World of Warcraft

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[[World of Warcraft]]

Since its debut in 1994, the number-one selling Warcraft series has won industry acclaim and has shattered sales records worldwide with over 5 million copies sold. In 1995, Blizzard followed the well-received Warcraft: Orcs and Humans with the critically acclaimed Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, which won multiple Game of the Year awards and is still considered by many critics to be one of the best games ever made.

Four years have passed since the aftermath of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, and a great tension smolders throughout the ravaged world of Azeroth. As the battle-worn races begin to rebuild their shattered kingdoms, new threats, both ancient and ominous, arise to plague the world once again.

Rich in legend and filled with adventure, the World of Warcraft awaits! For the first time, players experience the lands of Azeroth from a new, in-depth perspective. As heroes, they explore familiar battlefields, discover new lands and take on epic quests and challenges in Blizzard's massively multiplayer, on-line, role-playing game.

Welcome to the World of Warcraft.

For the lucky ones who got a glimpse of the game at E3 this year only one thing came as a surprise, how polished the game looks considering it was only announced in September, 2001.
World of Warcraft, (WOW) promises to shine a new light on the world of Warcraft. The game's title has been carefully chosen since the Warcraft World will be tested on the persistent state space. Warcraft enters a new genre, that of the MMORPG or Massively Multiplayer On-line Role Playing Game. But the surprises do not stop there. Read on, by following the link below and to the right, to find out what Warcraft gamers dream is about to be realized in WOW.

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Innovations
GamePlay
Spells & Combat
Insider Info Pt1
Insider Info Pt2

[[Innovations]]

For all who have enjoyed any of the three existing parts of the Warcraft saga, one question, one desire must have been common. What if you could control one individual unit? Stepping into the shoes of one of the Humans or Orcs, controlling a hero and accepting the challenge of glorious quests, must be the ultimate Warcraft experience. WOW promises to add exactly that twist to the game series.

In setting out to create a massively multiplayer universe, we wanted to give people the opportunity to help redefine a place they remember fondly, states Mike Morhaime, Blizzard Entertainment president and co-founder. With World of Warcraft, we are creating an incredibly dynamic online gaming experience complete with endless possibilities to surprise and engross both hardcore Warcraft veterans and novice gamers alike.

The hands-on E3 presentation showed off the world of Azeroth in great detail and featured notable advancements to the dynamic Warcraft universe including two new uncharted regions - the Deadmines and the Monastery. These diverse new environments will give gamers the ability to quest through mystifying lands filled with countless adventures. Feats of legendary heroism will ensue as the journey continues and players find themselves engaged in action-packed combat.

Additionally, three of the game's many character classes, Warriors, Mages, and Shamans, were seen for the first time at the show. These new classes will give players the opportunity to customize their experience and use their imagination to create the ultimate, mighty character. World of Warcraft's fourth race, the Dwarves, were also revealed at the show. These proud warriors serve as excellent craftsmen and are considered by many to be the hardiest of all the races. They are an ancient race, strong, stocky, and well suited for plumbing the depths of the world in search of hordes of treasure.

World of Warcraft takes place four years following the aftermath of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, where a great tension has settled over the ravaged world of Azeroth. As the various races begin to rebuild their shattered kingdoms, new threats, both ancient and terrifying, have arisen to plague the world once again. Players must explore the lands of Azeroth, forge fellowships with other players, and build their strength in order to prevail.

Customizable character classes, innovative races, and thousands of weapons allow for a truly distinct gameplay experience that will enthrall fans of any genre. A simple and intuitive user interface will allow players of various skill levels to easily join the adventure. The game also features support for advanced graphics hardware, giving the player superlative graphical enhancements, as well as a sophisticated massively multiplayer network architecture capable of supporting thousands of players in a world simultaneously.

Jump To:

World of Warcraft
GamePlay
Spells & Combat
Insider Info Pt1
Insider Info Pt2

[[GamePlay]]

Blizzard have tried to change the way MMORPG's are viewed. Gone is the intricate, and ultimately useless, extremely detailed interface. The days of MUD influence on MMORPG's are truly gone for Blizzard. What Blizzard have gone for is ease of use, and they seem to have made the game as simple as Diablo.

