Dustin Stevens vs. the World… of Warcraft — Preview

12 07 2010

It’s a muggy Georgia summer evening and here I sit with a poor man’s margarita (aka tequila and Mountain Dew) and a freshly opened World of Warcraft Battlechest. Just a few scant months ago I swore I would never be sucked into an MMORPG (for you noobs, a Massively-Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game). Why would I want to a pay a subscription fee after purchasing a game? Why would I want to team up with other losers when I could play (and drink) alone, a process that’s gotten me through RPGs since Final Fantasy III/VI when I was a kid? Why would I knowingly enter that mother of all time sinks? And why would a try a PC game again, after the six or seven times I swore them off forever?

It’s a good question. And as the installation wizard tells me I’m at 29% installed, perhaps I can figure out an answer.

A few things have led me to decide to give WOW a try. As a wannabe video game journalist, I’ve tried to maintain a fairly extensive knowledge of games past, present, and future. And World of Warcraft is, for all intents and purposes, the most successful game of all time. Over eleven million people pump fifteen bucks a month into this game. That’s one hundred and sixty-five million dollars a month going into Blizzard Activision’s coffers. Six years (and billions of dollars) later and the game isn’t slowing down. Maybe this thing is worth taking a peek at.

And time is running out. As of this writing only a few months remain until Cataclysm, the epic expansion pack that will change the game’s world forever. So if I wanted a taste of what the land of Azeroth was like at the beginning, I need to do it now. Plus, with MMOs like Star Wars: The Old Republic and Final Fantasy XIV on the horizon, I need to decide if the genre is for me.

And, on top of all that, my boss recently told me that I have a vacation I didn’t know about starting July 19. I needed something to do, and if I’m inside playing games I won’t be out doing drugs or something, right?

So I’m installing the game, creating a Battlenet account, and kissing my wife goodbye for a week. Starting this Sunday night, I’ll be dedicating a week (and maybe a sock) to the land of elves and wizards. Is this a game for me? Will I like joining with strangers (and maybe a few old friends) to go out on quests? Is the monthly fee justified? Will my bizarre fetish for making hot female RPG heroines become a problem once I take my avatar into the open community? Will I find time for showers and exercise? Will my wife want anything to do with me at the end of this week?

The answers to these questions and more will come over the next seven days. Check this site for daily blogs and follow me on twitter @thisdustin for all of my impressions.

If you don’t hear from me again, I guess the orcs got me.

More coming once I figure this stuff out.

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