There's nothing more dangerous than peaceful woodlands. They lull you into a false sense of security. It can be so easy to just wander along without a care in the world. Then, just when you're stopping to admire the sunset, a giant Taurean warrior rises up behind you, steam billowing off its shaggy hide and nostrils flaring like the gates of hell itself.
You could try and make a break for it. You could run, maybe try to get to Alliance territory and seek help. But by the looks of that wickedly sharp axe he's toting, you wouldn't get far. Especially without a head. Besides, the weapon is already arcing its way down, preparing to cleave through muscle and sinew as if they were water. You don't stand a chance really, and before long you're looking at the sky wondering why you never saw it coming.
When you enter the spirit-world of lights and shadows, you immediately head for the site of your recent demise, your ghostly form gliding across the ethereal landscape. When you reach your prone, lifeless body, you see that the Taurean is still standing nearby. Waiting, just waiting: waiting for you to resurrect
so he can begin again. Dirty... Rotten... Camper!
But he's made one error in judgement. His back is to you and you never, ever, turn your back on a rogue, even if it's dead. You resurrect close by to some bushes and immediately stealth yourself, sinking back into the foliage to gain your strength and chuck a few potions down your throat. And then you wait.
With your daggers at the ready - twin harbingers of sharp and pointy death - you sneak up behind the warrior and execute a lethal ambush manoeuvre, driving your daggers through his skin and deep, deep into the flesh beneath.
You're visible to the Taurean now, but that won't do him much good. You dance around him, daggers flashing, repeatedly hitting him with your sinister strike and gouging the bovine meat from his bones. You barely notice his axe blows as you hit him with your last and final move, Eviscerate; the roguish kiss of death. He slumps to the ground, and his nostrils flare for the last time. Cow pie all round! You stand over his corpse, gloating over your sweet victory. Perhaps you might just stick around.
And it happened just like that. Honest. Along with thousands of other battles aboard the good ship World Of Warcraft as it makes the franchise transition from the relatively calm waters of strategy gaming into the big bad seas of MMORPGs.
It's certainly been a long voyage. Warcraft itself is ten years old. Can you really believe it's been ten years since we first heard "Ooohhkay Den" from the mouths of pixellated orcish peons? But make no mistake - Blizzard is not taking any chances with its great white hope that's sprung forth from the bastard love child of Dune 2 addicts and overactive GMers.
As a result, what Blizzard's done with World Of Warcraft is incredibly slick, with high production values and more importantly, it's tremendously good fun. Visually it might not be quite up there with EQII, but it has a style all of its own that just screams 'Warcraft!' at every turn.
If you're reading this, chances are you have a fair idea of the origins of Warcraft and the ancient battle between the Alliance and the Horde. If not, then stop right now and go and get yourself the last three games. You won't regret it. In essence, World Of Warcraft represents the very literal translation of this world into
a 3D environment. Only this time, you're the peon and you won't be saying "Ooohhkay Den" to anybody.