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The Other Way to Play World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft (website), Blizzard’s world-class multiplayer online game, is best known for the insidious and crippling addition that keeps so many people from doing anything else.  I should know.  It’s happened to me.  And when I broke free of it, I swore, “Never again.” Imagine my surprise when I discovered I’m playing the game again.  As it turns out, you can play the game without playing all the time.

Every Thursday night I sit down at my desk, load World of Warcraft, and hang out with four good friends who are too far away to just visit in person.  We show up, ready to go, at a prearranged time.  We use voice chat to talk, and to coordinate.  And we play a side of the game that was much harder to find when I played long hours on the game by myself.

When you’re playing an online game by yourself and you hit the part of the game where you need more players, it’s like throwing dice.  You aren’t sure what you’re going to get.  Worse, your chances of getting a good group are not determined by physics.  There is, at any given time, the possibility that there are no good groups even logged on.  If you find three great players and one who can’t figure out how to play, you’re still not going to beat the boss.

World of Warcraft is a game where you can have fun in a large variety of play styles.  In my opinion, the best of these are the dungeons that are designed for five-man groups.  And unlike some other games, this part of World of Warcraft is instanced.  That is, you get your own copy of the dungeon without other players getting in your way.  It’s a feature that lets them offer a richer story line, because you can follow a plot without interference.

Since we only play five-man dungeons and skip all the other content, we have top-of-the-line gear for our level.  We’re never short on gold.  And we’re always moving on to the next area.  We don’t spend a lot of time stuck in one place, and it’s always a good challenge.

This week we’re level 42, finishing Uldaman and starting Maraudon, for those of you who know what that means.  Our group has a Druid healer, a Warrior tank, and a Mage, a Rogue and a Paladin (that’s me) as DPS.  Unlike the average pickup group, each player knows his or her job.  We never have to wait for a group member, or find a replacement.  We never argue about who gets good equipment, because it’s always about who the gear would be best for.  And unlike dungeons I’ve done with pickup groups, I have a lot of fun.

I’m not usually a fan of online games.  People on the internet are jerks, almost always.  But playing World of Warcraft like this, with my friends, in instanced dungeons, it makes the internet fun again.  And I get to hang out with friends, no matter where they live.

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Pingback from Epic Spoon » Thursday Night Warcraft
Time January 27, 2009 at 4:55 pm

[…] I mentioned a while back that I play World of Warcraft (website) on Thursday nights with a group of friends.  Like I said last time, we all have characters that we only play together, and we usually only do instance dungeons.  This is a lot of fun because we get to see all the game’s best content (particularly the parts you don’t see solo), but it doesn’t consume a lot of time.  It’s a four-hour time commitment each week. […]

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