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Follow the Lemmings

February 9th, 2007 by Troy Goodfellow · 18 Comments · Me, MMO

I finally submitted to the years of peer pressure and Burning Crusade hype. I now have a World of Warcraft account. For now, it’s just a single level 10 Tauren. And thankfully I’ve had some friends and a guild to lend me a hand and give me some advice – no twinking unless free bags and a little gold count as twinking. I’m still a purist about this sort of thing.

Some initial thoughts.

1) Trial accounts are evil. Sure, Blizzard gives you ten days, but those ten days mean only sixteen baggage slots. You can’t give items to people, trade items to people or get stuff in the mail. So a lot of the group dynamic stuff is lost and you continually run back and forth to and from town to sell the crap you picked up so you have enough room for your quest loot. No wonder I upgraded.

2) So the Tauren are Sioux? Or Cherokee? Maybe Mandan? Something Native American. Here I thought I would be a big bad minotaur eating Athenian virgins, but instead I go on vision quests, learn the Way of the Hunter, and talk to people called Brave Cloudhoof or Shaman Hufflepuff. The only non-Indian thing I do is use a tiny portion of a dead animal instead of the whole thing. If there were bison around, I’d probably have a quest that involves collecting horns and nothing else.

3) The difference between medium graphics and high graphics isn’t that stark. I was astonished. But then I remembered that you don’t sell five million boxes by keeping really good stuff hidden from mid-range users. Everybody already knows how great the art design is.

4) I always feel sorry killing goblins because they make such a sweet, cute sound when they die. And they are tiny.

5) The trade chatter in the channel is either a special language crafted by illiterates or an efficient way of trading crafted by stock brokers.

I should probably make new characters on new servers to see how this goes. And I promise that this blog will not turn into Yet Another Blog Wherein The Blogger Bitches About His Guild. But I will post questions and game design thoughts as they come to me. And try better to tie them to strategy games.


18 Comments so far ↓

  • steve

    “And thankfully I’ve had some friends and a guild to lend me a hand and give me some advice – no twinking unless free bags and a little gold count as twinking. I’m still a purist about this sort of thing.”

    Um, that counts as twinking.

    Bags are expensive, and a precious commodity in the beginning of the game. Without someone giving over bags, you do exactly what you did in the trial; constantly run back and forth selling stuff, or throw out some of the garbage items.

    Now that I’ve leveled a bunch of toons up, I know how to make cash early. I have a level 17 Blood Elf, for example, that already has over 30 gold just from selling things in the Auction House.

  • steve

    Oh, what server is your Tauren on?

  • Troy

    Bags are twinking!? Aaah! I feel like I’ve been covered in astroturf and designated hitters. I still kill things very slowly.

    I just sold my first auction item yesterday, with Moneybags Geryk giving me the walkthrough.

    I’m on Arathor in the Qt3 guild. Look for Franken.

  • Troy

    Oh, and it’s only one small bag. And it’s green, so it really doesn’t go with anything I’m wearing.

  • Corvus

    My level 8 Be rogue has over 70G from flipping Dragonhawk hatchlings in Gadgetzan.

    I almost can’t believe I spent so much time making that happen.

  • Bruce

    As Steve said, bags are a precious commodity, especially in the beginning. But the trial accounts don’t limit them in any way unless you already have a guild or friends who have stuff to give you. When you and Tom and I made new characters, we would all have had to make do with the initial storage allotment if those had been our first characters, trial account or no. When we leveled up our first characters (I refuse to say, “toon”) we had to do exactly what Steve said – run back and forth to merchants. And we had paid for the game! Ok, we were press, so we didn’t. But you get the point.

  • Troy

    Precious commodity indeed…not that expensive to buy it seems, though. Not that I don’t appreciate the help. Now get in here and help me find that kodo that’s been causing all that trouble. I camped there for an hour or so this afternoon and found nothing. Finished the harpy feather quest, though. And purified a well. And returned the animal claws I needed to find.

    There are far too many quests. This game needs fewer fetchit quests and more gyrating elves.

  • Bruce

    The quests do get better as you move along. Also, the quests in Blood Elf Land are a lot better right from the get-go – Blizzard really learned from experience.

    I’ll help you with that kodo if you promise me one thing: GET A NEW MICROPHONE!

  • Alan

    Ah, the temptation of WoW; I’m not sure if I’m avoiding it out of a general distaste for the MMOG experience (ask me about UO some time), or whether I’m afraid I’ll actually *enjoy* the game and want to play it incessantly. Probably it’s a little bit of both.

  • Michael A.

    Same here (to what Alan said). Except that my last MMOG experience goes all the way back the days of JediMUD. And I still haven’t heard anything that makes me believe they’ve gotten better since. ;)

  • Bruce

    I can sorta maybe see the hesitation to try an MMO based on past experience, but there really isn’t any risk. The 10-day trial is free, and if Troy sends it to you and you do end up subscribing, he gets 30 free days. If not, you uninstall and forget about it.

    As for the “I’ll want to play it too much” thing, I know it’s half in jest, but come on. It’s not physiologically addictive. Adults can decide when they have time to play and when they don’t. Those who can’t have a condition that needs to be treated regardless of whether they play WoW or not.

  • Troy

    What Bruce says. WoW is a very compelling game, so far, and I’ve been playing a lot (mostly with Bruce as a guide) but probably no more than I would any other really great game that I just discovered. So far my time spent with it pales next to my epic week one sessions with Civ 2, EU2 or Age of Empires. Of course, I was younger then with more time on my hands.

    Its “addictive” qualities are like any other entertainment, I think. I just read the entire Song of Ice and Fire series in a few weeks, but no one would accuse me of being addicted to them. And, if you play in a group of other well-adjusted adults, they can serve as a brake on your compulsion.

    That said, it is a “virtual world” and a very attractive one where skills are gained easily, accomplishment is measured objectively and your goals are always apparent. I can see how some people who need that sort of reassuring climate would be drawn to spending more and more time in this world. But this was true of MUDs in their time, except you never had millions of people playing them.

  • Krupo

    Here’s what I wonder: will there ever be a game that evokes the joy and excitement of the old BBS onliner TradeWars 2002?

  • Bruce

    I would say that WoW easily does it. Not for me right now, but I can easily imagine being overwhelmed by it 15 years ago, and can likewise imagine that happening for kids today. As you get older and have more experiences, it becomes harder and harder to get that feeling from a game.

  • Michael A.

    I am not at all in doubt that WoW is a very compelling game; after all, I have enough friends and acquaintances who tell me so. But then again, do I really need yet another compelling game to spend (i.e., waste) my time on – especially one that will insist on taking a monthly subscription off me? At least my Football (Soccer) Manager “addiction” only takes 20 quid of me once a year… ;)

    You must blog about the Song of F&I sometime, Troy. Haven’t read the latest, but would be fun to read your thoughts.

  • Troy

    The Martin books will be the next book article, early next week. As a preview thing to think about, I think that translating the appeal of the books to a game setting is harder than translating Tolkien or even Salvatore would be.

  • Michael A.

    Looking forward to it. Game of Thrones is already a (board)game, though.


    Plays a lot like Diplomacy.

  • Natus

    Not a fan of GRRM’s books nor a fan of the boardgame, which plays nothing like the awesome Diplomacy. ;) However, I am very much looking forward to Troy’s post on the subject.

    There are, however, some very good books and games based on the Wars of the Roses, just fyi.