Wow, That’s Complicated

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so the ideal solution described in the article is exactly what ragnarok did. Anyb ody remember that game? ragnarok was awesome if a little bland. but it was the late nineties, who cares? leveling up was a B**** though. oh well free servers fixed that.

One of the problems I've noticed (not with WoW, but with the few MMOs I've actually tried) is that while it may be true that there is a huge encyclopedia of knowledge outside of the game often that doesn't really carry over to the game space. In LOTRO, for example, they do have a Lorebook that you can pull up in game at any point.. but it's nearly the most useless app you could ever hope to (not) find. One quick google search brings up much better help options but that requires people to go outside of the game, which is something many people aren't going to do (particularly if they really are new players).

Something as complex as an MMO really does need an in game way to get help beyond just asking in the advice chat channel. A quickly accessible app with things like definitions for commonly used terms (possibly even at a couple mouse clicks linked through a word in the chat box) and maybe even short movie clips of important game concepts would go a long way towards making the new players feel more at home.

In the time it took me to learn how to play WoW, I only mastered a small fraction of EVE Online. Talk about a deep game.


What you said was very interesting. Now where's my free eyedrops.

Actually, I've never played WoW before, except for those 5 minutes I spent playing it at a friends place, after which I vowed never to buy it, so half the time I had absolutely no idea what you're talking about. Too many acronyms, most probably. I actually read the "TBC model" as the "To Be Continued model", and ploughed on hoping it would make sense further on. I eventually vaguely remembered something about some kind of crusade that was on fire or something, and assumed it was that.

Anyways, I've never been much interested in mumorpurger side of gaming, although I am sort of looking maybe trying one some day. I bought EVE because it was on special on Steam a while ago, and I actually did a fairly good job of understanding how it worked I thought, but I just didn't find the premise extremely interesting, so I didn't resubscribe. Too much waiting around while experience bars went up. Hell, I guess it wouldn't have minded as much if it had given me something nice to look at. At least World of Warcraft has a big interesting actual world to explore. That said, if I was to try a MMO game, I don't think it would be WoW. I'm thinking of maybe looking into getting FFXIV, but I'll wait until it comes out and see what other people have to say about it first. I'll be interested in seeing how fast I catch on compared to my friend, who's played WoW since like forever, and says he'll be buying FFXIV when it first comes out.

I know I haven't played this game in nearly half a decade, but even the "jokes" about it makes me hate it more. Oh yeah, its so funny about how people blow off work to feed a serious addiction, or about how there are drooling masses in there who are so pathetic they give stuff to people with female avatars or how there are groups of people who would verbally abuse new players in game. Listen to yourselves! Yes, I realize those groups are all minorities within WoW's player base, but the fact that they exist at all is enough to make me weep for all mankind.

Also Rant Mode initiated:

There is a guy out there is who pathetic to the tenth power. He has several level 80s, he always hits on the naked night-elf chicks and openly mocks and flames new players for being noobs.

He's probably what? 15? 16?

He has no friends in the real world, or anywhere outside his guild. His family never sees him. He doesn't have a girlfriend, or a job, or any hobbies. His hygiene is a mess, his social skills are screwed. He has concerned parents, but everytime they cut the net off or yell at him to do something else he screams profanity and smashes everything in site. He won't do anything else and when cut off from the game for long periods of time he spirals into depression and drug abuse.

Think I'm overreacting? My stepdad's first kid, Ryan, from his first marriage IS this. This is a real thing. Is it WoW's fault? Hell no, the kid was messed up to start with. The fact remains however that WoW is just another trap for kids like this. Sure, if it wasn't WoW it'd be pot, or booze, or chronic masturbation. I still don't feel like it's a game, anymore than "drinking" is a hobby. You can do it moderation and have a good time, but when I think alcohol, I think ruined lives, not good parties. That's just me though.


What you said was very interesting. Now where's my free eyedrops.

Here you go, one prescription for free eyedrops. They're only reclaimable in Serbia though, I hope you won't have trouble finding it on the map and coming here for them! :P

Actually, I've never played WoW before, except for those 5 minutes I spent playing it at a friends place, after which I vowed never to buy it, so half the time I had absolutely no idea what you're talking about. Too many acronyms, most probably. I actually read the "TBC model" as the "To Be Continued model", and ploughed on hoping it would make sense further on. I eventually vaguely remembered something about some kind of crusade that was on fire or something, and assumed it was that.

