Archive for November, 2012

Beginners Guide [Work in Progress]

I looked at the World of Warcraft Game Guide on the Official website. It looks really good and it’s short, pithy and pretty comprehensive. As a general overview of all the different aspects of World of Warcraft it works really well, but as a real beginner I think it wouldn’t be as much help as the guide I decided to write.

The first part of the guide is The Basics and starts from the very moment a new player logs on. The objective is to give the players the advice and skills to progress from entering the game through the initial steps of starting out. Picking up their first quest; taking in basic movement; working out quest objectives; moving to locations; using the map; entering combat for the first time; looting; and ending up with handing in quests; levelling up their character; and dealing with inevitable deaths.

Having tried before (and failed miserably) to rationally communicate the process of starting to play a new character I found you inevitably don’t know where to stop and get easily side tracked and deluge the unfortunate n00b with more information than they can possibly remember. The game is actually structured really well to invite in new players and getting them to do basic tasks that will underlie all their future game play. My guide seeks to run parallel with this process, give it a little depth introduce populate gamer terms and conventions. Without swamping the reader. All information is directly applicable to what the player is doing in game as that information is presented. Read it, see it for themselves, do it themselves, understand.

The Basics really aims to be the nuts and bolts of playing Warcraft and delivers what the player needs to know as they need to know it. Building on The Basics – the second part of the guide aims to do just that, in just the same way as the first part delivering information only as it was needed. So in the second part Professions are covered but not until the middle section of the guide and the Bank and Auction House do not feature until the latter stages.

The intended audience of this guide is a the new World of Warcraft player with no experience of the game yet. It’s also the perfect guide for an experienced gamer who wants to help out their friend who is just starting out in game without firing a stream of incomprehensible information at them. It’s very much the perfect guide for giving to a friend saying: “This covers all the basics in a clear and simple way. Any questions just ask me.” It will certainly release you from having to nurse maid them through their first ten quests trying to show them as much as possible as you race around.

I hope it will also empower new players to discover the game on their own and show them where to go to get more information and answers. This way you can play with your n00b friend without feeling that you have to tell them everything it took you weeks (nay months) to learn.

All suggestions, corrections, clarifications, amendments gratefully received, please put them in comments to this post.

Shado-Pan PUG

Well, this is an edited party chat from Shado-Pan Monastery (normal). We’d already established that the tank had never been there before…but wasn’t taking any tactics. On the first boss I quickly tried to point out that the party should be targeting the Dragon as the Pandaran was now immune. The Warlock didn’t take this suggestion well, as you can see. All I’ve removed from this chat is all the Boss Mod output and boss emotes. Should’ve switched to a Party chat window…meh.

When will we raid?

Paw'don VillageIt’s too early to tell but Mists of Pandaria (MoP) could well be the antidote to the disappointment of Cataclysm. When the last expansion was still this fresh I was overwhelmed, excited and optimistic with the new content and the changes Blizzard introduced. The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King both added new features and took the game forward, expanding the world and how players engaged with it. The objectives Blizzard set themselves made us all look forward to seeing how they managed. It seemed that they bit off more than they could chew. By the end of the expansion I was underwhelmed, bored and disappointed.

Player Farm

For casual players Mists is an impressive proposition. Blizzard has stated that they wanted to move us out into the world away from the capital city, central hub. Pet Battles and The Tillers have drawn people out into the world away from the Shrine of the Two Moons. Players have initially been overwhelmed and pleased with how much content MoP offers them.

Theramore scenario

Blizzard have presented content that brings the raider and casual together in more rewarding interactions. Scenarios are fun and bite-sized three man instance runs. There is no restriction on what classes you need and scenarios can be completed with three DPS. So a small group of friends can do meaningful content without being forced to quest.

Townlong Steppes

If Blizzard have made a mistake with 5 man content it’s at level 90. There are no designated ‘normal mode’ level 90 dungeons. The truth is there are no real ‘heroic’ 5 mans. Blizzard clearly struggled with what to call the dungeons they opened at 90, heroic is misleading as the content is no more challenging than ‘normals’, however the player outcry from having no heroics would’ve been huge. For a significant 5 man challenge, the kind of challenge I welcomed when Cataclysm was released and crowd control (CC) made a significant comeback in places like Grim Batol, we have the new Challenge Mode. They are fantastically difficult and completing a dungeon is no mean feat for a semi-casual, social raider. The only problem I foresee going forward is getting four guildies to sign up for these wipefests with me.

