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On World of Warcraft, and playstyles

» Blizzcon 2009 Bloodelf caster, by djwu.

As well as Wizard 101, which is our current love, we also play World of Warcraft. We're not subscribed at the moment, but because of the recent news about Cataclysm, it's back on my mind. WoW is never far away, with some excellent blogs in my RSS reader and the official Armory app on my iPhone, even when we're not playing it's a part of my daily nerd-news routine.

When we play WoW, we play it like all our MMOs -- as essentially a two-player game that happens to have very good multiplayer options. We're in a guild that consists of our mains and alts, and one other person, a real life friend. We complete quests, grouped together, and tackle five-man instances once we're over-leveled and over-geared enough to manage them with only two or three characters. Playing a protection paladin and discipline priest combo probably helps. Our occasional third man is a beast mastery hunter, so between us we have the "holy trinity" of tank, healer, DPS covered, with a pet for off-tanking.

Naturally this cuts us off from the latest 5-man content, and essentially all of the 10-man and above raid content, and subsequently our gear is never better than end-game crafted pieces, reputation and quest rewards. We're happy with that. Our innate misanthropy keeps us from grouping or raiding, but that's exactly how we want it.

We experience much of the game one expansion behind the rest of the world. Yes, we've started questing in Northrend, but we're still working through Outland dungeons and reputation/daily quests.

I wonder how many people play like us? I imagine our playstyle is a smaller niche. When we're playing, we're pretty hardcore. Not hardcore raiders, as "hardcore" often implies, but I research talent builds and work out best-in-slot quest rewards, read the patch notes, and don't mind a bit of theorycrafting with Excel and the Wowhead comparison tool. I think the hardcore vs. casual stereotypes are a myth, or at least much more complex than some people make out.