Wednesday, June 4, 2008

How to teach WoW in a duo

or, My Characters: Let Me Show You Them, Part 4 (Greenstrider and Aili)

In honor of getting married last weekend, I figured I should finally post the tale of my Hunter. Lots of digital ink has been spilled on the topic of "how to talk your significant other into playing WoW". In my case, the sell was easy enough - in November, 2004, when WoW came out, my girlfriend had just graduated from college and moved from Boston to Baltimore for work. Any activity that we could do "together" despite the distance was a good plan. The question that I might actually be able to say something original about was more "how do you actually teach someone who doesn't play video games how to play WoW"?

Well, there was a husband/wife duo in my guild at the time that played a warrior and a priest (respectively), and I'd heard that this combo was an excellent choice. So, I had her roll up the priest while I rolled warrior. This ended poorly - I could hold aggro semi-well, but the durability wasn't quite there at low levels, and she didn't really know how to heal yet, so I'd die, and then she'd die. Next we tried reversing the roles - this time I could heal her, but she didn't really know how to tank yet, so I'd pull aggro and die, and then she'd die. I think we may have tried another variation or so on this (maybe I was a druid and she was a rogue) before finally, inspiration struck.

I rolled up a hunter named Greenstrider. My girlfriend (now wife) rolled up a druid named Aili. I'm not very fond of WoW's two pet classes while solo - I feel like I'm sitting there watching my pet kill stuff. As a duo, though, the hunter is a lot of fun. It turned out that my girlfriend's natural role was caster DPS, with some healing on the side. Our pet cat does enough DPS to get aggro and tank, while the two of us can supply enough DPS and healing to keep the cat up and kill stuff. We were able to routinely handle elite quests as a group of 2 (plus the cat) that I remember wiping on repeatedly in full groups as I leveled my other characters. (A few examples include the elite lines in Duskwood and the ogres in Alterac.) Massive numbers of adds (e.g. when some runners escape) also weren't a problem. We stuck our noses back into Azeroth after patch 2.3 and were actually a bit disappointed - our little team LIKED being faced with elite mobs, and we had a hard time chasing down appropriate challenges with the streamlined leveling.

My reasoning in picking these two classes was that the hunter solos very well, and the druid can do just about anything (tank, melee, caster DPS, heal). Perhaps most importantly, the pet tanks and I can heal the pet, so the learning curve was relatively shallow until my girlfriend learned the ropes. It's self sufficient without leaning too much towards destroying mobs before your partner even knows what's going on (in a way that, say, a mage might - especially if paired with a melee character who has to chase after the mob when it goes running after the guy who just hit it with a fireball). We haven't made it to level 70 yet (maybe after the dust settles on my move), but we had a lot of fun trying.

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