In other news

Politics. Politicspoliticspoliticspolitics. Economy! Bailout! Politics!

OK, since I don’t live in California, and I’m registered to vote, and I’m an utter leech on other people’s income, I don’t have much to contribute in those arenas.

So instead I’m going to talk about the World of Warcraft, its current state, and the expansion coming out a week after Election Day.

I’ve played a number of massively multiplayer online games over the years. Usually, I play them in full awareness that I’m not going to see most of the content that the MMO community talks about. Often, I’m playing the game while waiting for another game to come out. I daydream about things I can’t find in the game du jour.

I realized recently that I’m happy with World of Warcraft. I’ve been playing it for several years, and I’m not interested in other MMOs (with, ok, the possible exception of Hello Kitty Online). I hear about the MMOs coming out and they just don’t interest me, because they don’t offer me anything I’m not already getting in WoW.

These are the things I have in WoW that I’ve never had (all together) in another MMO:

  • Two characters at the current level cap
  • A reasonably active small guild that is still large enough to consume all the content in the upcoming expansion, combined with active interest in and appreciation for the story, writing and gameplay.

A short list, to be sure, but a meaningful one. MMO culture is rife with the idea that gameplay changes dramatically once you reach the level cap, and typically MMOs require dozens of organized players to progress through most of the content available at that level cap. 

Up until this expansion, even WoW clung to that idea. But because of the success of certain projects in the current incarnation of the game, they’ve decided to make two versions of every raid available: a 25-man version and a 10-man version.

10-man content is something we can do. Of course, Election Day isn’t here yet and we haven’t recieved the expansion, let alone levelled up to the new level cap when that 10-man content unlocks. Obama could give birth to a 2-headed cow, and anything could happen. But I’m happy and excited about the possibilities of the future, and for the first time, I feel like everything I want in a game is available to me.


I’ll have more characters at a high level soon, too. Blizzard is offering a ridiculous program right now called ‘Recruit-A-Friend’. (Internally it’s probably known as ‘Buy Another Account’.) You refer a new account. For 90 days, your account and the referred account are linked; when characters within 4 levels of each other play together, they get triple xp from everything until level 60 (the current level cap is 70). And the referred account can grant 1 level per 2 levels it achieves to any character below it in level on the referring account, thus allowing characters to remain with 4 levels of each other. This ‘triple xp’ allows characters to level phenomenally fast. At a ‘we have a bit of a life’ rate of play, Kevin (who got a referred account and will eventually transfer characters off of it to his main account– apparently it works the other way around, too– you can transfer characters to a referred account and then get the triple xp on existing characters) and I got a pair of characters to level 60 in, oh…2 or 3 weeks? It’s astonishing. I’ll never be able to go through those levels at the ‘normal’ rate again.

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