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World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade (PC) artwork

World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade (PC) review

"If World of Warcraft could be summed up into one phrase, it would be either "bait and switch" or "false advertising". To understand how horrid World of Warcraft really is, you must first see through all of the lies put forth by its developer, Blizzard. The first lie you'll run into is the classification of WoW as a video game. The second lie is that it's fun. The third lie is that it has actual content. Three lies, and we're not even past the box the game comes in. Get used to it, because there ..."

If World of Warcraft could be summed up into one phrase, it would be either "bait and switch" or "false advertising". To understand how horrid World of Warcraft really is, you must first see through all of the lies put forth by its developer, Blizzard. The first lie you'll run into is the classification of WoW as a video game. The second lie is that it's fun. The third lie is that it has actual content. Three lies, and we're not even past the box the game comes in. Get used to it, because there are a lot of lies to be exposed.

Originally, WoW was intended to be the be all and end all of MMORPGs, made by an eclectic combination of developers who had worked on other MMOs, mostly EverQuest and EverQuest 2. Instead what happened was some idiot at Blizzard (or more likely Vivendi) picked the worst people from EverQuest to possibly design a game. Looking into who these people are will tell you everything you need to know about why WoW sucks.

The first gigantic bloated cancer of the "gaming" industry is a man named Chris Metzen. Chris Metzen was the leader of the number one guild on EverQuest in terms of game progression, a guild called Legacy of Steel. Legacy of Steel would run through the new content released every few weeks for two or three days straight without interruptions (by which I literally mean 48 to 72 hours without a break) - coining the term for people like Metzen: "poopsocker". Metzen would then proceed to the EverQuest forums, where he would complain to the developers that their game was "too easy" and that if they didn't add newer and harder content, he and Legacy of Steel would cancel their subscriptions. Naturally, not wanting to lose their most loyal player base, the EQ developers would immediately rush a new dungeon with a new boss to defeat, with a harder difficulty level, which Legacy of Steel would defeat in two days. Everyone else would take two months to do the same content.

The second man who is equally to blame for the abortion that is World of Warcraft is Tom Chilton. Tom was the head developer for EverQuest and its sequel. He's also the man responsible for the nonexistent concept of balance in WoW. Chilton, who prefers to be called by his "Tauren name" of Kalgan, was one of the developers who spent his workdays catering to Metzen's every whim. To many, Chilton was the sole person responsible for ruining EverQuest by being Metzen's lackey on the developer side. One might wonder who would hire him after such a bad public reputation. The answer, of course, is Blizzard, who immediately promoted him to head developer of WoW, where he continues to be a lackey to the top guild of the game.

To understand the relevance of these two men to why it is that World of Warcraft is the cancer killing PC gaming, I would like to point you to the next of Blizzard's lies - that being the promise of content for single players and groups. This lie can be easily exposed by simply "playing" the "game" (on a private server of course, as to not line Metzen and Chilton's pockets with more money). The first spot you'll notice a total and utter lack of content is the character creation screen. World of Warcraft has two factions - the Alliance, consisting of the usual RPG fare (Humans, Dwarves, Drow ripoffs, Gnomes) and the Horde, consisting of more usual RPG fare (Orcs, Trolls, non-black Elves, and the Undead). The only two original races are the Draenei on Alliance side, which are some kind of space octopus, and the Tauren on Horde side, a race of massive cow-people. Yes, no matter how you customize your character it will look stupid due to the extremely limited model choices. Yes, some races have better racial abilities than others, leading to most Horde playing either Undead or Orc, and most Alliance playing Gnomes. Oh, but wait, you can't play as the Draenei or Blood Elves unless you paid another $40 for the expansion.

