The great black hole known as World of Warcraft has sucked another player into its swirling vortex… me. This is actually the second time I’ve had an active subscription to WoW, and the third time I’ve played. The first was just a seven day trial, where I played an Orc warrior up to level 19 before going back to EverQuest II. The second time I actually subscribed and played during my EQII down times. I leveled a Dwarf warrior to 29 before realizing that I just couldn’t sustain two MMO accounts at the same time, so again, I went back to EQII. Ever since then, WoW has been swirling around in the back of my mind, rising up now and again, calling for me to return. As per my usual, I gave in. The difference this time is that WoW will be my only active MMO subscription.
I managed to spend a bit of time in Azeroth this past weekend with my newly created Draenei Shaman, leveling to thirteen. I started a new character mostly to join a friend on a different server, and also because I remembered not enjoying the warrior experience a whole lot. One thing that really stands out for me in WoW is the short character introduction when you first create a character. In just a few seconds, it sets up the race’s background and how you ended up where you are. It pulled me into the game much better than other games that just plop you into the world after you’ve created your character. I’d argue that WoW has no peer when it comes to logical starter quest progression; it’s so easy to see where you need to go right from the start. While the beginning quests are of the typical “hunter/gatherer” type, I found they’re framed very well within an over-arching storyline, and I was genuinely interested in reading all the quest text I came across. In addition to the standard quests, there are Shaman specific quests that I came across which provided me with my totems, a device unique to the Shaman class. The first totem, the Totem of Earth, was provided by the Spirit of the Vale after a very basic quest, but basic as it was, the story behind it was presented very well. Continuing my Shaman’s rite of passage, I received my second totem, the Totem of Fire at level ten after another very well done quest. I’ve found these quests have helped my Shaman feel special, and unique, and they’ve made me feel closer or more invested in my character, if that makes any sense.
Even at the lowly level of thirteen, I’ve already seen and done some really cool stuff. I’ve been given temporary wings so I could safely glide down from the top of a mountain, and I’ve been transformed into an invisible panther to quickly whip across the zone. The panther, from the Totem of Vark quest, was an especially cool effect which turned the world into a shadowy version of the spirit world. I’ve also donned a tree disguise in order to infiltrate a secret meeting that allowed me to uncover a traitor. In addition to some of the cool quest mechanics, I’m also very impressed with the variety of mobs. Again, WoW does such a great job of making you feel like a hero, like the things you do matter. I find it refreshing to be tasked with taking out a two-headed beast dog like The Kurken, which actually looks tough and epic, even though it’s only level twelve, as opposed to just a bigger version of a rat model for example.
Finally, I came across one quest which just made me laugh, which I’ve pictured to the left; I like these little pop culture references (Star Wars in this case). Over the next little while, I’ll continue to play when I can; I’m in no big rush to level up. I’m really enjoying this latest foray into WoW so far, and am very much looking forward to exploring more of the world. Playing on a PvP server, I’m eagerly anticipating setting foot into contested or Horde territory, but that’s still a few levels away. We’ll see if I change my tune after being ganked ten times in a row. Regardless, you’ll be able to read about it here.