Monday, February 4, 2008

Carrots in the game

Carrot on a stick.... who doesn't remember that one?It was one of my first trinkets, which I got as a reward after killing one of the bosses in Zul Farrak. Oh, how great it was to see that I actually could get along a little faster on my ugly old bird mount than players who happened not
to have done that very quest. Just a few percent of difference, but it was really noticeable!

To have a little carrot in front of you, some kind of goal or a plan, is actually a help for me to have fun in the game, not ending up mindlessly drifting around in a major city, waiting for... what?
Sometimes when I hear about players who are bored, I suspect that one of their problems is their complete lack of ideas about where they want to go in the game. At the same time I think it's important to find a balance. To only focus to maximise your character to get the coolest gear, without thinking about your surroundings, socializing or spontaneity... sounds pretty dull in my ears. After all the game is about having fun! It shouldn't be some kind of job-alike burden.
So how do my own carrots look? What makes me hungry in the game, what makes me move forward? Well, as long as I levelled it was pretty obvious. Then I kept one eye on the xp bar and the other on the mobs, rejoicing more at every second level when it was time to go to the trainer and see what goodies I would get out of the candy bag this time. Sometimes it was just an upgrade of the fireball. Good to get, since it helped me to kill the mobs faster - but honestly a bit boring. Sometimes I got something that really made a difference in my gameplay. Like blink, evocation or the ability to make portals.

Once level 70 I had to rethink, like anyone else who reaches to final level. Now it was time to enter end game. What did I really want to do? What kind of game did I like? That would settle my goals. I soon understood that I had never been and would never be any PvP player. So no PvP goals for me. Pretty soon I set up the goal to get myself attuned for Karazhan. That kept me busy for a while, especially since I pugged most of the instances.

Other goals were to acquire keys, to all heroic instances (which at that time demanded that you were revered with a bunch of fractions) as well as to Shattered halls, Shadowlabs and Arcatraz (I think it was), well the instances which simply demanded that someone in the party had a key. It felt good to stand on your own legs, being able to enter without asking a key keeper.

When I started to run Karazhan that was a evident goal: to take down all the bosses in the instance. Before the expansion. And after the autumn, where we now and then met hard resistance (we were stuck on The Curator for a month), I had reached that goal too!
I was chocked, because it was more than I ever could have dreamed of when I started to play the game and hardly had any clue at all about what I was doing. I was quite proud too. To clear Karazhan is hardly any big accomplishment for an experienced raider, but for me, with my perspective, it was huge and cool.

This is how my to-do-list looks right now (without any ranking). This is what keeps me occupied playing Larisa, and keeps me away from levelling alts or for that sake just hanging around in Shattrath:

  • Raise my spellhit rating to the cap for my spec, 164. Method: get exalted with Cenarion Expedition (run Zangar instances), in order to buy the ring. On my way! Got the back from The Prince the other day, only need another 15 points.
  • Level my fishing to 375. Method: equip a fishing rod with lure, find a nice spot for my fishing, find someone to chat with on TS.
  • Get rep with Aldor to exalted for better shoulder enchantement. Method: grind fel armaments or get money so I can buy.
  • Collect gold for an epic mount. Method: complete the quests I've still got in Netherstorm, SMV etc. Make dailies. Farm primals and sell (maybe after transmuting them). Keep away from AH at any other time....
  • Take down the end boss in all heroic instances. Still miss a few.
  • Run heroic Slave Pens until I get Quagmirrans eye from the end boss.
  • Get rep with Sporeggar to acquire transmute recipe. Method: grind boglords and make nagaquest.
  • Daily gathering of mats for alchemy, buff food and money for repairs (everything I need if I want to raid).
  • Help guildies when needed, eg group quests, instances
  • Fool around, generally having fun! Playing with tonks with guild mates, making a fool out of myself in PvP, exploring unknown areas where you actually shouldn't be able to go. Just forget all ambitions for a while, playing at level 70. To be spontaneous.

But the carrot that looks most appetizing right now is another one. A huge one. In one way you can say that all of the other carrots are pointing in that direction: I'm dreaming about participating in a 25 man raid. It would take a huge effort from our social, not so raid oriented guild to come so far that we could gather 25 people, entering Gruul. Just to make this happen would be a little miracle. And when we've once done it... then another wonderful juicy carrot is waiting: to actually down the Gruul bosses!

That's what's so great about the carrots. You'll never run out of them. They're hanging there, so tempting, just beyond your reach, so that you have to stretch out, make an effort, your very best and a little more in order actually reach them.

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