Every time my feedreader updates with Aspect of the Hare, I smile.

I know I’m about to have a smart, fun read!

I especially loved one of her recent posts, about not everyone below 80 being an alt.

It’s so true! I have the same tendency, after all this time, to assume unless corrected that almost everyone I meet has already played through the game once.

But it just can’t be that way, can it? People do leave this game and move on to other interests, how could it be otherwise?

Unless the secret WoW-zombie code that brainwashes us into playing isn’t just a rumor! /shiftyeyes

In other games I’ve played, like Dark Age of Camelot for example, the total number of people in the player base eventually raised to a peak, and then trended down. The message, to me, being that at that point in the game, there were more old players leaving than new players coming on board.

In WoW, as far as the data I have available to me goes, there has yet to be a drop off in total subscribers… but yes, there are still people leaving. I guess they are still being balanced by new players, or by multi-account owners.

Digression… let’s have fun for a second, shall we?

In World of Warcraft, the number of North American subscribers had been reported as 2.5 million around January of 2008.

By way of comparison, in 2009 the population of North America was estimated at 341 million people, and of those, 251 million were reported as internet users.

So, if we’re generous and pretend that the reported figures have some basis in fact and weren’t just pulled out of somebodies’ butt, (and if so, it wasn’t mine) then approximately 1 out of 100 people who use the internet in North America play WoW.

Yes, technically, it’s .99% but I hope you’ll forgive me if I round that up to 1%. It’s a heck of a lot more fun to say 1 out of 100 than 9.9 out of 1,000. 

And no, I’m not taking into account one person with 2 or more accounts just for themselves. I gots no data on what percentage of the WoW population are multi-boxers.

My point? Nothing, other than the amazement of following up my post of yesterday by thinking that out of 100 internet users, one of ‘em plays WoW. At the least, one out of a hundred has played WoW at some point. That’s kind of trippy.

Going back to the awesomeness that is Pike, I loved her post. It just brings back so many impressions I’ve had about the game over the years. Like how one of the biggest thrills in the game for me has always been seeing content that is new to me.

Pike mentions the awkwardness of being a new player when others assume you already know the fights, and then the surprise felt when being the experienced player and realising other people with you are themselves new to something. 

I did have one thought, when she shared some of her worry over the speed that new content can be cleared while leveling, and how with Emblem gear and upgrades, so much Wrath content felt dead and would be missed.

I think it’s very true that for new players, if the focus is on raiding, then a lot of old content will go unseen.

The thing I like to remember is, there are plenty of guilds and groups that enjoy the old content, and are alive to the fun of alts, and will be happy to all take their crazy alts into content that they’ve long farmed on their mains.

In Sidhe Devils, we have at times done retro raids in old content, Blackwing Lair, Battle for Mount Hyjal, Ahn’Qiraj 40, Molten Core, etc just to see it, and have fun.

Shoot, I think we went in and did a full Kara clear a week ago, just a spur of the moment thing. My Enhancement Shaman got the one handed axe from Prince, and swings it proudly. (She’s level 72, lol). I would like a second one to dual wield them, but why be greedy?

Doing retro raid content at level 70 or 80 isn’t obviously the same challenge as tackling it at peak difficulty, but it’s always been a lot of fun regardless. If someone leveling wishes to have had the chance to see that content, then they need only look for a guild that enjoys doing it. If they want a guild focused exclusively on raiding, then that’s their choice. But the potential is always there to get some friends and go do it.

Pike points out how hard it can be to get a Naxx 25 pug going these days, and that’s well made. There have been nights when I’ll put Windshadow in the lfg channel as a healer for one of the 25′s, and there just aren’t any forming. Plenty of Naxx 10 pugs still form, or Obsidian Sanctum, but I don’t do ten man raids in pugs in case someone in the guild decides to just spur one on out of nowhere. :)

But again… instead of doing it in a pug, there is always the chance you can find a guild like likes to do them.

Jess and Stop both mentioned that Sidhe Devils finally went ahead and did a little more Ulduar last weekend, we cleared the first four bosses, and then did Kologarn. None of us really expected any upgrades, but that wasn’t the point of going. Most of us had never seen all the fights before. I had certainly never seen Deconstructor, and the whole thing was a lot of fun.

Surprisingly, there were quite a few plate drops that ended up being upgrades for folks. When you think about itemization, not everything is represented by Emblems or drops in Heroic ToC. I know that Sesech was delighted to get that Spellpower shield from Kologarn, for example.

I’m not arguing with Pike at all, by the way. I agree with her post in all aspects. I’m just trying to mention a few things that are possibilities for new players, that will hopefully help her feel better about things. The chance to run content is out there. I swear! It may take some time, and it’s certainly harder than it used to be, but it’s there.

What I loved the most was all the discussion about playing with people in the game, and assuming they know everything about the game already. 

There is just so much to learn about the game that folks take for granted at times. Not everyone uses addons, for example. I bet there are still a ton of people who not only don’t use addons, but that don’t know about addons, and wouldn’t know how to install one either.

