What is it about World of Warcraft that keeps people coming back for more? The game was launched in 2004, and it is still going strong 13 years later.
Many people who started playing the ‘vanilla’ version of the game did so at launch. Many players grew up and ditched it along the way, but more and more ‘old’ players are reporting that they are playing the game again.
A History of World of Warcraft
Warcraft was launched in 2004 and built on three earlier strategy games that pitted good against evil – the Alliance of humans, dark elves, and dwarves against the Horde of orcs, trolls, and the undead.
Blizzard launched the Burning Crusade expansion pack in 2007 and followed it up with The Wrath of the Lich King in 2008, Cataclysm in 2010, Mists of Panderia in 2014, Warlords of Draenor in 2014, and finally Legion in 2016.
At its height, Warcraft had 12 million subscriptions in 2010, but this number dropped to 5.5 million in 2015. Draenor was a flop, and this led to even more desertions. Legion, however, has seen players flooding back in droves.
How Does World of Warcraft Work?
WoW players pick a character race and class. You can choose between Alliance and Horde. Originally, Alliance could choose between humans, dwarfs, and night elves, whereas Horde could choose between orcs, the undead or trolls. The number of races expanded with each development of the game and now includes pandaren, blood elves, goblins, gnomes, and many others.
Once the player has decided on a race, they then choose a class. Some of the classes available include warriors, death knights, hunters, rogues, mages, warlocks, and druids among others. The single player part of the game is designed in such a way that any class can wander around the world completing quests to increase their level. These quests can include anything from collecting feathers to defeating powerful demons or creatures. It is a gear reward-driven game which means that players are rewarded with powerful weapons or armor that increases their chances in battle.
Dungeons and Group Play
Wow is designed to allow players to group together to fight big ‘bosses’ in dungeons around the world of Azeroth. Different classes have different jobs. A warrior, for example, must keep the boss attention on him so the casters, such as mages, can hit them with damaging spells. Others, such as rogues, have melee attacks. It all requires quite a lot of coordination, and people must do their job properly or the encounter will result in a wipe, which means every character dies and everything is reset. Dungeons are usually five player affairs, but raids include 10 to 25 players and sometimes even 60.
Raiding is considered to be the pinnacle of playing WoW, as this is where the best gear drops. Players can also get achievement points which are a sign of prestige within the game.
Player versus Player
WoW also features Player versus Player battlegrounds where Horde fight against Alliance. If a player dies, they are resurrected on the field of battle after some ‘time out.’ Different games in PVP include capture the flag or resource protection as well as full on assaults against fortified positions which one faction or the other has to defend against.
Characters also have professions which include tailoring, alchemy, leatherworking, and blacksmithing. Players also have other skills which include cooking, first aid, and fishing. Some of these skills might sound useless, but not in Azeroth! Fishing can unearth valuable treasure, while cooking can give the player a ‘buff’, such as additional strength or skill.
The last expansion of WoW was greeted very positively. To encourage new players to buy the game, they were given the option of getting a ‘free’ level 100 character which means that they can play at the highest level dungeons. Blizzard also encouraged many old players to come back by appealing to them directly through their mailbox with a sort of battle cry. Now that the kids have grown up, many old players thought why not play for a month – which was given free.
Warcraft endures because it is a winning formula for a Massively Multiplayer Online Game. The content is good and fresh, and it is very fun to play. It is also very much gear driven, so it keeps players coming back for more.