World of Warcraft Previews, Impression
11:53 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
The lightning fingers of many a PC press team at the ECTS expo have produced a few reports on Blizzard Entertainment's new baby, World of Warcraft. While details are still quite lacking at this early stage of development, Blizzard did give the game press first-hand demos and enough facts to hang a preview on.
GameSpy has posted an extensive description of a hands-on demo of the game, and it is certainly an interesting read. Even though the game has only been in development since January -- behind closed doors so secret that the majority of the Blizzard staff didn't even know what the team was working on! -- the product seems quite robust and polished. Many of the core elements are already in place, such as a combat system, character creation and complete (rather than placeholder) artwork and models. While we all know how Blizzard loves to tweak and rebalance gameplay -- the primary holdup for Warcraft III, it seems -- the game is surprisingly far along. Here's a sample from the preview:
While very little about the actual game mechanics was given away in this press conference a few pointers were given to the way World of Warcraft will play. The normal MMORPG fighting system is going to be simplified to be more like the Diablo series where it is at the point and click level and so make it more accessible to new gamers. Spells will also be made only a click or two away so they can be used in the midst of the fight when you blood is being spilt every split second you delay. Another gameplay issue raise was that of PvP fighting. PvP is Player vs Player fighting and while some groups of online players love nothing more than the challenge of taking on an enemy mob of real world players, others who would rather explore find it very annoying when a group of PvP players descend upon them and leave the corpse of the explorer lying on the ground in cold blood. While no specifics were given about how a system that allows PvP fighting yet keep the explorer unaffected by it will be handled in World of Warcraft one strong candidate would be a warclan system. In this system any PvP players could create or join a registered warclan and by doing so create an enemy of any opposing warclans. This would mean that only registered warclan members could attack and be attacked and so keep those who would rather only fight those creatures of AI origin out of harms way. While we cannot be sure if this system is the one Blizzard will settle on it is a strong contender.Other magazines posting their impressions include PCIGN and GameSpot UK. Both are full of good details and firsthand accounts of the game in action, though all the screen shots are identical to the official shots on Blizzard's WoW site. The PCIGN preview emphasizes that despite the name, WoW has no RTS elements whatsoever -- the game is pure online RPG, much more in the vein of EverQuest than RTS. We are sure the WoW hype will continue for weeks, months and years, but these are well worth the read.
World of Warcraft Report at PCIGN
World of Warcraft Preview at GameSpy
World of Warcraft First Impressions at GameSpot UK
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