A couple weeks ago, not long after the new Wrath of the Lich King expansion pack was released, I decided to finally give World of Warcraft a try. I’d heard a lot about the game over the years, and though I’ve played a few MMORPGs, I never tried WoW. So I downloaded and installed the 10-day trial, which offers most of the full game, albeit for a limited time.

World of Warcraft is the most immersive online game I have ever played.

When I logged in, I my character, Myrdin, appeared near a fair-sized stone abbey surrounded by a forest. There, the starting quests teach you the basics of the game and get you started adventuring.

From there you can go wherever you want in the land of Azeroth, taking the quests you want, learning whatever skills interest you. It’s all up to you.

You will rarely see a loading screen in World of Warcraft. Everything streams from the server before it’s needed, so you can keep going on unhindered by long waits.

There are more in-game quests than you’ll ever be able to complete, and they all add to the overarching storyline, while giving you plenty of varying things to do.

There are a wide array of character types and classes, which can be combined in nearly any imaginable way. You can be a human mage, an elf warrior, a dwarf mage, an undead shaman, an elf rogue, whatever you want. Each has it’s own plusses and minuses, though any character type works well enough.

The characters all fall into two factions, the Alliance and the Horde. The Horde is comprised of the orcs, trolls, undead, and tauren characters, while the Alliance has humans, elves, gnomes, and dwarves. The two sides are in constant conflict, and each have their own “home” lands. The interesting part is that the two sides often “raid” each others’ territories, coming over in groups to kill enemy NPCs and players and loot. A couple of Defence chat channels warn of ongoing attacks, so players can walk, ride, or fly in to help fend off the attackers.

The game world is absolutely beautiful. It’s a blend of medieval and mechanical, with more than a little fantasy, twisted into a final result that’s spectacular and fun. Everything is very detailed, and seems almost real. The graphics may not blow you away technologically, but stylistically they can’t be beat.

The controls work well by default, and can be remapped to your own preference. The camera automatically snaps to a view from behind your character, though you can use the mouse to look around. You walk with the arrow keys or the WASD keys, you can strafe if you wish as well. Abilities, items, and spells can be equipped to the bar along the bottom of the screen, where they can be easily accessed with a click or one of the numerical keys on your keyboard (useful in combat, where you need to keep activating spells and abilities to launch attacks).

World of Warcraft is a fun and interesting fantasy game with a population of over 10 million players. It’s $15/mo subscription price is a little steep though. (There is a ten-day free trial availabe via Blizzard’s website though, so you can try before you buy.) Overall, it’s one of the best ones out there.

Further Reading

Fantasy Folder Gameplay Trailer

Official Game Trailer

(Don’t see the video?)