Friday, January 9, 2009

Why I’m still a horde virgin

Recently I wrote a response in a comment, which shocked one of my readers more than I could have imagined. I mentioned the fact that I’ve never ever played a horde toon (well I once levelled a little bloodelf mage to 9, but that doesn’t really count, does it?). I’ve never explored the horde capitals, more than the glimpses you get from the recent quest The Battle for the Undercity.

How can I just skip more or less half of the game? It’s quite incomprehensible if you ask David at Alt Fanatic.

And of course he’s quite right. I had a look at my statistics tab the other day (which I actually find much more intriguing than the achievement records) and noticed that I’ve already done 77 5-man instances in Lich King. I’ve killed Cyanigosa on heroic nine times. Since the statistics feature was introduced I’ve completed 267 daily quests, most of them definitely in the expansion, since I hardly did any dailies towards the end of TBC.

I could argue the way I usually do, that every instance run is slightly different, depending on the group composition (especially the players, not the classes so much). But the dailies are definitely very repetitive. It’s their nature.

When you think about it, much of my game play is about repeating content over and over again, while a big part of the content, maybe even the majority of it, still is unknown territory to me. Isn’t this a bit of a waste?

Supporting raiding
Now there’s a difference between David and me. He has played the game since 2005. I started two years later, which means that I’ve had essentially less time than he to explore the content. And while David loves to level alts, I’m caught by the raiding bug, which is nothing less than a curse since it is so time consuming. Most of my limited gaming time has to be spent on things that directly or indirectly support my raiding. Levelling an alt would be OK, as long as it gives me access to another profession. For instance my upcoming herbalist rogue will provide Larísa with mats so she can make the necessary flasks for raiding.

Levelling a horde character just to see the content “on the other side” won’t support raiding in any way. It’s a side project, which could compare to playing another game altogether or playing on another server. It wouldn’t connect to the rest of my playing and it would feel like a bit of “a waste of time”.

You could argue that this is a silly way of thinking. There isn’t such a thing as a “productive” way of playing WoW – it is all about entertainment and leisure and if we start to think about it as a job we’re getting it wrong.

On the other hand – if I didn’t think this way – if I mindlessly fell for every idea I got into my head and started alts of every class and race on every kind of server – I would see a lot of the newbie zone content, but not so much of endgame raiding. So maybe I’m not totally wrong after all. I’m constantly struggling to balance real life with gaming, finding ways to reach my goals in the game, even though circumstances suggest that I should be playing on a more casual level than I am. This means that I have to sacrifice content and make priorities.

Where everybody knows my name
However I think that my main reason for staying on the alliance side is the social one. How lonely wouldn’t it be to start a horde character and not knowing anyone at all? It isn’t only the Barrens and Ogrimmar that would feel alien to me. The general chat would. The unknown guild tags would. And the totally empty friends list and the “you’re not in a guild” message would. I can hardly think of anything lonelier. I would have to start from scratch to get into some kind of social context. Why would I do that when I know that I’ve got a bunch of friends who are online at the alliance side?

I guess most of my readers are old enough to remember Cheers? One of the best things about that series is actually the signature melody. The lyrics describe pretty well what my guild and my friends list means to me, and why I hesitate to try a horde character just to see the content. (By the way it also describes my vision for this blog, but that’s another story.)

Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name
And they're always glad you came
You want to be where you can see
Our troubles are all the same
You want to be where everybody knows your name


Ixobelle said...

besides having to build up a social circle again, it really sin't that different outside of the noob zones. I posted on David's site as well, but failed to mention that after a few initial run ins, I actually did knuckle down and try to level a draeni hunter (got to around 60 or so), because I had a group of friends (previously horde) that had rolled PVE alliance. The PVE thing is a whole other can of worms, but once you've learned the layout of SW and IF, and gotten out of duskwood, you've pretty much in the exact same zones, but it's more annoying because you know "this quest is THAT quest", and you're collecting the same 12 wolf hides, but the guy you turn it into is in a slightly different location.

