Noobosaurus On The Rampage

I came up with this blog title whilst in the bath tonight. It made me chuckle. Anyway, on a completely unrelated point, my brother has been slowly getting to grips with World of Warcraft some more.

Yoda meets Noob

Yoda meets Noob

It’s funny how so many of us think of WoW as being too easy (often said, whether we honestly mean it or not, in a derogatory manner) yet I wonder how long it’s been since we’ve approached the game with fresh eyes. It’s certainly simple compared to most of the other MMORPGs on the market but is it too easy to those unfamiliar with the genre or even non-gamers? I used to think so… but now I’m not so sure.

My bro is a pretty smart guy and a lifelong geek, hardcore C++ programmer and wannabe Trekkie. Although he hasn’t played many computer games in the past few years, he’s not unfamiliar with them and yet, given all of this, he’s still experienced a reasonably steep learning curve with Warcraft. Stuff that I just take for granted or assume as basic, common knowledge, he’s struggled with. It’s not like he’s mentally disabled or anything either, I honestly think it’s just because WoW does have a learning curve which we’ve all forgotten about now.

It tends to be subtle things that get him too. Like remembering to put points in his talent tree every time he levels, how to properly set up his action bars and abilities, what add-ons to download and install and when not to camp out in the middle of an area full of aggressive mobs (OK, even I’ll admit that was a little dumb). He’s learning though, like a monkey learning to operate a spaceship from the ’60s, and one day soon he’s sure to manage lift off.

I guess I see a lot of my own experiences in his and the learning process that he’s going through reminds me of what I went through when I started playing EVE Online last year. Yes, that’s a little bit like comparing brain surgery to first aid but, still, you get the point. However, it does make me think that we should remember what it was like for us all that first time, before we really had any clue what a MMORPG was or how they work.

It also reinforces my suspicions as to WoW’s success. It’s so popular because Blizzard managed to tap into a long dormant player-base… the non-gamer.

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  1. Don’t Blame The Noob, Blame The Game

13 Comments

  1. tankgaming says:

    I do agree with this article, I mean, Blizzard has made their game quite accessible to anyone, and yet, some people can’t wrap their head around the concept of certain things like stat caps. I guess we all have been taking that for granted.

  2. Longasc says:

    In the good old times it was guaranteed that you, as a geek, met other geeks online. Now there is the danger that one encounters a pretty normal person with a life outside of the game unexpectedly. That’s frightening. ;)

  3. One issue is that there’s a lot of assumed knowledge we have about these games. Most of us accumulate this from playing other games. For example, when you level you make sure you get all your power increases. Adding talent points is just second nature for most of us who have played other RPGs in the past. For someone who is new to RPGs, this could be easily overlooked as in the case of your brother.

    The reason why most experienced players view WoW as “easy” is because we already have a lot of that assumed knowledge. Perhaps we had some rough spots at the beginning, but eventually we got to the point where things fell into place according to our understanding of how these types of games work. To someone without that framework, the game is going to be complex; even if they are otherwise pretty sharp people.

    • Gordon says:

      I totally agree. Assuming knowledge is fair enough but it’s very tough to balance when targetting game towards people who never played one liked it before. To them, the game might be very hard but to players familiar with the genre, they can often be too easy.

      I think it’s interesting how Blizzard decided to go down the route which targets anyone and everyone and not just gamers with previous knowledge of the genre. They’ve obviously decided to keep targetting that audience too and consistently simplify WoW’s mechanics. Obviously that’s frustrating to veterans who feel the game is becoming too easy but I have no doubt it’s perfect for new gamers like my brother.

  4. luvy duvy says:

    I remember when i first looked at Wow with virgin eyes the first thing i did was killed a wolf then i found another gnome and i was so amazed when i /s and typed hello and he said /s hello back!! i was like wow these are real people who are playing here i grouped up with 3 others to get the book from the troll leader in the cave and it was fun as hell then when i went to ironforge took the train to SW then i looked on the map to find out that theres a outside to SW i was like damn this game is huge!
    struggled and being called a noob severel times like the time i was in this group and instead of the tank letting the darkiron dwarfs aggro him i kept on fearing them cause i didnt want him to take any damage lol

    i read the manual carefully and the tuturial really helped me but i asked questions and more questions and more questions and there was allways someone there to help. Make sure you tell your brother about need or greed looting cause i was needing everything at it pisses people off and i just didnt get it lol and tell him the stats of the character etc warlock needs=spellpower intellect and spirit and warriors need strengh and stamina cause when i started my character i wanted him to have everything and some rogue showed me that i can use wands blizz should start off the casters that can use a wand…. with a wand!

  5. Tesh says:

    Here’s a fascinating article, taking a look at another WoW noob.

    http://www.mmorpg.com/showFeature.cfm/feature/3957/page/1

    I love how she picks up on the grind early, and *never* uses the keyboard.

  6. amcl says:

    Like the photo, bro! I’m pleased that you left out my dress sense in your blog too.

    Thanks everyone for your comments, and tips.
    I’m definitely getting the hang of WoW – in fact, it’s just too damn addictive.

    It’s great to have a pro as my mentor – he’s already pushed me aside to drive my computer and installed a very useful add-on! :)

  7. scrusi says:

    What irks me, aside from the fact that I think veterans deserve to play good games too, is that eighty levels should really be enough to teach players those basics. If they don’t, it is because WoW is too easy even for those newbies. If, after eighty levels, you still haven’t learned to use your keyboard or spend talent points, then that’s because the game doesn’t require you to. People only learn with an incentive, and if they can get to max level by grinding ogres with Cheap Shot – Sinister Strike – Eviscerate all day, there’s no incentive to learn about keeping up Slice and Dice or misdirecting a mob with Tricks of the Trade.

    I have a friend who did pretty much that in WoW (though with a warrior, not a rogue). He rarely quested and never grouped, mostly ground his way to 70 on ogres and other stupid mobs. That way, when we took him into instances at max level, he had no idea what he was doing. Without us being there to teach him, he would never have learned.

    Sure, there’s a lot to learn even in WoW for players new to the genre, but the game fails at teaching them by being too accessible. As for us veterans, where the hell do we go once we know everything?

    • Gordon says:

      I agree that 80 levels should be more than enough to teach players how to play. The problem is that when most people solo, they don’t learn the game or at least no the important aspects of grouping and raiding. Soloing up and leveling is like a totally different game from grouping and the level cap raid experience and you’re only going to learn those through experience. Hopefully the dungeon finder will help with it all though.

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