Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Easing into Endgame

World of Warcraft is an interesting creature.

It is, of course, an MMORPG-- "Massively Multiplayer" being the first two words in that acronym. And yet if you want, you can go through much of the game without really dealing with too many people. That's what I did. Oh sure, there's other people you can interact with and there's a living breathing economy, much like on Neopets which is what I played pre-WoW. But you can level to 70 basically without any outside help.

When I was level 19 or 20 or so, I did Deadmines because somebody told me I should. It was my first ever instance, people were impatient with me (to be fair I was the worst hunter of all time at this point-- pet on aggressive and immolation trap for the win) and the whole experience really left a negative impression on me and after that, with the exception of a few run-throughs by higher-level friends, I hardly did any instancing at all until I hit Outlands.

And this is where it started to get interesting, because this is where our guild really started to grow and we started to do stuff together. Our little Karazhan group that we have now has been running stuff together since Hellfire Ramparts-- heck, a few of us have been running together since Zul'Farrak. But for the most part, we went through Outlands together, running instances as we encountered them and sort of learning together. This has culminated in what I think is a very solid group of people who know how to work efficiently as a team.

So you'd think the level 70 endgame would be a breeze right?

Well, it takes a lot of work that really hadn't occurred to me beforehand, simply because I've never played an MMO with situations like this before. Karazhan is a ten-man raid that takes quite some time to do if you're still learning it. So it's a pretty big time commitment. And it's really hard to sync up the schedules of so many different people, most of whom have school or work or even the military going on in their real lives. And it just so happens that as a guild officer, I am now in charge of trying to plan this and get it together, and keep everybody happy.

It's a little bit stressful and it pushes me out of my comfort zone, and I have to admit it had me worried for a while. Had WoW finally turned into a job? Was I breaking my own "it's a game" rule by continuing to play?

But I've been thinking about it and I've decided-- WoW isn't just any ol' game. It is an MMORPG as I said at the beginning of my post. It has plenty of solo content, but if you want to really, truly unlock the "massively multiplayer" portion of it, it's going to take some work because other people are involved, not just you. But that, I think, is part of what makes endgame so rewarding.

It's not everybody's thing, and that's quite okay. In fact, as I even told my boyfriend the other day... "Sometimes I catch myself wishing that I could just go back to when all I had to worry about was how many kobolds I had left to kill." But in the end, as much as I do truly love the solo content of the game and the leveling (hence all the alts), I also love running instances and raids with my friends. And to experience that, you've got to be willing to put in a little effort... more than you might initially expect.

And that, in a nutshell, is why I've been a little scarce these past couple of weeks. Because I had to take a little break to sort of define the game in my head and decide if the sudden new "work" aspect of the game that jumped on me without warning was justified. I've decided it is.

As is running into Orgrimmar with a couple buddies when you're bored, just to see if you can actually hit Thrall once before dying:

I think I got in a single Arcane Shot. It was epic.


sonvar said...

Geez of all the people to try to go after Thrall has got to be the worst target. He's actually the only reason I have respect for the Horde as a group. If it weren't for Thrall and Cairne the Horde would be just savages.

If you're going to hit a Horde ruler go after Sylvannas. She's just plain evil.

Anonymous said...

Kara is my favorite instance by far once you get 10 fun and talented people blowing the place up. It allows for a little breathing room when you have it down pat and a lot of the gear in there is nice for quite awhile. I totally don't envy your job as an organizer though!

Anonymous said...


I've read all the actual books on Thrall...he truly does have a great storyline that demands respect. He is a great orc.


But for shiz an' gigglez...hehe, you go girl! that one arcane shot soooo should have pwned him! :P hehe Must have been fun though getting to him since you can't stealth or anything. Did you die a lot on the way to his chamber or did you make it through Org in one run on your mount?

Sylus said...

I've got to agree with you, when I hit 70, and didn't know what to do with myself, I rerolled a rogue(first toon was a hunter) By time he got to 70, I was able to do kara and gruuls with a group of people I knew, and man did all of that time waiting, and dieing and waiting and dieing(rinse and repeat) got the best of me. I switched servers with a close friend, and started over on new toons. But, my love for the hunter class has stayed strong, and now I have pulled my lvl 70 hunter out of retirement. Keep at it, and don't let this game get to you, remember, it is a game!!!
~Uncle Sy

Pike said...

Thrall is definitely one of my favorite lore characters, we all actually sort of agreed on that which is why we didn't actually want to kill him (not like we could anyway, but ya know).

One Among Many - We went through the side entrance and barreled into RFC, passing only one person along the way (that's what happens when you do this on a server where Alliance outnumber Horde some 2:1 or something.) That one person must've told someone we were there, though, because there was a 70 hunter standing outside RFC when we decided to run back out. Then we just made a break for Thrall where there were a couple people waiting for us, but mostly we just ran as far as we could before the NPCs jumped on us.

Gretadelle said...

I totally played neopets before WoW. and honestly I'm still REALLY looking forward to the MMORPG version of Animal Crossing which is rumored to be coming out...

I'm looking forward to end-game because I really really prefer grouping over solo play.

Molinu said...

Oh man. Is Neopets like the WoW gateway MMO or something? I still have memories of the first time my Scorchio got polymorphed by the infamous lab ray.

And yes, Thrall is awesome. He is the reason I went Horde, pretty much. Tons of respect for your suicide run on him!

Anonymous said...

Hi Pike,

Just ran into your blog today from BRK or Ratshag's links. I have a lv70 hunter main that I raid on as well. Being one of the officer/raid leaders of a casual raiding guild, your post made me smile and cringe at the same time as I went through the very same pains you are when I was planning and scheduling our Kara raids. I still remember the headaches of trying to get the right mix of tanks, healers, and DPS/cc to even have a chance at Moroes!

We are working through TK/SSC now, and the guild has come a long way since that first Huntsman kill. The raiding road is full of pain and frustration, but nowadays my guildies and I often sit back and laugh at our own wipes and screwups. Those are the best WoW memories I have.

Good luck and may all your loot be epic.

-A fellow hunter on the Greymane server