On more than one occasion, I happily rode back into "town" to turn my quest in, only to be horrifically jumped and one shotted by horde town guards. Oh yeahhhh... huh.

for me, the 'do it all again, but this time it's just different enough to be annoying' was one of the main reasons I finally just went back to my hordies, RL friends be damned! If they want to play with me they can unshelf their horde toons that they neglected -_-

David said...

I hope I didn't come off as putting down your play style! I'm actually quite envious of raiders who go into epic battles night after night. I was a semi-hardcore raider back in the Molten Core era, and I still fondly remember the epic-ness of the fights and the weird personalities you get from cramming 40 people into one group and one vent channel.

But now my life and my play style is different, and I have to settle for the occasional raid pug when I'm lucky.

I think we represent two very different spheres of the WoW gaming community, but its not a competition or anything; I think its a testament to the diversity and accessibility inherent in the game that allows people to play the way they want to.

As for Ixo's comments about questing on the other side, I have pwnd myself countless times in booty bay and gadgetzan, as I ride up to the wrong flight master and, looking for a flight, merrily right click on them, which also happens to be the attack command. Rapid death and hilarity ensues.

wtfspaghetti said...

Darn you Larisa!

Now I have that song stuck in my head. =P

It is quite catchy though. Brings back good memories.

Your post hit a personal spot with me. I started playing this game in 2004 as an Alliance Dwarf and I absoluetly loved it.

I had a ton of friends and a really good guild. I always wanted to try the horde side out though. I felt it was my duty as a wowhead to experience that side of the game.

Some of my real life friends were on a horde server so I rolled an undead mage, planning on making him a twink.

Come to find out my raiding guild broke up about 2 months before TBC came out. I leveled my mage to 60 right in time to level him to 70 and havent looked back since.

I still have friends on my ally server and I still miss the good times that we had, but I am happy now hanging out as a horde with a bunch of real life friends.

In short, stay where your friends are, you will be happier in the long run. Only reason why I rerolled is for real life friends.

Good post and sorry I just wrote a wall of text =P

Carra said...

I tried to level a horde character. Didn't get passed level 22. Gave it some thought before reading the rest your article and I came to the same conclusion:
'Why would I level a horde character when I know a lot of people on alliance side and can chat if I want to while levelling?'.

I can see some other reasons why it would be less attractive for other people:
-No guildies to boost you.
-No high level alt to buy you everything you need. Can't just buy 4 big bags and mail them to your level one alt.
-Can those bind on account items be given cross faction,

Captain The First said...

That's amusing. I never had a single Alliance character myself. Didn't even roll a level 1 and I still...

Still, I suppose I see plenty of gnomes, squiddies and drunken dwarves in dalaran so it's not all bad hehe

Anonymous said...

I'm an incorrigable alt-aholic as well, so I've managed to level some horde toons a few times, as well as been browbeaten into playing horde side to spend some time with my better half and his circle of friends.

A huge part of my game enjoyment is social as well, but I love the anyonymity of playing a random alt on some random server where "nobody knows your name." It's a little liberating, a little like taking a holiday from guild responsibility and the pressure to do all the raid-assocaited stuff like farm mats and gold and heroics.

Jong said...

I've only had three toons too, for the several reasons you've noted.

My farmer alt has been really handy for gathering flask mats and doing the cooking dailes-- I need lots of northern spices!

Fish said...

Personally one of the things I enjoy most in reading your blog is your throughts about, and pursuit of raiding. Its not my cup of tea, I'll never be "hardcore" (even though I probably play as much as some "hardcore: players). In considering, I agree with Ixobelle. Pre-30, the game is very different, after 30, you're pretty much all in the same zones. I do prefer PvE alliance, but I've put too much work into my hordies and thats where all my friends are. . .

Anonymous said...

I tried to play alliance once and I didnt get past level 15. There is something about leveling alliance that just turned me off. I know what you mean with the raiding, it never leaves you any time to do anything else.

Drazmor said...

My GL is vehemently opposed to raiding. Sooner or later we're gonna start raiding without him. But without raiding to fill that void. If he gets an urge to make an undead priest, he'll make an undead priest. He has at least 50 alts he never played.

Larísa said...

