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Blizzard`s 'World of Warcraft' a multiplayer masterpiece
By Jeb Haught
Copley News Media
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
System: Windows 98 and above
Violence Rating: Teen (ages 13 and older)
The genre known as MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) has changed online gaming from a solitary hobby into an addictive social community. Now, no matter who you are and what you do, be prepared to say goodbye to your real life as you delve deeper and deeper into Blizzard's latest masterpiece, World of Warcraft.
Those who play MMORPGs can interact with thousands of other humans and non-player characters (NPCs) on the same server. Playing alone is fun, but teaming up with others to fight monsters creates an entirely new experience.
Once you've chosen a server on which to play, it's time to create a character. First you must make allegiance with the Alliance or the Horde, and then it's time to select a race. Those who decide to join the Alliance can be a dwarf, gnome, night elf or human, and those who select the Horde can be a troll, orc, undead or tauren.
Next, choose a class, which defines your character's abilities. Will you become a warrior and slice your way through enemies, sneak around as a rogue robbing people, call upon the forces of nature as a shaman or exploit the supernatural powers of darkness as a warlock? Other classes include the healing priest, the mystical mage, the shape-shifting druid, the fearless hunter and the multitalented Paladin.
Newcomers to the MMORPG genre will find World of Warcraft to be very user-friendly. Instead of a lengthy tutorial, help windows appear to describe new skills or facts as they're encountered. In addition, it's easy to earn your first few levels and abilities.
Exploring the lush environments of this title is a pleasure because of its gorgeous visuals and unique artistic style. Characters and animal features are exaggerated, as in past Warcraft games, so don't expect completely realistic graphics.
One great feature of this title is the ability for human players to fight one another, called Player vs. Player or PvP. For fun, players on the same side can agree to a friendly duel. More advanced PvP is possible by creating a raiding party and invading enemy territory. Some of the more impressive battles can consist of up to 50 human players.
World of Warcraft is already the fastest-selling PC game in history, and the acronym says it all: Wow!