MMO Stories: Many Men Online Role-Playing Girls, Part 1
Back then nothing compared to popping a Dr. Pepper and leaving my reality far behind. Life was tiring. Unloading truck after truck after truck, stacked with boxes five high, four across, all weighing their own special snowflake weight, I wanted to do nothing more than be somewhere else. Drawing the blinds to push out the streetlight I would turn on my PC. The sound was always turned too high from the night before—and I take my headphones to work.
So, the repetitive happened: Ms. Epstein’s broom handle smacked the floor seconds after Windows XP faded into my screen. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry,” followed by her muffled reply. If I didn’t pay the rent on time I’m sure I would have been evicted. Whatever. “Goodbye Ms. Epstein, and goodbye to your broom too. I have more important things to do than worry about you.”
I double-clicked the icon, marked with an obnoxious “W,” and my worries were left behind.
Some people escape by watching YouTube koala’s crawl across a couch, or join a Tai Chi class run by an ex-Wall-Streeter who can’t help but mention how rich she is in-between poses. No matter who they are, they want a break from life, from the pool of obligations that can seem impossible to swim through.
My friends were too sophisticated for extracurriculars. They went out for dollar-Millers on Fridays, talking about nothing: TV and who’s waking up next to who, patting each other on the back for little accomplishments. They bored me. Maybe they had good intentions but the advice was bad. I don’t need a 20-year-old motivational speaker telling me my dreams are just around the corner; if only my dream was ad revenue for repeating nonsense Tony Robbins spewed 20 years ago.
I had WoW. WoW was my meditation, my zen; my escape from a 9-5 with no pension or hope for advancement. Loved those days.
I was a priest on an adventure 40 hours deep, new enough to not be jaded but old enough to say “I live here.” Those were the days. It was the longest period of time in my life I felt devoted to something.
Mystery lived within World of Warcraft, and she seduced me to unravel her world and make it my home.
If only it still felt new. If only novelty lasted forever we would never stop to create anything. Doesn’t matter.
Stranglethorn Vale was my latest slaughtering ground that night, and the first quest was controlling the wildlife. Pheromones were in the air: the panthers, tigers, and raptors couldn't stop laying down by the fire, popping out cubs all over the jungle.
If the people living in STV can’t handle the local fauna why the hell did they move to STV? The residents in Churchill, Manitoba can live with Polar Bears but an entire troop of Alliance, in a world with magic and gods, struggles to contain a few jungle-animals? Oh well. More gold for me.
I wasn’t the only one stacking up pelts. My virtual vacation was shared with other players, other people who also chose to stay inside on Friday night, either because they’re half my age, double my age, or my age and have the same outlook I do.
We had an unspoken bond: “Yeah, we’re here together. No need to talk to one another, just be here and now. Enjoy the grind, friend.”
Not all players are mutually affable. Nor should they be. That would be as boring as paradise. But man, it can be frustrating sometimes.
A troll rogue stepped out of the ether and sapped me. I was dazed and confused, wobbling in a circle and reading “kekekekeke” in chat: the only phrase that makes sense in English and Zandali. I couldn’t move; I could barely stand. My bar-hopping friends and I had something in common that night, except I would be waking up at noon without a headache.
His name was Lilskeet and his level “??,” meaning even if I could get out of the sap there’s nothing I could do. The troll was a troll too many levels higher than me. That guy probably waited 30 minutes to piss me off, just so he could get some footage for his slapped together PvP compilation, complete with Linkin Park’s Breaking The Habit to spice it up. Got to applaud his dedication. Got to applaud my luck.
Not that getting merked by a Horde is as bad as Domino's topping my pizza with bottom-of-the-bag bacon for dinner—and breakfast the following day. Getting ganked is half the fun, the fuel charging your paranoia. It makes every tree a possible death trap, every flip of the mouse-wheel a brave or stupid decision. Be aware or get killed.
Whether it’s real or virtual, the fight or flight reflex secretes a cascade of catecholamines to jolt the body. If it was just me and some tigers in an empty world I would have played Neopets.
