World of Warcraft Beta Journal #2

By Scott Parrino 27 Apr 2004 0

Decisions

After piddling around with a few race and class combinations in World of Warcraft, just trying to get a handle on the early game for each, I figured it was time to get back down to business again, business being the creation of another Beta Journal. After focusing on character creation in my first journal, it seemed a natural fit to offer tips on early play and an insight into what to expect from the first ten levels or so. After very little debate, I took the plunge and created a Paladin. I always end up playing a Paladin of some sort in whatever Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) I might be playing, so it seemed like a comfortable place to start adventuring and writing.

Curing me bloody self.

Holy Strikes will fell you!

Vol is Born

I was very happy to see that World of Warcraft allows players to have characters with names as short as three characters. The minimum number of characters is four most of the time, and since Vol is an old Dungeons & Dragons name that I've been hauling around like holy baggage, I slapped it onto a Human Paladin and dove into World of Warcraft once again.

Vol is born.

Big dreams.

2H or 1H?

I knew, even before I decided on making Vol, that Paladins are born unto Azeroth with a proclivity for Two-Handed (2H) Maces and/or One-Handed (1H) Maces. Well, Paladins can also fight unarmed, but I wasn't really interested in a Monk type of Paladin. I decided to emphasize Vol's defensive abilities. Shields and blocking tend to benefit defensive types quite a bit (I like being the meatshield), so I decided on 1H Maces and a shield on my other arm.

Holy Strike with 1H Mace.

Vol with Mace and Shield.

Welcome to Northshire Abbey

Lo and behold, I spawned at Northshire Abbey. Fancy that, being a Holy Crusader and all! Having adventured hereabouts with other Human characters, I was quick to start questing.

The one thing that seems to set World of Warcraft apart from other online role-playing games is the high level of questing content. It won't take new players long at all to realize that questing is a central component of World of Warcraft and if the pattern of the beta continues into commercial release players will find themselves getting at least a third of their experience points from questing alone. The quests are easy to find: NPCs with golden exclamation points above their heads offer quests; NPCs with silver exclamation points above their heads have a quest that can be acquired in the next five levels; and NPCs with golden question marks require something from the player for a quest the player is already on. It's a simple system and it works well. Best of all there are a ton of quests, even at this early stage in the game. I never found myself without a quest, and most of the time my journal, which keeps track of missions quite nicely, was full and I had to decide which one I wanted to do. I actually had to sit down and spend some time putting them in order so I could cut out as much running from point to point as possible. The quests, although creative and fun, might not be up every player's alley since most of them seem to rely on killing a set number of creatures, or killing certain creatures for a specific number of drops, or they rely on the player to shuttle an object from one NPC to another. I enjoy the questing in the game; it keeps the content flowing and provides a reason to be hunting instead of just camping on a good spawn area for hours (which might be required at higher levels; I'm not sure). Quests also serve to give some history of Azeroth and the local environs.

Back to Vol: I quickly snagged my first quest, ventured into the Abbey, completed my it by talking to another soldier (for a negligible amount of experience points), and he promptly gave me my second quest. I was to venture north and kill seven Kobold Vermin. I was on my way!

A second quest: five seconds into the game.

Bathing near a waterfall.

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