Monday, December 17, 2007

See It Again, For the First Time

When we (the Pepperdine gang) noticed that TrN didn't have much CC, I decided then and there I'd level a hunter quickly. And it WAS very quick, too. Tynaqua is already a 62. Now...Akmalla's long and lovely post inspires my reply here, about Tynaqua. As we all know, I already have made a level 70 Allie toon, Saami. She's good. Got her Gyro-balanced khorium gun and her bad MM spec. Weell, not quite. She's a BM spec now... because of Tynaqua.

You see Akie, you really can continue to make fun discoveries as you play or even replay. When I was leveling Tynaqua, I did all the usual quests. In fact, I started in the Barrens cause I know those quests by heart. But I also know a lot more about the game now. I paid attention to reputation. I had the hunterhinter addon to help me hone my pets' skills. Also, because I knew I wasn't going to be doing many, if any, instances, I sought out quests where I had not really ever quested much before, for instance in Winterspring, Azshara, and the dreaded Silithus. Because I wanted to make the experience fun even though it was an experiment in cloning essentially, I decided to take the Big Red Kitty blog seriously, and spec Beast Mastery. (I won't rant about how cool BM is in this post. Suffice to say I went back and respecc'd Saami to BM).

I have learned to pull. Not not to shoot the guy we want so he comes running to us, but to PULL a selected target out of a crowd and make it go stand where I want it to stand. I have learned to ping pong trap and use DOT meters to time trap cooldowns (well, Hallgrima got me going on that but it's a great tool for everyone). I have learned to organize my pet's attacks, to calculate my shots so I don't step on auto-shot. These are things I didn't even know existed when I was playing my LEVEL 70 hunter. And, because people who play WoW more than 10 hours a week, like us, are really more like hobbiests, I enjoyed each and every new discovery AND the work of mastering it.

For me, it's not boring yet.

Let me also add that working out dungeon puzzles, such as the Shade of Aran, is also hella fun. (No, we still wipe on that, btw.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

White Has Become The New Purple

- Akmalla again. It seems that the last time I was here was the last time anyone was here. However, I'm going to put this up because of a conversation I had today with Viamedia, aka Vilemedia, aka Alamojack. Yeah, some things have changed. Akmalla's now a level 70, and the only other toons I have are both under level 20. Vile is now Alamojack and Twinkleheal (the original) has officially bought the dust. Hell's got a new toon, Tynaqua, a hunter (big surprise there). I gave in and decided to play on Etrigg as a cow warrior. Life seems to go on. However, I made a recent insight into WoW's ... well ... crack syndrome, to but it bluntly, and want to share it with you.
- It started as a simple conversation between Alamo (Vile) and myself. He sent me a tell: "Your Alliance toon's level 70 now! How are you enjoying that?" I hit the return key to reply, before I stopped for a second to actually read the question he was asking me. I thought a bit, and gave my reply: "Eh, not really." Why was that? Although I'd accepted the mass exodus to Etrigg, hell, I'd even joined them, again I was feeling a disconnect with the game. Perhaps I'm just a teenager who can't appreciate the wonder of 3D MMORPG gaming, because they didn't have it in the old days. Or perhaps I'd stumbled upon something that was REALLY at the root of my problem. I reread the rest of our conversation, and noticed that Alamo had hit the nail on the head. I had said, "I have quests in Netherstorm, but what's the point? I get more cash to buy ... what? Virtual stuff that helps a virtual character do even MORE instances?" His reply: "Pull on that thread and the game comes apart like a cheap sweater..." I laughed at first at his clever comparison, but then I reread it again. And again. I sat back, stewing in my thoughts. That was it.
- Earlier in this same blog, Alamo and (if my memory serves me correctly) Althaea/Twink had touched on the fringes of this big idea. Alamo felt like a tool, to be pulled out to aid another, and replaced. I believe Althaea covered this as well, saying that he felt no need to continue playing (again, I may be incorrect). The reason why all of us had been feeling that big disconnect was because, presto, the game had ceased to intrest us. Basic human nature. For example, if a baby had a toy, let's use a big plastic hammer and plastic nail...the baby would experiment. Putting the hammer on this, putting it on that; biting the hammer, biting the nail...and then, oh! A discovery! The hammer could drive the nail into things, what fun! More experimentation, and then, another discovery! The hammer could pull the nail out again! It is this cycle of experimentation, observation, and discovery that keeps us interested in something. That's why scientists continue to observe the stars, even when they're certain they're right and that they've found everything. There's the possibility of an amazing discovery. Now, let's apply this to a more restricted scenario we all know too well.
- I remember when I first started playing WoW. (Many of you must see what I'm getting at by now, but I'll continue to for my own benefit ;D). I learned to walk. Then, discovery: I could jump. I learned to attack. Then, discovery: I could use special moves. There were many endless discoveries on top of that, and I will only mention a few here: learning there were different zones, that clothies can't wear mail, that flight paths linked together, that there was a talent tree. Then, these were improved upon as I reached closer to the max level (60 at that time): there were HIDDEN SPOTS in those different zones, that different CLASSES could wear different levels of armor, that certain flight paths were CHEAPER to use than others, that talent trees could be artfully SPEC'D to accomplish different things. Then, the expansion came, just as the number of discoveries were starting to dwindle. Now, I'll make my main point, because I can see that I'm rambling here.
- With Akmalla, Althaea, Alamo, and Hell all at level 70...we ran out of things to explore. The wonder of the purple had been lost to us, flying mounts became a novelty, and the wonderous Karazhan became a chore to do. Unlike our theoretical scientists' space or our babies' infinate number of new toys, World of Warcraft had limits. There WERE only so many things to explore, and create, and do, and see. The game had ceased to throw new wonderments at us. After all of that thought process, I had something to say to Alamo. And that is a summary of pretty much everything I had hoped to communicate in this post. That white has become the new purple. I said:
- "Yeah. It's like you want a new toon again, but at the same time, you don't. You don't want to level up yet another alt. You ACTUALLY want that learning innocence back, is it. When everything was new and fresh. To find the game amazing and interesting again, instead of a grind. You want to be able to find more amazing stuff to hold your attention." Pause. Then: "Oh, you just inspired a Play Late post."