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First World of Warcraft Impressions, From Two Different Points of View

*** This was originally posted to the official World of Warcraft forums. ***

I’ve been reading several threads, here, and it seems that everyone who posts here are level 100s – very experienced and long-term players. I thought it might be interesting to post some observations about current WoW from another point of view, or two.

I played WoW for 4+ years, from before BC up until WotLK was new. I played about 8 hours a week, reaching level 60 not long before BC was released. I reached level 70 before WotLK, and quit the game just two levels into that expansion.

When I started WoW as a pastime, I chose to play an orc hunter because I liked the concept of lone hunting through the wilderness. 90% of my play time was solo play, 9% grouped with some real-world friends (my old D&D game group), and 1% in a guild raid (with the guild my D&D group were members of). I never joined that or any other guild.

I was a solo player. The couple of guild raids (20? people) I was a part of were rather disappointing – not bad, just not as fun as my solo playing. Although one of my favorite memories of all my play time was a PUG raid on the elven city in Ashenvale, (can’t remember the name). I was top level (60), then, and that 1-2 hour long battle was just crazy fun. There were between 10-20 of us Hordies attacking and from 0-20 Allies defending – the numbers rose and fell as people came and went. (I had a grand total of just one PVP experience before that, in a battleground.)

I enjoyed this game until the end where it started to feel like a repetitive grind. So I just moved on to other things.

Recently, my sons got me into Hearthstone with them, and this got me interested in trying WoW again. So we, (my two sons and I), all got accounts to play together. We’ve played a few hours, and are enjoying the time. (We’re only up to the Northern Barrens so far.)

The game plays much as I remember it, at least at low levels. The change in landscape kind of threw me off for a bit. (For example: I tried to run from Durotar to Mulgore at 4th level!) But the biggest surprise/issue for me and my sons was the enormous variation of mounts and pets everywhere. It’s kind of cool to see an occasional dragon rider overhead, but the city streets are sometimes packed with huge beasts running to and fro, or standing in front of vendors and auctioneers. It’s gone from “oh cool” to “geez, just get out of the way.”

Both my sons have commented that it ruins the mood of the sort-of/kind-of medieval fantasy to see so many motorcycles and machine mounts running around. Especially in Thunderbluff, (where we all began). I kind of agree with them – it’s a bit overwhelming, the variety of the super-fantastic when you’re still challenged by normal wolves in a near-stone age environment.

As my family is playing, I’m remembering many of these quests we’re undertaking. And playing as a [small] group is very different than playing solo. My older son (14 years old) is picking up all the quests, running around as an orc warrior killing and looting everything, gaining xp hand over fist. My younger son (11 years old) picks up just one quest at a time as a tauren shaman, does it in a straight line there and back to turn it in, gaining xp much slower. I want to point out about this: They both are intentionally role playing a bit – the feral orc running into the thick of action, and the peaceful tauren helping NPCs and avoiding unnecessary conflict.*

It’s an interesting lesson for game designers to see how my boys enjoy the game in two very different ways, and how I’m now experiencing the game in a very different way than I previously did. I’ve read many threads here discussing various late game aspects that I probably won’t ever see, (and honestly don’t care if I see).

Anyway, that’s my story, for now. It’s interesting to see the game from different points of view.

* It would be nice if you could gain xp and levels without being a blood-thirsty kill-em-all player. I know I’ve felt . . . icky . . . doing some quests that I wished could be done in ways other than attack and bring back their head.


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Teaching Online Safety Versus Online Bullying

I’ve mentioned how I’m playing Clash of Clans with my sons. Since that post, we’ve quit that clan and created our own. I’m the clan leader, and both my boys are co-leaders. They have personally invited all their friends to join us, so we have almost 20 clan members. Running this clan with my sons is giving me an example for lessons in diplomacy.

There are four levels of membership in a CoC clan: Leader, Co-leader, Elder, Member.

The Leader can change some clan technical settings, and has authority to accept new members and kick anyone from co-leader on down.

Co-leaders can also change some technical settings, and can accept new members and kick Elders and Members.

Elders can accept new members and kick Members.

Members cannot accept or kick anyone.

I’ve given all the friends Elder rank in the clan so they can accept other friends. But some keep asking to be made co-leaders. I ask them why they want to be a co-leader and they don’t answer. Then they ask my sons to make them co-leader. My sons then ask me if they can make that friend a co-leader, and I ask why, they pass along the question, and again, the friend gives no answer.

There really isn’t a reason for anyone to be co-leader other than to be able to kick out an Elder, (as all the friends are). My sons, as co-leaders, have this ability, but they know not to do it without checking with me first. My boys live with me, so if there’s any problem, they can bring it to my attention immediately. Their friends, if made co-leaders, could kick other friends without checking with me. I’ve seen how sometimes the least little thing can make boys mad with each other. (Apparently it’s not just girls who create drama.) So I’m hesitant to give anyone else the ability to kick a friend.

