Friday, March 28, 2008

Lal is Here to Stay

It has been decided. We will be purchasing Lal her own account so that she can continue her adventures in Azeroth. I am elated. My birthday is coming up and my wife asked me what I wanted. I told her I wanted her to activate her account, and she said okay, but wouldn't that be a little selfish because she wanted to play anyway? I just smiled. It's so much fun to play together, that it really does feel like a present for me.

Over the last two days we have nearly reached level 12. (didn't play long last night, we were at ball room dance lessons). I have achieved Bear form for my Druid, and Lal is fast becoming more proficient as a priest. She even had to rez my sorry butt after I got ganked by 2 Feral nightsabers and a big freaking spider. She was working on a nightsaber of her own and I was stupid and ran around a corner without looking. The spider ate me and she used her new Ressurection spell for the first time.

We completed all of our quests in Teldrassil and took a quick trip to and back from Auberdine on Darkshore. Lal decided to take up Tailoring and Herbalism. Now when we are out questing, I hear a lot of "Ooh! There's an herb on my map, cover me." Indicating that I should fight off the baddies while she harvests. It's cute. Salthier will be a skinner/leatherworker. I debated over this as they are the same professions as Elionene, but it just makes the most sense for him. I had thought about herb/alch, but I didn't want to compete with Lal for herbs. I suppose there is the possibility of being a skinner/alchemist. She could provide me with herbs, and I could provide her with skins for some of her tailoring patterns (a lot of the cloth shoes require leather), as well as leather for my own armor, which Elionene could make...I may have to give that more thought.

Our quick trip to Darkshore involved me fighting Lunaclaw and returning to Darnassus for my bear form. I haven't had a chance to try it out yet, but I'm sure we'll be around tonight,and I'm looking forward to it. I'm activating her account today, so I may ask her if she wants to join up with the guild tonight.

The whole idea of us playing WoW together is something I would have thought preposterous a month ago. Now it's a reality, and it's a blast. On the subway today, on my way to work, I got a phone call from my wife, "How do I level up my tailoring again?" I had to stop myself from laughing too loudly on the train. I explained how she could get new patterns from the trainer every 5 points or so, and to make sure and craft the orange colored items to get skill ups. She found the trainer and said cool, and we hung up. A little while later I get another call, "Where can I buy Light Leather?" I chuckled and said she could get some at the Auction Hall, or I could give her some tonight since Salthier skinned a few cats yesterday. Afterwards I smiled again to think of what the people standing around me on the train must have thought.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Further Adventures of Lal and Salthier

It's official, I have done something horrible and created a monster!

No, really, it's not that bad, but it IS funny. Yesterday I got home from work and one of the first things my wife says to me is that she's been wanting to play WoW all day! Later on we had semi-serious talks about paying for a second account for her, because when I tell her that her trial period ends on Friday, she kind of gets a sad look in her eye, distraught at not being able to level up Lal anymore.

Last night we played for a good 3 hours. Salthier and Lal are each level 9 now. We did a smattering of quests in Dolanaar and even made a quick trip into Darnassus to buy some 6 slot bags because our backpacks were filling up way too fast. (Trial accounts don't allow you to trade, so I couldn't have Elionene give Lal some nice 12 or 16 slot bags off the auction hall.) It's a lot of fun to level together, and I am really enjoying my druid. I don't even have an animal form yet.

One quest in particular was pretty challenging. The Relics of Wakening has you venturing into a Furbolg barrow to gather some sleepy druid items. A 3rd person joined us who was also on the quest. It was here that we experienced our first death. Lal fell off a narrow bridge and was instantly set upon by 3 viscious, thong wearing, bear humanoids. I tried to come to her rescue and told her to Fade as I beat on the bears to get them off her. I was able to distract two of them, but the third one did her in. (Sadly, I completely forgot she had just learned Power Word: Shield, which may have given us a few extra seconds.) I wasn't paying attention to my own health and I died shortly thereafter.

