Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Byte: Largesse

Something very odd happened last night, when I logged in to play World Of Warcraft. I had mail. Now, I knew that I hadn't won anything at the Auction House (I usually get stuff via buyouts, provided it's not prohibitively expensive), and I'd not mailed myself anything from my other character to my Druid, so it had to be from some other source.

I made my way to a mailbox and found out that I had two pieces of mail. One was a follow up message from a low level fishing quest I'd done in Darkshore a day or two previously, and the other was from my most frequent playing companion, Fearx. He'd been playing with me on Sunday afternoon, before I went off for a jog with my girlfriend, and had seen me log out away from an inn.

Yesterday afternoon, he remembered this, and sent me a note telling me that if you log out in the wilderness instead of in an inn, you don't accumulate the "rested" state as quickly. The "rested" state allows you to gain double the experience for monster kills, and the marker on the experience bar to show it gets pushed back whenever you finish a quest. This allows you to level a lot more quickly, and catch up on other people if you've not played the game for a while. I knew this already, but had logged out in Forest Song, because I knew that I was going to pick the game back up after I'd finished flogging myself half to death on the local jogging trails (my legs still ache), and that I wasn't going to lose much "rested" state accumlation anyway. But that wasn't what was most surprising about the mail.

Fearx had sent me two gold pieces. Just because he thought I needed the money more than he did. Just like that. For no reason other than because we get on well, and because he felt like it. To the uninitiated, two gold pieces might not sound like much, but it's actually quite a substantial amount of in-game money. Two gold pieces will buy a top quality weapon for a Level 25 character in the auction house, and is equivalent to 200 silver pieces, or a staggering 20,000 copper pieces (if you convert it into the other WoW currencies). It doubled the amount of money I had (and I'd been saving up for a couple of days, too) and enabled me to send on a gold piece to my other character, who will be able to use it to get a decent weapon in the Auction House, next time they visit Ironforge.

I met Fearx online later that evening, and gave him 20 wool cloths, which he needed to produce some other items (he's a skinner/leatherworker, like my main character), which in no way is worth 2GP, but he needed them more than I did (I was saving them up for the Cloth Donation quest you can get in the major cities) and I can easily return to Darkshore and slaughter some more Thistlefur Furlbogs for an hour to get them back... plus it made me feel a little less guilty for him just giving me all that money, AND a whole load of other armour items he'd gotten questing in Gnomeregan earlier in the day.

In a similar spirit of largesse, I visited Northshire Abbey (the starting area for human characters), whacked a load of low level NPCs and gave away all the low level armour drops to characters who were just starting out. Just for the hell of it, because the stuff is largely worthless (a few copper pieces each) and you don't get experience points for killing NPCs of such a low level, when you're pushing near Level 30. It's nice to think that you're contributing positively to the atmosphere of a game, and showing new players that not everyone does things purely for selfish reasons.

Playing online can be so rewarding sometimes, in completely unexpected ways. MMO's aren't just about the game, they're about the people - it's always great to meet nice people. Fearx, I salute you.
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