***Please note: anything in [ ] was a footnote in my word processing document.***
Making friends all over the globe is one thing, but discovering who you know in real life plays the same game is another. It’s even more fun and amusing when it’s one of your bosses. At one point I worked for a local Friendly’s restaurant, and my boss, Ed, whom I fondly called “Sir Ed”, revealed that he also plays WoW.
How cool is that? I actually know someone else who plays, besides my brother!
Shortly after my brother got me into WoW, he ended up stopping playing. He got bored or something, or perhaps he was too busy with college.
Really, Pete? Really? You get me into this super awesome game, and then you bail on me?
Anyway, Ed played Horde side on a server called Runetotem, which meant I had to create another character if I wanted to spend time on WoW with him. Not seeing any sufficient reason to decline, I decided to give Horde side a try and rolled a male Orc Warrior, naming him Whacksalot.
In my defense, I didn’t know that “whacking off” was alternate lingo for jerking off. I was a green meanie with a giant, two-handed sword, and I whacked a lot of things upside the head with my weapon.
Okay, that sounded dirty, too. But another piece of defense is that I was (and still am) a terribly naive person, nor was I yet corrupted at age twenty. I lacked a gutter brain; however, my WoW friends cheerfully obliged to help yank my brain into the gutter with theirs. And oh boy, losing my virginity is WoW-related, and I don’t mean cyber sex. I mean the real deal, but I’ll tell you about that later, and yes you can laugh now.
My Orc’s name was met with lots of laughs at my expense but no one wanted me to change it, not even Blizzard, who could forcibly make you change your name if anyone found it offensive. I’ve reported only a handful of names that were derogatory towards vaginas, bragged about raping, or were general crude, like “Suckmycock.”
With all the options available, some kids can’t think of anything else but their penis.
There’s one instance where a penis joke name made me laugh. It was a fellow guildie who’d named a toon Pringlescan. I never thought anything of it beyond assuming the father loved Pringles. The son was also in our guild and I forget how his father’s toon’s name came up in the Ventrilo (Vent) conversation—might’ve been talking about how we named our toons—but at one point I asked the son about his father’s toon named Pringlescan. [Ventrilo/Vent: program that allows verbal chatting through computers with the aid of speakers/headset and a mic.]
I could hear the grimace in the teenager’s voice when he said his father explained, “He says he’s as big as a Pringles can,” meaning his male member.
I know I laughed, and I probably said something like, “You poor thing.” However, I had two unspoken thoughts that followed. One: must be good to be his wife. And two: I wonder what that looks like.
Playing on my former boss’s server led me to making good friends with two people named Kroty, an Undead rogue, and Doominatrix, whom I believe was a warlock of which race I’ve now forgotten. I could be totally wrong about the warlock part; I just remember her main character’s name, her voice, and how close a friend she was to Kroty.
Those two were best friends and I became fast friends with both of them. They helped me collect decent gear, catch up in levels, and we had fun conversations over Teamspeak (TS), the communication software that preceded Vent.
I didn’t have TS when I first met them but I quickly acquired it because Doom hated typing to communicate. Doom’s real life name is Rose, a Canada native and fellow Vin Diesel fan who was pushing through the wake of a tough divorce. I remember one day she had to walk away from her computer because her ex had come over, and when she finally returned, she was so freaked out. The way he’d talked to and looked at her had driven her to get a restraining order against him. He’d stared at her like he was premeditating harm and even said things that alluded to such violence. I supported her move for the restraining order and hoped the guy would never try to come back.
And Kroty? Boy was he pissed. I believe he’s from the United States, but at the very least I know he lived too far away to do anything to alleviate Rose’s situation.
She and Kroty made me feel very welcome in their guild, which I helped name. Back on Thrall, I was in a guild called Legion of Steel, and I’d just joined Runetotem in time for Rose’s guild to fall apart. But, just like her failed marriage, she was determined to move forward and move on by forming a fresh guild full of loyal friends. To hell with the selfish bastards who created guild drama.
