Archive for March, 2010
So your kid wants to play World of Warcraft. You’re not quite sure about allowing him or her to jump into the Azeroth, not yet. You may have never heard of the game, or if you have you might have only heard negative information here or there. Maybe you play the game yourself, but you aren’t so sure about letting your kids play or at least knowing when to let them play. Should kids even play World of Warcraft? What age should they start playing? Weather you are a gamer or you don’t know MMOs from Adam, here are some items that you may want to consider before you make your decision.
World of Warcraft is a MMORPG (Massive Multi-player Online Role Playing Game). An MMORPG is a “genre of computer role-playing games in which a very large number of players interact with on another within a virtual game world” (Wikipedia). World of Warcraft (commonly known as WoW) is one of many MMORPGs currently available (here’s a link to a list of them). WoW happens to be the most played with about 11.5 million players world wide as of December 2008, in April 2008 WoW was estimated to holding 62% of the MMORPG market (Wikipedia). Sufficient to say, it’s widely popular. You can learn more about the game in particular by going to their website or by reading about it on Wikipedia. MMOs (often an abbreviation for MMORPG) have had ever increasing popularity in the past 15 years, the market is only expanding, or in other words, they are likely to be around for good.
Now that you have a clue what the game is let’s get back to the original question.
Should I let my kid play World of Warcraft?
That depends on several factors.
- Cultural bias
- Monthly cost
- Age considerations (including internet safety)
- Time involvement
Before you continue you should consider your bias. In the United States, there is an underlying bias against games such as WoW and the people who play them. This negative bias is fueled by the media and by ignorance. There tend to be more negative media coverage than positive out there. You hear about video game addiction, ruined marriages, neglected children and other such stories. I’m not going to tell you that this doesn’t happen, but I will say that it’s the extreme, not the norm. You’ll find extremes for virtually anything (don’t even get me started on fans of professional sports).
Another bias that our culture has out there is role-playing in general. I remember people telling me how evil Dungeons and Dragons was. At times it was as if people were comparing D&D to devil worshipping in extreme cases. In more mild cases it was looked at as something lame or nerdy. Fantasy gets a bad rap as well. Every nerd on TV or in the movies is big into all of this stuff if you’ve noticed. They’ll often times be a big fan of Lord of the Rings, or they’ll be in the parents basement playing Dungeons and Dragons, or more recently they’ll be telling people about their level 80 fire mage or something, among other things. Don’t get me wrong, I think the D&D jokes are hilarious, but it shows that our culture over all has decided to frown upon it.
In Asia, the bias is different. It’s accepted to play MMOs, everybody does it. I met a guy from Korea that played MMOs mostly because it was the cool thing to do. Then he moved over here to the US and quit because it was now a nerdy thing to do. Everything depends on what is socially acceptable or not. Now, I don’t mind scary freaky things being social unacceptable, like having unhealthy obsessions with serial killers, or Barney, but there is nothing wrong with a little healthy dose of geekiness. I mean really, Star Wars (minus Jar Jar Binks) isn’t that bad, Lord of the Rings won how many Oscars? Dungeons and Dragons is nothing more than a group of people using their imagination to come up with a story and have a good time. There really is no good reason for the cultural bias. It can’t be the violence associated with these kind of fantasies because violence is everywhere else. When it comes right down to it, the bias has no real foundation to stand on, except the “it’s nerdy” argument, and, well, that’s just kind of stupid. In my opinion, if this is your only reason to not let your kids play, then swallow your pride and let them have fun.
There are several different ways to buy game time. You can buy 60 day game cards at most stores that sale video games for $30 each (such as Wal-mart, Gamestop, etc). You can go to Blizzard’s store and purchase a code good for 30 days of game time for $15. You can also set up an automatic payment plan from your credit card, and no, they won’t commit credit card fraud. Remember they are a big business and something like that would ruin them.
Is the cost excessive? That depends on who you are talking to. How much do you pay a month in movies (netflicks, Hollywood video, iTunes, etc)? How much do you pay for cable TV? Is it worth it? Is it excessive? Well, think of this, how much do you pay for a DVD or a Blueray disc? At least $10, maybe $20? How many hours of entertainment do you get out of it? A couple of hours? Now if you play WoW for 3 hours a week for a month, that ends up being 12 hours of entertainment for $15. It’s actually dollar for dollar a better deal when it comes to entertainment for its hourly rate. (Unless you live in Asia where I hear that game doesn’t have a monthly fee, but rather an hourly fee).
I’ve heard many people say they prefer to play online games such as WoW rather than spend their money on cable or movies because they would rather have a more interactive social form of entertainment rather than the passive form that comes form watching TV and movies. Different people have different ways to unwind after a busy day at work or at school. Of course you may feel that paying for a game is just one more thing that you aren’t willing to do which is understandable. Again, if that’s the main concern then have your child pay for it themselves.
Age considerations (Internet Safety)
You need to think about the age of your child. WoW is rated “T” for Teen for “Blood and Gore, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol, and Violence”. That’s what it says right on the box. I know that some parents are more concerned with the ratings than others. I think some parents aren’t even aware that video games have a rating system. If you are included with that group then go check out this webpage. I work with elementary kids as a speech therapist and they tell me on a regular basis about some of the games they play. I’ve asked them if their parents are okay with this and usually they tell me that their parents were the ones who bought them the game originally. There are much more violent games out there, such as Halo or Grand Theft Auto.
Basically you have fantasy violence, a few references to alcohol, and some suggestive themes. Of course, as with many fantasy games, you have to have your undead and your skeletons (unless you live in China of course, no skeletons there.) If you’ve seen the Lord of the Rings or some other rated PG-13 fantasy then you know what you are in for. This article I found sums up the reason that World of Warcraft is rated “T” very well.
I’ve heard it said, general rule of thumb is the facebook rule. You can’t make a facebook account till your 13 years old (if you put a younger age in when signing up it will block you). Hence the “T” rating.