So, you've made your boring and unoriginal character. You then are dumped off in a starting area based on what faction and race you picked. Of course, due to the way that Blizzard changed the experience system in the Burning Crusade expansion, you're going to be gimped unless you picked Draenei or Blood Elf, which coincedentially are only availible with the expansion. Oh, and by the way, you'd better make sure all your friends know that you're Alliance or Horde on a specific server, because the Alliance cannot communicate in any way with the Horde, and vice versa. If you're on a PVP or RP-PVP (player vs. player/ role-playing player vs.player) server you can be prepared for constantly being killed by the opposing faction. If you rolled on a PVE (player vs. environment) server, you can choose when and where to be active in PVP. Oh, and transferring costs $25, and you can't transfer from a PVE realm to a PVP one. You then proceed to grind enemies, do boring fetch/kill quests, and turn them in until you hit level 70. There are other things to do, but your main focus is going to be on hitting 70, which is the current level cap. At 70, you get to do something totally new - grind raid instances for gear. You also are forced to grind money for a mount, a faster ground mount, a slow flying mount, and an fast flying mount. I do hope you enjoy your farming simulator.

So then, let's talk about instances, which are Chris Metzen's current love affair. Instances are WoW's term for dungeons. There's two types - group instances, which take five people to accomplish (with the exception of lower-level ones which can be soloed or two-manned by 70s) and raids. Raids are basically group instances on a massive scale, with 25-40 people required instead of five, which require coordination and teamwork, etc etc. The loot is better, which is the main reason they're done. The first problem here is getting a group to do an instance. With a five-man instance, you need an exact group in order to pull it off. Usually, this means a tank (a warrior, druid, or paladin), a healer (paladin, druid, or priest) and some damage (pretty much any class). This means that certain classes are highly in-demand for instances, while others are not. For example, you'll notice that a Paladin or Druid can fill any one of the three roles, while a class like a Warlock or Mage can only fill one.

So, you get your group together and run your dungeon. There are several bosses in every dungeon, each with its own table of items that can drop. With them are several hours of "trash mobs" which must be killed in order to face the boss. Naturally, this whole thing is random, with some items having much lower drop chances than others. When an item drops, there are a couple of ways of managing it - either the "Need or Greed" system, where players roll either "Need" (which takes first priority) or "Greed" for an item. The highest roll wins. Naturally, this means that if more than one person can use an item, there are multiple rolls for it, meaning that your chances of getting said item are slim to none. Oh well, more dungeon running for you. This, of course, means more time spent in-game and more money in Metzen's pocket.

Oh, but that isn't the worst of it. Welcome to raiding, where one boss drops two pieces of gear for 25 people. That's 25 people that have to be online at one time, ready to go for a raid, and that are of the classes you need to complete the raid instance. What's worse, raids can only be done once a week, and there are usually lengthy "attunement" quests that must be completed prior to being able to enter a raid. This also usually requires being in a raiding guild, which requires you to cooperate with assholes who think they're the greatest gift to gaming since Pong, and act like they're the drill sergeant from Full Metal Jacket. The bosses are also horribly glitchy and usually require a huge degree of luck to defeat. Take, for example, Shade of Aran, one of the middle bosses in Karazhan, which is the introductory raid instance in the expansion. Shade has several extremely annoying spells - one of which is called Flame Wreath. Flame Wreath surrounds several players with a ring of fire, and moving at all (including rotating the camera) causes the raid to die and the boss attempt to fail. Of course, because of lag and the way the server and client communicate, the game usually spawns a Flame Wreath so that the edge of the ring is touching a player when it spawns, which results in a wipeout about 50% of the time. To make things even more retarded, if you don't manage to down the boss, all of the trash enemies will respawn after a set amount of time, causing you to have to redo the whole thing. Oh, and if you're the one who kills everyone, I hope you enjoy finding a new guild, because Drill Sergeant Linkinparkfan will be on your ass right away.

One other thing of note before moving on - like EverQuest, WoW is tuned for 1% of the population. Looking at a site like WoWJutsu or WoWRealms, it's clearly visible that on most servers, there are one or two guilds on either side that have finished the game while the rest struggle with entry-level content. Now, who could POSSIBLY have done that? Couldn't be a certain whiny EverQuest guild leader now, could it?

