The Beginning of The End

By Shamus Posted Saturday Jun 21, 2008

Filed under: Personal 91 comments

I have now acquired the tool through which I may orchestrate my own undoing. Behold, and despair:

wow_begins.jpg

After about four years of people badgering me to try this game, it’s finally happening. Every time I complain about an RPG I hear “You should try WoW”. Well, now I’m trying it. If it’s as addictive as people claim, then this website is probably doomed. Savor this post. It might be sitting here for a while.

I still can’t say much about the sudden change of heart in regards to MMO games, but it is related to the comics I’ll have coming out in a few weeks. And no, it’s nothing to do with the WoW comic contest. I’d enter that, but I’m not sure my particular brand of humor will tickle the funnybones inside of Blizzard when I aim it in their direction.

Joining this game is proving to be tougher than I anticipated. In Wow I have several people I consider to be personal friends who I’d like to play with, but none of them are on the same server. So choosing a server means, in effect, choosing between my friends. I suppose this is an appropriate beginning to a game famous for destroying friendships and ending marriages.

 


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91 thoughts on “The Beginning of The End

  1. Skeeve the Impossible says:

    I have lost my brother. R.I.P He will be missed

  2. Jabor says:

    Hehe…just a friendly reminder that Guild Wars doesn’t do that to yah ;)

    You could always choose a server that none of them are on, just like you’re playing through GW solo.

    EDIT: Damnit, and here I was thinking I’d have first comment for once. Bah.

  3. Joshua says:

    Irk! Not another one lost into the depths of WoW! Have it any mercy?

    From everything I’ve seen, WoW is cartoon-like (annoyingly cartoon-like) in graphics and is populated by bunch of people whose only goal is to be better just to be better, or so they can ‘pwn the noobs.’ I’ve met a person who played because he ‘pwned the noobs.’ No one is really there for fun or roleplaying. And isn’t fun the main aspect? I don’t see why people pay someone else to have a second job that doesn’t pay them, and has a chance of ruining any good friendships or relationships.

    “Why is it fun? ‘Cause you can pwn noobs, and they get all mad at you.” He says. I wanted to leap over the desk and rip… I was incredibly angry.

  4. I’ve been playing aimlessly lately. I’ll gladly join whatever server you are on if you ever feel like making it public.

    If not, well I’d love to get that info by email. I’m uber casual and we could play a few quests in the early phases before your addiction sets in and you power level like the rest of us obsessive compulsive geeks.

    Oh and Yay! I can’t wait to hear about your thoughts on this game.

  5. Skip says:

    If you end up deciding to go with a server that none of your friends are on, so as to not choose between them, make sure and post it here. There’s probably at least one of your readers on it.

    The reason I say this is that if someone can just float you a few 16 slot bags as a newb, the game is more fun, because you’re not running back to town to sell quite as often. And you won’t be able to afford them by yourself until at least level 25 or 30, if you don’t get a leg up.

  6. scum says:

    I got tired of WoW… Started playing LOTRO recently. I find the crowd there considerably more mature than I remember it on WoW. Course, I’ve never been a PvP person, and WoW seems to be half PvP for the people that keep playing.

  7. henebry says:

    So, when you first register, you’re forced to make an irrevocable choice of servers? Later on, you can’t migrate a character to a different server so you can play with friends or escape a bad player culture, etc.? That sounds pretty lame to me, but I’m a tabletop rpg player, mostly, so what do I know?

  8. TheDeadEye says:

    It’s not too late to try ‘Lord of the Rings Online’ instead…

  9. Veloxyll says:

    Nope. you can make characters on lots of servers. I am assuming Shamus isn’t planning to roll a million alts on different servers though.

  10. Shandrunn says:

    henebry:

    You can make a new character on another server, or migrate an existing character to another server if you pay a fee.

    Every once in a while Blizzard opens a period of free character migrations, usually to a new server from one that is getting crowded.

    Shamus:
    Try to join a guild that takes it nice and slow and doesn’t rush its members to level up to maximum and do group instances. I quit because I got sick of running instances at night and grinding money for potions and equipment repairs at day.
    Plus, WoW suffers from a bad case of the ‘expand upward instead of outward’ philosophy you’ve talked about. I got frustrated when the quest line I’d spent months on was made entirely insignificant, because an instance had its entry requirements scrapped.

  11. Krellen says:

    WoW is no different from any other MMO. It’s got the same grind, the same zero-XP issue, the same unintelligible gibber, and the same forced grouping. There’s nothing particularly special about it; it just happens to have hit all the pegs that made previous MMOs popular.

    If you like MMOs, you’ll probably like it. If you don’t, you won’t.

  12. Andre says:

    I got back into WoW about a month and a half ago. It can be addictive, yes, but that’s not the effect that it has on everyone. Good luck, Shamus. If you’re having trouble getting into it at first, remember to plumb the depths of your comments for advice; sometimes there are easy little tricks that eliminate the tedium. For instance, my friend showed me a few little plug-ins that take the guess-work out of questing.

    Also, your previous comment about a static world isn’t entirely true. Everything everywhere may stay the same, but if you follow the cues that the quest NPCs give you, you’ll notice that they’ve created the illusion of change and plot development. For instance, if you play a draenai character, you’ll start immediately following your race’s crash-landing on the planet. Your early quests will revolve around recovery from that crash-landing. When you finish all the quests in the starting area, you’ll be told to go to the next area, where you’ll see the draenai have begun to convert their temporary shelters into permanent residences. By the time you get to the Exodar, the draenai’s main city, your quests will revolve around establishing ties to the other Alliance races, who will at first treat you with suspicion. As you progess through those quest lines, the bond between you will have grown, and then finally when you’re done with the draenai-specific quests, they’ll send you off to help the night elves and the rest of the Alliance, with the ultimate goal of finding a way to lead your people back to their homeland (which is Outland, the level 60-70 area).