Something else to consider is basic internet safety. You interact with other people in the game, people that you play with in dungeons, raids, people with whom you work with in a guild. The game is very social by its very nature. You cannot control what people are going to say or do. There has to be rules when interacting with other people depending on the age. Plus all internet safety rules should and do apply to playing this game (and all other online games for that matter).
General internet safety rules (with some gaming rules speckled in)
- Never give out personal information ever.
- Stick with you alias instead of your real name, and have parents okay your choice, and pick gender neutral names.
- Tell you parents about anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Never meet people you meet in the game, without your parents present (people are always what they say they are – a 15 year old kid could really be a 40 year old pervert).
- Always be open and honest about your internet dealings with your parents, communication is very important.
- Encourage kids to only play with other people that they know (other kids in the neighborhood, or family members).
- Never let your children eat the mouse, its not good for the mouse or your child.
Here are some great websites about internet safety in general and about MMO internet safety (more websites than you can shake a stick at – okay, there aren’t that many links).
- MMO Family: 17 internet safety tactics for gaming families
- NetSmartz Workshop
- Mom’s Homeroom
- Internet Survival Tips for Kids and Teens
- 10 Rules of Internet Safety for Kids
It’s also my opinion that a good internet filter that you can control is a must. There are some pretty dark alleyways on the web that you don’t want your children to be. The filter we use is Netnanny. This one has a yearly charge for their services, but in my opinion, it’s worth it. There are some free services out there you can find with a simple google search. It’s been my experience that you get what you pay for. It might not be a big deal with younger children, but teenagers can be very tech savy and will find a way around your cheap filters.
If you play World of Warcraft yourself then you may let your kids play earlier because you’ll be able to supervise it better. This next little section is mostly for people who already play WoW.
Young young kids, I mean like preschool kids, probably shouldn’t be playing World of Warcraft, but it could be fun for them to sit on your lap while you play. My daughters love sitting on my lap and making my character jump. My kids also like it when I pull out random vanity pets or mounts. They especially love the horses that you can get from Stormwind. If you aren’t a WoW player then I probably just lost you. Don’t worry too much about it.
When you’re kids are a little old, starting in school, then they should play only with your supervision and your support. I remember when my nephew first started playing, he couldn’t read yet. He’d make me read everything to him. He loved the game even if he really couldn’t understand it at all. This is the time they pretty much run around the beginning area, they won’t get much past level 12 and that’s just okay. They think its fun, and it’s a good time to spend together.
Children that are older, later grades (like 3rd through 6th) can play by themselves, but with rules. No groups with people they don’t know in real life. No guilds with people you don’t know in real life. In fact, you only get to play with people on your friends list and your parents dictate who can go on your friends list. No trade chat, no general chat in main cities. Sounds a little strict, but when you consider the age, its pretty reasonable.
Now your jr high aged kids (age 13-15) you can be more flexible with, but rules still apply. Basically, you should stick with people you know in real life, but you can group when it’s reasonable. My brother leaves it up to his kids at this point. Basically, if something makes you feel uncomfortable then get out, and all internet safety rules still apply.
There is an ignore button, and any harassment can be reported to Blizzard, which can get them a permanent ban from the game. I also think the ignore button should be used freely and often.
There should be free flowing communication between kids and parents. This will solve many issues. You as a parent should know what guild your kid is in, what he likes to do in the game, and who he likes to play with. If you have more than one account it can also be a lot of fun to play with your children, but it works best if the computers are next to each other.
WoW presents its own challenges when it comes to internet safety, but the same rules generally apply anywhere on the web.
Something else that you might be concerned about is time. That is you may be concerned with just how much time your child will waste playing this game (or playing video games in general for that matter).
This is a very valid concern as WoW can be extremely time consuming if you let it. There are some people that let the game ruin their lives because they begin to ignore real life; however, it’s been my experience that most people can manage themselves just fine. Children and teenagers may not have such self control (not with some help at least). There needs to be limits set forth early on, such as – no WoW before homework is done – or – no videogames after a certain time of night. You may even need to put a limit as to how many hours they can play in a given week. These limits would probably be a good for many other activities (browsing the web, watching TV, eating of donuts, etc). Your limits are going to vary with the child’s age and temperament. I’d like to believe that there are plenty of kids out there that can self regulate their gaming time, or at least learn how to given the chance.
Of course you are going to find some children and teenagers who can’t and won’t listen to reason when it comes to limits. In those cases, good luck. Most like defiance goes much deeper than just videogames, which is beyond the scope of this article. You may have to take more action. Blizzard has parental controls built into the game that you can access from their website. You set up your own password and you can control how the time of day the game can be played. You can also limit how long your child can play in a given day and in a given week (not a bad idea for all children – and some adults). In my opinion, it also helps not having WoW on a computer in their bedroom (a good idea for general internet browsing as well in my opinion).
Remember, someday they’ll grow up and be on their own. The best thing is to teach them how to manage their selves at this point in their life, and not just for gaming. Learning how to balance, prioritize, and self-regulate their lives will be skills that will stick with them forever.
I recently had a non-gamer friend mention to me that her son had started playing WoW. She knew next to nothing about it except that I played and that her son loved to play. She loved the fact that her son was so into it. Why? Because her son had to earn his game time by doing his chores. She was very surprised just how motivating playing this game could be for a teenager.
If used properly, WoW can be used as a great incentive for chores, grades, and overall good behavior. You can set up a system where your child can earn game time, which I think would work better than just threatening to take the game away. That and using a more positive reward system will foster more positive emotions and a better healthier relationship between you and your child. Of course it may not always been rewarding and then you’d have to change your system accordingly.
Hopefully this gives you enough to consider to make an informed choice. Realistically, MMOs are not for anyone and little kids shouldn’t be playing games that are rated “T”. And no, my son doesn’t play World of Warcraft, he mostly just likes to chew on hardware and attack the keyboard – making my character jump a lot. What do you expect from a 1 year old. I hope there was some helpful information here for the player of WoW with children and for the person who happened to find this game who doesn’t know the first thing about Azeroth. Please let me know of any comments you have as to how I can improve this article for future readers.
There was a recent blue post regarding hunters and spirit beasts, you can find it on the forums here.
