Sunday, May 1, 2011

Recount (Happy Dorkaversary!)

Feeling a bit scorched from recent sooty and smoky dungeons, there was some reason to go to Kharanos, but she couldn't recall what. She often relinquished control to intuition. Minty-lemon sun deceptively kissed the perpetual snowfall; she felt refreshed and cleansed. A familiar but absent voice spoke to her. Hoping it wasn't an illusion or shadow, she spun around, and in all his glory, it was her very dear friend! He looked ridiculous in that dress, that awful pink dress, the kind that only a cruel, vain bride would force her bridesmaids to wear. It was a shade of pink that flatters no one. She laughed loudly, but not mockingly. Never. She laughed from the simple surprise of seeing him, and his unapologetic confidence. She was just happy he was there. He confessed to feeling a bit ill from eating so many chocolate eggs. She marveled at his tenacity, or as she said, stubbornness. "Ah, Mat...not stubborn: "stoically patient." This made her laugh even more--she began to craft her own euphemisms for her character traits: "impulsive" would become "adventurous risk-taker" and "emotional" would be "empathetically clouded." Before he left, she asked to see his recently acquired Talbuk mounts, ones she coveted. They were stunning. Warning her that it may bite, she shrugged. Nothing would harm her today. She always had a sweet or two in her pockets, in case she came across a grumpy goblin, and fed the animal a treat. The beast's ropey, silky pelt seemed like a baby's blanket, warm, sweet, and creamy. She rested her face against the beast's neck, and as she looked up, the incandescence from within her eyes shown clear and purely radiant.

Roads traveled and turned...
May 1 is the start date, from one year ago, of this lovely character, Mataoka, or Mat, or Matty, or Matilda. And although it is apparently, painfully obvious to all, she confesses to not really being much of a gamer (Animal Crossing,  PacMan, Pokemon Snap, and Dance Party don't count), it took a young Druid to convince her to start playing, and an insightful rogue recommended a Draenei shaman, and to level mining and jewelcrafting. Jewelcrafting comes naturally to Draeneis. (In the real world, I am a bit stormy, creative, and crafty: reams of hand-made jewelry and gems are scattered in the treasure boxes; I rarely go anywhere without wearing something funky I've made myself.) Seemed like a natural fit. But over the months, the questions and confusion become exhaustive and tedious for her fellow players, and much of what Mat learned has been the hard way. There is a brain study/research by Gladwell stating it takes 10,000 to become a true master of anything. I know there is an easy way to find out how many hours I've played, but...then I stopped looking. I don't really want to know. It hasn't been 10,000 hours, and I am far from a master player or rock star.
Being immersed in this world is like nothing else; it has inspired all sorts of Pandorian personifications of good and evil: creativity, procrastination, angry tears, joy, luck, but mostly: very dear friends. How lucky I am indeed: beautiful hunter elves have given me gifts from the heart; brilliant dwarfs quote poetry to me, help me, and others are so generous I still flush at the thoughts. I have learned it is more satisfying, at every level, to have a cup of coffee in the morning with a gnome, Death Knight, priest or mage than to follow any top news story or commentary. (I haven't even watched the recent royal nuptials yet: Mat's too busy with her own roles and titles.) This beautiful and dangerous place is an engaging journey into a world that is challenging yet not, and never should be, serious. It is an escape from harsh severity of the real world. Do not misunderstand me: that is not to say it is not without some genuine peril and heartache. There are real, flesh and blood humans behind the characters, who can be as cruel and malicious as any troll or monster. I see the value and importance of learning how to play, and play well. There are harsh judgments, criticisms, and insults. Slings and arrows, my friends.  (My secret wish is that I would never, ever have to use Recount. I know it is an essential, fundamental part of this "game," but to me, and my nature, it really takes the fun out of it. I know I am alone in this opinion. I am competitive enough with myself, and a very harsh self-critic, and there is no add-on for that.)

Now, if you're reading this, rolling your eyes, and instinctively have a derisive reaction, I respectfully ask you: what are you doing in this world, then? It is as inclusive and charming as any fantasy, and since we are all crafting our worlds and destinies, time in this realm has been well played and well spent.

Going over the statistics: Mat has drowned twice. You know why? Because I was busy talking. Poor little shaman. She is so forgiving and "stoically patient" with me.

Theme songs: 
Immigrant Song: Led Zeppelin (scratchy vinyl!!!!)

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