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Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment    Genre: Adventure & RPG
Min OS X: 10.3    CPU: G4 @ 1000 MHz    RAM: 512 MB    Hard Disk: 3000 MB    Graphics: 64 MB VRAM

World of Warcraft
December 6, 2004 | Michael Phillips

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In World of Warcraft, there is an obscene amount of things for players to see and do. For instance, there are 8 playable races and 9 character classes, 6 major cities, small towns, sweeping valleys, rolling hills, dank dungeons, eerie crypts and gnomes, so many gnomes.

WoW’s races are as follows:

The Alliance:

Humans (the mundane race)
Dwarves (the stout race)
Gnomes (the cute race)
Night Elves (the pretty race)

The Horde:

Orcs (the burly race)
Undead (the Goth race)
Tauren (the earthy race)
Trolls (the voodoo race)

Aside from the obvious starting location and appearance differences, each race in World of Warcraft has Racial Traits. For instance, the Night Elves have the ability to Shadowmeld, which allows them to turn invisible while standing still. This ability is very handy in sticky PvP situations. Night Elves also get +10 against Nature Magic. Tauren characters have the War Stomp skill, which allows them to stun nearby enemies for 2 seconds. They also gain a 5% bonus to their maximum health. When choosing a class, one should consider a complimentary race. For example, Gnomes get a +5% Intelligence bonus, which is a key stat for Mages.

Speaking of classes, World of Warcraft has 9 for players to enjoy. First, I’ll give quick list of said classes.

Paladin (Alliance only)
Shaman (Horde only)

Honestly, I enjoy all the classes in their own way. Blizzard really created interesting skill sets for even typically mundane classes. For example, aside from the typical healing skills, Priests can specialize in Shadow Magic, allowing them to deal devastating damage. Paladins are sort of a Warrior/Priest hybrid. They can wear plate armor like a Warrior and raise the dead like a Priest. Their skills also center on the ability to quickly dispatch Undead foes. Another interesting class is the Hunter. Hunters excel at ranged combat with guns or bows. They can infuse their ammunition with deadly poison or charge it with arcane energy. They also have the unique ability to tame beasts and keep them as pets. A Hunter’s pet acts as a distraction in combat, attacking its prey while the Hunter lets fly from a distance. Hunters can even give their pets unique names. I play a Hunter by the name of Theon, who’s owl, Asha, has clawed out the eyes of many a foe. As she is often wont to do.

To further spice up classes, each character is granted Talent points after level 10. Much like in Blizzard’s Diablo II, Talents in WoW are broken up into 3 sections, like Beast Mastery, Marksmanship and Survival for Hunters. Talents allow for great differentiation among characters of the same class. For example, one Mage can specialize in ice spells, while another might focus on the arcane variety.

World of Warcraft is mainly a game of questing, which is the exact opposite of a game such as Shadowbane. In Shadowbane, players gain levels by finding a camp of monsters (or MOBs) and killing said MOBs over and over and over and over and over again, without any true purpose. However, in WoW most experience points are gained through story-driven quests. For instance, there’s a fellow in the lands of Darkshore who wishes to study the intact brainstems of the vicious Nagas. Thus, the player must kill the aforementioned Nagas and return with their brainstems. Mmmm… brains… Aside from the experience gained by killing monsters, players gain a huge chunk of experience for completing the quest and are also given some sort of item or monetary reward. There are also Elite quests, which are more advanced and difficult than average quests. For starters, Elite MOBs do more damage and have more hit points than normal MOBs of the same level. Elite quests are always meant to be done in groups, as the monsters are so much harder to fell. Elite quests also often take place in what are known as “instanced” dungeons. When a party enters an instanced dungeon, they are there alone, with no other parties to interfere with the questing. One of my favorite instances is the Scarlet Monastery, home to a corrupt cult of religious zealots. Aside from being a challenge, the quests within are quite unique. For example, one quest involves acquiring a certain text from the Monastery Library. Of course, this task is far easier said than done. There are literally hundreds of gameplay hours in WoW right now, with more to be added as the game continues.


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