Saturday, 14 September 2013


After more than three years of playing World of Warcraft, I've finally pushed a character up to level 80. This is possibly a record for slowness. The winner is my night elf hunter Siegrune.

I know why it's taken me so long to get here (and for non-WoW-players, 80 is a significant milestone but not the end of the line of levelling, there are ten levels to go before I get to 90 and the endgame). I was continually upset and frustrated by the density of WoW, the enormous number of things to be done in each area — far more than any one avatar could achieve before having to move on because they had levelled beyond the area's quests. In many cases, I solved this by "freezing" the characters' level so that they can continue doing quests without gaining experience, but oddly enough I found that I lost interest in the characters once I had frozen them. Fact is, that I have not played on with a toon that I did freeze.

I never froze Siegrune though, just ran her through the regions of Azeroth until she learned flying and went to Outland at level 60 or so. I played out the long and intricate quest chains there as far as I could, until it became clear at level 74 that she was (a) far beyond the standard of the continent, and nonetheless (b) less than halfway through the quests! This was something of a dilemma: I wanted to finish them all off, yet didn't want to freeze (and probably abandon) yet another character. After a day or two of dithering, I decided to have her leave Outland and move to Northrend, which was more appropriate for her level. Once made, the decision was somehow quite lightening, like the lifting of a burden I didn't realize I was under.

She's now pushing at level 81, and it's time to leave Northrend although I've only scratched the surface there. But she will move on serenely, without a backward glance at all the incomplete quests and stories. Somebody else, another character, will follow on to complete them.

What I don't know is why it was she who achieved this milestone. All this time I've been talking about tanking and healing and so on, and how DPSers are coasting on the tank's risk-taking. So why haven't any of my many tanks got this far? It may be significant that Siegrune has probably done the least number of dungeons of any character I've made, she has been levelled almost entirely on quests in the world. My tanks and healers all got worn down by the thanklessness of their task, by the snark and grumbling when the dungeon went badly and the thoughtless silence when it went well.

Monday, 15 April 2013

On hunting

I've made yet another WoW character, a human Survival hunter called Siegrune. (Yes, another Wagnerian name. So sue me.) It's going surprisingly well. So well, in fact, that I am about to boast a little.

Have a look at that top line. Fifty percent of the total damage was done by me. Damn! To prove that wasn't just a fluke, let me boast a second time.

Unfortunately I didn't think to take a screenshot of the scoreboard at the end of the battle. I was only about eighth on the list there (ranked by kill-points). I killed seven Hordies personally, and assisted in killing another thirty or so, and only died four times.

Until I saw this Recount analysis, I was very pleased with my battleground score. (I still am, to be honest.) But given that I did the second-highest damage of the team, I feel that I should have been much higher up the kill-point ranking. My inference is that I am spending too much of my time and energy attacking targets that I cannot kill (heavily armoured paladins and the like) and not enough on the softies (rogues, priests and mages). On the other hand, it is a team effort and my chipping away at those paladins and warriors helped the team kill them.

It's that old conflict between personal ambition and the common good.