Here are some quotes taken from a Blizzard representative at E3.
One of the things we wanted to do to make the game more accessible is to really simplify the interface. In the top left corner your character's portrait along with his or her health and energy are displayed. On the top right of the screen, you'll actually get to see a mini-map of the area surrounding your character. Often in these worlds, players get intimidated and don't know where to go or what to do, so we provide this mini-map where you can zoom in and out and allow the player some familiarity with the surrounding area, allow them to easily locate important NPCs and stuff like that. Extra, little navigational areas around the mini-map will also be displayed as players get closer to vital areas such as cities or dungeons. The use of such small maps however, will be limited since Blizzard do not want to reduce the adventuring and exploration aspect of the game.

The bottom left corner of the screen will feature the action buttons. Those will be completely customizable so that any of your favorite usable items, skills, or spells will be instantly available via a mouse click or a keyboard stroke corresponding to the number in the box. All you will need to do is drag and drop any of those useable items and tricks into a slot.

You'll notice that we also have contact sensitive cursors. Whenever you move your cursor over a monster or an NPC you'll notice the cursor change into a different icon. The cursor will also inform the player on whether creatures can be attacked or whether any number of other actions that can be taken within the game. When wandering around the world at large and near enemies, the cursor will change when it crosses them. The cursor will also let you know whether you're in range for an attack based on the weapon you're carrying or the spells you have. The combat cursor is a little sword, so naturally, when you're out of range the sword will have a circle and a little line through it letting you know you need to get a little friendlier with your target.

Camera control

World of WarCraft will also utilize a simple, yet extensive mouse controlled camera system. Players will be able to zoom far out to get more of the tactical view but will also be able to zoom all the way in to first person view for those that like a more personal feel to the game. We've also got a camera is on the other mouse button, which is our mouse move or mouse look, which will allow you to cruise around the world while moving the camera around your character. The camera also sticks so that whatever angle you leave it at, it'll stay there.

The movement of the character is driven using the standard FPS format of WASD, but those that don't want to touch the keyboard will be offered the option of holding down both mouse buttons to move forward in the direction the character is pointing, using the mouse to control direction.

Another way they're making the world more accessible is zoning text which gives players a grounding in the world and allows players to connect with the world they know from WarCraft universe, players will recognize these names from playing Warcraft III. It also gives players a way to describe the world offering common reference names describing the world.
You'll also see this work for specific areas within zones. So if you're in a castle or a dungeon or some such thing, you'll see the text pop up as you move from area to area within those dungeons allowing you much easier navigation than you might get with a game like EverQuest.

Jump To:

World of Warcraft
Innovations
Spells & Combat
Insider Info Pt1
Insider Info Pt2

[[Spells and Combat]]

Here are some of the spells that will be available in WOW.

Human Mage

The human mage will be your classic spell casting class utilising skills such as faster cast type spells as well as pure magic. The class won't be classically weak however, it will be able to hold it's own early on and not have to party in order to survive and progress to higher levels.
Spell Name________________________ Description
Numb_______________________________Chills the target.
Frozen Armor_______________________Defensive icy armour increase.
Frost Plating______________________Casting will increase her armour class.
Frost Blast________________________Does cold damage to target.
Frozen Finger______________________This will stun the character and has quite a delay before you can cast it again. A large icy hand reaches down and taps a single finger onto the head of the foe. You can see the blue stun swirl in this image above the Gnoll's head.
Freeze_____________________________Locks the target in place and does damage.
Frigid Limbs_______________________This causes the target to run and attack as you would in your nightmares, like trying to run in molasses.
Fire Shield________________________This does damage to foe who attack her whilst she is under its influence.
Streak of Fire_____________________Shoots a bolt of fire that does a lot of damage.
Fiery Blast________________________Does fire damage to target.
Scorching Blast____________________Does fire damage to target.
Bolt of Fire_______________________A single fire bolt is hurled towards the target.

