Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mouthful of Medulla

For a crazy few days, the entire World (of Warcraft) was shaken by a plague that sparked a zombie invasion. No corner of Azeroth was safe, and by the end Shattrath and Orgrimmar were littered with corpses. In fact, you were 100 times more likely to die in a formerly-safe major city than you were to die out in the wild.

Sure, this could be annoying if you were just trying to quest. It could also be awesome if you have enough sense of humor to think vomiting on someone then exploding into a dozen zombie chunks would be fun.

I have a lot of respect for people who can be mature about not liking the event.

I personally found the end results of the event annoying. My bank alt died every time I tried to use him. My lowbies couldn't hand in their quests. Shattrath was nearly unusable this weekend.

Despite the fact that the event was annoying, and despite the fact that a few times I had to put myself in check from getting angry about a corpse run, I'm really glad the event happened.

Early on, I had a lot of fun being a zombie and converting players, though by the end of it I had suffered so much that I couldn't bear to bring it on other people and would just explode in some out-of-the-way corner. I'm happy for everyone who had fun with it. I don't blame anyone, since they were playing in the spirit of the game and within the rules of the event.

However, there were some for whom a 2-minute delay for the flight master, or a brief corpse walk back to their bank alt WOULD NOT STAND. The Cesspool (aka WoW General Forums) was . . . heh heh, plagued . . . with posts from people demanding that the event end NOW and threatening to cancel their accounts. They are free to have their opinion, and I understand why they feel that way even though I see it as an overreaction. When people express displeasure over the event in chat, I'm not that guy who tells them to stop QQing.

Until one member of my guild monopolized guild chat for an entire day doing nothing but complaining about the event. And he wasn't just complaining. He was violently spewing haterade all over our shoes. He could not stand that other players could force him to become a part of the event. That loss of control didn't just drive him crazy, it drove him to a level of nerd rage I've never seen before in my life. He just kept yammering angrily about it, in long paragraphs, making guild chat unusable for hour after hour. He was typing so much I found it hard to believe he had time to do all of the things he was complaining about. At first, those who loved the event would give polite counterarguments. But after a few hours, they started alternating between arguing with him and teasing him. Nerds who get that upset are always the best targets for griefing, after all. Eventually, this escalated to a point where he was having an open, cursing, screaming argument in guild chat with a few of the event's proponents, accusing THEM of forcing him to be part of the event, labeling them as griefers for daring to disagree with him. He got so full of G.N.E.R.D.S. that he /gquit over it.

He was the type that always needed to be right. He was known for picking unconventional specs and claiming they were better than the cookie-cutter specs, despite reams of theorycraft and real-world data proving him wrong. He'd specialize as an avoidance tank (terrible idea for raids...you wanted to stack stam and armor), or a Healing Touch balance/resto druid hybrid (vastly inferior to full resto for healing...unless you asked him and listened to his cherry-picked theorycrafting). He just needed to be special and right all the time. I imagine that's probably a common trait among people who vocally HATE the event.


What I LOVE about the event is the way it disrupted the status quo. It changed things. It broke up the routine of even the most insular control freak. YOU COULD NOT IGNORE IT. That's why it was awesome. I'm pissed as hell at the Lich King for messing with our shit, and I'm looking forward to charging the frozen throne shoulder to shoulder with the rest of my guild.

It could not have done it without the annoyances. It wouldn't have worked otherwise. That's why I'm also not mad at blizz for doing it. I'm actually impressed. They, for the first time, found a truly effective way to change things in an MMO without breaking the game.

Though I think they stopped it at the right time, I'm very disappointed that there was no immediate follow-up. Blizzard has really dropped the ball. The plague had reached a climax, and instead of capitalizing on that excitement with the next step of the Lich King's assault, they just let the event...fizzle.

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