Category Archives: Dear Matty

Dear Matty: Me…ee..eeeee…. and Mrs. Maclure….

Spy-cam image
Busted.

Dear Matty,

I am a 25-year-old human female with a big problem. Just a few years ago, I met who I thought was the love of my life. He lived across the fields, and his family and mine had a long-standing feud. That didn’t stop us from being together, though: we enlisted the help of the townspeople and other gallant strangers to help us convince our families we belonged together. Well, be careful what you wish for is all I can say now, because somehow we have been transported back in time, and not only are we married, but we live IN A BARN WITH NO PRIVACY WITH HIS PARENTS! He and his father spend their days pissing in the well, trapping animals, and making crude jokes about ‘animal husbandry.’ I can’t take it. My mother-in-law is awful, too: I don’t know if she’s been in the sherry (she says she’s “cooking”) or what her deal is, but she constantly criticizes me: my cooking, my clothes, the way I handle a pitchfork. She badgers me night and day about when I’m going to give her grandchildren. I’m not some brood mare! The only relief I have is when I sneak out and talk to other people in the compound. T.J., my husband, is getting suspicious. I want out, Matty. Help!

Put-Me-In-A-Pumpkin-Shell Princess

Dear Princess,

I wish I could help you: since you can get out of the barn once in awhile, make the best of it. Try to get to know some of the other females around the place, and make some supportive friends. Remember, there was a time you must have loved him, and he may be feeling the same frustrations you are (living with mom and dad at age 25 can’t be fun). Maybe it’s time you two took a vacation: I hear Elwynn Forest is lovely this time of year. In the meantime, maybe we can tweet the Devs and see if they can fix your situation. It strikes me as SUPER weird the four of you live in a barn: selfishly it takes me out of the narrative, and it was always all about me.

Good luck, princess…

Matty

Dear Matty: It hurts when I do this…

Only a paper moon...
Only a paper moon…

Dear Matty:

The patch everyone has been waiting for before the grand WoD expansion hits happens tomorrow. Everyone seems to excited. Everyone seems so curious. But I am feeling depressed — really depressed. Before Cataclysm launched I felt excited, and before Mists, too, and otherwise new patches also made me curious and anticipatory. Now I’m just really, really sad. It’s not that I don’t want to play in Draenor: I’ve played in the Beta and it is breathtaking. What the hell is wrong with me? So many things are disappearing, so many achievements are being washed away, and I feel like an abject failure. Please ease my heart.

Underachiever in Undercity

Dear Under:

Sweet, sweet friend — I receive many letters but yours hit me hard. I was sitting here reading some of my friends’ posts, and feeling so forlorn and sad, too. Did anyone accomplish all of the achievement points that are disappearing with this patch? Perhaps someone did. It breaks my heart, and I too, feel silly for even caring about achievement points that are being burned to ash with the patch. My friend Navi was writing about it, and she wrote about things I wasn’t even aware of. WoW Insider wrote about it, calling it the “night before” but to me, it doesn’t feel like Christmas, but more like Nightmare Before Christmas when Jack the Pumpkin King gives you snakes that eat your tress and bullet-ridden ducks. (Not nice, Jack, though you mean well.)

jack claus

I feel like once again I wasted time, hit my head against a player’s wall, and got nothing done or worth showing. None of what i accomplished will count for anything tomorrow morning.

Nothing.

I know I shouldn’t respond when I’m feeling this way, that you are looking for someone to cheer you one, not just be a miserable commiserating partner. I will say this: I think about friends who have had to take long breaks in play, and when things change or they have time, they come right back to Azeroth and start kicking ass and taking names, and damn the torpedoes and achievement points.

Maybe we need to take page from Jack’s playbook: we are who we are. We are the Pumpkin Kings, and we rule over the worlds we create.

Till tomorrow.

Love and blessings,

Matty

Dear Matty: Tune-Up Time

Trouble under the hood?
Trouble under the hood? What polymer undercoating is keeping…never mind.

