After years upon years of World of Warcraft bashing, I took the plunge. Hello, my name is Rowanheal and I'm a cow, er, Tauren...oh please people it's a cow. An old gamer friend of mine has been waxing poetic about WoW forever in a day. I've received phone calls, text messages, Xfire messages, IM's, emails and so forth listing all the reasons I needed to experience Azeroth. I finally rolled a 1 on my will save and decided to give it go when Blizzard ran a special on the digital download. $5.00 for the basic game. It was less than the price of a meal at my favorite greasy fast food chain. If I hated it, I could at least save myself from the constant "Please come play WoW" invitations.
He did some kind of personality/class quiz over the phone with me while I waited on my game to download. I am apparently the perfect druid. Considering I've played a druid almost every time I roll a character for PnP, this wasn't a huge shock.
I was then given a list of 30 or so add on's that were simply REQUIRED to play WoW. My head was spinning around, and I had yet to create a character. I joined Curse.com and began the process of downloading all the add on's. I wish Curse worked with other games. It's a fabulous little program that keeps track of all the add on's and let's me know when they have been updated. I'd like it for EQ2, DDO and LOTRO.
I would love to give you all a feel for what all of the add ons actually do, but to be honest I don't have a bloody clue. I can say I am using the Spartan UI, Carbonite, Auctionator, Hear Kitty, Zelda loot, Bagon, Healbot, Scrap,Deadly boss mobs, and a ton more that I can't keep track of. I think they help this n00b understand a little more of the technical side of the game. Probably. Perhaps it is just muddying the waters.
Before I would even log into the game, I attached an authenticator to my account. I have had gaming friends who have messaged me about how their accounts have been stolen. In fact, when WoW came out in 2004, I bought a box and tried the game. I lasted for 3 days before I clicked DELETE. That account was stolen 4 years ago by a gold spammer. I know because Blizzard was nice enough to contact me with my perma ban :D
After trying to create enough security to keep even the CIA out of my WoW account, I pressed play.
I was told I would be a Horde player since my friend was. There are two factions in WoW. Alliance and Horde. I don't know why they don't like each other. I don't know how there came to be two sides. I only know I am horde. *shrugs*
I'd been counseled that in order to make a raid worthy druid who could tank and/or heal, I would need to be a Tauren. I dutifully built, named and logged in with the new character and realized I was a cow!
Yeah, it's a cow on a horse. It's hard to get immersed in a game when you're a cow. I simply don't have the roleplaying skills to convince myself a cow should even be walking upright, much less riding a steed.
I found the starting area easy enough. I can button punch with the best of em, and I was soon through the starting area into the great big world.
It was about level 10ish or so where I began to lose grounding in the game. Friends power leveled me through dungeons, flew me through the world, and held my hand periodically. At the time of this writing I am level 64. I have seen very little of the game outside of the dungeon system.
I will say, the random dungeon engine is pretty darn fabulous. You can queue up for a dungeon from anywhere in the world. The finder connects players cross servers, cutting down on the dreaded wait time for a group. If you are in a party, you will go into the random dungeon and be joined by enough members to make a group of 5 for the instance. It's a painless and beautiful thing. I adore it.
The experience and gear attained through the dungeon system has made questing seem like a HUGE grind. I can't do it. I might for an hour while doing laundry or making dinner, but as soon as chores are done, I'm going to do a dungeon.
My biggest fear for WoW had been the pervasiveness of douchbaggery. I can say I've been there, done that and I need a T-shirt. It truly does suck butt to be in a dungeon and have the little twerps utilizing their new found curse vocabulary, whining and generally making an ass of themselves. What helps is the ability to vote as a dungeon group to kick the little brat so you can get back to soaking up insane xp and loot. It's doesn't happen alot, and I can say if there are a ton of under 18 peeps playing WoW they are good players who know how to shut up.
I am currently playing my druid as a feral kitty. I can DPS like a mad woman. Being able to shapeshift into my kitty means I don't have to stare at a cow's behind the entire time I am gaming. Not to mention, she's just terribly fun. I've found the rhythm to bleeds, rips and shreds. I can pop out of being a kitty to do a spot heal or two if things seem to be going south in a group. I can rez. I love the versatility.
I can also shapeshift into a bear and a bird. It's just cool.
So am I enjoying it?
I am for the most part. I knew going in I was going to use my experience to write a series of articles for the website. The Great Cow Experiment. :D My uncommitted play style maybe allowing me to simply poke the big WoW beast thus avoiding being consumed.
I am not getting the shakes to run to my computer and play WoW. I did however buy all the expansions including the newly released Cataclysm. When I hit level 60, I wanted a flying mount, so I just pressed buy and got on with it. I play maybe once a week for 6 or 8 hours when my friend has time to duo. It's not MY game, but it is a game I am playing and I refuse to be ashamed of it.
Is it going to stop me from playing DDO? Not a chance in hell. It just hasn't hit my sweet spot like DDO continues to do.
Am I seeing the appeal WoW holds over 12 million players? Not really. I haven't reached raid level, nor am I geared to raid, so maybe I will feel the pull once I hit 85. I'll let ya know. For now, the skinner box in WoW is an epic fail. I am playing because I am enjoying playing with an old gaming pal, and I like ripping things apart with my kitty.
Stay tuned for more on my cow in the coming weeks as I learn my way around Azeroth. It's turning out to be quite a ride.