WoW offers excellent opportunities for this kind of self entertainment, especially when you’re a beginner. I still remember two brutal reminders of my ignorance in the beginning of my WoW career, one and a half year ago.
The strange disease
The first one was the meaning of the strange man who suddenly appeared on my screen. He was yellow to begin with, a sickening colour. So I was convinced that my paladin, the first char I ever rolled, had caught some disease from the evil defias people in Elwynn Forrest. I just prayed it would wear off by time. It didn’t. It got worse. Helplessly I saw the man turning red, at first a part of him, and finally the whole guy. And my character started to die constantly. Finally I deserted her and rolled Larísa. It took me a few more days of playing before I realized the truth, feeling utterly stupid.
The Gnomegaran encounter
The next “Oh, THAT’S how it is-experience” was in Gnomegaran. I was around level 10, a happy little gnome on her first exploring expedition in Azeroth. I had just found Ironforge and was enthusiastic about the place, even though I felt a bit foreign among all those dwarfs. Since I had seen Stormwind with my deserted paladin, I imagined there should be a home town for the gnomes as well. One town for the humans, one for the dwarfs, one for the gnomes. It seemed logical. So when the map showed me there was a spot called Gnomegaran, I was delighted and thought I should pay it a visit.
I must admit I thought the entrance was a bit strange. It wasn’t really as welcoming as Stormwind or Ironforge. The guards outside were hostile, trying to kill me. But I shrugged and continued, convinced that I’d meet friendlier faces once inside. I just had to pass the dangerous passage to get there. So I went into the elevator. I took the ride down. I went out, prepared for a hearty greeting. And then the truth dawned upon me in a quite brutal manner.
I could only laugh at my stupidity and laziness. How came that I, brought up in a home where reading was as natural as drinking or sleeping, couldn’t manage to read the brief manual book accompanying the game? I could have got the whole background there, ever so easily.
The mage in the water
We’ve all had those “Oh, I’ve been stupid”- moments and I can’t get enough reading about them. The funniest misunderstanding I’ve read about so far was a mage confessing on a forum that he (or she) for a very long time was convinced that in order to be able to conjure water you actually had to be standing in water yourself. So whenever he needed some water he had to find a lake to stand in! I can imagine how relieved he must have been when he found out the truth.
But it isn’t just newbies that suffer from misconceptions. I’m totally convinced that I still regularly show evidence of my lack of knowledge, giving other players the opportunity to smile behind my back. And I’m OK with it. The other day for instance I made a blog post about reputation. I consequently used the word “fraction” in it. Then Zakesh asked me why there wasn’t any mathematics in the post, since I was talking about fractions. I didn’t quite get what he meant but when I checked it out I saw that it should have been “faction”, just as it’s spelled in the reputation sheet in the game. And all this time I thought it was spelled with an “r”. To my defence I must say though, that in Swedish, for instance the terror group The Red Army Faction is called the “Red Army Fraction”. It never occurred to me that it was different in English. Anyway I’ll let it stay that way in the blog post, spelled the wrong way, as a reminder to myself that you never can check out the facts and spelling in your post too many times.
Pronunciation is another area where you easily can get used to something that is way wrong. I remember when the kids were younger and we read all the Harry Potter books aloud to them. Then a few years later the first of the Harry Potter movies were made and within seconds my reputation with the kids as a storyteller was lost forever. The brilliant girl hero was called HermIone, with emphases on the second syllable! My own invention of how this never-heard-of-name should sound was… well… it’s enough to say: very different.
With that lesson in mind I avoid to be the first one to pronounce new NPCs and places in the game. When WotLK arrives I’ll definitely listen to what the other say first, before I open my mouth. Trying to save at least a little of my dignity, if I still have any.
Now I’m eager to increase my collection of interesting misunderstandings. Please, share your secrets with the other guests of The Pink Pigtail Inn!