Warning: The Free World of Warcraft Game Can Cost You Real Money
© 2011 by Aurelio Locsin
World of Warcraft (WoW) is the world’s most popular MMORP, or massively multiplayer online role-playing game. Through it you can assume the persona of an adventurer such as a warrior, mage or rogue, and journey through a fantasy world by yourself or with others. You can explore regions, craft items, hunt for treasure, slay monsters or rescue the innocent. The game is run by Blizzard, a Southern California game company.
Tasks that you perform earn you experience points. Amass enough points and you can increase your level. Levels define your expertise in fighting, crafting and performing certain skills. Higher levels mean better abilities, more difficult adventures and greater rewards.
The game normally costs a monthly subscription to play. You also need to buy the program to run the game, as well as the supplements that expand your role-playing world. However, to attract more players, Blizzard recently made WoW free to play up to level 20.
Speaking as someone who had played the game off and on for several years, I find this change an excellent deal. But if you want to play for free for as long as possible, you have to watch out for several qualifiers. For one thing, the offer only covers the basic game. If you have your heart set on playing more advanced races such as worgen or goblin, negotiating better classes such as Death Knight, or practicing advanced skills such as jewelcrafting or archaeology, you’ll need to spring some real cash for a supplement.
At the lower levels, the only way you can get around is to run or take expensive public transportation. (Ship transportation is free but slow.) This means you may be running for half an hour from place to place, just to fulfill a five-minute task.
You’ll quickly see the value of buying a mount, such as a horse, which increases your speed by 60 percent, and minimizes travel time. These travel aids are available only from level 20. Naturally, they cost in-game money: four gold for training and one gold for buying the actual animal. This may seem a tiny cost, until you realize that a gold piece costs 100 silver, and a silver piece costs 100 copper. With quests and treasures only awarding a few copper at the lower levels, you’ll need to work hard to gain enough money for speedy transportation.
But don’t forget, you’re earning experience points and increasing in levels as you do anything in the game. You may find yourself close to level 21 by the time you can afford your mount. And you’ll very much lust after this reward, since you went to all the trouble to qualify for one. Unfortunately, once you can satisfy that desire, you’ll often be beyond the free levels and need to pay.
I think the game is worth the monthly fee. But if you’d rather maximize your playing and mount time in the free version, try these suggestion:
- Perform all the money-making tasks and quests in one area before moving on to another location. At the lower levels, you get experience simply by visiting a new place. If you stay put as long as possible, you can minimize exploration experience points.
- Do quests or slay monsters in a group. Experience points are split among all members of the group, which can slow down leveling but increase the fun. You’ll need to decide whether this is worth the splitting of treasure as well.
- Join a guild that contains high-ranking members. Not only will guild members offer loads of advice on all aspects of the game, but higher-level players often give lower-level items to junior members such as yourself. You can then sell these items for extra money.
- Game - World of Warcraft
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