Console gaming has been a big part of my life as far back as I can remember. My heroes of the 1980s were characters such as Mario, Samus, and Link. But as I got older, I realized that I was into fantasy and role-playing games as well. Skip ahead a few years and eventually this led to my friends asking me to try World of Warcraft with them, and I quickly found myself lost in a fantasy world that I had never imagined could exist. I fancied myself a master of gaming, but I quickly found myself overwhelmed with so much to learn about just one game. My goal in my articles here at MMORPG.com is to help my fellow console gamers and even new players understand a little more about World of Warcraft so that their early hours are a little more focused and less tedious. In this article, I will explain the best ways to make the transition from console gamer to World of Warcraft/MMORPG gamer.
It's easy to get sucked into a great console game and forget that anyone is in the same room as you, but what if things changed and you were suddenly surrounded by other players? We console gamers normally don't have to interact with others unless we're playing a multiplayer game with a friend or online. Interacting with these online gamers or our friends normally doesn't change the game's aspect, so we tend to skip the chat and simply shoot, swing, or run to our own tune.
However, MMORPGs are designed to be interactive social network that rewards players for working together. Anyone who is considering making the jump to MMORPG gaming has to keep in mind that socializing is a must in the end due to the large group quests (Instances), even larger group activities where everyone plays a specific role (Raids), and elite enemies (boss enemies more or less). While some characters may get lucky enough to take on the latter alone, instances and raids are normally certain death for any character that is alone.
Social interaction also makes getting certain items so much easier than in your average RPG. I'm sure we can all remember when we had to run everywhere to find a certain item in RPGs such as Final Fantasy and Breath of Fire. That tired, old issue is no more with player trading and a very impressive marketing system known as the Auction House (AH). The latter is probably the best way to look at items you want and items you will probably be wanting in the future. It's also a great way to become a wealthy vender.
Many console gamers may be put off by the noticeably slower pace of gameplay that MMORPGs have. While they are arguably slower than even average console RPGs, console gamers who thrive on titleslike Halo 3 and Unreal Tournament will certainly notice that there is no rapid fire and constant pandemonium. However, I urge the player to continue simply for the challenge and complexity. Battles in World of Warcraft are hardly the point and shoot type that we console gamers are used to, and it demands that we try harder than we have in the past. "What spell should I start out with? Should I use my stun spell near the beginning or in the middle of the fight? Should I focus on protecting myself or killing the enemy as quickly as possible?" These are just some of the strategies that will go through your head as you plan your actions.
The strategy and challenge hardly stops at fighting a single enemy. World of Warcraft and many other MMORPGs challenge the player to sharpen their skills and enter raids and battlegrounds .
A raid is when a group of several players team together in order to take on a certain quest that requires a raid or even a certain activity. Only so many players can fit into a group, so a raid is several groups tied together as one. Aside from quests that require raids, this type of grouping is useful to take on several high level elite characters in a single area.
On the other hand, battlegrounds are a completely different animal. Different battlegrounds can feature different goals such as the Arathi Basin playing as a King of the Mountain - which will be my focus on explanation. The style of combat in this game variant is player versus player - or PvP. PvP pits an Alliance character (the heroes of the Warcraft story) against the Horde characters (the villains). Battlegrounds will become a land littered with bodies as each team fights and struggles to keep their territories. Holding a territory earns points, and the first team to reach two thousand points is the winner. Honor points are rewarded for each battle, and players can save up enough honor points to buy special items and gear.
Character building is an important part of the strategy of this game, and you're given many different ways to approach this aspect: Players can learn two professions (such as mining, blacksmithing, leatherworking, and plenty more), they can buy or collect weapons and armor to increase their statistics, and they can learn new or improved spells every other level. But the most innovative part of WoW's character building is the talent trees. Originally used in Diablo II, this system is responsible for making every character a little more unique than before. There are three different trees to choose from for each class, and talent points can be spent to advance down the tree to improve spells, unlock new spells, and grant special abilities. The player earns a talent point for every level after he's reached level ten. These points can be stripped from the tree and spent again, but there is a cost to do so - and the cost increases with every "respec."
The final and possibly most important aspect of the game I want to mention is the questing. Gaining levels in World of Warcraft and several MMORPGs differs greatly from console RPGs. You can choose to fight enemies to gain your levels, but you're also given the opportunity to perform quests for experience as well. Quests are given out by NPCs (non-player characters), and the requirements for completion are logged into your character's questbook for reference.
Quests can range from something as simple as talking to another NPC to killing a certain number of specific mobs (monsters, enemies) to running all over the area to collect specific items. This might seem a little overwhelming at first, but questing is arguably the fastest and most rewarding way to gain levels in the game. Besides, you already know what to do if you're having trouble completing the quest on your own. We just talked about grouping!
Having briefly touched upon it earlier, I'd like to explain the importance of instances. You already know that it's a quest area for a large group of players, but it's also important to know that this type of dungeon is generated only for your group. No one can brush by your group and interrupt or rescue the group if something is going wrong. Also, keep in mind that the majority of instances have only elite mobs that have very high armor ratings and hit points.
Instances are important to run simply because of the loot (items) that the mobs drop when killed. This is where most players obtain their highly uncommon or rare weapons and equipment, and having these items will help the levels pour in even faster. Possibly the hardest thing about instances is finding the right group to perform them with, but I'll leave that topic for a future article.
World of Warcraft is nothing like console gaming; I can humbly admit this. But it's definitely another fun, great aspect in the gaming world that every gamer should at least try once before writing it off. Hopefully this article gets passed around to a few curious people who swear by the controller and convinces them to turn to the keyboard if only for a little while. Until next time, readers, I'll see you in Kargath.