World of Warcraft in its time was the game and in most aspects it still is. However, it is apparent from flat sprites (old school term) and effects that WOW is showing how old it is. When you run by a tree and the branches hanging close to the ground are just 2d sprites instead of 3d limbs and even though you are being beat down by a mob it makes you pause and think 'man, that's really crappy.'
I will admit though it does lend to allowing people with lower end PC's play the game without having to upgrade. A friend of mine, we're going to call him pretty mouth for identity's sake had a similar revelation. In his home he had two PC's one for internet usage and miscellaneous things and the other for playing EQ2. He and his wife both played EQ2 so they had to swap and then I introduced him to World of Warcraft. With a video card that was laying around my house and another stick of ram occupying the same space we got him up and running on World of Warcraft.
Another friend of mine switched from EQ2 to World of Warcraft and in passing his wife made a comment that gave me pause. "Wow, the graphics are a lot better than that eternal quest thing you play all the time."
To your average individual the cartoony sprites and blur effect makes for a more colorful and welcoming game. (That may be why there are more alliance than horde, a mental difference between gamers regardless of age that is based upon bright shiny colors and good vs. evil.) However, if you go to a top-down view of your character you will notice that your ice barrier or other effects are flat 2d pictures. That just doesn't sit well with me. Everquest 2 is annoying in my opinion because of the debt system and other issues that I don't agree with but that isn't the point. The graphics aren't bad, some of it looks a bit clunky and forced but for the most part they have the right idea, hell they were one of the first 3d pioneers into the MMORPG category.
World of Warcraft needs an overhaul. I would like to see Blizzard breathe a little life into the game for a change instead of just releasing something to appease the hardcore masses. Fix it, make it look better.
If I walk under a tree I don't want to watch the limbs go flat I want to see a full gnarled tree limb hanging menacingly down low to the ground. When I walk through the fields of westfall I want to see stalks bending and waving out of my way. When the wind blows I want to see the grass move. I want Oblivion-esque graphics in a World of Warcraft setting. Hell I'd pay for another set of software to install (not a higher monthly fee.)
This is an issue debated and frought with opinions that vary like snowflakes but what are your thoughts?