Through the Eyes of a Newbie

June 3, 2009 at 6:32 pm (WoW General)

So, recently, I actually managed to persuade an old friend of mine from college (with whom I recently reconnected) to create a World of Warcraft account.  In addition to the sweet recruit-a-friend incentives (I have yet to decide which toon’s getting the Zhevra, but probably the mage – Zhevra’s cool and all, but my three highest-level toons have class-specific mounts I like better, and it would be wasted on my shadow priest – on the other hand, a horse always struck me as a bit dull for my mage, so now I just have to get her through the next ten levels so she can ride it).  I think one of the most interesting aspects of this has been seeing the game anew through the eyes of someone with no experience with it (though after some of my epic-length essays on finer points of threat mechanics, he’s probably feeling like it’s a graduate seminar).

It does raise a bit of a question in my mind, though, as to whether the recruit-a-friend program is all that good an idea for legitimately new players (as opposed to people creating recruit accounts to powerlevel their own toons).  It’s been striking to me exactly how quickly my friend has been leveling (he’s now level 21).  We cruised through the undead starting zone and Silverpine, and he outleveled the quests really quickly, due to the whole quadruple-XP thing recruit-a-friend accounts get.  Is he missing the storyline?  Is this actually exacerbating what has always been an issue with WoW – the tendency of it to devolve into discrete FedEx quests, or kill-20-of-Mob-A quests, or whatever, as opposed to interlocking quests that tell a coherent and interesting story (something Blizzard did a far better job on in Wrath than they had done previously)?  It particularly occurred to me in the context of the Forsaken Plague thread of quests (which I’ve never seen from Horde side, but which are clearly a huge part of the story of Wrath.

I know, the real game starts at the level cap, yadda yadda.  That’s true on your second, third, or hundred-and-third character.  But it’s really not true on your first character.  That character, the leveling process is special – it’s all new.  I can look back and say that Kahleena’s first 70 levels were setup for that first Kara run, but that’s only in retrospect.  That complete thrill when she hit level 50, and I picked up the quest to hit the Plaguelands, well, that was “the real game” to me.  I wasn’t thinking “Okay, I just have to stick it out to 58, and it’s off to Outland!”  I was thinking “Sweet, I finally get to really fight the Scourge.  Epic!”  Ditto the first time I passed into that horribly frightening zone I’d flown over so many times, the Searing Gorge.  Or the first time I killed a drake in the Burning Steppes – my first dragon!   On my alts, yeah, it’s about getting through it to get to Northrend, but not that first time.

Anybody have any experiences of this sort (assuming I have any readers)?  I’m wondering whether I’m just worrying over nothing.

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2 Comments

  1. Sylly said,

    hey hey! =) I can really relate to what you wrote here. For a while my husband was giving WOW a try and we did recruit-a-friend together. He ultimately didn’t care for the game, and I can’t help but wonder if part of that was the breakneck pace that we moved through content. It was difficult to keep up financially with our fast leveling (we rolled on a new server so I had no main toon sugar daddy to look out for us). In addition, the quests seemed to lack meaning. I think that a part of that was that we leveled through areas so quickly that we were dropping quest chains long before they came to fruition to pick up the opening quests in new starting areas. We never really explored the fullness of any one place before moving onto the next…

  2. Admin said,

    So. Much. Word. on the inability to financially keep up. I think my recruit is doing okay – he picked up mining and skinning, and is now loaning me money for my training. 🙂 Meanwhile, he’ll grant me 3-4 levels at a time, and when we do an instance, I have to hit the AH to buy better tanking gear. I have a 58 Death Knight on the server, so I can always make a little money by heading to Outland, but still, it’s hard to keep up without a main toon.

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