Like a lot of people, I’ve been playing Mists of Pandaria pretty full on since Tuesday. Well, technically, Monday night since I was there for the in-game launch at 11pm British time but considering it took me 30 mins just to target the NPC (see above) and then the whole Jade Forest zone crashed before I finally gave up, I’m not going to count it. Nice to know that even the biggest MMOs still have launch woes even if everything has been running pretty smoothly since then.
Archive for the ‘World of Warcraft’ Category
I say “returning” but the fact is I never really left, not in the sense of unsubscribing at least (I wonder how much money subscription games make out of people not bothering to cancel their sub?). Although I still logged in to dabble on occasion, I haven’t seriously played WoW since Diablo 3 came out in May and have been busy since doing other things like playing other games, working and enjoying the summer. Truth be told though, there really hasn’t been much reason to log in to WoW for a long, long time – the new patch and imminent MoP release has changed that though.
Tomorrow sees both the official release of Guild Wars 2 and the arrival of the World of Warcraft 5.0.4 patch that revamps all the classes and the entire talent system. Now I’m excited about Guild Wars but I’m also excited about this huge WoW patch, eagerly awaiting the arrival of them both. But which to play? There’s only one way to find out… FIGHT!
(And unless you’re British and watch a lot of TV, you probably had no idea what that last reference was about.)
Or so some of the press would have us believe. I don’t know how much it’s being reported in the US but in Europe the media are having a field day reporting that Anders Brievik, currently on trial for the murder for 77 people in Norway last year, played World of Warcraft 16 hours a day for one year solid. It’s the old “video games are evil” debate all over again except this time the Internet is being thrown into the mix too.
Now I can’t say for certain that computer games don’t impact our mental state but I do find it rather depressing how the press leap all over them at every available opportunity, usually representing them with ill-informed facts. Case in point, the article by The Telegraph linked to above describes WoW as a “a virtual world where 10.3 million players attempt to achieve the position of ‘Justicar’”. Justiwah? Since when did a PvP Achievement title the main focus of the game?
No doubt you’ve all heard the news about WoW’s next expansion and some of other big changes Blizzard plan on introducing. Not only does this prove that I’m psychic to a scary degree of accuracy but it’s also got me rather flippin’ excited. About the playable Pandas? No, I honestly couldn’t give a crap about them (I reserve the right to completely backtrack on that statement as expansion fever kicks in later on next year). What’s really got my boat floating and my fancy tickled though is the promise of new character models, animations and a complete overhaul of the talent system. Now that’s hot stuff.
Today, I’m not going to talk about how easy or hard WoW is, about whether or not it’s dumbing down the MMO genre, or even what impact it’s having on the way we socialise in game. These may all be valid (and interesting) topics but right now, right at this moment, all I want to discuss is something that I believe WoW does better than any other game out there: it stimulates and cultivates our imagination.
I’ve commented before on the psychological way WoW (and every other MMO out there) exploits us and tries to addict us by leveraging the human need to collect and complete but that’s not what keeps me coming back to the game (thankfully). What keeps me returning time and time again is the way it manages to kindle that fledgling spark of excitement in my brain about playing a certain race or a particular class. Call it roleplaying, call it escapism, call it immersion, call it whatever the heck you want but when I load up WoW and roll a new alt, I really feel it.
A few weeks ago it was revealed that Blizzard had trademarked the name “Mists of Pandaria” and ever since then imaginations have been running wild as to what it’s all about. Just like most people, I’m reckoning that it’s the name of the next World of Warcraft expansion, something which makes perfect sense to me. Blizzard love their humour and also delight in giving players what they want without always being the most original in their attempts (which is exactly why I think project Titan will turn out to be World of Starcraft – but I digress). Seeing as how I balls up my original thoughts on Cataclysm many moons ago (I called it a hoax… turns out I was kinda wrong), I figured this time I’d get in their early and announce my predictions for Mists of Pandaria before it’s even been upgraded from rumour status.