the player a game that is ever-changing and can seem to be different every time they log in to play. In reality, there are a lot of things that once the player gets deeply immersed that are repeated over and over, especially when the player creates new characters with different classes. This is part of the core of the game in which the player grinds through quests of all types. Although it is repetitive, the conditions in which the quests are done can change due to class, faction and other player’s interaction.
The core of this game is grinding your character or toon to the highest level and then upgrading your gear as much as possible. This can be done in a variety of ways. The player can choose to go it alone, questing through zones, opening up new areas when they are ready and receiving rewards for completing the quest lines. Another way is for the player to group up with other players and adventure out into the world to overcome obstacles that would otherwise be impossible to defeat alone. Yet another way is to group up and run through dungeons or raids, either by queuing in the Dungeon or Raid Finder, or by physically visiting the instance and entering as a group. Most people join guilds and become part of that community, learning from each other and then teaming up to go through as much content as possible.
Another thing to note is that each player has a choice on whether they would like to play as PVE (player vs environment) or PVP (player vs player) within each realm (server available for player to log in). Players can also choose to play the game as a Role Playing game, playing very strictly within their role, performing tasks and acquiring gear specifically for their race/class only. Additionally, there are some realms that are geared towards PVE, PVP or Role Playing specifically.
Race, Class and Specialization
World of Warcraft has a character generator in place that allows the player to choose a lot of different options. These options can be influenced by a number of different things, whether it be the class they wish to play, the specialization, the look, or the main playing zones available to each.
The first choice is whether to play on the Alliance or the Horde side. Traditionally, the Alliance have been seen as the good guys and the Horde have been seen as the bad guys. Recent developments in the game’s story have blended the idea of good vs evil when considering the faction you choose.
The second choice is to choose the race of your toon within the faction that you have already chosen. Each faction has 6 unique races and share a seventh. There are 3 more races available to play for each faction, but they must be recruited first. This gives the player a total of 10 per faction. They are as follows:
- Night Elf
- Pandaren (shared between factions)
- Dark Iron Dwarf (available after recruiting)
- Lightforged Draenei (available after recruiting)
- Void Elf (available after recruiting)
- Blood Elf
- Pandaren (shared between factions)
- Highmountain Tauren (available after recruiting)
- Mag’har Orc (available after recruiting)
- Nightborne (available after recruiting
Not every race can play as every class in the game. This can be limiting, but ultimately, it provides a balance and allows players to have more in common so that they can help each other. The idea is to be diverse in choices, but not so diverse that each race/class combo becomes difficult to understand. The player gets to choose what role they would like to play based on their desire and/or need of the guild they may be a part of. The available classes are as follows:
- Warrior (tank or damage)
- Paladin (tank, damage or healer)
- Hunter (damage)
- Rogue (damage)
- Priest (damage or healer)
- Death Knight (tank or damage)
- Shaman (damage or healer)
- Mage (damage)
- Warlock (damage)
- Monk (tank, damage or healer)
- Druid (tank, damage or healer)
- Demon Hunter (tank or damage)
As described above, each class has one of three specializations that may be available. Every class has the ability to play as a damage dealing toon, while a more limited option of tank or healer is available to some classes. The specializations are:
- Tank – This specialization is the one that takes the brunt of the damage from enemies. Their main goal is to maintain aggro (the focus of the enemy) of the enemy and either absorb, deflect or heal through that damage. When running through dungeons there is usually one tank, but in raids there is usually 2 or more tanks. When in raids, the tanks will swap aggro to either allow stacks of damage to fall off of each other or to counter mechanics that may kill a tank if they kept all the aggro.
- Damage – This is the most popular specialization due to its ease of playability and the variety of races/classes available to play as damage. Most noobs will start out as damage and eventually branch out to play other specializations. There are two types of damage dealers, melee and ranged. Players have a choice on whether they prefer to be in the mix, right in the boss’s or mob’s face dealing damage or if they would rather be further out and safer from immediate damage from the melee abilities.
- Healer – This one is arguably the most important of all the specializations but also the most vulnerable. Healers are responsible for keeping the health of the group up and getting rid of any magic or poisons that stack to create damage. They usually do not perform any melee attacks and if they do, their weapons are usually the weakest of all the specs. Without a good healer, the group may not survive as most of the damage dealers are unable to heal themselves with abilities and the tanks can only take so much before they will succumb to the damage taken.
