***Please note: anything in [ ] was a footnote in my word processing document.***
By the time I’d returned from Gamestop with my brand new copy of WoW, I couldn’t wait to start playing. However, my excitement was dampened by having to download several CDs of content onto my laptop, which could barely handle the game. Dear god, the lag was murder… [Ah, lag, every online gamer’s bane. L Countless deaths have resulted from this. That moment of dread where everyone around you starts running in place knows no equal.]
A billion hours later, my excitement was rekindled by the sound of a deep gong, signaling that the game was now playable.
Oh, no wait. There’s a patch to download. Correction: a few patches. Welcome, Angie, to the modern online gaming experience.
I hopped on the wagon towards the end of Classic WoW. [Now referred to as “Vanilla WoW.” No clue how “vanilla” be came equated with “classic.” Makes me think of neapolitan ice cream.] I’d never heard of “patches.” Hell, I hardly knew anything about computers, other than that they were fun pieces of technology, and made writing papers for classes so much easier. I learned that patches meant the developers had fixed bugs, and introduced new content along the way. Introducing new content was a new concept to me as well. Video games were complete by the time I bought them. Always had been up to that point in my life. But whatever. Cue the opening cinematic and by the end of it, I so had to roll something called a Night Elf Druid. [Roll: gamer lingo for “choose/pick.”]
While reading the player’s guide, I’d already decided to play the Alliance side. In my mind, that was the good guy side and I like playing the good guy when given the option. Rolling human was out of the question. I’m human in reality, so why would I want to be human in a fantasy game? Dwarf was out of the question, too. They were way too disproportionate and stocky. I wanted to play a gnome. They’re short and cute, and it’s fun to pretend to be short, since I’m so tall in reality, but gnomes can’t roll Druid, so Night Elf it was.
Creating characters is one of my favorite aspects of MMOs. I love to personalize my characters, falling in love with customization by playing Morrowind. I tweaked my purple-skinned, green-hair, pointy-eared female Night Elf into awesomeness, clicked on Druid class, and cupped my chin in one hand as I contemplated what to name her.
Naming characters is my second most favorite part. I bounce between comical names, like Shortchop and Handyhands (actual names of toons I played) [Toon: gamer lingo for “character”], or made up ones that have meaning behind them, like Bhastet (Bastet was already taken). I ended up naming my Druid Sekiro, after one of my characters in one of my books. Don’t ask how I made that name up. I don’t remember. I like picking words from a thesaurus and either moving around the letters to spell a new word, or create a new word that sounds like the original. Or I use my Apple dictionary and thesaurus, borrowing from the root word in ancient languages, like Celtic, Latin, Norse, or Germanic, and simplify the spelling.
Yeah, I’ve got a crazy naming method.
Thus Sekiro was born on a server named Thrall. I recognized the server’s name from the trio of Warcraft games I’d played beforehand, which had been a lot of fun, especially with the cheats /rosebud and /whosyourdaddy activated. Challenging games are fun, but sometimes you just want to feel godly and roflstomp the enemy. [Ah, “rofl.” The first time I saw those four letters clumped together, I read it as “raw-full,” rhyming with “waffle.” Somewhere along the way roflwaffle cropped up, although I’ve never used that word in my gaming vocabulary. I use rofl regularly, even though I’ve never literally rolled on the floor laughing.]
Servers were yet another new concept. I ended up on Thrall simply because Blizzard suggested I pick that server. [Servers are like rooms in a mansion. Blizzard is the owner of the “mansion” and you pick a room and start playing. Only so many people fit in the room, so that’s why there are many rooms, a.k.a servers.]
I have no idea what I’m doing, so okay, Blizz!
Almost nine years later, I can’t quite peg what Blizzard did to make WoW so addicting. It was fun and simple, yet so intricate. Players were rewarded for every little achievement, and achievements got progressively harder and harder as the game threw more challenges at you. The UI was intuitive, learning the game was easy, yet difficult to master. I seamlessly transitioned from game controller to action bar, from joy stick to using ASDW to move around, and killing enemy after enemy that spawned in front of me. [Action Bar: a row buttons that contain all your spells and actions, typically assigned to the 1 through = on your keyboard.] And every time I encountered another player with their blue-colored name floating over their head, a certain thrill washed through me. I was in an online world where peopled typed to communicate. No more ridicule about who people believe I really am because of my voice.
Sure, some girls might look at me funny for liking video games and playing them often but news flash! I’m surrounded by guys. Maybe some girls love being surrounded by guys who have nothing more than pretty bodies and pretty faces. I don’t care how pretty the shell is if nothing’s going on between their ears. There are a lot of wonderful men in the gaming community, intelligent, friendly, compassionate ones. Of course there are the acne-ridden, roly-poly ones, but I don’t care. They make far better friends than any conceited halfwit.
So what about the idiots in the online gaming community?
That’s what the /ignore list if for, duh!
I ran around the starting zone called Teldrassil, killing monsters and collecting items for NPCs too lazy to get it themselves, learning WoW’s version of aggro, a term which has fondly integrated itself into reality. [NPC: Non Playable Character]
Friends have wife aggro, girlfriend aggro, baby aggro, etc, and I can’t say which gets more annoying sometimes: in game or out-of-game aggro. [Means you have attracted the attention of something, or your attention is being drawn to someone or something.] Ultimately, I learned that by running too close to an aggressive monster, this prompts them to attack, and boy has this world mechanic resulted in some of the most comical and embarrassing of deaths.
Now, if you run far enough, a monster will give up and run back to where they were before they noticed you. Unfortunately, sometimes I get so determined to keep fleeing that my escape route leads to yet more attackers. Next thing I know, I’ve got a mob of spiders, gnolls, or trolls screaming, “Kill the Elf!” and dashing after me through brush, around trees, and across rivers. If I’m lucky enough to be near town, a guard or three will pull a Chuck Norris karate chop and one-hit KO said bloodthirsty mob.
Okay, so the spiders didn’t use any words but they did hiss at me, and gigantor hissing spiders are scary.