The Spirit Beasts were added as a way to capture that old feeling of having to hunt (which really means be very patient and very lucky) to get rare spawn pets so that you’d feel awesome and be able to show them off. Making those creatures actually more powerful than other pets goes completely counter to that design. If the frustratingly rare spawn is needed for highest possible dps, there would be a lot of exasperated hunters out there, and I think they’d be totally justified.
Spirit Beasts are the hunter equivalent of the Time Lost Protodrake. They are there for bragging rights, not max dps.
We’re not sure yet what we’re going to do for hunter pets in the future. I fear that even if the dps gain was marginal that hunters would still go for the highest dps pets, so really there only exists an illusion of choice. We could literally make all of the pet families do the exact dps and have rather watered down special abilities (because otherwise one of them might grant a 1 or 2% dps benefit and that would end up being the pet again).
In other words, I can see a design where pet choice is purely cosmetic and pet stats are identical or I can see a design where pet choice matters, in which case you don’t really have that many to choose from on content that matters.
Well, I agree with the spiritbeast. It would make it very difficult if you pretty much made it mandatory to have one to play. It would really take the fun out of the hunt, making it into a necessary chore instead. I admit, I haven’t found a spiritbeast myself, but that’s because I’m not willing to put the time/sweat/tears into it. Mostly because I just don’t have the time or patience.
They are right, we all flock to the favor pet for dps. If only maybe they made some pets better in these situations and some better in those. I guess they have already done that to some extent with the 3 pet trees, but maybe they could make it more fine tuned. Like having a pet you use during trash pulls and having a pet that you use during boss fights or something. Where you can pull the pet out at a whim, it wouldn’t be such a big deal.
I like what I read in a blue post earlier (I don’t know exactly where I read it and I’m too lazy to find the link, sorry). But they contemplated having a system in the future where you’d still only have 3 pets you can get to with your summon pet spell, but that you could store more pets in the stables. You could have all the spirit beasts, your original pet, your fav tenacity, pet, and so on. I’ve heard some worry that hunters would then become collectors of pets (like we do with vanity pets and mounts). But I think, so what. That would be cool! Aoirselvar has a ranch for his pets, it would fit his RP story to the tee, and it would be fun to do too boot. But that’s just my opinion.
I’m kind of caught in a conundrum as to what to do with my gaming time these days. I know we still have a little bit of time before Cataclysm comes out, but essentially we have a gear reset coming our way. Do I focus on my level 80 characters and get them better geared? Do I focus on level my alts? Should I just turn the game off and get out more? Decision decisions decisions.
It was one of my goals to have at least 3 level 80 characters when the expansion came out. So far I got my level 80 hunter and my level 80 deathknight. New project is my druid (or actually my wife’s druid who was left on my account when we created a new account and such). Right now the druid is level 38 with very little rest XP stored up. How would my time be better spent with the few hours I play in the morning? I’ve been kind of doing whatever random fancy pops in my head, which means I’m not getting a whole lot accomplished. My brother keeps telling me how easy it is to get geared up for raiding these days. I agree with him, it would probably be easier if I did a lot more randoms, more than I’m doing now.
My little brother has a different perspective in the game than I do. I think sometimes he forgets that I have 3 kids and I have extremely limited time to get on a play. I get an hour in the morning and once or twice a week at night (should sound reasonable I’m sure). There is no way I’ll ever keep up with him. He’s single, he’s one of our best/top raiders, and he has a lot more time on his hands than I do. Plus he’s all about raiding and getting through content, which is fine, but he doesn’t understand that there are other motivations out there. He kind of scoffs at the obsession with the holiday events that my wife and I have. He definitely thinks RP is silly (as does most of my guild on Deathwing). And he thought my mount collecting habits were a little weird as well (except the rare mounts, he loves the more rare mounts).
Well, what are you guys going to do before the expansion hits? Are you going to keep raiding? Are you going to turn your focus on Alts? Are you going to take a hiatus and play Starcraft 2? I’m trying to decide what to do here in this game that we call warcraft.
So, what else do we WoW bloggers have to do on patch day when the servers are down? Of course we talk about… the patch. So, patch 3.3.3 actually has a lot of stuff to it, and you’ve probably already read, memorized, changed your macros, changed your class, yada yada yada. But I’m going to post it anyway. Oh, by the way this doesn’t have the entire 3.3.3 patch notes, I tend to skip the classes that I’m not playing. Actually, up to this point I’d only comment on Hunters and Death Knights, but I’ve been playing my druid more (even if she’s only level 38). So, I’ve added the druid changes as well (even though at this point I won’t have a clue as to what the heck they mean). For the full patch 3.3.3 notes go to blizz’s website. Now, my list is getting shorter because of technical issues. I was using Word format, but it was eating my text, so we’re going to do something different, but we’re running out of time.
Several raid buffs have had their ranges increased to 100 yards, up from 45 yards, to prevent select buffs from repeatedly getting applied and removed during highly mobile encounters. Some buffs, such as paladin auras, totems, shouts and Blood Pact are intentionally meant to have shorter ranges and remain unchanged.
Seems like the buffs we would have liked to have increased their ranged didn’t.
- Beast Mastery
Ferocious Inspiration: This ability is now an aura and provides 1/2/3% damage to all party or raid members within 100 yards and boosts the damage of Steady Shot by 3/6/9%
- Pet Talents
Heart of the Phoenix: Cooldown reduced to 8 minutes, down from 10 minutes.
I’ve already typed a big long paragraph on this, and then it was eaten by bad Word formatting. I’m too impatient to try again. Lets just say, yay for BM!
Icy Touch: This ability now causes a very high amount of threat while the death knight is in Frost Presence.
Chains of Ice: The ability now innately applies Frost Fever to a target.
Rune of Razorice: Now stacks 5 stacks of 2% Frost Vulnerability instead of 10 stacks of 1% Frost Vulnerability. Proc chance changed to 100%.
- Abomination’s Might: This effect is now passive instead of being a proc on certain strikes. Rank 1 is 5% attack power and Rank 2 is 10% attack power. The self strength buff remains unchanged.
