WoW: Other people

I’ve been spending a little more time with Pleasance. She’s level 10 now, which means it’s time to choose a major. At level 10, WoW characters gain access to three class-specific areas of specialization with their own upgradeable skill trees (or “talent” trees, as they’re called here). For Warlocks, the three specializations are Affliction (mainly improving your damage-over-time and draining attacks), Demonology (making your summoned pet more effective), and Destruction (expensive but powerful direct-damage spells). After considerable consideration and googling, I’ve decided to invest my first talent point in Affliction. I do this partly because of the zero-downtime promise: drain attacks kill the enemy while healing you, and Warlocks can convert health into mana. (Mind you, I haven’t exactly had much downtime anyway. I assume it becomes more of a problem at higher levels, when you have more hit points to regain.)

The other reason I choose Affliction is a claim I saw that damage-over-time is less than optimally useful for solo play (in which anything that survives your damage-over-time long enough to get the full use out of the spell is going to get a few hits on you in the process), but shines in the context of an adventuring party, where you become the specialist in steadily whittling down boss monsters (while someone else specializes in keeping them from killing you). I figure this might give me a push to start looking for group. So far, I’ve been soloing it.

In fact, I haven’t been interacting with other players much at all. I have some friends that play WoW, but they’re not on the same server as Pleasance. (This is another reason I was experimenting with other characters.) Only two interactions so far stand out, and one wasn’t really an interaction, but more like a parallel action: I was off questing in a remote area that apparently is only much useful for that purpose, and found another undead warlock, with a pet just like mine, pursuing exactly the same quests as me, fighting the same quest-mandated monsters. We didn’t speak at all, but I occasionally paused to watch him fight, standing ready to step in if he looked like he was in trouble. There was a little flutter of fellowship-feeling, at least on my side.

The other was an annoyance. In the orc starting area, someone was trying to recruit strangers to become charter members of his new guild. I don’t know why. He didn’t explain what he was up to. He was certainly up to something: he clearly wasn’t interested in actually having a bunch of newbies in his guild, because he promised that we could quit immediately afterward. He even offered money at one point, but mostly he was trying to recruit through persistent pleading. I declined, because obviously annoying behavior shouldn’t be encouraged, but he kept thrusting his petition on me whenever I stood still. Note that I only ever stood still when I was trying to talk to an NPC about a quest. The guild petition would appear in a special sub-window, replacing whatever contents were there already, to wit, the details of the quest I was trying to begin or complete. I guess it’s possible that the petitioner didn’t realize this was happening, but he should have at least understood that repeatedly asking someone to sign something they’ve already refused to sign isn’t a very effective way to gather signatures.

Still, that’s pretty mild stuff compared to my general experience with online gaming. I haven’t run into any real griefing yet, and no PKing at all. Which probably shows that I need to get out and meet people some more.

4 Comments so far

  1. Starmaker on 13 Jan 2011

    The dude just wanted a guild and the associated benefits (the guild name over his head, a custom tabard, and a guild bank). To create a guild, you need to buy a charter and get other people – other accounts – to sign it.

    You can place annoying people on your ignore list. This blocks trade and guild requests, as well as their words and emotes, with the exception of drunken “hic!”s (though that may have been already fixed).

  2. paul on 14 Jan 2011

    you’re not on a pvp server are you??

    I’ve played wow, but only solo as well. I set up a private server, just to try it out. I liked being the only hero in the world, but the auction house was pretty dull.

    I’m tempted to try the real thing to see the Cataclysm changes.

  3. josh g. on 14 Jan 2011

    Even on a PvP server, griefing in zones for lvl1-10 characters is pretty rare. The logistics make it very hard to pull off, and PvP fighting in the later zones is far more accessible and just as satisfying. Expect that to change as soon as you’re questing in later zones, especially past level 20.

    Ironically, WoW is set up in such a way that even the PvP servers are somewhat “care bear” by old school standards. Non-consensual PvP is only possible across factions – in other words, you will only ever be griefed by Alliance players if you’re a Horde race.

    (In fact, I can’t remember for sure as it’s been a few years now, but I think that in the pre-lvl-20 zones, griefing is near impossible as Alliance players can’t attack you first. In other words, even on PvP servers, PvP doesn’t really start until you’re in a lvl20 zone. I may be slightly off but there’s something like that in place.)

    The reason that it still works so well at satisfying the PvP urge is that the faction-vs-faction mentality is played to the utmost. You *cannot* speak to Alliance characters – everything they say will sound like stylized gibberish. The Us-vs-Them mentality is strongly reinforced, meaning both that it’s easier to feel justified in attacking the other side, but also that it’s usually easy to get people on your side to back you up if you get ganked. So if you’re playing in a Horde-heavy zone and you get griefed, let the zone know and you can be pretty sure that the griefer will be hunted down (or, if it’s a large party, there’ll be outright war soon). In later zones like STV (stranglehold vale or something like that, I forget exactly) where you have both Horde and Alliance characters questing in parallel, combat comes often and quickly but support is often there as well.

    If you really want to force yourself to do stuff with groups more, I’d strongly suggest finding your way out of the Undead zones and over to the Barrens. I don’t know how the dynamics of things will have shifted post-Cataclysm, but with three Horde races (Orc, Troll, and Tauren) all funnelled through The Barrens for their lvl10-20 questing, it’s just a more populated zone. Although consider yourself warned, it also has a reputation for the most inane zone-wide chat in the entire game. (Blizzard themselves have sold a t-shirt with the proud claim, “I Survived Barrens Chat”.)

    There’s also an instance-based raid zone for, I think, lvls 8-10ish that’s found in the Orc city. If you want a taste of what later gameplay is like I’d highly recommend trying it out. There are other low-level raid zones in Horde territory but I think they all start around lvl15-20 or something like that.

  4. Merus on 14 Jan 2011

    The levels have all shifted post-Cataclysm; the dungeon you’re referring to, Ragefire Chasm, is now level 15. The Barrens has been split, as well; Northern Barrens is the new 10-20 zone, and many races are encouraged to visit Azshara. As a result, Barrens Chat is mostly dead. (Replaced, sadly, by Trade Chat. There was a time where the description of Trade Chat was accurate.)

    That said, considering you’ve worked your way through Tirisfal Glades, you should continue the story down into Silverpine Forest, which is another strong zone which takes full advantage of WoW’s phasing technology. There’ll be time to group later, when you reach level 15 and the Dungeon Finder becomes available.

    Incidentally, when you see people around in the world doing the same quest you are, you can invite them to create a party with you by right-clicking on their portrait. The game automatically divides loot, and kills made by other party members count towards quest completion. (This is invaluable when, as frequently happens during the end-game, a quest asks you to kill a specific named monster and there’s four other people waiting for it to respawn.) If you explain what you’re doing, they shouldn’t mind; after all, it benefits them as well.

    “Mind you, I haven’t exactly had much downtime anyway. I assume it becomes more of a problem at higher levels, when you have more hit points to regain.”

    I meant to point this out earlier: under level 10, characters regenerate health and mana much faster. That advantage slowly starts to fade over the next ten levels, to the point where carrying around some food and/or drink is a good idea.

    I hope you try out the PvP battlegrounds at some point. You’ll likely not run across any PKing on the server you’re on, and griefing would mostly be limited to an Alliance player with their PvP flag on trying to make you accidentally click them (thus making you available to be murdered) instead of a monster corpse. That happens rarely, because it tends not to work.

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