Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Things I've learned since level 1

Matticus had a nice blog post the other day 20 Things I Know at Level 70 that I Didn't Know at Level 1, about things he would like to tell someone who was just about to pick up the game, to save them learning it by themselves the hard way.

I love that kind of list posts. Just making a list out of an idea gives you some kind of authority, doesn't it? It seems so well thought over. Here's someone that has dived deeply into a subject, systematically, if he's made a list of it he must have covered it all. Is there really anything I would like to add out of a Larísa perspective? I doubt it, but I'll give it a go.

  • Be honest. You could be secret about your private life for whatever reason, shyness, lack of self confidence, the wish to hide from the world... but don't lie. Don't pretend to be a girl when you're not, trying to get some favours out of it. (Maybe you will to begin with but you'll also easily enough tangle yourself into a web of lies that will be harder and harder to get out of. ) Don't say that you've got more experience than you've had, that you've "done Karazhan" when you've only been there twice. People don't hate you for being new to the game. But they hate you for lying. I've been honest about myself from the very first day - not pretending to be anything but a 40 year old female newbie (though a pretty serious newbie). It hasn't hurt at all - it has given me a tonnage of game friends and wonderful gaming memories.
  • Do your homework. There's a wealth of knowledge out there, things that will help you to become a better player, to level smoother, to perform better in Arena, instances or whatever you prefer. Theorycrafting isn't only for hardcore players in top rated guilds - it's even more useful for us casuals that can benefit from the research of others without having to figuring out everything for ourselves. It will take a few hours from your gaming time to actually read up a bit about an instance before pugging it for the first time, or picking your spec out of some kind of idea rather than by hazard. But it's well invested time that will pay off in the long run.
  • Don't be shy. Don't just play safe. Overcome your prejudices and barriers and try out aspects of the game that you thought wasn't for you. Take challenges that are offered to you - leave your comfort zone. You can surprise yourself and you'll definitely learn a lot from it. I waited way to long before doing instances in a systematic way. I guess I thought I knew too little about what I was doing in order to dare playing with complete strangers, making a fool out of myself. If I'd known by then what I know now I wouldn't have hesitated doing Deadmines at the right level. I really regret that I've only done it boosting others or being boosted myself. If I had had the guts I would have improved in the game much faster than I did.
  • Think ahead and put up long term plans and goals. There's no reason you shouldn't think about the future while levelling. If you intend to enjoy end game with your char, raiding for instance, plan for it right from the beginning, when picking professions, when thinking about what instances to run, what drops to try to get, what reputation to focus on. I had no idea about those things, just randomly making my way through the levels. If I'd known then what I know now I would have made Larísa a tailor, making a spellfire and spellstrike set to put on as soon as she dinged 70.
  • Don't settle with mediocrity. Try to level a bit not only when it comes to your char and your gear, but also when it comes to guilds. This doesn't mean that you should constantly be guild shopping. You could perfectly well be so lucky that you find The Guild of Your Heart early in your gaming career. Then stay there, but don't settle with it - try to participate in developing the guild, making progress one way or another (not necessary in downing bosses, there are other ways to progress). A guild can always become better. What I'm trying to point out is that there are so many really good guilds out there. Don't settle with a mediocre guild just because you randomly got into it when you were ninja invited to it when you didn't have much clue about the game at all. Give yourself the decent guild that you deserve.
  • Gear will get outdated at the next expansion or even the next patch. Friends won't. The most precious that your character has is not in the bank slot, your bag or something she wears. It's the friends list. Take good care about it. This game is as much about socializing as about skill. Your friends will be your best teachers. They'll laugh with you when you make a stupid error in an instance, causing everyone to die. They'll cheer for you when you win the roll - and cry with you when you lose it. They'll help you to see things clearly, when it's time to move on to another guild, when it's time for a change (that will inevitably come sooner or later in your gaming career). Fiends are epic. Gear is not, at least not for long.
  • Use your gaming time wisely. You'll soon enough find out you haven't got the time you need to do everything you want to in the game. Why waste it on nothing? This doesn't mean that you should treat the game as a work, only doing "useful" things all the time. But it means that you should spend time on things that will give you pleasure and entertainment in one way or another - for the time being - or later on, if you're for instance grinding mats for some resistance gear you just have to obtain before a certain raid encounter or trying to get the gold you need for your epic flying mount. Using the time means that while you're waiting for a party to assemble you could as well organize your bags, pick some flowers in the surroundings or train yourself to become a better player by duelling your friend. Do whatever that suits with your current goals and plans. But don't just aimlessly stroll around, telling the world that you're bored with the game or spamming crap in general out of pure frustration. If you can't focus on doing something fun or useful, then you should just turn of the PC imo.

That was my philosophical kind of list. Then I can't refrain myself from giving some more hands-on kind of advice for people who are completely new to the game just as I was myself in the beginning of 2007. Those players probably won't find my blog to read those ramblings, but what the hell:

  • Repair your gear. It took myself quite a few levels to understand the meaning of the red guy that appeared on the screen, the concept of repairing the gear.

  • There are several tabs where to put your talents. Not only the top one. Explore them all! (I think I'm not alone in that error).

  • Get used to visit AH early in the game - but concentrate on selling rather than buying while levelling. You would be surprised if you knew how well just some copper ore will be payed. (I didn't dare go into AH until at least after level 30).

  • Don't ever buy gear from the vendors, trying to tempt you with staffs, daggers, cloth gear and so on. It's just crap and expensive if you compare it to quest rewards, drops and whatever you'll find at AH. (Isn't it kind of mean of Blizzard putting up all those vendors, just in order to fool new players?)

  • Get yourself some basic addons. It will make your playing so much easier. And it's not only for pro gamers. From my point of view Blizzard hasn't really completed the game UI, they have left the last finish to the gaming community. You should get that part to.

  • Learn first aid right from the beginning. It will save you loads of time and pain.

  • Take up cooking as well. It will save you a lot of money and boost you in the long run.

  • Use whatever money you can spare to buy bags. It will save you sooo many trips to vendors for clearing bags or even the saddening process of destroying things just because there isn't room.

  • Talk to other players! Don't be shy. Ask people in the same area that obviously are doing the same quest if you could join the party. You'll make the quest twice as fast and have twice as fun. At least. (It took myself ages before I realized that.)

  • There's a subway between Stormwind and Ironforge. Use it. Don't try to invent any other way by swimming or running through hostile areas.
So this was what I've learned since level 1. One day or another I'll write a post about things that I haven't yet learned. They are numberous. Luckily enough. Because when you've learned everything about the game, what is there really left to do?

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