Experienced Points: Wow, That’s Complicated

By Shamus Posted Friday Jul 16, 2010

Filed under: Column 88 comments

This week’s article is about the complexity of World of Warcraft and other MMO games in general.

And speaking of WoW…

I have this thing where I prefer to level characters in the wrong zones. I like to take starting Dwarves and Gnomes to Human areas and vice versa. Previously, I used to like leveling in the Night Elf areas, but I became aware of just how much of a time sink the place is and I can no longer stand it. It’s pretty, but there is just too much dang hiking. I’ll miss Darkshore in particular.

So, my character, who just dinged 20 as of last night:

I crafted the goggles and the rifle + scope myself.
My goal: Get to Theramore Island (one of my favorite locations in the game, visually) and get myself a giant turtle to replace the bear.

Several people offered me help. I was going to tough it out and Do It On My Own because I didn’t want to break the game. I like fighting against a little scarcity. But I am to the point where being broke is hindering my ability to make money, if you see what I mean.

In the game you can have two professions. There are gathering professions like skinning, mining, and herbalism that let you gather raw materials. Then there are production professions like leatherworking, blacksmithing, and alchemy. These consume raw materials and produce useful stuff. These are usually designed to go in pairs. Herbalism supplies alchemy, skinning supplies leatherworking, and so on. If you’re covered in noobsauce, then the thing to do is to take two gathering professions and sell everything you get at the auction house. There tons of veteran players out there with heaps of gold, and they’re leveling alts that have two production professions. They’d rather pay a newbie to do their gathering via the auction than waste their time doing it themselves. This is a wonderful way to “vent” some cash from high level players to lower ones. But instead of going for cash I took the engineering profession. It’s crazy fun, but it consumes all the stuff I could otherwise sell at auction and is keeping me poor.

I’m level twenty, which means I’m due a mount. But the total cost to do that is 5g. I have, after twenty levels of careful savings, 2g and change. I would need to double my money to get a mount. Ouch. And there are abilities I haven’t even trained yet. If I were to grab every ability due to me at this level, I’d be down to 1g. So I’m officially at the point where I’m ready to accept a little help. But please don’t mail me 1,000g or anything crazy like that. But if anyone can spare a gold piece and maybe a 12 slot bag, I think it would take the pressure off.


From The Archives:

88 thoughts on “Experienced Points: Wow, That’s Complicated

  1. Kennet says:

    This is the second time that I am almost first, and I just want to take the time to say that

    In fqact, I’m so apathetic at this point that I’m not even going to go back and fix the typo at the beginning of this sentence.

    is an awesome sentence.

    edit: Uh, I actually was first? How nice.

    1. bit says:

      Ironically, it would almost certainly take less time to fix the typo than write the rest of that sentence. Which would ruin the point of the sentence. Which… wait, what?

      Also, playing WoW gets you sweet facial hair? I need to start saving my pennies.

  2. IronCastKnight says:

    Bravo on the ‘shop of you with a beard, I lol’t.

    Interestingly, I had about nine gold by level 20, though that might have spawned from my intense hatred of zebras and everyone else’s intense love of their hides. They were like walking money bags, jingling with money and hideous messy intestines, just waiting to be unzipped.

    Also, the complexity of MMOs is why I started martial arts; Why bother to learn all that terminology and its implications in group play, when I can just punch people repeatedly in the face? It’s quite satisfying, and doubly so if I pretend they’re Alliance.


    1. Shamus says:

      Oh: I should have mentioned. The beard was sent in by a reader. I foolishly didn’t get permission to use his name. I’ll let him out himself if he likes. Everyone here got a laugh out of bearded Shamus.

      1. Caffiene says:

        I found the beard hilarious to the point of interfering with my ability to read the rest of the article, once I noticed it…

        Which is good because the last thing I need is to be tempted back to WoW.

        1. krellen says:

          The beard was my favourite part of the article. Part of that might be just how sick I am of hearing about WoW, though. The last thing the world needs is another article saying WoW is awesome. But I’m still bitter over what Chris Metzen did to his own lore. Ask George Lucas; I carry lore grudges pretty far.

