Everybody looks at World of Warcraft subjectively. Even the journalists, who claim to offer their own, honest and issue free pronouncements of this MMO have their affiliations, those associations that are often indivisible from the whole. My husband gets increasingly pedantic when I refer to what I play simply as Warcraft. That’s a different game, he never tires of telling me. It is a myriad of experiences, linked together by a common thread. Last night for instance, in the course of a night’s questing in order to make ilevel 850 capes for my alts, two very different and affecting things took place. The first was the understanding that, after learning to live and help those pixelated characters with substance abuse withdrawal symptoms, I’d be forced to kill a bunch of them without justification to get to the next step of my Tailoring training:
‘Withered genocide’ is a phrase that sticks out, especially after the serene and beautiful experience I went through learning Leatherworking. Of course, it fits with the final spoiler of your Tailoring campaign, that the Nightborne have made deals with the Demons that extend beyond an addiction issue. When you have to go and work with the enemy, there are sacrifices that need to be made, and although I might have baulked at this turn of events, they fit as perfectly as the journey across Highmountain’s peaks. This is storytelling where you become the baddie, just to get what you want. I wonder if anyone else has even given thought to that turn of events, that this is the kind of narrative depth that separates good expansions from great ones.
Then, as I was looking for rares that dropped blue items so I could DE them for Leylight Shards, it occurred to me I could also finish some Enchanting quests. In the process of this, I discovered a quest I’d read about second hand and not quite registered, which involves two female Night Elf Priests in a relationship.
I am sure other people will correct me, but this is the first time I’ve encountered a LGTBQ quest in Azeroth. The joy that was experienced was roughly in proportion to the disgust felt at having to slaughter Withered to get a pattern, and I went to bed with that duality in my head: why does the Broken Isles feel ‘broken’? Why do I react like this to stuff that most people may never even notice, or simply ignore in their need to get to a certain point… why do I find these things important? The reason I found in early morning was beautifully simple: this is the immersion you now value the most.
Whilst everybody else argues over semantics, or difficulty, or the details in their own particular areas of interest, you are a storyteller. That is what has always mattered more than anything else, and to keep you invested in this experience is not simply the job of other players. You find reasoning and method in how the nuts and bolts of the experience plays out. Big, sweeping tales of major characters have ceased to have a meaning. What moves and motivates are the details, the little people. You never grew up wanting to be Han Solo or Dana Scully. Your focus was behind them, to the other people who mattered more. This is not about wanting to be seen as an aspirational hero.
It is simply finding means to be useful.
I think this latest epiphany will take a while to percolate. It will certainly affect the way I play going forward. The future is not being part of the larger whole, but simply finding ways to help without the need to be thanked or be recognised.
That is a far better way to play this game.