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Role Playing (Games)

NYT on World of Warcraft 82

Posted by Zonk
from the azeroth-is-getting-crowded dept.
The New York Times (registration required) has a piece on Blizzard's World of Warcraft, discussing the game's popularity and high sales. The article also examines the design processes that go into the game, and the artistic outlook of the WoW live team. From the article: "From around a dark, windowless room, nine young men peered into the unfinished virtual interior of Karazhan, a haunted tower set in a forlorn mountain pass that will open later this year. 'As you can see, the architecture is a little ornate, a little Gothicky,' said Aaron Keller, a 29-year-old designer, gesturing to the 3-D model on the computer screen before him. 'We're thinking about turning these arches into horse heads.'
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NYT on World of Warcraft

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  • Graphics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lobishomen (810898) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @09:32AM (#11629366)
    The incredible thing about the World of Warcraft isn't how beautiful it looks, and it is beautiful. What I find amazing about the game is how fluid and eye catching it is with such low end hardware requirements. They really did an amazing job.

    And to beat the inevitable rush of complaints, the Hardware issues are much improved over release. When speaking about the World of Warcraft everyone seems to have selective memory. There hasn't been a majorly anticipated MMORPG launch in the history of internet gaming that didn't have bottlenecks.

    • Re:Graphics (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Chi Hsuan Men (767453)
      I did not pre-order this game as I had been completely put off by other MMORPG experiences, specifically DAoC, SWG, FFXI, and a free trial of AO. These games amounted (to me anyway) mindless grinds and felt more like work than anything else.

      I was HEARING great things about WoW, but I was convincend that playing these other MMORPGs that I will feel the same way: suckered that I spent $50 on a game I hated after a week or two of playing.

      So, I stayed away from WoW. I was hearing great things and was starti
      • I've done nothing BUT hear good things about WoW, but I haven't heard a single praise of the graphics of the game. I believe this shows that the players don't really care, or are just satisfied.
        • There's comments in this very Slashdot article that praise the graphics. Here [slashdot.org] is one example. And IMHO the graphics are great - everything feels like a fluid cartoon, and the art direction is phenomenal.

        • Re:Graphics (Score:3, Informative)

          by arkanes (521690)
          If you like Blizzards graphical style in general, you will like WoW. It's very similiar, for obvious reasons, to Warcraft 3. For example, the buildings in towns look like the equivilent buildings in Warcraft. The engine is average, it's not Half Life 2. But the quality of the art, as opposed to the quality of the engine, is top notch.
    • >There hasn't been a majorly anticipated MMORPG launch in the history of internet gaming that didn't have bottlenecks.

      City of Heroes.

      And WoW might have the biggest bottleneck ever. You can't buy the game (English North American version) anymore because Blizzard is trying to fix their capcity issues. Its been this way for about a month.
      • I bought the game from my local GameStop 2 weeks ago, and the friend that I gave my guest pass to just got his copy from our local Hastings where they have about 20 copies on the shelves.
        • Interesting. It was about a month ago I check, maybe it back on the shelves.

          http://games.slashdot.org/games/05/01/19/2354257 .s html?tid=206&tid=99
      • Both the local Wal-Mart and the local Best Buy in my area of St. Louis seem to be fully stocked with the game.

        What I can't find are any game time cards so I can give the game and a year's worth of playing to my brother as an extremely late Christmas present.
    • Re:Graphics (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sentry21 (8183) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @12:42PM (#11632284) Journal
      And it should be pointed out that the server hardware problems were because they had planned for 600k users over the next year, and had fully expected to find bugs and bottlenecks in their code over the course of their increasing userbase.

      Suddenly, they had all 600k users in a month, and they had a year of bugs and bottlenecks to fix immediately.

      Honestly, I now see the reason for World Passes. FFXI was flawless (as much as one could expect) during it's NA PS2 launch.
      • Actually, World Passes didn't really help FFXI much at all. What helped the NA release was the fact that it wasn't the original 'first release.' I remember following stories and there being quite the normal slew of new MMORPG issues(including networking issues) during the Japanese launch. It's just that those issues were resolved and the problems discovered before the NA release(and considering the fact that, from what I recall NA isn't where a majority of the FFXI playerbase comes from...).

        There have
      • FFXI was flawless (as much as one could expect) during it's NA PS2 launch.

