Sunday, February 01, 2009

Ding of Dings

Ding is a common exclamation used by players to announce to their friends and guild members when they reach a new level. Because of this, ding has taken on several auxiliary meanings, such as the act of leveling up, the graphic associated with leveling up, etc. Originally, the sound effect when a character leveled in Everquest was a ding.

All these months of playing World of Warcraft paid off just a couple of weeks ago, on January 24th to be exact, Rumplewort achieved the current pinnacle of WoW – Level 80. I call this the “Ding of Dings.” So now, you may ask, what's next? If you've reached the max level, why keep playing? Where's the challenge? Oh, but there's more gentle reader, much more. At level 80 I've taken to doing “dailies” which are quests that repeat on a daily basis and pay fairly good rewards in the form of gold or reputation. My buddy and I have also recently taken to entering battle grounds lately where we join other players of our faction to compete against players of the opposing faction. I also have a guild to support and several Alts (Alternate Characters) that I can begin leveling. The challenge of the game now is to make my main character (aka “toon”) as rich as possible so he can funnel gold to my Alts and also help support his guild. Of course, as those Alts reach epic levels, new ones will be created. There are two major factions in WoW (Alliance and Horde) with five races in each faction. There are also nine different classes (e.g., Warrior, Mage, Rogue, Hunter, etc.) and one “hero class” (Death Knight) in the game. When you take that into account, then it's pretty easy to see how one can keep the game fresh and fun – simply try playing a class or race you haven't played yet, or a class/race combination that's different than what you've played before. I've only been playing since August 2008, so the only toon I have any real experience playing is a Dwarf Warrior. I also have a Draenei Hunter, Human Death Knight and Tauren Hunter on the “Shadowsong” server, and just recently created an Orc Rogue and and Orc Death Knight on the “Blood Furnace” PvP server.

That brings me to another topic about WoW – PvP, which stands for Player vs Player. The aforementioned battle ground scenarios obviously would be a PvP situation, however there are other areas anc concepts that involve PvP. I've mentioned “servers” so I'll explain what that means. Or even better, I'll quote the definition from

A realm is an instance of the World of Warcraft (WoW) game world. Realms are hosted on physical devices called servers (for this reason, the terms "realm" and "server" are often used interchangeably).

So, a server or “realm” is what a player logs onto to play the game. There are several dozen realms in the US with an identically named European realm as well. Think about it – if, at last known report, there are over 11.5 million subscribers to the game worldwide, there's no way in hell they can all log onto the same server at once – it would overload and crash in a matter of seconds, or it would run so slow that the game would be unplayable. Now, not only are there several dozen servers, but there are different types or styles of play depending on what type of server you log onto.

PvE (Player vs Environment) – also known as a “normal” server. Basically, you just do the quests, interact with other players and fight creatures and non-player characters as needed to gain experience points and rewards. PvP is voluntary on these types of realms so you can't be attacked (or “ganked”) by an enemy player without expressly putting yourself in that position on purpose.

PvP (Player vs Player) – as I mentioned above, there are battlegrounds and certain zones that are PvP even on the PvE realms, but on a PvP realm, anytime you enter territory controlled by the opposite faction or territory that is contested, you are automatically put in PvP mode. Your warning is the fact that you're on that type of server, so you've essentially volunteered for it by signing onto that server.

RP (Role Playing) – since WoW is supposed to be an RPG (Role Playing Game) these realms require that players speak in the chat channels as though they were their character and be descriptive when discussion their actions using speech similar to what you find in novels and the like. There are also tighter restrictions on character naming. Personally, if I'm going to role play, I'd better have dice, paper and pencils in front of me while sitting at a kitchen table with friends. But that's just my opinion. These servers are also a type of PvE realm as PvP is not forced in opposing or contested zones.

RP-PvP – If you've paid attention to the above descriptions, then you should be able to figure this one out I think :-P

So, even though I've achieved the “ding of dings” with my first, and main, character, there's still lots of war to craft ;-)

~ Carlisle