It was at this point that Lal decided she DID NOT like dying. Fortunately, it was not enough to make her quit, she wanted to finish the quest, so back into the caves we went, where I rezzed first and then promptly died to 3 more bears that were attacking our 3rd party member. I told Lal to wait on rez until I got back the second time. Upon returning, the three of us found a quiet corner and returned to the living. I decided to change our tactics and instructed Lal not to fight the furbolgs, but to hang back and heal either me or the other druid in our party should our health get low. This would keep her out of immediate danger, and provide longevity for us. She did so, but she then felt like she wasn't contributing as much. I mentioned she could use her Shadow Word: Pain at the beginning of the fight and that seemed to make it a little better, and we finished the rest of the quest with ease.

I've never played a healer myself, so it's almost like I'm learning two new classes myself, Priest and Druid. I'm sure she'll get better with time, and every day I'm becoming fairly certain that we will have more time to do it, as she seems to really enjoy it. She's still a little shy about talking in chat channels. I'm not really sure why. Actually, I think she's so concentrated on completing the quests and remembering which spells to cast that she forgets to look over in the corner and see what people are saying or think to say something back.

The journeys of Lal and Salthier will continue for some time I think.

Friday, March 21, 2008

This Blog

The title is a reference to when I usually play World of Warcraft. I am a casual player in that I don't have hours and hours to spend in the game. Evenings are generally family time, so I make time to play in the morning before I go to work. This has me logging in at 5:30 AM, which is 4:30 on server time. Often, I'm the only one in the guild on at that time and getting groups for anything is nearly impossible. On the upside, I don't have a lot competition for quests or mobs and there's hardly any lag with the server not being busy.

I currently have one level 70 character. Elionene on the Moon Guard server. She is a Night Elf hunter, beast master spec, with a white owl, Lethan, for a hunting partner. Here is my armory link. This is my first character, and the only one I have at 70, but I plan to do more. I have an up and coming dwarf warrior also on the Moon Guard server, but before I dedicate too much time to him I want to get Elionene to a good place. I just got epic flight skill with her and am earning reputation with the Cenarion Expedition so I can ger her a fancy flying War Hippogryph.

I've been in my guild, Veritas, for a a few months now and it's a great group of role players and adventurers. We are beginning to raid Karazhan, though I have yet to participate as my playing times don't really coincide with good raiding times! I'll get in there eventually. In the mean time, I'm working on finishing my Beast Lord armor set (just need the handguards and helm) and crafting the Ebon Netherscale armor. That's Elionene in a nutshell. I have another blog for her story told through Journal entries. The link is on the right.

This is an old picture of Elionene from when I had just finished Blackrock Depths and offed the emperor of the dark iron dwarves. I'll get a more current one up soon.

I Have Achieved the Highly Improbable

Soon after starting my very first character in the World of Warcraft, back in April of 2007, I commented to my wife that it would be fun to play together with her. Her response was somewhere along the lines of “Yeah, right, not going to happen.”She was content with her Sims, while I explored the unknown reaches of Azeroth as Elionene. Granted, we only had one real gaming computer so we had to take turns, and paying monthly for a second account was not in the budget. I didn’t press the matter, and life continued.

After becoming a member of Veritas and seeing so a lot of happy couples playing together, I brought the matter up again, and received similar responses. She was never mean about it. She just wasn’t a fan of immersive 3D gaming. Mario 64 gave her a headache. So she had it in mind that she wouldn’t like this game. That and from watching me briefly, thought it was much too complicated, which at level 70, I can understand. I had at least gotten her to create a character on my account, a Night Elf Priest, which she enjoyed doing, but that priest never saw the starting area.

A week or two ago I discovered that my wife’s little iBook G4 could handle WoW. Low FPS, and really small graphics, but it would run. Part of my reasons for doing this was to allow for us to each be able to play our own game without hogging the computer. I could use the iBook when she wanted to play The Sims 2 on the PowerBook. But then I saw the potential for us to actually play WoW together, if I could just get her to consent to try it. So one evening I casually asked her, “What are my chances of getting you to just play WoW with me for 30 minutes?” Her response, “I don’t know, 50%?” I was thrilled. Those are excellent odds compared to 0.

