Archive for December 6th, 2010

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Project WoW Noob: Day 2 – Questing…FINALLY!

December 6, 2010

DAY 2

Player: @jarira
Character Name: Saalua
Race and Class: Night Elf Hunter

Well, Day 2 started off on a rather inauspicious note:

@jarira: “I’m ready to play now!”
Me: “Sure, go head. I’ll be right there.” *logs in, types /invite Saalua*

Two minutes pass…

WoW: Saalua has declined your group invitation!
Me:
*retypes /invite Saalua*

Another two minutes pass…

WoW: Saalua has declined your group invitation!
Me: WTF? *Sends direct message to Jarira* “What’s wrong, are you not past the loading screen yet?”
@jarira:
OMG some random bitch keeps trying to invite me to their party!
Me:
“Wha-? That’s ME, you fool!”

Clearly, a quick lesson on how to use the social window and to add friends was in order. She’ll have no excuse to forget my name ever again.

Amazingly, we managed to get through the rest of our play session with no major problems. We only had some slight issues with combat, when she kept trying to use her dagger on her enemies — *cue the exasperated groans that only a melee hunter can incite* — but come on now, she’s completely new to this so let’s give her a break. First of all, let’s put ourselves in a new player’s shoes. Jar couldn’t have known right off the bat that her bow would do considerably more damage. In fact, I think most would think, Why else would I be given a knife, if not to stab stuff with it too?

Anyway, when we finally got to questing, Jar was able to pick it up really quickly thanks to the markers and the arrows on the mini map.

Also, never underestimate the value of the quest text. More than a few people I know do not ever bother reading those; if an NPC offered a quest to sell crack to children in the next town and convince the mayor’s daughter to be a prostitute they would never realize it. Even I’ll admit that some of us who have been playing MMOs for years can probably afford to quickly skim some of the dialogue when it’s clear it will be a rather straight forward quest. For the newcomer, however, it is imperative to REALLY read the quest and understand the details fully.

Being in a group with Jar, I realized belatedly that my presence might have made her feel rushed. Some of these post-patch quests were brand new to me too, but they came much more intuitively to me than to her.

Here are some of the newbie’s thoughts on her second day of WoW:

The 2nd time around was way more enjoyable than the first. Once you get the hang of things it’s really fun to collect shit and level up, and get items etc etc but I can see how it would get repetitive after a certain amount of time – so I am intrigued to try the next level of gameplay once I get there.

Yes, I should mention that once we started getting the hang of things, Jar really got going — to the point she was finishing quests before I did! So while the game arguably still falls short of teaching a complete newbie ALL the basics even after the changes, they may have gotten the questing part of it done right. From her statements above, I gather Jar is already eager to see content beyond the starter/tutorial zone. It’s not a cry of “Gawd, I’m so booooored!” by any means, but another part of me wonders if Pete might be on to something after all.

Another insight from our newbie:

I can really see how the game can be addictive – especially from a social aspect.

Interesting. It’s no secret that one of the MMO genre’s biggest appeals is the social factor and community. But for that to be the “addictive” part? Personally, I always thought that it is the combination of in-game progression, competition, and a carrot-on-a-stick loot system that makes WoW and other MMOs like it so addictive, because they appeal to our natural inclinations to give ourselves goals and to achieve them. On the other hand, I guess I can’t say I’m all that surprised, since I myself have been known to log in to a game for no reason other than to see what my friends are up to, or to chat in Vent. I’m also wary of sweeping assumptions, but I do happen to agree with the generalization that most women love the social aspect a game offers.

Speaking of Vent, I also want to add that one of my guildies jumped into our channel to cheer Jar on once she found out what we were doing. I really do have some awesome guildies.

Some closing thoughts from Jar:

Before we played last night I went to get dinner with some friends who are gamers (console mainly, only one of them plays WoW, the RP-PvP dude) and we were discussing WoW and the dark path that it can take people down.

My friend claims that it’s not that time consuming, but he forgot that when he started to play again, he had just been laid off and leveled up to 80 in a short amount of time cause he was at home all day and had no money. He works full time now and only plays casually but I don’t see it as a casual game right off the bat.

And we also discussed the responsibility it comes with because a big part of the game is the social aspect, so it’s not like you’re gaming for one anymore, you have sort of a commitment and responsibility to your guild which is what makes us all very hesitant to go down that WoW path.

Another intriguing statement. I originally started this “project” for fun, but it has given me more food for thought than I expected. I’m curious as to what others have to say about this.

Me, I said, “It really depends.” I don’t know this friend of hers, but I do know some people might find themselves in a hardcore guild that demands you commit to five raid nights a week or else you’re out. Others prefer a more laid back environment and a guild that’s more casual and flexible. Some guild leaders run their guilds like a boot camp. Others cater to a large range of playstyles and allow their members to be as active or non-active as they please.

In the end, however, no one should be able to force you or tell you how to play. No one.

But this also made me realize something. Game mechanics you can review, quests you can research, and class abilities you can master…but perhaps the most difficult thing about getting into an MMO is something you can’t really learn — finding a place for yourself in the game’s community. It can take a while to find the perfect guild to fit your playstyle and schedule, and above all else, your personality. It is especially hard if you don’t know anyone else who plays, and let’s face it, the less said about WoW’s dismal community the better.

I feel fortunate that the guild I’m in is friends-and-family oriented, has a leadership that is so understanding of its members’ real life obligations, and that everyone has a good sense of humor, is mature, friendly and supportive. I hope Jar will feel at home, because once you find your niche in the world and a great bunch of people to play with, it’s the most rewarding experience you can imagine. And for a new player, that can make all the difference.

Note: Go here for Project WoW Noob: Day 1.