So some time after everyone else played it I decided to give World of the Warcraft a try. This led to a number of declarations from Ruth and others that I would become an addict and my life over before I reached 40. Visions of me in WoW rehab sprang to mind.
Well it hasn’t turned out quite like that. I really, really wanted to like World of Warcraft. Really I did. I like computer games. I was a fan of a lot of role-playing games. I enjoyed years of playing level-based fantasy and science fiction games. I also find a quick session of senseless pixel destroying often relieves a lot of internal stress. I enjoy blowing away bad guys, zombies, aliens or post-apocalyptic beasties.
So what’s wrong? Well the key problem isn’t the graphics - it really is quite a beautiful game. One of my favourite things is flying through the various landscapes and looking at the scenery. But the game play. My word it is boring. And repetitive. And slow.
The same basic scenario, give or take a few minor variances, occurs over and over again. Kill x number of these things, so fetch that thing, collect x number of these things. Now before you all jump in and say “All computer games are like this…” Well they ain’t. There is a long tradition of amazingly interesting and plot-driven fantasy (and other genres) computer role-playing games. The early Fallout games (and their precursor Wasteland too) are excellent examples, as is early fantasy such as Darklands, much of the Might & Magic series and classics like the Elder Scrolls series.
The other part that bewilders me is the so-called social element of the game. I’ve discovered that almost all of the “Dungeon” maps require a party. A single player is quickly swarmed and overcome in most of these locations (although perhaps I just suck at it?). Now I like the idea of playing with others but most of the people I know in the game are based in Australia or New Zealand and time zones make cooperative gaming tricky. So a whole segment of the game is largely unavailable to me, which is somewhat annoying.
Sadly it seems I’ll skip any potential addiction to WoW and have to settle for maintaining my existing addictions to work and cigarettes.
P.S. And I did give it a good shot - I leveled a character up to about level 50 before I got frustrated and bored.