Ever found World of Warcraft too challenging? Ever thought to yourself that you needed to make it more difficult? Katolikk thought the same thing and decided he’d play through the entire game without equipment! That’s right, he’s heading to 70 without ever equipping anything to help him fight.

People have done it in RPGs. You can probably find many guides to multiple Final Fantasy series where people have worked out the perfect way to play through without any gear. However, Katolikk takes this novel premise to the extremes by doing it with WoW.

As you may know, if you’ve ever played WoW, trying to level without equipment is difficult. Very difficult since equipment pretty much determines a characters power.

What made you get started playing World of Warcraft?

I have always been a keen Science fantasy reader, and I had played the Warcraft2/3 computer games, so when I saw an advert (I forget where) for WoW I thought I would give it a try. As I said above I have a bit of time to spend on the game although I try not to play for long sessions, usually only 3-4 hours max in one go, often only for the odd hour here and there. I also have a mate who lives in the next village to me (about 3 miles away) who is a retired teacher who also got into the game so I have someone to talk to irl about things, although we play on different servers so hardly ever meet up in game. (He thinks I am mad for this naked thing by the way). By and large I thoroughly enjoy the game, but I do make a point of avoiding the grinding/raiding aspect, I largely solo and just join small groups to finish off stuff that I can’t do on my own. I don’t really do many of the instances, and also haven’t tried battlegrounds or pvp – I realise I have missed out a lot of the game by avoiding these elements but I feel I wouldn’t enjoy them much. I have played many of the NWN/Morrowind games and really enjoy the storylines (I have just installed a new video card just so I can play Oblivion!), and I get a kick out of the progress through crafting/fishing/cooking etc bits of WoW, rather than just rushing through the levelling so I can make the uber high-level stuff.

Why did you choose to do a "naked" run?

I have been playing since day 2 of WoW Europe, and have tried most classes (until recently I hadn’t had a warrior). I had 2 lvl60s (the ubiquitous female NE hunter, and a dwarf priest) and a raft of other characters in the mid-40s, all levelling up gradually. I was in a nice friendly guild that didn’t insist on everyone raiding 24/7, you could just sign up as and when you wanted to (although I started to come under a bit of pressure to take my priest along several times a week, as you can imagine). I don’t consider myself to be anything more than a reasonable player, I’m not anything special, my characters aren’t all tricked out in epixx (priest has a epic robe he crafted for himself with tailoring and my lvl45 blacksmith has the purple summonable hammer you get with one of the specializations). I don’t respec my characters just to see if putting one point here or there makes a difference, even when there has been a free respec I normally go back to pretty much what I had originally.

I was browsing the forums on wow-europe when I saw a thread about someone who was playing the game without any items or armour, and I started reading – after convulsing in laughter for the fourth or fifth time I thought “I’m going to have a go at that, he sounds like a complete nutjob”. Firstly I started a druid called Gykkyt but after a few levels I decided I needed a new character, so I rolled a priest, named him Katolikk (a play on Catholic but sounds a bit more hordey) then decided as I had already levelled a priest to 60 I should try something else so I deleted him and started a mage (I reused the name Katolikk). This was the start of the Naked Run. I whispered Gutrot (the naked player) and got an invite to the guild, the Naked Noobs. (on the Aerie Peak server btw)

What difficulties are there when playing without any equipment?

for a start I should point out that we are being a bit flexible on the “totally naked” thing, Gutrot himself uses jewellery (rings, neckpieces, trinkets and off-hand non-weapon items are all permissible – in fact the off-hand fish you catch occasionally are particularly cool), Katolikk has a staff and wand equipped (just for the stats) and we even have a guild uniform (the only piece of clothing we allow is the Ripped Ogre Loincloth which is a zero-armour grey junk item you pick up from a ore-digging quest in Ferelas, occasionally I take Katolikk to Camp Mojache and offer to help people do the quest in exchange for any of the loincloths they dig up so I can keep new guildies outfitted). Jokes abound on the forum thread about Gutrot’s loincloth and its many and various inhabitants – anything that hasn’t been washed or changed for 63 levels is bound to be home to all manner of little beasties. There have been several proposals for a Gutrot-specific epic endgame reward loincloth with no armour but some sort of gas-cloud attack, and an NPC has also been suggested. One of the most interesting suggestions I have seen was for a dungeon boss who won’t take any damage from anyone unless you are naked when you fight him. We had three new members join a few weeks ago who weren’t comfortable with being totally naked so they decided they would keep their starting clothing but let the durability wear down to 0 and not repair it. We also decided fist weapons were a bit of a grey area as they use unarmed skill so we allowed them to be used (allows rogues to use poisons but not many of the special attacks like backstab which needs daggers), and I decided a hunter should have a ranged attack so my hunter is using thrown weapons (which don’t actually count as ranged weapons so don’t qualify for any ranged bonuses from Hunter’s mark etc). Things like dynamite, bombs, traps etc are all perfectly OK too.

