Before I go on I would like to give a big thank you to the folks here at MMO Voices for putting my podcast on the list. Thanks a ton Leala and Beau!
Here is the thing that is good about World of Warcraft: it is immensely popular. Here is the thing that is bad about it: it is immensely popular.
Since I have decided to take part in a separate blog about reviewing games and starting from level 1 my MMO time has been ramping up again lately. Like I stated, I had to teach a newcomer to MMO’s how to play World of Warcraft and there is one thing I have learned. World of Warcraft ceases to be fun once you level cap if you are not surrounded by fun people. By this I mean people so focused on being "UBER" and not having a good time that they bring your mood down in the process. Being level capped can be a boring frustrating mess. The adventure of course is in getting there, and that is what I have always loved.
When Cataclysm is released, I think it may be fun again. Leveling old content can be hideous. Unless that is you take it in chunks, then stop. In my case I am teaching someone to play, as I noted in my last post on my blog. This is perfect for me since I can get in, run to a spot, jump up and down to show them where something is, and then immediately log out. However I feel like a sucker for having paid for 6 months and only played about 1 month of it. I guess Blizzard got me good on that one.
I have no one to blame but myself, much as I am sure that the opinions of other gamers and guild drama drove friends to quit. Lately when I am in there, even for a short time, I tend to have more fun if I shut off the world part of World of Warcraft. I leave all channels but general in a city (especially trade which for the past 2 years has been worthless and is the new general, LFG and guild recruitment channel), I instantly ignore anyone that is an idiot, I turn off player names and I go about my business like the game is a single player experience. What I have found is that, unless I know the person, OTHER PEOPLE ruin WoW and many MMO’s for me.
This leads me to believe that I may just be over that entire “social gaming” craze that seems to have others enthralled. Or does it? I see a lot of bloggers rushing out to buy these MMO’s only to play them…solo. This is an odd little aspect of gaming and a sure sign that we as gamers are diverse and have different play styles. That is why gaming with Titans in WoW could be so important! So step 2 came around in my MMO teaching and I am still having an issue with getting the player to find quests and not skip entire hubs. I have come to the point where I may actually print a map (who says printed material is dead!) and circle the areas they need to visit. I know that most quests gently PUSH you toward a new hub in the 2006 version of World of Warcraft (old world not so good at it) but when a person doesn’t know a Blood Elf from a Troll you get issues.
A reader responded to my other post that perhaps an MMO, complicated by nature, was too much to start them with. I agree to an extent but after watching them pick up and conquer Sims 3 in one day I think that it would not be an issue. The things that are delaying me the most, as another commenter also pointed out, are:
* Camera controls. The player still has issues mastering the angle of the camera
* Controls. I still cannot ween the person off of turning with arrows keys (well, the A and D keys) or get them to hold and use right mouse button to steer.
* Understanding WoW’s map. A trail or road drawn on the map is LITERALLY right there on your screen when you approach it. Follow the roads, stay safe. Even if Quest Helper shows you a direct route, skirt danger then re approach the target.
* Teaching and getting them to understand the other aspects is difficult right now. Tradeskills, the bank, the auction house. I am not even going to try approaching that. With the pimp bags I gave this player space is not an issue right off the bat.
* Talent Points: ummm…no way…not yet, not at all if I can help it. I think I may secretly log in the character and set those for them So that is where we stand now.
The player is level 18, has a pet, knows the pet commands now and can even feed the cat. I didn't think that my test subject would stick to it but sure enough each day I see the player tacking another level on, and at the same time this is drawing me BACK into the game, which is something I wanted to avoid.
Is WoW my new EQ1? That meaning is WoW that stodgy old MMO that somehow I have come to learn to hate but love at the same time and just never actually quit? I take breaks, but man I just cannot get over that year long break hump. I say I am not playing yet I find myself in there now at least 3 nights a week doing things. What the flowers is going on here? I do find that in general I am not drawn to MMO's anymore. I can take WoW in small chunks but I still find myself getting distracted and only playing about 3-4 hours a WEEK as opposed to how I used to play that much each night. I even took the time to teach my girlfriend to fish, a skill which I have never had the ability to sit and cap out.
The next layer I want to add on is teaching them to use hunter’s mark and what benefits it gives. That will open the door for explanations about buffs and debuffs.
So in the past couple of weeks my girlfriend has gotten to level 18 with her blood elf hunter. She is efficient at taking care of her pet, doing the quests now and all that, but still has trouble understanding the entire "gear" metagame and what is worth keeping or selling. She also is not as interested in AH and the auction side of things so I typically log her character in and fix up her inventory and such. Also I have not taught her about talents and I am filling those in when she is offline.
I have to relax on my faction change stance. I always wanted to go horde, but the majority of my friends from 2005 and on were alliance. As such I have my accounts built around alliance toons. They are all self sufficient as well as far as tradeskills. This faction change option gives me a chance to break free of the alliance and finally have some level 80 horde characters. I will probably put that into motion soon, but I have watch how much money I give Blizzard and really pick my best ones. Since my level 80 paladin is totally prot geared and spec'd he has the least amount of opportunity to play a different way so he will stay in mothballs for a long long time. My 77 alliance warrior is decked out with blues from Northrend and has a set of DPS gear, so he is good for a move. My level 80 alliance rogue is prime also since he does one thing and that is DPS.
On the noobie level, I am raising up a warlock to level along side the gf's hunter.
Between the podcast, watching TV shows as they wind down for the summer and catching up on movies I do not find myself playing WoW like I used to. While it is a little fresh again I think that for the most part my MMO love has dwindled so low that I am just numb to them. Borderlands hits the shelves in October and we also have Dragon Age coming up and all these will easily take time away from any MMO I may play.
Episode 3 of the Banstick Podcast records tonight and we are going to go into the fine points of what we have seen so far from Star Trek Online and interview a Titans gaming community member.
In the meantime, the Hudson School of MMO Knowledge is taking applications for the 2010 spring semester. Thank you.