          I have to admit, I don’t remember ever being at the noob level of not understanding at least most of what I was looking at in a game, but I have been playing video games since I was 8 and online RPGs since I was 15 (which was nearly 20 years ago, if you’re keeping score). So it’s entirely possible that I simply never noticed the learning curve because back then, everything was learning curve.

        2. SnowballinHell says:

          I had the same response
          Hard to read when your mouth opens so wide your eyes close XD

      2. Yay, I feel famous!

        The whole tutorial thing can completely destroy a game, especially if it misses out on relaying important info. There’s a good review of Aquaria in regards to that sort of thing over on the Wolfire blog (http://blog.wolfire.com/2009/01/aquaria-design-tour/) where they mention how not showing a player a specific aspect of the game means you needn’t have bothered coding it in. What with the popularity of WoW (and hence user-made documentation/tutorials) I guess that would be dealt with by the user base.

        I haven’t played WoW, mostly because I have a tediously slow web connection but seeing those interfaces previously I imagine I’d need a fair amount of time to get used to it.

  3. Joe Cool says:

    Y’know, I was thinking. If your Champions Online Let’s Play runs long enough, your next Let’s Play could be Cataclysm. It would be fresh and original content, and not a time warp back to something that’s months- or years-old that many people have already played..

  4. Guus says:

    Prediction: Shamus will be filthy rich with gold in 2 days. Also, I’m sure that that won’t be the last shopped beard you’ll find in your inbox. :D

    1. Another Scott says:

      With your inbox filled with gold and facial hair, you could rightfully call yourself a prospector!

  5. swimon says:

    Personally I always liked westfall the place you’re in the picture (don’t remember the name) and duskwood. I hated theramore ^^ too much water and it seemed pretty bland. It’s only saving grace is Onyxia :D.

    The game loses a lot of it’s charm later on IMO, I think it’s because at that point you’re just getting through something in pursuit of the endgame. Also the later zones just try to one up each other in badassery while the earlier levels try to make a little more sense and take a little more small picture view (deadmines, nr1 instance :D). Also it takes itself a lot less serious which is good considering how cliché the game is (not necessarily a bad thing but it’s hard to take seriously).

    Ok that was a bit of a rant but I suddenly caught a case of nostalgia *cough* *wheeze*.

    1. Pickly says:

      For me, it also lost its charm due to the showdown in leveling speed, and the way all quests turned into (blah, blah, blah collect 10 bee stings and 5 fighting grass blades”.

    2. Ixidane says:

      That is quite clearly Lakeshire.

  6. Irridium says:

    I wish I had a beard…
    Curse my inability to grow hair anywhere but my head!

    And Shamus, if you want money. Just strip the clothes and start dancing. That should get you a gold or so.

    After all, you’ve done worse things for money, like play hide and seek.

    1. Nihil says:

      Curse my inability to grow hair anywhere but my head!

      *obvious question*

      1. Irridium says:

        Ok, I can grow hair in other places, but not where I want! Like my face.

    2. Ross Bearman says:

      A good friend of mine at age 20 can grow a beard akin the one pictured in a year. A good two inch Unix beard is a couple of months work for him. It’s saddening.

  7. SatansBestBuddy says:

    Wow, it has been a while since I played.

    When I quit, I was level 36, about four levels away from getting my mount, but I was going to college and choose to stop playing before starting school again.

    That was, oh, about 3 years ago.

    Also, I hope you’re not doing a Shamus Plays of this game, cause that would be lame and I would be disappointed in you, I mean come on, people are warning you in the comments above mine and in the previous post that a WoW SP right now would mean that you won’t have the chance to do one when the Cataclysm hits and everything gets blown up.

    EDIT: just saw a review for APB, which sounds like it could be worth checking out… oh, nvm.

    1. Shamus says:

      Okay, just so people stop worrying about this:

      I’m in the Cataclysm beta, so if I do a LP of WoW, it’ll be Cataclysm.

      But I’m playing vanilla WoW for now to get my characters rolling.

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Bah,mmos arent complicated.Play some europa universalis or hearts of iron if you want complicated.

    1. thebigJ_A says:

      Amen. I love EU3, but it took me months to even have a clue what I was doing.

