" It's a great game and a real treat for Warcraft fans everywhere. "
Title: Warcraft the Roleplaying Game from Sword and Sorcery
Format: Video Game related Role playing game
Reviewing Monkey: Chimpan- A
The Hype: Since 1994, Warcraft has been a name on top of the Real Time Strategy genre. Hundreds of thousands of players a day play in Blizzard's world. Finally, after all this time, we get to bring that world back home to the kitchen table. Grab your sword and fight the horde boys, it's the Warcraft RPG. Can't wait for World of Warcraft to come to your PC? Gather round the table and you and your friends can make your world. You'll need a lumber mill and three farms to read the rest of this review.
What This Monkey Thought...
Story and Drama: Contrary to a lot of video games out there, Warcraft has actually always had a great deal of story and depth to it. Trust in the folks down at White Wolf to bring that to bear here. The Sword and Sorcery division has done a bang up job of translating the story of the games (as told in manuals and in-game cut scenes) into this book for our enjoyment. For those who have never paid attention to the story behind the granddaddy of real-time strategy games, here's what's going on. A long time ago, on a planet called Azeroth, a race of purple skinned elves discovered arcane magic and through its use attracted demons to the world. Much strife ensued, but the demons were beaten off with many large sticks with nails in them (and help from dragons, but whatever) and the world was split asunder into its current state. Cut to 20 millennia later when a demon-controlled mage opened a portal to another world. Enter the orcs. What followed was a bloody, heated session of Crazy Eights... or was it War? Whatever, it was some card game or another. Over the course of three wars we end up with the world as it lies when the Warcraft RPG gets to it. The orcs have found a new land to call their own, the Humans are fairly decimated, and the various races have banded together into their respective alliances. The story is more in depth than I have given it here and includes all the great fantasy strains: love, hate, war (okay, a lot of the whole 'war' thing), friendships, and rivalries. Blizzard had a great story to begin with, I'm just happy with Sword and Sorcery's faithful reproduction. 4.5 out of 5
Layout and Presentation: The layout of the book is fairly standard, which makes it easy to navigate and all around pleasant to read. It goes from history through character creation into more in-depth information. The book takes a good deal of time to explain each of the various races, their attitudes, their stances, and the way the alliances work. Of particular note is the description of the geography. This is of course useful for those playing the game, but a treat for people familiar with the games who want to know more about Kalimdor. Of course, those wishing to know about regions other than Kalimdor are SOL, but that's for another section to discuss. Most of the artwork in the book is by either Chris Metzen, or Samwise Didier, both of whom have been doing artwork for the Warcraft games for years. Although many of the pieces are ones that owners of instruction manuals have seen already, there are enough originals to make up for it. By that same token, although the artwork of Metzen can be less than appealing at times, the artwork of Samwise makes up for it. Samwise has an incredible hyper emphasized, larger-than-life style that in a lot of ways symbolizes the Warcraft series. He's one of my favorite artists, and his original pieces for this book cement that position. 4.5 out of 5
Playability: First things first, this is D&D. It's even based off of the 3.5 rules, so it's about as playable as they come. They have added in some new goodies for us though. The world of Warcraft has a large technological contingent to it, thanks largely to the Dwarves and Goblins (one of several changes to classic fantasy stereotypes. Goblins are crazy tinkers...). Things like black powder guns, steam tanks, powered mechs used for tree harvesting; all these things exist and it simply wouldn't be right if you couldn't build them. That's why this book has all the rules you'll need for creating your own marvels of technology. The rules for technological creation are a little bit complicated, and will take some getting used to, but they are definitely workable. In any case, there are a few other changes to get used to as well: Divine spells don't work the same way, a lot of arcane magic is linked to demons, orcs are as intelligent as humans and have an equally useful society... Nothing, however, that is too complicated to understand or that's not worth getting into. Fans of the series will feel right at home, as a great job has been done converting the feeling of the game to a Pen and Paper escapade. Even powers from the game make appearances here. A lot of times so well integrated that it will take you a moment to figure out that they're talking about a video game power. Some of these include "True Shot Aura", a power in the RTS games that causes your archers to do more damage and "Precision Leadership" which increases the bonus to hit of followers. Essentially this is like playing the video game with a far more personal flare, and a damn lot of fun besides. 4 out of 5
Desired Content: Above I attributed Dwarves and Goblins with the majority of technological acumen in the Warcraft world. Before you Gnome lovers write in screaming about submarines, I'm aware of their existence. This book, however, isn't. It's part of my one only real complaint; the fact that it only really covers about half the world. The entire book takes place in Kalimdor and does its level best to ignore the entire rest of the world. For people with no familiarity with the series, this really makes no difference. The continent of Kalimdor is huge and has more than enough content to satisfy the hungriest of adventurers. To true fans of the series, however, it feels like they've dropped out half of the planet. More importantly (and vastly more important than leaving out Gnomes), they've left out Trolls as well! TROLLS! All right, I realize that this is a highly personal complaint and that most people won't actually care. For those that do, though, they are going to include many of the things they left out in future supplements. You can't put everything in one book, and what they have put in here is more than enough to get your fantastic adventures afoot. They give plenty of adventure hooks and, as mentioned, the continent of Kalimdor is more than large enough to support all the adventures you need. 3.5 out of 5
|If you're a huge fan of the Warcraft RTS series, this is a fabulous addition to your pen and paper repertoire. Sword and Sorcery has done a great job in capturing the feel of the Warcraft world and translating it into dice rolls. Exploring both sides of the world is a blast, the thrill of leading units into battle coupled with the less often seen political interaction... It's a great game and a real treat for Warcraft fans everywhere.|
The Good: Excellent translation from a mouse-controlled world to a dice controlled one.
The Bad: Seriously, there's almost no mention of the Trolls or Ogres! Where's the love?
The Overall Ugly: If you've been waiting to play around in Azeroth, your time is now.
What it's Worth: Pay the man his money, it pays for more quality products like this.