Tuesday, January 20, 2009

2 Years Gaming, or "How Old Am I Again?"

My first post ever was a rant about how a project failed. Looking back, I think that project might have seen some sort of response if I'd been more patient or on a larger server. As it is, I'm a little embarrassed to go back and read some of my old posts -- topics I wouldn't give a second glance if someone suggested them to me now.

I started playing this game one month before that post. I started this blog as a fledgling, and I now have a 70, an 80, a few alts in the wings, and serious experience as a raider, officer, and glutton for punishment (PVP).

I remember early stories from my brother: how he rolled a mage and didn't train conjure water, and how his first pickup group asked him for water and he passed out vendor water.

Or how after just rolling that same mage, he got mobbed and killed by the kobolds outside Northshire Abbey.

"Aren't those yellow and don't attack unless you attack them?" asked my husband.

My brother gave him a very pointed stare. "Yes."

Before I started to play Warcraft, I looked for a resource to give me more information about it -- not statistics or strategies or gear or math, but how the game feels. How it works and thrives under my hands, what my characters are capable of besides killing things.

I couldn't find anything. And I started this blog to rectify that gap. I don't know how well I've done. Letters from Birdfall has turned into more of a chronicle of my growth as a player than a tribute to the less technical and more personal pleasures of the game, but I'm not sure if that doesn't perform a similar function to the goal I set out to achieve. I still have plans for that video on what it's like to play. I have the video camera and editing software, just not the willingness to fix my hair for a special appearance. (And I tend to get stilted in front of cameras.)

So here's your opportunity. I'm going to make that video, and it's going to have the Real Life me. And if you want me to answer specific questions about the blog, the game, my guild, or just myself, put them as comments in this post and I'll try to work them in. I'm more of a writer than a speaker, so I promise you the result will be awkward. But don't worry. I'll toss a giant CareBear and the cutest cat you've ever seen in to liven things up.

And the answer is: I'm 25. I only remember because, seriously, everyone says "A quarter of a century!" when you hit 25. It's insane. Really really insane.


  1. Hey - I just wanted to say I've been subscribed to your blog for a while and it's a great read. A really refreshing change from lots of the WoW blogs out there. Keep it up!

  2. Oh noes! I'm 8 months away from being a quarter of a century old! x/ x/ x/ lol

  3. I really enjoy reading this blog, for various reasons. One of those is you talk about playing with your family. I play only with my girlfriend and other online gamers who I don't know. This may have been covered before but as a possible suggestion for the video, what is it like playing in a raid guild environment with a selection of family members that you know personally? :)

    Is it easier or harder to tell a family member they are the cause of a wipe or are undergeared etc? Do you tell them in person or in game? I find it extremely difficult, to the point where I have had to lie occasionally, to talk gear with my girlfriend. She's a Hunter and I've never played one and she feels im treading on her toes when I suggest gear or other improvements that I have learnt from another Hunter say (I taught her the rapid fire, aspect of the viper trick). Heaven forbid if the particular item suggestion doesn't look nice :P

    Another suggestion is more in line with your question of what is it like to play WoW. On the day of Wrath's release I got on the zep to Howling Fjord with some guildies. I was on ventrillo and we all arrived, got off and scouted out Vengeance Landing (gothic architecture ftw!). Then over vent, one of the older and more mature members (55 year old) exclaimed: 'Smell that gentlemen, ladies, thats the smell of adventure!'. This surprised me because I felt more mature = he realises it's just a game. We all whole-heartedly agreed however and set off into the woods of the Fjord. My question for the video is: have you personally (or relatives) ever experienced an affinity with the game, much like when you read a book and feel like you're one of the characters, whereby just for a moment you feel truly IN the game? During moments of peace and quiet when im not tanking or healing dungeons/raids I have felt it. I had a big surge of these feelings when Wrath was released and everything was new. We prowled the woods of the Fjord, trekked by foot and ground mount to the temple of the great dragon aspects, were teleported by an archmage to the grand city of Dalaran and broke the back of the undead at the Argent Crusade Camp in Icecrown. It seems a bit deep, but im not so much of a nerd I couldn't accept it if the game servers were taken down tomorrow. :)

    However, sometimes, during those quiet moments the game can seem more than the sum of it's parts. More profound than reality because it isn't real, and yet paradoxically is real at the same time.

    Finally, long may the blog continue! :D

  4. Sorry to post again just read your first post :D That was indeed an interesting personal experiment. Would I have helped? If I were a new player yes because I was naive.

    Being an experienced player now, who faces gold spammer yells daily, I'd still say yes. Lets say I had been on an alt and gone into the cave and you had yelled: 'Plz helps me plzzz!' It'd have been highly unlikely I'd have offered any help even if you stood there in Tier 7 Naxxramas 25-gear.

    However if you'd have yelled in the way you did I'd have helped. It sounds strange, but then I've found that on the whole people who type in game clearly, without text message abbreviations, are usually the nice and more friendlier people. I'd have said there would have been a high chance of me whispering you (if i couldn't see you) or /say if I could. Interesting. Possibly something worth investigating. I'd have also been as equally likely to offer help whether you were a male or female character aslong as you typed clearly. Im different in that regard from a section of the male wow community. I help either sex as I see fit. My girlfriend says that it makes a refreshing change from all the times she's been competently killing a mob only to have a male character 'help' her out with the kill, much to her regular annoyance :P.

  5. No request for the video . . . just chiming in to add my voice to the accolades. I've been reading your blog for about a year now. I think I found it soon after I started playing, doing a websearch to figure out what this "Lunar Fest" thing was all about in game. One aspect of the game I enjoy most is the creative way Blizzard encourages purely social activities, or social activities that reinforce lore, with events like in game holidays and the accompanying quests that get everyone all involved. Your blog really does fill a niche for people like me. I've been a big fan ever since I found your site. Even made a character on Zuluhed just because that's where my favorite wow blogger played, lol. Never got very far with it because I have IRL buddies I play with on Dentarg. And Frostmane. And Exodar. lol.

    But there it is. Good luck with the video! That's an exciting project.

    That "smell of adventure" feeling Jiriki describes on arriving in Northrend? I think that means Blizzard must have gotten the expansion right. They managed to bring to level 70s that same excitement I felt not so long ago as a level 10 Druid the first time I stood on a branch of Teldrassil and watched the sun set off the edge of the world. The first time I rode a gryphon from Rut'theran village to Auberdine. The sense I still sometimes feel, like last week when I discovered a group of Elves who have eked out an esoteric existence in the ruins of Eldre'Thalas.

    Blizzard managed to awaken a childlike wonder at a new world. That wonder expressed by my nine year old (who got a portal to Dalaran with his level 30 priest so he could find the pet vendors there) who logged off and as we walked away from our computer den turned to me and said, "Dad, I wish we we could live in Dalaran."

    Even my extremely jaded, computer game hating wife watches us play on occassion and has to admit, grudgingly, that the designers have given us a really rich, beautiful environment in which to play our game. You know, if you have to play a game.

  6. what is it like playing in a raid guild environment with a selection of family members that you know personally?

    It's ironic that you ask this when my guild leader and I are about to unveil a new blog about running a family guild. I'll make a post here announcing it soon. :) We're unveiling it to our guild first, though it's more of an "us" project than a guild project.

  7. Permission to /cheer loudly for the new blog? :D

  8. New blog FTW! Our guild leader is very articulate and has really done a wonderful job managing the various aspects of our unique and complex guild (family + friends + raids + loot = chaos).


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