This weekend, instead of writing my usual obsessive analysis of gameplay mechanics I wrote… fanfiction. World of Warcraft fanfiction. Some people write fanfic about their characters in WoW. I’ve decided to write some fanfic about the player behind a character I saw in WoW during one of my first excursions into the game. Which means this mess is some sort of reverse… meta fanfic… or something. Look, I have no idea. Just read it.
I was on Garithos – a PvP server – when I saw this person, and the following story came to mind:
His mom starts pounding on the wall at the top of the steps and yells at him to go to bed. He yells back up that he’s right in the middle of a game, by which he means the computer is nearly done booting and he’s going to launch WoW.
He hesitates before logging in. He was kicked out of his guild – the guild he helped start! – because someone caught him swiping stuff out of the guild vault and selling it at the auction house.
This was an injustice and proof that most of the people in WoW are crybaby idiots who don’t even understand the game. He’s the the whole reason the guild is so rich, anyway. He’s the one who came up with the rule that guild members had to donate green items to the guild instead of just selling them. He didn’t actually do this so much himself, but lots of people did and the guild vault was overflowing. Donny was just cleaning it out a bit so the other members would have room to donate more items. Besides, it was going to be another whole week before he could afford his epic mount and so he really needed the money. And what kind of guild would this be if the officers had weak-ass mounts?
When they go on a raid, the rule is that all loot goes to the officer running the raid, and when it’s over that officer divvies up the loot he doesn’t want to make sure everyone gets their fair share. Sometimes the after-raid loot thing would take longer than the raid itself! This was work. He’d worked for the guild, and now that he tried to take a little something for himself as payment they kicked him out.
Donny frowns at the login screen. The whole guild will probably fall apart without him anyway. Idiots.
He’s been trying for the last few days to start another guild on his own, but he can’t get anyone to join. He’s got his epic mount now, but every time he logs on he’s got a dozen angry /tells from old guildmates, bitching him out. Instead of riding around Iron Forge in style he spends all his time arguing in whisper chat with a dozen pissed off crybabies that think just because he’s not their superior officer anymore they have the right to disrespect him.
Mom screams down the steps again. Her voice is starting to slur. It’s almost midnight and she’ll probably pass out soon. He ignores her.
Still, he misses the times of riding into Alliance territory with his posse and ganking lowbie players and then camping the bodies all night. Those were the days, man.
Suddenly Donny gets an idea. He can start over. He’ll move to a new server and start with a clean slate. Nobody will know it’s him. He hits the “Change Realm” button and scans the server list. (PvP only, of course.) He picks one at random. Garithos or something. Whatever. He decides to be a Tauren. A Shaman? Nah. Warlock! He hits “randomize” on the appearance and then settles back to think of a name…
What’s a good name? A name is like, your chance to say something to everyone you meet. You can’t talk to Alliance-side bitches in-game because of the chat filter, but they can see your name. He smiles and leans forward. He types in:
His hand hesitates over the enter key. This seems kind of long. It’s like… waddaya call it? Verbose? Yeah. He needs shorter.
Perfect! He hits enter.
That name is currently unavailable.
Damn it! Someone took it already! How come all the good names are always taken?
The basement door slams open again and mom shrieks so loud the dog starts barking, but Donny can’t even hear her now. He’s too busy trying to figure out how he can have his chosen name. Now that he’s picked one, he’s not willing to compromise his vision just because some lame noob (probably Alliance-side) swiped it first. Then, a flash of inspiration:
Yes! The name isn’t taken! He enters the game.
This is going to be awesome.
I was a level one Tauren Shaman when Xusuck appeared at the starting village. When I saw the name I laughed so hard I had to stop playing for a minute. Sadly, it looks like the character is gone now, but I remember him.
The thought of someone who wants to be named “usuck” is delightfully amusing to me. And in fact there is no shortage of such people in the game. There’s the childish insult, the lazyness of the idea, the infantile replacement of “you” with “u”, and the idea that the kid was so enamored of the name that he’d put an “X” in front of it instead of thinking of something different.
At least, I hope it was a kid.
Crysis 2 has basically the same plot as Half-Life 2. So why is one a classic and the other simply obnoxious and tiresome?
Juvenile and Proud
Yes, this game is loud, crude, childish, and stupid. But it it knows what it wants to be and nails it. And that's admirable.
Fixing Match 3
For one of the most popular casual games in existence, Match 3 is actually really broken. Until one developer fixed it.
The story of me. If you're looking for a picture of what it was like growing up in the seventies, then this is for you.
Good Robot Dev Blog
An ongoing series where I work on making a 2D action game from scratch.