WOW, or Why I Stopped Blogging for Ten Days.

Blogging has suffered as of late because I’ve been very taken up with something else that is fairly time-intensive. A friend of mine gave me a ten day trial of World of Warcraft, that MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game) that all the cool kids are playing. I’ve gotten to know all kinds of leet-speak, excuse me, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leet. I know what it means to “pwn” or why I don’t want to be a “n00b”. Yes, you should now “ph34r” my “m4d sk1llz”.

On a more serious note, WOW is the first MMORPG (they really need a more wieldy acronym) I’ve played, and maybe they’re all this cool, I don’t know. But this is, without a doubt, the most enjoyable game I’ve ever played. I’m not sure what all the reasons for this are. I’ll speculate a bit, and maybe I’ll figure it out a bit better by writing this down. First of all, the game is both simple and complex. The movement is the classic WASD with which any PC gamer (as opposed to console gamers; not trying to slight you Steve!) is familiar. (For those not in the know, W moves forward, S backward and A and D left and right.) Interacting with the world is done in large part with simple left and right clicking on the mouse, and with a minimum of reading in the manual, one can sort out how to do various other moderately more complex tasks. Complexity enters in when one considers the vast number of things that one can do. Indeed, there are many more things than any one character can do. Not only can you fight and kill monsters, but you can prepare and consume some of the animals you can hunt. You can skin them and use the leather to make objects. You can create various magical items using arcane combinations of items. You can find plants with which to make healing potions or deadly poisons. You can mine metals and minerals and fashion tools and weapons. But you cannot do them all with a single character. So now you have to trade, barter, sell and buy with other players. You can also buy things from computer operated vendors (NPCs, Non-Player Characters), but to get the good stuff, you need to deal with other players.

The characters themselves are amazing too. There are 8 playable “races”, with the standard Humans, Dwarves, Elves and Orcs, but also with the Undead, Gnomes and Trolls and the unique Tauren (large, anthropomorphic bovines and yes, it is cooler than that sounds). Within these, one can choose from a number of “classes” Warrior, Shaman, Warlock, Druid, Mage, Priest, Paladin, Rogue and Hunter. Not every race can be every class. Taurens, for example, can only be Druids, Hunters, Shamans, and Warriors. There are 9 Primary Professions, of which each character can learn only 2. These are things like Herbalism, Alchemy, Leatherworking, Mining and Engineering. It is suggested that one choose two complementary professions, Mining and Blacksmithing perhaps, that allow one to both gather raw materials and then use them to manufacture items.

Right. So there’s a bunch to do. How easy is it to do it all? Not very. I’ve been playing like a madman trying to get as much done as I can in the limited time that I have, and I’ve gotten one character about 18 levels of experience out of a maximum of 60 in a matter of about 6 days. And each level takes longer than the one before. The first 10 levels only took about two days. The next 8 took about 4 days. And the world itself is big. I mean, big. Really, really big. There are two continents with roughly 20 “provinces” on each. And it’s taken me days to partially explore two. The variety of monsters is astounding. I’m sure that most places differ in a similar way, and there are probably hundreds of different kinds of monsters to find.

The only bad news is that I don’t really have the $15 a month the game costs in my current budget. So, I’ve only got about 4 more days of playing left. But really, this is the greatest computer game I’ve ever played.

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