Article by CJ
Everyone, meet Apolloe. Apolloe is a brand new Blood Elf Paladin who lives in the world of Azeroth and aspires to greatness. Okay, some of you are looking a little bit confused, so allow me to explain.
I have played World of Warcraft for a really long time. I started playing at least a year before the first expansion, The Burning Crusade, was released in 2007 and was committed enough to attend the midnight launch.
Over the years, my level of interest has gone from incredibly time consuming to not interested at all. As a result, there have been times that I have cancelled my subscription then returned sometimes months and sometimes several years later — I missed the whole run of the Mists of Pandaria expansion.
Recently I started wanting to play again but knew I was bored with the end game content which, I personally feel, has become quite convoluted. This series is not intended to criticise the game, but some of these concerns may be discussed later. After playing around on my level 110 (max level) Druid for a little while, a new experiment started to form in my mind.
What if I started a new character and wrote about my experience?
Starting a new character (known as “alts” as opposed to your “main” or the character you spend the most time/energy on improving) is not something new to me — during one expansion I had one of every class at max level. But this would be different. In the past, playing a new character was almost always done as quickly as possible and with the end in sight. This time, there would be strict rules against “power levelling techniques” and other advantages.
Writing about World of Warcraft is also not new to me. When I came back to the game after missing an entire expansion (there are usually about two years between expansions), I wrote a few articles for another publication about my experiences returning to the game after so long.
However, this time I would give myself the opportunity to fully experience the new World of Warcraft since the Cataclysm expansion turned the world asunder. I’d seen bits and pieces of the new world since Cataclysm but hadn’t fully immersed myself in anything that wasn’t getting me to end game content.
As an added bonus, this would let me rediscover the story telling and world building that made me love World of Warcraft at least 10 years ago.
Last, but certainly not least, the fact that I would be documenting my journey alleviates my “gamer guilt”. I love video games, but I also feel like I need to be productive most of the time. Because I can write about this, there’s no need to feel like I’m wasting time or being unproductive — huzzah!
The more I thought about it, the better it got! So, with my new plan formulating in my mind, the first step was to create the rules that would dictate my new experiment. Here they are:
- buy bags for the new character using another character’s gold
You start the game with one backpack that has 16 slots and “your inventory is full” messages are really annoying — a minor luxury but I’ll allow it.
- use the heirloom mount
Characters don’t get access to full use of their ground mounts until level 20 and, while speed is not of the essence, I wanted to experience the story not my character dragging their butt around the world on foot. The heirloom mount is something only players with higher level characters can buy and allows alts to use a mount from level 1.
- do dungeons if my character has quests
More on this in the next section.
- power level through continuous dungeon runs
Dungeons are enclosed areas of the game which, to complete them at the appropriate level, you must form groups of five players to complete and are rewarded with better quality “loot” (items, weapons, armour, etc). Because the enemies are stronger and more concentrated, a lot of experience points can be gained and you can sometimes level faster by continuously running them instead of playing the storyline. My experiment dictates that I can only take part in dungeons if I have quests that lead me to them.
- use heirloom XP boosting items
Much like the heirloom mount, there are heirloom pieces of armour and weapons that players with higher level characters can buy. Many of these give an extra 10% experience for fighting enemies, completing quests and basically anything else that gives experience. The effects also stack, so if you are wearing three items that increase experience by 10%, you will have a 30% XP boost. These items are a no go because they make your character out level zones at an incredibly rapid rate.
- no PvP battlegrounds
Most of the World of Warcraft story is set in the PvE (player versus environment) aspects of the game. As a result, it makes sense to me that PvP (player versus player) battlegrounds (areas where Horde players fight against Alliance players) not be part of the experiment.
- send gold from another character to the new character
Aside from new bags, the new character should not receive any financial aid from the hard earned gold of other characters. Harsh but fair.
- use any paid services
Paid services in World of Warcraft include level boosts (you can pay for a character to instantly reach level 100), race changes, faction changes, name changes and many more. For this experiment, I will (obviously, I hope) not be buying levels and the character I create is the same one that I must use throughout the journey. Though they can totally visit the barber for a new hair style, because who doesn’t dig a new look?
With my rules set, it was time to create my new character. This took some deliberation because of the “once you make it, you’re stuck with it” rule. I knew that I didn’t want to play as an Alliance race (Humans, Night Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Draenei and Worgen), so turned to the Horde. I also knew that I didn’t want to play as a Troll, Tauren or Pandaren because, while I love them all in their own way, I wanted a character whose feet didn’t poke through their shoes. In the same shallow vein, I didn’t want to play a Goblin because their stature often makes their armour look distorted or an Undead because their spine sticking through their armour freaks me out a bit and I would be watching them from the back for nearly all of our time together.
This left Blood Elves and Orcs. From here, I narrowed down my class choices to Blood Elf Paladin or Orc Hunter. I already have several high level Hunters, while I only have one highish level (82) Paladin and I haven’t played her properly since the Cataclysm expansion (released in 2010). So Blood Elf Paladin was the winner. This also gives me more versatility as Hunters are a straight DPS (damage) class while Paladins can DPS, tank and heal.
Overall, I love the idea and story behind Paladins, but I generally don’t love playing melee classes so this will add an interesting challenge to the experiment. We’ll see how this goes!
I went with a male Blood Elf because I’ve played a lot of female Blood Elves and wanted to mix things up a bit. I also feel the male model showcases the armour better.
Now, the hard part — a name. Paladins are driven by the light so I wanted it to be a name that reflected this. When I settled on Apollo, I knew it would be taken but gave it a try anyway. Sure enough “This name is not available”. So, like a good nerd, I adapted. Originally I was going to use two Ps but then I just kept reading “app” and thought it would be a good name for a sunrise/sunset monitoring app. Anywho, I threw an E on the end, the game accepted it and the rest, as they say, is history.
This has been my introduction to a series I’m calling “It’s a Small World (of Warcraft) After All”. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Um, if you didn’t – never fear! There will still be plenty of reviews. Though I do look forward to writing more chapters of It’s a Small World (of Warcraft) After All as I journey through the World of Warcraft with Apolloe. And Mr. Bigglesworth. More on that later.
It’s me and Mr. Bigglesworth against the world (of Warcraft).