World of Warcraft – Welcome to the Danger (Proximal Development) Zone

At level 5… and I was sailing along quite happily with my Dwarf and the nice grizzly bear… just grabbing all loot and getting experience points, I was all in one area and had begun to get a feel for where to go, and how to return to the challenge givers for the rewards…I was wondering why wild animals and various horde creatures did not attack me… then I got to level 6 and a new challenge… so off I tootled as usual….

Oh dear, what a mess… the enemies attacked without me first engaging, they clubbed up on me in groups, they went for my grizzly bear companion to take it out first so I had to protect it, the enemies could for the first time run faster than me.. and they took much much more effort to kill. To put it bluntly the bear and I were dead… in a grave yard! FOUR times!

I had to learn how to put stronger armour on, upgrade my weapons, learn new skills of how to use them, all these were in my backpack and skills inventory, which of course I had not required them before… but I was in my ZPD and had enough knowledge to get that far. So after a few close calls, I had enough protection, skill and a healthy enough but weather worn grizzly bear to complete the rather tough level 6 quest. That one quest probably took as long as all the rest of my playing time in WoW put together.

I started text chat with other players, who were not at all responsive, and started talking to a lot of NPCs to see what they did. Now I had a real problem… my backpack was full and I could not pick up more items that were required to move about and deliver. I seem to have only 16 slots and cannot work out what other parts do. Maybe getting close to the time to read the manual I am thinking. You know what they say “If all else fails, read the manual” 🙂

I now realise from a fellow player that there are limitations on what each race and class can use. That has made me more alert to a lot of finer details in the game interface 🙂 Another learning experience. I needed a “tutor” to just nudge me into the right direction and then I lept forward somewhat (ZPD). When some quests are completed you get offered a choice of rewards… I notice the colour of the background on some of the icons for these are green, yellow, amber and red (traffic lights metaphor – to try to use a learning transferance). Does this signify what a character can use, may be able to use with training, and definitely cannot use? Worth knowing that so I get appropriate kit. But I also take some rewards for their money value and sell them. I need coppers for those gryphon rides between zones!

I have not really addressed the limited loot and quest items issue, as I seem to just be giving items to vendors around the place to free up some backpack slots and they are not paying me for the items I give them! I bet I will regret losing some of the esoteric items later too. But I have no idea where to put them for safekeeping without selling/giving them away yet.

But then the very next quest threw me out of my newly acquired better protected and more capable comfort zone… I was off in a ramshackle vehicle and on gryphon wings to far flung parts… oh my… now I really have to start to build a mental model of the world and where I am in it. Welcome to the danger zone…..

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Mind y’er back….

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