Guest Pass – Suckage by Design

So MrsBBB has played a bit this weekend. Instead of MrsBBB, we’re going to call her Cassie instead, since she has made two toons and seems to have chosen variations on that for her name….

The first person I see call her ‘Mamacass’ in game gets banned. 🙂

Oh, and wonder of wonders…. she chose a name with no goofy characters, no numbers, no ‘x’s, and it’s a good cool name…. and it hadn’t already been taken. Color me shocked.

Anyway, she played a priest up to level 8, and then let it slip that she wasn’t able to fight ‘face to face’ as well as she expected… her advisor had not really made it clear just HOW gimped a class is away from it’s normal role. Oops.

Allow me to give an example she used. In Kingdom Hearts, a PS2 game (and imo an excellent one), you have one main character, Sora. And you are given a choice early on to be a caster, a warrior or a defender, and your choice affected your playstyle strengths and weaknesses for the rest of the game.

Cassie had made the choice to be a caster, and when I described the different WoW classes to her, she made that comparison and decided she’d play a priest. She liked being able to heal herself while fighting.

The problem, of course, is that in Kingdom Hearts, the differences between a caster, warrior or defender is one of minute variations… no matter which you choose, you are still almost as good doing every role. Maybe a caster gets a teensy bit more mana. Or a warrior gets a couple more points of damage done. Not a noticeable difference unless you REALLY dig deep.

Anyway, she was having a lot of fun in the early levels where a viable strategy is to Smite from a distance to pull, then maybe get one more Smite in and then whack a mole with the mace. Cloth armor doesn’t make that big a deal.

In the first levels where stuff starts does make a difference, around 7 like when you are running to Jasperlode Mine and you’ll aggro two or three wolves at once, she started finding out that the strategy became ‘Bubble, Smite, Smite, bubble down, smite, bubble again, lesser heal, smite, etc, etc, etc’ and it got annoying that the mace was so puny. If she stuck with whacking them, it just didn’t make a dent.

So she stealth rerolled on me. 🙂

I have a level 6 gnome warlock that I had made a long time ago, intending it to be a level 19 pvp twink someday… until I realized that I just DO NOT have an interest in pvp. I figured it might be fun to run up to Stormwind and the Abbey, and start the same quests she is on and hang with her a bit… so I logged in on my system, took the tram and got to the Abbey, walked up to the first quest giver… and standing right in front of the quest giver is a brand spankin’ new level 1 rogue named Cassie-something or other…

I thought at first it was a funny coincidence… but for fun I /poked her and whispered “Are you sometimes known as MrsBBB?

I then ran upstairs, where I caught her online, looking back at my gnome. It WAS her! Sooooo busted. 🙂

She played her rogue, and I left her completely alone. She had mentioned that having a bunch of people hanging around waiting on her made her nervous, so I figured I’d just do quests, hang out in Goldshire, and if she needed help I’d be available, but otherwise, meh, she’d have more fun playing at her own pace… and if she wanted to pick-pocket kobolds for 2 hours, let her.

By the end of last night, she had reached level 8 almost 100% on her own, except for a little excursion into Fargodeep Mine. And along the way, many things came to light about Blizzards’ Guest Pass program that I thought it would be fun to point out here.

First though… I’d like to say that one of the coolest things I’ve seen is when she was level 3 and had the ‘Kill Garrick Padfoot’ quest. Padfoot is 5 and has an add that always pulls with him. I was over in the Vineyard doing Milly’s Harvest, and I sent her a group invite to ‘help’ her kill Padfoot.

When she accepted the invite, I looked at the map and saw she was already right on top of Padfoots’ location. I run that way just in time to see her stealthing away from Padfoots’ corpse… without saying anything to me, she had already figured out stealth, snuck over to him, killed him AND his add, and was stealthing her way back out again.

Now, that was cool. Try and remember back to your first day of WoW… I don’t know about you, but I sure as heck didn’t have that much on the ball at level 3.

Anyway, let’s talk about our old school first days of WoW…because when you have a Guest Pass, that is what you’re playing.

Do you remember you’re first character, the first day of playing? Did you nkow anyone else already? Or were you like I was, playing for the first time, not knowing anyone else on the server, broke and clueless, with the default bag, no money AT ALL, and no idea where anything is or how anything worked?

The purpose of a Guest Pass is to entice your non-playing friends to try the game, get hooked, and pony up the money for a subscription.

But on the other hand, Blizzard has had the hate of 8 million subscribers rain down on them for gold spamming and selling.

So what does Cassie get in a Guest Pass?

Well, first, she gets to choose from original game content. No Draenei for Alliance, no Blood Elves for Horde. Doesn’t matter that I have the expansion installed, the guest pass doesn’t recognize that. Okay, so Blizzard doesn’t want you using a free Guest Pass to play expansion starter level zones, I can see that. Of course, that means that if she gets hooked on her character, it means she is hooked on a character from pre-expansion that has the old quest lines to play, not the new ones that Blizzard themselves have admitted are more fun because they learned a lot from the mistakes they made in the original game.

Second, she cannot initiate a conversation with anyone that does not have her in their friends list.

Thats’ an interesting one. Obviously, Blizzard does not want someone creating a Guest Pass character, and using it to spam trade and general channels with gold ads. It has the interesting effect, however, of allowing her to add all of my long time friends’ characters to her friends list… but when they come online, she can’t tell them hello unless they see her first and initiate chat to her first. She also had problems not being able to chat in our personally created chat channel. No problem speaking in Party or Guild chat, though. Which explains the random group invites from player ‘sdounsej’ that I sometimes get in IF… someone trying to get me in party to spam some gold ads at me, I bet.

