Monday, May 31, 2010

You're Welcome Alts

The last post from Alts confirmed something for me. It's something that has been plaguing my thoughts for a long time. It is the simple idea that knowledge, in the hands of the wrong person, can be a very dangerous thing. In this case it is not the knowledge and wisdom possessed by my fellow geek Alts that is the proverbial shotgun wielding monkey. Rather it is the perceived expertise of this and other websites that can be the digital equivalent of running with scissors. These websites designed to rate or offer advice on gear are ruining my enjoyment of this game.

For me, life was much simpler when I was younger. My universe did not extend past the schoolyard. I woke up went to school, played hockey (I AM CANADIAN) and waited for the weekend. I lived in blissful ignorance for many, many years. One Saturday afternoon my mother returned home with a new pair of shoes for me. They were the coolest pair of sneakers I had ever seen, blue leather with white stitching and, the coup de grace, a lightning bolt on either side. I almost wet myself from the excitement. With these sneakers I would be the fastest boy in the world! I put them on my trembling feet and sheepishly, as to not release all of the awesome at once, took a single step. BAM! The power of the shoes surged within me. I took another step and BAM! The power was too great for my little eight year old being. But I knew I would have to press on, I yelled for my brother to come into the backyard.

He came running down the stairs and into the backyard where he stopped dead in his tracks. "Nice shoes!" he squealed, and without anymore words being uttered we both knew what had to happen next.

We lined up at the cedar bushes, side by side. Me looking down the final acre of our yard and my brother still staring at the lightning bolt emblazoned on my shoes. 1, 2, 3 GO! We took off running. I was sure that the sonic boom could be heard from across Canada. The trees that lined our yard were a mere blur and everything else around me was shut out. It was tunnel vision and all I could see was the end of the yard, blurry trees and the back of my brother. The back of my brother, what the hell? How could he beat me, how could he beat the shoes?

After that race I never wore the shoes again. I couldn't believe that those shoes could allow me to lose to anybody. The truth of the matter is had I not raced my brother that day I would have went to school the next Monday still believing that I was the fastest boy in the world. Maybe as long as I only raced the fat kids at school I would have still believed that I was the fastest boy in the world. The problem, however, was that I did race my brother and that loss could never be erased from my memory.  

I draw the same parallel to other WOW websites. As long as I don't allow myself to be measured, be it by gear score, recount or websites offering gear analysis, I am still the fastest boy in the world. I can get into an instance and things will die, I can complete quests and I still receive experience points. So why the hell would I care if some geek sitting in his mother's basement tells me that I can squeeze out another 200 dps if I switch my red gem of sweetness for an orange gem of slightly sweeterness (it's a word). Who am I hurting by using a piece of gear that I like?     

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