Thursday, November 12, 2009

World of Warcraft, Level 61

Hey look I...what in the world...I leveled like a million times???

Rather than berate myself for my failure, we'll allow this to serve as an object lesson. Just as some people are allergic to alcohol, some of us are prone to what we can politely call "compulsion" when it comes to certain sorts of games. World of Warcraft seems especially dangerous in this regard, as long as the player doesn't mind the relatively low complexity threshold.

There are definitely those who enjoy leveling who aren't ensnared by WoW - maybe the game design pokes through the world design to a disconcerting degree, like a bone through skin, and they require immersion. Or maybe they've become accustomed to a certain level of difficulty, and can't get the sense of game-accomplishment from weaker stuff. I am not one of these people. I am vulnerable.

It's been a strange couple of weeks. I've allowed myself to fall far enough into an internet game, for a brief period of time at least, that part of me no longer felt part of the actual world. Or if it acknowledged the fact of being such a part, resented it.

That's the Fel Reaver in the background. He's really big, and he'll step on you if you don't run away, and you'll die. Edward is on another planet now. A planet where fel stuff happens. Fel means bad.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hey look, I leveled!

If I don't take the time to set a shot up, most MMOs are going to provide a lot of screenshots of my dude's back. But this one's on purpose: both that giant rock mace thing and the cute little red cloak are Edward's first drops from bosses.

Meaning especially good pieces of equipment that you get when you kill especially hard monsters and villains within dungeons.

To consistently make this readable for people who don't play these games would require a lot of explanations of terms. Cultures create the lingo that's appropriate and efficient for them, I guess, unless they're in grad school.

World of Warcraft, Level 17

Oh look, I leveled....why are you crying, Edward?

One of the big problems to solve for yourself when leveling in WoW is whether to bother with instanced, group dungeons. It's a lot more fun than leveling solo when the people are good, but it's not as fast. And when the people are bad, it's not as fun or as fast, unless you can have a sense of humor about dying.

Almost everyone at this point as solved the problem by speccing (picking a specification, a specific design of your class) to solo as fast as possible and leave the low levels in the dust. The newest patch, which will allow you to make groups for instances much more easily and with much less running, might change that. But I haven't played on the public test realm to see. So Edward is forced to make himself tough and agile, in order to fight monsters himself, though my preference would be to focus on his mental capabilities and have him heal his friends.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

World of Warcraft, Level 16


Basically the reason World of Warcraft is a million times more popular than every other game is that when you become a level 16 Shaman you get to become a Ghost Wolf. And Shaman are the least popular class.

Hey look.

It's harder to be whimsical when you're doing quests for a second or third time. Harder to pretend, even facetiously, that you're on an adventure.

Things are going fast for Troll Edward tonight for three reasons; the Shaman class comes into its own a little bit over these few levels, giving him the ability to murder his enemies much more efficiently; the Ghostlands, where he quests, are a newer design than most of the other low-level zones in the game; and, of course, QuestHelper. A little mod which attempts the Travelling Salesman problem for doing good deeds on the internet.

It's the kind of thing that might ruin your fun the first time through, but saves a lot of hassle if you're not worried about ruining the mystery of exploration

World of Warcraft, Level 14

Oh look, I leveled. And I got an achievement.

WoW's achievement system is only a year or so old, and it doesn't have any mechanical effect. There was a lot of scorn about its introduction, and there's been a lot since directed at those who might pursue an activity just because it's an achievement. I think it's a case of the narcissism of small differences, where the arguable pointlessness of the pursuit of one finish line might make others uncomfortable about their own, more 'productive' pursuits. Getting better equipment, raid progression, etc.

World of Warcraft, Level 13

Oh look, I leveled underwater.

I think the reason Aion's promise of flight never did much for me is because I've already had fights in three dimensions - slowly, underwater, and it's bad. It's difficult for me to move precisely, difficult to know what's going on in 6 directions, and the timed element makes even routine tasks stressful without making them more fun. I don't see how making it faster, or impeding one's vision with giant wings that in large battles ask quite a bit of your computer to render, improves the experience.