OK, so just to warn you, this will be a long one *g*.... and technical. This is a hard post to write because there's so much information, but I'll do my best and take it a step at a time. Just like Alec does when he's leveling his characters. :) (Oh and most of this makes sense to me from him explaining it to me)
This is just a touch of what type of thinking/learning goes into playing WOW.
For those of you not familiar with World of Warcraft or WOW, it is a MMORPG (Massively Multi-player Online Roleplaying Game). Meaning you take on the role of some sort of character. And you also play with lots of other people who are sitting at computers just like yourself.
This will be an extensive explanation of playing the game. You really don't have to play this seriously but I'm going to go into this depth because this is how my son has played it. When he plays a game its pretty thorough, every detail is important to him. I will also touch on other things we've learned from the game in following posts.
First off, you have to choose which type of realm(world) you want to be in, it depends on what style of play you like. These are the types: Role-playing (RP), Player vs Player (PVP), regular (our choice with the characters mentioned later) and RP, PVP together.
After choosing what realm you're going to play in, you get to then pick your character that you want to play. These characters have certain qualities and certain classes that they can be. For example, Alec picked a dwarf because he wanted to be a hunter(class) and dwarves have the highest agility stats starting out. Agility is a good attribute for a hunter. You can also be a night elf hunter but the dwarf will have 24 agility and the night elf only has 20. (I'll explain that later.) I knew I wanted to be a mage so I had the choice between gnome or human, I chose human. She's prettier. *g* Stats aren't as important to me ;) We also have other characters--my priest, hunter and druid are night elves. Alec's warrior is a human and his shaman is a Tauren. The Tauren are a race on the Horde side.
Most of our characters are on the Alliance side, but there is also the option of playing with the Horde side. These 2 sides can battle and you can choose to be on either one. The horde side is a little scarier looking, yet its debatable whether they are the "bad" guys though. ;)
OK, so Alec has a dwarf hunter and starts to level him. Which means you pretty much run around killing things, (different mobs) which gives you a certain amount of experience points. You also do quests which give you experience. Quests can be running errands, helping out a npc (non player character/a character in the game not being played by a person) or a lot of times looking for a lost person *g*. A LOT of map reading, which I'm not so good at ;) my kids help me. :)
So you get experience and you level up. Math coming into play here- you want to know how much exp (experience you need to get to level 2) You have 30 exp but you need 300 to get to level 2. Also you want to know how many monsters you have to kill to get to that next level--lets see you get 50 exp for each kill and you have 270 points left.. do the division, and voila. That's pretty simple but when you get up in the level 50s,, sigh, you need like, (I just looked and I need 173,900 exp to get to level 55 and I'm at 77,992) You do get more exp per kill now but it take a lot of work to level up in those higher levels.
Next would come equip (how Alec terms it) it would include your armor and weapons and different ways of making your hunter better. As you are killing these mobs (monsters) you will get drops from them. You kill a certain monster and they might drop any of the following: a piece of armor, weapon , a crafting material, money. You might be able to use the item, you might not. A hunter can wear leather, and at higher levels mail. My mage can only wear cloth.Certain classes use certain types of weapons also, like Alec's hunter can use swords, axes and bows or guns. My mage can use staves, wands and can get trained in a sword too, (I just found that out!) So you look for certain things. Also as you are looking for drops you want to look at the stats or attributes on the items. Like right now my wand is this:
Wand of Biting Cold
67-125 Frost Damage
(64.0 damage per second) speed 1.50
Equip Increases damage done by frost spells & effects by up to 16.
This wand is good for me because I'm a frost mage. I raise my frost talents with skill points. (I don't even go into skill points in this blog post ;))
My wand right now doesn't have any added attributes though. I think I could have +Mana regeneration put on it or +Spirit but I can't afford it right now. :)
Attributes would include these things and certain attributes are better for some classes over others. A list of Attributes:
Strength-Modest Improvements to Melee Damage
Stamina-Higher Hit Points
Agility-Minorly Increases Chance to Dodge
Intellect-More Mana, Raise Critical Hit with Spells
Spirit-Improves Hit Point/Mana Regeneration
(Hit points are your health points, and Mana is your magic points. Not every class has mana, but all have hit points.)
A hunter would want agility(having this attribute will raise your chance to get a critical hit, dodge and increases damage done at range and in melee) so you'd look for armor with +agility, or you might even want some +spirit too so you can use your special skills with markmanship. :) This is where it gets complicated for me,,(well there are other places too but this is one *g*) Alec will advise me on what armor is better for me, as a mage. He ends up advising quite a few people on what pieces (armor and weapons) are the best choices. I see him getting tells(messages) all the time, "bro, what piece is better?" hehe..
Here are my mage's Attributes right now:
Increases Attack Power by 19
Increases Critical Hit Chance by 5%
Increases Health by 750
Increases Mana by 4160
Increases Spell Critical Hit by 5.82%
Increases Mana Regeneration by 34 per sec
Reduces Physical Damage Taken by 13.16%
Lots of math here too because you can also alter the stats on your equip with enchanments, enchantments are enhancements that can be added to things. Like you can have +15 agility put on a back piece or you can have +30% added damage bonus on your weapon. So as you are evaluating your equip, all these things come into play and it will ultimately play into how much damage you do or how well your character does in the world of Azeroth. :)
You can get your items from drops but you can also get your items from the auction house (the AH). That is the way you can make money,,oh yeah,,here's more math. You usually will have an amount of money on you, you can find money on the mobs you kill or you can sell items you find to make money. Using the AH is an amazing learning experience. You can put up items, you set the low bid price, you can put in a buy out price, and then you wait. Lots of economics principles going on here. People will put things up for just a bit lower to move things quicker or not put in a buyout price at all, if its really rare,, they'll let people bid it out. You are actually bidding against other players and interacting with these people. (Socializing)
As you get higher in your levels the equip, obviously, gets better-- usually cooler looking too,, keeps you wanting to level. :)
So, lots of math going on,, lots of evaluating, remembering what means what--- it's amazing.
Just a note: Most of this knowledge was gathered by playing and researching online. Alec can spend hours reading about how to make his equip better and also how to bring down the mobs. The stategies to be successful at these higher levels is pretty complicated. You do a lot with big groups, 20 man and 40 man. More on that later...