I’m not actually a blogger anymore, I just narrate the adventures of a nine year old WoW raider. How did my life take this turn?
I think the way this has happened is, now that he is level 85, my mind has been turning to things we can do together, a Bear tank and a powerful melee DPS. And when you factor in Cassie, who can get 30k DPS out of her Enhancement Shaman and also provide emergency heals, well then, what might we try?
So, as I said in the last post, we’re now doing the Glory of the Hero.
We’re not just dabbling our toe in those Vrykul-filled waters, either. We finished the handful I needed (including a feral Druid solo of the Incredible Hulk, that was fun figuring out), and we have a few more to do for Cassie to get her Red Proto-Drake, and from there, yes, we have committed to work together to get them all done for Alex as well.
I can certainly understand it. He’s got mount collecting fever, and I’ve said it before, those achievement mounts look awesome. The Red proto-Drake really looks cool.
This means a lot of Northrend instance runs, right when our Northrend burnout has finally started to fade.
But wait! Act now, and we’ll through in an Ulduar 25 run courtesy of Nymphy and Orvillius of Eff the Ineffable!
That’s right, we did an almost full clear of Ulduar 25. I say almost, because Alex had to leave for bedtime right after Kologarn. I stayed until the end, though.
And then there was that whole heroic Icecrown Citadel raiding last night, but y’know, why mention that, right?
When I stop to think of it, Alex has gotten in more raiding action in two weeks than I saw the entire last expansion.
I loved this stuff when I saw it the first time, back when being level 80 and wearing blues was okay to do heroics. Remember those days? That crucial 15 minutes between blues being okay for random dungeons, and needing a 15k gearscore to do normal Occulus?
Wasn’t much middle ground there.
Huh, wonder how many people went running shrieking into the wilderness from gearscore flashbacks just now? Ah well.
It’s like the jackals saying “Mufasa” to each other in The Lion King, isn’t it?
“Gearscore” [shiver]. “Gearscore” [shiver].
Being with Alex, I’m not just seeing the Northrend stuff with his new eyes, there are things I never saw before too!
I’m not going to break everything down into some boring after-action report. Instead, I’m going to hit the absolute highlights, the things that he thought were awesome.
In Ulduar, with me driving a tank while he was shooting the cannon, blowing things up on the run and destroying Flame Leviathan?
Hands down, best thing ever. He was shooting down ALL the things. That was the winningest moment in WoW. Well, killing Deathwing might have been number one, but this was definitely a number two.
That didn’t come out right.
Shit. Stop it! Arrggghhh! It keeps coming out! Arrgh! Help me, dear lord help me before I innuendo again!
Whew! At least I got that behind me.
Look, let’s really talk about Ulduar.
Alex turned and looked at me about halfway in, and asked me, dead serious, if they were ever going to do anything that cool in the game again.
He wasn’t talking about a tank battle. He was talking about the endless awesome of driving tanks, fighting giants that shove players in the hot pocket (he didn’t get hot pocketed, and he was really hoping to be), fighting jumping jack robots with weird voices, giant stone robots, a cosmic being of pure light within a chamber floating in deep space, and the capper, a giant titanic being with hands thiiiiiiiiiiiiis big.
The epic scope of it. Boss after boss, deep space and teleporters and never knowing what’s beyond the next bend.
He spent time marveling over the artwork, the architecture, the marvelous grand destiny of the place. He was awestruck.
As I was tucking him into bed that night, he asked me sleepily, “Who is the end boss of Ulduar?”
“One of the Old Gods”, I answered, “You fight a giant brain in a room filled with tentacles that grab you, and the brain is so creepy that if you stare directly at it, your character starts to go insane, and you could turn into a big tentacly thing too! And to kill the boss, you have to have some people go into the brain and beat him up from the inside!”
Alex yawned, and as he settled into bed, he told me, ‘I hope I can go in his brain and beat him up some day, that would be neat.”
Algalon the Observer was an exciting fight as well, and we both wanted top spend more time sightseeing and less time frantically fighting.
The fight also pointed up a pretty strong failure on my part. Alex didn’t know how to battle rez someone. The ability wasn’t even on his bar. So we wiped on Algalon the first try, with a healer down and Alex and Cassie flipping through his spellbook trying to find the ability. We didn’t even remember off the top of our heads what it was called.
The second time someone died… Alex by golly rezzed them. His pride at doing it right was just perfect.