My apologies for the acronyms. Playing WoW instills a lot of shorthand typing (I don't succumb to "u" "r" etc. aside from the satirical use, but acronyms for places and stuff like that are common enough to use) in ya and what I wrote was a big enough wall of text without spelling out every word (plus was kinda aimed a lot at Shamus as a rebuttal from a hardcore player who likes to think his head's not buried too far up his own arse), yeah, as you remembered, The Burning Crusade was an expansion and it's developer model is what I was referring to.

If you wanna get into an MMO and are into the Star Wars, I'd say wait for Star Wars: The Old Republic, it's looking pretty promising and if you enjoyed Knights of the Old Republic (and a gamer who didn't enjoy KOTOR is a heathen and must burn in righteous flame! :P ) the concept of their MMO isn't too different from that game - combat in KOTOR was "queue up attacks", inventory and loot was done similarly, they even had stats and crafting, the camera was sort of what you'd get if you forced an MMO into a 3rd person view (which you could theoretically do in an MMO), quests were somewhat similarly designed as what they're aiming for with The Old Republic, although probably better, what with the new technology and all.

Mr. Young, give me one good reason you rolled a Gnome, Wow's equivalent of a small child.

Mr. Young, give me one good reason you rolled a Gnome, Wow's equivalent of a small child.

5% Intellect for his mage? That was my reason anyway (was ages ago though), I was into the RPG thing of "roll whatever gives most benefit to the class". Also, once you played WoW for a while, you realise noams are awesome.

Frankly what I don't see is a reason to ever roll a human in that game. You have so many different, interesting and not horrendously ugly player models that aren't even too different from a human for it to be a valid excuse, yet a lot of people still roll them.

Shamus, that was another entertaining read, my little hobit. I am glad you are back being addicted to my favourite MMORPG. Have fun, I hope the expansion pack won't frighten you!


I believe it was actually closer to patch 2.2 or 2.3

God dammit... another WoW article?

Put. That. Cookie. Down!!!!

Dont get me wrong. Played for 3 years. Loved it. Excellent game. Revolutionized ********, changed the face of *******, Most popular ******* in *******, blah fucking blah blah.

Think about it this way. If I wrote an article about Pepsi, or Coca Cola, or hey, even the Simpsons, at least once a month, every month, for 5 years, wouldnt you all be sick of reading about it?

Its. A. Good. Game. It doesnt need slavish devotion.

Whiskey Echo!!


Its. A. Good. Game. It doesnt need slavish devotion.

Yes it does!

(There, I flamed me for you. You may move along now.)

Whiskey Echo!!

the game is as advanced as you want it to be. believe me, after i started with min/maxing my stats, learning every other class and their abilities and perfected my timing with skills, all that really changed was i won 8/10 fights instead of 6/10 fights.

you dont need to be "into" the game to be successful or have a good time. hell, i still stalk horde cities for unfortunate souls with PvP-tag on. no skills required, just pure fun :D

If people are getting frustrated or confused before they get to the fun parts, then they will walk away and never learn what they're missing.

That was me five years ago, though not because of the interface density. Rather, it was because they frontloaded the game with all the most boring fetch-me-X-of-Y quests.

I don't know, nor do I particularly care to find out, if they've fixed that in the intervening years.

Nice 'stache. Jealous of Steve a little, are we? ^_^

I never found it hard to play, you raise a lot of terminology and points but learning all of that is learnt over the 480+ hours (not exaggerating) it takes a new player to raise their character to level 80. Personally I realised how easy and coddling the game was when my cousin hit level 80 just after his tenth birthday and started raiding successfully. He now does that lich king dungeon 25 man, if that is not casual accessibility then I don't know what is.

Edit: When I used to play I did arena and that shit is full on once you get higher up with the keybinding, ridiculous UI etc. and I admit it is not accessible for the majority of players, but the percentage of people that play that type of PvP instead of "I wanna 40v40 in the tanks and splosions!" is very limited.

no, just no. WoW is immensely simple. I came into wow without ever playing any mmos sans regnum online and even then i barely played it. It is IMMENSELY simpler than learning how to program a language completely. WoW is extreme easy mode, go to Elitist Jerks look up a build like you want, follow their guides and you're now raiding like a "pro". I left the game after two months since constantly grinding for the same gear over and over then waiting for a new expansion pack and get new gear that's slightly better sounds very very boring to me. "getting into wow" was by far the easiest thing i've ever seen. I read the manual that came with the battle chest, and i got in. I listened to what people said, and i used common sense and i got by just fine. I think you're overexaggerating how simple wow truly is. All of it's concepts are very simple to get used to. I went from single player games to wow and it was very simple to get in to.

