« August 2004 | Main | December 2004 »

September 05, 2004

WoW Stress Test

A few days ago, Blizzard opened up several World of Warcraft (WoW) beta servers for a week-long stress test. FilePlanet subscribers (like me) were guaranteed a spot in the test. Being a MMOG fan, I jumped at the chance to see what all the hype was about.

Personally, I've been pretty skeptical of WoW given the rabid fanboy-ism surrounding the game. However, having played a few days in the stress test, I'm quite impressed with it. While it certainly doesn't bring much new to the MMOG table, it does one thing right: it's FUN. I find myself wanted to play a little bit longer after each quest just to see what is next. The world is huge and replete with intricate details. The polygon count is lower than other MMOGs, but the graphics have STYLE. You really feel like you're in one of Blizzard's worlds. I like the little touches from the Warcraft games, like seeing an Ancient Protector walking through a Night Elf village, or running into the Orc Chieftan Thrall in an orcish stronghold. Other games (Doom 3, Half-life 2 etc.) demonstrate technical achievement by producing jaw-dropping visuals with high polygon count, reflective surfaces and the like. Blizzard took a different tack by producing true digital art. It goes beyond just pushing polys. I recall reading (hearing?) that Blizzard employs more artists than programmers - it shows.

While there was no doubt in my mind that I would give WoW a try, I'm now looking forward to the retail release with this little taste.