Degrees of WoW – 100 Minutes

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

4 thoughts on “Degrees of WoW – 100 Minutes”

  1. The excellent starting area for DK’s has snared many players that thought they were just going to “check out” the DK. It’s definitely well done.

    Unfortunately, no content in the expansion uses phasing to that degree and that well. You actually don’t even see it used in such a way again until Icecrown, the last leveling zone in Northrend (I don’t count the case in Dragonblight because, even though its interesting, it doesn’t affect your gameplay).

    I find myself wondering if phasing came too late in the development process for them to utilize it as much as they could have. The expansion would’ve been a lot more interesting if phasing was present in every zone.

    I guess my point is you should check your expectations now so you aren’t disappointed when you leave the DK starting area. DK is a great class that is a lot of fun (hence it probably being the most played class in the game now), so I think you’ll enjoy yourself, but don’t expect the same kind of experience out in the world.

  2. I thought the Death Knight quests were interesting. The last encounter is kinda lame, though, because it takes any control out of your hands (you can’t actually kill any of the “important” enemies) and gives you a lot of blah-blah-blah in exchange. (As an aside, I don’t think machinima is a good replacement for walls of text storytelling.) Warcraft lore geeks might wet themselves with nerdgasms, though, seeing a bit of the world’s history play out.

    After that? I just logged on my DK to get a few inscription points to see how that tradeskill worked. The DK was overpowered, sure, but I just didn’t feel like racing through the same old BC content to get more levels. I definitely hit the wall and got bored. Perhaps you’ll fare better.

  3. The “massively” aspect is why I like Runes of Magic, the world feels alive and there are always players zipping by, even when you’re some distance away from a town.

    The problem there is that the players, like WoW players, still aren’t very social. They group for bosses and quests that can’t be done alone, but that’s it. Afterwards everyone leaves. Something that in the old and tightly-knit EverQuest community would have got you marked as rude on the server :)

  4. Ramon, the thing about EQ that was different than WOW or most of the current games is after level 10, unless you were a druid or a necro, you had to group. The people that stuck with EQ for the most part enjoyed grouping. The solo players picked the druid and necro and you didn’t see them around much. WOW promotes solo play for 80 levels and then expects those people to group. I think a lot of people either re-roll or leave the game at that point, and only the hard-core ones stick around to raid.
    DK’s are fun and the starting area is great. I hope in the next expac they have more hero type classes, or let you start all your toons at level 55.

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