But there’s a difference between PvP and getting fucked with: getting fucked with is annoying, and you never know just how motivated someone is to fuck with you. You can’t see the person behind the avatar, how much sunlight is left on their clock—or even if sunlight’s seen them that week—or if they had a bad day and you’re the poor priest who is about to face the consequences of their overdue credit card bill. You never know how people will behave until they do it.
If they’re really feeling edgy they might mess up your whole night, stalking you, waiting for you, trying to force you to log. And I didn’t have any alts to play on, nor would I have wanted to. I was in the zone, go mess with someone else. If I wanted never-ending trouble I would have blasted Ready to Die and seen how quickly Mrs. Epstein could dial 911.
Luckily, I’m on a team: the Alliance. It’s like rooting for the Red Sox. You’re at Fenway, it’s a beautiful day, sun’s shining, but a Yankees fan is yelling “BOO, Red Sox suck.” So, what do you and your crew wearing red and white, with assorted numbers from 1-60, do? You jump him, and you lay down the beat-down until Fenway’s safe for your team and your team alone. It’s a cooperative exercise more companies should use to build harmony between employees; it says we’re right and you’re wrong: patriotism at its most fundamental.
So, I yelled out in General chat:
Troll rogue camping me north of Grom’gol, helpz plz 0_0
“Please let some 60 be in the area.” There almost always was. STV was the PvP battle royale: unseen rogues hiding in the bush waiting for some unlucky—me—to skip by, hunters growing out of the ground with their arrow strung for a forehead. It was a cold war fought by invisible soldiers who took pride when they got caught. If I was a rogue I would have pulled the same shenanigans, but I wasn’t. “Please just kill me you piece of dirt and move on to some other lowbie.”
Then, he showed up.
His horse flamed gold but paled next to the coruscant armor flashing against… Yea, yea whatever. "Can you just kill this rogue please?" I didn’t have to inspect him to know the dude was pimped out in royal purple gear, which meant I was saved. His name was Overpwn and he lived up to it. With a single-swing the rogue was dead. I did the honorable “/spit[ing]” on LilSkeet’s corpse before the rogue could spirit-walk away.
I whispered my hero:
Thks. that guy was annoying, kept sapping me ><
You’re welcome! Do you need help?
Im just killing tigrs, pnthers, and whatnot =P
I’ll stick around in case the Rogue comes back!
OK, ty ^_^
Leveling went from eating pies and drinking who-knows-what in-between mobs to a two-man apocalypse. No mindless wildlife could escape us, or him I should say—but I’m taking credit anyway. I’d pop off a Shadow Ward: Pain to piss off whatever was closest and let Overpwn take the killing blow. “Oh is that the elite mob Tsul’Kalu ? Get shat.”
We saw the rogue once more as we stomped through the jungle (Okay, maybe I did most of the “/yell[ing]”). He stared at us between the trees near Venture Co. Base Camp. Overpwn mounted up to charge at him and LilSkeet scrammed. Nothing quite boosts the ego like intimidating someone through an Ethernet cable.
That was the first and last Horde we saw. Think everyone got the idea: “stay away from those two.”
While I’m not a fan of hand-holding in a game—I like a challenge—it’s refreshing from time-to-time to take the moving walkway less traveled. And Overpwn seemed genuinely nice: showing me where quests objectives were located, being patient as I sorted my bags; he gave me an 18-slotter for nothing when he saw I was struggling to pick up all the quest items. It’s helpful to know a tailor.
It’s helpful to have a friend.
After finishing the quests in northern STV I took a break to take a leak. Dr. P goes right through ya if you don’t have anything to soak it up with. And I didn’t want to stain my keyboard with pizza grease, or leave when Overpwn was taking the time to help me out. I had already thanked him again and again, and told him it was okay if he had to go. But he just kept responding NP.
I’m back 🙂
R you rdy to quest again. You dont have to stick arnd if ya got something to do >_<
Is it hard?
Hard what? Leveling?
No. No. Is it hard being a girl in the game?
“Holy shit. He thinks I’m a girl. This whole time he’s been helping because he thinks I’m a girl. Okay I get it. I did make a female priest and I did show off some hidden fashionista sense of style when crafting my character, and I’ve been using way too many smiley faces. Do I break his heart? Or keep this going?”
Of course I kept it going.
Other MMO fiction works from the author: