Monday, July 19, 2010
8:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.
Beard Status: A Little Prickly
Personal Smell: Not Bad
Character: Tarron (Level 7 Tauren Shaman)
Hello again, kiddies. Whatcha been up to? As for me, I spent the evening testing my strength against an evil harpy who nearly killed me. Then my wife decided to take a shower and I logged into WoW.
An old high school buddy who I’ll call “J” (because that’s his name) agreed to meet me tonight to play. It took a couple of minutes of confusion to find him and set up a party so we could party chat. He gave me a couple of backpack upgrades to make up for the years of lunches I bought him when we were teenagers. (You still owe me for bailing you out of jail that one time, “J,” but we’ll talk about that later.) He’d logged on with a new character a few hours earlier. As a coincidence, he picked the same race and class as I did, but we still had a pretty good time. He also let me know that he had “parked” a level 80 Mage nearby in case we were griefed.
The first half-hour or so was spent hunting for dwarves or something. Sorry, but when I get that blood rage from caving in chests, I forget some of the details. We completed a quest or two and then got into the most difficult journey of all.
Okay, I realize this isn’t a screenshot of the game. It is instead my computer desktop, which I spent more time looking at tonight. We wanted to voice chat (causing me to spend $50 on a new headset today) and “J” recommended I download a program called Ventrilo for the task. It took fifteen minutes to get my server, domain, and password settings right. Then another fifteen minutes to figure out that I needed to set the program to my headset instead of the mic on my laptop. After that it still didn’t work. This is why I’m not a PC gamer. This right here.
Eventually I gave up and told “J” we’d just do the text chatting thing. He told me he was deep in a cave full of blah blahs looking for the mystical blah blah so I went to the cave and started fighting my way in. He then told me he was on his way out.
In case you can’t read the text here, “J” then said “Run” followed by “I done pissed em off.” I then watched him fleeing the cave, chased by three or four of the little pigmen. This might have been the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in a game. If my friend’s avatar had been voiced by Nolan North I would have been sold on WoW right there.
“J” and I spent a little more time outside, hunting for some animal parts to make a magic potion or somesuch nonsense. It may sound like I’m down on the game here, but I’m really not. Mindless clicking on bad guys to fight them while watching TV in the background is kind of like playing Bejeweled or Peggle but with a Tolkienesque wrapper. Time was flying by.
My partner-in-killing-things left his computer for a minute at which time he was surrounded by enemies. I saved his avatar by the skin of my teeth and bragged about my accomplishments when he got back. He replied by challenging me to a duel. I was excited when I won, but Mrs. Stevens was less than impressed. She really doesn’t want me to get into this game.
After this “J” logged off to feed his kids or some silly thing and I continued questing. Soon thereafter I got a message that Bloodhoof Village was under attack.
I got to the village just in time to see a dozen players, all of them well over my level, destroying the town. Unconcerned with my own personal safety, I jumped into the fracas.
It didn’t go too well.
After then Alliance party left, I walked amongst the corpses of fallen friends. The Shaman Trainer who taught me spells. The Shieldsmith who sold me that fantastic shield. The nice old bull man who ran the Inn. How could I ever forget them? How could I honor their memories?
Fortunately, after killing a couple of birds outside the village, everyone came back to life.
I grinded for a couple more hours, collecting widgets and wizzles to make magic potions and well-cleansing totems. I made it about halfway through Level 11 before deciding to go to bed. Oh, and I did one kind of cool thing where I followed a ghost dog and then later killed a different ghost dog. Forgot to take screencaps. Sorry.
As I sit here under the night sky, contemplating the lake behind me and the stars above, gazing over the body of the little guy I’d killed for the 14 Copper in his pocket, I take stock of how I’m feeling about the game. As I mentioned, the game is simple and addictive, almost more point-and-click adventure than RPG. Sure, it’s fun, but is that enough to warrant the subscription fee and the way people look at me when I tell them I play?
I’ve got five more days to find out. This was my vow when I started: to chronicle a newbie’s first few days of the most successful game ever, to help the little guy decide if he should cough up his hard-earned beer money to the land of Azeroth, to perhaps even overcome the stigma associated with online games and bring us all together at last!
I think tomorrow I’ll make a new character with a great rack.