    Each zone has it’s own story to tell, which will unravel as you complete all of the quests in that zone. I missed this the first time I played WoW, and I got bored rather quickly and eventually quit to pursue real-life endeavors. This time I have friends helping me if I get stuck, but I’m taking my time so that I can read all the quest text and take in all the little stories. The catch is that you can’t take in all the zones at the same time without a lot of pointless grinding (as by the time you go back and do those OTHER low-level area, you’ll be high level and the mobs won’t be worth any experience), so I look at that as re-play value.

    They’ve modified the game considerably since I quit, too: the game is much more solo-able, which is great. If you’re looking to extract the story from this game, your biggest enemy will be all those 1337 power-gamers who will get impatient with you for stopping to take in the scenery and hound you. The only time I’ve found that a party is necessary is for the special instance dungeons.

    edit: oh yeah, I’m on Suramar.

  13. Andre says:

    One thing I was worried about when I first played was the monthly fee. I’m opposed to the idea of paying per month to play a video game. I like the “buy it and it’s yours” model. What helped me get over that (and gives me at least the illusion that I’m in control of my playing habits) is to go to my local game store and pick up a two-month subscription card. You type in the code on the WoW website and they add two months of paid game time onto your account. When that two months expires, you have the choice of going out and paying for another two months or letting your account go gentle into that good night. It’s the same price as a month-by-month subscription, but since you have to go to the store to pick it up, it inserts a layer of complicity into your continued playing. Every two months you have to go back and decide if the last two months were worth the $30 you paid for them.

  14. Andre says:

    Oh, and the exploration can be very rewarding, too. There’s a lot of stuff out there to look at, and each zone is different from its neighbors. There are tiny little details in far-off corners of each area that you might not notice if you were playing through, but if you’re just wandering around for fun you’ll see them and think “wow, they really put a lot of thought into this”.

    Of course, then a horde of high-level monsters come running at you because you’re in an area way above your means, and they rip you to shreds. But that’s fun in itself, too.

  15. Dirty Dan says:

    Good luck on the will save versus WoW addiction, Shamus. Remember where you came from and keep your wits about you, and they won’t eat your soul and condemn you to an eternity in MMO-Limbo, where advancement only begets more advancement ad infinitum nauseamque and you *never save the world*.

  16. ngthagg says:

    The problem with friends ending up on different servers is due in large part to the popularity of WoW. I just made a quick count of the US servers and got 226. So unless you consult with your friends before signing on, you are pretty much guaranteed to pick a different server.

    The immaturity factor seems to come up, sometimes for WoW, sometimes for other MMO’s, but I have to say that I’ve only rarely run into immature players and never had a problem that an ignore couldn’t fix. I’ve only ignored 6 or 7 people total in WoW. I think the immaturity problem is a bit exaggerated. It’s like the internet in general. I don’t run into immature people on forums and such because I don’t hang out on forums that cater to the immature crowd.

    Anyways, I second Chatty DM’s motion. Throw up your server and your faction and I’ll pop in and say hi.

  17. Kris says:

    Just thought I would suggest that you try Dungeons and dragons Online in your newfound MMO critiquing business. The first recent MMO I gave a real try was WoW and I was bored before the trial was over.

    I have a friend that plays DDO so i gave the 10 day free trial a shot, and really enjoyed it. Some things i like:

    -Quests are instanced – i.e. no one can take a quest item or disrupt your quest an any way.
    -Grouping is very easy and has built in voice chat
    – There are no “bring me 10 wolf pelts” quests
    – Loot is preasigneed so no one can ninja your loot
    – The player base, from my limited WoW experiance, is more mature than the WoW player base. A lot of long time pen and paper players on line.
    – Graphics are quite good but can be player on older machines (mine is 3-4 years old)

    Some thing I and you may not like:
    -While you can solo most quests it is expensive and difficult for new players to do so.
    – The area you play in is localized to one city so exploring the coutryside isnt really an option. There are instanced explorer area (like quests) though which fulfil some of that desire.

    Most peoples complaint about DDO is that there is limited content. Bowever, I feel the quality of the quests is much better than WoWs. And again, the gamne is designed to be played in a group, as in pen and paper DnD.

    Also, the game is set in Eberron so its not the classic Greyhawk/Forgotten Realms style setting. There are deviations from DnD (especially the new monk class) but it is farily faithful.

    Just some food for thought. Its a free trial, what do you have to lose?

  18. Zukhramm says:

    The solution for friends spread out on different servers is very simple, choose a completley different one from them.

    For me it was easy, I wanted to play on an RP server, no one else did. And the roleplaying, was usually bad, but if you find a group of good people it’s possible to have quite fun.

  19. noneofcon says:

    I used to play WoW. One of the main reasons I left was that nothing ever seemed to change. It was like nothing you could you that would change the game world. That said the character class I had the most fun playing was a druid. Granted you weren’t the best at everything, but you could do a lot of things fairly well.

    Right now I play EVE online, which is a space combat sim. In it they have done completely away with xp. Instead you learn skills over time. Each skill takes a certain amount of time to learn, ranging from a few minutes for basic skills to about a month for higher level skills. These skills train in real time, even when you are not logged on. So if you can only play on the weekends, you can set a 7 day skill and not have to worry about it during the week.

    Another unique feature vs other mmos is that there is only 1 main server. I believe the current record for number of players at once is over 40,000. So you never have to worry about choosing between friends (unless said friends all play wow).

  20. Brett says:

    You’ll want to consider what *type* of server to roll on, too. You get to choose between:

    Normal
    PvP
    RP
    RP-PvP

    On Normal & RP servers, you only engage in PvP combat with the other faction when you choose to, while on PvP and RP-PvP servers you’re liable to get smacked very often by high level characters who like killing new players. RP & RP-PvP servers have some additional rules meant to foster a roleplaying attitude towards the game. I’d heartily recommend an RP server, in particular the one I play on, Shadow Council. :)

  21. Greg says:

    You should also be careful in choosing what to play as for your first character, as a hunter is the most solo-able class in the game, wheras a warrior is probably the least solo-able.

