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The following comment from a WI article started reminding me of some of my biggest newb moments.

Daniel said: If quest healing, also remember not to modify your attacks to the alt key! Alt+tab when questing may end in disaster.

You see, I use keybindings a lot for my healing, especially for instant cast spells. Probably a development of all the PvPing I did during my formative levelling. I soon realized that I ran out of keys to use, so I use modifiers quite often.

#showtooltip penance
/cast [mod:alt, target=focus][mod:shift, target=target][nomod, target=player] penance

That’s a simple use of modifiers in a macro. You press different buttons and different things happen. You can use these quite potently…or otherwise…

I, personally, have alt set as my modifier for directing my spells to my tank. Ie, I press 1, I bubble myself. I press alt+1, I bubble the tank. Well, I was raiding on my paladin and we were in Bastion of Twilight at that REALLY nasty trash pull with all the elements, right before the Captain Planet fight.

Now, at this past point in time, I have my hands (eg of protection, salvation, etc) lined up on my F keys to keep track of them really easily (you may see where this is going), but when I try to hand of sacrifice the tank, my game crashes!

“Omg!” I growl into mumble. “Wait, sorry, ack, stupid game crashed!”

I log back in to see that everyone has wiped. Sadface. We run back and try again. Again, I attempt to hand of sacrifice the tank. Again, poof! WoW closes.

“OMG! This spell is making my game crash!!!” I log back in, righteously pissed off at Blizzard by this point, and finally one of my teammates jokes, “Geez, what are you doing? Pressing alt+f4 over and over? Lawl!”

Oh. Duh. I mumble something about bugs as I furtively move hand of sacrifice off of the F4 key.

Apparently I’m not the only one who was reminded of newbiness, as today’s WI breakfast topic is a  wonderful collection of amusing raid-based failure. I highly recommend a read.

Some runs back are longer than others...

Some runs back are longer than others…

“Newb moments,” to me, are something longer-lasting than a simple blonde moment or brain fart. They are almost a sort of epiphany, moments where you discover something fundamental and profound – except in this case, that discovery is something you really should have known about.

My very first memory of a newb moment was when I initially began playing MUDs, over a dozen years ago (ugh, I feel so old saying that). I remember reading the game’s website and imagining how I could become an amazing, powerful….something. I wasn’t that clear on how it all worked. Eager to become awesome, I set off exploring.

Now, I had played other games before this. I had a Sega Genesis as a kid and even before that we had an Atari ST (it was the Cadillac of prehistoric PCs kthnx). Even better, we had internet access before the internet was even a fully-fledged thing. This meant that we got, in addition to all the important boring government DARPA defense stuff, SHAREWARE (and demo) GAMES!!!

While some of these games were amazing displays of graphics and sound like TURRICAN, some were little freeware ditties, including a range of text games: virtual trucker games, a Clue knockoff and Zork-esque adventures. The text adventures, in particular, resonated with me, and I spent many an hour trying to “get dragon” and “kill dragon” (and lots of subsequent “you have died”ing).

So, when I got older and we got ourselves a fancy new computer and super fast internet – the phone jack went STRAIGHT INTO THE COMPUTER!!! – I started looking at what games were out there on the web and found a game called Avalon. Fast-forward to my imagined ascent to greatness.

Oh boy. Telnet.

Oh boy. Telnet.

I explored the virtual world, merrily typing north, north, east, look, get dung – you know, the usual. I discovered things all over that I could pick up. I found a whole castle on top of a mountain filled with dwarves! I got lost in the caves under the castle and got killed by an orc. I dropped all of the awesome shinies I had been carrying. Le sigh. A roadblock on my path to becoming amazing!

It didn’t matter. I was enthralled. I played for hours straight, and then again the next day. And at the height of this enraptured gameplay, something happened – the newbiest newb moment of all newb moments – that changed my paradigm on games completely.

I was still caught up in my voracious exploring and questing when I wandered into a building that appeared to be a temple. The rooms had vaunted names and the text descriptions detailed columns and ornate carvings. I felt a shiver of apprehension. Was I nearly at the part where I became the ruler of the world?

I came upon a dead end. There, standing out in bright aquamarine text, was what had to be part of my ultimate quest: “Archimedes, the God of Wisdom.” Normal quest creatures weren’t named in colors that brilliant. Normal quest givers didn’t have names that illustrious. Normal quest givers didn’t hang out in a sacred temple. Exhaling slowly, I readied myself for the final task and then typed in the phrase I had learned would prompt the game’s creatures to give me quests – GREET ARCHIMEDES.

You warmly greet Archimedes, the God of Wisdom.

I waited, breath bated.

And kept waiting. Weird. The other creatures always gave me quests instantly.


You warmly greet Archimedes, the God of Wisdom.

Still nothing. I was getting frustrated.




You warmly greet Archimedes, the God of Wisdom.

You warmly greet Archimedes, the God of Wisdom.

You warmly greet Archimedes, the God of Wisdom.

Archimedes, the God of Wisdom lets out a broad chuckle.

Archimedes, the God of Wisdom says, “Quite the persistently friendly one you are, aren’t you?”


Archimedes, the God of Wisdom says, “Are you lost? Need some help on your novice quests?”


NOVICE commands are the province of the Ministry of Public Relations and the barony.

Ok, what did that mean?! All of a sudden this game was getting confusing.

Theresa appears before you through the black screen of a magical portal.


“Hi!” Theresa happily says.

Theresa says, “Lost novice here?”

Archimedes, the God of Wisdom nods emphatically.

Theresa says, “No worries. I’ll help her out.”

Theresa says, “Follow me. Just type FOLLOW THERESA.”


Suddenly it hit me – these were not computer creatures. THESE WERE REAL PEOPLE. There were other people playing the game with me. The world fell out beneath me. I had been completely oblivious to the vast, expansive nature of the game I was playing…oblivious to the potential of the internet itself. I was in a fantasy world inhabited not just by monsters and dragons, but also by other living, breathing people. All on my computer. The realization was astounding.

This, here, was my newb moment, when I discovered I had been overlooking an essential element of the game. In my case, I had missed the fundamental nature of what a MUD was – a multiplayer dungeon.

Once that awareness sunk in, the game was never the same.

On one hand, a whole new vista of gameplay unfolded. Player-to-player interactions are far more complex and ever-changing than scripted AI. Roleplay develops, alliances form, enemies are made. Combat is intense and politics compelling. The game develops endless playability.

Then again, there is something vital lost in that awakening. It’s like a kid realizing that (spoilers!) Santa doesn’t really exist. Yes, you see the more complex mechanics of the gameplay (or reasons for the holiday) and learn to play at a deeper level (ie be a grown up), but there is still an element of blissful ignorance that has been shed. What started as an impossibly engaging magical experience establishes itself as just a game.

Any level of competent gameplay requires this transition (which is probably a better topic for another entry, as this one is getting rather long). Sometimes, however, I look back on this first massive newb moment, and nostalgically remember what it was like to be clueless.

How about you? Any incredibly huge blind spots you’ve discovered in your gameplay? Any big discoveries? Any reaaaaaally stupid mistakes you’ve made?