Dear Matty:

I am so very fortunate to be in a raid group comprised of amazing players and players found through Open Raid – it’s been a regular thing, and many of us still need heirlooms and of course, the Ahead of the Curve wolf pony. Unfortunately, my ranged character, who normally does an amazing job when flying solo, gets so bogged down in a 25-man, and does shamefully. I would say that I was distracted by the Eastern-block accent player who sounded like he was eating his microphone and crackers at the same time, he was so difficult to understand. But I can’t be shaken so easily that I reach to turn down his mic every time he comes on Vent that I miss the Desecrated Weapon or the Wolf Rider takes my cookies, can I? I think I just get so nervous when something is important to everyone that I choke. I can hear it subtly in the leaders’ voices (including Mr. Moscow Muncher) that they are frustrated that some of us less experienced players are not pulling the damage we need to, not moving fast enough, and making stupid errors. I don’t want to be “that guy,” so what should I do?

Signed,

Damaged Driveshaft Deeps…

Dear DDD:

Oh, I completely understand. The other evening I brought in my warlock who’s got the gear, the tier, and the ‘tude, and all “she” brought was…nada. I reviewed one small fight, and she was way down the list:

Not acceptable.
Not acceptable.

Here is one clear truth I’ve learned ‘academically’ over the years of playing: you need to at least understand the mechanics–whether or not you ignore them, can ignore them, or not, is very much affected by the group dynamics, gear, and other attributable factors. But it’s been said so many times: know your class. Know the fights. I heard this story yesterday about a teenage boy from another country who came to buy a car–he was trading in his year-old BMW (full of trash) for a Shelby GT500. (His father was buying it for him.) He traded in his luxury car for this super fast muscle car, and he asked if he could drive it around the parking lot for awhile. You know why? It had a manual transmission, and he didn’t know how to drive it. I feel that way about Kellda sometimes: very powerful, but I don’t know how to fill up the gas tank.

Remember there is a wealth of information out there, and much of it is entertaining and engaging. I love when I’m in my car running errands and the Tappet Brothers on Car Talk. I heard they’re retiring this fall, and I’m going to really miss them. They are car geniuses, and I don’t use that word lightly. When I read Navimie might do live streaming to help out her guilds, I thought what a great idea!

But know too, there is nothing that replaces consistency and practice. And consistent practice. Just get in there, have fun, and do your best. Even the superstars lose sometime.

And a while back I told people to take this gamer quiz — it’s not the one that’s been going around. It really tells use who we are as PEOPLE – and it’s damn accurate.

That is why I think we friends in the OLRG get along so well — we have the right mix of personalities to make it work. The Socializer (me), Explorer, Achiever, and Killer/Conqueror. We all have something positive to contribute, and it takes the mix to make it run well. When you get a chance, post your results – I’d love to know!

PS: There are many players who also “cheese” the meters. Before you get discouraged, look at their targets: if they are only on boss when they should be on adds, etc. they’re cheating cheeser-eaters.

 

Dear Matty: Loyalty Edition

 

Luperci the Brave and Loyal
Luperci the Brave and Loyal

“I don’t mind being called a liar. I am. I am a marvelous liar. But I hate being called a liar when I´m telling the perfect truth.” 
― Patrick RothfussThe Wise Man’s Fear

Dear Matty:

This sounds so high school and petty, but the other month I learned that some of my Azerothian friends were talking about me, and not in very kind ways. Now I know how they really feel, and  I’m left with the tough choice of losing out on everything we’ve been working toward: if we don’t get through Garrosh, I won’t get the wolf mount, and now new information has come out that the heirlooms are going away, too. Do I suck it up, keep my mouth shut, and stick with them though I know their opinions of me are negative? I thought they were cool, that they understood children, spouses, jobs, and other things come first. I know this is just a ‘game,’ but since it requires hours, communication, and dedication, I feel terrible. Matty, what should I do?

Distressed in Darnassus 

Dear Distressed,

Oh my dear, I totally understand. Your letter brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes I laugh to myself instead of a “days played” counter, we should have a ‘tears cried’ counter. As always, all I can do is share a personal story, and then you are free to choose your own path:

A few years ago, one of my closest friends told me what my new boss thought about me, that her first (and lasting to this day) impression is that I am “over-confident.” I have never confronted my boss about this directly, because I don’t want to betray my friend’s confidence. Some would think that it would have been better not to know what my boss thinks about me, but ultimately, it’s been my best defense. Even in a meeting this past week, her body language told me everything: she put both hands, palms down on the table, arms akimbo, and pushed her face forward and said, “Is there anything you think you CAN’T do right?” when I said one area on my evaluation was misjudged, and I brought mounds of evidence to support it. But I was not given the chance. Instead, I got teary and said, “Yes, there are many things I can’t do well, and many areas where I have seen I need to grow and learn.” Now, to be fair and full disclosure: I have said this many, many times. It goes unheard. I was an ART MAJOR for goodness sakes! One of my greatest skills, ironically, is knowing when something can be better, looking at things through a critical eye, and reflecting upon strengths and weaknesses. When I told this story to my book club friends this week, they immediately said, “Get out of there.” When someone is incapable of understanding you, your gifts, your contributions, and yes, weaknesses, and devalue you, it’s a terrible, intractable situation. Fortunately, I have many allies who do see me and my contributions for their worth, and my loyalties and focus are for them.

