I played the blood elf for a couple more levels, and I finally ran into two people at the second quest hub. It was interesting because at first the duo (one blood elf and one troll) just blew by me, but due to QuestHelper we were clearly following the same path of quests. It felt like drafting. We exchanged pleasantries and buffs, and they played through. Then, Indy came down the MMO mountain like Pai Mei, and told me what I had seemingly overlooked. I could play a death knight, and just start out with the second expansion’s material.
Numina became Excrucian, and my days serving the Lich King began. With the death knight starting area, Blizzard had clearly found the inclusivity I felt was lacking in the other starting areas. There was activity, things were dying, and I felt like I had a job to do. Through my next degree of WoW, I only ran into two or three other people, but this time it did not matter. The world felt alive.
And in this strange dichotomy of degrees, I learned something about myself. I liked MMOs not just because it was multiplayer, but it was massively so. The first word in the acronym took on new meaning. Maybe it wasn’t a matter of objective degree, such as the number of players on a server. It felt like it was more subjectively about the activities going on around me. When I walk in to town with players chatting, using the auction house, fishing, crafting, and dancing that’s when it felt like dancing. The death knight starting area and a few other MMO starting areas showed me that to some degree, the feeling of massive-ness could be faked with good use of NPC’s. But, I digress…
The quests were really good and varied. I do not begin to hope that this magic will last once I hit the “mainland,” but no death knight quest has felt like work. They have all been fun, while teaching (or re-teaching) the players the core mechanics of the game and playing this new class. I got to duel to the death with death knight dropouts, sneak through heavily guarded front lines in a mining cart, pick up arrows that dropped overhead onto the innocent villagers, and even fly an undead dragon raining death on the red-titled mobs below. Unlike the blood elf starting area, I was excited about every new quest I was undertaking. I hope that coming MMOs only further improve on the “advancements” games like Warhammer Online, Lord of the Rings Online, and now World of Warcraft have made in this small arena.
The use of phasing equally awesome. The best part was that I did not even see it happen. No loading screen at all. I just flew back up to the flying castle-mountain, grabbed a new quest, flew back down… and What!? The village that I had scouted out was now burning. I had entered phase II without so much as a hiccup in between. Of all the improvements I have seen in World of Warcraft from my short time in it, by far the use of phasing has been the most masterful. Still phasing must be elegantly used.
The next degree of WoW is going to come slower, but I know that I will make it. What was nearly an impulse buy from boredom may turn into “the game I play.” We will see. World of Warcraft has some tough competition with the Aion beta just now starting and Book 8 of Lord of the Rings Online coming out. But, with the head start on a great server, I am pretty certain of the lead in interest the older game now has.
old teenage hopes are alive at your door