It began with an innocuous-looking e-mail from Blizzard Entertainment. "Come back for seven free days." Being in a bit of an early winter depression anyway, I downloaded - once again - the World of Warcraft client, thinking, well it would be nice to see those good ol' characters again and perhaps level the highest a bit further so I could see something of the Cataclysm expansion which I bought back when it was released (the collector's edition, even). So with a shrug and a lazy smile I sank down into the couch and logged back on. I was surprised to see just how many characters I had around a number of servers.
|His Holiness Atrosha|
My two main characters were still hanging around in the Northrend area, so I went with the priest and began doing his quests one by one in a systematic manner, quickly leveling him up. And by doing so, I found myself slowly drawn back into the funny, cartoony world of Azeroth. Rediscovering how everything changed with the cataclysm, getting back a sense of geography as I hadn't really explored Northrend thoroughly, you know. But I did not dare join a foray into any dungeon as I had to reacquaint myself with all the spell buttons all around the screen, finding out what everything did etc. And then, halfway through level 79, my time was up so I still hadn't seen anything of Cataclysm although I did find back to some of the fun that World of Warcraft actually can provide (in small doses).
|A Son of Darkness, Purake.|
So, not quite satisfied with the experience - as in, I wanted more: it felt good to be back, although my conscience is definitely telling me this is just to get an escape from the drudgery of reality, but I wasn't yet committed enough to re-subscribe, as in throwing money Blizzard's way. So I decided to create a character on a trial server (a trial server allows you to play the game up to level 20 for free). Having just finished Forge of Darkness and re-reading The Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Erikson I decided - for the first time ever, I must add - to make a character based on existing intellectual property. Usually I loathe meeting characters with a name variation on some fictional character, you know, like the countless variations of Legolas you eventually end up meeting, but I decided to snort all over that train of thought, since it's a ridiculously simple, fun game and not anything at all meaningful, and created a Night Elf whom I named Purake. With Purake I entered the fascinating, very Elfy part of the world known as Teldrassil (or something like that), where the background music is quite nice and where I ran through the quests but also actually reading the lore to try and get a bit of immersion out of it. With a two-handed sword strapped to his back Purake went about questing his way through the island of the Night Elves, then went on to Darkshore (how fitting a name is that, Erikson-readers?) and did everything I could there, quickly leveling up all the way to twenty. And then...oh by the gods, and then...I wanted more. Once again I had been infected, injected, dejected. I went online and paid for a month's subscription. And once again everything else has become tedious and all I want to do is sit and click those damnable buttons, repeatedly, living inside this cartoon world where characters don't even have houses, where life is linear as a ruler, and I can't understand what part of my psyche submits to this type of mental enslavement.
All this has led to me skimping on updating this blog with a new chapter, forgetting to work on a couple of stories, neglecting things right and left. It is an interesting experiment none the less, and I am curious how long I will hang on to the digital drug this time. Fortunately there's a lot of stuff coming up on the other side ("reality") that will force me to be away from Azeroth long enough that I may regain control. Ok now I sound like some multi-loser computer nerd with no social skills beyond clicking the "Accept invitation to guild" button. It's not that bad. Most hours of the day still go to entirely different things - it's just that my spare time now is completely filled with Azeroth shenanigans. For now...
Not sure I'm gonna level all the characters I rediscovered, though. I mean, let's see, we have Atrosha (level 80 human priest), Purake (level 20 Night Elf warrior), Dwarne (level 10 dwarf rogue), Benfred (level 3 human hunter), April (level 70 human mage), Celestion (level 19 human paladin), Cilisei (level 13 Blood Elf hunter), Slynt (level 12 human rogue), Esmerond (level 9 human warlock), Ashery (level 7 human hunter), Melwasule (level 5 Night Elf druid), Druknargh (level 3 Orc rogue), Grishnish (level 2 Goblin shaman), Toblio (level 2 Gnome warlock), Amaragona (level 2 Draenei shaman), Garring (level 22 dwarf hunter), Rhianwen (level 4 human warlock), Quentyn (level 12 human warlock), Glendirion (level 10 Blood Elf paladin), Karkarech (level 1 Orc warlock), Khurníur (level 36 dwarf warrior - my first character), and Myreië (level 5 human priest).
Phew. I do note a couple of things: I like making characters and I don't have an undead character nor a worgen. Oh the pain, the pain of it all.
Very soon: Back to your regular ranting, geektalk & hopefully a re-read of another A Storm of Swords chapter.