Such a simple question, Why is Warcraft your game of choice? So why are there no simple answers?
Sure there are a lot of simple answers I have heard when people are asked that. "It was my first game and I like it.", "I don't want to find something else because I still enjoy this.", "I like the people I play with." But none of those answers and the hundreds of others like them say the whole story.
Even if you like the people you play with, if the game was really bad or you really disliked it, you would not keep playing. Even if it was the first game of the type you played if it lost your interest you would not keep playing just because of that fact.
For every simple answer like that there is a simple counterargument that could basically say to the person, your answer is full of crap, now give me a real answer. We all just fall back on those simple answers because they are easy to say, they roll off the tongue, they are what we are used to hearing from others all the time and as such we regurgitate them back when asked as if they were our answers too.
Something else has to keep you keep you playing, something that can not be summed up in just one simple basic line like "I like the people I play with."
While I can not speak for others I will try to explain a little about why I think it ends up being, and staying, my game of choice even if I do tend to complain about it quite often.
The game is quite easy on the eyes. Bright, colorful, and while this might be the wrong word I'll also say soft. The colors in the game are not in your face. You can feel comfortable with them. Another game I like, but do not play often, is Rift and its dark setting. I do not like it. The game is great, the colors are dismally horrible. Things are hard to see, hard to navigate because of it, and I find myself often pausing to try to make things out. As a person who is color blind this is even more difficult.
While it is true that I have had many color issues with warcraft thanks to me being color blind they are not all that often and most of the times I can usually figure out a way around it. Warcraft itself added some ways, like when they put wood plies I need to collect on green grass I can barely see it if I do at all, but thanks to little sparkles, I can at least get an idea where it is so I can indeed find it. Even in rift there have been times it showed me exactly where the item was and I still could not find it.
The soft I refer to is the fact that the colors seem to flow and match each other. Forgive me if I am wrong, could be the color blind thing, but to me everything that is together looks like it belong together to me. So many other games have color patterns that seem to clash, to not belong together, to have just been thrown in there without thought just so things had a color and not the color it was supposed to be.
Most other games I have tried fail at matching the color system, the smooth flow of it, that warcraft offers. Marvel heroes, the new game I have been playing, is very color friendly as well, like warcraft, which in part could be a reason why I like it. I might not play it much but it is surely a top option of something to play when I want a break because, in part, of the coloring system.
The part of this I liked is gone from the game. Sadly? Can't say for sure being I can not experience it for the "first" time again so I do not know how people feel about it now but I loved how the power progression when starting the game first felt like.
Gaining levels which would unlock skills that I would be allowed to train in was a great system. Then going and deciding which skills to buy, because I could not always afford them all, was an exciting bit of making my characters power progression really feel like I had a say in it. Some abilities I would just skip over because I could not afford them now, others I would look down on the list and see how much I needed so I could make sure I could buy it the moment I reached that level.
I remember being so excited when I reached the level that opened up my training for an ability I wanted and stopping dead in my tracks from questing to hearth back to the city so I could train it ASAP. Power progression was all in my own hands when I purchased my skills and I liked that feeling, I liked it a lot.
It was not only about buying your skills, or passing them up if you did not think you needed them at the moment, but we had skill points. Another system that is now gone, but one of the reasons I loved the power progression of the game originally.
I often would let a few points build up because I did not really "need" to spend them right now and perhaps I might meet a task later on where having one of those abilities would be more useful than another. I took every point spent in my talent tree with great consideration. This was my power, my progression, and my decision, and I wanted to make sure I spent it on something I really needed. As long as the quest mobs were dying I didn't actually need it. Yet. So I saved them.
I remember going back one time to train a skill I had passed up to save some money but now I needed it. Or adding a talent point into something because I thought it would help me a little when I needed it.
Buying our abilities, spending talent points, both gone from the game, but both where a huge factor in what made me fall in love with the game. I liked that design and I am not exactly sure why they removed it or the logic to doing so.
Perhaps it was my "type" of game player that liked that power progression on a character driven layer and the game was trying to attract a broader player based where this might be considered a bad thing. That would be my guess, but either way, this is about me and the things that made me choose warcraft to start with.
I leveled all 10 classes back when that system was in place. The 11th, a monk, never got to experience real character driven power progression like the other classes. So while that type of power progression is gone, it worked for me. I got to use it for all the classes, I got to enjoy it for all the classes, I got to experience what it really felt like to build a character for all the classes. Maybe the new players like this way better, but I am not entirely sure I would look back on this talent system we have now as fondly and as something I liked about the game like I am currently doing about the old one now if I were only starting today.
Skill Build Up:
The old system of needing to train skills or the new system where they are just given to you, it starts out kind of slow and that allows you to jump right in and use everything from the get go because everything, well, isn't much.
