I was on the fence whether to call this post ‘Questing in the Barrens’ or what turned out to be the actual post title (it pretty much amounts to the same). World of Warcraft is only a few more weeks away from its 6th birthday, a time around which human beings usually “develop a longer attention span while still preferring structured activities over open-ended ones”. I figured this might be a good time to look back at the joy and wonder the game brought us. Mostly at the wonder though.
The First Year – The Plague (2005)
“Everything is new and interesting to one-year-olds. They find pleasure in causing things to happen and in completing basic tasks. And once a discovery is made, one-year-olds want to make it happen again and again and again!” – pbs.org
Most players who experienced this phenomena will probably remember it for the rest of their days, proof that where humans exist,
suffering hilarity ensues. The Hakkar Plague Incident – as it became to be known later on – was a gamer scientist’s dream come true. A virtual plague was created by the game developer and handed to the World of Warcraft equivalent of a warlord, going by the name of Hakkar. The plague was only supposed to be a temporary effect, limited to Hakkar’s “home town”, Zul’Gurub and meant to prevent players from attacking the evil guy too easily. With the predictability of a Steven Seagal movie, however, the plague got out of control, escaped and proceeded to infect the entire population on several WoW servers. In a BBC new post, the editor of a popular WoW fansite at the time, Paul Younger had said that “the debate amongst players now is if it really was intentional although due to the effects of the problem it seems unlikely.” The effect of course being a complete obliteration of any low level player who contracted the disease. High level players were dropping to it, though not instantaneously like the unlucky lower level players of Archimonde, and the other realms that had become infected. While the initial breakout was probably the result of a coincidence, the following incidents on other realms were most likely a manual effort to cause panic and chaos. A sadistic sense to completely obliterate other people’s entertainment for an extended period of time for the sake of humor – I dare say that it’s not entirely unheard of among Blizzard’s loyal customers. But, we have to give respect where it’s due. Without them, it would not have become such an interesting event to read. Human nature strikes again! Even GMs couldn’t prevent that kind of error. And try they did by setting up many quarantines and attempting to localize the infection. In the end it took a server reset to end the plague.
The Second Year – The True Raider (2006)
“New discoveries are also facilitated by a two-year-old’s blossoming language skills that prompt many “why,” “what” and “how” questions. During the year, children this age pick up most parts of speech to form more complete sentences.“ – pbs.org
Dives of the Wipe Club is a true testament to old school raiding, dubbed the Leeroy Jenkins of 2006. This Teamspeak recording of Onyxia raid briefing – and the ensuing wipe – has gained internet fame not only for the colorful language used by the raid leader, but also for the equally colorful animations that accompanied it on Youtube. The video is nowadays best known as “More DoTs!”. Dives of the Wipe Club was interviewed for the popularity of the Onyxia Wipe Animation, by Wagner James Au. The “flowery” Teamspeak briefing was done by Dives, Guild Leader of Wipe Club. Dives claims in his interview that he is ‘rich’, which is the meaning behind his latin name. He states “Not in wealth but in spirit and mind”, so either he’s found inner peace, or perhaps screaming at people beneath him is a stress management technique. The epilogue: “Crushem”, was apparently feared into the Whelps, was not docked DKP, and Dives determined that evidently that one in a million was “remotely f-ing imaginable”, and let him off.
The Third Year – Networking for Gamers! (2007)
“They are learning to recognize the causes of feelings and will give simple help, such as a hug, to those who are upset. Three-year-olds can better manage their emotions, but may still fall apart under stress. – pbs.org
A study was held in 2007, to determine the actual social value of gaming, in which seventy percent of players tested were playing World of Warcraft. This study showed to every 3 players in World of Warcraft, at least 1 of them is attracted to another player. I’ve seen many facebook type sites dedicated to gamers, but who knew that the facebook of gamers we were already on! Most of the people who were determined to have developed a close relationship within the game had determined that they’d sooner share personal information with this person, than someone in their own real life. 75% of players made good friends inside the game’s servers, and an impressive 34% were romantically attracted to someone based purely on personality and entertainment, lacking the appearance, or age, or whatever other potentially judged offenses that humans are born with. Essentially, a place where one is not judged to interact with people of similar tastes and hobbies, but can a relationship truly exist without those judgmental sides of a relationship? Many people claim not to care about appearances, when they haven’t seen someone their attracted to, but are these 1 in 3 players truthful? Cause if that kid from the Mask were to arrive at my sister’s door, I know as an outside perspective, I’d have trouble not staring. Don’t get me wrong, that kid was a fine person, just kind of difficult to overlook the skeletal structure of his head. Then again, maybe it would matter at first, but most people will play together for years, before pursuing an actual meeting, or exchanging those personal images, perhaps by then, it really wouldn’t matter? It really begs the question of how many people claim World of Warcraft is ruining their marriage, as opposed to those who consider that time apart keeps troubles from arising in a marriage. I, myself, believe that having separate hobbies is an excellent way to keep from getting on one another nerves, and no one is going to tell me that someone is so in love that they don’t get under one another’s skin after a prolonged period of being around someone. As a human being, an individual, none of us are completely compatible, too many complexities in the human mind and the human heart to share everything with someone all the time. It’s a two sided coin though, after all the reality of the issue is, 1 in 3 people may be romantically interested in someone, but there are those who pretend, and there are those who are only interested thanks to a fictional avatar’s sexy dance, or mental images of their own dream lover. The fact of the matter is, next time someone scolds you for gaming too much, tell em you’re on a date! Cause with 1 in 3 people attracted to someone, you can bet somewhere in your WoW friend’s list, there’s someone attracted to you! May not be the one you’re attracted to, so don’t get your hopes too high! And no, deleting everyone but that person won’t make it true either.