I still see folks that don’t have an addon that shows coordinates, and don’t know how to get one, asking how to find something in game.

That’s not a statement that people are stupid, either, damnit!

Everyone got the game somewhere, and when I got mine, nowhere did I find a slip of paper in the box that read, “This game is sort of okay as is, but in order to really play, you’ll need to install addons. Foshizzle.”

As I recall, I went all the way to level 60 playing solo without addons of any kind whatsoever, and it was only after joining Divine Might and preparing to raid that I looked on the guild forums, and found a section listing the addons I was required to install to raid with them.

I didn’t know how to install an addon. I had to search the internet for a guide on how to install them, and I think the website I found it on doesn’t even exist anymore. I was frightened to do it, too. You want me to put what in what folder? How do I know that it won’t mess something up? Installing WoW took a lot of discs!

Last night, for a brief time, Cassie and I were on alts traveling together to get some candy buckets.

We popped into Southshore, and then went afk while standing there on our mounts. We go afk on our alts a LOT, taking care of Alex or doing stuff. Just stand up and walk away from the computer. Sometimes our toons are still logged in, sometimes not.

This time, I walked back to the computer, and a level 47 or so Draenei was walking around, saying in /say “Why is everyone so silent?”

I scrolled up my chat log, and he’d whispered me, asking me “Where do I get a mount?”

You know, that’s just the kind of question that stops you cold. Is he serious, or is he trying to be a jackass? Best to err on the side of being nice. If he’s being a jackass, well, no harm done. If he’s serious, I don’t want to make him unhappy by being a tool.

So I whispered him back, just saying “Draenei can learn the riding skill, and buy a mount, in the Draenei city of the Exodar.”

He thanked me, and then asked, “How do I get back there from here?”

Well, how to answer? Shit, with all the boat route changes, do I even know? I just port to Moonglade.

“If you fly to Stormwind, go to the dock, you can take a boat to Darkshore, then run to the end of that dock and take a boat to the isle where Exodar is.”

“Oh wow, thanks!”

And off he goes.

Was that an alt? Or a new player?

I’d strongly think it was a brand new player.

My feelings to the question, the seeming obviousness of getting mounts and all the publicity of mount training changes and cost changes, etc, made me wonder about how new players get treated in general these days when having questions.

Is the attitude, the feel of the vocal gaming community in WoW friendlier, more offensive, or just about the same now as it was when I started?  

Really, when really trying to think back to how chat was when I started… I think that the general attitude, as offensive as it sometimes seems to be, is just about exactly the same as ever. If anything, it’s less offensive, at least on our server. Most of the true infantile asshats have moved on long ago. We’ve got bigots, racists, self-proclaimed world history experts, experts on religion, and general clowns, but I see more people day in and day out simply advertising their wares for sale, looking for groups, and asking what the daily is than anything else. There can be a lot of venom, but it goes in spurts. I think it’s better now.

There is more to feeling welcomed to the game than what people are saying in Trade chat.

Pike hits home when she talks about people leveling through the content very fast, and not seeing content. That’s just as big as how people talk to new players.

I think it’s even worse for new players, really, than it might seem from the outside.

Yes, new players level through content very fast… unless they are trying to do all the quests.

For experienced players, there are lots of quests that can be big time sinks, or are tough group quests, and you just know to avoid them, or to build up a lot of group quests, and then grab a friend and bang them all out at once before moving on.

For new players, people who really are trying to do all the quests in the zone (or in their log), especially without Questhelper, and are on their won without long time friends, there just aren’t people in the same zone to ask, “Where is Mankrik’s Wife?” like there used to be.

I do have one thought that reassures me. And that is the fact that almost every night, I see people in Trade chat advertising that they have a leveling guild, looking for new members.

I have to hope that folks that are new to the game and excited to play are able to find a guild to join, if they want one.

Hopefully, new players to the game are starting up, and having the World of Warcraft open up for them as a world of wonder and excitement, and the people they find within are nice, and helpful, or at least courteous and helpful if the new player is polite and helpful in turn.

If not, if the game seems cold, and distant, and populated with rude people too busy to take the time to offer a helping hand or a kind word, then I’d imagine the inevitable will happen.

Old time players will move on to new interests… and the new players coming in will become disenchanted with the game, and will move on to something else rather than waste their time feeling like an unwanted outsider that didn’t join when all the ‘cool people’ did. 

Once that happens, if it does… well, I don’t have to paint you a picture, do I?

9 Responses to “I heart Pike!”
  1. Lupius says:

    I remember installing questhelper (and later carbonite), when I started to level alts. I refused to use it for my first 70. In a way, it took a lot of experience out of the game when you’re really supposed to explore everything for the first time.

  2. Intravax says:

    My biggest confusion when I started playing (believe it or not) was the Need/Greed loot box. I was constantly getting them confused much to my embarassment. I never saw one as I leveled my first character all solo and guildless. I got to Outland once I hit 58 and started running the Hellfire dungeons and hit a big culture shock since I had never grouped with anyone before.

