Thursday, May 31, 2007

It's the Community, Stupid!

Yesterday Hall headed up to the Black Temple in Nether to deal some damage to some NPCs. As I rolled up I encountered what I could only describe as a surf know, the surfers sitting on their boards at the outside of the surf break, waiting for the next good wave. THere were five folks sitting and bobbing on their flying mounts. I hailed them with a "is this the surf line?" and a hearty lol, and one replied, "yup, waiting for the good wave." Beach culture lives. >grin<

Now I knew my quest was a yellow solo-able and so I replied, "I didn't see this quest listed as group. LOL" or something to that effect. One guy whispered they were on the last part, the big boss quest. So I replied, you need help. He replied, got five. I rejoined, so you need a sixth for insurance? And he invited me to tag along.

They needed the help. And..I got some schooling on what it will take when I have to do it with my group. Egads, waves upon waves of locks and the the big boss. WHen we got them all down I just had to say, "and now who is going to clean up this mess!"

We lol'd and they ty'd and I np'd and they headed off into the well, not quite a sunset. I went ahead to do my solo quest, found a cool sneaky way to make it easy, posted as much in the Thottbot thread (yeah, I post there), and eventually signed off feeling quite the community member.

After you hit 70 there is less and less appeal in the solo'ing. ANd yes, the instances in groups rock. But there is something supremely enjoyable about just helping out. I know Via thinks this too; we've talked about it a lot. What's nice in the virtual world context is that you don't have to waste time and energy and social capital introducing and glad-handing and getting to know you. You just ride up and offer help, or respond to a tell. You can get to the engagement -- and out of it -- much more cleanly than you can IRL. For those of us who are not gregarious types, this allows us to be sociable, or perhaps a better term would be pro-social, without the schmooze we find so difficult and/or well...icky. (Perhaps that's why I'd rather help strangers than guildmates... less talk.)

So I've started back to exercising (wait, this is relevant) and I thought I'd download the World of Warcast to listen to on the ipod as I slogged away on the treadmill. I grabbed this week's cast and was amused by Cryler's tip of the day. Do farming with a buddy on vent. Makes it go faster. It's sort of a duh, but then I thought, yeah I like chatting on vent with guildies while working on solo stuff. So...maybe my prior remark about schmooze doesn't accurately reflect my true feelings. At any rate, a good deal of the continued appeal of WoW is the community, stupid.

Should have grabbed a shot of either the surf line or the dead mess afterward but I didn't. So here's a shot I took inside a Bloodspire Ogre's house...after I killed him and most of his village. Here Saami stands, pondering this question: "Why does an ogre need a teddy bear?"

Friday, May 25, 2007

From, "Tuesday, November 22, 2005, The Ballad of Balamor, Day Five"

So, I was asked by a certain someone to review and respond to an earlier post of mine . . . and here goes . . .

"It felt like Richard Dryfus from Close Encounters with the mashed potatoes . . . this means something!"

Still does, but less often and less . . . globally. Yet, I am not JUST playing a game . . . seriously . . . stop laughing! This does mean something.

"Ironforge is huge in exactly the way a Dwarf city should be . . . dwarfing everything within. This is the first time the game came alive for me. The hustle and bustle of a busy city . . . knowing the majority of those folks are players and going about busy business. The auction house was packed and the forges were ringing and there was just a general sense of real life."

Overall, things are much the same . . .and different. Iron Forge is no longer my home . . . though, I suppose it is and always will be. I [ViaMedia] live in Shattrath City now, but don't really do more than business there . . . it's just where my hearth is set . . . not my heart. I spend my time on the road . . . by land, air, sea or portal . . . I'm a traveling man . . . err . . dwarf.

I'm far closer to day 1000 than day 1. I'm leveled and geared. I've completed all the solo quests. I've run, if not led. every instance in Outlands . . . slain every boss. I don't see the masses, huddled and yearning, in IF . . . I just retrace my steps and hit the mailbox, AH, bank and back to Outlands. Yet, I see my party clearly enough . . . striving towards goals both stated and unstated. I've not lost my awe in them.

I wrote "a general sense of real life" . . . damned, if that doesn't ring so true through two years. I think the rest of my peers do a better jorb of separating themselves from . . . errr . . their selves. I don't know what motivates you folks, but I know I simply like ViaMedia better than James . . . and I like being him more. And I don't think that is a confession many of the 8 million would find shocking. In WOW there are so many fewer failed expectations . . . broken hearts . . . personal recriminations . . . impersonal accusations . . . betrayals . . .etc . . . Simply, ViaMedia is as good as James always wished he could and has been rewarded for being so.

