A Review of World of Warcraft's Free to Play to Level 20 Content
I am a Warcraft nub. I have been since the release of Warcraft II. I played my way through every mission, both Alliance and Horde, pretending I was some great general personally overseeing the death of my enemies one-by-one. And, I used cheat codes on every level (I really suck at RTSs, although I'm not sure if I put enough work into it), and when Warcraft III came out I was so stoked.
My computer then sucked, and my mom refused to get a new one, so whenever we went to my grandparents house for the weekend, I would have to install it on their computer and hunt down the cheat codes online so i could get to the level I was on the time before.
I started to do the same thing with The Frozen Throne (the expansion for Warcraft III), but I've still not finished that game. I'm not sure why either. I guess I lost interest in it, because of the length of time between each play session. (I still have the disks for both games. Might be worth it to play them again. I could review them, even though it's a few years too late.)
Anyway, i think the point I'm trying to get to is World of Warcraft. I was so excited for this game to come out. And, when it did, I didn't get to play it.
My computer still sucked, and my mom refused to get a new one and the internet (you see a pattern here don't you mom? :). So, i had to wait for six years after World of Warcraft was released to finally get to play it.
I got to play it. I fell in love with it. And, I'm going to leave that story out. It's not relevant to this review. But, when I'm bored enough to review vanilla WoW, I'll relate it to you.
The Legend of Bice
Bice is my main character. He's technically the second character i created on World of Warcraft, but he is the first character I created on an account that was mine. He is an undead warrior, following the Fury spec tree. I've even got him set up to wield a pair of two handed weapons. Both of which I think are swords right now. I'm not sure, I haven't played in a little while now.
I've played, on and off, with giving him a biography, and a life history that would take him back to the end of the second war. But, I've just not done it. Blizzard is very finicky about who they let write books in the Warcraft expanded universe, so I didn't really see a point in making the biography up. There didn't seem to be a profitable reason, if you catch my drift.
Anyway, I'm rethinking that right now. Thinking I might have to do a few in-character reviews of dungeons or something. Might make this writing thing more interesting, and giving it the feel of fiction. It might just be worth while :)
And, Let Slip...
This review is strictly on the free-to-play content. The trip from level one to level twenty is a quick one, and comparing the two types of accounts (free-to-play starter edition vs. paid subscription), the free-to-play is neutered in the worst way.
Then content you receive, is the same content everyone receives. Full access to spells abilities gained in those levels. you get access to all the same quests and dungeons and gear (though, by level twenty, your gear isn't all that important unless you're into PVP). And, I could go on.
So, you could say it's a pretty sweet deal, but here are some things you can't do:
- join a guild
- trade items
- make a friends list
- open mail
- receive mail
- send mail
- sell items on the auction house
You do have access to all the primary races, including the Panderans (introduced in Mists of Panderia) but you don't have access to all the classes. Death Knights are a hero class that require the Wrath of the Lich King expansion and a level fifty-five or higher character. And, you don't have access to the Monk class, a class introduced with the Panderans, it requires Mists of Panderia to play.
And, at some point between the release of Cataclysm and Mists of Panderia, Blizzard made the Worgen and Goblin races playable in the free-to-play content. Prior to whatever patch that was, you had to have Cataclysm to play those races.
The Dogs of War!
But, still, I like World of Warcraft more than any other MMORPG I've played including Star Trek Online.
I know it doesn't seem like that. In these reviews it never seems like I like what I'm playing. I always point out the bad things, the glitches, the rude often unintelligent players you run into, and the content you can't access. But, I do really love this game. I point out the bad in it because I feel like that's my job when I write a review.
It's like a warning. Me trying to let you know what's wrong so you don't have to find out the way I did.
That said, World of Warcraft is awesome.
The gameplay and controls have become the absolute standard for every other MMORPG.
The graphics, mildly cartoonish and light-hearted, have been replicated in other games, and often enough, the players of those games knock World of Warcraft's graphics.
Look at other MMOs and tell me which ones have been online for the last ten years? Which of those games (if any) can claim they've had up to 10 million subscribers world wide? And, how many of them have seen their way through four expansions, an expanded universe of both novels and comics, not to mention the number of videos, feature length films (which surprised me), and webisodes that youtube and various other sites have hosted.
Hell, the only other games I know of with that level of success are Dungeons and Dragons and Halo.
Well, actually, there are more games then that. Legend of Zelda. Mario Bros. Metroid. Megaman. And, more.
The point, however, is that World of Warcraft has been met with a wild amount of success no matter what flaws it has shown. It's proven that it's worth the money people spend on it, and the time people pour into it. Hell, it actually makes some people feel a hell of a lot better about themselves than their jobs do.
I know, I've been one of those people on and off over the last four years or five years.
Which provides more job satisfaction?
Believe it or not...
World of Warcraft actually provides more Job Satisfaction than almost every "typical" job on the market today, and it's designed to do that.
Autonomy. Complexity. Connection between effort and reward.
These are the three main elements of job satisfaction, and World of Warcraft, well any game done right, satisfies these elements.
Autonomy: You can play the game whenever you want to.
Complexity: You can run around the country side gathering flowers, or you can find yourself leading a party of raiders down a great black tunnel and into the mouth of Deathwing.
Connection between effort and reward: You level up. You get better gear. You get more powers. You get achievements. You get all kinds of feel good things that make you want to get more feel good things. There are a lot of feel good things I want to get.
At this point I'm not sure if I'm making sense, but we'll pretend that I am. And, that I didn't just tell you that Blizzard is ploting to take over the world through their video games...
If you can't guess it, I recommend you try it.
Don't buy the game outright, though vanilla and Burning Crusade are sold as a combo pack anymore, and you won't have to pay more than ten bucks, just give the free to play content a run through.
Get up to level twenty and tell me what you think. Buy the game or not, and if you do, look me up. My name is Bice, and you can find me on Duskwood.