Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Byte: Friends in high places

As you know, I've started replaying World Of Warcraft recently, and dammit, I'm hooked again. It's not just so much because of the game experience, which is addictive as hell, but also for the people.

I turned Level 40 recently, and Level 41 just this morning, in my usual half-hour session before starting work, and just about everyone I know on the server has been practically falling over themselves with generousity, trying to help me get my mount as quickly as possible. Zinar, whom I've already told you about, was quick to give me a gift of nearly 20 gold pieces to the "Buy a Mount for Shareth Fund". 20 Gold, as any player of WoW will know, is quite a staggeringly large amount of money for anyone, let alone a Level 40 player. And this is typical of the generousity I've been given since I approached Level 40. I was playing last night with a Bulgarian player I've never played before in my life, and when we were rolling for loot, he wanted to give the stuff to me so I could sell it in the Auction House to help me get my mount more quickly. And we'd never even met or played together before!

As if all this wasn't astounding enough, when I logged on this morning to grind some leather for the Auction House and grab those last 5000 experience points I needed to hit Level 41, another old cohort of mine, a Level 60 Danish Hunter called Fearx, who I used to engage in massed melées outside of Auberdine with dozens of Horde last Spring said "Hi" and asked me how I was doing, whether I had my mount yet or not, etc. I told him I was just over one third of the way to having the 90 Gold necessary to buy the riding training and my mount, so he took pity on me, (having well over 1000 Gold in his rather deep pockets) and sped up the process a little bit, throwing in a Wolfshead Helm for good measure. Yes, he *GAVE* me 90 Gold. Just because helping people makes him feel good, because we go way back, because I technically needed the Gold more than he did, and at the end of the day, just because he felt like it and *could do it*. Fearx justified it by saying that a) he could afford it, and that b) since I didn't play so much as he did, it would take weeks for me to scrape up the cash - and he's right, of course. Of course, it would have been nice to have earned the money for myself, but I think this way is better than simply going to an MMORPG currency exchange and outright buying the cash. To get aid donations from other players simply because they enjoy playing with you is a great feeling in itself.

I don't know if it's just the cosmopolitan nature of the server I'm playing on, or because I just happen to have made friends with great people on it, but it's certainly as far from the cliché of people being assholes in MMORPGs as possible.

Once I bought my Striped Nightsaber, and had thanked Fearx profusely, Fearx and I playful spent a few minutes doing some synchronised mounted ballet, leaping about Darnassus enthusiastically. I was happy with my Druid's Travel Form for speed of getting across the maps, but having a mount is not only faster, plus a status symbol and super cool to look at as you tromp along majestically, too.

So, without further ado, meet the mount:

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