- Will of the Necropolis: There is no longer a cooldown on the frequency at which this talent can be activated. In addition, this ability can now also be triggered by damage which deals less than 5% of your health.
- Endless Winter: No longer causes Frost Fever to be applied by Chains of Ice, but instead grants 2/4% strength.
- Icy Talons: The personal haste benefit provided by this talent is no longer exclusive with other sources of melee haste. This will allow death knights to always swing 4/8/12/16/20% faster when Frost Fever is applied. Windfury Totem and the party/raid component of Improved Icy Talons still do not stack.
- Improved Icy Talons: This effect is now passive instead of being a proc. The self haste buff remains unchanged.
- Nerves of Cold Steel: Now increases off-hand damage by 8/16/25%, up from 5/10/15%.
- Unbreakable Armor: The amount of strength granted is now 20%, up from 10%.
- Scourge Strike: Now deals 70% weapon damage, plus 12% of physical damage done as shadow damage for each of the death knight’s diseases on the target. The net result should be larger strikes with no diseases present, while maximum damage with all diseases applied to the target should stay the same.
- Unholy Blight: In addition to its previous effects, this talent now also prevents diseases from being dispelled from victims afflicted by Unholy Blight.
I’m still trying to learn the DK class. I’m now dual speced as an unholy DPSer and a Frost tank. I know frost isn’t thee best tanking spec, but for what I want to do its pretty awesome. I’m only tanking 5 mans at this point, and I’m only doing that with my friends and family until I’m comfortable. In LFG I’m playing dps. My gear still sucks pretty bad at this point.
Nature’s Grasp: Now has 3 charges, up from 1.
- Starfall: The damage done by this spell has been significantly increased.
- Typhoon: Mana cost reduced to 25%, down from 32%.
- Mangle: The debuff from this talent now lasts 60 seconds, up from 12 seconds.
I honestly don’t know what any of this means yet. I know I like my feral kitty druid. I love sneaking up on mobs and pouncing. But past that at this point I’m clueless.
I was going to add a lot more, but I was having some issues and I’m running out of time. I really should have started getting ready to go to work like 3 minutes ago. There are several things they are doing with this patch that will make my life so much easier. I love the fact that holiday bosses are now being added to the dungeon finder. I’ll actually do those bosses daily now, that and the summoning criteria has gone down. And you can’t do it more than once a day anyways, so that will make my life easier on holidays.
Engineering pets are no longer bind on pick up, that’s nice and annoying. I like my engineering profession, I don’t want to share it, but I’m not a goblin engineer, and I want the little bomb pet. So, what do you do?
Its nice to see dungeon finder get a little more refined. I always hated it when someone was voting to boot a player and I had no idea why. Overall they’re making it a little cleaner.
Seems like a lot of features that blizzard only recently added are being cleaned up, like the dungeon finder and the quest tracker and such. Plus we’re getting nifty random battlegrounds, and such. Should be fun to play with tonight. What I still want to know is …. where is my moose?? /shakes fist at ghostcrawler.
I’ve been writing on here a little less lately. Well, actually, I’ve been posting less, but I’m still writing just as much. I’ve been trying to write a bigger post for non-WoW players “Should I let my kid play WoW?”. It’ll be longer than my usual, but I think people should get an objective opinion with all the facts (including the positive ones). I’m a little sick of WoW being considered immature and bad for you like drugs or something.
Anyway, this post isn’t about that though, its another ramble post of what I’m doing lately in the game. Basically, I’ve been working on leveling my deathknight’s jewel crafting. I finally hit 450 earlier this week, yay! I’m in the process of learning how to make money with this profession. So, now that its leveled that I’ve been trying to figure out what else to do.
My wife’s DK is up to level 67, and we’re about to take her to Northrend. I’m going to be starting 25 man ToC tonight with our guild. I thought that I’d be done with guild raiding since they dropped our 10 man ToC group, but we’re still up and running. My DK is to horribly ungeared, but my hunter will be able to go.
Anyway, my students just got here so I’m done with this post for today (no editing, yikes I hope I didn’t say anything stupid).
It’s Fiction Friday time, that means more Praxton. I haven’t been able to get back to Aoirselvar. I have no idea what the heck he’s doing in the RP world. In game he’s been helping my wife’s DK level up and farming ore here and there, nothing too big. I got figure out a story for him, because he’s fun to write.
As for Praxton, he kind of lets the story take him where ever. The other writers, Moordeth, Etni, and Loreli have been much more interesting than myself.
Anyway, Praxton, Kalende, and Dreth are still in Wintersprings. Kalende had just barely threatened Praxton and was about to take off.
Prax slowly got to his feet; he was sweating now, even with the chilled temperatures. He watched as Kalende left the inn. So many unanswered questions loomed in his mind, none of which would be answered today apparently.
“And just where do you thing you’re going?” Dreth said in low voice. A dead bear lay at his side. Smoke smoldered from the crater left in the bear’s brains. He eyed Kalende, who looked like she was in a hurry to get somewhere. “Do you have any idea what I sacrificed to get you two here safely? I heard what you said girl.” His eyes began to burn with fury. “No friend of the lich king is a friend of a mine.” The air around Dreth filled with violent heat. “Give me one good reason I shouldn’t burn your pathetic frame into a pile of charred ashes CULTIST!”
Prax heard the commotion and hurried to the doorway as confrontation began to unfold.
Kalende hadn’t dropped the shadows swirling around her and eyed Dreth, “And yet, without the Lich King you would be another rotting carcass still buried in the ground. Yet, you embrace you new life. Do you long for a permanent death? I can oblige!”
“If it were not for Arthas I would be with my family now, and not condemned to this forsaken corpse! It is Sylvanas who saved me from my mindless state. Do you think the Lich cares at all for your life? That he would not discard your meaningless being in an instant after he had used you?”
“Would the Banshee Queen have that power, if not for the Lich King?”
“That’s aside the point girl! Listen to what I say now! There is NO reward in his service, NO joy in this path!”
Kalende looked around wildly for an out, “You don’t understand! Leaving the Cult is a guaranteed death sentence!”
