As I have said in this and other places, I play World Of Warcraft a fair bit. Not as much as I did at one point, but enough that it has an impact on what little ability I do have to carry out other tasks in my life. Not that I give a rat’s bottom about that part, but there is a point to this that I have started to reflect on recently.
Before I begin to cut into, and apart, the meat of the matter I must make something very clear. The words from this point forward are not intended as a rebuke, expression of anger, or expression of upset, at the person who I will be referring to in a very veiled and minor way in this text. They have done me no wrong at all, and I want them to keep my feeling of such in mind as I describe the problem, because this is more about one way in which World Of Warcraft starts to remind me of real life. In a very bad way.
Now, as I have already made clear in the past, one of the few, if not only, reasons I even bother with World Of Warcraft is its social aspect. The ability to get into its inbuilt chat client and talk to people from around the world who might converge with me in terms of intelligence, perspective, or openness than is the case among the shitheaps in my real world is pretty much all that the game has to keep me coming back.
So for much of the past four or five months now, I have been doing the overwhelming majority of my actual playing of the game in a tandem with this one person whom I enjoy the company of. Give me all the shit you like about that, I do not care. But remember something: the people who are available to talk to in most of your everyday, real-world jaunt must really piss you off to an inhuman degree if you start having dreams that feature representations of the game playing person in question and fights with your sister about their worthwhile-ness.
But there has developed a slight problem in my tandem gameplay with them. Part of it is the fault of their more casual, cavalier approach to gameplay, but since that is a necessary component of their enjoyment, I am not going to make a fuss in that respect. No, when I finish explaining the problem as I see it, I will tell you exactly where the vast majority of the blame lies.
You see, in World Of Warcraft, players are expected not only to develop their characters up to a certain level, they are also expected to acquire equipment for that character up to certain levels. The metric by which this is measured is called Item Level, or “ilvl” for short. For most of the last couple of character levels, I have had an “ilvl” that is North of 300. The person I am in tandem with, however, has had a bit of a weight dragging their “ilvl” down in spite of the fact that in terms of “ilvl”, their other equipment is virtually identical to mine. You see, both of the characters concerned are of the class known as Death Knight. That is no real biggie. But one of the equipment pieces a Death Knight must have is called a relic. And finding relics during the game is a bit difficult to say the least.
The current problem is that when I am in a group with them, I cannot queue for a random group in the so-called level 84 dungeons because their “ilvl” is insufficient. This is because whereas I took great pains to make sure I had a relic of at least a higher “ilvl”, they have not, and are basically stuck with the same relic that they have had since the beginning of the game. In spite of making great efforts to lead them to places where they can get a more up to speed relic (and these are amazingly few in number compared to other in-game items), they still have one with an “ilvl” of 70. They have even completed a quest where one of the choices of reward was a relic that, although not meant for the class to use, had an “ilvl” of 285. And now I am unable to speed up the levelling process, and must hope like hell that my current effort to lead them to another is not going to be in vain, before I can queue with them for the dungeons that will in turn allow us to hit the level cap and get into better dungeons and progression and on and on and on…
I have one question I would like to ask of Blizzard. Given the frequency with which items in other equipment slots such as the helm, chestplate, or primary weapon are “dropped” by slain enemies, what the fukk were you thinking when you made upgrades to such a potentially weighing-down slot so fukking rare? Seriously, it is like trying to run in a relay with bags of sand tied to one’s feet. Truth be told, even though I was able to avoid falling into this trap on my own part by planning ahead, the fact that so much distress has arisen between two people who normally get along so well in the game over problems upgrading one… fukking… item… is just not on. If this were my company’s videogame and my brand’s reputation was on the line from it, I would not be hiding behind assholes who scream “RTFM noob” (and zombie groan) at this friend of mine. I would be kicking my entire programming staff in the arse with my heaviest combat boots on, one at a time, where all can witness it, and saying “this kind of unhappy occurring as the result of the way my game is programmed is not acceptable to me, fix it”.
But this gets back to a problem in my life that this problem in the game reflects. And I believe that it is one that many others experience, because there is no other way to explain how thousands, even tens of thousands, of people would feel compelled to march through a city in order to protest it. Yes, I am referring to all of the marches in favour of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, which are basically a way of protesting the fact that of all the thirty-four countries that are members of the OECD, Australia ranks dead last in terms of poverty rates among the disabled. Given that even America, a nation where organised and societal healthcare is still being demonised as “teh ebil” by very vocal factions, is above Australia in this ranking, that is fukking shameful.
You see, the relic situation in World Of Warcraft and living with a disability, even a reversion disability, in Australia, are very alike. One is expected to jump through a string of hoops in exactly the right ways at exactly the right times, and if one misses a jump, well, it is basically a lot of grief and bashing your head against the wall trying to make up for it.
Some might ask me where I get off comparing a society, especially such a wonderful, lovely, awesome (car you hear my sarcasm yet, normies?) one as Australia to videogames like World Of Warcraft. Even when I was diagnosed with diabetes and being treated in a manner by teachers and family that would leave me with nasty psychological scars for the rest of my life, I would not have traded Australia as a place to live for anywhere else other than Scotland. And even then I did not really know because I did not understand how much Scotland figured in me. And at that time, I would not have traded the videogames I was playing, whether they were the relatively shitty ones on the Commodore 64 or the expensive but high-spec ones on arcade machines, for any of the alternatives of the time, either. But things have changed a lot since then, far more than I believe my mother would say was the case between the time of her birth and the time of mine. And not for the better, I must hasten to add.
If you miss your hoop in terms of getting the abuse at school and home to either stop or at least back off to tolerable levels, you spend the rest of your life paying for it. Had I know that at the time, I would not have just started punching people. I would have bashed them with bricks, stabbed them, shot them, you name it.
I do not expect World Of Warcraft to ever improve in the respect I am talking about. Even on the rare occasions when Blizzard do improve any aspect of the game, it is almost exclusively years after the complaints have reached fever pitch, and usually involve words the like of which most players would never use in front of their mothers. That is why the aspect of being able to play with people who are not Australian, most especially not Queenslanders, and thus might have a chance of resembling something other than dog shit, is the only reason I keep playing in spite of such serious or persistent complaints. And that is all I really have to say about both matters at this point.
Therefore you are a temporary smell.