Thursday, February 01, 2007

World of Warcraft

I say very little about WoW in this blog. Perhaps that's an oversight. So forgive the very long post as I explain...

Hi, my name is Vanessa, and I play World of Warcraft.

waits for the inevitable chorus of "Hi Vanessa!"

I suppose I shouldn't feel so alone in this. After all, over 8 million other people worldwide also play WoW. But the strange part, I guess, is that I play. Me, who couldn't even play Super Mario Bros. on the old Nintendo, and who had trouble with the duck shooting game. Whose computer game experience was limited to Solitaire and Monkey Island, and something 2-d with ducks that you had to rescue. I am now classified as a "gamer."

This of course begs the question, how on earth did I start? Well, that actually has a simple answer. Mike plays. And early in our relationship, in an effort to share things we liked, I made a dwarf rogue on his account. The first time the toon was jumped by two hostile mobs, I freaked out. I did a lot of dying on that first toon, but I got her to level 20 or so, and it taught me a lot about the game, and gave me more confidence. Then when I was done my critical theory class in April 2005, Mike bought me my own copy of the game, so we could play together. And play together we did, for a very long time.

So why do I keep playing? Well, there are a few reasons. First is Mike. Even though we aren't on characters that can run together anymore, he winds down from his day in front of his computer, rather than the TV, or a book, or a project. If I wasn't in the same room with him as he does this, we'd spend little time in each other's company on a daily basis. But beyond that, I now enjoy the game on its own merits. I have been known to log on when Mike is sleeping or isn't home. It is complex, and each server has its own community. More than that, I have friends there, good friends, and I enjoy spending time with them. The game itself is challenging, with many facets to explore and discover. Each different toon has its strengths and weaknesses, and learning to work with and around those is interesting.

With the release of the first expansion pack for the game, which Mike of course went to pick up in a special midnight opening of the local gaming store, I find that my time in-game is being drawn in many directions. There was an increase in the level cap for toons, so my level 60 characters cry out to be leveled to 70, so as to better spend time with those of my friends that have already made that leap. But there are also new characters that whisper in my ears. So I suppose it's time to introduce most of my readers to my virtual faces. Some of you only know me by the virtual faces, but for those that don't, here is a brief summary of who I might be spending most of my evenings as.

When Mike bought me my own copy, we made two characters on a completely new server. His was a human warrior. Mine was Sparq, a human priest. She is currently level 62, and in process of replacing hard-earned epic (extremely good quality) gear with greens (good, but not outstanding gear). She's starting to have a Carmen San Diego thing going on (hopefully I can replace the shoulders soon; they're throwing the look off!). The best part about that hat is that once an hour, it produces virtual alcohol. :) Priests in the game are healers first and foremost, so leveling her is proving a mite challenging, since I refuse to respec her to Shadow to make leveling easier. Generally, I run around with another priest friend. Between the two of us, we manage to keep each other alive, and do what we need to do to level.

Sparq is what is called a main. Main characters are those you spend most of your time on, and who you are known by, no matter what character you log on to (e.g. I log on as the rogue, who you will meet below, and everyone in the guild says, "Hi Sparq!"). And with the label of main comes the expectation that she will be your first to reach maximum level. So she's muttering in my ear about getting another level soon, pretty please...

All the following characters are alts, but this one is perhaps my main alt. Her name is Falconne, and she started out as my way of reliving those first few days I played the game. She is a dwarf rogue. Rogues are damage dealers, and can stealth, pickpocket, pick locks, make poisons, and have decent survivability in that things die pretty fast... She is also my money-maker. Things in game cost gold (divided down into silver and copper as well). Because of her damage and survivability, and with two gathering professions, she is able to make money relatively easily, whereas the priest can't so well. Falconne is now Level 61, and is sitting with over 500 gold. This, however, is inadequate, as some of the things I want to purchase in game cost anywhere from 500 to 5000 gold. So she is also whispering in my ear, telling me that if I want that pretty gryphon mount when I get Sparq to 70, I need to do more money making... And that might just get her another level too...

Since the release of the expansion on 16 January, Mike has been spending his time almost exclusively working on a new character on a different server. Because I try to spend some virtual time with him as well, I too created a new character. This is Skadie, and she is a blood elf hunter. Hunters get to tame pets, and I decided to tame a dragon type thing, whom I just love. He breathes fire! He flys! And I have a passive small pet that matches him! Skadie is currently Level 20, but Mike and our other friends are coming up on 40, which leaves me fairly far behind. Still, there is a level cap, so they can't outdistance me forever! Skadie also whispers in my ears, telling me that there are new places to explore, and that hunters get really cool skills at higher levels... Besides, Mike is on this server...

Forgive me if I keep the names of these next two alts to myself. You see, somehow over the course, I ended up in a leadership position in-game. And while I do find it rewarding, sometimes I just want to hide. And when I do, I log on to one of these toons. Above, you see my Level 9 draenei paladin, and below, my level 9 draenei shaman. These are both new characters. The paladin I am generally playing with the priest friend I mentioned earlier. We had decided to create new characters, and without communicating with each other in any way, we both made paladins! We laughed for a very long time. The shaman I made a little while ago, for the simple reason of taking the new jewelcrafting profession. You see, I don't understand the profession at all, so I thought if I had a toon with it, it might start to make more sense. I find the draenei very relaxing. They are characterized as noble and almost pacifistic, being made to become warriors by outside forces. Their starting area and city are lovely, and I just did one of the coolest quests EVER on the shaman. And with two level 60s and a multitude of inactive alts, that's saying something. So they tug on my sleeve as well, asking me to discover more, and play them, because their philosophies are so much a match to the inner peace I'm trying to regain.

These are my virtual bodies and faces, and the voices I am confronted with when I sit down across from Mike and double-click that big W icon. Unfortunately, he's no help when trying to decide which one to listen to. :)


The other priest

"Hi Vanessa!"

Well, Since I'm one of the people that understands everything you wrote here - I'll leave with this comment. I started exactly the same way - except mine was a NE hunter named Norinak.

And now I know you have a shammy too! :-P hehe But I won't tell :-)

Strawberry Blue Viking

Gah ba goo dah? Niff gunk dey.

Sorry Ness, but I understood not one word of that! The pictures are pretty though! =D

Queen of Swords

And I was so trying not to use jargon (much)! Oh well... :)

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