    2. Nihil says:

      I love almost all Paradox games too, but they look like Simon Says compared to Dwarf Fortress.

      I mean, they’ve got tooltips, ferchrissakes. What, do those Swedish snobs think we’re morons who can’t figure out what “Confirm Thalassocracy” or “Declare Statute in Restraint of Appeals” does?

    3. FatPope says:

      I personally loved the Hearts of Iron series but Europa Universalis seemed incredibly boring. It’s not just a theme thing either: I love both time periods. It’s just that the mechanics of europa universalis left me spending most of the time on fast-forward mode waiting until something happened or I could do something interesting

  9. silver Harloe says:

    “I submit that World of Warcraft and its rivals are some of the most complex forms of entertainment, ever.”

    Saved by use of the words “some of”

    The most complex form of entertainment I’ve participated in is Star Fleet Battles, but I understand there are war simulation games that make SFB look like Candy Land in complexity. (edit: doh! I should have looked at the post right above mine for a couple example names of such games).

    1. Jep jep says:

      I’d say simulation games are in general the most complex games you can get. The harder the realism gets, the more variables you must take into count. Just trying to play games like Operation Flashpoint with a group of people, trying to learn how to act as a squad, how to navigate, how to shoot with ballistics, learning different combat roles, tactics, trying to lead a group of other people in an organized fashion.. I could go on. After a certain point, you can start to see why they actually do use simulators to train people for some jobs.

      For just being game, it takes an insane amount of learning just to be able to handle the basics and nothing I’ve ever had to learn in MMOs comes even close to that amount stuff you need to know to be even able to consider yourself “average” in many simulators. EVE might be expection, but I’ve yet to try to it.

      That being said, the satisfaction after doing all the hard work is something no other types of games have ever been able to match for me yet. Once you’re in the zone, things under control, it can open up a whole new world in your gaming. The payoff however is that you’ll be eventually sacrificing the majority of your gaming time to that one game if you ever want to learn.

  10. Joshua says:

    My opinion of the best way to learn something(at least, for me) is to not front-load all of the teaching. Most of these game tutorials try to teach you something new, let you experience it, and then remain quiet until they want to teach you something new. Why not teach you something, let you experience it, and then offer a refresher course to try to teach you again now that you have the experience to fully understand what they’re talking about.

    To me, that works a lot better than trying to teach you so much up front that you’ll forget half of it the first time. Hope that makes sense.

    1. Shamus says:

      I agree, although it makes things tricky in a game designed for replay. The first time it’s a great way to learn. The next seven times it’s torture.

      I don’t thin anyone has found a really good way around this.

      1. Joshua says:

        Obviously, the tutorials would have to be optional at some point. For a mundane example, why not make some kind of Adventurer’s Guild, where you could choose to do certain instances that would have tutorial aspects to them, perhaps even scoring you(with rewards) based upon how well you completed the instance. New instance options could open up based upon your level, the nearby area or whatever to give you practice with skills, items, combos, etc. to make you better at the game.

        However, I can only imagine the reaction from those who would rather roll their eyes and berate the n00bs with “Learn to Play!”, in a community that would rather heap scorn upon such players rather than actually help them, well, learn to play.

        1. kingcom says:

          Problem is that some things are very clear, teaching someone that left click kills things is not something you need to reiterate. Perhaps something complex like trying to demonstrate how agro works could work under this principle with a nice little “skip” function or better yet use the EVE Online method of having a optional quest chain to go through these principles.

          1. Joshua says:

            Well, I was thinking of things more complex things than auto-attack like being a DPS who juggles dealing out damage while not dealing out *too* much damage(to avoid drawing aggro), learning to properly debuff, watch out for breaking roots, mezzes, etc., as well as skills pertaining to your class for whatever game you’re playing.

      2. SiliconScout says:

        Just make it play out over say the first 3 levels in a “newbie” zone.

        Adding an new toon you would have the option of starting at level 4 out of the newbie zone.

        Problem solved and for experienced players you just saved them some relatively meaningless time.

  11. Jeff says:

    I didn’t realize there was such a big difference. My Skinning/Herbalist had way more cash by that point.

