September 11, 2009 – 11:20 am
This isn’t a WoW post (well, it won’t start out as one), but just something that’s been on my mind this morning.
Today’s date is one that gets tossed around a lot. And, to be honest, it’s hard for me to hear September 11th without thinking about the difference that day made in the world in general.
But… this year, September 11th marks a very different sort of occasion for me in particular. One that was just as life-altering, though admittedly not with the same kind of global repercussions. Last year, at 6am on September 11th, my husband and I, our two cats, and as many of our irreplacable belongings as we could stuff into my compact car fled north for Dallas, under mandatory evacuation because of Hurricane Ike. Sometime overnight between the 11th and 12th he battered the Texas coast, with his (probably) category 3 eyewall coming onshore early in the morning of the 12th.
We had no power in our apartment for over three weeks, and our town was closed off by the national guard for over a week of that due to a sewage plant problem. There was no running water for most of that time either. And there are still, a year later, random boats in yards and on piers, missing boardwalks and walkways, and many blue tarp roofs.
And the effects of September 11th, 2001 are still around as well.
The WoW universe doesn’t show these types of events well – right now, if you believe Tirion Fordring, they’re rebuilding the Argent Coliseum every week, on the same spot, right on top of Anub’arak’s cavern.
But we’re shortly coming up on the anniversary of the Lich King’s invasion of Azeroth – of the “Zombiepocalypse” and The Longest Night – events that, in the minds of our characters, would be remembered (and which, unlike most dates in the history of Azeroth) have concrete days on which they can remember them. And, unlike most of the “holidays” in WoW, which are loosely tied to out of game holidays, this one has real meaning to many of our characters. They were /there/.
The Longest Night – the last night of the Plague Epidemic on Azeroth – ended on the morning of October 28th of last year. The invasion of Orgrimmar/Stormwind was on November 3rd.
How will your character remember?
September 10, 2009 – 12:45 pm
I was digging around, thanks to a few comments on Twitter, for the first content patch that happened after I started playing WoW. Turns out, that was patch 1.5, when battlegrounds and the honor system were released, Thorim Point and Revantusk were new questing areas… and when they introduced the “if you die and use the spirit healer to resurrect, you leave a skeleton behind on the ground” graphic.
It was also the patch where they implemented the ability to target a player by clicking on their raid frame.
Which got me to thinking about CTRA, and the old addons we used to use to be able to raid successfully. I was introduced to the game by someone that did a lot with addons, so I’ve never really played with a “fully standard” UI. Digging through my screenshot folder produced my old raiding UI – the one I used as a hunter and then as a priest in Molten Core/BWL/Onyxia.
And so, for your lols, I thought I’d share it. At the time I was running with a 17” flat panel monitor (not my current widescreen). Don’t laugh too hard!
click to embiggen!
September 9, 2009 – 9:50 am
When you walk through RP hubs in WoW with a FlagRSP-type addon installed, a few things probably stick out as you read people’s assorted descriptions. There’s a lot of /emo. There are probably a few characters of questionable integrity. There’s probably someone with a mechanical body part or cat ears. And there are a metric ton of teenagers.
Sexy teenagers. Flirty teenagers. Particularly female characters, who are all on the “edge” of adulthood but have generous, quivering bosoms and ample hips and pouty lips … but are still extremely slender and muscular at the same time.
And it’s not just the female teen aged characters that have this kind of weird disconnect. I’ve yet to run into any potbellied, balding male character that’s not played expressly as bumbling comic relief – unless, of course, he’s totally bald or shaves his head, but is amazingly virile and strong/muscular/tall.
Obviously we’re feeding into some “idealized” versions of perfection.
But WoW is a world with /magic/. And miraculous healing. And races of people that haven’t started aging until very recently. Where are all the middle aged people? Even Night Elves, who can be 10,000 years old, wouldn’t be “mature” until adulthood – not “mature” as 15 year olds. Knights from the middle ages weren’t fully knights until they were 21 or so, and that was after years of training, and that was a “bottom rung” knight. If you didn’t get yourself killed, you could expect to be an active knight for 15 years – at least! Shouldn’t we expect the same kind of “progression” of warriors (male or female), if we’re going for believability?
Why, in a world where magic is so crucial to everyday life, can a short, scrawny, unattractive dude not be extremely powerful as a magus, and as such, be happy and successful? Heck – with all of the magic available in WoW (mage, warlock, priest, shaman, druid) it should be the shining, epic homestead of the skinny guys. You don’t need muscles to be an awesome magus.
In short, why are we bringing cultural stereotypes about aging and beauty into a video game?
Because it’s easier? Maybe.
Because we want to play out fantasies of what we’d like to be, if we could magic ourselves into something else? Maybe (though I doubt that most of those teenaged female characters are being played by women who think that being a female teenager is perfect and ideal and exactly what they want to be like).
We’re talking about FlagRSP descriptions here – things that frequently include items and features that aren’t standard to the character model, like height and build and jewelry and presence of fuzzy mechanical cat tails or whatever. Why is it so rare to find an “older” character – or even just a middle-aged one?
Wouldn’t it be cool to play a 35 year old woman who, because of her 15+ years of experience with a broadsword, kicks ass and takes names – even though she’s also the mother of two kids under the age of 10? Do we assume that makes her a bad mom or something, just because she’s got a job? These are adventurers – they kick ass for a living, it’s their job. It’d make sense that they’d only get /better/ at it as they gained experience. What if, as Scott Lynch says of his Lies of Locke Lamora series, that “opportunities for butt-kicking do not cease merely because one isn’t a beautiful teenager or a muscle-wrapped font of testosterone.”
Or has our youth-obsessed culture completely forgotten what it’s like to be 16, confused about who you are and where you’re going with your life, simultaneously invincible and unable to do anything of your own free will, and uncomfortable in your own skin? (Dunno about you guys, but being 16 kinda sucked, and I’m rather glad to be done with that phase of my life.)
If we’re OK with playing an idealized version of teenagers, who are mentally perfect adults with their “sexy,” half-developed bodies… why not play an idealized version of a 20-30 year old, who has the better figure, the better muscle structure, the better skin, the fuller voice – AND more of a life perspective?
Disclaimer: This is something that irks me. It might not bother you. That’s ok, as it is how blogs work. I’ll be actively moderating comments (though I doubt I’ll have a problem since you guys are made of awesome), so lets keep things civil. Debate of ideas is OK – assumptions about, veiled attacks on, and criticism of individual posters and commenters is not.
*image credit RobinUtrac
September 8, 2009 – 12:20 pm
Fully completed post on developing an accent for RP.
Eaten by a power surge. And my recovery tool isn’t finding it – not even the half of it I had saved. I’ll finish this sometime when I’m not quite so frustrated. See you guys tomorrow.