Three HUNDRED Times XP!

This is how stupid I am: I have World of Warcraft. In fact, I have the Burning Crusade Collector’s Edition. Because I am, among other things, a collector. Well, ok, not really.

But I AM stupid, have I mentioned?

This is why: I have let that account lapse. Not on accident; it was a conscious decision. Matters with Kwipette having kept me otherwise preoccupied, I no longer had the time to spend any sort of time in WoW. However, with her return home (and there was much rejoicing!), I have found an occasional night or two free. And after kicking around the idea, I thought to myself, “Self! Why don’t you get back into a game!”

But what game? I have just about every MOG out there. Which one should I invest my precious time in?

WoW came up top on the list because of two reasons:
1) I can actually solo in the game. Not very well, and it takes me a long time to figure out how to do anything, but if nothing else I can mine. I won’t be putting China out of business any time soon, but I can at least make an odd copper or two to keep me supplied in… Well, whatever it is I think I need. Which isn’t much.

2) WoW’s Recruit-A-Friend program. THREE TIMES the XP! How can you say no to that?

If you’re me, you can’t. So that’s why I took my nifty $50 Gamestop gift certificate and purchased the Battlechest. And since Gamestop had it on sale for only $30, I got it and two movies for my PSP, while I was at it.

But this is the stupid part: I have an account. I don’t NEED a second one! In fact, my old account is BETTER, because it’s the (previously mentioned) COLLECTOR’S EDITION (which gives me no real bonuses, but does let me sport my Netherwhelp while I’m being killed).

But here I am, with a NEW account. Why? Because of point #2 above. That triple XP bonus is waaaay too sweet. Particularly when you’ve got a competent veteran that you can make suffer through leveling you.

Cue Kaigon, stage left.

Now Kaigon, Tathas (and a couple others, off and on) and I used to hunt together on a regular basis. But life being what it is, those times kind of faded into the past with the real world interfering. Plus, having to put up with me on my BEST behavior is a trial, and I can assure you that in WoW, I am NOT in my best form.

So what could entice Kaigon to put up with rerolling yet AGAIN and suffering through my stupidity while trying to level another character? Here’s a clue – it rhymes with “Nipple Sex T.”

But even in theory, it wasn’t enough to get me to buy a new copy of the game. Instead, I created a trial account and set about dipping my toe in the waters. After all, I just wanted to go back to WoW because I enjoyed the game even if I played solo. If the triple XP wasn’t all it cracked up to be, I could just re-activate my existing account and make do with that. Hell, if I wound up really hating the game during the trial, I could just quit it period and go back to one of my other MOGs.

But I downloaded the client onto Kwipette’s shiny new Macbook and fired it up to see how it ran (like a dream, btw).

Now I am not super familiar with WoW. I’ve never maxed out a single character (which instantly marks me as a n3rd pariah, I know). I haven’t even participated in a single raid. So I’m probably not the greatest judge when it comes to gauging how much of a difference triple XP makes to the leveling process.

Having said that, allow me to exclaim “Wow!” (no pun intended) and even slap my hands to the side of my face. We burnt through the first ten levels in under an hour. And that was with a LOT of screwing around – triple XP or not, I’m still me, and I still have to die in ridiculous fashions on a regular basis. Plus, because I was still on a trial account, I couldn’t be traded nor mailed anything, and of COURSE I wasn’t going to find any bags on drops, so I had to run back to sell every five minutes.

And speaking of that, Blizzard, why in the HELL don’t you allow Trial Accounts to use voice chat? Sure, okay, I understand not letting them trade anything – cut down on gold farmers and all that. But voice chat is an important and INCREDIBLY useful part of the game, particularly to new users that are being tutored along by veterans. Why would you not let them use it?

Of course we found an excellent work around in Google Chat – seriously Google, I love you. Is there anything you can’t do? If you ever need a kidney, you just call me. On Google Chat, no less!

Another tool I hadn’t even considered is the ability to teleport your comrade once an hour. This is a huge help, particularly for anyone dealing with me: you KNOW I’m going to get killed if we try and run through anywhere even slightly risky. Instead, Kaigon can safely make the run to Ogrimmar and summon me there. And on the inverse, once I actually upgraded to a real account, I can continue hunting while Kaigon runs back to town to sell. After he’s done I just summon him back. If I get ahead of him in level, I can grant him levels to catch up to me – yet another perk!

I don’t hold any illusions. I doubt this is going to bring me anywhere near 60. We only have, after all, 90 days (more like 83, now). Me get to 60 in 3 months? Unpossible.

But I bet I can speed along nicely and get mighty close if I get at least one good night of gaming in a week.

One of the (few) problems we have discovered is that you outlevel the quests you need to accomplish. This is particularly true of Shamans – because we have the quests to get our totems, we burn right past them and wind up not doing them until they’re already grey to us.

Not that this is a huge problem, mind you. It just kind of weirds me out.

I mean, how many times have you ever heard me say, “I’m too high level for that?”

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