    I think a cluster of 20 herbs could go for 1 or 2 gold, easily. Depends on the server, I guess. PvP servers may present more of a hazard for people just trying to gather components, maybe?

  12. Nasikabatrachus says:

    I started a trial account on WoW many moons ago. Maybe it’s just because I’ve played one or two RPGs in my time, but I found it pretty simple overall. I played a Gnomish wizard named “Troldolo” and he looked exactly as you would expect he would. Eventually I just got bored with questing and leveling and just started exploring as far as possible into above-my-level areas. Soon this became too difficult and I simply explored these areas as a ghost: it was actually kind of fun. I only stopped because the trial client went through some kind of update or technical issue and didn’t work for me at all. Thank goodness, because my personality is so addictive I would probably have leveled up Troldolo to some crazy number past the level cap by now.

    I also had a trial account on EVE. I didn’t find the interface overcomplicated and it was kind of fun warping through solar systems. One flaw I noticed is that acceleration stops at a “top speed”. Read that again: my *space ship* had a *maximum speed*. That was just a minor geek point that didn’t really spoil my experience: no, it was the quests that made me quit. What do you mean, I have to INVENT a PERPETUAL MOTION MACHINE? WHAT!? How- What- Where do I even start? My hyperbolic confusion makes it seem a little more complicated than it probably actually is, but it was complicated and confusing enough that I quit the game and never really played it again. When we last left our hero, he was waiting for some kind of thing that takes fourteen hours to complete to, uh, complete. I imagine him living out his days in poverty on a space station far away from the bright center of the galaxy, occasionally chatting up barflies and space jockeys about this idea for a perpetual motion machine that he had that never went anywhere. He occasionally stares out the windows of the station, wondering why he never made anything of himself, and asks the stars why they didn’t beckon him the way they beckon others.

    That was depressing. I’m going outside.

    1. Wil K. says:

      “One flaw I noticed is that acceleration stops at a “top speed”. Read that again: my *space ship* had a *maximum speed*.”

      So… does EVE use FTL transportation? Because otherwise I would extremely surprised if there wasn’t a top speed. (“c” what I did there…)

      1. Nasikabatrachus says:

        I think I c what you did there, but I feel that the more I try to get it, the further away it gets. It’s very contracted.

    2. Ian says:

      When I played EVE I found myself enjoying it far more when I ignored the quests and did my own thing. Some of those quests are just fraggin’ ridiculous.

      A friend of mine made the mistake of trying out the military quest chain and was quickly overwhelmed by the ships that they threw at his relatively weak craft, even early on in the game. No warning whatsoever, and certainly no mercy.

  13. tremor3258 says:

    I got an account hack so I stopped a little go, so this MAY no longer hold true, but I doubt it:

    I find your cash situation interesting – I’ve heard engineering’s bad but never levelled with it, so take that with a grain (I understand the main problem is it tends to require a lot of stuff ‘across the board’). Many of my chars went the gathering + working profession system and generally didn’t need cash infusions, especially the miners. Just run around Elwynn forest a few times and sell half the copper you’ll make and you’ll be okay for your mount on most servers.

    On the interface point: Star Trek Online kept parts of the interface disabled durings its tutorials, like weapons weren’t selectable during the first space portion of the tutorial.

  14. Matt says:

    Assuming you’re leveling Beast Mastery, a bear is a better leveling partner than a turtle, although anything will work fine.

  15. Hitch says:

    Conventional WoW wisdom (borne out by my experience) is that crafting professions are generally not for low level characters. They just keep you broke. Just gather and auction to make money while leveling, then when you are at or near the level cap and have lots of gold and dailies to replenish it take up a crafting profession and power through it by buying all your materials from the next generation of low level characters.

    And yes, the best gift to, or investment for, a low level character is more bag space.

  16. Jarenth says:

    Of course, this process would be torture for existing players. You’d have to make this tutorial a “level zero” zone and make it easy to skip for people who know what they’re doing.

    City of Heroes comes to mind as a game that actually sort of does this. You still get the entire interface at start, and something like four abilities, but the tutorial zone does a pretty ok job at slowly explaining everything to you. Walk here. Now click this thing. Now walk back.

