|Release: December 07, 2010|
|Screen Resolution: N/A|
I'm enjoying the game, but there are a few things that still bother me quite a bit. The biggest is that the game was obviously designed with multiplayer raiding in mind, and the single-player content suffers from this.
I mentioned in my review that I found the death system frustrating, and that's only become more true as I've fought my way further into the game. The way death works in WoW is that when your health runs out, you're sent to a graveyard. You revive yourself by walking from the graveyard to the scene of your death, and if you die too many times in a short period of time, you're forced to wait by your corpse for a few minutes before you can start playing again. You lose no progress by dying; if you killed three enemies toward your quest before you died, you still have three enemies down when you come back.
It's obvious why this would be a good idea for multiplayer raids. In fact, there's really no other way to do it. The game wouldn't be fun if a single death kicked you off of a raid, and it would be silly if you came back to life instantly, still right in the middle of the raid.
However, if you're doing some quests by yourself, this system simply doesn't work. The goal of a death system should be to force the gamer to play better without angering him. This, however, does the exact opposite: Since you don't lose any progress, you don't have to play better, and since you waste time for no particular reason, it's frustrating as hell. Another problem is that if you died by triggering too many enemies at once, you have to walk back into the middle of those enemies to revive your character.
The subscription system is also designed with multiplayer raiders in mind. The simple fact of the matter is that there's a ton of content here that doesn't require teamwork, and thus shouldn't require you to be online. In theory, without hooking up to the Internet, you could play the opening quest lines for all the races, plus lots of single-player-friendly quests in the larger world. In practice, however, this isn't allowed; if you buy a copy of the game and don't follow it up with monthly payments, you can't play anything at all. This was a major reason I didn't play WoW until Cataclysm, and I bet lots of gamers would be more inclined to give it a shot if their games wouldn't become worthless as soon as they stopped paying. Blizzard should seriously consider implementing whatever tweaks they would need to make this a reality.
I'm not sure I'll become a diehard Warcraft player, but I'm still having a good time, and there are a few aspects of the experience I have yet to explore. Specifically, before my next column, I hope to raid one of the early dungeons and try my hand at a craft. I also hope to hear from you; my e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
CCC Freelance Writer