Another great resource for guiding you through the current expansion, Battle for Azeroth is Zygor Guides. Click the link at the top of the page to check out their service!
Types of Gear Available
There is a seemingly limitless amount of gear available to upgrade your toon with. In recent updates to WoW, it is now possible to farm old gear and save the pieces to perform an ability called Transmogrification. This is the ability to make the current gear that your toon is wearing and make it look like a different set. This is mainly for aesthetic purposes. The same ability to transmogrify applies to weapons and shields.
As you progress through the game, you will find gear that will be suitable for your particular level. The item level for gear found will increase as progression is made through the game. It is always desirable to increase your item level, although some gear will have better stats at a lower item level than a piece found in an instance or from a quest.
The gear found in the game has main and secondary stats embedded in them. There is also the possibility of additional stats that may enhance abilities of a particular class or specialization. So there can be a lot of gear available that is desirable and a lot that is good but not as good and then some gear that is just plain bad for the class/spec but must be equipped due to item level.
There are four main types of gear to farm for and depending on the race/class combo, some gear cannot be used at all and some gear should not be used (even though it could be used). One example of gear that should not be used is a tank that should wear plate but has equipped mail or cloth gear. This leads to a weaker toon. The gear available is as follows:
- Plate – Suitable for tanks, damage and some healers. Plate is worn by Warriors, Paladins and Death Knights.
- Mail – Suitable for damage and healers. Mail is worn by Shamans and Hunters.
- Leather – Suitable for tanks, damage and healers. Leather is worn by Rogues, Monks, Druids and Demon Hunters.
- Cloth – Suitable for damage and healers. Cloth is worn by Priests, Mages and Warlocks.
WoW is a Subscription Based Game
When I started playing WoW, you had to buy the base game and then any expansions that came after. Then the Battle Chest came out and it included the base game and the latest expansions, along with a 30-day subscription. When the latest expansion, Battle for Azeroth was announced, Blizzard also announced that they were doing away with this. WoW would now be a subscription based game and players would have access to all the content up until the latest expansion, just by signing up and paying the monthly fee. This was a big step forward in trying to get new players involved. You still have to by Battle for Azeroth, though. This expansion costs $49.99 for the Standard Edition download or $69.99 for the Digital Deluxe edition. The Deluxe Edition comes with a few goodies that hardcore gamers will enjoy.
The subscription cost is slightly different depending on how you wish to pay for it. They give you three options:
- $14.99 per month, revolving payment
- $13.99 for 3 months at a time, revolving payment
- $12.99 for 6 months at a time, revolving payment
There are other methods of payment that are available. This includes using in-game gold to buy game time by buying WoW Tokens to pay for 30 days of game time with each one. Players that have a high reserve of gold and are capable of farming items to make gold quickly will never pay out-of-pocket to play this game.
Still the Most Popular MMORPG
There are other MMORPGs out there to play and they all have their good and bad points. Even Wow isn’t perfect. It is the most popular of all of them and this is due to a lot of different reasons.
One of the biggest reasons for WoW’s success is its lore. It is based on the old Warcraft strategy games that unbeknownst to some actually had a lot of lore behind them. They were not just another point and click, smash ’em up game. Those that invested deeply into the game picked up on it and watched as it expanded the story with each installment. There are books that have been written to go deeper into the lore.
Blizzard spends a lot of time and resources to ensure that the game is of top quality, both visually and in its gameplay. Over the years, the game has evolved so much graphically that a real gaming computer will be required to run it in its optimal state. This is a bit of a double-edged sword. It makes the hardcore gamers happy to see this game appear so visually stunning but it also makes it difficult for those that are less invested or new to the game to jump right in. The game can be run on lower grade computers, but at a cost to frame rate and visual effects.
WoW has the largest amount of subscriptions of any MMORPG. This has fluctuated greatly through the years for many reasons. Some expansions were less well-received than others and people left to do other things but then found themselves back at it for another expansion and the promise of awesome rewards. At this time the actual numbers of subscriptions is held tightly by Blizzard, but sources show that there are 1.7 million active subscriptions (excluding China). At one time, it was estimated that active subscriptions were over 10 million!
So, if you are a fan of anything Warcraft related, then you should give this game a try. It is fun and can lead to a lot of awesome adventures with a lot of different people. When you get in with a guild and start doing dungeons and raids, it requires a lot of teamwork and strategy to accomplish some awesome achievements. If you love RPGs and playing online in an MMO, then this game is for you.
Thanks for reading, comments and questions are welcomed!