I recently switched to a Mac and one of my big questions I had when making the switch was would the new Mac Book Pro’s have game?
I have been playing World of Warcraft (WoW) since March 2005 (Uldum server Slog, Liberation guild) and earlier in the year built a AMD 64 powered SLI sportin fairly competent Windows XP gaming box which was promptly hijacked by my wife so she could play WoW (Salenta / Uldum / Liberation). [Guys if this doesn’t show pure love I don’t know what does …] Anyways I was stuck playing on my Toshiba laptop (1.5 Centrino, 64MB nVidea GeFORCE graphics, awesome ultra bright screen) which was DOG slow when playing World of Warcraft. I had my Toshiba laptop set to all of the lowest settings (no weather for me or shading or pretty scenes while she had nirvana … moving on) and STILL I could not make it through IF without lagging into the pit or spinning in circles for five minutes while I tried to get through the Bank/AH corridor. It sucked.
Enter my new Mac Book Pro 17inch 2.16GHz Intel Core Duo 2GB Ram, 100GB 7200rpm HD beauty of a machine. When I first got it my plan was to install BootCamp and play WoW under BootCamp/XP. I heard, though, that Blizzard came out with a Universal binary version of World of Warcraft so I decided to just install it and then patch it to actually get the Intel Native version and see how it worked.
The verdict? World of Warcraft runs AWESOME on a Mac Book Pro. Not just awesome but FREAKING AWESOME! My first observations upon login was this rocks. The widescreen coupled with the super high resolution of the monitor is pure eye candy. Once I got into the game (after waiting in the queue of course) it just got better. The graphics were spectacular, rivaling that of my AMD box, and the performance was flawless.
My first trip was of course directly to IF to face the Lag Monster which had so frequently bested me on my previous laptop. Looks like the sultan of lag had heard I was packing a new Mac Book Pro and was no where to be found! I was running through IF at peak gaming times with 60+FPS and virtually no Lag. I could finally laugh at all those people spinning in the halls or falling into the IF pit. I then went out to Ungoro Crater to find me some rain and continue my vengeance on all the slimes who have previously wronged me. Once again perfect.
My second test was to max out all of the video settings. So, I drug all of the sliders over and clicked all of the boxes that would have normally brought my old Toshiba to a quivering mass of plastic. After I restarted the game, it was off to IF again to see how the Mac would respond at full video settings. AWESOME again! I was able to gallivant through IF with hardly any lag. I had just a few blips where my FPS went to 15-20 but then it would head back up to 30+. All of the eye candy with maxed resolution on the 17inch wide screen monitor was in a word .. PIMP.
Conclusions: World of Warcraft on a Mac Book Pro is WOW! I am sure that some of the other massively GPU intensive games might have problems but, at least for me, World of Warcraft played perfectly. (That review phrase is for you Joel Seigel)
Rant: Although the experience of playing the game was awesome the experience of trying to capture video footage to post with this review SUCKED hardcore. Since FRAPS exists only for the PC I was left trying to find Mac alternatives to record WoW gameplay footage. My search was ruled a failure after trying many of the available software packages. Either the software was not available for Intel based macs, or it crashed when trying to record WoW, or it just gave such crapy and choppy video that it was unusable. If anybody can let me know what software works to record WoW footage on an Intel based Mac Book I would love to know and I will give it a try!
UPDATE: 9.24.2006I used Snapz Pro to record the WOW footage and it seems to work pretty well. Much Much Much better than any of the other 5 programs I previously tried. If you are looking to record World of Warcraft game footage on a Mac, especially an Intel Based Mac, this is your app.