    Thats not to say you can solo as a warrior, far from it, but when you’re just starting out in the game, it’s not going to be the easiest class to play compared to the others.

    I made a warrior as my first character in WoW and looking back, I really wish I’d made a paladin or hunter instead, as they’re much more forgiving to little mistakes.

  22. gabs says:

    Just a quick note, but I guess it’s too late for that now… the Blizzard Downloader is crap. At least it was for me, severely shrinking my download capacity. I’m not sure whether you pay for the download, but if you do, it’s much, much easier to just buy the game in a store. Saves you lots of time.

  23. Solka says:

    Greg: Funny you say that. I began as a warrior, when the game was merely 1 month old, and I soloed my way to 60th (with the occasionnal guild help)

    I tried making a Mage alt, and solo with it. It was awful.. A priest was surprisingly easier (but not as easy as Warrior).

    Warlock was the same level than the warrior, I think. But that’s my humble opinion. On another topic:

    NOOO!! WE’LL LOOSE SHAMUS!!

  24. Plasma says:

    I never got into WoW. I found it, like Guild Wars, much too boring. It’s hard to tell with any given game, some people will like it, some people will be bored out of their skulls.

    City of Heroes, though, now there’s a fun game. Unfortunately, they recently imposed some restrictions on trial accounts because of spammers and RMTers (Real Money Transferers). Trials used to be completely unrestricted except in terms of time, but now the amount of influence/infamy (money) you can hold is severely curtailed, you’re limited to level 13 (one level before you’re allowed to have a travel power, travel powers being one of the nice things about CoX, hurtling about the city at great speeds), you can’t send private messages or speak in broadcast or join supergroups (guilds) or trade with other players. All these things were being abused. So it’s hard to find a team without putting ‘trial account, can’t respond to tells, send blind invite’ in your LFT notice. The nice thing is that since they instituted these changes the other day, spam has dropped to zero, which is very, very nice.

    Of course, you can still access all the functionality of the amazingly extensive character customization system (with the exception of capes, which you unlock at level 20, and auras, which you unlock at level 30), which is still, even on a 4-year-old game, by far the best in the industry. I mostly spent my free trial making a whole bunch of new alts, so fascinated was I by the costume system. Then I tried playing the actual game, and I became hooked.

  25. Visi says:

    Make sure you pick up an addon like bagnon. It makes life a lot easier. By default your bags are all annoying and seperate, bagnon squashes them all together into one big bag.

    The AceUpdater is also worth playing with.

    Really, I would have stopped playing long ago if it wasn’t for addons…

  26. Kevin says:

    I play the game WITH my wife, so no worries there. And we only play between three and six hours a week, so it isn’t like it’d be all that relationship-destroying anyway. (Though we have been playing since the game came out, so our experiences may not be indicative of a new player.)

    Favorite addon is WoWMatrix. Not only can you use it to search for and install new addons, (it catalogs them from other addon sites) it also version-checks all of your current addons every time you start it up. (From outside of WoW.) You can then start WoW from WoWMatrix!

  27. Jimmie says:

    Jesus, God in Heaven, no.

    Shamus, what in the world are you doing?

  28. The Werebear says:

    Ok, it’s not so bad. I managed to quit, so it is possible to stop.

    Of course that had to be said first. My personal recommendation is to go Alliance, as their starting areas are a little more compacted and easier to navigate IMO. Your quest taking habits should be ok, as much of the early game experience comes from completing quests. I would start on a RP server, as my experience with both RP and regular servers indicate that you’ll at least get less annoying names and less random stupidity on RP servers. I heartily recommend avoiding PVP servers at all costs when starting, as those attract the “gank the newb” crowd like magnets.

    …Damnit, now I want to play again. I’ve been clean for two years now, and still occasionally have pangs.

  29. Ian says:

    @noneofcon:

    Right now I play EVE online, which is a space combat sim.

    Yay, another EVE player!

    Calling EVE a combat sim is a bit unfair, though. I haven’t fought a single player the entire time I’ve been playing. :P

  30. Greg says:

    I’ve just noticed the dice below the comments box, howcome they all have different numbers showing? I thought when roleplayers left dice lieing around they put them all on the highest or lowest number depending on their particular superstition.

    Bizaare that a more natural way of seeing them lieing comes across as odd to me.

  31. Sara says:

    I’d like to see your take on the PvP vs PvE server. Also, it sounds like a Role Playing server would be a better fit.

    As for your friends, choose a server & tell them where you’re at – I’m sure they’d ‘roll’ some alts just to hang out with you while you level.

    If you choose one of their servers, they’ll be giving you free gold & stuff & running you through quests & dungeons on their high level characters, and then what kind of scientific data would you get?

  32. noneofcon says:

    @ Ian
    Calling EVE a combat sim is a bit unfair, though. I haven't fought a single player the entire time I've been playing.

    Well then how would you describe it?

  33. Shawn says:

    One of us! One of us!

  34. Aaron Nowack says:

    Ah, WoW. My drug of choice.

    The separate servers can be kind of annoying, but it’s also sort of necessary given the size of the player-base and the non-instanced content. (This then gets compounded by the Horde/Alliance choice, but that’s also a big part of the fun of the game, even on a PvE server.) Unfortunately, server choice can make a big difference in play experience. The economy, whether there’s a critical mass of people either leveling or raiding, tone of chat, and so on can vary by both server and faction, and there’s not really an authoritative source of info on that.

    Having high-level friends to feed you some money to get started can help a lot, but the game is perfectly playable from scratch.