Orc Shaman

The Orc race will also have a spell caster in the form of Shaman. However, these will inflict very much more direct damage than their human counterparts but still magic based.
Spell Name_________________________________ Description
Earthquake__________________________________Not in the game right now but mentioned. It will probably cause the ground within the area of affect to tremor and break up, inflicting physical damage.
Blood Lust__________________________________This one was cast on his party members as well as himself and it increased the damage they inflicted.
Erupting Flame______________________________This is straight forward fire damage.
Grappling Flame_____________________________Another Fire Damage skill.
Entangling Roots____________________________Roots erupting from beneath and entwine around the limbs of the target preventing them from moving.
Immolation__________________________________This one inflicts damage over time and you'll see small numbers drift away from the target's head indicating how many hit points they are losing.
Icy Prison__________________________________This encases the target in an icy prison, it does not inflict damage, just holds them in place.
Ancestral Healing___________________________This can be cast on the Orc Shaman himself as well as his party members and will heal. He can not cast it when he's under attack so it doesn't look to be something that can heal while you are fighting, rather after a battle it's useful to recoup hit points.
Lightning Shield____________________________Defensive armour increase.
Bark Skin___________________________________An amour rating increase for a duration.

Tauren Warrior
Combat Skill________________________________Description
Impale______________________________________This will cause the target to bleed and suffer damage over time. Spurts of blood indicate when he takes more damage.
Dismember___________________________________This is the standard pole arm damage enhancing effect.

Orc Warrior
Spell Name__________________________________Description
Erupting Flame______________________________This causes straight forward fire damage.
Immolation__________________________________This one inflicts damage over time and you'll see small numbers drift away from the target's head indicating how many hit points they are losing.
Ancestral Healing___________________________This can be cast on the Orc Warrior himself as well as his party members and will heal. He can not cast it when he's under attack so it doesn't look to be something that can heal while you are fighting, rather after a battle it's useful to recoup hit points.
Grasping Roots______________________________Causes thick roots to erupt from the ground beneath the target holding it in place for a duration.
Ice Prison__________________________________Encases the target in an icy cocoon.
Blood Lust__________________________________This one was cast on his party members as well as himself and it increased the damage they inflicted.
Lightning Shield____________________________Defensive armour increase.
Rock Skin___________________________________Increases the armour rating of the warrior for a duration

Human Warrior
Combat Skill_________________________________Description
Slice and Dice_______________________________Provides additional damage to attack.
Defend_______________________________________A skill familiar to humans in Warcraft III. This will improve the armour rating.

Jump To:

World of Warcraft
Innovations
GamePlay
Insider Info Pt1
Insider Info Pt2

[[Insider Info Pt1]]

This is a list of some in game info from worldofwar.net.

Character Class

All character classes have a set of core abilities and use a hybrid leveling and skill system. As you attain new levels the cap rises on the abilities you can use so the more you use these abilities the better they become, up to the cap for your level. The reasoning is that Blizzard didn't want players to be able to mess up their characters by choosing wrong abilities and skills. This way ensures that you are a competent mage or warrior because you have the core skills necessary to be such. There is also a set of secondary skills where players can focus on different areas such as alchemy, lock picking or first aid so there is further customisation. Even though you have chosen your secondary skills you are not locked in them. It's a fact that players do make bad choices when developing characters and this will allow you to change your mind to a certain degree, taking what you have learnt from one skill and applying it to another. The change won't be instantaneous but if you feel you've made a bad choice there is an option to reshape your character. More details on this weren't available.

Control

Game controlling has not changed since September. You will be able to use the arrow keys or the standard A, W and D keys but those are configurable. There is full mouse look capabilities also, controlling the camera view with the mouse and also the mouse wheel which can zoom you into third person or further still into first person perspective if you prefer. Objects will turn transparent if you move into something or something of importance is in front of your character and you are in third person view (ala Lara Croft). For example if your character is just in front of a wall, theoretically you're inside the wall as your view is just behind them, but in WoW it will turn transparent. Similarly if an NPC comes into view directly in front of your character, your character will turn transparent so that you can see him or her. Your mouse icon will also change to reflect that you can interact with that NPC. It's all very slick.