"Yet, here is the huddled masses with all their yearning."

Should have been "are", but maybe should have been "Mass" and "Its'". Still, here the masses be . . . and become.

"Some run out and challenge the experience. Others, like me, hold back and watch and listen and wait to gain some level of understanding."

Back to the first line about "this means something" . . . I wait and watch . . and yes, agitate and aggravate . . . all in the pursuit of finding out what that meaning is. I fear on some level it is both too universal and personal for most to admit.

"Where all this is going I am not sure, but I can see that there might be a place in this world for me."

"a place in the world for me" . . . damn . . . yeah, I've carved that out so many times only to have it eroded by the sands of time. In WOW . . . at least you get to keep your gear and rep.

"It is a long day of exploring for me. I'm getting comfortable. I am in and out of Ironforge many times. I retrace some of my adventures and get them right. I explore other areas. I spend a lot of time learning how the professions work. By the end of the day, I get mining, blacksmithing, first aid and cooking. I start to realize all the mistakes I made early on . . . wishing I could correct them."

Another way that WOW is better then RL.

"Linda and I team up for a mission to take out an 'elite' character. Next thing we know we're dead and reminded of how far we still have to go. We're level teens in a world that goes as high as 60. There are monsters out there that we probably couldn't do enough damage to get their attention. And there is real sense of that. As Linda pointed out later, being in this strange land had a real sense of adventure. We didn't know these creatures or this terrain or where we were. We had already made the 'other' land our home in our minds. This was a foreign land. I didn't' kill a cow for fear of offending the locals. I got mobbed by these frog things because I was too curious. We were strangers in a stranger land."

And now? I don't know [especially from rereading the above] if I am any less stranger . . . or a stranger, but I know this world isn't to me. I know it better than anything I've ever known. There are places I've not been, but I know the parameters of what to expect . . . and am rarely disappointed anymore. I'm uber now . . . in level, gear, knowledge, etc. The distance between day 5 and now cannot even be fathomed by me. It is in all honesty at least 10,000 lifetimes ago . . . 10,000 runs from the graveyards . . . 10, 000 return to life and the pursuit of . . .what?

Like day five . . . still asking . . . myself and you.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Got My Pet

Finished the orphan quest. This year there were 3 pets to choose from as a reward. I picked Egbert. The baby elekk was tempting, but when I saw this nut, I had to have him.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

ZOMG we've been playing too long

Yes, they're back, and they have demands. It's Orphan Week in the LC in Shattrath. The fact that this is the SECOND annual Orphan Week means we've been playing this game wee bit too long. Fortunately these orphans have minimal demands, compared to those last year in the "old world" that demanded to see things and get things (ice cream, for instance) across both continents. Or maybe it just seems easier because of the flying mounts and epic mounts. It sure is funny to see this lil orphan gal running as fast as she can alongside my epic ram. Am I cold hearted or what? bwahahahahahaha.

But just as we're ready to about to burp from consuming the content, Blizz gives us a major patch that offers new quests, new people, new instances. Kind of fun to watch Viamedia have to reorganize his local knowledge last night when we tried to do the Divination quests and found new mobs complicating the process. A little jazz problem solving and a couple of pickup party members and we were good to go.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Update on the WoW Chicks

Hey! Kuu hit 40 and she's got her elekk. Managed to make it over the 35 hump. It's so tough in the last half of the thirties. She's got totems! totems! totems! and has been very successful at pwning things as much as three levels above her. Shammies rock da house.

Meanwhile, Saami has been trying to catch up with Hall. Both gals are sporting new gear, although, Saami's mask is threatening to become as hated as Hall's voodoo mask was. I gotta get that stinkin' dead wolf head off my hair! arg! Saami has advanced her fishing and leatherworking and is trying to get cooking up to par. I'm learning to be a better hunter, thanks to some tips from the Big Red Kitty blog (BRK). I try to overlook the writer's obvious bias toward BM spec'ing. >sigh< Marksmanship FTW, baby!

Hall's back in a dress and is running around with a book in her off hand. Kinda weird, but then, she's a caster and all that intell adds up to crits. Hall is having fun with her flying mount, and taking her sweet time cruising through the various regions of Outlands. It pixelates badly on screen capture so I just grabbed a shot with her on the ground. Use your imagination. I'm now working through SHadowmoon Valley. (Where, btw, Saami got her new pet serpent, in image above.)