World of Warcraft has a rich history. Before morphing into an MMO, Warcraft was a story-driven RTS beginning with Warcraft: Orcs and Humans in 1994. Something about the medieval setting, the mythical, magical and savage races, the gameplay, the soundtrack and the storyline sucked many in. Blizzard’s critically acclaimed follow-ups in the Warcraft series were played until the disk was worn out and the additional races and lore that was added further captured the imagination. Hell, I even read the novels. But, in 2004 Blizzard released World of Warcraft. A huge living and breathing depiction of Azeroth. Heaven.
As someone who had grown up with the Warcraft series, an awkward teenager longs for an escape. Honestly, that’s probably what it was in the beginning. World of Warcraft offers such a rich tapestry in which people can lose themselves. The feeling that I was this powerful character traversing across increasingly huge kingdoms was, hell I’ll say it, enthralling. There was nothing quite like the experience of travelling around such a vast world in the early days of the game. The incredible lore of the game is still a massive draw for many in addition to the sense of community within guilds. Sure, there’s the odd mongoloid knocking about, but the handy ignore button gets rid of that.
While I’ll readily admit that the amount of time I spent on the game in 2004-2006 probably wasn’t the healthiest thing to be doing, I still reject the notion that people shouldn’t be spending a lot of time on WoW or any other video game for that matter. Video games have come such a long way that they make more money and are anticipated more eagerly than most motion pictures. The amount of people that say: “oh WoW and games like that consume your life.” Really? You’re life is really that amazing that you can’t spend an hour or two on a game? No way. Well, you know what? I fire up WoW when I’m bored so stick that up your bored you know what.
So, for all you people out there who criticise WoW and its players. No, its not just dungeons and dragons. No, we’re not all greasy overweight shut-ins and yes we do have social lives. The point is, at the peak of its popularity World of Warcraft had over 12 million subscribers – unheard of for an MMO. These players fell in love with an intricate story, a vast and engaging world and a social gameplay dynamic. Shun the stereotypes.