I’d been floundering around in the game for four days now and still hadn’t seen anything that would even hint at its reputation as a marriage-wrecking, life-sink.
So after consulting Google, I decided to follow the advice of a blog post entitled ‘World of Warcraft: How to make friends (and maybe even influence people)’. In short the advice was treat it like a single-player game and the social stuff will follow.
Trouble is World of Warcraft isn’t great as a single-player experience. Its quest structure is incredibly linear. It feels like you’re on one of those moving walkways they have in airports and stuck behind a family that has rebuilt the Leaning Tower of Pisa out of suitcases.
The quests boil down to collecting several items or killing a quota of monsters. You do the job, return to the character doling out the quests, get a reward and move onto the next quest.
It’s a conveyor belt and it’s not unusual to end up waiting for monsters to regenerate because the people ahead of you who are doing the same quest have killed them.
But advice is advice. So off I trudged. Quests came and went. A few were fun. Most reminded me of Sega’s ageing hack 'em up Golden Axe. Slay monster. Move forward. Slay next monster. Repetitive, but short enough to escape tedium.
And then, out of the blue, I was asked to join a party of other players. The advice, dubious as it sounded, worked.
The quests didn’t change but playing as part of a team adds something to any game and this is no exception. Not that this was a particularly chatty bunch. The sole topic of conversation was how to whistle at a stolen ram. ‘Do you know,’ we asked each other before the inevitable reply: ‘no idea’.
The stolen ram quest’s lack of guidance had us flummoxed, but it didn’t really matter because it was enjoyable enough to race around slaughtering passing monsters and throwing snowballs at each other (the game is in full-on Christmas mode at the moment with fairy lights, santa costumes and Christmas trees cropping up all over the place).
Finally it seemed like there might be something to the game beyond the cookie-cutter quests. But with only one more day left of my trip into the World of Warcraft, I’m still no closer to becoming a Warcraft junkie.