    And if you’re not into that sort of thing, there’s a big ‘Skip this stuff’ button right after character creation.

    1. krellen says:

      But if you skip it, you skip the badge!

      Gotta have the badge!

      1. Rick W says:

        With Ouroboros, you can now get the badge later if you missed it the first time around. And for the hero badge, it’s even easier to get that way now with the changes made in issue 16.

    2. DaveMc says:

      The nice thing is that it only takes about ten minutes to do, if you’re not bothering to read the helpful hints, so even experienced players will often still do it. The rest of the learning about the world comes from ParagonWiki and, most importantly, one of the friendliest player populations operating today: just about any random person will answer newbie questions in a polite and helpful manner. It’s a bit eerie, as if pretending to be superheroes makes players want to be better people all around.

      (EDIT: Oh, and off topic, I’m really enjoying the little notes about the number of comments. These are either new or I haven’t noticed them before. “Quick, add another to see if this message changes!” Beautiful.)

      1. krellen says:

        It can’t be the “Being Heroes” thing, because even villainside as the “predominantly helpful” thing going on.

  17. ngthagg says:

    I’ve got a mage who’s been leveling with tailoring/enchanting, and I’ve found that to be the worst gold sink. My one 80 character just keeps mailing the mage money, and she just keeps spending it. The problem with that pair, of course, is that you produce nothing to sell, and even most of the valuable drops you find (cloth, greens) get sucked up too.

    1. Someone says:

      There is actually good money to be made with enchanting, the problem is that until you get to the endgame enchantments (which requires serious financial investments), you have to profit by DISenchanting items into magic dust and other crafting components and selling them off. You can do it with useless green stuff you find in monsters every now and then and quest reward items and generally make twice as much money selling their magical components than you would make dumping those items into vendors. You can even exploit financially inexperienced newbies who try to sell green trophies they found leveling on the auction house for a pittance, you can often find several armor and weapon lots with a bid and/or buyout of like 49 copper, the disenchanting components of which might be worth 50 silver. You can just buy stuff off, disenchant it and sell it right back and make a mint.

      1. acronix says:

        The good thing about that is that, in the way, you encourage those newbies to put even more stuff you can buy. Everybody wins!

        1. Someone says:

          Not really. Newbies might still loose because they often price their auction lots for half of what they could otherwise earn by selling them to NPC vendors, and not always count the deposit fee. But they will just have to learn local economics the hard way. “Fool me once…” as they say.

    2. Khizan says:

      Depending on what class and how geared your 80 is, it may be easier to farm cloth and mail that directly to your tailor character.

      My feral druid can pull all of Stratholme in ~5 pulls for a grand total of something like 200 runecloth per run, and a shot at the Baron’s Deathcharger. SM-Cath is good for silk or mageweave, can’t remember which, and there’s several other good ways to farm cloth like that. I found it to be much cheaper than buying the cloth, even when factoring in the opportunity cost of the time spent farming cloth as opposed to farming gold to buy cloth.

  18. ACHV_Dragon says:

    I used to play WoW years ago, and it was fun. Then, this spring I decided to play again because my brothers were into it again (Me being the youngest, so I like to follow them). The difference this time was that I only played the free trial. And I played the hell out of that game. Got to lvl 45 within 2-3 days (I was a paladin Draenei in Stranglethorn Vale). Then, my senses kicked in, and I just stopped.

    True story (Also, I didn’t have as much problems with equipment because one of my brothers could make bags, which lead to collecting all kinds of animal droppings, which I then sold for profit).

  19. Ozymandias says:

    If I had to name the most complicated retail video game ever made, I would bet on 688(I) Hunter/Killer, a submarine simulator. From what I’ve heard, it can take months of study of its highly technical and largely true-to-life manual to play competently.

    To put that in perspective, a civilian fit for military service could enlist in the US Navy and, depending on their rate, get underway on an actual 688 in less time than it would take to learn how to pretend to be on a 688.

  20. Rutskarn says:

    Engineering, man. If I didn’t make a habit out of brazenly gouging people on their mechanical squirrels, that would have ruined me completely.