Of course–this over-thinking brings me back to her opinion. What is so bad about being “over-confident” anyway? Well, over-confidence means hubris, a blind eye to faults and mistakes. This is laughably not who I am. But it does bring up a subtext that is crazy: underlying sexism. I guarantee if I was male, that never would have been her assessment of me. But that is a battle for another day.

Ultimately, am I glad my friend told me what my boss thought about me? Yes–because without the truth, I would not find my resolve to continue to do the things well that I do, and work on the things I need to work on because they are the RIGHT THINGS TO DO. And I mean morally right, not “right” in that I never make mistakes, right from wrong. My boss is by her nature one of the most competitive persons I know, so much so this fixed personality trait has blinded her and made her sometimes an ineffectual leader. But there are others who have taken up that banner; that is not my fight. Am I honest with her? Yes. After I dry my tears. My kryptonite is confrontational people, but I’d rather deal with something head-on than being bitten by a snake in the grass.

You will have to decide: when you are victorious with the current group you’re with, and you look back on that victory tainted with the hurt and sadness, will it feel worthy? Or do you want to spend your time with good people who truly have your back, and are very open about when you need to work harder, or when you’ve done something right, and in both situations, cheer you on? Honesty is a double-edge sword though: if you want honesty from others, you must be honest, too. They will show their true colors when you take that risk, communicate, and try to resolve conflicts.

The choice is yours. Godspeed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Matty: Stay Calm Edition


Dear Matty:
I hate playing right now, and not because of dailies, or quests, or waiting for the new expansion: I hate playing right now because my healer (I’m a tank) left me for a druid in Darnassus, and it’s depressing to be playing solo right now. I painted myself in a corner with my guild, and he and I were too cliquish, I guess, and now I’m left having to start over with meeting friends. How do I get out of this social slump?

Lonely in Lordearon

Dear LL:
I have spent my whole life wondering how we meet, make, and keep friends. In fact, I was thinking about this very topic last night, thinking about how rare and special it is I have met and kept a friend for decades. This is the blessing part of social media, too, because I can think of at least five dear friends with whom I’ve reconnected with on social media, because my Christmas card writing has fallen by the wayside, and things like Twitter and Facebook allow us to have casual conversations on-line. But as the above spoken word performance above shows, love comes and goes, and the best we can hope for is another opportunity. Have heart, Lonely, for the only way I know to invite love in is to open the door: to extend this metaphor, you’re the one in your own house, and whether or not you want or are able to have company. As far as friends in Azeroth goes, don’t be afraid to initiate conversation once in awhile, make a joke in a group, or notice which active guilds seem to have the funniest, or friendliest guild recruitment ads. You just never know.

Dear Matty: So You Want to be a Writer Edition

One day, lad, all this will be yours!
What, the curtains?


I reside at #32 Cliche Cave


Dear Matty:
I started playing WoW about a year or so ago, and I love it. It has rekindled a long-time passion for fantasy, make-believe, and experiences I haven’t felt since I was a little girl. It’s funny, because when I was a little girl I pretended to be all kinds of things–but mostly the theme was “princess.” Yes, I know it’s not fashionable these days to only introduce little girls to ‘princess-y’ things, but in my imagination I was the start of the show. (I didn’t like to be rescued all the time, but do some of the heroic acts myself.) Now, I get to interact in a role-play situation with real, live humans on the other end, and explore, be strong, and act out several different types of characters. I know there are a lot of blogs out there for World of Warcraft, and I think I could do a good job, too, of writing some stories about WoW. The hesitation I have, Matty, is that when I read some of the circular conversations about WoW and its players it gets a little tiresome, and I don’t want to become just another nameless face. I just want to write stories and share some things about WoW with others, and hope they enjoy it. Do you have any advice for a WoW blogger?
Signed,
Pen-less in Pandaria

