Good news! Last night I made the final tweaks to my time machine and traveled 5 years into the future where I got a chance to watch you play the next WoW Expansion: WoW: Epic Thrills! I wanted to report back on how Blizzard will do a great job of streamlining the experience and getting rid of all the parts of gaming that we all hate.
So you start the game and pick a race, then a class. This would feel pretty familiar to today’s gamers except there isn’t a lot of description. You’re just prompted to pick something that looks cool. Then you log into the game for the first time.
You’ll see your character standing in rags with a splintered 2×4 as a weapon. There’s an NPC to one side with a huge ! over his head and behind him is a wall on which a movie is playing. In the movie you can see a village with all its people going about their business. The graphics are amazing.
If you don’t do anything the NPC starts waving his hands saying “CLICK ME! CLICK ME!” Once you click on him he tells you a story about this village and how it is being attacked by bandits. You have to kill 5 bandits! The movie changes, showing bandits descending on the village, and suddenly 5 bandits pop into existence in front of you. “CLICK ON THEM!” the NPC yells so you click on one and your character swings his 2×4. The bandit screams and crumbles to the ground. You click on the next bandit, your character swings, he crumbles. You quickly click on the remaining 3 and all die. “BOSS INCOMING!” the NPC yells and suddenly a slightly larger Bandit appears before you. You click on him, your character swings and the boss dies.
Fireworks go off. “QUEST COMPLETE!” appears on the screen and the NPC says “You leveled up! You’ve learned Thorns. Thorns is a defensive spell that protects you from harm. Oh, and here is your reward.” The NPC taps his staff on the ground and your character changes. Now he is wearing better clothes and carrying a dagger. The NPC has a new ! over his head, so you click on him.
The NPC goes into a spiel about how the villagers will freeze to death because the bandits stole all their clothes. Their only hope is bear hides. The movie changes to show a woodland scene. The NPC tells you that you have to kill 10 bears.
Suddenly 10 bears appear before you. You click on it and your character thrusts with his knife and the bear dies. Yay! But Bear #2 bites at you! You notice a Green Health Bar drop a bit and the NPC yells “You lost some health, but your Thorns damage the bear!” and Bear #2 dies.
At that point, in the real world the phone rings. You pick it up to talk to a telemarketer. You watch the screen as Bears 3, 4 and 5 bite you and die from your Thorns spell. Bear #6 bites you and dies too, but at the same time he kills you. A huge green button with the word “GO!” on it appears on screen. You click it and your character stands up with his health bar full again. Bears 7, 8, 9, & 10 bite you, reducing your health, and die from your defensive spell.
“QUEST COMPLETE! You gained a new level! You learn FIREBALL!” the NPC yells. Your health bar fills up. When he taps his staff this time, a shield appears in your hand and shoulderpads grow out of your shoulders. The NPC has a ! over his head.
You click him and he says “The villagers need food. Hunt some deer!” The woodland scene continues to play on the screen and 10 deer teleport into the room. You’re off the phone so can focus again. You click the first dear and your avatar stabs it. It dies. You click the second deer and your avatar shoots a fireball at it. It dies. Click deer #3, another fireball, another dead deer. Click deer #4 and it’s a stab again, and another dead deer. You quickly click the remaining 6 deer and the NPC yells “SPEED BONUS!” and suddenly there’s a decorative butterfly fluttering around your avatar’s head.
As the 10th deer dies the NPC yells “QUEST COMPLETE! You gained a new level! You learned Hack!” His next quest has you fighting 8 tigers to get their teeth to make daggers to arm the villagers. The woodland scene is replaced by a jungle scene. When the tigers appear and you click on them you sometimes swing you dagger overhead and yell “Hack!” when you attack. Other times its a thrust and others still, a fireball.
The NPC pauses the action and says “In WoW 2.0 you don’t have to worry about what skill to use…we take care of that for you!” You pause a moment and a tiger bites you and you die. The big green GO button pops up and you click it and continue where you left off. This fight has a Boss Tiger at the end. You click it and your avatar does a crazy cool combo attack that consists of a fireball followed by a hack. “QUEST COMPLETE!” yells the NPC. “You’ve gained a level. Only 196 to go!”
And then my time machine pulled me back to the present. But I can’t wait for this version of WoW to arrive. I loved how you could do everything with 1 mouse button. There was no pesky moving hither and yon, or inventory or stats to worry about. No painful death penalty. No having to figure out what skill or spell to use next. I mean, these are COMPUTER games, right? Why should WE have to make all these decisions when the computer can do it for us!? Let it keep track of the numbers, right? We just want to click on stuff.
I read that the internal code name for the next generation of WoW is: Bubblewrap.