Welcome to my third beta journal, which picks up with my dwarven paladin around level 15. In this journal I really want to discuss 2 things about WoW. The first being quests and rewards, the second being skills. I know that at this point the way you earn skills has changed but the abilities and mechanics behind them still function in much the same way. I have chosen not to discuss any specific quests or adventures in this submission, but more the overall feel of the game and its mechanics. I will be back next week to discuss specific areas, quests and abilities.
Now that my character has progressed further in the game I find that more and more of the quests are extremely difficult or impossible to complete by yourself. Unless you wait for multiple levels past the time you were given the quest. If you do this you really miss two of the best things about WoW, parties and appropriate quest rewards.
The first issue is parties. I played most of my first 15 levels solo, going in and out of the game often due to work and family commitments. I had a blast at every stage, constantly wanting to play more and get further. As per my last journal though, around level 12 the quests started getting significantly harder. I completed a few small quests with parties at this point, but basically only by going to do the quest and finding other people in the area. When I was done I left the party and continued on alone to the next quest.
I ran into issues doing this with quests that were not dungeons or in common areas, so one day decided to stick around and formed a small group (3 people) to do some of the smaller quests in and around Sentinel Hill. I ended up playing for several hours and had a blast with the people, and completed a TON of quests before I even noticed what time it was. To the side is one of the pictures I took with a member of the group. To this day I still play with this person and have had lots of adventures and many hours of fun with this new friend.
This is probably the thing I like best about WoW so far. I have spent many evenings playing with many new people. At the end of the day a few new people get added into my friends list. Now when I sign in, I have at least 3-4 greeting messages and never have to look for a group. We all look for one another. Even though I haven't played long with these people, there is a sense of friendship that was very quickly formed. I really like the social aspect of the game so far.
The other part of questing that I really believe Blizzard fine tuned very well is that the quest rewards and items are for the most part VERY useful as soon as you get them and generally very appropriate, or have enough options that you can select a decent one for your character or class. Some games that you can play give out either weak or inappropriate items after quests or missions. It seems like such a waste of time at the end to get something that goes straight to a vendor.
In WoW (or at least in the groups I have played with) the above seems very uncommon. There have been many times where I am on a quest with a group and people are already talking about how much better their character will be once they get back to collect the reward. To me, this is the perfect way to ensure quests are fun and rewarding. When people are already looking forward to the result, they move through the quests rather than just camping and killing good experience areas. Way to go Blizzard.
The other thing I wanted to talk about today was skills. I have always criticised every MMORPG for including them. I hated the very idea of them! Who in their right mind would want to go into a video game and FISH??? Or for that fact, mine, cook, tailor, etc. Doing anything other than adventuring and fighting is a complete waste of time, isn't it? Well that was my original thoughts. I would very much like to apologize to anyone I ever criticized for doing any of those things!
I now for some reason see the proverbial light. I am still not sure why, but I find all of the skills extremely fun. I understand that they are not nearly as involved in WoW as a lot of other MMORPGs but thats fine, I don't know if I would like them more detailed. In WoW all of the skill (now professions) are very easy to move through and use. I like them that way. Being a Dwarf I of course had almost no choice in my skills. I had to be a miner / Blacksmith and a cook. After all what do dwarves spend most of their time doing (besides drinking ale, which for some reason has no associated brew master profession)?
I started out with mining and cooking and found them both very rewarding and a change of pace. I would be out adventuring and find myself chasing down boars, bears and wolves just for recipe ingredients. Several times I would be asked what was going on by group members when I stopped to kill wandering animals, and found myself explaining that I actually just wanted some beer basted boar ribs, to every ones amusement.
The moral of my story here about the professions is that if even a die hard anti life skill player can find fun in the skill system, Blizzard must have done something right. So when you get a chance explore around and give them a chance.
Well thats it for the third instalment of my beta journal. I hope you all have enjoyed them so far. I will be back next week with the next instalment of my characters adventures.
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