Equipment

Equipment is handled through a paper doll interface. There are the primary and secondary slots. Primary are for your most useful things and secondary for things you might not be accessing so often but still wish to keep on hand. As your character progresses and utilises better equipment your characters model will change to reflect this. Our warrior stayed in the basic vest and pants with a sword. There will be character and race specific items, proficiencies will determine which armour and weapons they can utilise. More than that wasn't being discussed.

Interiors

On show for the first time were the buildings and interiors. Mark took us into Northshire Abbey. We were zoomed down into third person mode and saw the contact sensitive cursor in action as our warrior came between our view and an NPC, he duly turned transparent and our cursor changed to show what would happen if we were to right click on the character. In this case talk to him, as opposed to battering him. We right clicked and the vender interface opened. What he had on offer was displayed with an image, price and the name of the item, so you will not need to hover over everything individually to see what's what. If the item has more stats, other than it's name, hovering will drop down a display of all those.

We went further into the Abbey and up into the Bell tower. The corridors and stairways were well served by light mapping as well as dynamic lighting so the wall lanterns were casting light not just picking up values from a light map. Back down the Bell Tower by taking a short cut jumping about three stories, suffering no damage. Fall damage isn't in at this time, it may be in the future of course but it hasn't been decided.

Combat

We mentioned the contact sensitive cursor above and as well as benign indicators as with talking to an NPC it will also change to reflect attack possibilities. If your character is out of range of a target it shows you can attack but has a red circle and line through it. Left clicking on the target will bring up their level and stats so you can decided whether to attack or not. You can still mouse over other creatures while this other creature is selected. So you can fight one creature while casting a spell on another.

Wow also has auto move to attack. So as we right clicked on a target our warrior proceeded to march up to the target and attack. You can vary your attack as necessary by using a combat ability from the Action Slots bottom left of the screen. In this case Mark used Slice and Dice which increased the amount of damage he inflicted. Some creatures you come across won't be rich pickings. Instead of displaying the target's level it could show a skull which indicates the foe is a significantly higher level than yourself and it probably wouldn't be deemed the 'Strategic move of the Century' to offer him outside at this point.

We asked whether a creatures resistances would be displayed in this way but our resistances work hasn't been discussed yet let alone implemented.

We left Elwyn Forest to take in our level 15 Mage. On in, into Westfall, previously a lush farmland but no more, not since falling into decay. Now it serves as home to bands of opportunistic Thieves. Grrrr. A clear path in front of us would actually have led our Mage back into Elwynn Forest if we were to follow it. Mages a little stronger than you usually get in these sorts of games. This should please those who don't have a lot of time to locate a party to play with or just choose to play by themselves. Often Mages are quite hard going to start with and being a little tougher means they'll have a broader appeal. He displayed his Fire Shield and Frozen Armor defensive skills and also a Fire bolt on a couple of critters. There was also talk of a rooting skill but unfortunately we didn't see that in action.

On Transport

Other than getting about the world on foot Blizzard are interested in vehicles in general, they are part of the Warcraft universe after all. There will certainly be some form of ''fixed transport" (waypoints?) but as for user-controlled (mounts, zeppelins) that is not being revealed.

PvP & Battle.Net

We asked, for fans of dueling, what was in the pipeline for Player Versus Player combat and were told there will not be a PvP switch. Specifics are a way off at this time but it will be something far more "organic" than that. Many things further information wasn't available because of the very competitive nature of the MMORPG market. Understandable. Such as changes or developments to Battle.net. All they could say is that it will be based on a new technology, same goes for specifics on after sales development. There will be teams working on maintaining the world, adding new quests and items, dealing with naughty tinkers messing with things they shouldn't be but anything more specific they will probably remain tight-lipped on, even much further down the production road.

Jump To:

World of Warcraft
Innovations
GamePlay
Combat & Skills
Insider Info Pt2

[[Insider Info Pt2]]

This is some further information about details of the game fished out from worldofwar.net

Currency

If you were wondering about currency in the World of Warcraft then wonder no more. At this stage in development Blizzard have included 3 types of currency, copper, silver and gold. But we were told that this will in all likelihood change and could have already done so but just not be included in the E3 build. To what we don't know, nor whether it will be three types.

