When someone mentions MMORPGs, there’s a really good chance that World of Warcraft is the first thing that comes to mind. It’s easily the most popular, and it’s certainly the model that so many other games in the genre have tried to emulate. Let’s face it – World of Warcraft is an undisputed success, still pumping strong even eight years after its initial release. Even non-gamers are pretty aware of it. And there’s a good reason why this game is still a hit.
Well, several reasons, actually.
Last week one of our other writers wrote a list as to why you should quit playing WoW. It’s a list I strongly disagree with. So I offer this list, a counterpoint: reasons why you should keep right on playing World of Warcraft, or why you should definitely check it out if you haven’t yet.
1. Chances are a ton of your friends play Warcraft: With well over ten million subscribers, there are a ton of people spending there time within the game. Odds are that you know someone who plays, even if they’ve never openly mentioned it. The point is, people play WoW, and your friends play WoW, hence it’s another fantastic medium with which to spend some quality time hanging out with people you actually like. And if for some reason you just don’t have any friends that play? Well, it’s also a great place to start some friendships, whether within server communities or guilds. Each of those avatars is just another person at the keys. Why not say hello?
2. Warcraft is eight years old: And still going strong, I might add. Let’s just say that there’s a reason my Super Nintendo Entertainment System is still hooked up in the living room, despite itself being twenty-one years old now. Age is simply not an accurate way to measure quality. Sometimes the old things are best, by simple virtue of doing things just right. The fact that WoW is still going strong after eight years should speak for itself. Where other MMORPGs have faded away, this one shines on, still plotting a course into the years ahead.
3. How many times can you beat the same game? Well, if you like replay value, you’re in luck with WoW. Frankly there’s no end in sight. With constant additions to content, including new areas to explore and new challenges to best, there really isn’t a way to “beat” World of Warcraft, because there will always be something new just over the horizon. And if for any reason you manage to find an “end” of some sorts, well, pick up a new character class and give it a whirl – you’ll be surprised to find out just how different the game can be when you take on a new role.
4. Blizzard keeps resetting the skill trees/rebalancing: Thank gravy for that. The fact that Blizzard pays as much attention to the game as they do is a blessing. If there are problems, they get fixed. Whether something is too strong, too weak, too useful, or too pointless, sooner or later it gets adjusted. Usually more than once. World of Warcraft is a constantly-changing game, which sure beats the heck out of a game with bugs that go unfixed for several months as the developers no longer follow up on their own game.
5. It’s really not all that expensive: Fifteen dollars a month. It might sound like a fair chunk of change when you just look at it, but if you check the math, it’s practically a bargain. The fee gets you an entire month of unlimited, unrestricted access to the game; hours and hours of entertainment and social interaction right at your fingertips! If you look at the possibility of spending twenty bucks on a night out at a bar, or at the movies, suddenly a meager $15 isn’t that big of a deal, not for an entire month certainly. Heck, cut that fancy Starbucks drink out of your morning routine three times in a month and you’re all set.
6. Other games just don’t measure up: There are plenty out there to try, too. Forsaken World, City of Heroes, Rift… The list is practically endless. But at the end of the day, they’re all very much like World of Warcraft, simply because WoW does it right. In fact, a fair number of the people playing these other games also play WoW as well, and are fairly quick to start drawing up comparisons to their favorite MMORPG despite currently spending their time in a completely different game. World of Warcraft is the powerhouse, and it’s the one that keeps players coming back.
7. The “Warcraft Time-Sink:” This sort of ties in to #3. The fact remains that there are always tons of things to do in WoW, enough that the average person simply can’t do and see everything. Regardless, there is always a potential for improvement, whether it be a new piece of gear, a new rare pet companion, or some ridiculous and absurd achievement. Since many players enjoy these aspects of the game, it might be better to refer to this as “entertainment” rather than a “time-sink.” Besides, it beats the heck out of watching CSI: Miami reruns on TV.
8. Other people playing World of Warcraft: And there are a lot of other people. I won’t try to sugar-coat this – a fair number of those people are complete trolls that will give you a strong desire to build a device that will allow you to strangle people over the internet. But that’s practically true for any aspect of life, whether it’s Mr.-Blares-Loud-Music-All-Day in the cubical next to yours, or Ms.-Obnoxious-Ringtone-And-20-Minute-Conversation sitting behind you in the movie theater. Truth is, you can’t get away from them, and they’re in WoW too. But World of Warcraft also has good people, the helpful ones who offer advice, help you with a difficult task, or pass on something valuable to you just because they like your friendly attitude. You tend to get out what you put in, and WoW is no exception.
9. The “Warcraft-is-a-drug” hypothesis: We’ve all heard the stories about the guy who flunked out of college because he spent an entire semester shuttered away in his room, drinking soda and snacking on pizza while being completely glued to World of Warcraft. Those people certainly exist, and on some level, one could point to WoW as the problem. As Chris Tallant pointed out in his article, this is pretty much like blaming a pencil for creating spelling mistakes. Warcraft is a game, a medium of entertainment, no more dangerous or addicting than any other form of media out there. Just keep an eye on yourself if you play the game, and realize when too much is just too much.
10. There is a fantastic world in there: World of Warcraft hosts an amazing, ever-changing world, full of new people to meet, new challenges to face, and a seemingly-endless pile of stuff to find. That’s what keeps players coming back. But remember too that the people you meet in WoW also have their lives outside of the game as well. Frankly there’s no reason why friendships and adventures have to end when you log off. In fact, I’m very much looking forward to driving half-way across the country this summer in order to meet up with some great friends and guildmates I’ve met over the past few years. And no, we won’t be playing WoW, we’ll be staying at a cabin in the mountains!
When all is said and done, when the smoke clears and the dust settles, when numerous other MMORPGs have come and gone, World of Warcraft still stands over the rubble, a monument to success in the genre. It’s the go-to game, and for many great reasons. By all means, try out other games, but should you ever find one of them lacking in one department or another, just keep in mind that WoW is likely not too far away, and neither are the friends you’ll make there.
Now to convince my guildmates that we need to try this whole “inflatable submarine” thing…