        But that's an apples and oranges comparison to WoW. FFXI was already about a year old at the time of the NA launch. WoW wasn't. (Wasn't even the PC FFXI launch months before the PS2 launch?)
      • The reason why FFXI was "flawless (as much as one could expect)" is because it was made for the PS2. Therefore, it basically had to be released "perfectly" because it wouldn't be patched, like World of Warcraft inevitably was and will continue to be.
      • It also didn't have the amount of users that WoW has.
    • Umm... While WoW does have seem neat graphical effects, and a lot of things in the game look downright awesome... A lot of little details stand out to me as looking really bad. Certain trees/bushes/fences look like extremely low res textures, like something I'd except to see in Quake I. I don't really have a problem with bad graphics, but I do prefer consistency. When some things look extraordinary while others look ugly, it makes the ugly bits stand out more. But perhaps I'm being to fussy... And this gri
  • Medivh's Tower! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Godai (104143) * on Thursday February 10, 2005 @09:47AM (#11629611)

    w00t! They must be talking about Medivh's Tower in Deadwind Pass! A lot of us old beta hands have been waiting to get in there. Given Medivh's prominence in the history of Azeroth, it promises to be an absolute bounty of Warcraftian lore!

    Plus, Deadwind pass is just spooky. I mean, it just reeks with atmosphere =) How can the big instance in that not be cool?

  • by Dixie Flatliner (850959) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @10:35AM (#11630310)
    While it would be unfair to say Blizzard's art department doesn't receive enough acclaim, I think they deserve every ounce of good press and more besides, Blizzard is one of the few developpers out there that uses the quality of their art to act as a central element of their game engines. While the game does sport some noteworthy techical specifcations (pixel shaded post-processing, dynamic distance polymorphic (no pun entended) LOD, and some very sharp specular lighting effects) it is far and beyond their unique art style that makes it such a beautiful game. And style needs no hardware requirements, only taste =)
    • I'm trying to figure out why my WoW framerate dropped when I "upgraded" from my old-ass GeForce2 32MB card to a GeForce4 128MB card. Any ideas?
      • Absolutely; could be a couple of things. First of all, if it's an MX card it's not much of an upgrade, but that aside, the game has probably automatically enabled server features that would not have been active with your GF2, such a directX 8.1/9 routines (pixel shaders, specular lighting) as well it would have set your detail level higher as a default, unless you've set them the same.

        In any case your image quality has improve at the cost of framerate, if you tweak your settings you should be able to recov
      • because gf2 (as of a recent patch) now properly disabled all the graphic neatos like vertex and pixel shading.. they are probably on by default on the gf4 (if it is supported by them) this would explain your drop.
  • by JavaLord (680960) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @01:03PM (#11632592) Journal
    has a piece on Blizzard's World of Warcraft, discussing the game's popularity and high sales.

    A few of the things I like about World of Warcraft.

    1. It's not a real 'grind'. You get an experence bonus for being offline, so you don't have to feel like you need to play all the time to 'keep up' if you are the keep up type.

    2. There is a good questing system, that offers rewards that are at least as good as the rewards (ie drops) you would get from just farming mobs.

    3. Decent PvP system. Those who want PvP join PvP servers, and PvP combat is limited enough to not scare off newbies, but prevalent enough to be enjoyed at higher levels.

    4. Things aren't too hard. Most of the professions (ie crafting) aren't too comlicated which is nice for a casual player like myself who has a full time job. :)

    I think WoW is the first MMORPG to really reach out to and reward casual players, and it's succeeding.
    • 4. Things aren't too hard. Most of the professions (ie crafting) aren't too comlicated which is nice for a casual player like myself who has a full time job. :)

      This has got to be the first mmorpg that I've actually enjoyed the crafting in. It's not that it's amazingly deep or anything, but while out leveling/questing, it's hardly any extra effort to go do you "gathering" (mining/skinning/etc), so that after a good leveling session, you'll probably have enough stuff to level your profession a bit.

      And

  • ...but it doesn't really go into the massive problems that people have been having with server stability, join queues (apparently queues on Blackrock are still quite long in peak times).

    If I was a casual gamer I would have read that article and run out and bought a copy and then probably been frustrated to the bejebus if my server kept crashing, or whatnot.
    • I think most of the server performance issues are on the first 12 or so servers they put up. Since Many hard-core, die-hard players jumped in on the first day, they're the ones who experienced the most problems.

      They're also the ones most likely bitch and moan on bulletin boards.

  • On a related note, the european version of wow opened today, see http://wow-europe.com/en/ [wow-europe.com].

    Everything went smoothly when i registered in the morning, but i hear the servers are totally bogged down now, especially the registration-server.
    • great, 1min after i posted this story appeared, why isnt there a delete post button ;-) http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/02/11/ 1358232&tid=209

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