Weekly Response #1

I thought it might be fun to post my weekly responses for my Virtual World Studies class. I think they will mostly take the form of my current journeys in World of Warcraft, but may also take the form of what responses on what we are reading and thoughts in class. Without further adieus….

I started out by re-downloading World of Warcraft from Fileplanet.com as I seem to have thrown away my installation disk. The file download took about 4 hours and only took me up to version 1.10 of the game, the current version being 2.06 I believe. So while installing the game I went through and downloaded each patch individually as well. The install itself took about 20 minutes, which was plenty of time for most of the patches. After I installed, I then moved on to install each patch, which took anywhere from 1 minute to 15 minutes per patch. When all is said and done, it probably took me a good 6 to 7 hours to download and install the game. My next step was trying to remember my account name and password, and set up an account. The whole experience was standard web-based fare and it only took a little time for me to figure out how to re-subscribe.

Taking into account the mantra of trying to make a character that I haven’t really played yet, I took into account the classes that I could play. Tank and healer were pretty much out as these have been my most extensively played classes in the past. Rogue was probably my next most used class, but I never really considered this class as I beta tested WoW as a Rogue and did not like it. That left me basically with wizard classes. My previous stint had me playing as a Mage, so I selected a Warlock. I also selected a gnome because out of all the races, this was the one race I actually liked and I think it would help with what I was doing in the game.

I named my little Gnome “Razak,” a standard name for my characters, chose a random appearance that would work and entered the game. However, I quickly decided that perhaps it would work better if I played as a griefer in this particular attempt at WoW. A griefer is someone who takes pleasure in making other player’s experiences unpleasant. Given my problems with the game, it might not be too hard for me to do. However, I have never really been this type of character so I didn’t really know if I could even do it. After thought, I decided I didn’t want to use my name so I went back to the character creator and made a new character with a misspelled version of Dissonance, Dessonance.

Gnome Dancing quickly became a past-time activity of choiceFinally in the game, I first went into my character inventory and unequipped everything that I was wearing. I had decided to play this character naked as a way to do something different with the game and make it slightly more challenging. It didn’t take long into the game to start to see other players, and much to my surprise, they started to grief me before I even had a chance to do so to them. I became inundated with trade windows, group invites, and duel requests without any previous, all without prior contact with me, something that is commonly thought of as griefing. My plan to be a griefer was taken from me from the very beginning. I also had issues finding people to “steal kills” from at this level as there were not many people who were even fighting things at my level, let alone below me, so thus far my griefing plan has gone undone.

I quickly became bored and decided to log off and start looking for a better user interface from a website called wowinterface.com. The site was chock full of custom interfaces to make the game look and work better. However, after installing a number of interfaces to try to spruce up the interface, I quickly found that almost every interface in the game is tied to the resolution that the player is running. This caused me problems considering I am running the game on a widescreen monitor and a resolution to match. I found only 4 or 5 interfaces specifically made with widescreens in mind, only 1 or 2 were actually usable, and none of them had any indication as to what resolutions they were made for. After installing and uninstalling those resolutions I finally just gave up and decided to live with the load of add-ons that one of the interfaces provided. Add-ons are not entire interfaces but work to make the interface work a little better by doing little things faster. A lot of the add-ons that were in this particular UI were very useful and I decided to keep them even though I ended up with some unmovable and annoying icons smack dab in the center of my screen.

With that done, I re-entered the game again to give it another go.I quickly found the advantage of being naked is quicker travel time. The only detriment really to dieing in world of warcraft is that you take damage to your equipment when you spawn right away at the graveyard. Well having, no equipment on has negated this rather small penalty entirely and now when I want to travel back to town, I’ll just run into the middle of creatures and let them kill me. This isn’t without its snags because I have noticed that even naked, it can take 2 creatures that are above me in level quite a long time to actually whittle away my health. I have found it works far better to find a dozen or so creatures for this to work quickly. I am hopeful that this was just Blizzard’s way of making the early experience as die free as possible and that when I want to die in the future it’ll be easier to do.

I had unfortunately gone through these starting quests previously as I have already tried nearly every race in the game, and most of the classes already. Therefore, the opening quests were known, I had no sense of being lost or new that I think we were supposed to try to get. However, my goal isn’t for that as I don’t think that is particularly easy for me to get with this game. My goal is more to get a new experience in the long term. Through both a character that I didn’t play much past level 5, and through playing a character without any equipment to aid me, and perhaps even a character whose purpose is to ruin the play experience of other players.