Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Clothes Make the Mage

One thing about class quests in WoW Classic is that each class has a different focus. For Warlocks, it's all about the demons and the power they bring. For Rogues, it's about how to use your abilities to not get killed in the field. And for Mages, it's about acquiring the trappings of power: your gear.

That's not to say that Mages are stuck using gear they're given in these class quests, but they represent the maturation process of the Mage. As you grow in level --and stature-- the class quests become the equivalent of exams.

For example, your first class quest is the equivalent of getting your entrance papers in order: you show up with the letter, and you're in.

Then there's the basic "gofer" test to prove you can follow directions and not ask too many questions*, which gives you your first "real" staff.

The next quest (~L15) is the "go investigate" quest, showing you have basic mastery of your abilities, and you are rewarded with a "real" Mage robe. Right about here, this quest presents you with an item that easily identifies you to all around that you're a Mage; so you've "joined the club" and are no loner a Mage-in-training. It doesn't carry any real weight to others who are Mages, but to the general populace it provides an "ooooo" moment. Such as when you finally graduate from basic training in the military and you get your first dress uniform.

After that, you don't get any new class quests until about 10 levels or so later, which is when you're sent on another fetch and carry quest, but this time it's considerably more dangerous. You could potentially solo it, but this is more of a "social" test for the Mage: you have to put a group together to go achieve the fetch and carry, and since a Mage has high social standing, you have to demonstrate that you can navigate the complex social life in Azeroth.** Your reward for this is a better set of robes, but you have to assist in getting them tailored. You've moved up the food chain to no longer being a 1st or 2nd Year Mage, but rather a 3rd Year Mage.

At least she's no longer a Freshman.

And now Cardwyn has just reached the next round of respectability, as she just received the Class Quest for a wand.

Of course, that quest means that she has to travel to Dustwallow Marsh and hunt for a Human Witch out in the swamp.

At L30.

There's a reason why this quest shows up as beet red in the quest log, because you'd have to have a full group to run through Dustwallow Marsh at L30, and even then you're all likely to wipe once you go south past the fork in the road that heads to the Barrens.

It's not that a Mage hasn't stumbled across a wand or three out in the wild, but this is a Class wand, which may not be the most powerful wand available to you, but is another social cue to others in the profession.


You know, it's kind of strange to approach the class quests like this, because until I started writing about Cardwyn's journey, I never really noticed these details. I certainly remember Quintalan's two biggest class quests, which involved him learning how to Rez people (~L20) and obtain his Blood Knight Tabard (~L60). The quests involving the Blood Knight Tabard left a bitter taste in my mouth, as so much of that questline was driven by revenge against the Alliance for abandoning Quel'Thalas in the Third War.

That being said, I don't recall much of Neve's leveling process --and corresponding class quests-- because she was still at a fairly low level when Cataclysm dropped and removed all of the class quests. (The same with Tomakan, my Draenei Paladin.)

With the benefit of hindsight, however, these Mage class quests --while optional-- provide flavor that was lost when WoW streamlined leveling/questing with Cataclysm and subsequent expacs. I've a similar experience now that I've been playing in a D&D 1e campaign the past year or two***. While newer versions of D&D have a better grasp of various actions, there's something about the quirkiness surrounding 1e that was lost in 3e and 4e, which helps to explain the popularity of the "return to basics" that D&D 5e espouses.**** When everything becomes a mechanic, you tend to look at actions in strictly a "gaming the system" fashion. But D&D 1e, like WoW Classic, there are quests and options and other things that aren't there strictly to propel the plot forward, but reflect your toon's interaction and status within Azeroth itself.

I guess an argument could be made that Classic was far more open world than subsequent iterations of WoW, and as the mini-Reds would put it, "You're not wrong".

Now if you're excuse me, I'm going to let Cardwyn contemplate her place in the universe while I go work on some fishing and crafting with Az. I've finally decided that she does need a mount sooner rather than later.

*For Alliance toons in Stormwind, it's the "get the vial filled" quest.

**Okay, it's not that hard to get a group together for the quest --at least in the Redridge Mountains version-- but you still have to be social enough to pull the group together. The more I play Classic, the more I realize that because I post in LookingForGroup and Trade Chat, I'm the one who frequently gets the job of putting a group together. There are a lot of people out there who simply passively watch and not get actively involved in the social aspect of putting a group together.

***We just finished the Slave Lords modules (A1-A4), and are starting in on the Against the Giants modules (G1-G3).

****That's not the only reason, by far, but it is one that has captured the interest in long time players such as myself.

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