This is just a quick note to myself.

You ever have someone tell you that you should keep a dream diary beside your bed, so that when you wake up with vivid memories of a dream, you can write them down fast before they vanish like a Rogue in the night?

I don’t do that, but this one time I’d like some lasting record of a dream I had. If this kind of thing annoys the shit out of you, I do apologize. I know it won’t make sense, it was MY dream. But I’d like to save this one for future reference so I can recapture how it felt.

I have been working a lot lately, managing crews of people cross-shift in a plant that has continuous major breakdowns. I’ve also been interviewing and hiring a lot of new people to build up my department to what it should be.

I have noticed, oh how I have noticed, that my posting has gotten scant lately, not from lack of writing topics but from time. I am at work at least 60 hours every week, so when I get home I spend time with family, play WoW and then sleep. I almost never have time to read or even browse the internet at work. Oh noes, am I right? I don’t even take breaks most days, and that was my prime blog writing time!

Shoot, I even bought a twelve pack of beer last Thursday, and I still haven’t had a chance to crack the box and drink one.

Now, when I’m in WoW, the number one thing I’m doing is playing my Druid. I am in ur LFR, kitty DPSing the boss, I’m in ur 5 mans, tanking ur fast runs.

With LFR being what it is, I am also spending a lot of time waiting for LFR to pop by farming and flying.

Last night, I slept after playing with Cassie (on our Paladin and Priest duo, which makes the dream even stranger to me), and in this one vivid dream, I was in Home Depot, getting tools for the job site. I don’t know why, since I actually use a local hardware store called Menards to buy tools instead of Home Depot. But I did used to go to Home Despot a lot for tools, so who can tell. It was a dream, and sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar.

In the dream, the employees at Home Depot were milling every which way like sheep, as they so often do in the real world. Suddenly, in my mind I knew it was my job to get people organized and to work at the tasks that needed to get done. I started assigning people to jobs, giving work direction, etc.

I stressed to each of them the importance of getting their tasks done right, because I knew that the Home Depot was guarded by Arabian Nights-themed djinns, spirits that would keep everyone at work at their jobs, imprisoned and unable to leave until everything was done correctly no matter how long that took. These spirits surrounded the Home Depot at all times in whirling lines of air and force, materializing hands and arms and claws and upper torsos of giant djinns to punish and grab and pull people back in the plant.

I didn’t grasp it while immersed in the dream, but what I had imagined was an orange Home Depot building crossed with that one instance from the Throne of the Four Winds that is all ramps and platforms. Seriously. But instead of floating high in the sky, the whole thing was on the ground and surrounded for miles by a black tar asphalt parking lot with crisp yellow lines. And the harsh winds of the djinn swirled and surrounded us, blowing hard and fast.

I was organizing people, bringing order out of chaos and dealing with all the people milling about not knowing what to do until I told them, when suddenly a thought hit me.

“Pop flight form for a second and get a better look at where people are at and what they are doing.”

So I did. I popped flight form, transformed into the exact trademark purple birdie I see on the screen every time I play my Druid, so yes I had a third person view on it at first, but at the same time I was the bird, I was the one flying, and I felt that sensation, and then I had a first person view as the bird.

For the first bit as a bird, I was focused on battling the air currents, clawing my way higher into the sky so I could get a better view on where people were so I could get them to work.

I swooped and dove to get a better view.

Then, while up high, the thought distinctly registered, clear as a bell, “I should go down and get a camera so I can take pictures of the view of the plant from up here. You’d normally need a helicopter to see this, this is cool.”

At that point, the dream broke from the established narrative, as I reveled in the glory of being able to fly as a Druid in flight form, and I spent time swooping and diving and soaring and climbing.

I spent quite a bit of time from there flying around, being aware that it was a dream but fighting like hell not to break myself out of it.

It’s hard to describe, but I knew without knowing, just bubbling under conscious thought that if I let myself think about how impossible what I was doing was, I wouldn’t be able to do it. I’d be aware ‘formally’ that it was a dream instead of reality, and I wouldn’t be able to do anything ‘not real’.

I don’t know how long I hovered on that edge of flying, and enjoying flying, but trying to avoid thinking too hard about what I was doing, and trying to avoid thinking too hard about not thinking too hard, stressed that I would lose the glory of doing what I was doing but shouldn’t be able to do, and so on.

Fortunately, before happy-time dissolved in self defeating double-think, I flew down closer to the Air Elemental Home Depot, where I saw some of my new dreamland employees being harassed by a djinn in one corner near the parking lot, unable to get past to freedom.

I swooped down, landed in the middle of the scrum and went into purple kitty form to fight it, yelling to my employees to run to the safe zone (which was, in my mind at the time, the break room, wherever the hell that was. I’m sure the dream employees knew.)

Instead of turning into a real catform, though, I turned into a Worgen version of night elf cat form, purple with cat features, but the Worgen half animal/half cat style, with my long claws at the fingertips of my furred hands.

I had another moment to register a fleeting disappointment that I wasn’t all kitty the way I was all flight form before.

I launched into full-on furry furious cat attack on the djinn, ripping and tearing at it’s form.

I had no health bars to gauge it’s vitality, no level indicator to know it’s power compared to me, no casting bar to tell me what it was going to do next. It was just it and me, in an all-out furball fight, my cunning and strength against whatever it could do, and I moved and hopped around and bounced, pounced, danced around it, keeping it whirling around disoriented, slashing and grabbing chunks of air and trying to get it focused solely on me and away from the rest of the people that scattered like sheep.

