I didn’t know there were adults left in the world that wanted to play World of Warcraft and hadn’t yet. This weekend I learned that they exist. One of my female cousins called me Saturday afternoon. We’re not on phone call terms. I see her at family outings and we chat but we’re not close. Distance is the primary reason we’re not more like friends. I grew up in New York City. She grew up in Oregon.
She got my number from my mother after hearing somehow that I play games on the internet. Come to find out that she plays The Sims and her recent foray in a massive title, Free Realms, piqued her interest to play another game she’s heard people discussing at work. Now that she’d bought a new PC, she really wanted to give the “other” game a try.
I did my best to convince her that she should try Runes of Magic. Warts and all, you can’t beat the value of it as a free-to-play MMO. I suggested that she test drive that to know if she’d even like a traditional MMO, which Free Realms isn’t. “No,” she replied, “I have my heart set on trying Worldcraft.” Conversation freezes. With an eyebrow raised to my hairline, I turn into the camera for a Ferris Bueller sidebar response with the audience, “Oohkay.” She knew what she wanted. Who am I to tell her otherwise?
I explained where and how to download the free trial for, and I spelled it out, “World of Warcraft”. I told her how the install and patching worked. I told her to call me when she had the game installed. Phone rings a couple of hours later, “Hello…” I’m sure you can guess who had called. I’d already setup a trial account and patched my version of the game, just in case she followed through with her threat to join the MMO gaming masses.
We created our characters. She already knew that she wanted to be a Mage like she is on Free Realms. I created one too to simplify explaining things. Moments later we emerged into my favorite racial zone. We ran around for a couple of hours and she had a blast. At first she thought she could safely run up to any mob like in FR. It’s easy to understand how she got that idea since you start with the yellow mobs that won’t attack you, if you don’t attack them. A quick death at the hands of the Defias and corpse run from the graveyard, disabused her of that notion.
We ended the session with her being amazed and awed by the splendor that is WOW. Damn, I want to feel that way about a game again before I go! I hadn’t played WOW in over a year. Back in the day I’d enjoyed the graphics. Several years and MMOs since, they look very long in the tooth to my eyes, even with everything set on high. Regardless, there’s a reason WOW is so popular and those reasons were evident while I watched her play.
Sunday afternoon she called to let me know that she wanted to subscribe to the game. I’d guessed as much the day before. I told her about the “Recruit a Friend” promotion and benefits. I asked if there was anyone at work that would sponsor her. She said that she wasn’t on “those” terms with the few people she’d heard mention the game. Conversation freezes. I’m Al Pacino, in The Godfather III, “Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.” I explained that I didn’t play WOW any more. I didn’t go into the whole end-game thing. That would have been too far over her head. Sighing heavily, I decided to be her sponsor and give her the guided tour to level 20-something. By that time she’d know if this was the game for her and she’d have her legs under her enough to continue on her own. Of course, she could always call or email me, if she had questions.
I activated the Bryant household “Monster” account. That’s the one where I’d transferred everyone’s max level characters to, as our household slowly unsubscribed from WOW. These are unfortunately all on PVP servers. She claimed to be fine rolling PVP. I’m not positive she got the whole idea. From my point of view, I wanted access to my own characters so that I could craft her some nice items before I disappeared. I imagine that it’s hard for new players to get the gear locked away in the old world 5-man content. Unless you have friends around your level or at least one person with a max level character, I imagine that getting items out of SFK, Gnomer, SM, etc. is hit-n-miss. It’s unfortunate that new players don’t even get to see all that content. Not much I can do about that but I could at least leave her nice supplies to have as she leveled.
For me to sponsor her, she had to create an account using a particular key that would tie her to me as a friend. This meant starting over. She had no problem doing that for the benefits she’d get if we played together some time. Eh, I’d talked to her more in the span of a weekend than I had in several years so there was something to be gained. She’s only 4 years older than me but growing up, 4 years is like night and day. I did explain that I’m rather pressed for time this summer and not really gaming. She understood and said whenever I happened to play, if we could pair up for the bonuses that would be great.
For me, there aren’t any classes left that I want to play. Anything that I was even remotely interested in playing, I’ve been there and done it. WOW levels 1 to 40 were amazing to me, regardless of how many times I’d done the GS to STV jaunt. I created a new character again when she did for the promo. I figured I’d at least make a race I’d never done before and created a Draenei Priest. With the referral features, instead of me having to run my character over to Northshire Abbey, she was able to summon me. Our adventuring time was at an end. I had writing to do and needed to be on my way. I parked my character in the Goldshire Inn and told her I’d see her later in the week.