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There are so many things you have to learn when you’re involved in a game that relies on other people.  I’ve been pretty much winging it on my own, with the exception of the dungeon runs I’ve done with my guild leader.  He’s a great guy who explains things to me and has the patience to put up with the horrible mis-steps my old computer frequently causes.  In one dungeon, I had the hideous luck to keep falling into molten lava on the way in because at the time I did not have a winged beast to fly over it (or to be more exact, wasn’t at a high enough level to use my winged beast for flight).  He’s also been great at helping me collect armor for my priest and bags with enough slots to actually carry and store things in.  He’s generously found both cloth and leather whenever I’ve asked (from what he has left over) and informed me those hard to find dusts and essences can be found by disenchanting the things I have to make to move my tailoring skill up.  I can say as men go he’s probably treated me better than most of the real men in my life.

Sooner or later though, you have to start stepping out on your own just to prove you are capable of learning things that may seem easy to others, but are weaving new neural pathways in a much older brain.  When I hit level 60 and was finally able to upgrade my riding ability to fly I was feeling pretty good.  While other quests had taken forever to get to some of the places via the road (often stopped by aggressive NPCs on the way to get where I was going), I now fly over their heads.  Quest lines are much easier to finish as I no longer have to follow the roads to where I want to go.  I simply take a direct line and drop down right in the middle of everything.  This is especially handy when you have to go some place on the other side of Horde territory.

Feeling good about my new found freedom I thought I would trip the light fantastic and take a stab at joining a group through the dungeon finder.  BAD IDEA.  I had THE WORST dungeon experience in my life!  I’ve read you should go in as a DPS (only there to cause damage) person if you don’t know how to run a dungeon, but if you get put into an experienced group it doesn’t hold true.  I indicated on the dungeon finder that I would not be using my priestly skills, mostly due to the age of my computer and the buffer lag I have to deal with due to an inadequate graphics card and low processor speed.

Unfortunately, if you get into a group of experienced players they are off and running before you even have time to start the quests in the dungeon.  Before I even found out who the tank in my group was, he was barking instructions and criticism my way.  I had no idea what he was talking about though, since it was clear the words coming out of his mouth were foreign to me.

I brought this to the WoW forums and was blessed with some great responses. While it took a couple of explanations to get all the information I needed, I found out that priests who wish to be both healers and damage creators need to sign up for dual specialization.  I suppose this is true for all the other classes as well.  Each class comes with three different types of skills or spells, dependent upon what they wish to do.  I chose the Discipline Priest specialty when I created my character (even though most guides said to create a Shadow Priest), because at the time I wanted an equal balance between healer and fighter.  Being a Holy Priest would have taken too long to level and being a Shadow Priest made me a damage character, not a healer. The whole time the leader of this dungeon group was screaming SHADOW, SHADOW, SHADOW at me, he wanted me to switch over to a Shadow Priest.  I had no idea what he was talking about, but later I found out how easy it is to go to your class trainer and request dual specialization (having two bright tabs on your specialization as shown above indicates you can switch back and forth between the two).  Something else I also found interesting was the other priest in the group was using his Shadow skills and was also being targeted by the NPCs run amok, while I as a Discipline Priest was being left alone by random aggressive NPCs.

You really can find any piece of information you need on the Wow forum.  I post all my inquiries to the Newbie area since I know so little about the game. I received links to some GREAT class guides, was helped by being given a list of spells people would expect me to use in a dungeon run, had the loot system explained to me in a way that made sense and was given insight on what experienced people DO expect.  One person replying told me that her dungeon experiences yielded a one in five rate of having a leader who flew like the wind trying to take the course at his own pace – lucky me!  Of course, there is always the other extreme, which was pointed out to me by another poster, where people go through the dungeon slowly as they consider it more of a social opportunity than a speed drill.

In between my last blog entry and this one, I also went to some pretty interesting quests.  The Un’Goro Crater quest line seemed to take FOREVER.  I was never so thankful to receive an increase in movement speed.  In addition, it seemed to have the highest amount of aggressive NPCs that were always in the way of getting from here to there.  It would have been much easier to get through that area with a flying mount.  By the time I was through with all the quests in that area, all I wanted to do was get out of it.

