Friday, March 06, 2009

Misinterpreted Intentions

Disclaimer: This is another World of Warcraft post. However, the post is less about the game itself than the delicate web of human interaction it reflects.
I've been playing World of Warcraft for quite some time now. As a result, I've met a lot of people from all over. Some are total jerks, to be fair, but a lot more of them are actually very nice.
Wednesday night I was invited to participate in a raid of the capitol cities of the opposing faction. Wednesday night is not a raid night for my guild, so I jumped at the chance.
One of the latest features of the game is an Achievement system which tracks all the characters and grants points for doing specific things in-game.
Get a haircut? 10 points.
Complete a dungeon? 10 points.
Defeat the final big bad guy in a dungeon while juggling lemurs? Another 10 points.
There are achievements related to killing the leaders of the opposing faction. Each is worth 10 points for a total of 40 -- Plus there is another achievement for defeating all 4 which is 20 points and a personal letter from the leader of the Horde including a super-fast awesome exclusive riding bear. 60 points and a freaking bear? I'm so in.
The difficulty in this achievement is that once you start attacking one city, the opposing players group up at the next one to try to stop you. This makes each kill increasingly more difficult when you try to do them all in the same night.
However, we had a pretty good group of forty semi-dedicated Player-versus-Player specialists. Most of them I did not know, but I happened to be grouped with Vallyra.
Vallyra and Webinara were in the same guild for over a year. From voice chat, I learned that she is an actual girl from New Zeland who plays on a US East Coast server because her work schedule is weird or something. Raiding at level 70 with Vallyra and voice chat is a lot like having Olivia Newton-John tell you, "Stop standing in the fire, n00b!" When our guild dissolved we ended up in different ones and really only see each other in passing now, though we usually stop to offer a wave and right-click > Inspect for the opportunity to offer congratulations on new epic awesome super gear.
Vallyra had attempted this achievement before and only needed one city to complete it.
I insisted that we hit that city first so that she could leave afterward and do her thing.
I will spare you a complete description of just how, specifically, we obliterated the human King of Stormwind and sum it up by saying that it was over remarkably quickly. He did not suffer and we teleported away to leave the citizens of Stormwind to grieve with dignity.
Vallyra did not leave, though. She opted to help us out at the next city.
Staging 40 people for a long ride into hostile territory takes a while and the average WoW player is short of attention span, so there was a lot of goofing around at our start point. Players would dance and duel each other and cook weird things and flirt with animals. Typical stuff, really.
Anyway, Vallyra challenged Webinara to a duel.
Webinara has been challenged to plenty of duels and she has always declined them. I always assume that the person doing the challenging must have some reason for this confidence and being defeated in a duel just sounds not fun to me.
But Vallyra is someone I would consider a friend, and I felt certain that this challenge was just a good-natured way to spend a few minutes waiting for the others to arrive.
For the first time ever in years of playing, I accepted a request to duel.
Vallyra is nice enough, but I'm not about losing.
Webinara unleashed the full arsenal of her abilities as though Vallyra had personally insulted her parentage.
Having similar gear quality, I expected us to be pretty evenly matched. It did not work out that way at all.
From her first attack, Webinara mercilessly ground Vallyra into the dust. Webinara took absolutely no damage at all, but dished out a ton. Explosive arrows, poisonous arrows, flaming traps, angry insects, literally every trick in Webinara's book was triggered with a few keystrokes.
And winning a duel? 10 points.
The hardcore Player-versus-Player crowd around Webinara laughed since most of them got that particular Achievement within minutes of the implementation of the Achievement system.
I was still feeling pretty good. Webinara had overcome a literal challenge. And 10 points is 10 points.
Then I got the whisper from Vallyra,"Oops. I meant to right-click you and select "follow" because I needed to step away for a sec and I accidentally hit "duel" instead."
I possibly feel worse about earning those 10 points than any other 10 points I've ever gotten.
Even worse than the 10 for blowing up a bunch of turkeys or the 10 for poisoning a virtual well.
But the bear Webinara got in the mail about an hour later did a lot to make me feel better.

1 comment: said...

Jealous - really want that bear