First impressions of World of Warcraft

Those of you who know me well know that historically, MMORPGs and I don’t get along. After trying several different ones, most notably Final Fantasy XI and Matrix Online I was pretty much willing to say that I just don’t like them as a genre.

However, a bunch of my IRL friends (and some OL ones) are hardcore WOW enthusiasts, to the point where I know a *lot* about the game considering I’m a non-player. Well, now that I have the internet at home I decided to give Warcraft, like Satan, a fair shot at my soul. The clincher was I found out that they sell subscription cards, presumably so little Timmy and I can go behind our mothers backs about how much we spend on the game, eh?

So I downloaded the 10 day free trial from their website and rolled up a character.

Some of you probably would guess that I’d play a caster class, given my IRL and novel preferences, however I *hate* classes that can’t solo well, and spell management is a fucking pain in my ass. When it comes to video games my real preference is to run right up to something and BASH IT REPEATEDLY UNTIL IT DIES. People who’ve watched me play Halo, COD or Mass Effect know that I do this *even in shooting games*.

So I picked a Warrior to start with. A Troll Warrior specifically. After a few hours of play, I googled this combination looking for tips, and found out that it is probably the least played race/class combination in the game. LOL! Well, my strange troll warrior is a boy, and his name is Jittok. He doesn’t have much of a character concept right now, but I’m thinking he’s some kind of badass bounty-hunter/mercenary, like the blue lovechild of Boba Fett and Han Solo with a Jamaican accent and a fear of Shellfish. Yes,a fear of Shellfish. More on that in a minute.

Okay, so I started the game and it endeared itself to me right away by not dropping me in the middle of the most god-damned crowded town on the planet- unlike FFXI. I started in a large but sparsely populated n00b training area and ran the beginner quests for about an hour.

Mostly this was going pretty well. Jittok was good at smashing the things I wanted smashed, and equally good at not dying. The controls are pretty easy to understand, and the NPCs generally gave enough information.

I was level 5 when IT happened. I was exploring the n00b area, the Valley of Trials, toward the edges looking for some scorpion dood (a named one, not one of the random ones around the valley) for a quest. I found a place called ‘HIDDEN PATH’. Cool, right?

NOT COOL.

The hidden path was on top of a cliff, which I promptly in my total ignorance of basic WALKING SKILLZ *fell off of* and into the sea. This in itself wasn’t a problem. I found a new area, cool! But as I was trying to get to shore and get my bearings of where I was:

A HORRIBLE LOBSTER-THING ROSE FROM THE DEEP and killed Jittok in two hits.

Thus, I died for the first time. Kind of annoying, but not horrible. I ran back to my body.

I came back to life, only to promptly be killed a SECOND time by the same horrible lobster. It happened so fast I couldn’t even see what the damned thing was called.

I ran back again. It killed me again.

This happened like 5 times before I finally said fuck it and let the Spirit Healer raise me over in the Valley where I wouldn’t immediately die. I probably should have done this in the first place, because at that point it turned out that my weapon had weakened so much that it broke. GAH. Well, I didn’t at that point know you could get stuff repaired so, after 15 minutes of wandering around trying to find someone who would sell me a new axe, I bought a new one. This turned out to be an upgrade anyway, so no biggie.

Honestly, the whole death by lobster thing wasn’t that horrible, since unlike FFXI you don’t lose experience every time you die. No de-leveling! Just some repair costs, and I had enough money. So really, the whole incident gets tossed in the pretty funny category, and Jittok now has a horrible fear of shell-fish.

A little bit after this debacle I was killing horrible goblin-things (technically ‘Vile Familiars’) in a cave at level 5 when I got PMed by some higer-levelish guy who was about to roll a new character (a priest) and wanted to hang around and keep him from dying. (That is exactly why I rolled a warrior, I would *hate* that.) I was just finishing my quest, and it sounded fun, so I did.

The guy rolled his priest and we ran around slaughtering stuff. He was a bit impulsive and it was sometimes frustrating the way he charged ahead into enemies before I had a chance to re-orient myself, but it was fun, and he helped me find that scorpion thing I needed to kill.

We stuck together until we got out of the Valley of Trials and headed to the first real village, Shinjuku, or Sudoku, or… um.. Sen’Jin? I think it was that last one.

At which point it was like 11 pm and I logged off and went to bed.

That was my first play of WOW, and it was enough of a fun experience that I didn’t immediately delete the trial. This was not the case with Matrix Online or City of Villains. On the other hand I ended up playing FFXI for like a month and a half but I remember that one being a HELL of a lot more frustrating that WOW seems to be.

I played more last night, and Jittok is now up to level nine. I won’t bore you with all the details of my n00b-play, but let me say its been mostly fetch-quests, straight-forward go kill this many X and (unfortunately) Twenty Bear Asses quests.

But oddly enough, I’m enjoying it. I can’t really put my finger on how it is qualitatively different than the other MMOs I’ve tried but it seems less frustrating in general. One thing is definitely the no losing experience thing. Another might be that its less linear than other games I’ve played, even at this early level. I had between 4 and 10 different quests running at the same time, and if one got to frustrating I could just ditch and go do another quest for a while, or just kill pigs.

I’m not saying it definitely has me hooked yet, but I’m not ready to stop playing. I think the biggest thing it has going for it is its total failure to alienate me as a player yet.

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