Friday, December 10, 2010

Some thoughts about wish lists – in WoW and elsewhere

Did you write any wish list for the season yet? Perhaps you’ve received one from a toddler in your neighbourhood? Or maybe you’ve forgotten about Grandfather Winter’s doings altogether, too wrapped up in the cataclysmic craziness to care?

I’ve reached the age when I dread the question on what I would like to get. I was asked about this recently, as I’ve got an incoming birthday, and my mind got absolutely blank. Or to be truthful: there was one wish that crossed my mind, but I hesitated to say it aloud. Since my birthday is in the weekend, I would love if I could spend a big chunk of the day playing World of Warcraft. It’s not something I’d normally wish for, but this year it’s a special situation, with Cataclysm just out of the oven, fresh and steaming hot. Just imagine being left alone for a while to enjoy it, no question asked, no negotiations, no need to explain anything.

Of course I didn’t say it aloud. I just mumbled something incoherently: “whatever” and “it doesn’t matter”. Age has that effect on you. I don’t really care much about my birthdays anymore, especially not from a gift perspective. I’m a grown-up with a steady income and if there’s something I know that I want, like a book, I’ll buy it, regardless of which day of the year it is. So wish lists are rather pointless.

I wouldn’t go as far as Gevlon does, who on several occasions has talked about his hatred for birthday celebrations, seeing them as the pinnacle of moronic social behaviour. If someone surprises me with a personal, well thought out gift, given out of love and consideration, rather than as an obligation, I will still be touched and appreciate the effort and gesture. But mandatory wish lists? They don’t appeal to me.

A WoW wish list
But let’s move along and bring in some WoW focus to this post. Have you ever made a WoW wish list?

In the podcast Twisted Nether, the hosts always ask their show guests: if you could wish for anything WoW related, what would that be?

Without any competition the most common answer is: to get a job at Blizzard. Actually this isn’t something I personally would wish for. From what I’ve heard, the working conditions in the game industry seem to be far from ideal. If I was to wish, I would rather like to get the opportunity to hang around in the Blizzard HQ:s as an intern for a week.

I’ve always been fascinated by the underlying machinery it takes to produce all sorts of items we surround ourselves with. As I grew up I was enchanted when they showed on TV how the process of putting together a toothbrush in a factory, from the beginning to the end.

What’s behind the curtains? What’s in the minds and on the agenda for the hundreds, not to say thousands of people involved in the creation of Azeroth? I’d love to sit like a butterfly on the wall, listening to what they talk about at their meetings and their lunch room, seeing the voice actors live or meeting the guys who spend their days designing trees and bushes, putting them into the right place.

Tear down the wall
Back to the WoW wish question. If you leave out working for or visiting Blizzard, you could also make a wish that was about game changes. If you were in power and could change one, but just one thing about the game, what would that be?

It’s a tricky one, isn’t it? If you ask me tomorrow, I’ll probably answer it differently than today. But OK, if you press me for a reply, what comes first to mind is this: I want Blizzard to once for all tear down the Berlin wall they’ve built between EU and US servers. Let us play wherever we want to, allow us to move our characters across the Atlantic at our own choice! If there’s a lag issue, the decision of how much we can put up with should be ours. I want to give my friend Gnomeageddon an in-game hug. Stop preventing me from doing that!

Haunted Memento
Then there’s of course a different, down-to-Earth way to answer the WoW wish list question. Some guests of TNB have wished for in-game items, such as Illidan’s warglaves and others want a Frostmourne replica to put on the wall or an orc statue for the garden.

I’ve never been much of an item gatherer myself, even though I admittedly have a weak spot for non combat pets. What I would like most of all though, is to get back my Haunted Memento. Somewhere on the way I lost it, probably when I cleared up my bank slots a bit carelessly and didn’t really look, thinking it was some old outworn neck piece. I miss my shadow and if someone could bring it back to me, I'd be very happy. I was always more than just a pink pigtailed Merrymaker.

What children wish for
This post is long as it is, but I won’t let you go quite yet. I have one more thing to share, not WoW related, but wish list related, namely a little piece of classic Swedish TV comedy from the mid 80s. The clip is in Swedish, so here’s a rough translation that I think will give you the jest of it.

So, Anna, if you could wish for anything in the world, what would you wish for?

A doll!

Well… I mean like something bigger.

A bicycle.

No… not a toy.

A car.

No, not things, but something superimportant that all people on Earth want.


No, food and food, I mean something that is important that you demonstrate for and that America and Russia are discussing, what is that?


Reporter (increasingly annoyed):
Bah! Money and money, what the hell is that the only you think about, dolls, bicycles and money and food and such shitty stuff, what the fuck, think if there came a bunch of soldiers to your home and shot your mum and dad, would that be fun, would you like that?


No, but what the hell is it then, what is it?


Reporter (exploding):
What the fuck are you stupid or something, that is not what you want, that is what you DON’T want, so what is it that you want?


Yes, peace.

Reporter (turns, looking into the camera, finally pleased):
And that is what the Swedish children want most of all! Peace on Earth.


Friday night toast
And with those words I wish you a wonderful weekend, with dolls, peace or whatever you wish for.



SpiritusRex said...

Happy Birthday, Larissa. If I had one and Blizz would allow me to cross-EU/US servers to transfer it, I would certainly give you the haunted memento as a present. Have a great weekend and I hope you get some time to yourself to relax and play on your birthday.

:frantically goes back to leveling his hunter:


Larísa said...

@Klepsacovic: Aye. The world conscience thing was just a cunning plan.

