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Hello everyone, I've been playing World of Warcraft for a while now, and I found myself remembering some genuine curiosities about the game when I first started playing. As a beginning player, I remember that I found myself nervous about asking questions or doing anything that may out me as a noob to the game. I had heard a lot about the community of WoW and how people get to know each other really well and form meaningful friendships and relationships, so it struck me that I had the self-imposed worry that I would not fit in with others around me, simply because I was new to the game. I tried to tell myself that everyone has to start somewhere, but I could not shake the feeling that if I asked a very obvious question, I would face some sort of scrutiny for being new to the game. Therefore, I decided to test my theory from back in the day, and see how experienced players treated less experienced players.
I quickly found out that player level alone would not suffice as a way of measuring experience, especially since almost any player you run into in the early levels has a main that is much more powerful. So I decided to work by the presence of heirlooms, since they can largely only be obtained by players who have reached a max level.
I leveled two horde blood elf death knights from scratch. With the help of heirlooms, I was able to get both death knights to around level 70 and to the city of Dalaran, where I would start to ask some questions. With one of the death knights, I would remove my heirlooms and take on the appearance of a first-time leveling player. After asking questions and getting a good feel for the types of responses, I logged in as the second death knight and equipped the heirlooms, so I could look like a much more experienced player. I then asked the same types of questions, and compared the findings.
I asked three types of questions as each character; 1) general conversation and small talk, 2) begging for gold (or money of any kind), and 3) requests to group and complete dungeons and quests.
I found that the three types of social interaction increasingly asked more of the player with whom I was interacting. What I mean is, general conversation asks very little of players in return; players just respond (or ignore) casually, and when the conversation seems to level out or end itself, they leave. Begging asks more since it requests players to personally give some of their money to others for no reason. The third area, requests to group, ask even more since dungeons and quests require much more time and commitment from the player.
After comparing my responses, I found that there was increased variation in the responses between my inexperienced and experienced death knight as I initiated interactions that asked more of the players with whom I was interacting. The responses for topics of general conversation were relatively similar; players would respond normally, expressing a slight variation between my two death knights. As I began begging, the variance increased, as my more experienced looking death knight got more responses that questioned why I needed gold (probably because I looked like a player that should have gold and should not have to resort to begging). The third line of questioning, by far, had the most variance between the two death knights. It makes sense; if a player is going to invest the time into going on quests and completing dungeons, they are going to want to play with other players who know what they are doing, and can get through the objectives as quickly as possible.
I've been a long time gamer and had a lot of experience with different types of games, but WoW was definitely a new environment for me, and it was really cool to see how the aspect of social interaction plays into natural methods of gameplay.
Sorry for the ramble. Thanks a lot you guys.
- Yeah, you should redo the experiment with a class other than a death knight. Many experienced players know you need to have another character of at least level 55 to even make a death knight, so that will color their responses.
- Also, some specifics would be nice also. You have so little detail despite your "ramble" that not much insight can be had from reading it.
- -- (talk · contr) 26 May 2014 6:36 PM Pacific