    1. Shamus says:


      Game is giving me tiger’s eye gems by the handful. (Okay, five.) But so for ONE Malachite. And the squirrel takes two. And so I am sad. I want to build that thing.

      1. kingcom says:

        More things to sell shamus.

  21. Someone says:

    Engineering together with enchanting are the most expensive professions in the game, and enchanting is actually good for something other than showing off building a bike and helicopter mounts (and before any aspiring newbies reading this dedicate their life to engineering, that stuff costs like 15 billion gold to build).

    Shamus, perhaps you should consider Fishing as a fundraiser. The pace is sedating, but you can sell the fish used in alchemy (which is generally all the inedible and otherwise non-usable fish) for many times the price of a fishing rod and bait. The “earliest” place you can catch that kind of fish is Wetlands and equivalents, its called Oilyfin Redmouth or something. Of cource, then you have got to know what price to charge on the auction.

    And by the way, the Auction House can be an entire Entrepreneur Simulator Tycoon in and of itself. Some people earn all their money there, not producing anything but just buying and selling, speculating prices and manipulating the market. It generally helps to be business savvy even if you just want to sell off crafting components, you still need to know what price to charge. As a rule of thumb, you can check the prices of your competition and match or slightly undercut them. Special addons help, Auctioneer comes to mind. That thing can scan the entire auction house, give you the average prices on everything there, show you the vendor prices for all your items, find bargains and do other cool stuff.

    You actually have it easy now, in olden days you only got your first mount on level 40 and it cost you 90 gold.

    1. IronCastKnight says:

      Making money hand over fist via the auction house was, by far, the thing I enjoyed most about WoW. Of course, there were some downsides.

      For instance, when I was working on Tailoring, I crafted a bunch of blue and white dresses and sold them for a decent profit, and everything seemed hunky-dory, until I was waiting for the airship and a big, burly orc warrior in pretty little blue and white dress walked onto the platform, looked at me, paused, and then waved.

      My first thought was “Oh god, what have I done?”

  22. Justin says:

    In the context of the excellent Escapist article, I’d like to point out that Runescape of all games actually has a pretty good tutorial that uses the dumbed-down interface approach and does a nice job of it. I haven’t played in a while, but from what I remember the player starts maybe one tab on their control interface and gains the inventory, skills, emoticons, etc. tabs in small, controlled doses with ample explanation each step of the way. I was pleasantly surprised by it the last time I got a hankering to try to convince myself the rest of the game is worth playing.

    Now the only thing missing is the ability to skip the tutorial altogether. ^^;

  23. Wolf says:

    I kind of training grounds scenario teaching you basic skills on dummies would be cool if combined with some sort of zone check that gave you new abilities/buttons not based on what you completed but on your character leaving training areas.
    So a starting player would take that shit seriously and do all the tasks to learn the mechanics, while you could simply run through to the first questgiver when you roll an alt.

    Alternatively frontload the training grounds thing before character creation and remember on a “per account” basis if the account ran through it already.

    I generally like the idea to be able to walk out on any given training session the moment you think you got the gist of it. The main problem with tutorials for me has always been their enforced snails pace, since I generally only care for the information that comes up about half way in.

  24. Jack says:

    Dude, sell EVERYTHING on the auction house. Everything in white. Meat, teeth, cloth, eyeballs, recipes (seriously, sell all your quest reward recipes, you can get up to 20g for ’em). I remember logging on after a day of not playing and, with a level 20 character, collecting 150g from my in various auctions from my mailbox. Also, even with Engineering you should still have some copper ore spare.

  25. Alastair says:

    So you abandoned the Dranei starting areas, which flow well, are well set up, have an interesting plot and are reasonably quick xp gain for the human starting areas which… aren’t?

    On the other hand, the human starting areas are prettier, and they don’t have the Exodar in them, which is the most badly designed place ever.

    1. Shamus says:

      I’m a hunter, so I couldn’t just pop off to the human areas right away. I had to wait until I got my pet (level 10) because the human area doesn’t have that pet-getting quest. But for all other character types, yes – I just leg it to some other starting area.

      And yes the Exodar is horrible. The Undercity is almost as bad.

      “Hey, let’s make our major city needlessly spacious and filled with vertical travel so as to disorient players and render the map useless!”