  3. Voda says:

    I got fed up with a PvP server one night, trying to run an escort quest, a hordie nailed me and trashed the whole thing. Started a new druid on PvE, got him to about lvl14, and decided to try a dwarf pally. While running the pally, I swiped a quest item out from another player, inadvertently. So, I pst him saying I’d stick around till the boss rezed and help him with the kill. Well, turns out he was a GM starting a new guild, and invited me and my wife, and our alts (lol). He told us about QH and a bunch of other stuff. Along the way we recruited about a half dozen other good folks, all lvled together and now have 80′s, in a laid back guild that wants to teach the 10-25 man bosses a thing or two. This was all about 6 months ago or so. So, yep, there are sincere newbies out there. be nice to ‘em they might be raiding with you before long.

    Yep, need greed was not clear at first. Actually, I didnt figure out about AH till lvl 40 or so (doh!)

  4. Fangtastic says:

    Intravax, the first time I saw Need / Greed in WoW, I thought it was some variant of rock paper scissors or something!

  5. Volog says:

    The entire WoW gaming experience sure seems like it has changed significantly over time, and will be completely changed again with Cataclysm. Yet the process of installing an addon is still somewhat confusing to a person completely new to WoW.

    I know back in the day installing my first massive addon collection in the form of Cosmos. At the time I thought that was the greatest thing ever. Only after months of gameplay did I realize the amount of bloat that collection brought.

    Now we have things like the Curse Client and MMO Minion, but even those can be confusing to use and often conflict with each other. I have no doubt it will change again with future expansions. That’s the one thing you can always count on with Blizzard and WoW. Things will change, and usually for the better.
    .-= Volog´s last blog ..How To Install AddOns =-.

  6. Lady Jess says:

    I was on my druid hanging around Shatt for some odd reason or another a couple months ago. I was in epic flight form. When a player whispered me, another druid, lvl 60 just in awe at the flight form model. He had never seen it before, and was oh so excited about getting to 70 after seeing it. It was a pretty cool conversation:)

  7. Pike says:

    D’aww, I heart Bear too. I keep telling myself one of these days I’m going to turn my Tree’s moonkin offspec into a bear spec and give tanking a shot, (following your advice, but of course,) but I don’t feel like going around and scrounging up all this feral gear that I’ve been passing on this whole time.

    Anyways, awesome addition to my post. Sort of like a Part Two. I’m glad to see there are still guilds out there running the old stuff. It warms my lil’ huntery heart to see posts crop up around the blogosphere of people just now clearing Naxx, or just now trying Ulduar. Now if only I could figure out a way to find said raids with my alts *mutters*
    .-= Pike´s last blog ..Tawyn’s Mechanostriders Don’t Change Facial Expressions =-.

  8. Cornfedhick says:

    Just this week a guildie asked me if I could heal a heroic for a badge run and he had a friend who was going to tank. I wish he would have let me know the following information first.

    1) The tankadin had just hit 80
    2) The tankadin gear was all level 76 or below
    3) The instance was heroic Utgarde Pinnacle
    4) The tankadin had just gotten dual spec’d into Protection at 80 after running solo Ret spec
    5) The player had never played WoW before this toon and didn’t know anything about what being tank meant, including abilities, rotations, hit cap, and especially Def cap ( I also later learned his Def was only 489)

    Surprisingly we got to Skadi after about 2hrs in and multiple wipes and then I looked at the spec and gear and after a couple whispers back and forth learned all the information to know that we wouldn’t be able to finish the run with basically no tank. My tank is a warrior so I don’t know much about abilities and specific gear choices like Librams but I spent the next hour and a half talking to him about what he should be looking at changing, enchanting, gems, tank websites and tactical advice. I even decided to give him a boost by crafting him the titansteel tanking helm, boots and shield. He was so thankful for the help and amazed that peopel in a game would actually do all that to help him and he admitted that tanking a heroic and being in group was stressful and overwhelming because he really didn’t know much about the game mechanics at all. He ended up joining our guild and our Pally officers have started tutoring him in the ways of the holy warrior.

  9. Becky says:

    A few months back, while leveling my first character I found myself in the Undercity. I was attempting to make a trip to the auction house to purchase items. As this was my first trip to the UC I did not know of the location. I selected to find it on my minimap and went searching. I spent a good 10 min trying to find the doorway on the top level to take me to the AH. After much frustration I took a desperate plea to trade chat asking for someone to help. Within in moments I was whispered by a lvl 80 who I “followed” downstairs. I have taken this kindness with me as I continue to play. A month or so ago when the new patch allowed for lvl 20′s to get their first mount, I was spending some time in Thunder Bluff organizing my bank. I received a level whisper for a level 20 asking me where the stable master was. I showed him to the stable and was suprised to find that he was a warrior, and not a hunter. I stayed close by and waited and was whispered a follow up question “How do I get my mount from him?” After I explained that he must travel to Bloodhoof to complete the task, he was quite thankful.

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