The Daily Grind: What does World of Warcraft actually do well?

    
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All things go, all things go.

We all know that World of Warcraft gets its fair share of criticism and grumpy rants, particularly in this Battle for Azeroth era. And while many of those points are acute and well-deserved, today I want to take a recent podcast question and pose it to you: What does World of Warcraft actually do pretty darn well?

I could fill up a pretty lengthy column on the subject myself, but in summation, I would say its accessibility, slick user interface features, music and art direction, and tight combat system are among the highlights for me. Azeroth (and surrounding principalities) has always been a gorgeous and interesting place to explore, and I finally feel some interest stirring inside for Shadowlands after delving into some of the screenshots and videos.

What do you think? We’ve all talked about where WoW stumbles, but what is it doing right and well these days?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Vunak

Polish is probably WoWs biggest boon. Not many games can say they are polished as WoW, maybe FFXIV.

I wouldn’t say it has a great combat system or has amazing content. As it all seems pretty basic to me, but if they are it, it’s going to be polished. Even if you don’t like the game, like me, you can’t knock it’s quality.

If Wildstar had the polish WoW has, it might still be around today.

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Bryan Cole

1. Character Feedback – how the character feels/plays, which includes the UI interaction, physicality in the world and physicality of combat.

2. Music

3. Questing – flow of and climax with a satisfying story for zones, not so much how it’s told(cutscenes help) but more how it helps you flow through a zone and learn more about the zone and it’s denizens.

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Mallus

Polish, battle grounds, story, content, variety, varying challenge level (story mode to mythic). WoW is still the game I usually come back to after playing other MMO’s for a few months.

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Sykes

Language support. It is possible to download an English client and connect to a Taiwanese server, playing in your first language with no latency issues from Taipei.

The achievement system comes to mind as well – there is always an avenue for progress, even when all current content is completed. Cross-realm grouping is great for when new real-life friends didn’t roll on my server, and including WoW classic in the sub fee is nice. There are no lootboxes or paid quickbar shenanigans, and the payment scheme seems fair. Sub, get everything. Buy a box, done. They have a 15 minute basic rotation tutorial available for rolling a near-max level alt that’s helpful when returning (though the character is temporary unless unlocked for a fee, it helps me to roll my class and try new specs with a guide). Just general excitement – blizzcon is awesome, and not something most MMO studios could do.

As others have said, combat/movement, animations/art/music/cinematics are all in the conversation for best in class, or in my book competing against WoW clones (SWTOR).

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Mr.McSleaz

WoW does Faceroll Easy very well.

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Utakata

Glad you don’t have to play it. As I am sure many of us are glad that you’re not playing it. #HardcoreCupcake

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traja

The best quality by far is how responsive the controls are. I can’t easily think of another MMO that matches that. It is similar to how some older FPS games have far more tight controls than almost all modern games in the same genre do. The other one worth mentioning is addon support. WoW enables you to really customize your UI to fit your playstyle.

Some art aspects are nice too but it’s not exceptional in the same way as many other MMOs have nice art too.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Honestly, list would be too long. People below mentioned some things, I would add class mechanics, combat responsiveness, challenging content and Mythic raids in particular. Quests, world design, sound, animations, lore development, variety of things to do – all of that is AAA quality in WoW.

There arent many things where WoW underperforms. Sense of community is major one. It was much stronger in vanilla.

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federicobeiz

Basically the entire art department is the best in the business. Environment art, music, cinematics, Blizzard does it better than anyone else. And Azeroth (the setting) feels really fleshed out compared to the worlds of other games.

On the technical side of things the game is ALSO among the best in the genre. While the engine is positively ancient at this point (it was based on WC3’s…), they’ve managed to add all sorts of new features to it throughout the years, to the point that it’s on par with much newer engines. And the netcode is just the best.

The raids are also really really good sometimes. Ulduar and the Nighthold come to mind as super memorable experiences.

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Amorey

What they are doing right :

-Animations
-Art consistency and attention to details
-Soundtrack and ambient sound
-Performance
-Easy path in for new players
-Lore
-Ability to change and constant strive to improve

There is probably more, but these are a few things that comes to mind. WoW is a game I always enjoy going back to, but they can do even better

And a few things that would really make WoW even more extra special:

-Real player housing
-Ability to dye gear
-Music System

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jealouspirate

How it feels to control a character. I’m not entirely sure how to describe it, but controlling a character in WoW feels tight. I’ve bounced off so many newer MMOs simply because characters feel terrible compared to what Blizzard could do in 2004. Whether its “floaty” walking, bad maneuverability, lack of responsiveness in controls, janky animations, or some combination of the above… a lot of MMOs still fail at this most basic of things.