Update on the Mom-Mage
As some may recall, my mom took her first steps in WoW about a year ago when she tried out the Pandaren starting area while it was still in Beta. Before the new expansion was released she leveled a Night Elf mage to 20, and I leveled a hunter alongside her so she could get an idea of whether WoW was something she’d want to try in earnest after Mists was released.
Good news … she’s still playing!
After a long hiatus during the school year (my mom is a college professor), she has finally found time to get back into the game now that she’s on summer break. She created her brand new Pandaren mage a little over a month ago and has been having a great time.
We have been using Skype to communicate as we play, because I thought it might be a better option than Vent. Skype is simpler to set up and, by default, doesn’t use a push-to-talk system, so she doesn’t have to worry about trying to hit another button if she has a question or needs to ask for help.
This time around, we found a few ways to make the experience a little easier. Her first mage had been Frost-speced, which seemed like a good idea at the time. Unfortunately, the control that Frost offers a seasoned player is a bit complicated for a brand new player, and the Water Elemental proved to be more trouble than it was worth. Taking the water elemental glyph might have made the situation a little more tolerable (since “Bubbly” wouldn’t be lagging behind, pulling other mobs while he gleefully blasted the one we were supposed to be fighting), but it couldn’t have worked. My mom already didn’t like her water elemental because he constantly got in between the camera and her character, and she had a really hard time trying to click anything when he was around. Since the water elemental glyph increases his size in addition to letting him cast while moving, it simply wasn’t an option.
Instead, she’s trying Arcane on her new mage. I thought this might work out a little better, as Arcane Barrage hits pretty hard on low-level mobs even for characters who aren’t decked out in heirlooms. She also got the hang of the Arcane Blast / Missiles pretty quickly, and has had a lot of fun with learning to stack up her charges.
Originally, I leveled a Pandaren shaman alongside her, but when she quickly outleveled me (!!!), I switched over to a Gnome rogue I’d left in the early 30 range. She’s now level 35, and is very eagerly anticipating buying a flying mount. She is most excited about getting to Pandaria some day, though that may be a while off.
So far, we’ve been lucky to have generally positive experiences. I took her into her first dungeon (Scarlet Halls) a few weeks ago, and she loved it even if she found it incredibly chaotic. (And, really, dungeons ARE so chaotic, when you stop to think about it. Particularly at low levels, and when you have a tank who knows where to go, you rush through from start to finish with barely a moment to stop and loot.)
I’ve been handing over extra battle pets to her from the moment she created her toon, and she nearly always has one of them following her – though she’s not particularly interested in pet battling. Currently, her top picks seem to be the Phoenix Hatchling and the Core Hound Pup.
She also really enjoys wandering around Azeroth, though sometimes she wishes there were more places she could go to just look around without having to fight mobs. The first time I got her into Stormwind, she spent over an hour exploring the city. She also found her way to Ironforge via the tram, explored the in-world version of Zul Gurub, figured how to buy her first mount and riding training, and has made her way all over the Eastern Kingdoms. And, you know what? I think that’s pretty rad. It’s definitely a hell of a lot more coherent than I was when I first started playing.
There have certainly been some hiccups along the way. It sounds like there’s a pretty decent amount of death happening when I’m not with her, but she understands repairing and knows what to do if she has to accept a rez at the Spirit Healer. We’ve had a few problems with objects that are difficult to click, or quests that she doesn’t see on her first pass through a quest hub, and the obnoxious Deadwind Pass with its vultures that are 30 levels higher than the toons who mistakenly wander up there from Duskwood. (That was one of the incidents that required an emergency phone call, and a talk with the Spirit Healer.)
Overall, though, it’s sounds like she’s having a great time so far. Yesterday morning she asked me to call her, and then she told me a story about a good Samaritan near Booty Bay. She needed to kill some giants down there, and one of them had “5000!” health. She stood there for a while, intimidated, until someone on a “seriously big deal dragon!” flew down and said hello to her. They told her to go ahead and attack the mob, and then they would help.
I’ve recommended that she should be cautious when she speaks to people in-game, and maybe the cynicism of a 5+ year WoW player is doing more harm than good, because – at first – she was afraid to attack the mob since she thought the other player would just fly away and leave her to die. But this person again encouraged her to attack and promised to help. When she finally did, they killed the mob “with one spell!” so that she could complete the quest. She said that she jumped up and down and thanked them before they flew off.
Then, this morning, she was out in Stranglethorn again fighting something underwater along the south coastline. She noticed a level 90 character fishing nearby, and swam over to watch because fishing is something we haven’t really gone over yet. The person (who I think was probably a priest, from her description), saw that she wasn’t at full health and healed her. That, she thought, was cool enough, but then the priest kept an eye on her as she was questing, and put “sparkly U-shaped things!” (shields? possibly?) on her as she fought the mobs.
To the player on the “seriously big deal dragon!” and the angler-priest: I wish I knew who you were. Thank you so SO much. I know there’s a lot of crap that goes on in our community. I know that often it seems like there is more bad than good. But you totally made a new player’s day with your patience and willingness to help … and you totally made a seasoned vet’s day by showing her just how amazing our community can be when it’s at its best.
To the rest of us: That’s all it takes. Helping to kill one quest mob or casting one heal can be the moment that makes a difference to a new player.
In preparation for this post, I called my mom to ask what the best and worst parts of WoW were so far. Her worst experiences were things that I think happened to most of us at the start – getting lost, getting into a situation we can’t get out of, dying and not being able to find our bodies. Her original answer for the best part of WoW was getting her mount. But then, a few minutes after we got off the phone, she sent me these texts:
“I should have said that my favorite was bonding with my daughter while we commit genocides.”
“But not my name.”
Pretty rad, Mom. Pretty rad.