    If you have access to the Burning Crusade content, I consider trying a Blood Elf or a Draenei. Their starting zones are by far the best in the game, as they were made with the expansion and had the benefit of experience.

    WoW is a lot of fun played solo as just a Diablo sequel with a built in chat room, but I recommend you try some group play. It usually isn’t hard to find a group for the lowest-level dungeons (Deadmines on Alliance side; Ragefire Chasm and Wailing Caverns Horde-side) and it can be a lot of fun. (It can also be horrific, if you group with the wrong people, but low-level dungeons are very forgiving of inexact play so it’s not as big a deal at that point.)

    Although it’s a distant glimmer on the horizon, raiding – while not for everyone – can be a whole different level of fun. But, much more than anything else in the game, it depends on finding a guild that’s a good fit for you and praying that guild is stable and doesn’t implode.

    And if you happen to be on Horde-side Ysrea and want to hook up with a guild, I’m with a bunch of nice people who are currently re-leveling. (We were previously an Alliance guild on Turalyon, which collapsed for fairly typical reasons trying to make the jump from 10 to 25-man raiding.)

  35. The Lone Duck says:

    Just a quick FYI. When I play myself, I generally go through periods of interest. For about six months I’ll play, enjoying the content, whether on a main character or an alt. Then I’ll yearn for single player games, and quit for a while. Then come about Halloween, I’ll be interested in WoW again.
    Another brief note, I’ve played solo, and I’ve played in a fun guild, and I can say the experience differs greatly. Both are fun. When you solo, you can focus on exactly what you need. When you group, you can have fun just helping someone else. And then there’s raiding. I never got past Karazahn, the first raiding area. I barely had time enough for that. But it’s really fun to see the cooperation of players to take down really tough enemies. But that’s a ways off for you.
    As far as leveling goes, the biggest advice I can give is be patient, enjoy the game. If one area gives you serious trouble, just go to another.
    Lastly, people may be interested in a Twenty Sided guild. Obviously, you wouldn’t have to lead it, but it would be a way for the people who frequent this site could play together and with you. Just a musing out loud. Have fun, save your money, and don’t sell epic items without checking there price (a friend of mine did that, undersold it by 1/5th of its value.)

  36. Factoid says:

    MMO gaming goes in cycles for most people. You play for a while, have a good time…then you decide that the burden of having to be on ALL the time, always having to arrange your schedule around the next raid instance will become too much and you’ll quit…eventually it comes around again.

    At least if you have the MMO gene…which I don’t think I have because I’ve never lasted over a month in any of the ones I’ve tried.

  37. Teppesh says:

    Ah, WoW. I used to play back in the day, and I won’t lie, I enjoyed it quite a bit, mainly because I could play with a bunch of RL friends. I was playing on a PvP server, so it meant that there could be occasional bits of frustration. Plus, I was playing Warlock, which basically made me an instant target in PvP areas. However, as time wore on, I began to get the hang of the game, and I got better at spotting ambushes, and could in many cases give as good as I got, if not better. Eventually, I came to enjoy PvP, especially things like Battlegrounds and world PvP with even-level players, as it can be both challenging and fun. If you don’t have the patience for it, though, I’d recommend either RP or PvE, as all of the PvP options are there if you choose to take part in them, but they aren’t mandatory. Blizzard has also done a good job of allowing for multiple ways to experience the game, whether through solo grinding/questing, PvP (arena and battlegrounds), small group dungeons, or large raids. I’d advise you to try out each one at least a few times to keep the variety there.

  38. TA says:

    Huh. I’d have thought the spyware would have turned you off to that particular MMO.

  39. David V.S. says:

    In January I wrote a series of blog posts about the addictiveness of WoW from a pastor’s perspective.

    Introduction
    Self-Reliance
    Hoarding Money
    Welcoming Weariness
    Questaholism
    Overly Social

    I’m done with WoW now, but enjoyed playing one character to level 70. It was a nice type of entertainment during my wife’s pregnancy, when she was very tired and not quality company in the evenings but still enjoyed having me nearby for company and handy to spoil her with tea, foot rubs, or baking cookies.

  40. Zukhramm says:

    Spyware? What spyware?

  41. Skelnik says:

    It was just a matter of time. :)

    Terokkar-US is a friendly, moderately populated PvE server, for what it’s worth.

  42. Arkmagius says:

    (Yes, I realize the topic here was World of Warcraft. But my train of thought is so short, it snagged on the comments instead of the article)

    About Eve Online:

    I had avoided that title for a long time, after reading an article on a PvP tournament. In a three or four page report on its progress, one _whole page_ was taken up describing how one of only a handful of capital ships in the game had been taken out in the fighting.

    I don’t know about you, but when the endgame is so steep that only powergaming superguilds* can obtain it, it’s kind of intimidating. (What I’m apparently saying is, I’d rather they reward me for being a lazy gamer than those who actually put months of hard work and thousands of man hours into the game to obtain these things. Yeah, that sounds about right.)

    Then I tried the game. It’s hard to put into words how great it was, but if it could get me to like it despite my massive reservations…

    Just give it a try. The trial is for fourteen days. And if you’re into that whole ‘graphics bling’ thing, and if your computer is up for it, go to Options and download the (free) Premium content pack. It makes an already beautiful game even more so.

    * And I wonder how that specific powergaming superguild took losing a massive investment like that due to a tactical blunder. I wouldn’t want to be that pilot.

  43. gottasing says:

    Thanks for all the good reads Shamus. I’ll miss your blog…

  44. Mike Lemmer says:

    Well, as a WoW vet busy reexperiencing the new 1-60 grind on an alt character, I want to give you my 2 cents on making the experience more tolerable:

    Avoid PvP Servers: Does being ganked & camped for 30 minutes straight by someone 3x your level sound appealing? If not, avoid PvP servers like the plague. I would recommend RP servers instead; they’re like PvE servers without as many Lowest Common Denominator players.

