Leitgen's character, a 52nd-level warrior named Norseman, has been on hiatus for several months now. (We suspect he's the inactive troll warrior listed on US Shadowsong, although Leitgen couldn't confirm the realm name after his time away from the game.) "I've been playing for quite some time now, but I quit during the last few months," he explains. "I think I'm a little over my head in it right now, to be honest about it."
Into the Warcraft universe
A gaming novice, Leitgen dipped into games with WoW's real-time strategy predecessor, Warcraft 2. "It worked for me because it was a strategy game, and I didn't have to move the mouse super-fast, there wasn't someone out-mousing me," he says. "And I liked it. Then when World of Warcraft came out, I thought, 'Well, I'll have a go at that.'"
Diving into an MMO proved enjoyable but almost overwhelming to a relatively computer-illiterate older player. "It took me a while to figure out what was all going on," he admits, "but after a while I managed it. It's a great game, no question in my mind; it's pretty hard to beat. But there are so many things going on that I don't know about that."
Somewhat stymied, he bought copies of the game for his grown sons, who quickly caught the fire. "I got up to 52," he says. "I had a lot of help from my sons and the other guys they played with. They gave me weapons and stuff. I'm a bit over my head right now. I probably would have been better off doing everything on my own."
Slower fingers, savvy strategies
Leitgen admits that a warrior was probably not the most fortuitous choice for the slower, more analytical approach of an older player. "First of all, I'm not that computer literate, so I can't move the mouse as fast as kids can," he admits. "Then I have a little problem, and I have to stop and interpret what's going on, on the screen. On the other side, my strategies aren't too bad. I can hold my own there. But he gets into a closeup fight and hell, I'm hitting the wrong guy or some crap like that."
The biggest drawback Leitgen sees for older players is the twitch reaction required for quick mouse movement. "I generally avoided playing with strangers, even though they might be of the same level," he admits. "I was nowhere near 'mouse- or screen-able' as they were."
Still, Leitgen clearly relishes the challenge and the ability to lend strategic thinking to the situation at hand. "If I had a suggestion for the WoW
older player, it would be to figure some way to handicap the system," he muses. "In other words if I was a level 10 playing with younger, more flexible level 10 players, it would be more fun for them if the 'old boy' had a more powerful weapon and could be called up to bail the younger guys out of trouble. In other words, instead of being a drag on their game, they would look forward to my presence."Back for more?
Leitgen's currently on hiatus from WoW
. His primary play partners, his sons, have both moved on -- one to Ethiopia (where the time difference throws a monkey wrench into meetups) and the other to higher levels where Leitgen no longer feels comfortable playing. "So I'm a little bit on my own," he notes. "It's a terrific game but currently exceeds my competence on the computer."
Leitgen brightened upon learning about the upcoming Cataclysm
expansion and the features designed to streamline and guide play for lower level players. The idea of re-starting and working his way through the tutorials on his own seemed to intrigue the strategist in him. "I think I will try again," he nods. "You might suggest for old buzzards like me some way for a little better tutoring and so on. It's a super-huge game. I'm just an amateur, really. It's a great game for older people, really. It has something for everybody."
"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" -- neither did we, until we talked with these players. From an Oscar-winning 3-D effects director to a rising pop singer ... from a quadriplegic player to a bunch of guys who get together for dinner and raiding in person every week ... Catch our 2009 year-end retrospective for a year's worth of WoW personalities.