Sunday, July 29, 2007

World of Warcraft as a pacifist

A Pacifist?

After reading about the World of Warcraft hunter who only melees and the warrior who fights with no armor or weapons, I decided to try a type of character I've been thinking about for a while: a pacifist who refuses to kill anything.

Over this weekend, I've done some experimenting. Since I've mostly played Alliance on a PvP server, I decided to switch to Horde on The Venture Co (RPPvP). RP because I'll be roleplaying a pacifist, and PvP because, well, what's the point of being a pacifist if it's easy?

First, what is a "pacifist" in WoW? My first attempt was a Blood Elf Warlock, who didn't kill anything "alive" -- undead, demons, and mechanicals were ok to destroy, because they weren't flesh & blood. But this wasn't much different from normal play, and I deleted her after hitting level 5 easily.

Then I gave it a little more thought, and decided I couldn't kill any mobs. No NPCs, no opposing players, no critters (rats, chickens, etc). If WoW keeps track of total kills for each player, mine should be all zeroes.

This also meant no "cheating" by grouping and allowing other players to do my dirty work for me. Level up only from non-violent quests and exploring.

Second, is this even mathematically possible? There are a limited number of quests, and only so many points to gain from exploring. Worse yet, now you can only gain exploring XP if your level is close to the level of the zone -- no running a level 3 into WPL for a few hundred XP (which I discovered too late). Also, some quests that I could do are parts of a chain that require killing to get, so I can't even do all delivery/search/gathering quests.

Finally, "what's my motivation?" On a roleplaying server, I should at least come up with a rationale.

I decided to pattern my character after a real-life German priest who was a pacifist executed for refusing to serve under Hitler, Franz Reinisch. Being an undead human, my character's backstory is that he was executed for refusing to serve under a military dictator. After an unremembered time as a puppet of the Scourge, he awakens some 60+ years after his death as a member of the Forsaken, but a member who refuses to kill.

Here is Reinisch. As of this writing, he is level 11. You can see that he has never used a mace, wand, or unarmed fighting by looking at his skills. He only has level 1 Smite because he started with it.

A Long Road

As I feared, there aren't enough non-combat quests in any one starting area to level up easily. My UD Priest has to constantly run around all four starting areas to find enough to do. Deliveries to Brill, conking lazy Orcs on the head (hey, I may be a pacifist, but I'm no Gandhi), and getting to Mulgore at a low enough level to still get XP from the lowest-level quests there. I couldn't do any of the Blood Elf starting quests, though, they wouldn't give me any.

I wanted to do this without any outside help, so my money situation before level 5 is pretty bad. I don't get cash from mobs or many quests, so I also loot any water barrels or food boxes or unguarded chests I see. When I get to level 5, I barely have enough to learn mining and buy a pickaxe. After selling some ore, money is no longer a problem. At first, I take mining and herbalism.

Leveling up is easy but slow, as I keep needing to travel to find enough quests. I don't know how hard or easy it would be for an Alliance character -- their capitals are essentially in two isolated groups, making it harder for a low-level character to get quests from all four starting areas, but maybe they have more non-combat quests.

Of course, many of the gathering quests are near mobs which are normally killed in order to do the quest; since this option isn't open to me, I can sometimes run in and die near the item, and hopefully resurrect outside of aggro range to complete the quest. I did Thazz'ril's Pick this way. I also complete some of these sorts of quests easily because a player had just been through the area earlier.

I hit a real XP plateau after level 7. I can't find any more quests, and I have two I can't complete: Break A Few Eggs and Thwarting Kolkar Aggression. Both involved getting items that are close to mobs that attack me; getting attacked aborts my attempt to get the items, even if I bubble first.

I could, of course, just ask people to kill them for me, but that doesn't seem right for a pacifist. I don't have any crowd control spells at level 7. I finally hit on the idea of dropping herbalism for engineering so I can make target dummies -- the mobs will attack the target dummy while I get the items. I level up my engineering, but then find out I can't learn the second level of engineering until I'm level 10! Scratch that idea for now.