“Death is inevitable priestess. Your fate with the cult would be far worse than death I’m afraid. Once you surrender your will to the Lich King, he will command your soul for eternity. Death is only the beginning.” Dreth’s temper simmered. “Leave now Kalende. Leave now and seek your own path. This boy obviously cares for you… enough to risk his life. You can’t tell me you’re not interested why.”
“I… But I… Well…” the shadows fell away and suddenly Kalende was on the ground, screaming and grasping her head.
Prax dashed towards Kalende, kneeling by her side. He looked towards Dreth, “What happened??”
“The cultists… or perhaps the Arthas himself… has likely read her thoughts. Someone is obviously not pleased with her. I’ve heard of some goblin technology that can scramble psionic wavelengths. Praxton, stay by her side! I’ll go find help” In a blink, Dreth disappeared from the Inn and was yelling desperately for an engineer.
Praxton reached out and grabbed the priest’s hand to try to steady her and calm her down.
Kalende grasped Prax’s hand in a death grip, her knuckles white, face contorted in pain.
Prax yelled out, “Dreth, Hurray!!”, he then started whispering, “its going to be okay, its going to be okay, its going to…”
Dreth heard his cry, and frantically scanned the huts. “There!” He ran over to a quirky looking goblin, tinkering away at something. “Goblin! We need your urgent assistance! Come quickly, and bring your tools!”
Xizzer looked up from his junk box. “Tools?! What? I’ll make you something but it will cost ya. What do you need?”
“I fear a young lady’s mind at the Inn is being penetrated by some dark force. We need something to… block the frequency… if possible. Quickly goblin! There is no time to waste!”
Xizzer pulled a drawer out from behind him. “I know it is here somewhere.” He looked up at the undead man and raised his voice. “Grab that tin bar from the shelf behind you and that blue flask there.” He fumbled through his drawer some more. “Ah ha” he grunted. He grabbed some wire and a stone bowl and started to run out the door. “This is the last of my Fused Wiring. This is going to cost you.” Xizzer ran towards the inn with the undead man behind him. He stopped dead when he saw the person on the ground in agonizing pain. “Th th … this is a cultist! Why should I help her?”
“Because I’m paying you, that’s why!” Dreth flipped a gold coin in Xizzer’s direction. “Now get to work!”
Xizzer caught the coin while grumbling under his breath. He put the bowl on the ground. “Put the tin in this bowl.” he grumbled. He eyed the boy holding on to the girl while got his wire out. “This will go faster if one of you could use your fire to heat up this tin. Don’t melt it to liquid. Just heat it up so it is pliable.”
Prax looked up, at the goblin, “How do you know that…” Prax knew he wasn’t good at fine control, he’d likely set them all on fire, he looked towards Dreth for help.
“I can tell this undead friend of yours is a mage so I suspected you could be too. It doesn’t matter… Just someone heat this up, now!”
Dreth stretched a finger toward the tin and watched as it began to slowly lose its shape. “Say when…”
“That’s good.” It wasn’t hot enough to burn yet. Xizzer took the blue flask and dumped its content on the tin. He then took his Fused Wiring and formed a head band shape. He then pushed the pliable tin all around the Fused Wiring. “Normally this needs to cool to be solid, but it should do the trick.” He handed the headband over to the boy holding the cultist. “It will block anything going into her head.”
Prax nodded his head, his hand ached under priestess’s tight grip, but he didn’t care. Praxton suddenly realized that the goblin was handing it to him. “Oh”. He softly slipped the headband onto the girl’s forehead. “I I I hope this w- works.” Prax whispered to himself.
Immediately there appeared to be an improvement. Kalende’s body relaxed and she lay in the snow trying to catch her breath.
Prax took a deep breath, sighing in relief. “You’re okay, wh- what hap happened b- back there?”
“I…how…how did you stop it?” Kalende asked, dragging herself into a sitting position. She had a headache but it was nothing compared to what she’d just experienced.
Dreth reached into the pouch strung around his waist and dropped a few more coins on the table near Xizzer. “Will that cover it?”
Xizzer smiled. “Yes that will do nicely. We stopped it with something us engineers call The Tin Hat. It will work as long as you wear it. The name is Xizzer. You guys pay nice. Feel free to call on me if you need any other gadgets made.” Xizzer took up his gold and walked out.
It’s funny what becomes fun for you in this game, and if you haven’t noticed, what’s fun today may quickly change from week to week. For me, it seems to change day to day. It all depends on my mood. Lately (this week at least) what’s been fun for me has been leveling my DK’s jewel crafting. I know. What gives??
How could that possibly be a rip roaring good time? I don’t know. I just honestly don’t know. I’m seeking treatment as we speak.
I’ve been trying to keep the cost down as I level the DK’s jewel crafting, mostly because I don’t really have hardly anything in the way of gold. So, no running to buy gems and such at the AH for me. I haven’t much been into farming for gold lately (even though I’m okay with farming to level JC, yeah I don’t know what my problem is either). And I’ve been very lazy about putting stuff on the auction house. It all goes in the bank, as a result my poor bank alt has no bag space left even though he has all of his bag slots in the bank purchased, and he’s the guild master of a bank alt guild with 5 bank tabs. I’m notorious for being a pack rat. I contemplated setting up a second guild bank. Yes, I’m just that crazy.
So, I’ve been running around collecting old world ore, prospecting ore left and right, hoping for Azerothian Diamonds and such. I’ve finally broken 300 so it should get easier now (especially since I have an epic flying mount and I’m Unholy spec, I couldn’t resist getting the mount speed bonus (20%) from the talent tree.
I do have to say, Un’Goro Crater is the place to farm thorium (especially in the morning). At one point yesterday, I noticed that my mines had disappeared after half an hour of farming. That was until I found the culprit, a blood elf. I won’t say what happened next, but those of you on PvP servers probably could take a guess. Let’s just say, I didn’t have any more problems after that. But that’s all beside the point.
So, at the moment while others are running randoms, battlegrounds, or raids; I’m leveling professions and just having the time of my life. Woot! Okay I don’t know if I’m exactly having the time of my life, but it’s what I want to do now. But it’ll be short lived. It can’t last forever, well, I guess with all of my alts it could.
