My WoW Report

Boss: I told my son about you playing, what is it? World of Warcraft?

He said ‘I bet she’s like EIGHTY and EVERYTHING’, so I said ‘what level are you, Jack?’, and he said ‘12!’.

kizi1That is a legitimate exchange between my boss and myself while discussing whether I could have the week of Comic Con off work in 2011, on the off-chance I can sort myself out for going for a third year in a row. But it reminded me I have never really spoken about my return to WoW, a little intimidated by the number of WoW players amongst Spinks’ readership.

I left WoW just before Burning Crusade. I’d been playing since Friends & Family Alpha and was classically burned out on the game. I mostly played druids, in fact, it was a kind of joke that I’d played around 5 druids consecutively, bouncing between Alliance and Horde between various alphas, betas and the launch. This was at a time when druids were a little bit rubbish and although I played them to heal and because I loved all the hybrid goodness, I found things pretty tough. But mostly, I was burned out on the game and blamed it on the people, my last guild and the struggle of raiding Molten Core and how long it always took. So I left, and took a fair break from MMOs until I eventually landed on LotRO by way of the disastrous Vanguard launch month.

From that time on Spinks has still been playing WoW, and keeping me abreast of the changes. Some I was sceptical of, still harbouring some bitterness towards the game, but others sounded cool. Mostly, I never really felt a pull back to it, my account was gone and I didn’t want to start over from scratch even if I did go back. I’m pretty stubborn about things like that. So I ignored Burning Crusade and the launch of Lich King. I was pretty busy with LotRO also, and didn’t really have time for a second MMO.

But, last year sometime, in all the talks about Cataclysm, I thought it might be interesting to have another look, using the refer-a-friend scheme to play with Spinks. It wasn’t a completely successful first 3 months. While we enjoyed the added xp and summoning abilities, I kind of played one month on, one month off, so I didn’t get the full rewards for the r-a-f scheme. But it did get me to level 40-ish, which was over the hump of ‘how many freaking times have I done all these starter zones’. I picked a class I’d never liked previously, the shaman – and started to truly love it around level 30. Why a shaman? I was fairly sure I’d never want to play one in Cataclysm, I’d never managed to get one past level 5 before but with Spinks playing a hunter we could pretty much manage anything!

The dungeon finder really impressed, even when some of the PuGs created were rude, it was a nice break from grind if I needed it. Also, being on WoW meant I could catch up with my other sister who’d been chugging away soloing a rogue over there. Using realID meant that we could always tell when each others’ alts were on. And eventually I caught up to her level (I have more time on my hands!!). I had a really rough start to Lich King content and was really unhappy around level 70, but a few months ago I got to my first ever level 80 on WoW. And I adore shaman now, naturally – thinking of making another in Cataclysm. Yes, I have a problem remaking the same class over and over, I know this!

So Spinks has been trying to teach me about emblems, gearing up, heroics, tournament stuff and anything else I may need to do to be ready to raid. I tinker with it. I log on and do a dungeon or two, sometimes heroic, I head to Wintergrasp and I mine or muck around. While I’d quite like to see a raid, I’m not feeling really pressured to do so, and I think that’s been the real reason I’ve enjoyed my return to WoW so much. It feels quite peaceful to me without any pressure except to heal to a decent standard. Though I am considering switching to Spinks’ main server and possibly joining her guild there so I can explore the raiding side of the game.

I’m not the greatest player in WoW. I’m not trying to be, yet. But I’m no longer a snob about it either. It’s a great game, with the same grindy, rocky patches any MMO has. And sometimes it’s nice for me not to have to care and to just find a fun class and chill out with it.

Wow, I’m nearly 80!

I have been the most casual of WoW players since my return near the beginning of the year. I re-joined to try the Refer-a-Friend thing with Spinks and we zoomed through levels 1-40, the bit I was dreading from over-playing them previously.

But then I took a break, the R-A-F thing ran out, and we started getting busy in our lives. So I’ve been shambling along, doing dungeons, questing, ranting about why I couldn’t fly when I first got to Lich King content, ranting about how obtuse parts of the game seemed.. and here I am, about a thumb’s worth of xp away from level 80.

I cheated for two levels and let my husband play my char while I was at Comic Con. He always loved Shaman and has an addiction problem when it comes to MMOs, so this is about the only way he can play – for a limited period of time. But he did me proud, he levelled my first aid (which I left languishing at silk levels) and he kept my jewelcrafting appropriate to my level. He also got me (as I said initially) a couple of levels, from 75-77 – and I could fly again! Hurrah!

How’s it been? Definitely an eye-opener, coming straight from LotRO back to the fully finished Lich King. I felt rushed, not by friends and family, but by the game seemingly focusing on getting those next few levels till you got to Dalaran, the next levels to fly again, etc etc. And I felt fairly inadequate for much of it. Yes, if I’d read quests better I’d have done better, but a lot of them didn’t grab me. Until I got to Grizzly Hills, where I read them all and fell in love with the zone. Let that be a lesson to me. But I got a clue early on with each zone about whether I’d like it or not, and having such a rich choice of places to level was a little intimidating.

Of course, to Spinks, I was a bit of a burden. I’d launch into fortnightly rants about how rubbish WoW is, how hard they make it for no reason when you start Lich King, and that telling me it’d all get better doesn’t help. I didn’t really have the same negative reaction to the Burning Crusade content, probably because the dungeon finder got me through any rough points – I do remember a very negative response to my first bombing runs though, so maybe I had the odd rant then. I’d also prove how noobish I was in the middle on dungeon runs she was trying to explain for me. But she survived, I think and now has been guiding me through more obtuse bits like what the hell the tabard rep system is, why I should/might care, and what tabard I might want (to save me looking it up for myself).

And that’s probably been one of my enduring take-aways from my levelling. Having a very knowledgeable friend/sibling/guild member really made me a bit lazy, but I also didn’t ever feel the need to go read up on the minutiae of the game – but everyone I was playing with had assumed I probably would. I looked up some speccing advice and that was it. To me, it’s been a casual game, getting some cash and a feel for the world again before Cataclysm launches. It’s not really been about being the best, more about being ‘good enough’. Because of that a lot of my focus is heirlooms for alts, crafting that might be useful, getting a vague feeling about zones I like – rather than reading up on how all the systems work. In fact, if you questioned me now, I’d be pretty vague on heirlooms, PvP honor marks, tabards and rep and what the hell a heroic is (except people will inspect my gear, tell me I’m shit at everything and then I get better reward for suffering through it, if we succeed!).

Still, overall, I’ve had fun, and during my ranty times I’ve been online less, but I’ve not given up as I did with previous attempts to return to the game. I’ve plugged away at it and on sunday, I’ll have my first ever level 80 in World of Warcraft.