Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Origins, Part I

There was a shared topic on the Blog Azeroth forums recently about "Why we WoW". It seemed like a nice idea for a post, but after starting to write it I realized it doesn't work for me without some history about my life in WoW, as well as some of the happenings outside of it.

Getting Started

Now I have to decide where to start... Having almost 30 years behind me, most of which were spent gaming, there's a lot of history there. But let's stick to what's relevant (well, more or less) - I used to play D&D with friends in high-school (yes, the kind where you actually had to meet people face to face), while playing pretty much any game I could get my hands on including lots of RPGs. While the pen-and-paper gaming ended after graduation, PC RPGs have continued to take up big chunks of time out of my life. Pretty much all of it, however, was playing "solo" - with the exception of the excellent Starcraft, I didn't play any multiplayer games at all. I guess it was just a matter of time, though.

Playing on the Internet? And it works?

Like any person even slightly in touch with the world of gaming, hearing about WoW was inevitable, but like most MMOs back then there was a catch - monthly subscription. I mean, are you kidding me? Not only do I have to buy the game, I have to keep paying for it every month? And what's the big deal about playing online anyway? And then you hear all the horror stories about people lagging, when they live 2 blocks down from the servers and think "what's going to happen to me, living all the way across Europe from where the game servers usually are". So I just waited, and let the WoW tide wash over me... But then, along came Guild Wars, and it didn't have a monthly fee, so there was no reason not to give it a shot. And I loved it. I was lucky enough to run into some nice people who had just made a guild, and spent hours each day running around killing things with them. Lots of good times were had there, but other than PvPing, the PvE content there was pretty limited. I was already talking to most of my guildies on MSN throughout most of the day, so what was the game bringing to the table? Not that much. So on I went looking for the next game that could hold my attention.

WOW? More like "meh"

So I bit the bullet, and got a copy of WoW. I figured, you get a "free" month when you buy it, so worst case I could just stop after that. So I rolled my first nelf huntard (and boy, was I a huntard - after doing the pet taming quest I decided I really don't like pets, and just kept on going without one), and it was nice most of the time but there were tons of lag, and too many things that were different from Guild Wars - so different that they were out of my "comfort zone". So after that 1 month (even though I don't like the game, I'll be damned if I'm going to throw away whatever time I have left) I went back to Guild Wars, but the magic was gone. Most of my guildies were also shopping for other games to play (as long as they weren't WoW), and the guild sort of fell apart. We tried a little D&D Online, but it was just horrible, and some other games, but it just didn't work. That's when I actually seriously started playing WoW.

*sigh* This was supposed to be a post about my early days of WoW - didn't quite work, did it? This is getting too long for 1 post, so my options are either to start from scratch, or just pick it back up from here tomorrow. You all have my sincerest apologies for that... But at least, the groundwork for my "WoW age" is all set, so it should be smooth sailing from now on.

After reading Cynra's comment, I figured it might be helpful to include a couple of words about Guild Wars, or at least the main differences between it and WoW. So, the big differences (for me, at least) were:
  1. There's no casting from the spell book, and you only get 8 spells in your "action bar". This, along with specializations ("talent trees") and dual-classing allows for quite a bit of "tweaking" to your character. The actual fighting, however, is a lot simpler than it is in WoW.
  2. Except for cities, everything in GW is instanced (I think that may have changed by now, but that's the way it was back in the days). That makes a lot of difference in how you interact with other people - you can't just run into someone out in the middle of nowhere, and team up (or have a bit of RP).
  3. All your characters belong to the same guild (and the "guild screen" shows you the main's name).
The 2nd and 3rd points, at least in my opinion, make GW a lot less hospitable to RP than WoW is, while giving more importance to "bonding" with your guild/friends. Whether that's good or bad, I don't know - I guess it's very personal, and even depends on the current mood.

1 comment:

Cynra said...

Pick it back up!

I enjoy hearing stories from people who had MMORPGs prior to World of Warcraft. They bring an interesting perspective to the game -- aside from the rabid fanaticism of those people who have played World of Warcraft exclusively!