I’ll take a shot at backing up and providing an overview to World of Warcraft.
First of all, it really is three games in one.
Solo WoW is where I often end up because I don’t have a lot of friends that play and my guild isn’t that big. When playing solo, the game is largely about the quests and storylines, and when you reach the level cap, it becomes about “dailies” (quests that you can repeat every day, usually for reputation) or specific goals you define (building skill in a profession, for example).
Group WoW can be played in or out of the organized instances (a.k.a. dungeons or raids). You can put together a group of friends and take on the big bad guys you’ve met while soloing–it feels good to take down that cursed King Mosh, or a fel reaver, or one of the other well-placed mobs that kills you while questing or grinding–but that’s still doing the same content you do while soloing. Group play shines when you get into the 5-man, 10-man, or 25-man structured instances. That’s where you must know your role in the group and play it perfectly to take down the bosses and get the good loot. It’s fun, but personally I don’t like the play being reduced to such a simple formula–many raiders will do the same instance over and over and over, using the same exact sequence of moves, just because some of the loot may only drop once every 50 times.
PVP WoW (player vs. player) pits you against other human players instead of the restricted artificial intelligence and planned encounters of the game. It can be played anywhere, but is most common in special PVP areas with specific objectives.
[li]IT WORKS ON A MACINTOSH! YEAH![/li][li]The game is incredibly deep. I’ve been playing for two years, and I still find little hidden areas, encounters, and quests I didn’t know about. Starting over with a new race/class can be almost like starting a new game.[/li][li]The classes are well done. The “talent tree” structure allows you to create almost a new character by re-speccing. A holy priest, for example, plays very differently from a shadow priest.[/li][li]The game is well-optimized to run over slow connections. I use satellite Internet at home, which gives me lag times upwards of a second, and I can still play PVE (although raiding and PvP are almost impossible)[/li][/ul]
[li]Especially in the beginning, there’s a lot of “wasted” time just running from place to place. If you get together with Alliance friends to run Scarlet Monastery, it can take ten minutes for everyone to get there[/li][li]Graphics in general are good, but they worry more about little cosmetic details than the fundamentals of collisions. Everywhere you look, characters are standing halfway in a wall, dead monsters intersect with the ground, and so forth.[/li][li]There are “dead spots” in the leveling patterns. You can level very quickly in some places (57-60 just flies, for example), while others go VERY slowly. I have 11 hours into level 67 on one of my alts, and I still haven’t hit 68.[/li][li]Players with friends or high-level alts of their own have a TREMENDOUS advantage over new guys.[/li][/ul]
As a final note, Blizzard has put a great deal of effort into creating content that takes you out of the “quest & grind for levels” pattern and lets you just explore the game. Professions are a prime example. You can spend days–or weeks–just working on your tailoring, smithing, mining, or fishing. The economy is fun to play with, too. If you really pay attention, you can make massive amounts of money on the auction house, but you can also lose your shirt trying to control some particular commodity–especially when you “buy low” and then the price crashes on your server.
Overall, it’s a highly absorbing game, and I’m anxiously awaiting the new Wrath of the Lich King update.