Though massively multiplayer online role-playing games have been around for years, it has taken this long for the genre's breakthrough hit to finally emerge. Here is the online role-playing game you should play, no matter who you are. This is because World of Warcraft brings out all the best aspects of this style of gaming, if not many of the best aspects of gaming in general. It also features many of the specific characteristics that have made Blizzard Entertainment's previous games so entertaining, memorable, long-lasting, and successful. Of course, the company's past track record did not guarantee that World of Warcraft could have turned out this well. Such high quality simply cannot be expected, nor should it be missed.
In World of Warcraft, you create your alter ego by choosing from a variety of colorful races and powerful classes, and then you begin exploring, questing, and battling in Azeroth, the fantasy setting featured in Blizzard's Warcraft real-time strategy games. Fans of those games (especially Warcraft III and its expansion pack) will spot tons of references here, and they will be impressed at how faithfully World of Warcraft translates so many of Warcraft's little details and even some of the finer points of its gameplay into such a seemingly different style of game. Meanwhile, fans of other online role-playing games will be impressed at the sheer breadth and volume of content on display in World of Warcraft, whose setting seamlessly connects a bunch of wildly different-looking types of places and somehow makes them appear as if they all belong as parts of a whole.
Fortunately, the game is very approachable. World of Warcraft is a complex game whose complexity is carefully disguised by a simple, highly legible, uncluttered interface and an impressive 3D graphics engine, which delivers high performance on a wide range of systems while not skimping on pure flash. The game's interface is so slick and easy to learn and understand, and the gameplay itself is so quickly intuitive, that there isn't even a tutorial to wade through; there are just some helpful, optional pop-up tool tips, as well as an excellent printed reference manual that goes into specific detail about most of the various aspects of play. It's also important to point out that World of Warcraft runs fast and smooth. You can go from your desktop to being in-game in just seconds, and it's virtually just one great, big, seamless world. Loading times are as rare as they are brief. They only crop up when traveling across the game's enormous continents or entering some specific higher-level zones that are instanced for each player group, which guarantees you a fresh challenge.