From Writer’s Write

Dear Pen:
I don’t blame you for being hesitant: when you read all the different opinions about writing, writers, viewpoints, and others defining what is being open-minded and what is not for us, or trying to, it’s hard to know if we’re coming or going in our own voices and convictions. And then you have goofballs like me who are constantly swimming in both directions of the tide, seeing many sides, and being as abstract as possible. Even lately writers I enjoy sometimes write things that make me go “huh?” but I just shrug and realize they’re doing nothing different than what I want to do – explore an emotion, an opinion, or a situation. That is my only advice for you. All of us beg, borrow, steal, and give to one another, whether we are creative types or not. But here’s my #6: we’re all creative types. The thing is, unless we do have a variety of voices out there, how else can we begin to question, create, challenge ourselves? I am beginning, however, to understand more and more over time why John Irving believes we don’t, or shouldn’t, write autobiographies: we are boring: static characters and lives stagnate. I want to explore all kinds of characters, with several motivations. But more importantly, when others begin to call out that those in “charge” of creating say the ’emporer isn’t wearing any clothes,’ they shouldn’t be lambasted either. Many in current media are using tired, formulaic responses, and they are in danger of losing audience. But you know what? Maybe this will spawn fresh voices, fresh insights. There is nothing wrong with classics such as the Hobbit to rely solely on the archetype of female characters being goddess/wise women, but perhaps this is a call for new writers to create other archetypes as we change and grow. Dare I say: evolve?

I got the whole princess thing figured out myself, Pen, and let me tell you that is why a new point-of-view like Shrek is so much fun, or when Colin Stokes talked about the Wizard of Oz in a different way than I had ever thought about: it truly is the grand conversation that is the joy, and the bane, of of the blogging world that is open to you. This doesn’t mean that, for example, this past week I confessed to CD Rogue that the inner voice, that little tiny girl who used to play princess, too, just like you, didn’t want some rescuing. I am not exaggerating when I say I had several dragons I had to slay on my own this week. The men in my world, young and old, all looked to me to do many hard and difficult things. But if any of the game designers were to tackle my own real-life plot line, it would bore people to death: MOM FIGHTS EVIL PRINCIPAL! Whack! Slam! MEETING TIME! WIFE takes care of SICK HUSBAND! Zoom! Whammo! Colleague gives CRAPPY SECRET SANTA GIFTS…and lives! Yeah, not so much, huh?

Now I could generalize and start to stress that male writers drift toward formulaic and angry stereotypes and archetypes. Grimmtooth’s “sausage fest” analogy made me giggle. All I could see in my mind after reading his post was a band of merry sausages, armed with axes and mounts, trying to save the world. Onward, Bratwurst! Have at thee, Chorizo!

But the thing is, (and this is what kind of surprises me about my sweet blogger buddy Effraeti, and even Bear for that matter), is that I think they would agree that really GOOD writing naturally doesn’t make the reader self-conscious about gender or stereotypes. Many deep, rich characters are portrayed, without a protest or second glance. I think of some of my favorite books, To Kill A Mockingbird, East of Eden, Harriet the Spy, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, just about anything by Alice Hoffman, or John Updike, Neil Gaiman, etc., and not a single one of them relies solely on tropes or gender stereotypes. Not one. (This is not to say Game of Thrones isn’t full of all KINDS of archetypes, it leaves no gender archetypal image unturned – true equality!) But somehow the game industry does: to me, this just show more immaturity than anything else, that it hasn’t quite caught up with really substantive works. This was my own epiphany this morning: the more my own writing stagnates is when I depend on too much tried-and-true (read: cliche) plot lines. But that’s just me. If I write something that makes me cry, or makes me laugh, then I’m somewhat satisfied. (But writers are never satisfied.)

Now, go back to #3 above: write what you want to read. If you want to write a certain way, we applaud you, and that’s awesome. We say this all the time: write what you want to write. And if you don’t get readers, that’s okay, too. You don’t need to pander, or subjugate yourself for anyone. As long as you know there may be consequences for your work, then please, please write. There is only one of you, and your point-of-view adds texture and richness, and there is room for all: see #2 and #6. Not so sure about #8. Let me know how it goes. I have to go write Christmas cards now: talk about tropes and cliches! Dios mio…

Matty

Dear Matty: Chasing the Endorphin Dragon Edition

Dornaa is cheered by all…


“I don’t want to be alone, I want to be left alone.” 

