Unless youâ€™ve been living in a gaming vacuum for the past couple of years, you will have heard of World of Warcraft. To call WoW a phenomenon is an understatement of epic proportions, and to be honest I donâ€™t think that anyone, Blizzard included, realised just how massive this game was going to be. There are always stories in the media about obsessive gamers that lose whole weekends, or even weeks to their favourite game, but WoW took this sickness to another level!
The most amazing thing about WoW was that it was a subscription based game, which meant that you had to pay a monthly fee to keep playing. Now, although I initially thought that the general game playing public wouldnâ€™t take to a fee paying gaming platform, I was completely, totally and utterly wrong. The latest figures from Blizzard show that there are over 6.5 million WoW subscribers in the World, with 1.25 million active players in Europe! So, it seems that there are quite a few people who are willing to pay a monthly fee, if the game is good enough.
We reviewed World of Warcraft back in February 2005. The result was a very impressive score of nine out of ten and a TrustedReviews Recommended award â€“ and that was back when there was only a small number of players on the servers! Over the past 18 months WoW has evolved into a fantasy realm that, for many hardcore players, feels even more real than the mundane nine to five (or eight to eight in the TR offices) life that weâ€™re forced to live. In essence, Blizzard managed to do what every great game strives to do â€“ provide pure escapism for the player, and if youâ€™re one of those 6.5 million players, youâ€™ll know exactly what I mean.
One of the best aspects of WoW is that you can engulf yourself in the lore and history of the game, or you can just dip in and out as you have the time. Obviously die hard WoW junkies will tell you that you need to know every little intricacy of every race and place to truly embrace the World of Warcraft, but believe me, itâ€™s still a hell of a lot of fun even if you can only spare a few hours here and there.
But despite how massive, sprawling and downright epic WoW is, eventually you find yourself at a brick wall. One day, whether itâ€™s after a solid weekend of play, or after many months of dipping in and out, youâ€™re going to hit Level 60 and realise that youâ€™ve got nowhere else to go. For a lot of hardcore players, this just means starting from scratch with a new race or class and climbing that experience ladder all over again, but for a great many WoW players, hitting Level 60 can mean that the game becomes, well, less compelling.