Tag Archives: Newbs and Nubs

Sometimes You Meet a Player in WoW, who is a Complete Enigma

Screenshot by Jayrei (via Wowhead.com)

Horde druid travel form, stag version. Screenshot by Jayrei (via Wowhead.com)

Sometimes you meet a player in WoW, who is a complete enigma – I met one such player a few days ago.

Here’s the story of the stag-druid.

Noelani and I were questing in Krasarang Wilds in this area where you have to release Alliance slaves, kill a number of enemies and pick up relics on the ground – a classic combination of quest types.

A druid appears in stag form, he is standing slightly behind us watching while we kill several mogu. We wonder if he is waiting for us to clear the area so he can release the Horde slaves. A little cheeky really, so we sit down and pretend to eat.

The stag-druid then wiggles around on the spot – also known as key-turning. After a minute of idling, he finally decides to attack an enemy and thus he proceeds to walk right up to it and spam wrath – in his natural tauren form.

Odd.

We also see him auto-attacking in bear form and melee hitting with his staff. Stag-druid practically has no modus operandi and seems to prefer standing around in stag form in between combat. After he has killed a few mobs slooowly in these multitude of ways, he gets attacked while again observing us as a stag. He wiggles and wiggles, but ends up dying. We then help him kill a couple of mogu a few times, but he never appears to be looting anything nor actually progressing on his quests.

It becomes clear this person is not waiting specifically for us to clear the area, in fact we have no clue what he is doing. We find him later in Valley of the Four Winds brutally beating a fox to death with the staff again. I know it was a Nesingwary quest, but still.

Valley of Four Winds by Ner1 (via Wowhead.com)

Valley of the Four Winds by Ner1 (via Wowhead.com)

Maybe stag-druid had gained some confidence at this point, because we then see him fighting four mushan beasts at the same time. Stag-druid struggles and of course one of those stealthy foxes comes out and attacks him. Maybe it was karmic, maybe it was just bad luck or maybe stag-druid has always been a tree-hugger and not a killer beast!

Clearly overwhelmed, he backs closer and closer to the edge of the lake nearby and falls down the hill and dies on the bank on top of a turtle. We don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Again stag-druid appears to be a mystery – he was popping cooldowns so he couldn’t be completely clueless. He also used bear form, which is the logical thing to do in this situation, but he would also go out of it to cast wrath and stick fight…

Noelani logs a Horde character and travels to his location, entering a scene where stag-druid is actually about to die again. Noelani tries to strike up a conversation with the intention of offering assistance, but stag-druid stops replying after thanking Noelani for saving him.

We take a look at his armory. It shows him as being mono specced resto and geared accordingly (no respecs), but having only done 15 dungeon ever (never raided). He likes pet battles and has maxed professions. He has waved eight times, hugged twice, but never cheered or laughed – aw! The armory also reveals he has his own guild with 35 members, eight of which are his own, including two level 90 dual-specced characters, which look straight-forward and conventional, though not impeccable.

It’s strange seeing how the armory can be used as a tool for drawing out a whole player-profile. Thinking about this, I’ve often felt like the armory was able to tell people a lot of things about me, that I actually didn’t think were any of their business. Anyways…

It was in the middle of the night on a Saturday, so it could be anyone. I like to imagine this extremely committed, yet young and inexperienced player. Someone who doesn’t have their own account, but they know their relative’s password and they snuck out of bed after everyone was asleep, turned on the computer and beat a fox to death with a stick!

In a way, I admire it. Even though playing is so hard, every mob is a challenge, dying over and over, the guy kept going – like an ironman!

The Double Edged Sword of Playing WoW

I was talking to a few of my study mates about games we liked, and whenever I do that with people, they say “yeah, you’re the WoW-player“. For some reason I’m known as the WoW-player, and I have no idea how it happened. I usually say that there are plenty of other WoW-players in our year group, some which are better and far more progressed than me, some that raid for real and have legendary weapons.

I then realised why I’ve become the WoW-player: I don’t play Far Cry, Fall out, Call of Duty – whatever. The game I have played the most and know the most about is pretty much WoW. So yeah, I am the WoW-player.

It’s not a game you consume

I then asked them “How come you don’t play it? It’s a great investment, it’s not a game you consume“. And it’s true, it’s not something you complete in the course of 7 days (by far). It’s a game that keeps on going and all the time you’ve invested already, will not be wasted, but will rather be another brick in your virtual self – your character. For me that is a major selling point.

But the game never ends either

One of them answered “well, that’s exactly what I don’t like about WoW, that it keeps on going“. It makes it compelling to play, but they’d rather not get hooked on the threadmill. The fact the game plays on without you, and that taking a break could have greater consequences than just pausing an ordinary game, acts as a stress factor.

I was going to reply that it’s easy these days to play on a very casual level, like I do, but I see their point. Everytime I talk to a non-WoW player or an ex-WoW player, they say the same: They are kind of uneasy about the prospect of getting too caught up that it’s safer to just avoid it altogether.

