Leveling With A Significant Other
Some people would give anything to have their significant other play WOW, to understand the strange virtual world that holds so much of their interest. I’m not going to go into how I feel about wives who constantly decry their husband’s gaming, because that is a whole other can of worms. What I am going to write about today is those lucky couples of which both halves play WOW.
Not all couples who play WOW play it together, as they like different facets of the game or have different playstyles. There are however, a lot of couples that do play the game together. I’ve known couples that level together, raid together, or even lead guilds together.
My husband Jardal and I always have at least one set of toons we are leveling together. One of the reasons that WOW has become such a successful hobby for us is that it’s something we do together. Otherwise we would be playing separate video games in separate rooms, and fighting over various consoles. This strategy of leveling together certainly has its pros and cons which I’m going to discuss today.
You will end up bickering over ridiculously stupid crap. Constantly. I cannot emphasize this enough.
You will find it hard to stick together in the game world. Yes, you can see your partner’s dot on the mini-map, but due to lag it isn’t always accurate. You will wind up attacking different mobs at the same time, left behind fighting after your partner gets away (especially if they’re a druid), or completing quest tasks when they’re just a bit out of range. Using raid markers works fantastically well in a crowded area – last week I was having serious trouble figuring out which Boomkin I was supposed to be helping.
You must be careful about starting escort quests, phased quests, or bombing runs – make sure your partner has turned in the preceding quests first and that you click accept at the exact same time (escort quests should normally prompt you though). This means reading the quest text to determine what kind of quest you’re accepting instead of just blindly clicking.
There are a lot of bugs in Cataclysm related to cinematics, phasing, and group questing. If things aren’t working correctly for you, but worked great for your partner who clicked first, then I would advise either abandoning the quest or logging out and logging back in. This has solved all of our issues so far.
You will never level at the exact same time. Somehow, one of you will always be ahead on XP.
Gathering professions suck. Gathering now provides XP which unbalances things, as well as causing the gatherer to dart off seemingly at random, because they absolutely must grab that node of elementium (see this post on Aggro Management for a nice rant about it). Skinning doesn’t have the XP issue, but does slow things down a tad. It also sucks if your partner skins the mob before you can complete a certain type of quest objective, such as planting a flag on a corpse. Never ever have the same gathering professions on a pair you are leveling – the competition would tear you apart.
You will wind up expecting your partner to do something that they are expecting you to do. This includes healing, quest objectives, cleansing, and more.
Your partner will be better than you at some things.
Pick up the x items-from-the-ground quests are very irritating. Your partner will ninja that sparkly rock you were heading towards.
Similarly, getting x items to drop from a mob is annoying. It always seems like it will not drop for one person until the other is done.
You will likely compete over shiny BOEs.
You will argue over which quest to do next.
You will argue over what the quest text means.
You will get tired of waiting for your partner to finish dicking around with their gear.
You will want to play your character when your partner is tired of WOW or wants to do something different in-game.
It will be very hard to resist the temptation to go on without them – especially when your guildies are just looking for one more person for a dungeon run.
You will find yourselves discussing leveling plans while eating dinner in a nice restaurant on a Friday night. The server will interrupt you to take your order, just as you’re saying something like, “I picked up a really nice dagger from that last quest with the Murlocs…”
So with all those cons, why would you ever consider leveling together?
The obvious benefit is that questing is generally much easier as a group. You can kill mobs faster and take on packs or mini-bosses that might normally bring about your demise. This is especially true for classes that are renowned for being difficult to level or very squishy. I had no trouble leveling my priest with Jardal’s shaman, as he could take the brunt of the damage (if he could keep aggro from me).
Another great thing is that it is less likely that both of you will misread the quest text and wander around lost. Usually one person can figure things out.
You will definitely learn how to work as a team if you level together. It can improve your communication skills.
You will learn how to forgive.
Lastly, and most importantly (this over powers all the cons for me) you probably will have more FUN leveling together. You get to laugh about all the silly goblins blowing themselves up, squee over cute animals, see beautiful scenery, complete objectives, overcome obstacles together, and generally just enjoy interacting with each other. I’m sure this doesn’t work at all for some couples, but it is truly what keeps us playing WOW.
Do you play WOW with your significant other? I’d love it if you would share some of your experiences.