Of course, instances and raiding aren't the only things you can do. There's also PVP. Welcome to Kalgan country, where the classes are never balanced and one stat governs the winner of PVP matches. PVP in WoW is done in one of three ways. If you started on a PVP server, you can kill and be killed by the opposing faction anywhere in the game, except for areas controlled by your faction (which are few) and the main city of the expansion. The other two ways are Battlegrounds and Arena.

There are four Battlegrounds in WoW - a simple capture the flag that is a direct ripoff of 2Fort from Team Fortress Classic (or Facing Worlds from Unreal Tournament), a territorial control map (ripping off Hydro from the original Team Fortress), a PVE rush map, and a territorial control map with CTF. Each of them are unbalanced in their own specific ways. Take Alterac Valley, the PVE rush map. In AV, the ultimate objective is to capture three towers and kill the enemy general, while defending your three towers and your general. There are also graveyards to be taken, which serve as forward respawn points. AV is unbalanced in that the Horde start very close to the first Alliance objectives, but the Alliance start miles and miles away in a cave. Naturally, it's not surprising that the Horde win 90% of Alterac Valley matches. The rest of the battlegrounds are split usually 60-40 Horde to Alliance. Considering that Kalgan plays a Horde warrior, this isn't surprising. Oh, then there's the reward aspect. You get Honor for every kill of the opposing faction around your level, as well as tokens from winning or losing battlegrounds. These are spent on second or third-rate equipment to get you doing Arena.

The other PVP is Arena, which was added with the expansion. In Arena, you get to waste your hard-earned gold on buying a charter for a 2 vs. 2, 3 vs. 3, or 5 vs. 5 arena team. Naturally these are exorbitantly expensive to keep you farming and giving Blizzard your money. Then you get to fight random matchups of players to get "arena points" every week which are spent on gear to make you better at arena combat. Oh boy.

Then there's the issue of class "balance". Most classes are not suitable for PVP. For instance, tanks go right out the window - there's no monsters to kill in the Arena. The two classes that make up 50% of Arena are druids and warriors. Not surprising, as these two classes are what make up the teams that Kalgan and Metzen both play on. Don't count on any kind of balance here, just sit back and be instantly killed by that warrior-druid combo.

Another complaint is the way the WoW community blows. Most of the players are pre-teens, fresh from Counterstrike to pwn some noobs. Expect frequent use of internet shorthand and 1337. Raiding guilds usually consist of 90% preteens who think they're in some kind of military, and 10% experienced players who get kicked from their guilds by the preteens. The favorite pastime of the WoW community (besides whining about how other classes are overpowered, theirs is underpowered, and going into low-level zones to kill people) is ruining the server economies and being general retards. Seriously, even the community on Counterstrike is better than this. And yes, that includes the 1.6 elitists.

If this information is enough to make you not want to play World of Warcraft, that's good. If not, there's something else you'll want to know about where your money will go. Many of the servers are inherently unstable, with frequent disconnects and outage times. Every Tuesday, the servers go down for maintenance, which usually takes all day and most of the night. Going into any major city will cause your PC to lag, no matter how amazing your processor, graphics card, and RAM are. Most battlegrounds will cause you massive lag. Why this occurs is a mystery, especially considering how low-polycount and hideous most of the models are. Around a quarter of the servers are constantly at maximum capacity, meaning you get to wait a few minutes to a few hours to login. Certainly, the multiple millions of dollars Blizzard is raking in aren't going to server maintenance.

So there you have it, the gist of why WoW is the cancer killing PC gaming. Don't buy this piece of utter trash. Just don't. If you're looking for a game with interaction, try Team Fortress 2 - after all, most of WoW's battleground maps are ripped directly from it's predecessor. If you want to grind, I'd reccomend buying a loaded gun, sticking it in your mouth, and seeing how many times you can pull the trigger, because you are the cancer killing PC gaming, along with retards like Chris Metzen and Tom Chilton.

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Community review by timrod (December 22, 2007)

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