If anyone truly has a great deal of issues with getting into wow then they clearly didn't read the manual, and didn't even try the game. Read the manual, and try to play teh game and bam you'll be able to do very wel inside of it all.

NO WONDER the updates to Spoiler Warning over at shamus's site were so late both days this week. No one can get anything done when theyve gotta que for three more randoms and get their rep up with whatever city before lunch time.

WoW is at least a little difficult to play at the start for the huge number of people that were pulled into it who had literally no experience with RPGs. I know guys who did nothing but play Madden and Halo and decided to 'try out the WoW thing' and they're hard core raiders to this day, five years later.

Blizzard's genius was making a game so immediately accessible yet possessed of at least some complexity and difficulty when you reached the end game, and they actually wanted everyone to reach the end game, if not always be able to complete it.

I've been on a WoW hiatus for the last few months and likely will be until Cataclysm launches, and even then, I'm sure my raiding days are behind me.

Yay, reference to my C++ book!

And it's gotten me to at least open a tab for that book as well. The Cunning Plan worked!

One of the major design themes in Cataclysm is the redesign of questing and learning things, especially in the starting zones. They've increased Health and Mana regen rates at low levels to minimize downtime. There are quests that teach you things like target switching, where to learn new abilities, etc. They are switching around at what levels you learn what spells in an attempt to ease players into a good endgame rotation, also helped somewhat by the already implemented Dungeon LFG thing, which makes it easier for people to learn about different roles in instances earlier and get more practice at it. They are also adjusting zone levels so it's more intuitive to move from one zone to the next while leveling.

I am pretty much a WoW addict, though I canceled my subscription for unimportant reasons, and have been cold turkey without playing for months. It will be months more yet because I don't intend to return before 4.0.

If you're one of those players who thinks that "newbie" is a synonym for "stupid", then you're excused from the rest of this. I know MMO interfaces are "so simple" to you. That's because you're so much smarter than new players who haven't learned to play yet. Just like babies are all morons because they can't read. Really. You're awesome. Don't ever change.

Now go back to trolling the forums with your level 1 sock puppets, because it's time for the grownups to talk.

Shamus, you are awesome.

I love the "I've reached X number of words boss, am I done now?" sound of this article, welcome to warcrack.

Although you chose the wrong side! Horde ftw

Wow can be difficult for beginners i suppose, but after i stopped playing, i noticed that blizzard has started to dump it down alot, removing alot of the complex stat management. Not to say thats a bad thing, will help alot of newer players get into the game i suppose.

Just thought I should clear something up on the whole "newbie" = "stupid" thing.

"Newbie" is a new player that doesn't know the game YET, but is perfectly willing and capable of doing everything any logical gamer understands should be done when playing a game for the first time:

- Checking key bindings/control settings.
- Studying the UI
- Making use of documentation (tutorials and manuals).
- Applying logical solutions to problems they encounter BEFORE relying on others.

"Noob" is someone that does not do these things, much to the detriment of their own ability as gamers and the annoyance of those around them.

Many WoW players will use chat to ask what buttons do what, where to glean some information that's clearly visible or logically organized, what to do for a quest that explicitly states the answer, expect others to hold their hands through problems grade schoolers could easily work out with a few seconds of thought, or about any countless number of things that have been discussed in numerous detailed wiki or forum posts. The worst is when people ask what the "best" class or spec is. There is no best, THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT OF A BALANCED GAME. Besides, you make your intentions painfully obvious and show a complete lack of creativity when you try to imitate the most successful build instead of whatever is personally appealing to you.

People like that are noobs, and deserve every ounce of derision they receive.

... I played wow day one. No one knew shit. DPS wasn't even a concept by that time. Molten core, for any server that even had forty(!) level 60(!) players was a buggy, slapped together, poorly balanced mess. The few EQ veterans and beta players who made it to level 60 in record time (30 days /played) were literally stuck with NOTHING to do unless they moved their entire guild over from EQ or were beta players who organized amongst themselves where to go. Which meant, if they were on a PVP server, they soured their own well by running around all the lower level zones.

