WoW. Yeah.

November 14th, 2006  |  Published in etc  |  1 Comment

Slate: The lameness of World of Warcraft — and what to do about it. :

As a consequence of Warcraft’s simplemindedness, you end up doing the same thing the same way hundreds of times. Somebody asks you to go to some field, find some monsters, and kill them. After you’re done, you walk back and pick up your reward—only to hear that even bigger monsters wait around the corner. You’re a rat, and the game keeps sending you to look for bigger pellets.

That pretty much hits my discontent with WoW right on the head.

Every time I think about restarting my account, I imagine myself running across some field to some hole in the ground where I’m going to stab, shoot or incinerate another gang of non/sub-human riffraff. Or fashion attractive bags out of their pelts. Either way … yawn.

But I’m not the target player because I don’t do clans or anything. I know only one other WoW player here on the west coast, so getting into groups is sort of a pain by the time I factor in domestic responsibilities. I just run around bonking things on the head and taking their pelts and getting more marching orders from one-eyed New Age cow-people.

All the same:

The most glaring problem with World of Warcraft, though, is the larger storyline. Lots of video game developers are wrestling with how to shape players’ choices without penning them in. Warcraft’s developers don’t care about that. They don’t tell a story so much as lead you through a theme park. Key figures from the Warcraft mythology mill around like Mickey Mouse at Disney World, waving to visitors. The giant war that’s supposedly raging across the world seems to be stuck in a stalemate—neither side gains an inch of territory, and the generals stand around looking bored.

Yeah. More yawning.


The MySpace generation expects a personalized experience, yet Warcraft’s avatars come in only a few stock models. The men are brawny, the women are lithe. Although you can choose the details, you can never change your look once you’ve made your initial decision — you can’t even get a new haircut.


There are two things I’d do if I were changing WoW to suit me better:

  1. I’d create a puzzle track that focused less on “kill x y’s then come back with their pelts” and more on figuring shit out. I’d weight the puzzle track so lighter characters could go solo or in smaller ad hoc groups.

  2. I’d figure out some way for groups to form/unform more readily than just lurking around the periphery yelling for help. Some kinda fluid sub-clan system. I have no idea how I’d implement it and maybe lone-wolf players have already routed around that limitation. I wouldn’t know. My interactions with other players usually seem to come down to me helping newer players beat things I’ve already cleared out.

Take all my me-tooing with a grain of salt. I only played for two or three months and didn’t even cover all the character classes/races.



  1. dot unplanned » Oh, Snap! says:

    December 6th, 2006 at 12:06 pm (#)

    […] So, a few weeks ago I sez here on these pages re: What’s wrong with World of Warcraft and what I’d fix about it: […]

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