Then there was the exorcism of Colonel Jules.  I had been running quest lines that were pretty self explanatory for so long, I forgot about the ones where you just stand there and observe.  I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do when I got to this quest (buffer lag played a part in my confusion waiting for the NPC to speak), but I finally stood still for a while and realized the NPC I interacted with was beginning an exorcism complete with green goo and flying skulls.

The most ANNOYING quest came from Silithus on the continent of Kalimdor. This was the first time I was ever tricked into PvP play by a quest.  I’m sure I spent hours trying to figure out why, when I clicked on the geyser, I couldn’t get to the apparatus which sucked the geyser energy I was carrying out of me as the quest required.  After a lot of frustration and wasted time, I finally found a web page with comments about the quest.  It appeared that you must not only have your PvP indicator turned on when starting the quest (right click on your face in the upper left corner where it shows how many hit points you have left and you’ll see the Player vs. Player options), but you CANNOT ride any mount after interacting with the Silithyst Geyser; i.e. you better run fast to get to the machine that sucks the geyser energy back out of you.  Sometimes it was a VERY long run hoping no one would spot me.

Part of the quest was the Alliance/Horde challenge you see above.  I suppose you win some type of honor points if your faction gets to 200.  I never saw the score indicator get close to 200 on either side.  To move the numbers (and they reset every day I believe), you have to complete the geyser run.  There are several geysers in Silithus, but I found them to not respawn all that fast.  I think you do better going into Silithus as a group and trying to get as many as you can that way.

I had my second chance to go to the Darkmoon Faire this month.  The games were much easier to play this time having learned more about the user interface and my mouse.  The cannon game is still a bit iffy due to the age of my computer and poor graphics card.  The lag is horrible when I play, which doesn’t bode well for hitting a button when you get over a certain area in the ocean.  I still found myself distracted enough by trying to complete quests to not make it to the Faire every day to gather more tickets.  I suppose the special quests benefit people who are at their highest level already.

I am thrilled to be able to say I can now make my own 16 slot bags!  I made a bunch of them with the tons of Netherweave Cloth I had gathered from all the quests.  I’ve had the misfortune to be very far behind in Tailoring from the level I’m at.  Here’s a good tip for anyone winding up in the same situation.  If you are predominantly behind in Tailoring (i.e. the cloth you’re getting from kills is a few levels above what you can create), try to keep in mind that if you find a good area to farm cloth during your quests, spend some time there and get as many as you can while you’re at that level (and don’t think for a minute that having 140 pieces is enough – the higher you get, the more pieces it takes to make a bolt of cloth)!  I am finding that once I pass the player level of the area where certain cloth spawns, I can’t farm ANYTHING to save my soul!  I’m sure they put that stopgap in the game to keep people from making millions farming different types of cloth, but I would hope one day they would re-code the ability to pick up cloth based on your Tailoring level, NOT your player level.  The last seven levels of Tailoring were incredibly painful for me.  I was too big to farm any more runecloth, but I didn’t have enough to make items that would raise my level (grayed out items don’t raise your Tailoring level, green does sometimes, but not always).  The prices for cloth through the auction house (for those of us who were too impatient to wait until our non-tailoring characters got up to that cloth level) were HORRIBLE.  At a time when I should be saving up for flying lessons, I’m spending my gold on cloth I should have spent the time to farm.  Oh well, at least now I know.

If you’re having any problems as a newbie or have questions about things that aren’t working well for you, please visit the battle.net WoW forum.  The people there are full of all kinds of information.  You just have to be specific about what you want to know and they will happily share their experience and expertise.  It’s always been a positive experience for me. 🙂

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Dreamkeeper
At the end of day three I wound up with the best present ever!  I was finally a high enough level to buy a horse.  I chose a pinto pony for my mount as the palomino horse was covered in some goofy-looking armor.  I can’t tell you what a relief it is to not have to run everywhere.  What is even odder is the sense memory that comes flying back as I ride my horse in the game.

When I was in my 20s, I owned a horse.  I loved it dearly as it was the best horse ever.  Of course, this didn’t mean that he was a pedigree horse or held any championship records.  It just means we had this incredible bond.

“Red” was a rescue horse – not that I rescued, but the lady who leased and later sold him to me rescued.  He was a quarter horse mutt, a bit high for my height challenged 5′ 4″ body at somewhere a little over 16 hands.  The abuse he suffered before being rescued made him a bit spooky, but having worked at Camp Furman for a time in my youth (as well as years of summer horse camp there), I was OK with it.