One advantage of not using equipment is you get to sell everything you pick up, there’s never any temptation to think “ooh this is better than the gloves/boots etc I am wearing”, you can just sell it without any qualms. My characters (I now have 6 in the Noobs; 70 mage, 25 druid, 36 hunter, 19 warrior, 28 rogue and 28 priest) tend to keep some armour in their banks just in case the whole thing falls apart and I decide to go back to playing easy-mode (just quest-reward soulbound stuff). Also you don’t waste money on enchanting stuff because you don’t have anything to enchant (I was disappointed to find I couldn’t get an enchant on my fishing rod…).

To be quite honest there aren’t really any great problems with levelling up as an offensive caster apart from having to stop and drink after every single fight (having no spirit-buffing armour) – frankly anything that gets into melee range of a mage is going to kill you just as quick whether you have armour or not J Katolikk is fire-specced and has never used frost spells apart from the occasional Frost Nova to stop people chasing him: he is going to have to use some soon as he needs some Primal Fire from fire elementals but realistically I outdamage pretty much any mob the same level as myself even in toe-to-toe combat unless they get a couple of resists. If I get the first hit in with a Pyroblast, by the time they get to me they are down to 50% hp and are generally on fire JJ I don’t even use the pyro-PoM-pyro-trinket-whatever that the forums are bleating about doing 15k damage in 3 seconds, just regular spells seem to work for me. It took just 19 days and 9 minutes to reach level 70, and that includes getting fishing up to 360-odd (including a couple of unsuccessful attempts at the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza) so I wasn’t exactly rushing! Likewise with my priest, just regular DoTs/shield/mindflay works quite nicely. The main problem with the priest is that you have the same drinking problem as the mage, but as priests don’t make their own drinks I keep forgetting to stock up on essential fluids. My BM hunter (called Jamieoliver after the Naked Chef from British TV) also copes quite well; get aggro with the pet as usual then use traps (fire or explosive) and thump away with your fists while the pet does the work. From discussions on the forum thread it seemed that the general opinion was that the hardest class to level without weapons would be a rogue – none of their special attacks work without some sort of melee weapon and you can’t use poisons if you haven’t got anything to put them on – so of course that was the next thing to try, I needed a bank character so a rogue it was. After about a month I was level 7 and getting seriously pissed off with the character: even warriors get some attacks that you can use bare-knuckled but rogues get squat. This was probably the closest I came to giving up on the naked thing – I really doubt it’s possible to play a naked unarmed rogue to any serious level. This was the point where I thought we should take a serious look at fist weapons – I had never even seen a fist weapon in use so I decided to give them a try, after all they are only a glorified knuckleduster. That made all the difference – now poisons were an option and a couple of the special abilities are available. I started to forge ahead with levelling up this character, mostly to get unlocking boxes to a useful level. I then needed a new bank character so an undead warrior called Nudead joined the guild. Still working on her – level19 now with no real problems.

Want to hear more of this interesting story? Read on to part two! Click here to continue! >>

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

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Xerin 1
Get in the bush with David "Xerin" Piner as he leverages his spectacular insanity to ask the serious questions such as is Master Yi and Illidan the same person? What's for dinner? What are ways to elevate your gaming experience? David's column, Respawn, is updated near daily with some of the coolest things you'll read online, while David tackles ways to improve the game experience across the board with various hype guides to cool games.