Actually, it turns out she was more willing than even 50% as long as it was now possible, she would at least make me happy by trying it out. I started a trial account for her and made a new Night Elf Priest (female). I then made a new Night Elf Druid (male) on my account so we could do the starter area together. After we had made characters though, we didn’t have time to play and put it on hold until just last night. Well, last night the trial account ran out so she couldn’t log in. Not letting this dishearten me, I quickly opened a new trial account and duplicated her character. She was surprised at how quickly I could do this, but you should never underestimate a man on the verge of seeing the highly improbable realized.

And then we were there, together, standing in the Shadowglen of Teldrassil. I was Salthier, a druid, and she had chosen a priest, Lal. (We’ve sort of been on a Star Trek: TNG kick.) I helped explain the different controls, how to move, how to use the forward slash to say things and enter commands, the action bar, and her health, mana, and level up in the corner. She was a bit nervous at first. She was afraid that the nearby thistle boars were just going to rush her and she’d die, so I showed her how their names were yellow and that means they won’t attack unless provoked. Then I said we were about to provoke them. So we turned our attention to the guy with the yellow ! over his head and we got our first quest.

Into the woods we went. First I just had her auto attack a boar, and then showed her how to loot things and how to open her bags to see what was in her inventory. Then she tried out smite and I explained ranged attacks. After the second or third boar I think a Frayed Cloak dropped, and I showed her how to equip it. Then I had her cast a heal on me while I attacked a night saber cat. It was a little slow going, but she was starting to get the hang of it, and before long we had our quota killed and we returned to the quest giver. She turned in the quest, and FWOOSH!, she was level 2, and I received something far greater than any quest reward. Her eyes lit up, her mouth became a wide grin, and she said, “Oooooooohhh!”

She was getting into it. We picked up the next quests, and headed to our individual class trainers. She was still learning how to navigate, getting the hang of turning and using the mini map. I helped her find the priest trainer where she learned Power Word: Fortitude. I explained how she should always keep this up and that she could cast it on other people to help them too. I then proceeded to look for the druid trainer to get my Mark of the Wild spell. (He’s at the top of the freaking tree. The other trainers were in the building. Sheesh.) My wife then did something that amused me and made me smile. She went by herself to a quest giver we hadn’t been to yet, but could see on the map. She wanted to know what the quest was and wasn’t going to wait for me. When I got back with my new spell, I showed her how to share the quest so I would have it too.

At this point, my 30 minutes was over with and I let her know we could stop, but she wanted to do this quest she had just received, so I said it wouldn’t take long. She told me (yes, my wife initiated this) that we had to go North to find someone. So north we went. As we got to the northern part of the zone, we came across some fuzzy green spiders, and they weren’t very passive. They started to attack her and she got spooked because she wasn’t expecting it. I calmed her down and we killed a few spiders before finding the guy who was sick. We turned in the quest and were told to return to the original quest giver.On they way back, we learned how to swim in the water pools behind Aldrassil and continued to thin the packs of night sabers and thistle boars. She was getting the hang of smiting, and then attacking, and looting. Having killed enough boars and cats, my wife saw that her experience bar was nearly full. She asked me if she could get it completely full by killing more animals and I said yes, so she proceeded to run after another boar and kill it. Ding! She was level 3 and elated. We then turned in the return quest from the spider guy and I dinged. She got a smug look and commented on how she had reached level 3 first. Somehow, that really didn’t bother me.

We then went on to turn in the boar and saber quest and we achieved some armor that we equipped. She seemed to like how the bracers showed up on her arms when she equipped them. She then noticed a yellow ? on the map and wandered off to find the dryad we were tasked to fine. After turning in yet another quest, it was getting late and my 30 minutes had turned in to 80 minutes, so we called it a night and /quit.Overall, she had more fun than she expected. She liked gaining levels, and she like doing quests, but she got a little nervous over monsters attacking her. Seeing that green life bar go down can be a bit scary, even it it’s happening at 1 or 2 points per attack. It helped that I was there to take the monster off her. I’m sure she’ll get the hang of it as we play more. Oh yes, there will be more. She told me she probably wouldn’t play by herself, but she might like to do it with me again, at least until the end of the trial. After that, we probably aren’t going to be able to pay for a second account, but I’ll enjoy it while it lasts, and this opens up all sorts of possibilities for the future.