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Drama Mamas: The dull, gray blur of skipping content

Whenever I struggled with some painful but ultimately voluntary "solution" in my young life, my mother was fond of reminding me, "If it hurts, stop banging your head against the wall." Motivational monster Susan Powter put the idea a little more forcefully for her legions of followers in the '90s: "Stooooop the insanity!"

This week, an admittedly WoW-obsessed player overshoots the mark while ramming his partner through what was intended to be an enjoyable Recruit-A-Friend introduction to WoW.

I have a little problem that the two of you may be able to help with. I am a slightly obsessive WOW player (9 max level toons) who is currently in the honeymoon phase of a relationship. I have been able to convince my partner to join me in game and we are currently using the recruit a friend option. I am running him on my Protection Warrior while he plays his Mage.

The thing is we are leveling so fast in dungeons that I am unable to convey the lore behind the things we are doing. All of the things that I loved about the game when I first started (the discovery, exploration, story etc.) are not carrying over to his experience in game. And when I look at things through his eyes I feel as if we are indeed playing a very boring game. He seems more glad it's over when we finish dungeon rather than excited and ready to see what's next.

I know he only joined the game to spend more time with me since I would regularly leave him to his own devices while I got my WOW fix in and I would really like for him to enjoy it as much as I do. And who am I kidding the more time he wants to play with me the less time I spend feeling selfish and guilty that I am not spending time with him outside of the game when I play. I suggested that we do BG's but he is a little bit apprehensive about diving into those and who could blame him he is a level 70 Mage with barely enough play time to be level 20.

What would you guys suggest that I do or incorporate into our playtime with each other to make it more interesting for someone seeing WOW for the first time but playing the game with a seasoned vet? Should I bite the bullet pull off my heirlooms and quest alongside him even if doing this would make me into the bored one? He is really eager to learn the game and I am sure that he would enjoy it as much as I do if I could convey even a little bit of the experience that I had in the beginning.

Sincerely,

No time to smell the roses



Drama Mamas The dull, gray blur of skipping contentDrama Mama Lisa: You're not just out of time for smelling the roses, No Time -- you've got no time at all. Time's up. The genie's out of the bottle, and there's no stuffing it back inside. Your partner has skipped so much content and context at this point that the game's been reduced to a dry list of to-do's. Worse, he's not even completing these duties himself -- he's merely coming along for the ride while you point to each task and then put the heirloom-plated smackdown on it.

Your situation perfectly illustrates the dangers of using the Recruit-A-Friend feature for new players. While I'm not blaming the program itself per se, I do believe that it's best suited for experienced gamers, not new players. You want your partner to fall in love with this game and this world, but you've yanked him past every chance he's had to engage.

Stoooop the insanity! Don't take one more step down this road. He's not having fun, and you both know it. Mists of Pandaria's launch is the perfect time and perfect excuse to reboot this mess, so go back to the beginning and make a pair of pandaren -- that's right, something neither of you have played. Then spend your time bounding and rolling around the new starter zones, soaking up the story and toying with new fun features like pet battles. When it comes time to choose a faction, choose whatever faction you didn't play before, so he'll get to see still more new content.

A few particulars:
  • No more Recruit-A-Friend boosts. If you like some of the other benefits of the program, so be it -- but no more speed-demon leveling. The simplest way to avoid the XP gain would be to start him a regular account. You could also choose to remain ungrouped while you play together. You'll find a few more details in a response by Blizzard CS rep Irylinne on a forums post asking how to dodge RAF XP boosts.
  • No more heirlooms for you. You want to spend time with your partner, right? Then don't rush through the very activity you're trying to share. Let it unfold naturally, at its own pace. Leveling has been polished to a brisk pace in today's game; you don't need to accelerate any aspect of the gameplay.
  • Get questing. He'll see more of world and the stories, and he'll have more opportunities to get comfortable with his abilities without the pressure of group expectations.
  • Get your hardcore fix on your own time. Yeah, that means that for now, playing your high-level characters means time away from your partner. But to ripen a character he'll become invested in, he needs the luxury of moving at his own pace (or at the very least, your mutual new character pace).
  • Change the focus. If you intend your time in the game to be meaningful time spent together, that means no rushing. WoW Night is Date Night -- treat it as such.

Drama Mamas The dull, gray blur of skipping contentDrama Mama Robin: I agree completely with everything Lisa says here, No Time. The only thing she doesn't really address is your boredom with questing. So here are some tips for making your WoW Date Night more interesting for yourself:
  • Quest in places you haven't quested before. You totally need to go panda, as Lisa says. But have you also leveled through all of the older zones that Cataclysm updated? If you're Horde, I highly recommend both Silverpine and Hillsbrad. Alliance-side, I thought Darkshore was heartbreakingly entertaining. I'm sure the commenters will recommend some of their favorite zones and quests.
  • PvP on your way up. I'm sure you can convince your partner that learning to PvP when your character is a youngster makes you more confident in the higher levels. And variety is good to keep away your boredom.
  • Don't play your Date Night character when not playing with your partner. This is a big one. Make this pair a duo. It will make your partner feel more involved, and I believe you will enjoy the bond of having your characters do everything together.
  • Don't bother with professions. Gathering and profession dailies can really bog gameplay down. Just ignore them for your duo.
  • Enthuse. You want to convey the experience you had at the beginning? Do it. Tell him all the parts you like as you go. Compare them to when you were a noob. Everyone likes to reminisce and tell stories, so you'll enjoy yourself more while selling the game to your partner.
  • Be positive. Don't go into it with the whole "back to the quest grindstone" attitude. Think of the WoW date as if it were a hiking date or a long road trip to some place fun. They all require some effort and take an investment in time, but the time spent together and the reward at the end are worth it.
If things don't work out and your partner doesn't really like the game, try not to seem too disappointed or make him feel bad about it. He's given it a good try and you appreciate that. Let him know.

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with advice from the Drama Mamas. Remember, your mama wouldn't want to see your name on any drama. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at robin@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

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