Friday, July 4, 2008

Growing old

Larísa has grown up! As a matter of fact she’s like an old lady, despite her young and cute appearance.

I was struck by the thought as I recently visited Kalimdor, in a long journey where I and a friend went to every single fire – alliance as horde (which actually is quite a nice way to get gold, as long as you ensure you have someone to rant with during the endless flights and riding tours.)
It was a nostalgic tour, where I revisited places I hadn’t been to for over a year, but I also went to many spots for the first time, especially in horde territory. It’s great that Blizzard helps us to get our feet moving, get out of our comfort zones and have a look at the parts of the game we’ve missed out of sheer laziness.

While I was riding through Stonetalon, trying to cope with the horrible machine sound from my bird (I’ve now made me promise myself to finally get up my Stormwindrep up to exalted to get a silent mount), I was thinking about the last time I was here.

I was new to the game, a very scared and innocent and lonely little gnome girl, who didn’t have a clue about anything, not about playing my class, not about game, the world, not about what was awaiting me around the next corner. This young and unknowing way of seeing things lasted for a long time. I can’t say I was much wiser at level 40 – or even when dinging 70. I think I’d been playing endgame for quite a while before I started to feel that I had aged a bit as a player.

Travelling around for the midsummer event I kept pondering upon the subject. In fact, this thing that Larísa’s become old isn’t truly reflected in the game. It’s not only that she looks young – as a matter of fact WoW is created so that your char always is improving in every way – getting stronger and more powerful, learning more and more spells, getting better and better gear. The progression possibilities for a char seem endless. But how would it be like if the process reflected real life more? Would it be possible to create a MMORPG where the characters actually became physically weaker when getting old? On the same time they could get wiser, learning more abilities, like we do in life… Maybe you could assure that way that you wouldn’t lose motivation for levelling it – it’s just that the char becomes different. Priests and Mages could get only better as they become older and wiser – while you would really need young and strong tanks and rogues.

As you probably realize I don’t know much about game mechanics and design. This is my first and only online game. So it’s just a thought experiment – still I think I’ll be back to it in my mind, just for my own enjoyment. Developing this kind of ideas give me some kind of mental and creative exercise.

It helps me too keep my mind young – as I’m inevitably growing older in RL…

7 comments:

Loronar said...

Do you still need to take me on that world tour? Because you clearly have just done it yourself. :P

The other day I ran regular Underbog with a friend who needed to get quests done for Cenarion rep. We pulled in 3 people in 62-63 level range. It was kinda strange noticing that the other hunter had slightly more than half my HP. I thought to myself: Did I really had that little HP back then? I kinda got used to having 8k HP after a while... The run was pretty much a joke with a 70 druid tank. :D

Larísa said...

Honestly we were quite efficient, just going for the fires and took turns in being lazy putting oursleves on follow... So yes! I'd like a guided tour to the corners a bit further away from the regular roads than the fires.

It's really not logical, getting so strong and healthy when you get old. The more I think of it...

Still there are places where the growing strongness of your char actually causes some trouble, thinking about SL, Time for fun.
When old people decked out in epics go nuts it hurts a lot :)

gnomeaggedon said...

As they say, you are only as old as the one you feel...

One of the things I like is that know one knows I am 80 yo.. ohh hang on I am not really.. but I am just slightly older than you... But it's nice that we can be playing with 10yo's and it doesn't matter unless there is a loot war.

As for my toon growing old.. got enough of that in RL. And I think I prefer my human form in RL to the gnome so why try to match my age.

Ghostboci said...

Yeah, it's a nice idea that characters should age. They start as strong and fast fighters and as they get older, they become weaker but wiser, so first they would shift into hybrid classes than pure casters. It would give a way to the players to experience all aspects of the game.

About the silent mount: you can complete the lvl 1-5 quests for stormwind, you get 1-2 copper but 2-300rep for each. I got all horde factions exalted this way.

Larísa said...

Ghostboci, I'm glad to hear you're not dismissing the idea, but even developping it a bit further. Of course, letting the chars be hybrid as a sort of middle-aged step seems natural. Wouldn't it be just great to see your char develop this way and to try out different roles during your lifespan?

Thanks for the suggestion to do low lvl Stormwind quests for rep! I must check it out. Since Larísa was born in the snowy mountains I guess she hasn't done them.
Doing them and then turning in some bunches of cloth should make it.

Gnomeaggedon, I agree about that one of the wonderful things about the game is that age doesn't matter. You can develop friendships far beyond the barriers and prejudices from the real world. I guess it's a bigger problem trying to get acceptance from the non-gaming surrounding, playing at our age... It's something you expect from 15-25 year olds, but probably not if you've passed 40...

Flawlless said...

Have you stolen the fires from Ogrimmar, Thunder Bluff, Undercity and Silvermoon yet? There's still time, and the hat you get is awesome.. not, but it's cute, and you get 100 blossoms.

Larísa said...

I've stolen one of them, but actually I think it's too late to take the other ones now. I've got myself a dancing fire-statu though. Another stupid thing to fill my already too crowded bags with, sigh. But it's so weired that it's kind of fun.

Maybe next year...