World of Warcraft Preview (Retro)

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For all you waiting for World of Warcraft Classic to be presented at Blizzcon this year 2018. I take a walk back to a time before World of Warcraft was only in Alpha. This will be Part 1 in a 6 Part Walk through time of World of Warcraft. With a Final impressions of WOW Classic as presented at Blizzcon.

Part 1 (WOW Preview)
Part 2 (Beta Duldrums)
Part 3 (Beta Journal)
Part 4 (Legion Preview)
Part 5 (Battle for Azeroth Review)
Part 6 (WoW Classic Info)

It has been a year since I had my last hands on look at World of Warcraft but the wait was definitely worth the wait. For those of you whom have not heard of World of Warcraft it is Blizzard’s jump into the massive multiplayer arena using their ever-popular Warcraft Universe. This year I camped out around the blizzard booth trying to get as much information about World of Warcraft as possible and was impressed with what I saw. In addition, there is a new race added. Finally, they have announced the night elves and I will get into what I saw from them in a bit.

Four years after the events that took place in Warcraft III and the soon to be released expansion Frozen Throne you jump into World of Warcraft. You have the option to choose from either male or female from one of five races at this time. The five races are Human, Dwarves, Taurens, Orcs, and now Night elves. Once you have chosen you then have the ability to change the looks in numerous different ways. You jump into the game and begin your questing. There are tons of quests right now, and they are easy to obtain you simply go into a town area and find someone with an exclamation over there head and you will be able to talk to them.

Graphically World of Warcraft is looking more beautiful than ever. With a huge amount of area already in the game places like Dun Morgh, come to life. The towering mountains and picturesque views are simple amazing. One of my favorite little things they through in were the ability to buy a phoenix ride across the countryside. This phoenix ride is obviously to get you from point A to point b however while on the phoenix you have complete control over the camera. This is important because it allows you to scope out just how amazingly detailed the world is. In addition, as you pass from one town or area to the next the area name pop up on screen so you know where you are and where you are going. Each area, there is most definitely a feel that sustains the environment. When in Dun Morgh everything is Snowy and sunny these little additions add to the overall ambience of the world.

Enough of the graphics what about the game play. Well it is really the same as it was the last time we entered just more skills and abilities and more stuff to do. Let us start out with combat. Combat is simple find your enemy click on him and his name and health bar pop up on screen. Then you can either start casting spells or go toe to toe in the hopes that you win. No worries if you die, there will be a penalty luckily it will not be enough to end you are playing experience.

An addition to the combat system is the addition of pets. I saw a number of different pets that people had summoned to battle along side of them. This adds a little bit of strategy in how you let your pets do and when do you step in. In addition, you just click on the icon of your pet and you have all the options of how to control your little friend. As an example the character, I had raised a Water elemental that is more like a spirit. Well I put the pet on Attack mode. Since he uses a Death coil like weapon. He was launching missiles. I then found myself running away from the creature doing circles around my pet just to let him do the killing.

I would like to add one last thing about the Game play. The night elf character that I saw had morphing skills. She was able to turn into a Bear, raven, and attack in both forms. However, at the time of E3 the raven could fly but only within reach of the ground. I was not able to go out over the trees and scout out areas. The interface also is very intuitive and seems very similar to what it has been in the past.

Final Thoughts – the game is looking very refined, all the towns that I saw were amazingly detailed, and I am sure will continue to be gaining with each day. The graphics are beautiful and are still in that bigger than life Warcraft feel. The game plays exceptionally well and combat is smooth and allows you to have fun.

Originally written May, 16th 2003.