The World of Warcraft

It’s not often that a game really grabs me. I’d played computer games for a number of years, even hauling my PC around to other people’s houses to hook up to a co-ax ipx network to kill each other on an alien planet surrounded by monsters in DOOM. But the first game that really hooked me, that really sucked me in, was Team Fortress. It was a mod for the Quake game that expanded on the idea of deathmatch and capture the flag. Rather than give every person the same weapons, every player got a subset of them, and different health, armor and run speeds. It was capture the flag, but with real team play, because you needed the other players and classes to offset your weaknesses. I played it for 5 years.

I’d just set TF aside… the Quake version was rife with cheats and hacks, and the new version for Half-Life just wasn’t the same… and along came EverQuest. What initially drew me in was its similarity to Team Fortress. No single class was a god among mortals, they all had their strengths and weaknesses, they all had their place. People needed each other, and a great many friends came of it. I played it for 5 years.

Last year I finally closed the door on EverQuest. It had just become more of a chore than a joy. Like most people, I wish I’d quit about 6 months before I did, but then if not for those last 6 months, I wouldn’t have felt like quitting. Heh. So from EQ I went to City of Heroes. I still play. Frankly, I think I’ll always play. Never hardcore, but nothing really compares to being in your heroic spandex and wading in to a room of ten or more villains and emerging victorious by the skin of your teeth. There is a reason I read comic books for so long, and wish that I could still afford to collect. Superheroes fill a void of heroic impulse, stupidity and bravery all wrapped in one, that just can’t be filled anywhere else.

Blizzard created a world many years ago. Off and on, their Warcraft series has always held a place in my ‘frustrated distractions’ category… the games I would play when I was having an off day in my main game. The World of Warcraft, their MMO based in the same world is just… fascinating. The level of detail, the richness of color… its like a fantasy novel come to digital life. The one thing it lacks is that, for the most part, you don’t need other people… you can play solo from beginning to end. Sure you might miss some quests or dungeons, but one should never expect to explore 100% of a game world in an MMO. Heck, 5 years of EQ and I think there are still some places I never went to. But one of the things that it manages to capture so much better than EverQuest ever could, is the simple idea that while I don’t need other people, the things that can be accomplished in small groups, the way the classes compliment each other in so many varied ways… I don’t need other people, but I want other people. So here’s to the next 5 years of gaming.

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