|World of Warcraft
September 5, 2001 | IMG Staff
To coincide with our new gallery of in-game screenshots, concept artwork and character shots from Blizzard's just announced MMORPG World of Warcraft we have some more details on the game itself, direct from the ECTS show floor. We also have a very compressed version of the gameplay movie shown at ECTS and released on the web, enabling those without a great deal of bandwidth to get a glimpse of what’s to come!
Drawing upon their industry-leading experience as designers of multiplayer games, Blizzard is aiming to radically change and improve their multiplayer model and enhance gameplay by giving the players the one thing they really want: a persistent world, one they can explore and even shape over time.
The multiplayer and server model will be entirely different and separate from battle.net; a totally new networking model has been developed with the game world living in its own game-space; there will still be multiple synced servers, as with Diablo II, to minimize lag within each Realm. World of Warcraft will be subscription-based like most of the new Massively Multiplayer games; it is expected to be about as expensive as the existing titles, in the $10-a-month range. These charges will not be purely for mindless profit, but for upkeep of the dedicated worldwide servers; the team claimed the money will be rolled back into the game via the dedicated maintenance crew that will continue to work on the project once it goes live.
According to the descriptions by the Blizzard team members, WoW should have faster, more action-oriented style of combat, not as fast as the hack-and-slash of the Diablo series but noticeably faster than many current online and solo RPG's. When speaking to the development team concerning the direction WoW should take, one of the design goals the team gave was that they don't want players to ever have the time to sit down and read a book; players should always have something to do and be kept engrossed and busy, whether this be by combat, tasks or questing. In this vein many quests will be able to be completed in less than an hour, to cater to the more casual gamer and increase the accessibility of the game to new players. At the same time, more immersive quests that involve many hours of play and the formation of partnerships will included, for the more hardcore RPG crowd. Whether your playing for an hour or ten hours, Blizzard said that they want players to feel they have something meaningful to do, something that is important to their character and the surrounding world.
One superior aspect of Blizzard’s titles that has always stood out is the intrinsic simplicity of their interfaces, from the click-and-drag of Warcraft II to the spells and inventory of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. With Wow the team said their goal is to create a game and interface that is intuitive: simple to learn, yet difficult to master. A lot of time has been put into the interface to make it easy to pick up and use, yet powerful enough to provide complex gameplay that is more than just “click on the bad guy.” There should be a richness of play with a variety of spells, skills abilites. The goal is to create characters with real depth along with true character interaction, all of which will have meaning within the game-world. It isn’t known as of yet whether players will actually be able to shape or change the game world, but interactions with NPCs could be one way that larger, overarching quests or plot devices are revealed over time.