Then someone accepted a join request from someone no one knows in the real world. I specifically wanted to restrict clan membership to only real world friends, and friends of friends. There’s a lot of chatting within the clan when the kids are playing, so I want to make sure everyone is safe from trolls and predators. Well, this guy got in somehow, and it was a couple of days before I found out that no one actually knew him, and no one remembers letting him in.

I’ve chatted with him a couple of times within the game, and I’ve learned that he’s a new player, and he’s an adult. I can see all the chat logs, and I regularly monitor what goes on. He has not been at all inappropriate with anyone. In fact, he doesn’t chat much at all. There have been a couple of chat mentions to kick him from the clan because no one knows him, and he has said that he’d accept being kicked if that is what everyone decides.

I discussed the decision with my sons. On one hand, he isn’t a real world friend, or a friend of a friend, and shouldn’t have been accepted to the clan in the first place. But he’s not done anything wrong, and has actually been helpful by donating troops to other people — in fact, he has donated more troops than anyone else in the clan, including me. (Donating troops to others costs in-game resources, and is generally considered a very nice thing to do for others.)

So to kick him would seem pretty rude, but to keep him is a weak spot in the ring of safety I’ve created for the boys in this online game world. During the discussion with my boys, I was torn between teaching them to not fully trust people you don’t know online, and teaching them to not wield power over others without reason. We talked about trusting and about being a bully, and we decided to let the unknown guy stay so long as he hadn’t done anything wrong. But we’d keep an eye on him. Mostly it would be me keeping an eye out, because I’m the one who monitors all the chat logs.

An ironic twist to all this is that all the friends often quit and rejoin the clan. Someone will quit the clan, go join either some other friend’s clan or some random clan, and then a day later, (or sometimes an hour later), they’ll come back to rejoin ours. It doesn’t actually hurt us in any way, but it is a bit annoying to me. If the unknown guy were to quit our clan, we could simply ignore his rejoin request and not have to kick him and I wouldn’t worry about having a stranger among us online. But he’s been one of the most reliable people in our group.


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Online Conversation Between a Teen and a Kid

My sons and I are currently playing, (read: addicted to), the mobile/app game Clash of Clans. They both started playing on their Nooks about four weeks ago, and I got into about a week later. We’re all in a clan with some of Calfgrit10’s school friends. There are 50 people in this clan, of which CG10 knows personally maybe half a dozen, and maybe another half dozen are personal friends of those friends. The other people are from who knows where around the world, including at least one player from Asia. (He/she communicates only in an Asian language. I don’t know specifically which one.)

As with most games, there is online chat available for players to talk to each other. We only use the clan chat. Calfgrit10 is a chatter box in it, (too often with nonsense), and Calfgrit13 only chats when he’s asking for something, (like support troops). I often check the chat log to keep an eye on both boys’ interactions, including what they’re saying, what others say to them, and what time of day they are on the game. (They better not be on it after bed time or before they’re allowed to play in the morning.)

Today, while I was at work, I opened the game to play a few minutes while I ate lunch. My boys were not on, but there was someone looking to talk. This player, Q Kids, I had seen in the chat often, but I knew nothing about other than I *think* it’s a friend of one of CG10’s friends. I was almost going to converse with the player, but another player spoke up before me. I watched the conversation out of curiosity.

Below is the conversation. There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about any of it, but I found it interesting to watch the interaction from a third-party, (and father), perspective. I think I may be the only adult/parent in the clan, so I feel a sense of wanting to keep a protective eye over all the kids in it.

CoC Conversation

Q Kids: any i am bored so i am back on there is nothing to do

Q Kids: anyone there?

sayo: k

Q Kids: thx

sayo: ya

sayo: k

Q Kids: my mom is gone so i can’t go outside and my bros r playing a 2 player viedo game and i can’t play and the other 2 r watching the

sayo: the

Q Kids: game and will not o anything else

Q Kids: viedo game

sayo: huw old r they

Q Kids: 4,6,and 8

sayo: and the uther

sayo: u

Q Kids: i mean my other bro is watching i only have 3 bros lol

sayo: k

sayo: u

Q Kids: how old am i? 11

sayo: su u r the buss uf them

Q Kids: ya

Q Kids: u?

sayo: u can ask ure bru if he lets u play

sayo: im 18

Q Kids: the 1 has autium and only wants him and my other bro to play

sayo: why

Q Kids: ?

