OK, so Dadman challenges my “Mr. Mom” update suggesting that my lack of blogging is due to a bleary-eyed compulsive addiction to World of Warcraft, so I felt like it was time to post an update to my WoW activities just to be fair. Plus, it’s been a lot of fun.
OK, so first to come clean about my time investment. I haven’t been keeping track, but my best estimate is that I’ve spent about 2-3 hours per day playing WoW, which is fairly consistent with my old days in EverQuest. I think that will settle down to a smaller number once I’m done power-leveling my character to a reasonably fun playing level, which I’m actually pretty close to now. Right now my main character is at level 28, a level that would likely have taken two months to reach in EQ with the same daily time investment. So that’s a good thing I think.
I have to say that WoW is a whole lot more fun at low levels than EQ was. EQ was actually quite boring and slow-paced at the lowest levels. I still remember the days of killing rats and spiders to try to get enough XP and cash to actually get a decent sword or staff and some clothes other than rags. In WoW you get decent clothes, weapons and armor even at first level and you don’t feel like a destitute homeless person who has to kill rats to live. So that’s a good thing. EQ was not fun at all until you were in your teens. WoW feels like that right off the bat. The immediate impact of this is that in EQ it was an absolute chore to create a new character, but in WoW it’s actually sort of fun, so that encourages players to experiment with races and classes. That’s got to be good for WoW as a game.
OK, back to my specific character. Up until Saturday I had been strictly “power-leveling” my character. “Power-leveling” has different meanings and connotations depending on who you talk to, but to me it means that I have been systematically pursuing those things that I believe will advance the character in levels as quickly as possible. It also means that I have not turned down help that has been offered by higher level characters. My goal was to get the character to a high enough level that I can start to participate in the more difficult and entertaining activities, such as “Player vs. Player” gaming (more on that later).
I tend to be a single-minded sort of person when I get my focus on an issue. The positive side of that is that I can focus a lot of time and effort on a project. The down side of that is that I sometimes get so focused on a specific goal that I lose sight of the bigger picture. That’s sort of what happened with power-leveling. I was so into the process of climbing up the level ladder with this character, that my original goal of “making a fun character to play” got sort of lost and I didn’t really get back to that until Friday or Saturday of last week, when I realized that I had completely neglected the character’s skills, talents and other character development things. By then the character was at level 26.
So since then I have more or less changed my focus completely, and as such my level advancement has slowed to a crawl. Mostly I’ve been developing skills and professions, as well as working on specific means of making money in the game. Focusing on skills and professions is not completely counter-productive when it comes to leveling, but leveling becomes a totally secondary activity. For example, my character’s basic profession is “mining” and as such my character has to go prospecting for mineral deposits, and then has to go there and dig the minerals out of the ground. Sometimes that means simply walking around and digging stuff up, but on occasion it means having to kill a bunch of mobs who are camped right on top of the mineral deposit. So if the mobs happen to be a high enough level to give experience when you kill them, then you get XP from the clearing out of the mobs. In this way I managed to crawl up a couple more levels. Eventually you reach a point that you have to mine rarer minerals and have to roam farther afield, and then the prospecting and leveling become more compatible. Because I neglected mining for so long I had to go back to areas where the mobs were such a low level that I didn’t even get XP for clearing them out. Now I’m mostly mining tin which tends to be found in higher level areas so I’m back to getting some XP as I prospect. Next up is silver…
My character’s other profession is smithing. Right now all I can make is basic boring copper or brass armor and weapons. I have to work my way up to iron, and then to steel. I doubt I’ll be able to make much money selling stuff until I am able to make and sell steel weapons or armor. In a sense it’s sort of odd, my character is a rogue, and rogues can only wear leather armor, but the only armor I can make is mail armor, which means I can’t actually wear anything that I make. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not, but it does mean that my character will focus entirely on armor that can be SOLD not worn. Which may be a good thing. I can use the weapons I make though, although I can’t yet make weapons that are as good as the ones I either get from quests or can buy. As I said, I neglected my professions and skills. So my goal now is to get all of my profession and skills maxed out and keep them that way as I get back to leveling as a goal.
And then last night I discovered Player vs. Player arena battles.
And I suck at it. I was getting totally wiped out in embarrassing ways. I wasn’t totally useless, I was able to take out some opposing characters and was able to win one of the “capture the flag” scenarios I was involved with, but lost the other two. I was the target of more than a few “n00b” comments so I know that my incompetence was noted.
And anyone who knows me should know how intolerable I find this to be. It is not in my nature that I have to be the BEST at everything, but at least I do expect myself to be COMPETENT at anything I do. And right now I’m far from competent in player vs. player combat on WoW. I’ve gotten to where I can take down a mob without much trouble and really only get into trouble when three or more mobs of equal or higher level swarm me. But in PvP I have been taken out of action by a single opponent with humiliating ease. I clearly have a LOT to learn still about how to fight.
Anyway, that’s about where I am now. The past couple of days I have really slowed down my game play. I may have the game up but my character is frequently just standing around next to an anvil or a forge. I’m spending a lot more time waiting and thinking than I did the first couple of weeks.
All in all I have to say that WoW is a much superior game to EverQuest. Blizzard obviously checked out EQ and determined what worked and what didn’t. They made the things that did not work, work better and made sure that all the stuff that did work was carried over. It is no wonder that there was a mass defection from EQ to WoW and that you almost never hear about EQ anymore.
More later, maybe.