Following last week’s episode, we come to session number eight in the series on the preservation of Vanilla. Today exemplifies everything that was explained last week. I am pleased at this opportunity to reinforce theory with activity.
I asserted a great many things in last week’s post. Perhaps an addendum is required for one statement in particular, that of:
It was not content that was lacking, it was the imagination of those who complained.
It’s important to underline that imagination enacted can, and is, limited by the toolbox that a given game offers. In a MOBA, for example, I cannot exactly roleplay to great lengths. There is no continuity between games, the matchmaking system makes it difficult to act out accountability… as gamers, we play a reactionary role to the design decisions in the game we play. It is from here that our imagination can, and should, take over. But the point I need to make here is that MMORPGs were designed to be social, to be a self-contained world free of political castes. Their inventor has mentioned this, black on white, on more than one occassion. In a true MMORPG, not MOBA or FPS or RTS, we are truly limited only by our imaginations.
Thank You, Prince Henry
In last week’s post, the main takeaway was that there are more paths of progression than the simple leveling, and that these paths can all be traversed in more than one way. Questing need not be the only way to level, talents need not be the only way to specialize, etc. WoW Vanilla has this quality to it.
If I needed to highlight one example in particular, that of exploration should be used. In an online world, this should be obvious. But in order to truly be exploration, it must be allowed to organically manifest, it cannot be a ‘go to location x by way of path y and report back the z activity you witness’. No. You must be allowed to get lost.
The Value Of Gaming
When I talk to non-gamers about this hobby, I ensure I illustrate the real-life applications of gaming. Well, perhaps I shouldn’t say ‘hobby’ as this might be too weak an association. A ‘way of life’ perhaps? I game; I am a gamer, just like I work out; I am a jock, just as I study and speak languages; I am a linguist. Yes, I think this association is right, I take ownership here.
People who allow games to control them? We’ve all read the newsfeeds, and it’s unfortunate. Perhaps equally unfortunate are the incorrect takeaways with which people conclude. It wasn’t the game that coerced the gamer into binge gaming, resulting in death. It wasn’t the game that coerced the family into forgetting to feed their child. It was negligence spawned from an addictive personality. Dynamite is a tool, positively useful to clear mountainsides, or harmfully useful in munitions to bring about mass death. But the dynamite cannot be blamed for how it is used. After all, its inventor never had those harmful intentions. Recurring trends.
The true value lies in that games are a nesting bed for real-life lessons without the risk of real-life setback. What do I mean about this? Anyone who’s ever been involved with the professions or crafting system in any 2001-2006 era MMORPG has by consequence picked up true, real-life applications of the market system. Hell, I’d bet dollars for donuts that an ingame tycoon at Eve can play any stock market to great results, if they aren’t doing so already. There is value here.
The connection I have with that of exploration is rather simple. I run daily. Every so often, perhaps twice a month or so, I take my dog out on a run specifically to get lost. The aim isn’t to run a personal best, it isn’t to keep the run inside or above a given duration. The explicit goal is to allow for whatever is to happen… happen. Anyone with the most modest of a cranium will be able to guess what kinds of results this yields: a change of pace (no pun intended), new running paths that become future favorites, a dog’s day made much happier with the new and strange smells of new locations, very tiring runs because of unexpected lengths…
Stimulate the minds of those who play through your game. Allow for exploration and discovery. Encourage behavior ingame that is good for life application.
The Play Session
Today’s play session was… awesome! It was filled with a multitude of highs and lows that any gaming session could bring, filled with intrinsic rewards like discovery of a new field and extrinsic like leveling twice in the same session. In the (coming up on) 8 years of playing WoW off and on, Vanilla is still fresh and showing me her secrets. In the face of a declining rate of level gain, I am pleasantly welcomed with a momentary boost.
Death count: (+3) 6
I felt a calling that needed answering. From where this calling comes, I do not know. I know only that I must answer it. It has been growing for some time now, but today it rings like a crescendo in my mind. It cuts my thoughts like shards through my soul.
I am to be a great, powerful warlock. The dark whispering asserts this. I gladly heed. The denizens of Brill have been freed from the terror of encroaching Scarlets thanks to me. The locals here at the Sepulcher have tasked me with liberating their forest of the abominations that this Arugal has created. I am thwarted in my herbalism progression by an evil force that is jealous of me. My demons are spiteful of my power and seek to undermine my growth.
They only feed me, all these facts. I am naive no more.
I have been diligent in my focus on herbalism. I have pledged hours of daylight to ensuring I am outfitted with the latest and trendy potions here in Azeroth. I won’t go without the elixirs that will boost my natural attunement to the shadows. There have been others, apparently, who seek access to the potions that will rightfully be mine. I am a day late, two copper short, of collecting the Briarthorn that was available last time my slumber ceased. My resolve is further strengthened.
I have grown accustomed to Kal’s antics. He is just a pawn to me now. I sought friendship with a demon, and I was wrong. He is a peon, he is a crutch, he is a servant. I am prepared now for his moments of disobedience. I am not phased. He is welcome when he is around, but he isn’t missed when he isn’t. I don’t get angry, I just punish through soul shard containment.
The cold, unwelcoming winds of this land ceased for a moment today. I found myself in a glade that only now, in undeath, have I walked. Prior to my Transformation, I cannot say I stood in the grounds that I stood in today. In the bittersweet of undeath, I tasted freshness for the first time since my Awakening. This forest is full of wonder. But alas, not all is Silverleaf and Bruiseweed around here. Azeroth is at war. The evil I must fight will not rest if I stop and smell the Mageroyal. I take my moment of discovery and hold it close, but locked away. I will need a place of solitude to find myself in the upcoming trials that face me.
However in these trials, I will have my cherished Trolls Blood potions. I gained two levels in power, I can gather all that the Forest offers, I have a fresh stash of my precious, my Trolls Blood. I have grown, the power is miiine.
Series: Vanilla Preservation Project