A whole new world is on the horizon, what with the overhaul of Azeroth approaching. With this we will be given on opportunity to change redefine ourselves in our game play and game style. We’ll be able to create a new “main”, try out something new, switch servers, or maybe something else. ((I didn’t re-read this or edit it, because I have to leave to go to work in a second. I hope I don’t have any big embarrassing typos >_<))
Blog Azeroth’s shared topic this week (or maybe it was last weeks, I’m a little behind).
“It’s a new expansion, it’s a new game in many respects. How will it change YOUR game? Will you play a new class you’ve been dying to play for years? Will you play a new role you’ve never played like tanking or healing? Have you been a hardcore raider and would like to get more into the lore and questing or vice versa?”
As for me, I’ve been playing dps, and that was about it. Usually with my hunter I’m playing catch up, half heartedly, because I know deep down inside that I’ll never completely catch up.
Since the beginning of WorLK, I have changed my game play quite a bit. I have expanded to four servers. I’m up to about 30 alts. I’ve started to dabble in role playing, tanking, and …. blogging. I’ve been introduced to the community at large beyond my little guild (hence the reason I’m now on 4 different servers). I’ve chatted with you guys on twitter, google wave, google buzz, and maybe a little on facebook. You’ve kept me sane while I’m at work and my interest in the game has only risen.
With Cataclysm coming out within the next year I can only see my game expand and progress. I’ll probably continue to spread myself out too thin. It’s my nature. I was the guy in high school that everybody knew; I couldn’t bring myself to stay at one place for very long, just bounced around all over the place like Tiger.
I’m starting to already get my taste of tanking (you guys have a hard job by the way). My healer alts are still pretty low level at this point, but I’d really like to level my druid and priest (I want to get my priest leveled up partly so I can have a high level enchanter. At this point I’m always sending stuff to my brother – so much so that he got to the point where he game me his password and told me to disenchant it myself ). I would like to get a more involved with my RP guild on Feathermoon. I’ve been enjoying the RP stories with Praxton, and I would like to have him interact more in-game with the Stormwind University folks. And I would like to actually be a somewhat viable raider. I’m still not so much at this point (partly because I spread myself pretty thin, that’s my own fault, I know.)
I’m excited also because we’ve been playing more and more with my brother and his wife. I think the expansion will just give us more to do on our weekly adventures. It’s been a great way for us to hang out without children running around causing chaos. We just play when our kids are sleep. Maybe in the far future we’ll be able to do things together in RL more often, but when you have lots of kids under the age of 5 like we do, you don’t get out much.
Anyway, how do you see Cataclysm changing your gaming style? Are you planning on switching you main, or do you want to focus on a different aspect of the game? What do you plan on doing?
Oh, and I plan on putting more pictures in my blog in cataclysm so its not so boring to look at >_<.
Its time for Friday Fiction again!! If you remember last week, Praxton was in a little bit of a bind, what with accidentally killing one of the Stormwind city guards and all. Last we left off, one of the other guards was about to take Prax out. Things were looking good, and all for some girl that Praxton had dreamed about.
Suddenly, a wall of fire flew up from the cracks of the stone directly in front of guard. With a burst of purple light, Dreth was standing behind Praxton. “Getting into trouble already are we?” Dreth laughed.
“Come, we don’t have much time” Dreth summoned a portal behind Praxton. “To safety boy! Grab your girly friend and begone! I’ll be right behind you.”
Prax blinked. ‘Um, what just happend?’, he thought. It took him a moment to gather his wits about him. Then he remember the girl, he ran and grabbed her hand, then turned to run towards the portal.
Guards began to come at them from all directions. “Now or never!” yelled Dreth. He raised his hands high in the air and the wall burned a circle around where they stood. The walls reached high into the air, and connected to form a barrier above their heads as well. An arrow whizzed by Dreth’s face, bursting into flames as it passed through the shield of fire. “NOW!” he yelled more commandingly. A second arrow came through the shield and shot clean through Dreth’s rib bones and out the other end, hitting another guard. He couldn’t help but chuckle. Am I not a member of the Horde after all?
The captive blinked in surprise, but it didn’t take her long to recover. She shook off the other guard and followed Prax through the portal.
Prax began to increase his speed, and then he tripped and fell head first through the portal.
The girl tried to jump over Prax as he fell, but missed and they tumbled through the portal together.
Dreth stepped through the portal into the open air. The sun looked white, but wasn’t bright. The sky was enveloped in veil of purple fog. He looked at Praxton and the girl he was trying to save. “I apologize for the cold. I knew you would be safe here though.”
Embarrassed as always, Prax started to attempt to get up, “I’m s- s- s- sorrry ab- about that.”
A goblin standing nearby lifted an eyebrow but said nothing.
He attempted to help the girl up as well.
“This is Everlook, run by the Steamwheedle Cartel and Thorium Brotherhood. Not many travelers frequent this area as often as they used to. It’s not much, but it’s better than flaming arrows.” Dreth handed a staff to Praxton. “You left this at the mage tower. I went looking for you at the tailoring shop. Until I saw all the commotion… now here we are. I hope she was worth it.” Dreth looked at the young woman and tilted his head inquisitively. “And you are?”
The girl accepted Prax’s hand, replying as he pulled her to her feet, “No apology necessary. I’ve always been a little clumsy.” The girl eyed Dreth and her chin rose a little, “I’m Kalende. I’m a priestess.”
Seeing this girl up close stunned Prax. There was no mistake; this was the girl from his dream without a shadow of doubt.
“I um, er, um, …” Prax couldn’t get his mouth to work at all, didn’t matter, he didn’t know what to say.
“A pleasure” Dreth bowed his head. A maggot fell from his hair onto the ground. “Blast! I was saving that for later. The name’s Dreth, high mage of the Forsaken, and enemy of the scourge. So, Praxton,” Dreth smirked, “what about this young lady compelled you to act so foolishly?”
