Saturday, December 29, 2012

If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free

Ignore the pet, concentrate on the quest!

I have been attempting to catch up on my questing, and as a result I found myself in the Krasarang Wilds yesterday, faced with the type of moral dilemma I know other people never struggle with. No, I'm not talking about fighting the Jungle Grub (I've been very good and not biffed anything for at least a week while I try and catch up with overdue gubbins,) I'm talking about my expectations as a hero against what the game asks me to do. I've never been a big fan of the either/or option, and this particular quest is a case in point: I'm sent to save a bunch of Night Elf Sentinels from a dig site, who have befallen the same fate as a similar bunch of Dawnchaser Taurens. My instructions are terse, to the point, and ultimately very depressing indeed:

No. Just NO.

Answer me this, Blizzard: why can't I rescue EVERYBODY?

I know, I'm in a fight just down the beach. I am forced to slaughter the Horde on a daily basis to support the Humans. I close my eyes and I do my job, even though deep down I would rather never kill another Horde in my life and retire to what is left of Pandaria after we've completely destroyed it. Therefore, when I am given a visual choice between the Green mob and the Red one I find myself not simply clicking, but wondering why I can't show compassion and let everybody go. What is really so wrong about being able to release all the prisoners of oppressive Mogu subjugation, regardless of their faction?

What would be even greater, with my game development hat on, would be an option to have two rewards for this quest embedded within it if I did. I'd go back to my quest giver and get my cash but later on I'd find another questgiver that would only activate if I made the choice to rescue everyone. A Tauren would meet me in the forest and thank me, would note that compassion in battle is a noble trait becoming only the most wise of heroes, and wouldn't reward me with gold or an item of armour: I'd gain new rep: Friend of the Horde. It would be an acknowledgement of my need to be fair to refugees, to protect the hapless victims of war. If I remember rightly there's something vaguely similar for moral choices in the Star Wars: Old Republic game: light side and dark side points. The key to this 'reputation' would be that it could be constantly changing, rising and falling, as you made your way across the World.

Then there's the kicker: what would the reputation give you? Because there has to be a reward, a carrot at the end of the stick... actually, does it always have to be that way?. If I had the chance to help both sides in compassionate ways like this, I know I'd not be doing it for any reward. I'd be doing it because not everyone in a war is the enemy. If there was to be anything as an 'incentive' it would be fabulous to have a questline like the one I'm seeing pan out with the Alliance forces at Lion's Landing, or for areas to open up in game you could only visit by making a specific set of moral choices. All too often I find myself thinking that Us v Them works very well when you're not emotionally invested in a game. After eight years however, an awful lot of people have a great deal to win or lose with their characters. It might be nice if finally it isn't just hidden quests like the Dailies in the Dread Wastes that we are left to discover for ourselves. The time could be right for some heroes to start helping put right the wrongs of their superiors. After all, if I can punch a giant bug to death on my own, what else could I be capable of achieving?

More and more as I move through the storytelling aspects of this game I'd at least like the opportunity to be given a choice to save everybody, at least once. Is that really too much to ask?

Friday, December 28, 2012

More than Words

This is what happens when you have a graphics budget :P

I can finally post this, mostly because the guilt I felt having not completed and sent my own contribution has passed (the person concerned now has mail.) I have to say, I was fairly stunned with my recipient's generosity (okay, am still stunned) and now I'm a) awake and b) reasonably coherent I'll be off to collect my gift from Landro Longshot shortly. Expect an addendum to the bottom of this post as a result.

And so: the post!


Happy FFW!  I'm Stubborn of Sheep the Diamond.  For your FFW gift, I doubled up.  One, I wrote you this sonnet.  Two, there's a little code at the bottom for you to redeem.  When you read the sonnet, you'll know what it is.  I hope you enjoy!  If there's any problems with the code, please let me know.

I got this idea from Bravetank, who so recently responded to Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 with an Azerothian commentary that was quite humorous.

Godmother's Sonnet

Striving for committed play that's still fun,
leading by her example, she finds joy;
Capturing every pet under the sun,
Anonymously she likes playing coy.

The Godmother's writings each are a gem:
the Thunder King's rise in patch 5.2
and her characters: P, E, K, M, M,
G, N, B, M, E, N, and W.

If in this jovial time you dismay,
stop to locate the others around you,
people who share a commitment to play,
who all love our "jobs" more than the queue.

For you a gift this (j)ocular season,
You've been seen by an Eye of the Legion!

Are you looking at me funny? ^^

Thank you Sheep, needless to say this guy's a very welcome addition to the collection! :D

Thursday, December 27, 2012


No bison were harmed in the making of this video. Honest.

Something I've eaten over the Christmas period has quite radically disagreed with me, to the point where I'm having trouble persuading water to remain in my digestive system. Such are the perils of Christ mas indulgence, I suppose. I certainly wouldn't recommend this as a weight-loss plan either, however effective it might currently be, but for now I should apologise for absence yesterday. Partly it was because of poorly sickness, but mostly because I was swayed away from Warcraft TO ANOTHER GAME, hence the post title. I am reliving my past.

