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Press Released
I Ruined World of WarCraft

Sean Sands | 26 Jan 2009 16:00
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Go ahead, you can blame me. Just be sure and spread that blame a little thin, because you've got about 10 million people right behind me who screwed it all up just as bad.

You see, once upon a time there were MMOs that put hair on your chest - which is perhaps why men became the stereotypical player. Venturing down the virtual road to the local merchant was itself a quest of great peril, and the cobblestone 2D roads of early MMOs proved rife with legitimate and aptly named highway robbery. Gangs of villains, the diabolical avatars of endlessly repressed rage, roamed the streets with impunity, their vengeance striking indiscriminately and without warning.

Now these lands are the realm of the casual, and the threat from marauding bands of power levelers is minimal. These days, assuming I don't have the requisite flight points to take advantage of organized Mass Transit, as long as I stick to well-paved roads I can venture from coast to coast as unmolested as a Roman citizen of the old world. For a game that supposedly offers extraordinary realms of adventure, World of WarCraft often feels about as hazardous as a suburban park on a summer's afternoon.

But those hearty vagabonds from early MMOs like Ultima Online who remember fondly the struggle of survival in a brutal frontier, could at least rest assured that they might be part of the 1% that could experience the end-game content of even casual friendly World of WarCraft. Though isolated and a reward for days stolen from young lives, there was still hardcore content to be found. Except, that's not quite so true any more.

The most recent expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, is a triumph in virtually every way. It provides a landmass rich with content, and even more surprisingly, an epic storyline that embraces a rich and professionally crafted history. As a player, you are asked to face the monstrous forces that can destroy worlds.

Unfortunately, the law of the land is No Geek Left Behind.

Employing a conflagration of devastatingly overpowered Death Knight abilities, I thrive in the new direction of the world's most significant MMO. I am given relatively unbridled access to storied enemies of epic stature with little investment on my part, and topple them like so many puppet Central American dictators. Gone are the days of forty-man raids that required precise timing, impeccable ability and accredited study in one's class structures. In its wake, content of considerable, but reasonable, difficulty opens the grand stories of the world to virtually all.

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