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MMORPG WARS

18 February 2006

As you all will know, I had my share of World of Warcraft addiction back when it was released almost a year ago. The prospect of being in Azeroth was simply irresistible, and I think it needs no further proof that many thought the same. However, after a month or five of playing, I started to get irritated more and more at the lack of depth in the game. I'm talking about narrative depth here. I wandered around and I just didn't feel like anything I did mattered.

And you know what? It didn't. Every seedy evil I disposed of respawned twenty seconds later. Every epic quest I undertook was undertaken by dozens of others at the same time. I wanted nothing more than to stand out in a crowd and be unique and identifiable, but looked exactly like everybody else and had no way of doing any of that. To cut it short: I was a butterfly without a hurricane. I felt utterly useless and lacked a sense of purpose.

On top of that, I'm a loner and I had bad luck with parties. Instance dungeons I avoided desperately and I felt rightly so that I was missing out on half the game just because I liked to play by myself. Yes, I'll admit it, I'm one hell of a powermonger. I love it when I'm The Man and I can just whoop everyone's ass. That's why I love Diablo 2. And Outcast. Both games make you feel incredibly empowered. Not so with World of Warcraft of course, because you can't be all-powerful when everyone else is not.

I'm not saying there's nothing to be done in the game, and if anything, it had a fantastic atmosphere and graphic design. That, and the exploration of that beautiful world, are the only things I catch myself pining for now and then. But all I'm saying is, I started to get more and more cross about those little things that told me this wasn't the perfect game for me.

Now why would I ask such a thing? Because World of Warcraft obviously asked the jackpot for playing. When something requires me to keep sinking my money into it, it had better be the ultimate entertainment of ultimate destiny, or else! And since I felt my cash being funnelled away from me as I played, those little things became big things and I started to dislike the experience for it.

Guild Wars has all of these flaws, most probably. And maybe not even half the charm of World of Warcraft, I wouldn't know. But what I do know is that I don't think I'll be irritated half as much by its flaws and deficiencies as I was with its main competitor. Why? Quite simple; it's the difference between what I expect of a game that costs me 15 Euros every month and one that I just bought for 20 Euros, and that's all I'll ever have to pay for it, ever. It's the difference between demanding that something deliver the perfect experience and something just being there to while away a carefree hour. Quite liberating, I will tell you.

Roderick.