      1. krellen says:

        Is it bad that I still remember the layout of Undercity, four years after the fact?

        1. Falco Rusticula says:

          It’s so bad that it took me several weeks to figure out how to get out of Undercity. The elevators, and the corridors leading to them, are very well hidden. So is the way from the centre to the outer edge…

          1. acronix says:

            Welcome to the club, I guess!

          2. ClearWater says:

            And then you finally find the elevator, go up, out, and right back into the elevator next door.

  26. mark says:

    The random dungeon button will help you make money/xp fast. Just join the queue and quest away until your group is ready. Once you click the ‘go’ button you’re transported into the dungeon, along with the rest of the group. When its over, you’re sent straight back to where you were.

    So much easier than the old system!

    1. Alastair says:

      While leveling, this only really works if you can tank or heal. As a dps you are looking at a 20 minute wait time usually. Longer on off-hours. I leveled a mage recently and thought “Hey! Random dungeons! It will be fun and varied and I won’t have to grind quests!” How wrong I was. And then there are the dungeons where you spend 20 minutes gathering a party and then have the tank and healer leave after 5 minutes.

      It’s nice to put yourself in the queue when you plan to be on for three hours or so just to do something different, but as a main source of xp, it doesn’t work.

      1. Ben says:

        That’s why you queue and don’t stop doing your normal soloing stuff while you wait. At the end, ask the tank if he’s going to run another, and you can start to chain runs if he is. If its pre level 40, he almost definitely is, since he can’t dual spec yet.

        I think my biggest problem with the instances right now is that I like to see the quests, but now in wow you level so quickly that its hard to get all the quests for an instance and not outlevel the content by the time you have gathered them all. I’m sure this will be fixed by cata, by having fewer prerequisite quests, but some of them are pretty ridiculous. I think Uldaman was one of the worst, since it actually required you to do the instance twice to complete one of the quests.

  27. HeadHunter says:

    Engineering is the one profession that’s guaranteed to keep you broke no matter what level you are at. You’ll be as poor at level 80 as you are now.

    It’s definitely not a money-making profession, because most of the items you can make are only usable by yourself… or other Engineers, who could make the item too.

    Still, if you can afford it or don’t mind being poor, there are a lot of fun things you can do.

    1. Jack says:

      You may be poor in terms of gold, but you will be rich in awesomesauce… If you can afford mats.

      Really, all crafting professions are massive money sinks, at least until endgame.

  28. Luke Maciak says:

    Shamus, I just came here to say that you are totally stealing my idea of using a Turtle as a pet. I thought I was original and all, and people in Crossroads were giving me compliments on a unusual pet then I come here and see you are also a Turtle guy. Now everyone is going to say I only have a Turtle cause I read that on your blog. Thank you very much! LOL

    But in all seriousness, if you are Lvl 20 try running Wailing Caverns and tame the elite turtle Kresh. I tamed him at level 23 and he had more HP than me. It was a whole expedition – my brother was assisting me and standing by with his engineering made healing gizmos in case Kresh would bite my legs off before I tamed him. :P

    1. OEP says:

      There is really no reason to go try for Kresh. He has the exact same mesh as the Oasis Snapjaw.

      Look here for turtle pet locations and meshes.


  29. Tizzy says:

    For the record, for someone like me who does not understand any word past “hit points, mana points”, some of the above discussions are perplexing to say the least!

  30. For all those folks who don’t think the game is that complicated:

    Think about all of the add-ons that high-level raiding typically require. Vent or in-game chat and a headphone, aggro bars to MATHEMATICALLY ENUMERATE how much damage you can do without taking aggro off the tank (and God help you if the aggro meter is wrong because the boss’ hate dynamics changed), etc. The fact that high-level players are still installing add-ons to keep track of core game mechanics indicates to me that the game as originally released is too complex to track in real-time.

    1. krellen says:

      I never raided. Maybe that’s why I never thought it was complicated.

      1. Ian says:

        Yeah, I didn’t think it was all that complicated either until I started raiding.