But... There were barely any tutorials, but the game was still easy to learn. The game does start you off with one ability, a few mobs, and an interface. Unless you have some sort of cognition problem or your monitor is 50inches and set to some ungodly resolution (and you sit six inches away from the screen) and you have UI scaling set to 0% (which is a pretty hard setting to find day 1, somewhat proving you don't have any of the aforementioned problems), everything is easy to see and understand. Map, health, mana/rage/energy, abilities, spellbook inventory. You take a few minutes, click on stuff, and then venture out into the world to start killing shit. You take damage, one bar decreases (if you're a warrior, another bar increases), you use an ability another bar decreases, etc etc etc.

What I'm saying is, yes, wow is more complex than call of duty. But... the game did have a tutorial to ease people into the complexity. Used to be, there was a 60 level tutorial. Some concepts are somewhat esoteric (threat... as in the tank is the one who does the least damage), but learning that game is really only as hard as learning anything else. It all depends on how well you pick up new things.

Of course, the past tense is due to the first 60 levels being ransacked to make alt'ing more appealing. Even thinking about the new 1-[cap] grind bores me to tears. As it would just be a grind. No instancing, no grouping, no interesting lore, accept quest, follow quest tracker, turn in quest, boredboredboredbored.

All for... what? The endgame isn't even worth doing anymore. Even if they fired whoever thought wotlk's level 80 content was a good idea, its still just more grind. Grind thats even slower because it only progresses as quickly as the stupidest person in your guild. Which is determined randomly, as eventually people get to the point where they think "OH WE'RE NOT GOING TO WIN SO I WON'T TRY BECAUSE IF I TRIED AND WE FAILED I WOULD BE DISAPPOINTED." Fuck pvp too. At best, its jerking off. In reality, its randomly determined and any sort of tactics are about as effective as (warning: pokemon reference) holding B to catch [whateverthefuck]. Once you get the right gear (which is always easy as fuck, timesink not withstanding) you're pretty much set. Game knowledge tops at a depressingly low level, so any sort of engagement is just going through the motions with slight adjustments. Which means its just a fucking grind. Again.

So... yea, fuck mmorpgs until they figure out how to get a better game out of the format.

The comment about beginning tutorials that are skip able sounds exactly like how Global Agenda did it. I can't wait till the new content from Sandstorm comes out.

Shamus Young:
Now go back to trolling the forums with your level 1 sock puppets, because it's time for the grownups to talk.

Shamus, I think I love you.

I cringe at most MMO's interface now because the interface is not like WoW is. I went and try Guild Wars again because a mate was playing a couple months ago. It just pissed me off that I couldn't jump so I stopped playing. Funny thing is most advanced WoW players don't even use the default interface anymore, we got so many addons set to preferences that it even hard explaining to another player how you have it setup.

heh, nice beard
but eh I'll pass on playing WoW...

Just thought I should clear something up on the whole "newbie" = "stupid" thing.

*Snipped the rest*

I know that. You know that. Shamus knows that.

Despite this, a lot of people (mostly trolls) like to flame down anyone who asks any question about any thing. People see the trolls doing this, don't realize that the trolls are trolls just doing what they do, and thus think that it's not okay to ask questions.

You can post and repost and rerepost that explanation a million times over. The trolls will continue to be the people "who think that 'newbie' is a synonym for 'stupid'". It's just what they do. Explaining why what they're doing is wrong is kinda like trying to explain to your dog why you don't like him piddling on the carpet. It's better to just swat him with a newspaper and boot him in the back yard. It's just a shame that trolling isn't ever against any forum rules anywhere (technically it is, but mods are always lazy to do anything about anything but the most blatant examples of trolling).

*grin* Hehehe I got a kick out of your article.

It's true isn't it, after the years of mastering WoW I feel like I could learn pretty much anything... If I could be bothered to stop raiding.

We're using holy power instead now? this a second resource or are we totally replacing mana. D:

If so thats. effing. AWESOME.

The tutorial is certainly a step in the right direction. When i first started, i did a few quests, got lost, and ended up leaping from a zepplin because i realised we were flying over the place i needed to go.

Wow was never addictive to me. Probably because i get addicted to social aspects easier than gameplay ones. Levelling was always a huge chore after the first time, and most of the times i only logged in when i needed to raid (which was 5 days a week, but still).

Nice beard, btw.

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