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THE WORLDS of WARCRAFT    Blizzard Entertainment

Some people have already begun ringing the death knell on the Warcraft Universe because there have been no new expansions
for the Warcraft games, the CCG isn't selling as well as Magic the Gathering, and the MMO has seen a drop of a million or two
players since many MMOs - Tara, Star Wars, Guild Wars, Neverwinter, Dungeons & Dragons and Lord of the Rings etc - have
become popular. The truth of the matter as I see it though is that, yes, many players left World of Warcraft to go to these other
games, but many of them have returned or are on the point of return, such is the power and the draw of the universe of Azeroth.


WARCRAFT is also an excellent series of adventure action games based on the build and conquer system. This expanded and
grew until the online MMO version World of Warcraft took hold and the creators at Blizzard Entertainment found wealth and work
way beyond their wildest dreams. STARCRAFT, a sci-fi variant of Warcraft that outsold the fantasy version and became the basis
for a boardgame, books, a role-playing game and expansions of the PC game, has been the subject of several discussions about it
becoming a MMO but to date this has only been talk and subjecture. It may well come about if WoW does grind to a halt but if it
was to appear at the present then it would most likely take millions of players from WoW thus defeating the purpose of growing
Blizzard's hold on the MMO market.


Meanwhile the TCG of the World of Warcraft, now published by Cryptozoic, seems to be continuing slowly but surely. Usually a
card or board game, or even a role playing game created from an online game doesn't gain the impetuousness of it's source, but as
the World of Warcraft TCG offers Loot cards that carry exclusive items, artefacts and mounts usable within the MMO, the TCG
has flourished and there is no reason it should not continue to do so.


The World of Warcraft has grown and expanded and as it has it has become more popular, even gaining mention in the famed
Guinness Book of Records as the MMO with the most players. Unfortunately as the game has got more popular and the cap on
character levels has risen from the original 40 to 60, 70 and now 90, the game has become somewhat easier to succeed in. When
once it was a thrill to see a high level character, level 90 can now be obtained in less than a week of hard core playing (with help
from Guild members and friends) and the major Quests have become so militarised that a lot of the beauty of the game has been
lost to speed playing and directed adventuring.

What has suffered most is the Crafting, and here I put the blame firmly on the designers shoulders for they made crafting very
difficult and expensive (time and game wealth) in the first place and then decided that most of what the crafter can make of any
real use or interest could only be used by characters who had a reasonably high level in the craft that it took to make it. Thus an
Engineer of high level could make fantasy versions of mounts like helicopters or motor-bikes at a massive cost to themselves,
generally having to pay other characters for source material or buy same from the Auction House at really high prices. Once the
mount was completed only themselves or another high level Engineer could ride it; they couldn't sell it at the Auction House or
to another player and make a profit (or even break-even).  Over time this has killed off most of the crafting arts and only old school
hard core players really bother with even learning skills, let alone wasting time and gold buying all the necessary resources and
travelling the length and breadth of Azeroth and its surrounding regions for the necessary recipes.


Inbetween the successes of Warcraft, Starcraft and the World of Warcraft Blizzard surprised everyone by revising a favourite all action
adventure game, DIABLO, and giving it star treatment. The game, DIABLO III, arrived to great acclaim and sold extremely well. Even
though it wasn't really up to the standard of the first Diablo game, it far surpassed Diablo II. The major problem with Diablo III is that
so much time, effort, skill and money has been spent developing and promoting it and making it a fantastic visual, almost 3D, journey,
any player with just a modicum of experience in strategy action games could play it from start to finish in only a few hours. The idea was
that players would finish it quickly on one level and then play it again and again at the higher levels. You would have thought that this
idea would have been the death of the game but instead it has continued to sell and grow in stature and Blizzard are in fact currently
readying it for release on new media systems.



StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void is the third part of the trilogy which includes Wings of Liberty and the Heart of the Swarm. It will have
a continuing campaign featuring the Protoss species and there will be around 20 missions. To my current knowledge there is not set launch
date as yet, though it is firmly agreed it will be available this year, possibly in the late Autumn.

       The main character in Legacy of the Void will be ZERATUL  



© Chris Baylis 2011-2021