        After that point I found myself going through my talent trees with a fine-toothed comb and finding ways to maximize my damage output (or healing output…or threat…) and reduce downtime, then running through my spellbook and optimizing my rotation and/or ability priorities.

        Getting my DK and priest raid-ready was a blast.

        1. krellen says:

          I have watched many, many raids and people doing raids (in person; my brother and his roommates, for a while, ran the largest Horde guild on the server, many years ago.) To this day I still fail to understand why people find it enjoyable.

          1. Ian says:

            I find it enjoyable because of the amount of coordination and teamwork that’s involved in successfully completing them. Typically you get an opportunity to speak with others (even complete strangers if you join pick-up groups, or PuGs) and work on developing strategies for defeating certain bosses.

            The mechanics that the bosses employ are a huge part of it as well. Some bosses are called gear checks — fairly simple and straight forward enemies that are designed solely to ensure that undergeared and unskilled players will be deterred early on, but most of the major bosses require more than just having a well-geared party.

            When you’re actually fighting through the encounters, especially the complex ones, it’s a real rush, and finally besting the boss that wiped your raid a dozen times is a very rewarding feeling. Personally, I never really understood what the appeal was until I was actually doing it. If you haven’t tried raiding before, I think your perspective would be different if you were sitting down at the keyboard and chipping away at the bosses. If you have raided before and just never got into it, more power to you. :)

  31. Sydney says:

    RuneScape’s tutorial recently changed, and is now a “quest” that new accounts get dropped into. You learn to use most of the “gathering” skills, and a couple of the easy “production” skills, one by one, in the context of a quest narrative (which secretly, quietly teaches totally new players the “quest” structure that every RPG fan knows and loves). It works very well.

    And there’s a skip button that takes you straight out of the tutorial quest and into the sandbox. It’s like they read your mind.

  32. Hal says:

    Since you’re coming back after 2 years, Shamus, I’m curious what you think of some of the new features (besides the improved tutorials). Have you used the Dungeon Finder yet?

  33. Beardface says:

    I never really thought WoW was complex, Eve on the other hand makes my head hurt even after a year and a bit of playing.

  34. Ian says:

    At least the mounts aren’t as expensive as they were when you first started playing, right? ;)

    I’m kind of thankful for Blizzard giving us the ability to roll DKs on any realm as long as we’re eligible on one realm. It makes seeding realms sooooo much easier. Being able to jump right into Outland and making a hundred gold over the course of a few hours is nice. A hundred gold goes a long way when you’re making a new character.

    Speaking of that, which realm are you on, Shamus? I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to throwing some coin your way…even if you are filthy Alliance scum. :p

    1. Shamus says:

      Kirin Tor

      I really want to play some Horde. There’s all that cool stuff I’ve never explored over there.

      1. Ian says:

        The tauren starting area is probably my favorite of the bunch. There’s just something oddly serene about Mulgore. It also makes the Barrens seem like a very different and alien place, compared to the very subtle switch between Durotar and the Barrens.

        If you’re looking for easy leveling, the Blood Elf areas are the place to go. The Ghostlands is easier and less annoying than the Barrens, though it does seem to have an overabundance of large cats.

        If you get your character up to level 60 and beyond, I highly recommend going for the World Explorer achievement. It’ll be a bit easier with an Alliance toon since you don’t have to make a frenzied run through Darnassus and will allow you to literally see the world. I’d do it before Cataclysm comes out so that you won’t be tempted to just fly over everything. I wound up doing it on my Death Knight and it was certainly worth the time.

        Oh, let’s not forget the spiffy title you get after you take care of all four continents. ;)

  35. Adeon says:

    I’m moderately surprised you had money issues. When I played WoW I managed reasonably well financially with Engineering and Mining as my professions. Mining provides much of what you need for engineering and I was able to sell the excess ore/bars on the AH for some cash.

  36. Otaku Kun says:

    Hey everyone, just wanted to announce that we have started a new Horde guild on Blackhand server, named for the Haibane Renmei anime. We have just started out, and are looking to grow – focus will be on leveling lowbie alts and raiding with high level mains. Visit the guild page at:


    for more information or send Mmiselle an in-game mail!

    I think if we can amass geeky, anime-loving crowd, we will have a lot of fun.

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