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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