Prax began to shiver for the cold, he finally started to look around, when he hear Dreth’s comment, where was he again? Prax looked back at Dreth with his hands in his pocket for warmth. “I d- d- dunno, I um, she was um, er..” He felt so foolish, realizing what he had done for a girl he had a dream about, but there was such a familiarity. He couldn’t put his finger on it. It went even deeper than just his dream, this was not a chance encounter. “I d- d- dunno wh- wh- came over mmmme.” Prax said. He loathed how his voice did this when he was nervous. It began to snow, everything was so bright, it hurt Praxton’s eyes, and his feet were going numb.
Kalende eyed Dreth, “Can’t you see he’s freezing? And for that matter, so am I. Perhaps we should go somewhere more hospitable.”
Dreth looked at the frost accumulating on Praxton’s nose. “Right you are. Let’s go warm up. Ho there! Guard!” Dreth yelled at a nearby goblin. “Where’s your Innkeeper?” The goblin grunted as he pointed to a building off to the west. “Come on, let’s go.” As they walked toward the inn Dreth couldn’t help but wonder why these two weren’t more talkative. Were they not just rescued from certain imprisonment and death? Were they not now free to speak open of their love to one another? Maybe they were not the young romantic couple he had supposed them to be.
Prax knew of goblins, but had never seen one before, he was a little startled, helped get his mind off his freezing toes. And freezing toes helped keep Prax’s mind off on the topic at hand. ‘What the hell am I doing???’ he thought to himself. The three of them entered the goblin town. Prax could hear the pounding of metal on metal in the background.
Kalende eyed her rescuers. The boy’s familiarness was uncanny, almost like looking in a mirror. While she was grateful to be saved, their motives worried her. And what was a human and a Forsaken doing traveling together anyway? They weren’t Cult of the Damned. She lifted the skirt of her robe and trudge across the snow into the inn, kicking the powdery accumulation off her shoes before entering.
The finally entered the inn, Prax rushed to the fire, he started warming his hands, they stung as they thawed out.
Sensing some awkwardness, Dreth decided to give the two some privacy. “These bones of mine don’t take quite as long to warm up as your fleshy frames. There are some bears in the area and I make some MEAN charred bear kabobs. I’ll return shortly”. Dreth bowed, raised one hand in the air, and in a purple flash… was gone.
Prax began to regain feeling of his toes; he wasn’t exactly dressed for winter weather. He kind of wished he was still cold. It kept his mind off of the current events, he rather enjoyed not thinking about anything. He sat down at a near by table, rubbing his hands together, wondering what he might say to this girl. Prax stood up and started to pace back and forth, he felt like he needed to do something.
Kalende watched him, quietly wondering why he seemed so damned familiar. The only people she’d ever known were the cultist who raised her. The priestess found a chair and sat in arranging her robes, “So, to whom do I owe the pleasure of my freedom?”
Praxton turned towards the girl, “p- p- praxton seamsmith.”, he sat down and looked at the fire. He turned back to the girl, “Are you ok-k-kay? Did they um, er eh hhhurt you?” Prax felt strangely comfortable around the priestess, but he didn’t know who she was or what she was about.
“I’m fine, thank you, Praxton.” she glanced to where Dreth had exited. “You two aren’t cultists, are you?”
“Cultists? I don’t um think so.”, Prax was confused, ‘what on earth was a cultist?’ he inquired himself… without much reply. “Wh- where are eh, you from?”, Praxton asked.
(Dreth wandered aimlessly through the snow. “At least… I think there are bears in Winterspring,” he mumbled to himself.)
Kalende was suddenly wary. “If you’re not cultists, who are you…?”
Praxton sensed a change in Kalende’s, “I’m P- P- Praxton Sssseamsmith.” Prax started pacing again. “I was k- k- k- kind of hoping you could ex- explain hm, why, I I saw you in m- my dream.”
Kalende blinked, taken aback, “Your dream? Who do you work for? The Ebon Blade? You don’t look like a Death Knight. The Argent Crusade?”
Prax stopped dead, looked up, blank face. “What?” He thought he had heard of some of these groups, vaguely anyways. “I’m j- just a t- t- tailor. I w- w- was surprise to ssssee you this afternoon. I’m really j- just a nobody.” Prax sat back down, he was in over his head, but he had been this whole week.
Kalende looked incredulous, “Just a tailor? You rescued me because of a dream…?” She got up, lamenting the loss of her staff. It had been left back in Stormwind, ” Well, Praxton, I thank you for your assistance. But it seems this where we part ways.”
“Wait… wh- who are you? My d- do you look so fam- familiar? Wh- why were you in my dr- dream?” Prax felt a pit in his stomach.
Kalende drew herself up and eyed him. The space around here darkened and hissed and she was enfulged in swirling shadows. “I don’t know why we seem so familiar to each other. But I am a member of the Cult of the Damned and you are an Alliance sympathizer. Because you saved my life, I will spare yours. But beware of the Cult of the Damned. We are not all so forgiving.”
Prax took a few steps backwards, not looking he stumbled over a chair, all while keeping his eyes on Kalende.
Kalende stepped over Prax and out the door into the snow.
I realize that it gets choppy at times, that mostly because we have three different writers, sometimes four all writing from their own characters’ perspective. I hope you’re able to follow it. And I hope someone out there enjoys these, there a lot of fun to create.
Well, with the Lunar Festival coming soon to a close the Elders of Azeroth come forth to bear their wisdom. The shared topic from Blog Azeroth, given by Khi, was to share some wisdom with people just starting out. I’m not sure exactly how wise I am, sometimes I can be downright immature, but I am Elder Aoirselvar, and every so often I come up with some profound.
Okay, so you decided to create a hunter. You like animals and guns? Or it was random decision and you don’t really know what you are getting yourself into. Great!
Well, welcome, you have come to the right place. Hunters are great! They are fun, great for leveling, great dpsers, and usually down right good looking (especially the dwarven types).
As Thorgas Grimson, Dwarven Hunter Trainer said,
Tamer of beasts, master marksman, proven tracker – what else ya want to accomplish in this lifetime? All those things combined takes quite a bit of intelligence and a great deal of patience.