Investments can easily be lost

I came to think of the time investment I mentioned earlier. In the light of wanting to quit WoW, the time you invested would then be converted to wasted time – a wasted investment. What did you really get out of all the hours spent playing, you can ask yourself. And that answer will in some way have to correspond to a lot of good reasons to have played, a lot of good experiences while playing, that made it all worthwhile.

I get the strong feeling that a lot of players feel this way in the end – that the time spent doesn’t justify itself by all the awesome things that happened while playing. It’s the nature of this type of game – the farming, the grinding, the waiting, the sitting around. Typing /played can feel as daunting as having to check your empty bank statement, only the numbers are ironically reversed.

So is WoW worth the investment in the end?

I can’t help but wonder why so many WoW-players feel bad for having spent a lot of time in the virtual world of WoW. What would they have done with that time instead anyways? Watched all episodes of all seasons of Lost?

On the forums, you sometimes see the troll forum police telling people to “get a life” or “go outside“, despite the obvious irony of them sitting there themselves dictating the rest of us, as if that is a more noble doing than actually playing the game.

I’ve never seen it up for discussion: a lot of time played is bad, a little is good. Add that to the fact that good gear is good, bad gear is bad: so spending little time getting good gear is good. But this is at the same time what a lot of people dislike, because this caters to the casuals, to an easy play style. Casuals are the new noobs really, and tier 9 is their badge. Getting the best of the best, is still reserved to the raiders, which will take time, especially if you don’t want to strut around in your tier 9 set which reeks of casualness. So you will most likely have to face being a bad good player with good gear, or a good bad player with bad gear, or a casual – gasp!

Living up to the ideal is hard, when making more time investments is a double edged sword bleeding with waste and sparkling with achievements. How can you possibly win then?


Memories of a Noob – and the Power of the Wand

I used to be a noob – a real noob. Infact, whenever there’s an expansion out, I have to work hard to crawl up again out of the most obvious state of noobness. As time passes, I have learned to disguise it though.

Part of ascending from noobhood, is being able to recognise all the times in the past when noob was your middle name.

My first noob mistake was with my very first character back in Vanilla 2006, which was a warrior. I specced her protection and thought this would help me die less.

Later I made a druid on a PvP realm, specced her balance, geared her with agility and always ended up healing in Warsong Gulch. Needless to say my druid and me didn’t do a very good job at anything.

Then came my rogue. I played her right up to the release of the Burning Crusade. Mostly I did Warsing Gulch at low levels. I was proud of this character and thought I was really cool. She was mildly twinked and I therefore did well in battlegrounds. I liked the speed of daggers and thought combat was a brilliant tree to choose, improved sinister strike and all that. I’m thankful that inspecting someone didn’t let you view their spec back then, or it would have been evident to everyone how clueless I was.

Worse was that I believed defence rating was a useful stat for me in PvP, resulting in what people would call a ninja in Blackrock Depths for this trinket. The paladin that was tanking got upset and I repeatedly stated that this trinket was good for especially combat rogues, the trinket description even mentions being “struck in combat” – it doesn’t get more obvious than that, now does it?

I still remember the paladins name, and years later when I took up my rogue again, I found the trinket and shamefully sold it, followed by an immediate respec.

Truthfully, I changed main by leveling my night elf priest in secrecy, as to shed myself of the noob haze that I saw clouding my name. Sadly the noob is in the player and not the character, so the destiny of my priest was in the cards.

I managed to avoid the “wand spec” back then and I was invited to a small guild, whose members were mostly level 70 but only doing heroics. When they had enough members, we would raid Karazhan. I remember being very proud of this raid offer, but I had really no clue to what raiding really meant.

Being stupidly poor, I didn’t want to spend gold on mana potions and found what I thought was a clever way to preserve my mana – wanding! When the tank told us to let him get aggro first, I wanded. In fact I wanded a lot in Karazhan to the point I should probably have put those 5 points in it!

During the mana extensive fight against Nightbane , I wanded so much my damage done fell below the tank. Remember tanks did less overall damage in the Burning Crusade, than they do now, so I must have done like nothing. I was afterwards carefully approached by the tank, with the notion my dps was too low, and that I needed to push more. This concept was new to me, I was just cruising up till now, and how did he know I did less damage than him?! I was utterly confused that my actions were being monitored, then embarrased in front of the rest of the raid, to whom the woosh of the wand shooting must have been so telling. I honestly didn’t consider that wanding wasn’t feasible in a raid.

Later a friend told me his other friend wouldn’t invite him to do Gruul’s Lair until he had geared up more. I was appalled and told him I thought this friend was snobbish, this was his best friend IRL and he treated him like this? He then informed me of how every bit of damage mattered, and that if you’re undergeared for a certain encounter, the team has to compensate – or just wipe, it’s about math in the end. This conversation made me realise that raiding is not just about friendship but also about climbing a gear ladder and enhancing with gems and enchants.

I’ve learned the raid ethos now, I understand what is expected of me, but Cataclysm still scares me. The fact I will have to study my classes over again and incorporate new ways of playing makes me feel incompetent already, and we’re still in the Lich King expansion.

Okay – I only play two classes at max level, priest and shaman, but that just doubles the chance that I’ll be a noob again!