Do you remember feeling like that? Do you still feel it now? To learn a new skill, have a situation come up that requires that one skill, and then use it at just the right moment to help the group? He took a very simple, very real pleasure in knowing he did it right.
Kologarn blasting out was great, by the way. I knew it would be. The titan contruct popped up, hands spread wide, and Alex just turned and looked at me with eyes as big as dinner plates. That’s a money shot, right there.
So, Ulduar was a big hit.
The ICC run last night was pretty cool too, more great examples of interesting and exciting fights.
The trash packs before the first boss? That set the tone of the whole night. Random chaos, people running in panic and confusion, and killing all the things.
Rogues and traps? Dude, we’re a rolling raid of Druids and Hunters. We face pull all the things.
Okay, we had some token other classes. They kept us pointed in the right general direction, but otherwise, chaos ruled.
Giant undead bone whirlwinds with scythes? Freaking cool. Right?
Gunship battles? Hell yes.
Ahem. GIANT UNDEAD PUPPIES?
Yeah, he loved those big old slobbery puppies, and enjoyed the fart-filled Festergut & Rotface extravaganza.
As we prepared to take down Professor Putricide, he was bringing me over towards the sides of the room, showing me how you xcould look down into the rooms where we fought Festergut and Rotface.
When we were fighting Putricide the first time, I askwed Alex what he was doing. He was standing over by the alchemy table, trying to drink the potion labeled “Drink me!”
Good thing he wasn’t there for Mimiron, or that big red button would have been pushed in record time.
Towards the end of the night, we faced down Velithria, and with his first words, I knew Blizzard had gotten the story of the world across very well.
Deathwing? Alex loves killing Deathwing. Cool dragon, has a huge poster on his wall, but Deathwing is an internet dragon meant for the killing.
As soon as Alex saw Valithria Dreamwalker, he said, “That dragon is friendly to us, look at the green name! And he’s sleeping. We’re not going to have to hurt the dragon, are we?”
“No Alex, you’re right, we’re not going to hurt this dragon. We’re here to save the dragon from the bad guys.”
His answer was a simple, “Good.”
You might think he doesn’t know what’s going on, but he does. He understands far more of the story and whats going on than you’d think.
Being a snotnose or an asshat is not a function of age, and when we call someone acting like that and call them immature, we’re diong the young a disservice.
Shit behavior isn’t excused by youth, an asshat is an asshat. I’m starting to notice that more and more. The young may not have the wealth of experience yet to integrate things the way an adult does, but youth does not automatically mean an asshat.
However, it does mean fart jokes equal instant giggling.
When Alex plays WoW, he knows we’re here to be the heroes, and he does pay attention. He keeps his eyes open for opportunities to be saving people, and likes that bgetter than always hunting them down and killing them.
When he finds an opportunity to aid rather than destroy, he prefers it.
He likes having the chance to save the lost and injured, to defend the weak.
I’m thinking, it would be nice to see a few more of those kinds of quests, to balance out all the assassinating.
He’s got no problem with being tasked with destroying a threat to the world, or to wading hip deep in dead slimes to save a village.
He just likes the option of choosing actions that are, without reservation, good.
We never did the torture quest Alliance side in Borean Tundra, and that quest would be one where he would prefer an alternate choice, hands down. He’s playing a hero, and while heroes make hard choices sometimes, they still have a choice to make, and consequences of their actions.
He worries about consequences,. He wants the power to make the choice. To know that we are not there to kill a friendly green dragon, but to try and find a way to save it, instead.
Thinking about some of my talks with him, I have an idea I’d like to throw out there.
When we do raids, the bosses now have a Looking For Raid version, a Normal version, and a Heroic version.
The way things are now, those difficulty settings simply change things like enemy health, how hard things hit, debuffs and constant AoE damage that affects the raid, numbers of adds that spawn, that kind of thing.
Wouldn’t it be interesting to have each setting be a different attempt at resolving an encounter?
To have LFR and Normal be “kill this guy like always, with brute force”, but heroic mode would be where you try and save someone, coerce someone, overwhelm and capture someone, or deceive someone instead?
Where the heroic version represents the fact that sometimes the easy route is to use a bigger hammer, but the hard route is to win without just dropping a big ass nuke. To capture instead of kill. To convert.
To face off against Deathwing, and take on the truly impossible task of redeeming him and purging him of the taint of the Old Gods rather than taking the easy route and killing him.
You want impossible? Redeem Deathwing. Restore him sanity, enlist him in the war against the Old Gods.
That would be impossible. And a challenge worthy of a heroic team of champions.