My Compulsion is Infrastructure

Sev­en weeks after we start­ed our Horde side project (lev­el­ing being friend­ly to fre­quent paus­es and sud­den stops), my wife hap­pened to walk by my com­put­er while I had my char­ac­ter select screen up.

“What are all those Horde char­ac­ters?!” she said.

“Oh! Well, here’s my auc­tion house alt, and my grind­ing alt, and–”

“I thought this Horde thing was a side project?”

Blink blink. “It is.”

“Are we giv­ing up our Alliance toons?”

“No! But we’ll need sup­port for our horde mains, too.”

“Our L32 mains?”

“We’re going to need gold for epic mounts and–”

She did­n’t actu­al­ly say any­thing to inter­rupt me, but her look cut me off. It’s the “you’re miss­ing the point” look.

“Um… yeah,” I said.

She’s right, of course. With­out even real­iz­ing it, I had begun dupli­cat­ing the entire infra­struc­ture that I have in place to sup­port our Alliance mains. Craft­ing alts, auc­tion house alts, and so on. That blink blink above is my brain sud­den­ly becom­ing aware of a pat­tern I had­n’t seen before.

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Geeky Game Design and Automated Character Audits

My guild fell in love with be.imba and wowheroes a while back. Look, they have gear scores! Trum­pets played through­out the geeky core of the guild: “Final­ly! A way to grade and com­mu­ni­cate to peo­ple their rel­a­tive progress in the endgame!” For exam­ple: “Hey, you’re not ready for X because you don’t have Y score. Go hit some instances and hero­ics.”

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, some time cud­dled up to these tools have exposed why they can’t be used for this rea­son.

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Polytoons can be Bad

My main is my holy priest. My raid-ready alt is a pro­tec­tion war­rior. I like heal­ing slight­ly more than tank­ing, but hon­est­ly I’m hap­py play­ing either. I’m also glad to pinch hit in a dps sit­u­a­tion every now and then, because it means I have more time to enjoy my scotch.

After a lot of prac­tice, I’ve become good enough to either heal or tank for instances, hero­ics, and raids. The change of pace actu­al­ly keeps my over­all inter­est lev­el high­er. When I brought my tank along for the ride, how I was help­ing!

Or at least, how I thought I was help­ing. Despite the fact that I’ve become more use­ful to my guild and have more fun play­ing the game, the social ram­i­fi­ca­tions have made me wish that I had­n’t tried it in the first place. There were con­se­quences.

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The Pleasant Surprise

In The Incred­i­bles, Dash is the young son who can run and move very very fast, like the Flash. There’s a scene where he’s run­ning away from some mer­ce­nary vil­lains, through a jun­gle. So he’s zip­ping between trees and jump­ing over logs, but his vis­i­bil­i­ty ahead is lim­it­ed because the jun­gle is so thick. Sud­den­ly the for­est ends and there’s a tiny bit of beach before a large bay of water, with him bar­rel­ing towards it far too fast for him to safe­ly turn away. Dash clench­es his eyes closed, expect­ing to wipe out spec­tac­u­lar­ly… and then opens them to learn that he can run across the water’s sur­face. Sur­prise! He lets out this mis­chie­vous, joy­ous, relief-filled laugh, then zips away. It’s a great scene. (Brad Bird for over­lord)

In World of War­craft, my wife and I have had that laugh many times.

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