sayo: whatis autium

Q Kids: a disability(bad speller)

sayo: k

Q Kids: his brain doesn’t work and he can cry up to an hour

sayo: uj

sayo: what game r they playing

Q Kids: lego batman 1

sayo: and u wanna play

Q Kids: ? it was a christmas present and i want to see if it’s any good

Q Kids: i don’t want to badly

sayo: ddiid u give it tu them

Q Kids: no santa ;)

sayo: k

sayo: ure mum

sayo: r dad

Q Kids: they e gone but my mom will be home soon

Q Kids: r

Q Kids: so i prob

Q Kids: have to get off soon

sayo: they dunt let you play

Q Kids: ya but they will soon(mom)

Q Kids: r u in college?

sayo: guin

Q Kids: ?

sayo: im guing

Q Kids: cool

sayo: ya

Q Kids: want troops(lvl 5 barbs or arch)

sayo: nut awsume that im guing cause my gf is guing tu anuther college

sayo: sure

sayo: any

Q Kids: k

Q Kids: my mom is home bye

sayo: bye

sayo: r u scared uf ure mum

Q Kids: no

Q Kids: i get to play the viedo game :)

Q Kids: bye

sayo: k

sayo: wich 1

sayo: batman

[That was the end of that conversation. Then a few hours later, I just happened to catch them talking again.]

sayo: suo did ure mum let u play the videu game

Q Kids: ya 4 20 mins

sayo: batman

Q Kids: yep

Q Kids: brb raid

sayo: k

[3 minutes pass]

sayo: u there

Q Kids: ya

[cross conversation about the game]

sayo: wanna hear a joke

Q Kids: sure…as long as it’s not dirty

sayo: k

sayo: Knock knock

Q Kids: who is there?

sayo: Eat mop

Q Kids: eat mop who?

sayo: hehe u said eat mo po

Q Kids: k

Q Kids: when you arrange it ya

sayo: ha

Q Kids: oh now i get it

Q Kids: lol

Q Kids: thx

sayo: ya

[game stuff]

Q Kids: brb in 10 mins or more

sayo: where r u guing

Q Kids: I am not getting on again bye

sayo: why

Q Kids: because i am not allowed to

Q Kids: because I was on too long today

And that was the end of their conversation. About an hour later, I saw sayo ask Calfgrit10 to make him a co-leader of the clan. Actually, he didn’t “ask”:

sayo: co-leader

Calfgrit10: huh

sayo: give me

At least he did give CG10 some dragon troops before asking, I guess as an introductory bribe. But CG10 didn’t give him co-leader rank; he didn’t even respond to sayo after that, and sayo didn’t chat any more.

So, like I said, the conversation wasn’t really noteworthy, but it was interesting to see two strangers, (one a child, the other a teen), conversing online. It also reminds me that I need to make sure my boys don’t let it be known when their parents aren’t home. We’ve already discussed not giving away their real last names or any real world information.


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Teenager Christmas List

Like most kids, our boys write a Christmas wish list every year. We’ve saved a few of the lists, and I’m looking back over them tonight.

“Dear Santa

I hope I have been good and deserve these toys.”


“Dear Santa,

I have been a good boy this year.”


“Dear Santa,

This year I would like:”

The lists of wishes look very similar through the years, even between the two boys: Pokemon, Lego/Mega Bloks, Star Wars, Nintendo Wii games, etc. The earliest list we still have is from our oldest back when he couldn’t write more than his name. The intro and list is in my handwriting, with his name signed in his handwriting. This is the only list with just general wish ideas:

  • A kangaroo toy
  • A Spider-Man toy
  • A Fantastic Four toy
  • A toy raccoon
  • A NASCAR toy – race car

After that first list, the wishes become very specific, (below exactly as they wrote with their own hand :-)

  • Death wings Storm Wind assult (mega bloks World Of warcraft)
  • Skylanders giants character pack. Character Bouncer
  • Halo coventant platform V.S. UNSC Hornent
  • Red DS with Lego Harry Potter game

And now, with our oldest son being 13 this year, (turning 14 next month), we’ve noticed a big difference in his list. The items have gone back to being a bit general, but much . . . different:

  • Money
  • iPhone 6/5
  • TV
  • Hard drive for Xbox
  • Cool games
    • Destiny

My favorite of that list is the first one: money. Right to the point. And it might be cheaper for us to just deliver two or three or four hundred bucks in cash than to gift the other items on the list, (other than the one game).

Calfgrit13 has known the secret of Santa Claus for a couple years, now. I explained it when he expressed strong suspicions, I think based on hearing his friends talk about the subject. Now Calfgrit10 is starting to express suspicions, but we’ve managed to hold onto the secret for at least this one more year. Big brother understands, and next year little brother will have to learn: Santa only comes to kids who still believe. This is why CG13 has helped us maintain the magic for CG10.

Wifegrit will be heartbroken when there’s no one left in the family with a true belief in Santa.


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