The path of the hunter ain’t an easy one, that’s fer sure. You’re gonna need lots of training if you wanna be as good as even our lowest ranking rifleman. But that’s why I’m here.
One thing you should always remember is that you gotta respect the world you’re livin’ in. The beasts that choose to fight along side you; the shine of your weapon; the weight of your ammo; the bite of the bitter wind; all these things you need to know intimately.
Now when you start playing a hunter at level one you’ll notice something is missing. That’s right you don’t have a pet, you have to earn it. Level one through ten is often known as melee hell for hunters. As you will soon find out, we hunters aren’t so good up close and personal. We usually like to keep our big mean pets around to keep people out of our face. We have personal space issues.
But… you don’t get to do the quest chain to get yourself a pet until level 10. However, there are a few tricks to keeping mobs out of your face up to this point. And there are some very important skills to be learned at this point.
At first you’ll have next to nothing. You’ll be able to auto-shot and hit someone with your sword. Your auto-shot is the most basic range attack you have, and it is awesome. You just have to normally turn it on and forget about it. We’re the only class I believe that has a range auto attack (some people aren’t too happy about that).
You’ll see that this auto-shot range attack takes a break between shots for two seconds. So, this is what you’ll do when you attack mobs at first. Target something you want to kill, get as far away from it as possible with it still in range. Your auto-shot spell will be white when in range, red when out.
Then start your auto-shot, while you’re getting ready to shot again walk backwards, turn around and run, or strafe to one side or another, just for a couple of seconds then stop facing the mob again to let the auto-shot do it work (the only crappy thing about auto-shot is that you have to be holding still for it to work).
So, continue to do this, auto-shot, move, auto-shot, move, and before the mob can reach you it’ll be dead.
For some mobs all you have to do is back up for a couple of seconds, shot, and back up again. However, this doesn’t always work and some of the tougher mobs will catch up with you quickly. In these cases you’ll want to strafe shot them. That is running away with either the “Q” or “E” button, to the side, gaining distance from the mobs during your cool down on auto-shot then ever so briefly turning around, holding still for just a slight moment to get an auto-shot in, then start running again. The goal is to keep your melee weapon skills as low as possible to show just how well you did at killing stuff before they got anywhere near you. You’ll start to get the rhythm of it. It’s almost like a dance. Shoot one two shoot one two etc etc. (I had a harder time getting screen shots of the strafing because it generally requires both hands.)
If you are having a difficult time judging when you can auto shot again there are mods out there. The one I am using is called Kharthus’s Hunter Timers.
This is a good time to note that it’s probably a good idea to make sure you know what’s around you. It doesn’t do any good to walk right into a mob while backing up attacking another mob. But it shouldn’t matter, from level 1-6 all mobs are yellow, meaning they’ll only attack if you attack them first. By the time we get to mobs that are a bit more aggressive we’ll be focusing on a new tactic anyway.
Now as you start to level you’ll get some nifty shots to help you with your anti-melee quest. At level 4 you’ll get Serpent Sting, this is a DoT (damage over time) shot. You’ll want to start with this shot now and continue your auto-shot/ move /auto-shot thing. Important to note, you no longer even have to click on auto-shot. It starts automatically when you shoot your Serpent Sting at the mob. Now they’ll die even quicker. Muahahaha.
It is also important to note that Serpent Sting in an instant cast shot. That means you don’t have to be holding still to get this shot off. It’s probably best to hold still for the first shot so you can get your first auto-shot in as well.
At level 6 you’ll get Arcane Shot. This shot, like Serpent Sting, is also an instant cast. Now you’ll be able to provide extra damage while you’re moving. There are a couple of other skills we should discuss now that you have Arcane shot. (by the way, you now also have the Hunter’s Mark, a very important hunter ability that we won’t go into here – just use it all the time, very important).
Now that you have a couple of instant cast shots its time to look at a new skill, the jump shot.
This is the coolest badest thing you’ll ever learn as a hunter, but it’s a little tricky. If you are a keyboard turner, then you’ll have to stop that to figure this thing out.
Basically, when you have a mobs attention, you run away, but you jump, then using your mouse turn mid air shot an instant shot and turn back around before you land on the ground. (you’ll have to use hot keys for your shot, so if you like to use your mouse to click on your spells, well stop that as well).
Sounds difficult right? It’s not that bad. The trick is to use your mouse to do quick turning mid air. Big Red Kitty (BRK), one of the greatest hunter teachers of all time made a brilliant video on how to do this. If you seriously want to be a hunter then I highly suggest you go watch it and several of his other training videos. They are outdated in several aspects, but the basic skills remain the same.
It looks as if I’m shooting backwards, but when I actually hit the button I’m facing the mob, it just takes a second for the animation to keep up, thus the U-turn shot.
Once you figure out this jumping shot thing, then leveling without a pet become enjoyable. It becomes a game to see how far you can make the mob run after you and if you can get him down before he gets anywhere near melee range. (And if you thought strafing would be difficult to get screen shots for, try getting them for the jump shot. I had to enlist my wife to take the screen shots for me.)
This my friend is kiting, that is pulling your mobs along like a kite on a string. It is, in my opinion, one of the most fun things you can do as a hunter. You don’t get asked to do it very often, but there use to be fights here and there where you could. I use to kite the tinman from the opera fight in Kara in BC around the room to keep him occupied while the rest of the mobs were killed. Great great fun.
Soon enough you’ll get to level 10 and you’ll get your pet. Then it’ll all change. You’ll no longer be required to run around every where, jumping and straffing and such. You’re pet will keep the mobs attention. There is something that’ll be lost. You’ll find yourself, every so often tell your pet to just chill for the moment, just so you can kite a mob here or there. My wife got really enjoyed when I did this, dragging mobs all over the place. It’s good fun. Of course these are invaluable skills in PvP. In PvP kiting is a very important skill indeed.
But it’s in the first 10 levels you learn this fun stuff. That’s why we don’t get pets right away; it forces us to learn how to fight without them. I suggest you put your pet on passive ever so often and show off how bad @ss you are.