Dear Matty:

I’ve been in-game friends with a few players for years. I have never had a lot of friends; call me a serial friend-monogamist if you will. This means that the few friends I choose are really important to me, and I strive to make them happy, be there for them, and make life better. Lately, though, with one friend in particular, I feel that something shifted, and I can’t put my finger on it. It was really starting to wear on me. You know the old-fashioned thing about lipstick on the collar? That was how I was feeling, that I was becoming boring, and friends were looking elsewhere for fun. The Sha of Doubt has nothing on my ability to over-analyze and spiral out, which only makes things worse. What advice do you have to get me out of this friendship slump?
Friendless in Feralas

(Sorry, I had to repost this; friendships come in all shapes and sizes)

Dear Friendless in Feralas,

Ah, the ever-shifting sands of friendship. I have come to the shocking but obvious realization that the primary reason I play WoW is for the friends. The fact is, if I lost my few friends in Azeroth, I would probably stop playing. That has become clear to me. The reason I am not addicted to games like Candy Crush or other types of pure solo games is because there is another human being acting out a grand character in Azeroth. And, the bonus is, I don’t smell anyone’s dirty socks, don’t have to make them dinner, or pay their medical bills; however, I am there to listen and help if they need, or just go punch a few monsters in the snouts.

However, that is not to say we don’t become completely infatuated with this game, or our friends in it. Infatuation is heady stuff, Friendless: it is the endorphin maker. When that spark starts to fizzle, or the connections get frazzled, we feel our endorphins peter out, and start to feel kind of blah. The paradox is you have no control over others, zero: paradoxically time in Azeroth gives us a false sense of control. We say we value loyalty, confidence, honor, and kindness in the real world and in our pixelated ones, but the truth is the layers of emotion sometimes tweak our sense of balance. Add to the fact we can’t see body language or facial expression in Azerothian whispers and the communication signals become even further truncated.

I think about real life friends who, for reasons unknown to me, just stopped communicating. And I have plenty of friends who faded out for a bit, and then re-entered in bigger and better ways: we are not static in our lives. For example, I keep a box full of old love letters, but the boy who wrote them is not the man he turned out to be. In many ways, the letters define a moment of my life, and now our friendship defines another. It takes maturity and wisdom to be open to both, that both parts of our lives can exist.

Ugh. I think I made it worse, Fearless. Probably because it can be –it can really hurt when we lose connection with someone we have trusted, no matter the world.

Azeroth is meant for fantasy for most players. It exists only in the box of love letters for most of us, and no where else. The minute reality pushes away that thin veneer we make ourselves vulnerable. If we share too much of our real lives, we cannot help but think of those things when we play. For example, I share with you that my knees are starting to really hurt. Or I have a cold. Or the chili I ate last night made me gassy. You on the other end look at that tall, buxom Draenei and all you can smell are chili farts. Kind of takes you out of the moment. I will say though, that ultimately those funny things make Azeroth better. Unless you have a clear-cut scripted RP connection, all bets are off. Chili farts it is. Deal with it.

Friendships are a great pay-off that come great risks — friendships form over time, and yet, sometimes they fade away without warning or notice. We’re too busy looking the other way, and then we realize that we haven’t really spoken with that friend in awhile, or have no idea what their daily lives are like. If we try to reconnect, it can feel like putting a spider web back together. There is another layer of superficiality in Azeroth that can exacerbate your sense of loneliness, FF. But remember that friends in and out of Azeroth come in and out of our lives: the message — be your own best friend first. Trust the life in your own mind and world.

One last thing: there is a moment in this clip with Louis C.K. is really vulnerable, which is why I love his work so much. Just — be in the moment, Friendless. Go do something else for a bit–that’s what I plan on doing.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/aly-walansky/how-do-we-know-its-time-to-say-goodbye-to-a-friend_b_4327420.html

What does this even mean?

Dear Matty: Chocolate Y Drogas Version

Mr. Snerguls: “This post was inspired by a predicament many players find themselves in, and thank you to Zeirah for sharing this. Now, mwmmmwmwaaagggmmmmhhaaah.” 


Go to i-Tunes and buy this. Now. 