Serenity FallsIn line with beefing up 5 mans with a Challenge, LFR is markedly more difficult than it was in Dragon Soul (DS). The DS LFR was derisory at best, it was possible to wipe but it required some concerted retardedness from the party. In Mogu’shan Vaults wiping is more regular and success depends on the party focusing and knowing the tactics. LFR at this tier has become, dare I say it, almost like real raiding.

It is no longer enough simply to turn up.

I can’t wait to start raiding properly. Aye, there’s the rub. All this new content has given semi-casual, proto-hardcore raiders like myself a real problem. We exist in social raiding guilds with people who enjoy and consume their content in a more casual fashion. OK we all leveled more slowly to 90 enjoying the process and felt no desire to ding max level within days of the expansion being released. If we were in the next teir of raiding up, metaphorically speaking, in a ‘hardcore’ raiding environment we’d either be ready when the normal modes opened or we’d be out of the guild. However, being serious about progression raiding, just not as serious about being ready to go the very day the raids opened. We were ready reasonably quickly, then we were left tapping our feet in impatience as we discovered that our less raid-centric, casual guildies were not even interested in getting to 90, never mind raiding. There is way to much out in the world to focus on than raiding two nights a week.

I think many social raiders are discovering that half of their DS raid teams are still really very focused on raiding and the other half is not really all that bothered (and probably only just reaching 90). So I for one am feeling frustrated by my raid-free WoW environment without anyone to blame. I don’t know what to do or what to suggest. I like the group of people I hang with and used to raid with. So I won’t go elsewhere (at least not yet, ask me again nearer Christmas if I haven’t raided by then). You can’t force or even pressure friends to level up and get prepared to raid in this social guild environment. I advocate that people play the way the like and find a guild to suit them, not mould how they play and consume the content to suit a guild. I made my bed, now I have to lie in it (all twitchy and eager for action).

Valley of the Four Winds

The only other rod Mists has made for my back is Dailies. Dailies, Dailies, Dailies. OK, I like that Blizzard took away my flying mount and forced me to ride along the road trying not the pull the zone as I travel. I even like that Blizzard rescued the reputation building process (grind) from simply having to remember to switch your tabard in a 5 man when you reached Exalted. Taking away rep in dungeon accruing tabards is a sound move. Not giving us any method other than Daily Quests to slowly grind up our rep is a ball ache. I hate the Golden Lotus Dailies and like many others I find excuses to not even think about doing them, like riding in endless circles around the Heartland looking for Dark Soil.

I don’t have to hunt Dark Soil anymore as I am Exalted with the Tillers, all the Tillers. It gives me a disturbing sense of satisfaction to sit in my farm, in my own phase, in my fully furnished house admiring my cat, dog, pigs, yak, mushan, chickens and personal mailbox with my friend Fish Felreed helping out. I should do some Dailies. *Shudder*

Dailies and stupid soulbound crafting mats, Orbs of Irritation or whatever they’re called, are my only criticism of MoP so far. By the time I’m Revered with Golden Lotus and able to buy Valour point gear it’s likely to not be an upgrade. At a certain point I will probably just give up on ever getting their Valour gear, like everyone else has on rep grinding upon hitting Revered. Without Revered reputation with the Golden Lotus I can’t buy any tailoring recipes so my Spirit of Harmony stack has no value to me whatsoever.

So I can’t raid, hate Dailies, cannot craft upgraded gear and do not want a Cloud Serpent mount. Fortunately there are Scenarios, fishing, Challenge Modes to wheedle four guildies into joining, cooking (almost 600 with all six Ways of…) and farming. Plus leveling up alts and grinding up professions is a real pleasure in the Jade Forest. I can also sit in the circular door of my fully furnished stilt house and watch my Jade Squash grow.

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