But let’s get to the meat and potatoes part of the pain.


Think about that for a second, huh?

Blizzard has made absolutely certain that a Guest Pass CANNOT be used by gold sellers to move, trade, pass on or shuffle around gold or items with anyone else in any way.

But it has the effect of forcing someone that is brand new to this game, and tying it to see if it will be fun, to only ever have equipped what they themselves loot or buy from money received from loot.

Nor can such a person save some money from what they have looted, to go to the Auction house and buy an upgrade. They CANNOT use the Auction House.

Now, how many of you remember when you first started to play this game? For most of my readers, I imagine it’s been at least a year, more likely two. Maybe some, or even most, of you also started with Guest Passes.

But I didn’t remember just how insanely painful it is to watch someone play a new character, that you cannot give a bunch of 14 slot Runecloth Bags to so they can loot without running to town every 5 minutes.

Or how painful it is to watch a priest unable to buy a stack or two of lesser healing potions or mana potions from the AH for emergencies.

A good argument can be made that it makes her appreciate the rewards she gets on her own much more. That could be a fun conversation, right there. How much of your enjoyment comes from the value you place on the rewards you get from quests and dropped loot? Does having a ton of gold ‘given’ to you from a higher level alt or other friend make you appreciate your rewards less?

However, I’d like to point out that on a Guest Pass, the hope is that she likes the game so much she wants to go out and buy it to continue playing.

I’d suggest that it would be a smarter move to let, say, access to the Auction House for items useable by level 10 and under be permitted. Maybe with a ‘character can only buy’ lockout so buying/selling to make money can’t happen. It would keep the player having to kill on their own, but they could buy lowest level pots and gear.

It would open up a part of the game to a new player, the economy of the Auction House. I think the AH is addictive all by itself, and would be a big draw.

And let’s be honest… low level crafters would LOVE the added demand for their items on the AH. Make the level limit of items a Guest Pass could buy low enough that it doesn’t endanger twink gear, sure. Maybe level 12.

It is fun seeing my wife play. It is awesome seeing her play better than I did.

And it is frustrating seeing her swear at having only one bag and all white gear, when I have 2 Imbued Netherweave Bags, 4 Mooncloth Bags and 150 gold floating around waiting to descend on her to gear her rogue out.

I invite all of you to offer your suggestions to her on having fun as a rogue :).

Her only real play annoyance at the moment is getting used to moving with the mouse and keyboard. She never played computer first person shooters, so moving and looking around with WASD is foreign to her. She’s getting the hang of it, and loves using the number bar hot keys to trigger abilities, but she still has a few problems with the right-click mouse view causing the image on screen to tilt up and down wildly.

Since I’ve played FPS a long time and WASD is second nature to me, I have never looked at aternative movement options. Do any of you have suggestions on easier methods of moving around?

5 thoughts on “Guest Pass – Suckage by Design

  1. Halite is wise. I’ve been using the numpad for movement…literally forever (as in, before MMOs were MMOs!).Unlike Halite, though, I use Num-5 as my autorun key, and Num-8 as my Run key. 4 and 6 are strafing, 7 & 9 for turns, 2 to back up. You can then remap all the other keys around the numpad (/, *, -, +, 0, 1, 3, .) to other useful things. For example: 1 to attack, 3 to loot (although I use it to reset my camera angle, since I also use the mouse for a lot of movement). Remapping the keyboard away from the defaults can open up a whole world of flexibility you might not otherwise realize if you bind yourself to the standard WASD movement paradigm.


  2. Being able to quickly change direction with the mouse while moving behind your opponent with the keyboard and smacking them with your abilities with keybinds is essential to the Rogue class. She will get more accustomed to it as time goes on, but i don’t think you can really perform at your best with a rogue if you can’t master movement. Mages sometimes, hunters maybe until it comes time to kite, druids no, shamans i have no idea… maybe paladins can stand still and smack things, maybe warriors too.Eventually it comes to the point, as you gain more abilities, that you have to bind more keys than you can remember, using all sorts of modifier combinations, just to access all of your in-combat abilities. Give her time, but it’s really important that she get comfortable with the controls to perform at her best. Eventually. Like over level 40. By that time, i hope she’s not running on a guest pass any more.She may not be quite enough of a geek to get into UI addons, but i know i have spent some good time on those. 😀


  3. First thing to do is make her account official. Give her full shopping access right now!Then you can send her characters the bags they deserve and the weapons they need (wands and swords).The best change in key mapping that I have done is to change the F-keys to trigger the second line of buttons on the toolbar. 1 is 1, F1 triggers the button above 1.You can move with the arrow keys if that helps.-Stupid Mage


  4. You can try remapping the movement keys to the numpad. That’s how I run all of my characters since I cannot stand WASD. That hand is for pressing 1-whatever and alt-whatever … that shouldn’t stop me from moving at the same time!Plus that’s what EQ used and that’s how I learned to play there. I use the mouse to loot and some of the other things you don’t have a choice on, but not to move. *shudder*It also gives you the nifty ability to remap some of your numpad to good stuff. For instance, numpad 5 is mapped to an invisible action bar (go go Bartender) slot – in this slot (depending on character) is assist focus, target focus, drop freezing trap, prowl, bubble, etc. So while I’m moving/looking around, it’s quite easy to simply press numpad5. I also have the rest of the numpad doing something (0 is autoattack, 9 is Ventrilo, + is autorun, * is mount, etc).It means a bit of messing around, but it also means less moving a mouse across a screen or accidentally clicking the wrong thing. My main is a resto druid – my taking the time to mosey my mouse across the screen means your death.*shudders at the mouse* =)


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