Some games I have dabbled into over the past few years seem to throw a million things at you at once and want you to learn everything ASAP. Sure I can handle it, if I wanted to, but when first trying a game out I do not really know if I want to yet so I like the take it slow to start mentality.
Even the newest game I picked up, marvel heroes, seems to throw you knee deep in stuff to do nearly instantly. Admittedly there is not much of it, but all at once seems like too much too soon. Let people get a fell for the basics before you talk about the other things.
The new system means we level a lot faster which means the skills come faster and I do not like that. Again, as I can never feel that "new" feeling again I can not say for sure, but I believe it could get to the point that people do not get enough time to spend with their new skill before they start learning another.
When I started it was nothing of the sort. I always had enough time to learn my new skill. I never got something and suddenly got something else before I was even used to using the one new skill I had just learned.
Either way, even with the increased leveling speed, the skill build up for warcraft is much better than any of the skill build ups I have seen in other games. I liked that in warcraft getting a new skill felt like a bonus whereas in some other games getting a new skill feels like "what now, I still have not figured out what to do with the last three I got". It is a less is more situation, perhaps that should try to remember the less is more motto at max level.
I often hear people complain about the graphics in warcraft and question why are they complaining about one of the best aspects of the game.
While it might seem cartoonish in a way they are perfect for the game we are playing. They are easier on graphic cards so it allows more people to play the game on lesser computers, to some degree, which is a good thing even if that is another story all together but they look nice.
They do the job they are supposed to do by giving us a vehicle to play the game (our character) that looks and moves appropriately. Lets just compare some of those games with the real life style of graphics and just watch them run when compared to a warcraft character. The warcraft characters run perfectly for their shape, size, style and design whereas the real life characters seem stressed if anything while running. Now take a moment to strafe and see how cleanly and naturally the warcraft characters do it, even if looking cartoonish while doing it, when compared to the real life characters that look like they would break a hip if anyone actually tried to move like that.
Call it cartoonish if you must, but you can never call warcrafts graphics bad. They are perfect for what they do and they are balanced to make it look as if they should be doing what they do. Which brings us to...
The sound, the scene, the style, the balance, the graphics and all those little things thrown together give's warcraft excellent ambiance.
Warcraft, more than any other game of this genre that I have played, has mastered ambiance. Every zone has a feeling and it conveys if excellently. It is one of the reasons I say that the graphics are great. Not because they are great on their own, but they are great because they work with the environment perfectly to create things that seem real even if it is fantasy and they do look somewhat cartoonish.
A dark and scary woods, like Duskwoods, comes off exactly as what it is supposed to and gives you the feel of it. I have seen other games try to pull off that same thing and while the graphics might look better, the zone surely does not feel better. I know I can not explain this to reach the importance of what the feel means to me, but I hope you understand what I mean by it.
The zones in warcraft just feel right. From the graphics to the music to the background to the structures, it all adds up to making a zone really feel like the zone they intended it to be.
No really, I like the quests. I like the idea that while leveling it always seemed like there was something to do, like someone needed me, like what I did mattered even if we did not see the world change around us like we would in a single player game.
When leveling my first character I often found myself finishing a quest hub before moving to the next even if I had gotten a lead in to go somewhere else. I felt as if I had a job to complete and it needed to be completed before I moved on.
Then there were the quests that lead you all over the world. A massive waste of time when you are trying to level quickly, but a massive epic feeling when the world is still all new to you and it is your first time ever doing them.
I love and hated those quests at the same time. I hated the travel but loved the experience I had while traveling. The key quests that had me collecting a million things from places all over the world, the epic hunter bow quest that had me visit the four corners of the world, the scepter of the shifting sands quest even if the gates had been opened already, all these quests and so many more where amazingly detailed and I loved them.
I liked traveling the world while doing these as it made me feel like a real adventurer. I was going to zones I had never been to before, meeting people I had never met before, collecting items I did not know existed, and even needed help from other players that had professions I had never even thought were worth considering.
It was the questing, combined with everything else I mentioned above, that made me love the game and made me feel as if I were really a hero walking the roads around the world we know as azeroth.
One note however, doing them all the second time never felt the same. It was only that first time through that really made me fall in love with the game. Once I reached max level and the game become something different questing no longer held that place of wonder in my heart.
I guess that is how things work, but nothing will ever replace that first impression, those feelings, the exploration and wonder of the epic quest line when you are first leveling. Too bad all those quests are gone.
Does a new player still enjoy the feelings from questing that I did? I will never know, but I do know that is why warcraft is for me. Why? Because that feeling, even if I can never replicate it, is why I fell in love with the game and it is why I play. Hoping for that next feeling like that, chasing the next high if you will.
Why warcraft? Because memories are powerful.
Blizzard Watch: Episode 117
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