@Ixobelle: Oh, that’s a comfort to hear, that I’m not missing THAT match. I must admit I once rolled an undead toon on a different server just to have a chat with someone who played horde there. To my astonishment I arrived to the world underground in a graveyardlike place. I was quite chocked and got the impression that levelling a horde would be a very different business. But probably it isn’t once you’ve seen the new starter zones and new major cities.

@David & Fish: well I hope I don’t give impression of being more hardcore than I am. I guess I’m somewhere in between. I’m passionate and somewhat organized about my playing, I put up goals and play in a certain direction. Still the raiding is limited to two nights a week, which is far from impressive in raiding circles. I think our playstyles aren’t exactly opposed to each other to be honest.

@David: About attacking the flight masters of opposite faction, I had no idea it was even possible on a PvE server. Noob Larísa speaking again. But if I ever played horde I’m pretty convinced I’d happily go to the wrong guy. As it is now I don’t even see the horde fp:s, they’re sorted away from my sight by some kind of subconscious filter.

@Wtf Spaghetti: I’m sorry. I got that refrain into my head too after writing that post, so I share your pain. And that wasn’t a wall of text! It was all broken up. And by the way I LOVE walls of text, which you should know by now.

I must admit that I haven’t got any real life friends keeping me on alliance side, just game friends. But I’ve started to question that way of sorting people out. My playing is a part of my real life and the friends I meet online are friends, even if we rarely, if ever will meet face to face. What’s the big difference?

@Carra: yes, I definitely feel the resistance of being back to step one, broken and all on my own as the day I rolled my first toon. I guess it’s possible to make some manoeuvres via the neutral AH, but it is pretty complicated.

@Captain The First: speaking of Dalaran, I must admit that it has happened to me more than once that I’ve got completely knocked out when I’ve thoughtless ran into the horde area of the city. I imagine I’d do it constantly if I had a horde char as well! This knocking out things makes me a bit curious – a part of me want to get passed those guards.

@Oriniwen: Well you’re a guild leader and I’m not, so I guess I’m in a slightly different situation. I know many players have secret alts that they sort of flee to from time to time to have it quiet. I’m not so popular that I have to do that. If I feel like relaxing I can go grinding some shoveltusks or fishing or whatever, ignoring the guild chat, emptying my mind. I definitely don’t have to hide to get a bit of solitude.

@Xoog: I thought I had something against horde as well, but I’ve changed my mind lately. I think it would be really cool to have a female troll for instance. But the prize is just too high.

@Drazmor: so your guild leader is in fact a hardcore altist! It’s kind of silly when you think about it that raiders often are spoken about as hardcore, singl eminded, a bit nuts etc. They’re just passionate about one aspect of the game. Others are passionate about alts, pvp, pet collecting or whatever. Hardcore pet collectors. Why don’t we ever acknowledge their existence? About your guild leader though: it seems a bit dangerous to have a guild leader with one idea and a lot of other players with a totally different idea about what to do in the game. I hope you’ll manage to work it out if you “start raiding without him”.

thelyse said...

i tried to play horde but i couldn't. because they're so ugly! XD
but the main reason is, it's hard to start all over again. from nothing. no friends. my alts have been spoiled with golds from my main i don't think i can live with nothing. lol!

Poledra said...

I have tried several horde Alts and never really got to grips with them. Stormwind will always be my first home and Ironforge my second. I had the same issues trying to start an undead character, the area was too alien to me and I hate Undercity I wander around feeling like a lost noob.
I would say that if you want to try a Horde toon, the Taurens are much more easily accessible and don't really feel like horde.
Also, I too have right-clicked on the flightmaster in Booty Bay and got whacked by the bruisers.

Indigo said...

I guess everyone has a different view of the game. I'm a bit of an alt-whore, but a friend of mine plays only one toon, and has never even wanted to roll an alt, let alone one on the other faction. Each to their own, I say.

Anonymous said...

I definitely have only rolled a level one blood elf merely to get it to Booty Bay to get the starting gear for my human bank alt.

While I think it would be perhaps fun to see the other side...
I would feel out of place =P

Gold Guide for World of Warcraft said...
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