Once upon a time, it was Sim City on the Amiga. Then Civilisation came along and for a long time, it is all I would ever touch. 'We Love the King' days became a thing in our house: in fact, my husband asked me last night if they still existed (they do, no special animation unless I've missed it in Civ 5) and suddenly we were off on a raft of nostalgia. Civ 5 was on sale at Steam and looking at my Twiitter FL this morning I know I'm not the only one playing (plus it appears a fair number of Guildies share my passion) My sun keeps telling me I need to have more than just one game to play, and as I was finally able to 'win' last night (despite the French being on my case for the best part of 900 years) I'm looking forward to a) not feeling sick and b) having something else to distract me from Warcraft.

In the meantime, I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas: I still have a Furtive Winter Santa Post to make (and to send, hoping for some inspiration real soon, brain!) but right now I think me and the Hippo Hot Water Bottle I've requisitioned from my daughter will be off back to bed for a bit. Stay safe, enjoy your time off (if you're lucky enough to have some) and I'll do my best to be back to something resembling Normal Service tomorrow... ^^

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Simply The Best

That's the Bunny!

The people playing this game, even after eight years, retain the ability to utterly amaze me.

That's the Darkmoon Rabbit IN MY BAGS. Late last night, after finally pulling the second Hunter to 90 (I'll need to level another class to max for an achievement) I came back to P to pick up the foodstuffs I'd mailed to myself to put in my Portable Fridge. There it was, except I had no idea it was because it was wrapped. When I opened it... well, I can tell you what happened in my head when I did:

Repeat to Fade.

I am well aware of who bought me this. I've never met them IRL, my only contact in eight years with them has been in game. To say I am staggered and amazed would be the mother of all understatements, but I suppose I only have myself to blame. The person concerned has been a regular reader of my blog pretty much since the word go and if I will write about this stuff, inevitably there will be consequences. I put off someone else from buying me a pet earlier in the week because I didn't want other people dropping cash on in-game items when they'd be better off spending it on actual useful stuff over Christmas. Ironically this isn't the only random act of Gift Kindness I've received (more on the other later in the week.)

I really can't thank the person concerned enough, and although I'd consider it a huge extravagance I'm guessing they'd simply look at it as yet another savvy AH purchase that will make someone Kermit Flail pretty much indefinitely, as at least one of those things encompasses what they enjoy so much in-game. Perspective is something I consider a lot when I write about Warcraft, and this is a perfect example of viewing something from two vastly different positions: it's not a huge money sink, it's the perfect gift, which (when I think about it in that way) it utterly and totally is. One item I never thought I'd ever own I will now learn and level when I next log in, and I will make sure I name him as a suitable reminder to the person who was generous enough to give him as a gift.

There is something about the Warcraft Community that is undeniably amazing: too often people like me focus on the negative (I suspect because often that makes for better copy) without remembering what inherent good lies in the hearts of so many of those who play. Christmas is all about the gift of giving and sharing, about making other people's lives better and bringing joy and happiness to others. I don't think anyone has ever been as generous to me in game, but there have been countless moments like this, random pockets of utter joy and amazement that have reduced me to tears. Thank you to everyone who has been there with me on this journey, and to all the players who have contributed to making this game something really rather special indeed.

Thank you again to my Guildie for the Rabbit. Never has been a small bunch of pixels so gratefully received, and never will such generosity be ever forgotten. Merry Christmas to you, and to everyone I am lucky enough to have as friends in game.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Everyone

Have you been good this year, young bankalt?

This really has been a rather extraordinary year for me: I've gone from utter obscurity to a regular audience and a following, which means I welcome this Winter Veil with more people watching than I really ever thought was possible. I am HUGELY grateful to everyone who has made the Blog what it now is: a daily chance for me to vent my (often grumpy) spleen where, amazingly, people often agree with my observations. I'm also grateful to everyone who's input has helped improve what I do here and whose encouragement has inspired me to push myself out of my comfort zone. Needless to say, I'm not the same person as I was last year, and a great deal of that is to do with the confidence the Blog has given me.

This would be the point where I single out people for particular thanks: the problem is, I have real trouble doing it, especially when there are so many people who regularly comment and participate, who point out mistakes or offer ideas. Everyone who does this for me is special, and without them I'd not be as rich as I know I am. Whether you are one of the hundreds of people who follow me via Twitter or one of my regular readers here, everything you contribute is read, and is important. If you don't speak to me and want to, you know where I am and you need only to say hello. I'm always looking for good ideas for things to whitter about, and I'm always willing to listen.

I'd like to take this opportunity therefore to wish EVERYONE who follows me a Fabulous Festive Season (whatever you do, however you celebrate, and whatever your particular preferences) and I hope that 2013 is as brilliant as 2012 has been for me. Let the year that comes bring you fresh challenges, exiting possibilities and the opportunity to face whatever obstacles you encounter with humility and grace.

Here is to the next twelve months of Warcraft, and whatever that brings for us all!