Friday, March 21, 2008

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.

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