@SpiritusRex: Thank you! Hopefully I'll get a couple of hours at least.

Redbeard said...

Happy birthday in advance, Larisa!

I laughed at that little ditty with the reporter and Anna, because it is so true.

My big wish would be for better player interaction across all servers.

KiwiRed said...

I'd go one step further, and remove (or at least shorten) the walls between servers for PvE players.

Lily said...

Oo, happy birthday. :)

Also, Galenskaparna & AS <3

Lily (Embarassed and slightly drunk) said...

Had to google that up, lol!
Nöjesmassakern ffs /facepalm

Anonymous said...

"I would love if I could spend a big chunk of the day playing World of Warcraft. It’s not something I’d normally wish for, but this year it’s a special situation, ..."

You are feeling guilty of your wishes because you know they are bad.

I haven't read your blog for awhile. Last thing I remember reading was when you were thinking of trying to blog a little less. You were feeling uneasy about the amount of time you spend on WoW and were talking about maybe doing more real life things. It looks like you didn't do very good as regards your resolutions back then. Now the game provided you with an excuse that will keep the part of your brain that is still sane silent for a while. (Oh, yeah, it's a new extension. Oh, lookie, there are new ways to drain my life down the toilet. It's all so newwww, I am so delighhhted... Can't you see that it is you who are doing this to yourself?)

If you are unwilling to take control of your life, nobody will do this for you. That's it.

Bloodshrike said...

To Anonymous - Brave words from someone who's hiding behind obscurity.

I've found that Larissa HAS posted less often recently.

And wishing to spend her birthday doing what she wants to selfish of her, oh my!

If she spent the same time watching TV as she did playing WoW, you would never, ever vilify her the way you did. At least her brain is active while playing.

Grow up, and stop haunting WoW blogs if you hate the game.

Bronte said...

As you may already know, my WoW wishlist is non-existent, I am no longer playing it.

Second, you shouldn't listen to Gevlon, I hear he is a goblin.

Third, birthdays are inevitably less exciting with each year. I have never forgotten my own birthday, I don't think anyone does, but for the last few years, I haven't had any real urge to celebrate it either...

Sulis said...

If I could really wish for ANYTHING from WOW it would be to forget I ever played it and then have the fun I had learning to play it the first time all over again. As you pointed out in one of your essays there is nothing like playing WOW for the first time.

Larísa said...

@Redbeard: thank you! And yes, I'd love to be able to have friends on other servers without having to use RealID.

@Kiwi: Agreed.

@Lily: Thanks!

@Anonymous: Hi Anonymous! I'm glad you find something else to read but my blog. I honestly don't think this is the blog for you. Cheers.

@Bloodshrike: Oh, I'm used to them. They pop in once in a while, trying to save me, now that they've seen the light. I don't remember the label of them in the Troll Encyclopedia. But thank's for the support.

@Bronte: Aye. Diminishing returns, that's what it is.

@Sulis: Actually that would be pretty awesome. Especially these days. Starting out from scratch in WoW 2.0 must be quite something.

Grainger said...

Just one wish? But, I have so many!

I guess my biggest wish would be the cap for number of toons per server. I have two accounts (created a second for refer-a-friend initially), but kept the account because I grew attached to those toons and because the cost per hour of entertainment is still a great bargain. Anyways, I wish I could have all my toons together, or at the very least, up it to 15 per server.

It may seem excessive, but considering I have horde/alliance/bank mules and like space to try new specs and characters, it isn't.

Grainger said...

btw - was this clip a comedy sit - or was it an actual TV interview?

Tesh said...

Speaking of the Great Server Divide, how about dropping the server transfer fee and just letting us move about as we so desire like Wizard 101 or Guild Wars? Have a friend on a different server? Go visit them with little more than selecting an option in a dropdown menu.

Yeah, I'll take that.

*Tangentially, I work in the game industry, and while it could be fun to work at Blizzard, I've had my fill of big game companies when I worked for EA. I love where I'm at, a small studio with modest, fun games. If you want to know how to make bushes, though, I can walk you through it. ;)

Jen said...

My short-term WoW wish would be having the achievement XP back. I know it wasn't a big deal for most people, but I loved the idea and I'm still sad it's gone.

Also, from what I heard, working at Blizzard isn't bad. I have two friends who work there and they seem pretty happy about how the company is treating them. It definitely sounds better than my (non-gaming) corporation :) That being said, I wouldn't want a job at Blizzard; it sounds stressful and I couldn't handle dealing with WoW players, who can be so abusive towards customer service people. (Since I don't have any skills that could be applied to the game, that's the only position that would work for me.)

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Larissa!

Larísa said...

@Grainger: oh, it's a comedy, not for real. But it is quite realistic, don't you think?

@Tesh: I'd totally love to get such a walkthrough. WTB real life teleporters...

@Jen: Glad to hear it isn't as bad as it seems. Even if Activision has a so-and-so reputation according to some opinion makers, maybe it's not true for the Blizzard part?

@Anonymous: thanks!

Jen said...

@Larisa: I guess it depends on who you ask, what their expectations are, how much they love to complain... As an example, I like my job, it's not perfect, but I find it very stress-free. My coworker M. complains all the time, and if you heard her you'd think it's a horrible place. We do the exact same things, but I go with the flow, while she stresses out for all the little details.

(Oh, and my friends work in Europe. Maybe Blizzard is different in the US, I don't know. They also mentioned that another location in Europe was worse than their current one, so... the only answer is "it depends" :P)