    Be Wary of RP on RP Servers: At best, RP on RP Servers can be entertaining and humorous. At worst, you have 2 godmodding emo elves trying to kill each other, another discussing their IC sex life, and 6 others arguing over whether they should try the murderers for their crimes. It is a game of Cowboys & Indians with no referees, no moderators, populated mainly by teenagers. It will never approach the quality of (most) tabletop RP. You have been warned.

    Go Horde if You Plan to PvP: WoW lets you PvP in Battlegrounds (BGs), starting around Level 20, with games like Capture the Flag, Assault, or Node Control. If you plan on spending any time in BGs, go Horde. The Horde & Alliance’s PvE differences are nothing compared to their PvP differences. Alliance loses 90% of their BGs and play like unruly children or whipped dogs. Some will just idle outside the starting gates for free Honor & Tokens; most will just rush mindlessly at the enemy without even following basic strategy; the worst will suggest you give up to get the consolation prize sooner or chew you out for not being able to play worth a damn. I don’t know what PvP BGs are like on the Horde side, but they have to be better than the toxic Alliance attitude.

    Find a Good Guild: Your enjoyment of WoW depends on how much you enjoy the people you play with. If the only socialization you do is in Pick-Up Groups (PUGs) and Trade Channel chat, you will grow to loathe WoW (and a vast majority of the public). They’ll ninja loot the bosses, flake out and quit your group 30 minutes into the instance, and enjoy annoying everyone else in the zone. It’s not that WoW is full of idiots; it’s that its decent players avoid PUGs and the Trade Channel like the plague.

    Find a decent guild that will help you level and some friends to run instances with; the other players will make or break WoW for you.

    Exploit the Buggered Low-Level Economy: Low-level items on the Auction House (AH) are not priced for complete novices like you; they are priced for alts of level-70 chars who can make 100+ gold a day and send it to their alts. You won’t be able to afford anything from it unless you make money from selling said overpriced items to said alts. I would invest in a gathering skill, like Mining (always lucrative); people will pay obscene prices on the AHfor raw mats they need to skill up professions.

    Use the Burning Crusade Content: Original WoW was good; Burning Crusade is better. Even if you don’t play a draenei or blood elf, try to level up in their starting zones. Better aesthetics, better quests, better loot.

    The Game Starts in the Outlands: Most of WoW’s best content was added in Burning Crusade via the Outland, the Level 61-70 zones. Levels 1-60 are boring by comparison. They’re also a ghost town compared to Levels 61-70. I wouldn’t blame you if you just tried to level up through them as fast as possible to get to Outland; Blizzard even increased your XP gain for the lower levels to help you do it.

    WoWWiki is your Friend: The community has analyzed & picked apart WoW to death; the end result is WoWWiki.com. Use it, abuse it, love it.

    The Company You Keep: WoW has a customer base that rivals casual games for diversity: there are the usual teenage munchkins, but there’s also a lot of college graduates, parents, and families playing it as well. There are oases of civility in there; put some effort into finding them and WoW will be much more enjoyable.

  45. Liz says:

    WoW is incredibly more fun if you play with friends, although personally I do play a lot solo as well. But the main reason I play at all is so that I have an activity I can do with the friends I have who live far away- and it is very, very good for that.

  46. AlphabetFish says:

    I would recommend a PvE server if you’re just starting out. The only thing a PvP server adds is lots of downtime when a vastly more powerful character kills you repeatedly–and this happens a lot, interfering with your questing.

    On a PvE server, you can still do PvP in battlegrounds or even out in the world, but you won’t be FORCED into it like on a PvP server.

    Might I suggest my server… Kilrogg? Old PST server (one of the originals at launch) but it’s stable, with a good player base and lots of people leveling alts that a new player can group with. :)

  47. Gothmog says:

    Noooooooooooo!

    Hold strong, Shamus. May you emerge from the depths of WoW with your soul intact.

    *bows head*

    *dirge music starts*

  48. Shinjin says:

    The true test of friendship – start on a server where nobody else you know has a character and see who is willing to start up on *yours* ;)

  49. Darian says:

    You’re behind the times! WoW is obsolete in MMO terms, Age of Conan is where it’s at now! First person shooting for the Rangers, directional combat and shielding, and a lot cooler scenery.

  50. Mephane says:

    Well, I have played WoW for 2-3 years, with a half-year break in between, and it is a fun game, but the problem ist mainly that in the end, you sit at maximum level and if you don’t like the endgame raiding, the e-sports-wannabe-PvP (arenas) and excessive money grinding/daily repeatable quests (every day the same, heh), you will likely lose interest after a while at maximum level. But until then, it _is_ a very fun game, despite its flaws, and to a newbie to MMORPGs, I can definitely recommend it. It teaches you much about what makes a MMORPG good as well as what makes it bad.

  51. Meta says:

    God speed.

    I second the notion for a PvE server. The only thing PvP seems to add to the game is ganking. And some raiding, but you’ll notice the ganking more.

    Never found it very addictive myself, though I played for roughly 2 years in total, with some breaks. Had there not always been something binding me to the game, such as the goal of max level or friends, I had played a lot less.

  52. Sheer_FALACY says:

    I second the recommendation somewhere of making a hunter. There are quests anyone can solo, quests that require groups but not instances, and quests that require you go into dungeons. Hunters can solo most quests that require groups, and given your opinions that seems like a major plus.

  53. Nanja Kang says:

    As an avid tabletop RPG’er, I found WoW boring. I also was dragged into WoW late (about 2 months ago) and I played it for a bit, but lost interest. I have heard Age of Conan is good it has a fun active combat system, but I think that you will become bored with WoW quickly, and find that it has little substance for your Shamus. And I think Mephane also said what needed to be said as well, you will see obvious problems, and the grinding it takes to be where you WANT to be becomes excessive.