Dear Matty:
I belong to a great guild and raid team. For the most part, everyone seems to get along, but there is…which is why I am writing…this one player, a woman, who is so crude and gross it would make the devil blush. I think she’s trying to be a cross between Aisha Tyler and Miley Cyrus. I have had to mute her on Vent many times, which has led me to make mistakes cause once in awhile she’ll give a tactical suggestion (surprised her mouth isn’t blistered from all the cuss words, but she can say normal things, too.) I’ve tried to talk to the GM about it, but he just laughs and says she’s been a part of the team since the beginning, is a great player (she does know her stuff), and to just get over myself (his words: “Maybe this isn’t the guild for you.”) I didn’t think I was a prude, but her so-called humor crosses boundaries. Oh, and my boyfriend is on the raid team too, and privately has told me he thinks she has mental issues, and brushes it off. Why can’t I?

Bathroom-Wall Belf

Bathroom-Wall Belf


Dear Bathroom:
The advice synopsis most players will give you is:
But I want to bring up a different tact: ‘everyone thinks they have a sense of humor.’ 


[Barney tells a joke. Everyone laughs, except Hannah]
Hannah Stubbs: I see that it’s funny. I have a sense of humor.
Barney: Of course you have a sense of humor. Everyone thinks they do, even people who don’t.

Think about it: first of all, everything is layered in our virtual worlds that makes conversation awkward on a good day. Now imagine throwing in comments we think are funny, and when met with crickets (man, tough crowd) we either decide to amp it up more or never speak again. If the person is an extrovert, often they will ignore the social cues, and if an introvert, will over-analzye the social cues. But not everything is funny. Señor told me some of the dumbest jokes yesterday, and he knows it. I’m not offended, we both know we’re dorks. But he did make me smile they were so bad. Heck I get annoyed because one (female) player blasts music and when she clicks on Vent it’s like having a kid play with the radio knob in a car: off/on/off/on/off/on, and it’s really, really bad music. Journey and Kansas and shit like that. BUT – others have commented that they love it. And since she’s a more integral, nice, and contributive player than I am, I don’t get a vote. Simple as that. There is a heirarchy, a pecking-order if you will, in every single social structure. Every. Single. One.

Now, I’m going to link some humor that cracks me and CD Rogue up lately. It might offend some folks. The jokes might make you pee your pants laughing. We laugh because Al Madrigal makes fun of others who take themselves too seriously, and that is what a comedian is supposed to do. But, whether or not we think it’s funny all depends on our own values. Sometimes we hate ourselves for laughing, we’re supposed to be “better” than that. But it does fly in the face of our own moments of arrested development, when we find ourselves laughing at a 4th-grade level “what’s black and white and red all over” joke:

What”s black, white, red all over, and doesn”t fit through revolving doors?
A nun with a spear through her head.


But someone who IS truly funny is Allie Brosch, of Hyperbole and A Half. I just bought her book, and hope she founds resoundingly success. Not that money makes us happy, but as my dad says, it sure does help.

Dear Matty: "Anyone know a smithie?" Edition


Ulysses Everett McGill: Say, any of you boys smithies? Or, if not smithies per se, were you otherwise trained in the metallurgic arts before straitened circumstances forced you into a life of aimless wanderin’?”

Dear Matty:
This story is as old as Azeroth itself, but I still need your advice. When it comes to leveling professions, no one can beat me because of my many characters. When it comes to making gold, however, I am shamefully bad. I’ve put my professions out there with trades of skills in exchange for gold or materials, but this last time a deal went quite sour. What do you recommend a player to do to make gold and use one’s professions wisely? I have had many fair,  honest exchanges with players where we both end up in a win/win. But Matty, when something goes wrong, it really goes wrong. What do you think? How do you make gold or handle professions?

Signed, 
Professional Priest

Dear Professional:
There have been so many times I’ve witnessed in Trade, (which one would think by name alone, “Trade”) that would be the place to advertise one’s professions, and a reasonable exchange of goods, services, and wares would take place. And yet, players will deride one another, trolling and quibbling about the prices the professionals charge for their wares. We get annoyed when others undercut our items in the Auction House, as we should, and unless there is an unwritten price-fixing agreement, the economics of Azeroth are as complicated as any nation’s budget balancing. Or not, as the case may be. Add rarity, farming time, and the maddening cool-downs and chancy procs to the mix, and we are left with a confusing pile of unseen labor costs and frustration. No wonder we try to keep things fair and honest: it’s too much work to add deceit and larceny to the equation. 