I could fill a book explaining guild drama but all I’ll say right now is that WoW guild drama affects people equally as much as drama in the work place or at home and the likes. Yes, we’re all playing a video game and all we have to do is log off to get away from it but, Orcs, Elves, and Undead aside, it’s still a human environment where people act human behind all those pixels, kindly or cruelly.
Even though I’d come to Runetotem to play with Ed, he and I were hardly ever logged on at the same time, leaving me plenty of time to become good friends with Doom and Kroty. They both called me Whack (short for Whacksalot), instead of Angela, and they didn’t want me to rename my character either. I also got teased for not knowing the alternate lingo, but it was all in good fun.
I can still recall the day where I helped Doom form a new guild, but before that happened, she was struggling to come up with a name for it. All she knew was that she wanted it to have the word “sin” in it. I told her about being in Legion of Steel, so why not Legion of Sin? Had a nice ring to it. She liked it as well but I believe she deliberated on that and other prospective names for a bit before settling on my suggestion. I was flattered and she was thankful, and we both laughed as we watched Kroty taunt an Alliance character who had brashly entered the zone called The Barrens, an African-style plain lined with sandstone mountains. At the southern end lay two lifts that carried people to and from an adjoining zone, and near the lifts was where we encountered the lone Alliance player, who was somewhere in the 30’s in levels. Kroty and Doom were both 60, the max level, meaning they could easily kill the intruder. Doom wasn’t interested but Kroty saw an opportunity for some playful intimidation. He would pop in and out of stealth mode, trying to scare the intruder, and even Sapped him I don’t know how many times. [Sap: Rogue ability that stuns a target for a period of time, rendering them unable to act until either Sap wears off or they get attacked.] I don’t recall Kroty actually killing the intruder; just him saying, “C’mon! Go! Go!” over TS as he mock-charged and tried to make the guy jump off the cliff. The Alliance player couldn’t safely use the life because it was Horde-controlled and manned by guards who would attack him on sight.
Lots of laughter over TS ensued but, I can’t remember if Kroty got the intruder to jump to his death. It sounds like a morbid want, but that’s the beauty of video games. People can recover from death. Sure, there are penalties, but only temporary ones.
For a while I tried juggling playing on two servers but it became too much and I returned to Thrall. I didn’t delete Whacksalot; just left him to collect dust. I forget what ultimately motivated me to go back to Alliance but I do know I never felt truly at home on Horde side. I gravitated towards Alliance.
My Horde toon became a distant memory until I saw my former boss working at a different Friendly’s. He’d been transferred. And that day, I received the worst news I’d ever heard in my MMO life: Rose had been murdered by her ex husband.
I stared wide-eyed at Ed, mouth ajar and everything. Rose dead? Doominatrix no more? WoW friends don’t die.
“Do you remember Kroty?” Ed said.
“Yeah.” That lovable rogue. Who could forget him? But… Rose dead?
“He’s taking it really hard. He hasn’t logged on in a long time. He made a web page dedicated to Rose. He even spoke with her family.”
I remember leaving Friendly’s in a confused daze. My brain didn’t know how to process Rose’s death. Murder was supposed to happen in dark corners, far away from my personal happy bubble; not to people I knew. To this day I can still recall her voice, her saying, “Hey, Whack” in a lightly accented voice that carried an air of authority behind it. I didn’t know what to make of the fact that I’d never hear her say hi to me again.
My friends don’t get murdered. This can’t be right…
Oh, but it was. I read Kroty’s memorial page, learned more about Rose, along with their deep friendship. It was on that site that I learned that she shared my celebrity crush on Vin Diesel, and learning we had a bit more in common made her loss sting all the more.
I don’t know for how long I tried, but I logged onto Runetotem every day, hoping to talk to Kroty again and give him my condolences and support. I eventually succeeded and boy was he still feeling down. And it was at that point I realized I had no frickin’ clue how to console the mourning. He was so lost and devastated but he was thankful for my support. I missed his joviality. I passed on what words of solace I could, even though it felt so bizarre to log back onto Runetotem, knowing Doominatrix wasn’t ever going to log in again.
I believe Kroty ended up taking care of Rose’s account. Beyond that, I only remember logging back onto Runetotem now and then, until someone informed me that Kroty had stopped playing WoW.