  54. Mari says:

    I’ve thus far managed to avoid the WoW syndrome. I’ve seen it repeatedly referred to as a drug. I find it to be more like a cult. All my friends that play WoW are constantly trying to “bring me into the fold” with them. I expect any day to answer a knock at the door and find people handing out free 10-day trial discs as they attempt to share their enlightenment and happiness with me.

    Shawn’s obviously already been lost to them completely. Don’t follow, Shamus, please. Be a beacon of sanity and a hero to those of us who refuse to convert. :-P

  55. Spam Vader says:

    Shamus is going to play WoW. It’s a tragedy worthy of Shakespeare.

  56. Calite says:

    I was one of the first WoW junkies, playing beta then getting the game as soon as it came out. As a huge RP fan I loved to play on the RP servers back then. It was great, not that widespread of a game yet, just core RPG enthusiasts, with little to no problems of people interrupting RP on the RP servers. RP wasn’t as big as PvP or Normal, so there weren’t as many servers, and that helped keep non-rpers out of rp servers.

    Years later there are 3 to 4 times as many PvP and Normal servers as RP and RPPvP and STILL people come to RP servers with no intention to RP. The game is so popular WoW doesn’t have the ability to watch every aspect of the game like it used to, so RP moderation goes down a good deal, allowing non-rpers to appear more and more on rp servers. Nowadays RPers aren’t even the majority on RP and RPPvP servers, thus I quit. It’s much more fun when your immersed in the game, and without that immesrsion the game holds hardly any interest for someone who played as long as I did.

    Don’t get lost in the game just to be disillusioned one day.

  57. LintMan says:

    Well, it was a nice blog while it lasted…

    Seriously, though, I’ll be disappointed if it goes away or becomes MMO/Warcraft-focused.

    For me, a big part of the appeal of your site is that you care about a lot of the same game elements that I do (ie: story, DIAS, DRM, etc) which the majority of people I come across online (especially the gaming press) don’t seem to care about.

    Personally, though, WOW and other MMO’s just don’t interest me. At first I stayed far away from MMO’s because I feared getting sucked in, something I can’t afford to do while keeping my career and marriage/family intact. But MMO’s are grinderiffic and grind in games bores me really quickly (and feels like a waste of my time). So their appeal isn’t too strong for me anymore.

    Have fun, though!

  58. Patrick says:

    I enojoyed WOW, got myself up to level 61, but…

    I’m just tire dof it. It really doesn’t have anything left for me. Oh, people talk about all the “neat things” i can suposedly do now, but it amounts to do exactly the same things I’ve bene doing for the past 60 levels, and then farming items until I vomit.

    So, I’ve moved on. I liked WoW, but there’s really nothing left.

  59. Ian says:

    @noneofcon:

    Well then how would you describe it?

    Like I said, I’ve never gotten involved in combat in EVE. I mainly do mining, manufacturing, and trading. When faced with a potentially dangerous situation, I tuck my tail between my legs and flee.

    I think the best way to describe EVE would be simply a space MMO, since it’s really what you make of it. Combat is only part of the EVE experience and one that plenty of players never partake in outside of the limited combat in the training missions.

  60. General Karthos says:

    I never was interested in WoW. Or Everquest. Or any MMORPG. Ever. They just never seized me. In fact, in general, I dislike the label of “Roleplaying Games” on computers or consoles. The only games where I’ve ever really felt like I played a role were KOTOR (I more than II), Jade Empire, and lately Mass Effect (on XBox).

    MMORPGs have always, to my mind, consisted mostly of power-leveling, and as someone who is unwilling to play any games more than casually (except obsessively for the first 48-72 hours) I could never really get into it. Having to sit down to crawl my way through a three-hour dungeon never appealed to me, and if I could just leave my screen for an hour at a time while my guy did his stuff automatically, what was the point for paying 15 bucks a month for the privilege of doing nothing except hitting a key every ten minutes.

    I understand the community aspect, but if I’m gonna do online roleplaying, I’d like to do online roleplaying at sites like the “Roleplaying Games Network” and so forth. Real roleplaying, real games, and the ability to go where no Face-to-Face game could ever go.

    Meh, my 2.08 cents.

  61. Sarah says:

    Well, Shamus, whatever server you pick, we’d like to hear about it.

    I’m sure you’re likely to choose an RP server, given how much you seem to enjoy storytelling. I might suggest Kirin Tor or Lightninghoof as good ones.

    Do tell us which, though. And good luck!

    I would also reccomend starting off as a Dwarf, Human, Tauren or Undead if you can. The Night-elf starting zones include a total lack of meat for hunters to feed their pets, which is exceedingly annoying, and the quest zones are kind of oddly placed n Teldrassil, so that might be a bit frustrating to you.

    Don’t go PvP server if you even mildly dislike PvP, though I won’t lie, there’s nothing quite like getting an adrenaline rush from every time you think you might see a night-elf coming ’round the tree to kill your Troll. I swear, for months after that encounter I about had a heart attack playing my elf.

    “oh my god, no! An elf! I don’t want to die, I’M TOO YOUNG TO D- …oh, no wait….that’s me. *whew*”

  62. Xander says:

    While you’re playing RPGs you might want to check out Tabula Rasa. I’d love to hear your take on it.

    Unless of course you get addicted to WoW and nobody ever hears from you again.

  63. OM3G4 says:

    Since you seem to be on a MMO spree as of late, I suggest that you give DDO a try.

  64. Allen says:

    I’m sure you’ve already gotten a dozen or so offers, Shamus(I’m too lazy to read through the comments, feh), but I’d be happy to give you a quick tour, advice and any help I can if you want. Hit me up for PvE on Alleria, Hordeside, named Shoebox or Obee, or for PvP on Dark Iron, Alliance, named Vas.