It blew at me, and it’s huge hands grabbed at me and punched and it tried to throw me aside into walls and off ledges…

And then once the people had all scattered away, I tried to go into flight form to fly off in a long range hop to get some distance and bring it into a more open area where I could really move on it.

I did manage to fly and gain altitude, fighting the air that pulled at me, but the double-think was even stronger now, and within moments the entire thing dissolved and I woke up enough to think, “Wow, what a great dream, holy shit I’ve NEVER had a flying dream that felt so much like I was really flying before”, and then I tried to immediately fall back asleep to get right back into that dream, but instead I fell into a dream where I was still in the Marines, and some of the people I manage now were in the dream new Marines and I had to bring them up to speed on working at the plant, and yadda yadda… NOT what I was looking for, dream wise, at all.

As an aside… looking back on it, I have to wonder. What would World of Warcraft be like if we had no health bars, casting bars or level indicators of the enemy at all?

Just how different would the game be if we had no way of knowing how strong our opponents were, or how much life they had left?

Would we see people attack an enemy, and when they tried like hell but started to lose health, and had no idea what shape the enemy was in, would we see some of those players break and run instead of hang and fight knowing the bad guy was just that close to dying?

Would we see more people face every fight as if it might be their last, using stealth and guile and trickery and cooldowns and every tool in their arsenal, even while leveling up?

How much does our knowledge of our opponents every move and capability affect our attitude towards the game? Would it be considered as ‘easy’ and boring to so many people as it is now?

9 Responses to “Druid Dreaming”
  1. Cinder says:

    It reminds me of a time when I was a noob rogue, in Naxx. I was asked to interrupt the cast on KT, and I asked “what does it look like?”

    Up to that point, I never had cast bars. They weren’t enabled by default when I started, so I interrupted casts by knowing what swirling arm movements the mobs were doing.. Needless to say my guild was stunned, and quickly told me how to enable castbars!

  2. Bristal says:

    FYI the ability to control dreams, or even to have a sense of control, is an extremely coveted cognitive talent. And fairly uncommon. Once, while in a nightmare, I “panned out” and became aware that I was only making a movie, although the dream continued. Since then, I’ve never had a fear of bad dreams, or had a dream that felt too out of control, without being able to bring the anxiety level down. Occasionally I have dreams in which I recall thinking, “this is such a cool dream.” I love that.

    Gives you appreciation for the strong influence the “dream world” or “spirit world” had on prehistoric humans.

    I’ve never had an extended WoW-like dream. I’m jealous.

    Great post.

  3. Mannyac says:

    Eh, the dream was just your subconscious was letting you know that you need to work on the next installment of Converging Forces… Don’t plan on anything but weird dreams about Home Depot until you do…muhahahaha

  4. Tammy says:

    I’d say that would be like playing UO. I remember having to ask the guy I was with at the time if I could take on a beholder because I had no idea. I love having health bars and level indicators. I’m too chicken to charge in without them but I do think it would be funny to watch someone who doesn’t know any better go storming head-first against a mob that we all know will turn him/her into Swiss cheese *giggles*.

  5. Sarabian says:

    I think it would be cool to se, but there would be other effects. I think if there were no level indicators and health indicators, then as you became more injured you would be less effective in combat. If you were at 30% health, you only would do 30% damage.

    Wouldn’t THAT make things interesting?

  6. caliokiegirl says:

    Love the dream. I had a flying dream once, and it was awesome. It’s probably what you needed to lower your stress level. I feel for you, and I pray that your job gets a bit easier. Remember you said it was a better job, so hopefully it will start leaning back toward fun.

  7. Herr Drache says:

    Quite the dream, Sir Bear! I dimly remember that I used to have vivid 3D color dreams, but haven’t had any in years (that I can recall).

    I think removing health and cast bars would be a little like playing WoW way back on your first toon. You know, before you knew all your stuff!
    Back when you thought that a skull instead of a number on that fancy red bar must mean “attack, it’s the arch enemy!” Or (more recently) when so many people thought “Hey, Gamon, welcome to Cataaaaaaeeeeooouuuuch!”

    I’m thinking – how about running a non-current raid without DBM? Even if it’s “only” ICC?

    I do think people would become more aware of their CDs, perhaps use them differently. Perhaps instead of a boss-health bar, there should be a bar that guesses the remaining boss-time-to-live if you continue at the current damage rate. I’m just thinking that some kind of indicator would be good for these “ALMOST, BALLS-TO-THE-WALL!!!” moments to edge out a win.

    As long as that bar doesn’t work like Microsoft’s bar. “You’re done in 10,9,8… 450920… seconds”…

  8. Tesh says:

    Flight Form is my single most favoritest thing about WoW. I’ve not dreamed about it, but it’s really a great part of the game for this old Explorer.

    As to the game design question of feedback, most definitely, health bars and such change how we approach a game. I’d recommend checking out Prince of Persia (the 2008 one), Bushido Blade, Ico or Shadow of the Colossus for some nice minimalist UI design. It really does tend to make the game more visceral, each fight more… immediate. Games really do need feedback so players don’t wind up just flailing about, failing to learn, but there’s definitely something great about a game that keeps the information to a minimum. It takes careful thought to make it work so players don’t get frustrated, but done well, it’s a more immersive and entertaining experience in many ways.

  9. Capn John says:

    No real dreams, just day dreams about VR and full immersion WoW. One day. Maybe not next year, or the one after that, but one day. And it will be sooooooo cool!

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