Friday, December 24, 2004

Lost in Azeroth

Yesterday I played games for a bit. No, let me rephrase that. Yesterday, I played World of Warcraft from 1:00 to 5:00, then played board games from 5:30 to until 11:30, then played World of Warcraft from about midnight until 7:30. Yesterday was lovely.

I didn't think that I could like a massively multiplayer online game, but World of Warcraft has changed me. There are some things that do suck—for example, you can't get through a hard part of the game by saving and reloading as necessary, and you can't use the same technique to try something new, free of consequences. I often like to do "what if" kind of things with RPGs... what if I bought the flint, steel, and wood required to make a campfire anywhere I wanted... would that be useful enough to justify the inventory slots? If not, I could undo that surprisingly expensive purchase. Also, death still sucks... as long as you're near the closest town you're fine; all you have to do is fly over to your corpse from the graveyard and reenter it. No lost XP or anything. But, when your corpse is a good three or four minutes of flying away, it gets extremely tedious. Your other option is to resurrect at the graveyard for (essentially) 25% of the total repair value of all of your equipment. So, death still sucks, but not as bad as other online RPGs, and not as bad as dying after forgetting to save your game for an hour and a half. There's also the part where people connecting to different servers cannot communicate to each other in any way, which sucks a lot, but I guess it's a necessary evil given the current state of technology and the genre.

Anyway, those are very minor faults. I love the game. It's already gotten Game of the Year awards, and it seems to deserve them. It plays extremely well, it's full of typical Blizzard polish, and is reasonably easy to control and customize. There's no reason for me to "review" the game; it's just fantastic, and any review will tell you that. Being able to instant-message other people you know who are playing the game is a HUGE plus, one that I never even considered. Finally, a game that combines my love of killing monsters to get shiny things AND my love of instant messaging.

My blog posts have reviewed far too many things recently. I guess it's that all of my recent interesting experiences revolve around products. My coworkers have all checked out for the year, and though I am working on something that I think is quite interesting, I can't tell you about it at all, and even once the first public beta comes out, I still can't tell you the whole story.

So, on that note, some very short mini-reviews:
  • World of Warcraft: Hot beyond my every expectation. Let it consume you now.
  • The Roots - Things Fall Apart: Good in its own right, but disappointing because their latest two albums are so much better.
  • Moby - Animal Rights: Sucks. Most tracks fall between "awful" and "bland."
  • Moby - Everything is Wrong: Much more what I was expecting, but his newer stuff is better.
  • Jay-Z and Linkin Park - Collision Course: I didn't expect to like this, but I did... quite a bit, actually. Each song combines elements (vocals, melody, beat, etc.) from at least one Linkin Park song and one Jay-Z song. Bizarre but fun to listen to, even if Jay-Z is one of your nemeses.

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