A year has passed since Blizzards release of their massively multiplayer online role playing game, World of Warcraft. On release, there were a lot of mistakes, a lot of imbalances and a lack of high end content. Since then, Blizzard has fixed many of its issues, and added enough content to keep the hardcore gamers interested, for now. The first month that blizzard had the game live was sketchy at best. The realm servers were constantly being taken down for maintenance. The player base was upset with the state of the game.
Problems will be inherent in an undertaking as large as WOW. To those on the affected servers, the response time from Blizzard was abysmal. Some servers were down for days. Blizzard made amends by giving free play time to the players with characters on those servers. Since then, blizzard has picked up their service, and the only significant time the servers have problems is the day or so that a new patch comes out.
The raid content of the game on release was limited to The Molten Core and Onyxia. For the first three months that was plenty, the most avid WOW players were still busy leveling and getting good gear from the high level five man instances. The top guilds, however, would have these encounters mastered in short order once they got into them. After two months of raiding nothing but these encounters they became tedious. Many players lacking faith in Blizzard grew bored with the game. Blackwing Lair was released a few months ago, and has proven to be a sufficient challenge.
Ahn'Qiraj was just released. Those finished with Blackwing Lair will be looking forward to the new challenges it presents. As long as Blizzard can keep up with the progression of best raiding group, no player can complain about lack of activity at level 60. The honor system and battlegrounds released half a year after the game hit shelves brought more structure to Player versus Player interaction (PvP) by ranking and rewarding players for killing other players close to their own level. While it doesn't discourage 'ganking,' killing a player much lower in level than the attacker, it provides purpose to fighting the opposing faction.
At the core of every good video game is a high quality user interface. It's the way the player interacts with the game environment. WOW provided a fine interface at the start, but as the game progressed, it became clear certain things were lacking. Thankfully, Blizzard supported Custom User Interfaces by allowing 'add-ons' to be incorporated easily into their game. Using these custom interfaces, players can get exactly what they need out of the game to play to the maximum efficiency. The best of the interfaces have been incorporated into WOW's base user interface.
Blizzard does a lot to make sure their games are of the highest quality when they are released. After a full year of beta testing, WOW was a much better game than when it started. Though at that time, the game was not perfect, and perhaps not quite ready for retail. Over the last year, the game has made leaps and bounds to become the best massively multiplayer online game on the market.
With a larger test group, and user input, Blizzard has been able to shape WOW into the game it should have been on release.
Hunter Crowell is a researcher, avid online gamer, and creator of WOW Gold Price List, helping players find the cheapest place to buy their gold.