It was the screams that woke Xaki. For a moment, she wasn't quite sure where she was. A dirty inn. Yes. A dirty, dusty, hot inn. But what, then, were the dreams of notebooks, and agents, and fixing final chapters? Some dream, to be sure. She had a car. A job. She was writing stories about pirates and executioners. How strange. The cry came again--"The Crossroads! The--" but it was mixed with the sound of swords, guns, magic, and screaming. The last she understood. That idea of a world not quite right that lingered, and in which no one died, and nothing was solved with might, that didn't matter. Xaki wasn't in that. She was in this. She could smell boar: WhiteBait on the floor next to her bed, his grey-white hide covered in scar lines and puckered marks. Even asleep he was an ugly beast. Still, that was why she liked him: his ugliness suited her, complimented the lean, blue skinned skinned, dread locked troll that she was. She certainly wasn't pretty, and she certainly didn't need a pretty beast, like the tigers so popular with others, and which she considered a weakness for superficiality in others.
"The Crossroads are under attack! The Crossroads are under attack!"
Clothes were easy to find. Bow, sword, never far away. Her world of violence. She grinned, licked her tusks, and stepped out onto the streets of the Crossroads. A guard fell, his body burning until it turned black with ash. Across from her stood what looked to be a human, ignoring her, now. A human. Xaki hadn't seen one of them before.
Who was it?
Did it matter?
The first arrow punched into the human's shoulder.
The human--a female--turned and began charging her and--
"Shit, I fucking died." I leaned back, stretched. "That was pretty fucking quick."
I probably should have known better. Fucking game. I turned my character around and ran back to collect my body, and get out of there, because quite obviously I was way outta my league. Luckily, dying next to the town also meant that the graveyard was close by, and I could run back quick. Which I did. I clicked the resurrect button and appeared and--
"That fucking paladin just killed me again."
The term was called, I learnt later, corpse camping.
After about four resurrections followed by my immediate death, I realised that there wasn't much to do but wait until someone showed up of the appropriate level and killed the other players, and which would allow me to slip away in the confusion. If you've never played World of Warcraft, this was my first experience with the player vs player content of the game, and which I would have been safe from, had I not chosen to attack the very high level paladin currently destroying the town. Live and learn, huh? I spend about ten minutes sitting round as a ghost, talking with another guy who had made the same mistake as me and who eventually logged out and came back with his level 60 character to, well, save my ass, basically. Though I think his motivation had more to do with getting revenge. I certainly wasn't going to get out of there without logging out and changing character (and I don't have a high level character for revenge, so I wouldn't even get that sweet content).
This is my World of Warcraft post. If you have a particular hate for the game, you should have stopped reading long ago (sorry, S), because it's only going to keep going for a little bit longer. I've been playing for just over a month now, and I've seen the arrival of the expansion, the Burning Crusade, and I have a second character who is a blood elf mage there, but the server has kept crashing under the weight of thousands of players, so I've left her alone for a bit. I've learnt what teamspeak is. I have gone through dungeons with a party and spent my time talking with J and C through it, and had a good laugh when I realised I didn't have the main quest, and then discussed the South Park episode about the game. I joined little teams with other players from around the world to finish off quests. I watched players die. I saved some. Some watched me die. A few saved me. I have gone to a site called Petopia. I have gone to the World of Warcraft wikipedia like site. I've dueled (once, and lost). I learnt what the term grind was for. I have, even, seriously considered the fashion that my character wears, and have elected to keep certain items based on their overall aesthetic.
In short, I've given in to the whole thing, and I'm having a fine time, hacking, slashing, and shooting my way through a world with an ugly boar called WhiteBait as my companion. I am especially proud of the fact that I called my pet boar WhiteBait.
It's a strange world, in there, full of its own little terms and rules. A lot of it is unspoken. When you're in a dungeon, you're meant to divide the treasure out to classes, and as a common courtesy you don't take what your class cannot use. I've done it twice, by accident, and the second time, J said to me, "You're such a ninja," and I had fucking guilt for the rest of the dungeon. (The item binds to you when you pick it up, so I couldn't swap it back.) That I didn't even know who this other person who was meant to get the item didn't matter. I was somehow violating the good grace rule and it was like being a new kid in school: you want to do everything just right so that everyone on the other end of your teamspeak chat doesn't start hassling you for your newbie mistakes.
Still, I have so far managed to avoid joining a guild. J is part of a guild, and he reckons I should join, and perhaps, eventually, I will (he is part of a guild called the Spreading Taint, which is a cool name and makes me laugh for a number of reasons). He says guilds become helpful in the higher levels, but I'm just naturally against joining groups. There's a whole lot of expectations that come with joining any kind of organisation, and I don't figure it will be any different for World of Warcraft, though it's probably of a different kind. Every now and then I consider starting my own guild, and calling it, 'The Guild of People Not in a Guild', where the whole point is that no one has to do anything with anyone, except maybe wave as you go by (or it's just a guilt for me and my characters). But there's probably some kind of work involved in that, and really, do I care enough?
I'd just rather keep killin' and thinking about how my character looks.