But the thing to never, ever forget is that many players treat in-gold game as, or even more, seriously than real-world money. Aside from the fact that this scares me, it affects the relationships and psychological well-being of players. Don’t think this is a real thing? The millenials have been raised on a steady diet of ‘blingblingbling’ noises, sucking at the teat of the gaming slot-machine lever. Is there a correlation to stories like this? Man-oh-man, that would be quite the thesis, but I’m not up to the task now. 

So, you want my two-cents? Here you go (this advice is on loan from Shakespeare, who probably recycled it from someone else):

Polonius:

Neither a borrower nor a lender be,For loan oft loses both itself and friend,And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.Hamlet Act 1, scene 3, 75–77


Just make your goods. Sell them on the Auction House. Use your Smartphone’s remote WoW app Auction House feature. And for gods’ sake, if you ever enter a deal with another player again, take screenshots. 

Caveat: if you have to take screenshots of a deal, it isn’t worth it.


Send Lawyers, Guns, and Money

Dear Matty: Cupid and Psyche Edition

Dear Matty:
I’ve had it. I foolishly told my RealID and Battletag to any Manny, Moe, or Jack who asked for it, and now I’m constantly getting whispers and greetings from folks, though are very nice, are just kind of there. Also, many of them are players that we needed to exchange this information for a quick raid or group, and now I feel bad if I ‘unfriend’ them. What a word, right? Unfriend? What if we weren’t ‘friends’ in the first place? I mean, it’s not like they bought me a puppy or anything, or picked me up from the airport. I can’t even unfriend people from Facebook without political/social ramifications, although no one seems to have an issue ‘unfriending’ me if it’s necessary. I know Blizzard should really come out with an “invisible” button/option, but until then, I am feeling very exposed. How do you handle this, Matty?
Death-to-Privacy-Death Knight

Dear Privacy:
I am reminded of the story of Cupid (Eros) and Psyche. Theirs is a tale of love, lust, betrayal, and redemption. Yeah, yeah, that old chestnut. Seems that Cupid’s mom, Aphrodite, was hearing rumors of some poor, but incredibly gorgeous, girl’s encroachment into her territory. The girl’s name was Psyche, which means ‘soul.’ Heart and soul, get it? Anyway, Aphrodite (Venus) sends her boy Cupid to go slay this girl. Long story short, he falls in love with her, and whisks her away to his luxurious crib, complete with talking teapots and stuff (please don’t think fairy tales are original, and certainly not the Disney Co.), with one promise: she must never, ever look upon his face or know his identity. Since the nights were so full of, how shall we say, made worth her while, she kept his trust. But–typical. Her sisters come to visit and they are jealous, and put fear and distrust in Psyche’s heart. One night, she goes to see if Cupid is indeed the monster (who can kiss and hug like a rock star, but Psyche forgets this) her sisters say he is. She holds an oil lamp a bit too close to the bed, and some hot oil or candle wax, depending on the version, drops on Cupid waking him. He awakens in physical and emotional pain to see that Psyche betrayed him, and years and pain and suffering later, along with the ultimate evil mother-in-law, and well you’ll have to find out what happens.

Why this tale? Well, it seems to me that much of what we enjoy in Azeroth is the fantasy: we enjoy being in our own tale of heroism, battles, love, loss, hatred, rivalries, (nothing in there about Tiller rep, but sure there’s a story in there, too). But knowing the real identities of others may spoil the fun. It might surprise people to learn I’ve known my friend Señor since almost the beginning of my entrance into Azeroth, but I know very little about the man behind the characters, and I respect that. Am I curious? Yes, very much so. But curiosity does indeed kill the cat, if by cat I mean the opportunity of immersing myself in just having fun — no real life responsibilities, no demands, and no expectations. If anything, he probably just expects me to keep the electric bill paid on the guild bank, but other than that, nada. 

There are a few folks on my battletag/realid roster I’m sure would be relieved if I just deleted them: they probably don’t remember one thing about me, and it adds a social weight. There are some real id/battletag friends, however, I would be devasted to lose. I consider them “real” friends, and would mourn their departure from my social world(s). I’m sure my dear friend Señor wants some time in Azeroth that is just his, just like any of us do.

In the future, be more cautious of ‘keeping the cat alive,” I suppose, and if you do need to prune your rosters, go right ahead. You owe no one in Azeroth a single thing.