Friday, April 10, 2009

WoW - thoughts after a couple of months

I've now been at this World of Warcraft thing for a couple of months.

Ellyz (Zangarmarsh US server), as of last night, is now a level 35 warrior (should ding 36 sometime this evening). I've been playing her exclusively the last couple of weeks.

A few thoughts:

- Many of the low-level characters in the servers I have played on are often folks who have leveled a few characters to 80 and want to try something new. They are not noobs. I've had a couple of people shocked that at level 35 I don't know the entire environment (both physical and cultural). Such is the risk when you come to a community late. Of any sort.....

- A large portion of the people I have encountered (both in-world and in real life) are leveling as fast as possible in order to get to "end-game". I see the same thing in online tutorials - get through the content as fast as possible in order to get to the certificate. Something to keep in mind when I design learning. Many people just aren't interested in "exploring."

- That said, I find that the complexity Blizzard has built into the environment does a nice job of addressing any needs I may have when playing. Some sessions - I meander aimlessly trying to fill in my map. Some sessions - I hunt for monsters to gain tradeable goods (skins, meat and rocks) and experience points for no purpose other than to get goods and experience (known as "grinding"). Some sessions - I try to knock out Quests (often - more focused grinding). Occasionally (OK - twice), I run instances with the guild. That variety - plus the occasional goal - keeps me coming back. For those who are more interested in the process (and are frankly more casual players than the raid and dungeon-focused variety), the variety may attract players (like me) who otherwise would not play (or not keep playing).

- This complexity also encourages you to keep tweaking. Find ways to improve. Much like golf - you can never truly "master" the sport. Hence the growth of interface add ons, blogs, reference sites, etc. Only some from Blizzard - most from the very large user community. It's this type of community I would love to build for our enterprise system. Blizzard gave them the base - the community ran with it.

- Some of the best quest lines have a compelling story. One quest line has you looking for goods to heal a man's daughter. The challenge-levels were just right. I kept going back to Ashenvale - even though I had pretty much finished what I wanted to do there - if only to finish that quest line. Good stuff.

- Some of the worst quests have you grind through a certain number of monsters and pray that you a) find the meandering "boss" or b) pray a special item drops. This is even worse when you are grinding through humanoids - who tend to run and gang up on you. There has been more than one instance where I have wiped out an entire community and not gotten that one special item. Or had someone else take it after I had done all of the dirty work (hmmm....much like life...) Grrrr.......

- I find that my hesitancies with grouping in WoW mirror my hesitancies with grouping in real life. It's one thing for me to make a mistake by myself. I pay my own consequences. Quite another when you are impacting other people. I've gotten better at game mechanics, but I am very unpracticed at grouping and my role in it. The last thing I want to do is wipe a party because I missed something or because I'm not fast enough with the interface. Dungeon play also means you gotta be there for the whole thing. That means setting aside a few uninterrupted hours. The group expects you to be there and your full attention. I often play WoW while watching hockey. As a result - I don't do as many dungeon runs as others in my guild. People have less and less concentrated time. We need to keep that in mind during our design.

It's been an interesting ride so far. I still have lots to learn, especially when it concerns grouping.

And if any of you find yourself hanging in Azeroth, you know where to find me.....

1 comment:

Mark said...

A very good summary of my own experiences with WoW. :)