    Doubt I’ll see anything, but hope you enjoy the game(or get sick of it REALLY quickly and get out before it sucks you in)

  65. xbolt says:

    Bye, Shamus! It was fun while it lasted…

  66. Scourge says:

    Wait until you ahve to go DL all the patches. I think that accumulated already to roughly 3 GB back when I played it once, which was 3 years ago or so.

    I bet it is now at least up to 5 GB of patches and stuff.

    Much fun.

  67. Allan says:

    I don’t get the appeal of WoW, it’s perhaps the most boring game I’ve ever played. It’s just kill x, pick up y or most common, kill x until you pick up y and x drops y at a rate of 0.00000000000000000000001%(well, that’s how it feels). I know that quest structure is common to most real (Western, non-online) RPGs but they always have a story interaction and some modicum of freedom for different resolutions draped around them which keeps me interested. But in WoW and almost all other MMOs you have no impact on the story, whatever you do, the gameworld will NEVER change, you will NEVER have an effect on ANYTHING.

    Unless you have a group of friends you know well and see atleast semi-regularly in real life then it can be a lot of fun to quest with them but otherwise I’d avoid the thing like the plague.

  68. Nicholas says:

    In addition to what others have said, I recommend playing the horde on a PvE or RP server. Now, it’s not true for all servers, but my experience is that the horde tends to attract older players, and whilst there are generally less players it’s easier to pick up GOOD players for instances.

    As I’ve said before, depends on server though. Plus I love the horde fluff, so I’m a sucker for them.

    I won’t be playing with you regardless though, as I’m on a Europe server ^^

  69. Gahaz says:

    Anyone else out there in blog land get tired of hearing the “Oh no! We will never see you again! WoW is a drug!” speech? I play it rather regularly and still have plenty of time to spend with my family friends and make it to work. Its amzing I know. Don’t give me that “But I have a friend, and he disappeared in it!” talk. Thats a problem with your friend, not the game.

    As a response to the WoW is boring statements, you know what else is boring to some? Chess, and that shiz still sells “copies” and has a continuing circuit of tournaments.

    “Kill x till y drops” is a bad design for an rpg? Most of us loved Diablo and it pretty much boiled down to “There’s an evil down there. Now go kill six thousand skeletons till an item you want drops.”

    Its a game people, not some force of evil. Its a pretty good MMORPG that is easy to pick up and learn and always gives you something to do. Its not the most complex, but hey, sometimes I want a little simplicity in these online games.

    Anywho, good luck to ya Shamus! Remember, when a chat channel gets too annoying /leave then the number of the channel silences it.

    Best of wishes from Gahazakul, Restorative Shaman, Level 70 Orc of the Horde on the Kael’thas server.

  70. Zaxares says:

    I tried WoW a while back, hated it, uninstalled the demo, and never looked at it again. Maybe you’ll find it more to your taste though, Shamus. As always, I am interested to see your review of it when you’re back.

  71. Allan says:

    @Gahaz;

    Like I said in my comment I know that “Kill x till y drops” is a common quest structure in RPGs but non MMORPGs usually have a real evolving story behind them. Let’s say you get a quest “Kill skeletons threatening the village” in wow you finish that quest you get “Well done” but the skeleton’s just respawn and the village is never safe, if you come back in 10 minutes it’s like nothing ever happened. The story can’t change, nothing new can happen, everything has to respawn so the other players can do it. To me when this happens I no longer think “I’m saving the village, yay!” I think “Oh, I appear to be quest-approved grinding as opposed to normal grinding, yay…”

  72. Iudex Fatarum says:

    I currently have characters on two servers, my main characters are on an RP server (Sentinels) and I joined partly because a friend of mine has a great RP Guild and he also doesn’t help me too much (He only helped me with one quest, I could have asked for more help but didn’t need it) The other thing I’ve found with guilds is that if you are part of a larger grouping of guilds it helps, so for example we are part of a collection of about 7 guilds that work together, but each guild is small so you can know the people.
    My other character I’m leveling purely so I can join a friend’s guild on a different server. My highest character is lvl 25 and I have had 8 characters. Find a class and race you like. I like my orc warlock and blood elf hunter quite a bit.
    While the quests arn’t great the fun is partly in exploring, and just plain killing things. I also enjoy talking to my friends on the servers and working inside of my guild.

  73. The Nickster says:

    From 1-69, the game is very much like a traditional single player RPG. There are lower level instances that you can run with friends. Getting a PUG (Pick Up Group) for these lower level instances can be rough though, since most people are in outlands.

    If you really want to group up as a “newb”, your best bet would be to put a call out to your readers to form a “20 sided guild”…

    EDIT: why is my wavatar so unhappy? Somebody should cheer the little guy up…

  74. Andre says:

    For what it’s worth, I have the feeling that Shamus is going to give up on WoW within a week.

  75. Joshua says:

    “Let's say you get a quest “Kill skeletons threatening the village” in wow you finish that quest you get “Well done” but the skeleton's just respawn and the village is never safe, if you come back in 10 minutes it's like nothing ever happened. ”

    This was my biggest complaint about playing the MMOs that I did(DAOC, Guild Wars, LOTRO)- nothing you do really ever changes the game. In LOTRO, I really discovered this complaint earlier on during a quest where you are supposed to destroy a poisonous plant. About 30 seconds after you chop one down, it’s respawning.

    The sad thing is, game designers could really work around this- they just choose not to. For example, you could just have the game make things that you’ve supposedly destroyed invisible(and non-aggroing in the case of monsters) if you have really thinned their numbers. If someone was fighting said monster, you would see it, but you wouldn’t see the other 30 that are just wandering aimlessly around the countryside. If you have put an item somewhere, patched a dam, planted a tree, etc., just set a variable on the object that it’s only visible to those who did the quest/task.

