Reaching 40 and other thoughts on WoW

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Coriantum, Tauren Shaman

Over the weekend I got World of Warcraft character to a new milestone: level 40. This is sort of a coming of age point. At level 40 you can finally buy a horse, and as a Tauren you can finally wear mail armour instead of just cloth or leather armour.

Of course, I've yet to purchase either (a horse or mail armour) because I haven't earned/saved enough gold yet. Several times I've let Caleb & Meghan play for a bit only to return later to discover that my net-worth has somehow declined by 50%. Purchasing gold from an overseas sweatshop could solve my financial problems, but that'd seem to take most of the fun out of the game.

Meghan and Caleb both would like to have their own characters to play with: hunt, fish, explore, etc. Before I let them have more unfettered access I definitely want to get up to speed more on user-interface customization so I could, for example, limit chat and mail to the handful of real-life players (my friends) that they know and who know them.

Being on a PvP (player versus player) server has been a lot of fun. There is an extra rush of andrenaline when you're facing another human opponent instead of just a computer-controlled monster.

Several friends (from real life) all started playing new Horde characters on a PvP server at the same time I did. Initially we only engaged the enemy faction ("The Alliance") in combat when we were comparably matched. If a group of us ran into a lone member of the alliance, we wouldn't pursue him. Nor would we engage players who were lower levels (and who shouldn't have strayed into contested territory to begin with).

Over time, however, as a result of higher-level Alliance members (i.e., more than ten levels above) repeatedly killing us I've noticed that the sense of chivalry being replaced by an instinctive reaction to kill the enemy on sight, regardless. (In World of Warcraft, unlike in Ancient Anguish there is no major penalty when you die—you don't lose a whole leve, for example.)

Which, of course, is a perfectly valid style of game play and sort of what you ought to expect when you play on a PvP server. But it's been interesting to watch our groups attitude become battle-hardened as time has gone by. Though a game, with a cartoon-ish interface at that, this aspect models real life quite well...

—Michael A. Cleverly

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