I even turn violent! I do the second part of A Rogue's Deal, where I have to fight an NPC rogue. But since it's one of those quests where the NPC gives up before he dies, I never kill him. However, since I never plan on levelling my combat skills over 1 or getting any offensive spell other than the level 1 Smite I started with, this is probably the only quest of this kind I can complete without help.

Finally, I take the boat from Ratchet to Booty Bay and swim all the way north to northern Westfall (north end, because I don't want to discover areas that are too high for me to get XP exploring credit). I run around all of Elwynn Forest and some of Westfall to get as much XP as I can. I hit level 8 by one of the farms in Elwynn and get about 25% through level 8 just by exploring. I took over 6 hours to go from level 7 to 8.

Level 10 At Last

Level 8 and 9 are a bit easier; I'm being more careful about exploring. The quests by level list helps, but is incorrect and incomplete, so I keep looking for quests and keep exploring "appropriate" levels. I plan on returning to Alliance territory periodically to get even more exploring XP, but it feels like I might be losing ground -- I have to explore more areas, and areas with higher-level mobs, because I'm not quite getting enough XP from non-combat quests. If this keeps up, it's possible I may reach a level where I simply can't advance.

I also hit on a way to do the Break A Few Eggs quest -- I notice that I regenerate mana fast enough to continually heal myself indefinitely if I'm in combat with just one raptor guarding eggs. Every time I try to loot the egg, the raptor hits me and aborts the looting. However, the raptor sometimes misses me, which allows me to continue to loot the egg. But one miss isn't enough! I have to keep trying for several minutes until, by chance, the raptor misses me twice in a row. I loot 2 of the required 3 eggs using this method, and one egg gotten due to a helpful passerby. I also complete the Kolkar quest with unexpected help.

When I hit level 10, I levelled up my engineering to make Target Dummies. It has taken just under 20 hours to get to level 10.

Target dummies don't help with every gathering quest; I can't do Tomber's Supplies because I can't loot the supplies if I'm in combat. But they helped me finish Grimscale Pirates.

Level 10 seems to have opened a fair number of quests and I get to level 11 without much trouble. I plan to go to Westfall and Redridge to avoid losing exploring XP. I accept the quest Wild Hearts even though it is normally completed by killing Worgs; since it's an ingredient in Discolored Healing Potions, it's a regular drop, not a quest drop, so I can buy them from the Auction House. I long ago decided I have to allow myself to buy items like leather at the Auction House to realistically function...


Gweryc said...

Brian, this is awesome. I considered trying this, but I didn't think even I had the patience to carry it out. I'm really looking forward to seeing you progress. Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

Cool, I suppose you did not open a Ticket and ask your friendly Blizzard Support GM to deliver Quest Support for Pacifists ?
I believe that dialogue with a GM answering you would make for worthwile reading. Also you could open a pacifist guild (if you get others to buy into the idea - my there are pink gnome guilds too) and in a group you might take rounds in pulling mobs or getting slaughtered so that others may complete collection quests.

Anonymous said...

What a novel idea and a great blog to go along with. Maybe you'll bring the Burning Legion down peacefully!

I saw your blog linked on the front page of blogger and had to come back to this first post. Keep it up, I'm curious to see how far you can make it.

ironic1 said...

This is a really neat idea. As a pastor and a peace activist and an avid WoW player I've considered this, but couldn't see how it could be done. Thanks for doing this! I look forward to reading the rest of your blog.

the Cur family said...

This site is awesome! I love the original Warcraft, but stopped playing because it was just too violent... I really like what your doing. Must take a ton of patience!

All the best!


Dechion said...

I started something similar a few days ago, mostly because of the way the WotLK quests often were simply doing bad in the name of good.

One of my readers pointed me to your blog. I find it fascinating that you actually made it to 80. I honestly did not think it would be possible.

If you have any advice for someone just starting on this journey kindly drop me a line with it through my contact page.