    Another complaint is the lack of an immersive world, where you believe the NPCs belong there, and not just to give you quests. This is also a problem with single player games as well. I remember playing Ultima V(back in the EIGHTIES), and merchants would close shop at night and go to their assigned house and sleep. How come no one does this anymore?

    The last major complaint I have with MMOs is unfortunately probably going to never be solved- the lack of a reasonably obtainable end-game. If you “win”, you might stop playing. Therefore, the designers either never put in a “You have saved the kingdom/world”, or will make it ridiculously hard by requiring endless series of huge raids that require everyone to be on their A-game after each acquiring all of the necessary items, blah, blah, blah.

  76. Ian says:

    I remember playing Ultima V(back in the EIGHTIES), and merchants would close shop at night and go to their assigned house and sleep. How come no one does this anymore?

    Oblivion does that. ;)

    Granted, whenever I “talk” to the NPCs if feels like I’m speaking to a tape recorder, but they still have daily routines if nothing else.

  77. Robert says:

    You know, the wife and I tried out EQ II and WOW. Contrary to what seems to be consensus here we found EQ II to be a much better game. The graphics and game mechanics seemed 2-3 generations advanced from the engine WOW uses. We also found WOW to be basically not very much fun at all (maturity level is not that high on those servers).

    Of course, the same MMO problems exist over there as all the other MMO’s we’ve tried (Grinding, camping, lack of easy solo content, etc..). In the end, we quit them all and now await SPORE with much anticipation. (That creature editor is amazing…just try it out…DRM or no DRM EA/Maxis is going to have a license to print money with this game).

  78. Iudex Fatarum says:

    The reason I am very happy that WoW doesn’t go for realism with closing shops at night is that I moved to china for a brief period of time and while here I only am able to play when it is night server time. This means that I play mostly alone, and do have to deal already with server down times more. Now you are asking me to also not be able to buy or sell items? Does that sound reasonable? I’m not talking about living here long term (i’d buy the chinese version of wow if i was going to do that) I’m only here for 6 months

  79. Rick Tacular says:

    I’m going to have to second the recommendation for City of Heroes, and again for the same reason why I posted earlier. It’s not another Sword and Sorcery knockoff. It’s there, but there is so much more in the way of variety and combination of powers. Not to mention that the costuming part is half the game right there!

    Just for that, I’m going off to play my Dual-Blades/Willpower Scrapper with my Plant/Thermal Controller wife. ;-)

  80. I have more than a couple of friends in the industry, some of whom go back to the 70s with me with TSR & Chaosium. I played WoW because of their recommendation.

    If I had the time, I’d still be playing it.

    The biggest problem with world change switches (which are easy enough to do with flags that already exist) is that they keep experienced characters from being able to help newer characters.

    As to servers. My biggest mistake was buying WoW when Burning Crusade came out and logging on to a server based on it always being open to log on, which put me on a RP PvP server.

    BTW, you can transfer from RP to non-RP and from PvP to PvE servers easily. You can’t transfer from a PvE to a PvP server, unless they’ve changed that.

    Wish you luck on the experiment.

    I think it will let you complete your evaluation of the troika — HG:L, Guild Wars and WoW — the three successors to Diablo II.

    But yes, I’m tempted to upgrade my daughter’s computer, buy a second WoW account, split up the characters between the two accounts and start playing again, as a team.

    But I hold on to doing other things ;)

  81. Let me also add that you should level cooking and first aid as you go, pair a gathering and a manufacturing skill together, and enjoy the game.

    Warlocks are fun, mages are too. Druids are surprisingly fun.

    Did I mention warlocks? ;) Ok, actually, all of the character types can be fun, which is why there are so many of each.

    Rogues need fear only warriors. Priests can do about anything, depending on what you decide to do with them. I found warlocks easier.

    Mage engineers are fun. Heck, just about anything is fun.

    Keep us updated.

  82. HeatherRae says:

    I started playing WoW about a month ago, and I have to admit, I’m totally hooked. I almost quit, though, when I first started. My first character was a Human Priest and I found the quests to be dry, dull, and mind-numbingly boring.

    Then I went over to another server where some friends play, and made a Horde character. A Blood Elf. And I have to say, the Blood Elf starting quests are awesome! They are so interesting and, for me, quite gripping. The Sin’dorei story is so tragic that I just couldn’t help but be hooked by it. I now have a level 36 Hunter and a level 16 Priest, both Blood Elves. I really enjoy playing. :-D Even with the occasional PvP.

  83. Alexis says:

    +1 to Gahaz… there are a bunch of comments from people who’ve never tried it, saying it’s an inescapable addiction. Mixed right in there are others saying they got bored and gave it up. Like any game, it’s fun for a while, then you stop. Shamus is used to time management, give him some credit.

    @Shamus: for my $0.02, start a Draenei Shaman on an RP server. I’d say why but you make me late for work way too often already!
    The girl model is prettier than the boy model. Bear in mind the number of hours you will be watching that ass wiggle/waddle about.

  84. nehumanuscrede says:

    Just remember, if / when you finally get frustrated to
    the point of insanity of not being able to put enough time
    in to see the world, there is always the private server
    software that will rescue you from the dark pit of addiction.

    With it, I was able to see most of the grand creation that
    is WoW within a few hours. Places I would otherwise would
    NEVER been able to see at all without a high level raiding
    guild to help.

    Flying around Outland on a Phoenix mount is quite fun :)

  85. Heckie says:

    Oooh ooh! Just wait till his horde character hits the barrens…

    Place your bets! how many Zhevras will he have to slaughter to get Four hooves? I’ll bet you even odds that he’ll have a soliloquy about not being able to just flip the damn horse-thing over and whip out a saw.

    There are other places in the game where his forehead will hit the monitor in the absolute gall of blizzard-logic, but I’ll save those for after he hits them. No sense scaring the poor lad.

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