Thursday, July 19, 2007

What if the world began with a whimper, not a bang?

The greatest graphic novel of all time is Alan Moore's Watchmen, about a realistic world with super heroes, and the burden they pose. The title, like most truly exceptional titles, refers to many things. First is the obvious link to Juvenal's satire, and the comment "Who will watch the watchmen?"

Anyway, I'm kicking off this blog with a graphic novel for many reasons.

First, if you are turned off by someone discussing the brilliance of certain comic books, go the hell somewhere else. (BTW, the greatest work in any language is King Lear, the most profound religious work is Job, and you cannot declare an exemplar movie or television show... the genre overrules the media...)
Second, I don't know what blogging is supposed to be. But I have an idea about stories. So I will tell stories. (This doesn't mean I am proficient. Just that it is less shameful to do something badly while following the rules than it is to do something badly in complete ignorance of the forms. The latter implies disrespect, of the form, of the readers, whatever...)

So... Watchmen. Alan Moore tells a story. And one of the problems with telling an illustrated tale is backstory. The written word allows infinite digression. The comic that jumps back and forth will lose people, and proves exceptionally weak with introspection. The hero with an internal monologue at the moment of greatest trial, an exception. Moore's way around this was to include a text backstory, in the form of the autobiography of one of the "golden age" heroes, commenting on the new generation of superheroes...

Imagine this, one of the guys whose idea of being a good guy was beating up a thug with his fists, ignoring guns as the cowardly weapons they are... all of a sudden face to face with someone who can kill with a thought. As the Guiness guys go... "Brilliant!"

What does this have to do with WoW? After all, this is a WoW blog...

You must understand. I am a veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I know this damn game. I played the beta, I got the collector's edition, I've leveled most of the classes to 60, I've done a ton of end content. Then...

I quit.

(You know the tale... there was a girl, a guild, and then I got a job. I still have the job...)

When I got back in, I hopped on a new server, swearing to avoid mistakes made before. This time... pvp server. Anything else is like playing ps2 with an audience. Soloed a bit more, and while joining a guild, avoided getting heavily involved with them.

And I have come to the bitter realization. I am Renoobed. People in the game are like cyborgs from the future. They have lost touch with the simple beauty of the game, and depend upon add-ons and elaborate macros for their survival... and yet they are so much more competent than we who first played could ever have dreamed... so much gained, and everything lost.

"there are those that would have wept to step barefoot into reality..."

Case in point. I talked one of my coworkers into joining the game with me.

You must understant, this was not rape. He was asking for it. He is of age and an experienced gamer. I did not understand at the time the nature of his soul, tho. He played Diablo 2 for YEARS. He botted the game, and thought that that was appropriate. And then he joined WoW. Call him Ismael. No, wait, that's taken. Call him... Melvin.

He is an add-on junkie. Take away KTM, and he has no idea how to measure threat. Take away the little color markers, and he has no idea who to sheep. And he plays 4 hours a night, 12-16 on weekends and holidays.... he loves a new mod called Deadly Bosses... "It lets you know when Arena starts!"

He farms like it's sex. He is still complaining because I made him respec from deep fire to arcane/fire so he wouldn't be a burden in the arena team he demanded. (And only after I talked his brother, alse a mage, into a respec... my friend can handle my complaints... Melvin cannot deal with concrete proof of his shortcomings.) It took him three weeks to figure out that he could move to a different area and grind different mobs just as effectively...

BTW... he HAD to respec. He had a point in imp frost ward. A FIRE MAGE. His brother had a point in imp wands. Lord Buddha have mercy...

Did I mention it took me 2 months to get him to start using Scorch in raids?

K... so that's Melvin. He farms 4 hours/day... for fun. What poor chinese students do in sweatshops for survival, he finds... entertaining. He already has enough gold for elite flying mounts for all the characters he will ever have. Still... he grinds.

He does not know what talents a frost mage would have because he has never bothered looking into the frost tree. He barely understands arcane... because I explained it to him. In arena, when he sees a Moonkin, he shouts "Kill the healer!" Then he tries to sheep it.

"I hit that warlock with a POM pyroblast, and his life bar barely moved! He must have tier 5!" Melvin does not know what other classes can do. How to tell the difference between a fury or arms or prot warrior. A retri or holy pal. He keeps asking me to silent shot healers in arena... while my cat is red and stomping all over things...

Melvin has more than 24k HK's.

Melvin has all the non arena pvp gear because he pvps 16 hour a day on honor weekends. And Melvin criticizes me because I have yet to begin serious efforts to gear my poor orc hunter, Mabd. For Melvin... it is all gear. Skill is not a factor. Talent builds are irrelevant.

Melvin is an officer in our guild, on the Kara progression team, and, to the best of my knowledge since the old one left, our mage class leader.

I will not go quietly into this new world order. I will not be silent. It is time to take a stand against the creeping add-on silliness that protects sub-par players from the jagged edges of the cruelty that is WoW. All I got is a red kitty, three chars, and the truth. All I got is a red kitty. The rest is up to you.


Richard said...

Hi there,
I got directed here from Armsandfury, and I just wanted to say that I liked the blog.
Good ideas, especially about people not researching builds, just going for gear.
I played Diablo 2 for about 7 years, but dropped it last October when I first picked up WOW.
What can I say, Blizzard makes addicting games. :)

Dagashai said...

Diablo 2 was an amazing game, and I played the hell outta it for a few years.

But still... botting?

Doogie said...

The thing with addons is, many of them are useful, and many of them do make your job easier, regardless of your role. However, an incompetent player is an incompetent player, and they are all exposed in due time. I dunno about the PVP end of things, but on the PVE end of things, raids have a habit of doing exactly that. Some bosses are a gear check. Others are a skill check. Sounds like this fellow Melvin here would fail the skill checks, unless his guild was good enough to basically carry his dead weight.

Everyone in our guild knows their classes, understands their capabilities, and in many cases, understands multiple classes from having multiple high-level toons, not just playing with them. They read up on fights, they read up on their talents, they read up on gear, they know what they want, and they know how to get it. That's not to say we're "hardcore," because we're not by any means: we're all casual players. We're simply educated casual players, and knowledge and intelligence will trump brute force and handholding any day of the week. Any idiot can get 24,000 HKs if they spend enough time in the BGs. How many people can down Curator?

Not nine million, that's for damned sure.