The Fourth Year – An AI with attitude? (2008)
“When it comes to learning, four-year-olds are developing greater self-control and ingenuity. Their pretend play is more complex and imaginative and can be sustained for longer periods. They can also make plans and complete tasks.” – pbs.org
“SkyNet is coming to Azeroth!” – Joe Martin of Bit-tech.net That’s right folks, in 2008, an article was posted stating that the U.S. Army was trying out a new AI system in our beloved realms of World of Warcraft! This AI design was intended to be used for holographic soldiers for use in training exercises and battle simulations. Their goal by adding this lovely computer brain to our realms is to see if it can successfully emulate a human player, by adapting and learning, “…to see if they’re good enough to convince humans that they’re actually human, that can think on their own, have emotions and talk in local slang,“ said Dr. John Parmentola, the creator of this interesting AI project. However, talking to something you created and people talking to something a scientist created are two different things. But, perhaps the invasion has begun! This AI very well could have become self aware by now, and began spamming trade chat with fake links of legendary items! Or better yet, leading raids that can’t down Marrowgar in Icecrown Citadel! Remind me to make a guild later named SkyNet, turn it into a top end raiding guild, and get a realm first achievement in Cataclysm. Can’t you just see the headline? SkyNet got the first kill of Deathwing on Khaz Modan! Course, that’ll only be complete with a warrior tank named Tiionethousand, possibly an off tank named Liquidmetal, or Tiiex! However, for anyone who enjoys trolling trade chat, you may see a tremendous flaw in this scientist’s logic. He states “I actually interact with virtual humans in terms of asking them questions and they’re responding.” For those of you who watch the players of WoW, you may notice, how often do they respond to a question? Then again, if his automated respond is “That’s what she said”, or “Your mom”, then maybe it’s possible. If this AI is really capable of adapting and learning, is it possible that it’s that one guy in every raid that refuses to get on vent? He always screws up once, then suddenly never makes that same mistake again, sounds fishy to me! And why is it always a shaman? SkyNet should be updated, it obviously hasn’t learned that Shamans can’t take a hit.. Maybe it just likes the ability to get blown away and completely self recover…
The Fifth Year – The Back Alley of Goldshire (2009)
“I think this is a good point to drop the PBS analogies…“ – The Editor
GMs aren’t all powerful, a great example is the town of Goldshire, on the realm Moonguard, which has apparently become known for it’s perverse and inappropriate chatter. Consider how poor a place must be to be known, considering the usual chatter in trade chat nowadays, or The Barrens general chat, or the normal Goldshire general chat. It has been stated by CVG’s Mike Jackson,oh dear I hope that’s a poor pen name or the US Government adds a Paid Name Change as painless as Blizzard’s, regardless; Mike Jackson stated in his article that “It’s war,” which may not be too clear at first, however going over this story, it became quite obvious that this whole incident is being fought just like that. A GM Stated “–We won’t be showing up with that mythical crack of lightning– we’ll just be watching silently for any rule-breaking language and following up privately with the player[s] in question.” First of all, anyone who’s spoken to a GM about an issue in game,in which we contact them, you would know that they just LOVE to ‘appear with a mythical crack of lightning’, or ‘poof into dust’ when they leave, what would the issue be with having them ACTUALLY appear like this? I mean, don’t arrive without looking things over first, but once you’ve seen what’s happening and understand the situation, rain some blood from the skies if you need! Is it just me, or is this potentially a black op for the GMs of Moonguard? We all know the GM’s way, but in situations like this, would it possibly harm them to hire an extra GM to stand watch over Moonguard Goldshire during peak gaming hours, or at least during the younger variety’s likely playtimes? Considering some of the accepted, or perhaps simply the threshold of complaints they allow before acting on it, I’d volunteer for that job just to eliminate a portion of the key people who not only constantly troll trade chat, but invoke others into joining in.
The Sixth Year – Why can’t we be (more than) friends? (2010)
It would appear as if the 1 in 3 players attracted to another player has been located! So, at least four other players are safe tonight, as earlier this year an article covering the escapades of a lustful mother surfaced. A woman of 35 years of age, of which have been married twice, has five children, and is currently unemployed, ventured across the country to explore a relationship with the 17 year old she met in-game. Her name was Angie Jenkins, and one has to wonder if she ran through the front door screaming it, as she prepared to raid the teenager’s bedroom. “ANGIE JENKINS!” First of all.. She’s unemployed.. how does she take that trip again? I don’t know about you, but I’m only employed part time, and I can’t afford to take a trip to the grocery store unless it’s a matter of survival. Last I checked cross country travel wasn’t as cheap as other alternatives that I decline to mention in her situation. Another note, five kids, perhaps she should give the cross country booty calls a break? Personally, at three, I reconsider my choices in life. Evidently six was her personal breaking point, one too many I guess. On that note, what does one do with five kids on that trip? Mommy be back in two weeks, with a new brother for you? I tell you, men are often classified as the biggest of sex addicts and lacking willpower when it comes to that, but it’s quite obvious women may have a higher threshold, but they certainly hit bottom just as hard. Ms. Jenkins reportedly coerced the teen into exchanging sexual conversation, photographs, and inevitably leading to sexual intercourse in a parking lot of Target, in the back of a rented car. Really, Target? Admittedly, if you wanted privacy, Target is about as empty as a parking lot gets, but still.. No one shops at Target unless they have to, even they didn’t. Rather be without protection, then walk into the store and buy condoms. Then again, she’s unemployed, he’s sixteen at the time, and well.. Target is really expensive, for selling such junk. Sure she can afford to rent a car, travel from Michigan to New York, with a babysitter for five kids while she’s gone, but that last 11.29$ for the cheapest condoms available at Target was the breaking point.