So you’re an experienced hero of World of Warcraft, but now you want to go back to the roots. Old school. Really old school.
Dungeons and Dragons, Advanced Edition.
Well…brace yourself for culture shock.
There are a couple…minor…elements that you should be aware of before diving in, sword blazing. In fact, before you even settle on what class of character to roll, you should check out these five crucial differences between WoW and D’n’D.
1. Thieves Aren’t Rogues
This one is a bit personal…my brother had to learn this the hard way.
If you’re used to playing a WoW Rogue, you’re used to turning invisible, sapping your enemies, then stabbing them in the back and taking them down with high rates of damage-per-second (DPS).
If you’re a Level One D&D Thief, however…you have Hide in Shadows (maybe – if the dice like you) and you can pick locks (maybe – if the dice like you).
You don’t have a stealth mode that’s practically invisibility. You don’t have high damage attacks. And you definitely don’t have a high enough health (Constitution) to push these limits.
If you try to play a Thief like you would play a Rogue, chances are you’ll spend much of the game unconscious. Like my brother did.
2. Magic Users Aren’t Mages
WoW is meant for any player to be able to solo the quests (AKA play by themselves). Thus, your Mage starts out with a fireball with decent DPS, and you gain new spells pretty quickly (especially in the most recent updates).
Magic Users, on the other hand, have strict professional constraints. They can cast one spell a day. They must decide which spell they’re going to use at the beginning of the day (to study, y’know).
Just like Mages in WoW, though, they can only wear cloth armor, and so must guard their low Constitution with care.
No charging into the front, throwing fireballs from each hand. That’s not how this works.
(Sorcerers, on the other hand, don’t have to decide on their spells at the beginning of the day. Something about “it’s not training, it’s their innate talents” or something. Might be a better choice if you’re just making the transition from WoW.)
3. Players Start at Level ONE
If you’re old enough, throw your mind back to Vanilla WoW…back when we had talent trees, didn’t have class specialties, and each level felt earned.
Current WoW is geared to give new players a hand up in getting started. Not only do they let you play the first twenty levels for free, but you gain “experience” and new levels fairly quickly.
Early edition D&D is more like Vanilla WoW. You start at Level One…no hand-holding. Depending on how kind your Game Master is (see below) you might gain a level after completing a campaign. One level. After one entire campaign (that’s not like a couple quests – that’s like the time-investment of a whole quest string. Y’know, like the Westfall string that funnels you to the Deadmines, or the Darkshire string that funnels you to the next zone).
So don’t expect to blaze through Levels One through Four on your first night playing. It’s not like WoW. It’s about the interactions of the players, not about getting your cool abilities as soon as possible.
So…get used to being “weak” for a while.
4. A Good Game Master is Crucial
Also called a “Dungeon Master”, this is the guy in charge. The deity of the game world.
If he is nice, you can do amazing things.
If you don’t get along…
See, WoW is a computer game, thus the story, combat, and everything else are based on computer calculations. It’s also written so that you can defeat the enemies all by yourself (even if it’s more fun to play with other players).
In D&D, you must have other players (the more the better) and a good GM – one who:
-knows what he’s doing
-knows where he’s going with the story
-can roll with the choices the players make
-can (and will) help you out if you’re really floundering
-and is focused on having fun, rather than nailing you for the slightest infraction of the rule set.
This also leads to a sub-point:
You Need a Good Team
If you’ve been on WoW for any length of time, you’ve run into a troll — not the type with big tusks and long arms, but an internet jerk.
Behind the protection of your computer, it’s easy enough to ignore and avoid the trash-talkers, rage-quitters, nude models, and duelers.
But what if you get one in your D&D group?
I have no advice for booting a troll once he’s in your party. However, a solid GM can deal with trolls. So make sure your GM has your back – and won’t be flapped or bullied by grumpy players.
It’s easiest if you’re careful selecting your fellow adventurers. Are they:
-flexible to roll with the changes?
-ready to have fun, not argue about things?
-good at pretending?
-willing to interact with others?
Much more than WoW, D&D is about playing with your friends, interacting with others, and having fun in a group.
So…pick your friends carefully!
5. Wild Animals Aren’t Pets
This will partly depend on your GM – and is specifically addressing a particular issue…but wild animals are wild!
This ain’t World of Warcraft, where you can tame the wolves or capture battle pets or ride on giant cats.
Dungeons and Dragons is about confronting real threats. There is no off-brand Pokemon involved!
Any GM who ignores this is weak, and should stand up to the sissy girl players who want to get out of dealing with hard problems.
To Sum Up:
World of Warcraft can be a lot of fun. (It would be even more fun if they allowed legacy servers…)
Dungeons and Dragons is fun in a different way. It’s like…fantasy hard core!
You can make the switch – don’t worry! But it takes some adjustment.
Don’t violate the principle of the thing by taming wolves like some green-and-wooly nerds.
She currently lives with her family somewhere in the American midwest, bracing for the collapse of society by baking, knitting, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.
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