Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Joy of being newbie

I recently read a post in Pink Pigtail Inn, where Larísa shows and tells an application her guild has gotten. The applicant - according to the application - was a 14 year old kid, with a level 82 deathknight, and the guild is pretty much a hardcore - at least serious - 25 man raiding guild.

Now the comments range from the typical evaluation of "fail" to Gevlon's mention of "M&S proper" to adoring mentions of cuteness of the applicant.

I told this in the comments, but I'll expand a bit.

My son, coming 10 years this May, plays a DK, too. Level 63, Unholy for dps and geared only from questing. My son loves to spend gold on trivial and unnecessary shinies: sure sign of M&S conduct by Gevlon's rules. He also likes to bash mobs, to a such an extent that he signs in PUGs every time he gets to play (because he's so young, he has this character on my account, under my supervision).

I have selected his spec, talents, skills and help with the gearing questions among other things. But that's it: I have never taught him on how to play the class, nor how to min-max the rotation. Never even occurred to me to do such a thing.

Taking into account that he's so young and English isn't his native language (in fact he's just started to learn it in school), he still gets into the PUGs. As it happens, he likes to play in group content: so much so that he automatically pops the LFD tool on when ever he gets the privilege to play. Yes, that is earned around our house.

To make this really strange - or in some others words showing the state of the levelling players - he scores to the top of the damage meters every time. Not necessarily the top, but in the top two usually.

And he has never - not a single time - been kicked out of a group. He's the epitaph of the current WoW thinking in group content: "shut up and deliver".

As I monitor how he plays and what he does, I'm constantly amazed how he finds the things I take for granted or have already trivialized to myself extremely interesting or amazing. The childish glee on everything new, strange and surprising is still there. He's loving the game for being as fluffy, cute and amazing as it is. He's enjoying the game, being the newbie he still is.

Now that wasn't the reason why I brought my son into the blog. The reason is that it's quite brutal how the 'jaded veterans' treat the newcomers, newbies, kid learning the ropes and each other in the game. The level of cruelness tells quite a lot about the state of the game itself. The only people worth the while are only those who make the min-max-game their main hobby, who know their class by heart (and the accompanying stats and bonuses) and play the abstract gameplay system regardless of the shiny graphics involved.

The elite who are not to be called elite, because the raid content is at everyones - and their cousins - reach. Provided that you fulfill the forementioned requirements of the gameplay mechanics.

Is this really the way the game, which we all started to play for fun, has turned to?

What have we lost when the game could be easily turned into a number crunching simulation with a few Simon Says scotch-hopping?

Is it the same game anymore?