Why Not World of Warcraft

Posted: July 28, 2011 by Micah in Video Game Reviews
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World of Warcraft:

Tis a colossus striding across the gaming world like… a colossus. But for some reason World of Warcraft has never really been my type of game.

“Surely Micah.” You would say to me. “Surely you: gamer and fan of fantasy must LOVE World of Warcraft like a small dog loves chewing on wooden legged chairs.”

To which I would respond “Wooden legged chairs? That’s a weird analogy. Also no. No I do not love World of Warcraft.”   “Why?” You would say heart in your throat.

“I don’t know…” I would reply looking ruggedly handsome and thoughtful. “Let me write a blog about it!”

Reason # 1: Time.

In the world of World of Warcraft there are the “haves” and the “have nots.” The “haves” generally are rich stock brokers or people who live in their moms’ basement and have a level 425 Archmage with the power of the Sun and Moon and the accumulated wealth of Europe. The “have nots” are generally people like me. People with social lives and stuff we want to do that doesn’t involve crafting 400 leather vests so we can afford the “Epic Pants of Horatio the Hick-pinger”.

“Well Micah.” You might say. “That what makes Worldcraft so cool! You get to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps and suffer through ridicule and persecution to rise up to the top and become the best there is.”

To which I would reply. “I already do that! Everyday! If I want to deal with a cruel world full of people trying to push me down and establish their dominance all the while I try and struggle onward in the hopes of one day being the best at what I do, I’ll turn off my computer and go to work!!! The point of playing video games is to get away from all the people who have been annoying me all day by demonstrating how vastly superior they are. Not to let someone else do it while riding a Death Pony and wielding the Epic Sword of Gilgamesh Mach 4.”

Reason #2: My limited desire to sort through corpses looking for Wolf Spleens.

A large portion of my time with World of Warcraft was spent doing quests that involved collecting a certain number of something and delivering it to someone else.

“You! Gather 9 chicken toes and bring them here!”
“Hi, can you go collect for me some rare herbs from yonder swamp?”
“Hello good citizen, you look like you’ve nothing to do. I need four flowers from the meadows of the sun!!”

If I want to run errands I’ll by Postman: the Video Game (editor’s note: Totally not a real game). I did not become an Undead Rogue so that I could pick flowers and sort through the rotting remains of pigs! My point being (and this links with the last point) I play video games to get away from jerky people and mundane tasks. Maybe this makes me less of a gamer but when I sit down in front of my x-box to blow off some steam and relax I don’t want to be bored. Because while “gather nine wolf spleens” sounds like a decent idea it’s a 4 mile hike in between! And somehow not every wolf you kill has a spleen. You’ll end up killing about twenty of the things before you collect nine which then gives rise to the question “how did the other 11 wolves survive without their spleens in the first place?” And once that’s done we have to somehow get back to town which brings me to my next point…

Reason #3: I need a GPS

“Hey home fry; I need 4 tears from the ancient river women of death. They’re across the lake west of town. Thanks.”

“I’m sorry, which lake?”

“That one west of town.”

“Which town? The one I just came from? Or that one next to it? Or the one before that? Or the one four miles down the road?”

“Oh I don’t know. They’re just ‘west of town’. Now hop along Cassidy. Those women won’t cry themselves.”

“They won’t? Look, in my limited interaction with women they’ll generally cry whenever they want. Especially if Meg Ryan is somehow involved.”

“Really? A Meg Ryan joke? You know she hasn’t released a meaningful movie in, like, the last 5 years right? Way to connect with your demographic.”

“Whatever man, there are no doubt dozens of women between the ages of 20-57 who are bending over in their chairs laughing. Plus I…. (Editor’s note: This went on an embarrassingly long time. I’ll skip to the end for the sake of your sanity)

“… Sean Connery, Chip and Dale, and Dora the Explorer.”

“Good point.”

“Thanks.”

Anyway World of Warcraft’s map system is really confusing and involved a lot of me wandering around having no clue what I was doing, until some level 50 one-eyed troll appeared over a mountain top and ate my lower half. Once again, avid players of the game swear to me that once you learn the map system it gets really easy and you only get eaten by trolls some of the time, but my response to this is if a game isn’t enjoyable at the beginning why should I expect it to get better at the end? If someone were to serve me a rotting duck carcass for dinner I wouldn’t politely ask what was for dessert. I would leave. And I did leave. Ha. Ha.

Reason # 4: Story

Our final and really the main reason for me and Warcraft not getting along is that there really isn’t much story to be had here. I’ll forgive a game for a bad story if it’s exciting and engaging and interesting enough (as seen in my Kill Team review) but the straight truth is that for the reasons listed above Warcraft’s world isn’t those things.

Warcraft’s world, while huge and expansive, lacks any form of narrative direction. There’s no beginning, middle, and end to Warcraft because it’s an “Open world environment” and “there are millions of players each telling their own stories” and “if this game ended you’d stop paying us every month.” I love a video game that wraps me up in a good story and lets me really experience it through the eyes of my character. Frankly, this game does not do that.

Part of that is because the world is just too big. Part of that is because World of Warcraft entrusts it’s players to come up with their own stories. The detractor is that while I may be telling the epic tale of “Zargell the Undead Minion Who Rose Up from the Grave and Saved His People” the players around me all seem to be telling the story of “Captain DumbW8er 11: A Guy Who Jumps Everywhere He Goes, Dances at Every Street Corner, and Asks Me to Join His Guild Every Two Minutes.”

In Conclusion:

This is not a post against those who do play World of Warcraft! In fact Jack and Amanda (writers on this site) are both big fans of the game! To which I say good for them! But it’s just not for me. For all of the above reasons and several others that involve rampant animal cruelty, not having a laptop that can run it, and being a grad student! So thanks for reading everyone and let the angry e-mails begin!!

Comments
  1. […] gripes World of Warcraft are well documented. In fact they’re well documented right here! However after a hoard (World of Warcraft pun right there. Yeah, what now?) of e-mails from people […]

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