So as I mentioned in my last post, I started a new character yesterday. He’s now level 15 or 16 and holy smokes, World of Warcraft is holding my hand to the point where I’m feeling molested.
Now to be fair, level 15 or 16 is maybe 5-6 hours of playtime? My /played is around 8 hours but I have a habit of walking away from the computer and leaving my dude sitting around while I take the dog for a half hour walk or something. So I’m guessing 5-6 hours of actual game time. Maybe 6.5.
The new player experience really couldn’t be much easier. Everything you’re asked to do is carefully laid out for you. You’ll never have to make a decision for yourself when questing. At the most I’ve had 4 quests in my log (if you don’t count a couple of Harvest Day Event quests) and usually it has been 1 or 2. They’ve always been carefully grouped together so I got to an area, kill 10 rats (1 quest) and picking up 6 widgets (2nd quest) and killing a named mob (3rd quest). An arrow on the mini-map shows you what direction to go. In the case of a named mob, he shows up on the map as a skull so you know exactly where he is. Anything you need to collect has huge sparklies that you can see from far, far away.
Once you complete one grouping of 2-3 quests in a location you’re led by the nose to the next NPC who’ll give you 2-3 quests in the next highly specific location. (Sometimes it’s a cluster of NPCs). So far I’ve found exactly 1 quest that was ‘off the beaten path’ a bit.
If the area you have to do quests at is more than a few seconds run away, there’ll be a temporary (and on rails) mount available to take you to where you need to go. When you level up, pop up announcements tell you if there are new skills available at your trainer (who, btw, appears on your mini-map) and reminds you if you have a talent point to spend.
Speaking of talents. When you hit ten you have to pick one ‘branch’ of the talent tree to go down. That’s the first real decision you’ll make in the game after picking your class (you’ll be locked out of the other two for a while once you choose). Once you do that, you’ll have 3 talents to choose from, so that’s another decision, but as of right now I’ve maxed one of the 3 talents and am working on a 2nd and still haven’t unlocked the next tier of talents.
The level of difficulty so far has been near 0. I’ve died once or twice from not paying attention (you tend to zone out pretty quickly – like once I was poisoned and never noticed since I was watching TV while I played) but always it’s been a few seconds away from a graveyard. Health and mana regenerate like crazy so I’ve never needed to eat anything or use bandages or anything like that. Granted as a druid I can heal myself, so that probably has a lot to do with it. That poison (corruption, actually) might’ve been a much bigger deal for a non-healing class.
Now, I’ve been sortof enjoying myself just because the lore is quasi-new and I’ve been enjoying seeing how the world changes, but I would NOT want to level a 2nd Night Elf because the actual gameplay is about as compelling and mentally stimulating as playing solitaire.
Hopefully by level 20 or so things will start to branch out, but damn, this is the longest tutorial I’ve ever played through.