My gaming experience recently has been about getting my little gnome rogue to level 60, and I succeeded last week. This posting is going to be a complete diversion from my usual more analytical things. It’s simply a mile marker for me on the gaming path.
My main character, a night elf druid, has languished a bit as a result of my time with the rogue. My rogue is a funny, cute little character, and it was challenging in the beginning to learn to play her well. A druid is a balanced character with many play style options. I chose the “healer” style, but with a lot of emphasis on being able to do damage with my spells, since I usually end up hunting solo with her most of the time. The rogue, however, feels more powerful! She can stealth around almost invisible, pick pockets, slip by all but the biggest monsters unseen, pick locks others have to do key quests for, stun prey so they can’t move while she’s beating on them, and just generally make life miserable for the evil creatures of the game.
One nice by-product of building a rogue is that I no longer need to ignore my druid’s “feral” abilities. Now when she shapeshifts into cat form, I understand the different abilities she has, because they are actually rogue-like abilities. It’s made playing the druid even more enjoyable in recent weeks.
When I got the druid to level 60, the group I was with went to one of the inns and sat down at a big table and toasted and celebrated with in-game liquor. We danced, we told jokes and had a nice party. I’ve been leveling the rogue with another friend who also has a level 60 rogue, so we leveled together, and went to the inn, toasted with a glass of wine, and then went back to our respective resting places. Now we have to figure out what’s next!
I applaud World of Warcraft for attempting to keep the high level players engaged in the game. They continuously publish new instance environments, new quests, new areas for high level players to test themselves. Realistically, unlike power players, which I am not, I will never achieve the high level armor sets, or the awesome weapons and trinkets. I simply have too much fun being invincible in the little world of the game that I know. I can go around picking plants for my herbalism efficiently and almost without consequence. Level 60 (especially with stealth ability) is too big for most of the bad creatures who tend to stand near the plants I use to risk attacking me. It’s exhilarating to zoom through a zone mounted on my mechanical “chicken” and grab every plant in sight as fast as I can. And it’s great fun to help the younger players. Today I helped a level 24 find the secret rogue hideout in the mountains, where rogues go to obtain class quests. He was attacked by every bear and spider in the area, and my tiny rogue would dispatch them with maybe two swings. I make no bones about liking to feel powerful…how often does that happen in real life? He said, “Wow!” several times, and it made me feel strong, invincible and worthy of admiration — and it was fun! Last weekend I bought a bow a very nice level 18 player was drooling over and mailed it to him. I have no idea who he is/was. I’ve already forgotten the name. But this is a consistent thing with me…and it’s often said of women players — that I enjoy talking with and helping others. It’s fun speculating who is actually behind that other keyboard. Personally, I’ve always gotten pleasure from answering questions, and helping “younger” players.
What I don’t care much about is the so-called set piece armor the game offers…the mark of accomplishmment one gets for fighting and being lucky in the bigger raid dungeons. My current armor has statistics equal to the set pieces — even if the set pieces are all designed to match, and my current attire is somewhat shabby looking! But realistically, I’m going to have to make a decision quite soon. It will get dull just running around collecting herbs, and then selling them or making potions, and helping the “newbies”. I’ll have to join a big guild and do big group raids, or I will have to throw myself into PvP (player versus player) combat. I’ve actually done both with my druid, and enjoy both equally. Or I can just start another character and build her to level 60. I do have two horde characters and a young mage and young priest already started. I’m just not sure at the moment which way to go.
Having known and played with characters of every class, I never get over being amazed at the level of detail that WoW manages to deliver. Every class is unique and has special abilities. Every class is fun to play. Every class has options that let the player customize their character’s play style to suit themselves. And the map of the game is enormous and growing. My personal preference is to be a mapper. The graphics are stunning. I love running around and just looking at the scenery! It’s incredibly well-executed in WoW and I never get tired of roaming in the forest and water zones (I could do without so many lava zones and the “weather” effects!).
The exquisite level of detail was brought home to me in the past few weeks, because I started playing Dungeons & Dragons Online a bit, just to see how it works and whether I might like to play it with some old work colleagues. Quite simply, I am spoiled. The DDO user interface is customizable, but is still clunkier than WoW‘s. The graphics bring my powerful computer to its knees…everything is jerky and there is no precision to the control. I have other friends who are enjoying it, but I simply think I have Azeroth in my blood now, and it will be hard to give up WoW for another enticement. Unless Blizzard’s poor communications with and service to players continues to get worse. There is still so much to discover there, so many quests to complete, and so many items to win! Not to mention, so many people to meet. As a number of social scientists have observed in other blogs, WoW is a great laboratory to watch and experiment with human interactions and dynamics! Maybe I’ll just enjoy being level 60 again, and start saving my gold to buy a high speed mount. I know I’ll need that whichever way the fortunes of a rogue blow…