When I needed him, he was solid as a rock. On one trail ride I had to walk him along a very small strip of land next to a very deep ditch in the woods where construction for a gas line was taking place (by ditch I mean a good 20-30 feet down).  Everyone else had dismounted, but getting back up on Red in the middle of the woods would have been problematic for me at the time.  He was a perfect gentleman until after he passed the ditch, at which point he spooked just a little to show me he could.  I think he was just messing with me.  Having “Dreamkeeper” (my WoW mount) in the game brings back all the good memories of my sweet Red horse.

Great memories aren’t the only positive thing about playing WoW (World of Warcraft).  It reminded me how good it felt to be able to work hard at something and achieve results.  I contracted CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) after an operation in 1995.  I’ve been on disability since 1996.  There have been periods of my life that were better than others since then, but I remember how physically disabling CFS was when it first manifested.  I played MUD at the time to keep my brain sharp as one of the bad things about the onset of CFS is feeling like you don’t have enough energy to move.  If you don’t exercise your mind when bad CFS episodes come on, you wind up asleep in bed all day.  Playing CircleMUD (this was back before graphics had evolved to what they are now) was a welcome relief from all the things I “couldn’t” do.

I am now a level 22 priest.  When I hit level 20, I went looking EVERYWHERE to buy a horse.  Apparently, while there are many stables in the game, there is only ONE place you can buy a horse these days (and I did it so fast, I didn’t remember the name of the city).  Unfortunately, I had to get help from someone by asking where to buy a mount through the general channel.  I found someone who was nice enough to give me a ride to the one stable I could purchase a horse at and they stayed with me until I was able to actually to get my character on top of it.

I purchased my bridle, did several things I’ll never remember (move horse from bag by clicking right mouse button, move into mount screen, etc., etc.), clicked the “Mount” button at the bottom of the horse screen and I was off! While trying to figure all this out, my new friend gave me a tip about putting an action bar off to the right side of my screen (BEST tip yet!!!).  I moved the horse into that screen and now whenever I want to mount or unmount, I just click the horse icon to the right. 🙂

I know it sounds strange, but while I’m riding Dreamkeeper the graphics in the game are good enough for me to relive what it was like cantering across a field on my Red horse.  It was the best feeling in the world!

The other advantage to the help I was given was joining a guild.  Yes, I finally found a guild situation that felt right.  The person who helped me was really nice and I liked that the guild had a positive name.  I don’t know much about guilds or how to use them, but there were some really cool advantages to being in one from the looks of the guild menu, so I’m very happy.  I’m too little to be of much help to them yet, but I hope it will help me get better gear when I start getting big enough to really take advantage of my armor in the upper levels – I’ll have people to help me fight the NPCs for it.

I also came upon my first quest that was too much for me to handle.  It had to do with prisoners, a character who assists me and really burly people (who I haven’t figured out how to not get killed from), so I decided to work on some quests from someplace else and go back to that area when I’m bigger.

I also bought some better equipment to wear through the auction house (priests can only wear cloth items).  The funny part about it is I have pantyline buldge now.  LOL!  You think I’m kidding? Take a gander.  For a moment it looked like there was some type of chastity belt underneath, but now it just looks like bikini underwear.

On my second day in the game, I was taken via quest into Stormwind where the Trade District is.  I was so lost it wasn’t funny.  I finally did what I used to do in CircleMUD – I drew my own map for the area to make up for my inability to remember anything consistently. Now I can find where all the shops are and if I get lost, I know how to get back to a less remote place in the city.  It’s not a complete or well-drawn map, just one that helps me get around.

I’m really starting to enjoy my gaming experience.  I was surprised how relaxing being in this RPG game is.  It also brings back some pretty fond memories I have of playing CircleMUD, not only with my son but other friends I made while playing.  They are friends I left behind long ago as my life changed, but they will always be wonderful memories.  It will be interesting to see if I make friends as easily as I did back then after I’ve been playing WoW a while.  I don’t expect to interact with other players much until I’m up there in levels and can be of use to others in the game, but that’s OK as it reflects my real life.  That’s the best part of gaming.  Even when you’re sick, you can still be productive.

December 2017
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