Death Penalty

One question that was over looked is what happens when you die. According to the team, death penalties will be very light. It is unlikely you will lose any experience points or any items so you won't be set back too much in your character development. A different kind of penalty will be applied but Blizzard have not decided what route to take. All they were saying is that they do not wish it to be to the degree that some players will just give up playing, having lost too much in death. When you die you will jump right back into the game and appear at a spawn point, not where you actually died.

Mortal Combat

Diablo II fans may be wondering if there's a hardcore mode, some with a steel constitution welcome it with open arms. However, Blizzard won't be included in in WoW. On paper it sounds a plausible idea and although some gamers may like the sound of it, it would probably be too disheartening in a game such as WoW to lose everything after the hours you have invested, especially in such a large game world.

Professional Nose Wipers

Some gamers may like the idea of a healing character, especially when grouped in a party, but it's felt that a character whose main purpose is that of a healer, to run around with the pack burdened with the task of healing his party members enjoying the fight, is just not fun. There will be items and characters with the ability to heal but it will be very much secondary to other physical/magical combat skills possessed.

Inventory Management

Auto-stacking is useful in any game where an inventory is involved and as WoW has two it would be preferable if items you'd moved from your backpack on the right to the action slots on the left would replace when consumed. Cheese or ale for example. This isn't the case with the build we played but it is something under consideration by the team.

Humour

A trademark of the Warcraft Series has been its humorous dialogue. Blizzard's Kevin Jordan who is working on the game's spells commented that its unlikely there will as much audio as in the Warcraft games but they are adding many character fidgets. If you look at the gameplay trailers you may see characters standing stationary and then have a scratch or a wiggle or perform some manoeuvre with their weapon, these are the 'fidgets' and you can expect them to be very varied.

Items
Cultural diversity

According to Kevin, Blizzard want players to feel there are many avenues their characters can take in the world. Running round and killing monsters and developing your characters is certainly one of them, trade skills would be another. You can make items to sell to other players and even sell them to vendors or create really unique, highly collectable items that other players would wish to purchase. Further, different areas will generate different types of items, so if you're trying to find skins to tailor a certain type of hide vest you'll need to hunt them down. Due to the different cultures, for example Kalimdor and Azeroth as different continents will have distinctive cultures and therefore chracters from each would look very different due to the skins they'd used to fashion their hide vests or leggings and indeed the items that spawn throughout their 'homeland'. Not much was said about trade skills. Blacksmithing and Alchemy are two of the skills traders can choose from but more than that wasn't forthcoming.

Public Transport

Blizzard were unsure about transportation methods and there has been lots of speculation over the past few months. What they did say was they want to maintain a convenient way to play WoW so the player doesn't as if they have to run for 45 minutes before they can start adventuring or meet up with a friend. They want to make more remote settlements harder to find where players will have to explore more to find and eventually reach them . There will be some sort of transportation system in place, Diablo II has waypoints and Blizzard want something in place that'll prove as convenient to the WoW player.

The possibility of mules or horses is a real one, they certainly are hoping to include some sort of mount in the game. But it presents difficult technical obstacles to overcome. If you can imagine a Tauren riding a horse and then try imagine a party, maybe eight, of them doing the same thing and then on from that, in battle, that would take up an awful lot of screen space. They are trying to think of novel solutions to prevent the screen from becoming a mass of bodies and a huge drain on your machine's resources. While they feel it'll be a great feature to be able to fight from a horse or travel at accelerated speed on your very own mount it has to be weighed up against performance, so it's by no means in at this time, regardless of rumours.

Real Estate
Online 'families'

We probed a bit on guilds and Blizzard are well aware they need to create a vibrant social atmosphere in the game and want to support guild structures. Things that have been bandied about include the ability for guilds to communicate in their own channels and they could also be able to wear special guild emblems in the game. On Guild Halls, again this is an idea they are working on but it does raise a few design problems especially when players start to own property. Having said that Guild Halls have not been ruled out.

Jump To:

World of Warcraft
Innovations
GamePlay
Combat & Skills
Insider Info Pt1

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