Hi. My Name is…

My two World of Warcraft characters are Herculesroot, left, a Level 2 Night Elf Rogue for the Alliance in the realm of Lothar, and Hr, right, a Level 3 Orc Hunter for the Hoard in the realm of Nathrezim. Right. I’ve lost my mind. I’m also having a terrific time learning my way around. I enjoy fighting for both sides. It’s a metaphor for my radical Center politics in the “real” realm.

I’ve been encouraged in my explorations by young friends who are way further into the cult that I am. Joel and Lindsey here in Denver are Horde-sters. Lindsey, aka ditchwitch, a troll shaman, e-mailed me, “Joel and I would suggest that you play a Horde race on the Nathrezim server, so we can play together. We can also help you out and create lower level alts to level with you.” This is like learning French. I think she was saying they can somehow dumb down their characters’ advanced powers in order to advance from level to level with my rookie creations. “To level” means “to advance a level.” I predict that one day this phrase will be in common usage among civilians, as ordinary as “to e-mail.”

More encouragement came from La Conner, Washington, where my friend Kes reports that his son Eli, who first introduced me to WoW, is delighted at my immersion into the game. Kes added, “He’s worried about you, though, trying to make your way through that world alone. He wants to know what realm and what server you’re on.” This delighted me no end. As with Joel and Lindsey’s e-mail, it felt like an interfusion of real and virtual worlds, with friendship and even compassion moving through the portals. But I am still wondering where I will find the time to level in either Lothar or Nathrezim, given that today I took on two new “real” quests, a joint poetry reading with my sister Oct. 10th in Cambridge, and a fund-raising project on behalf of Arts for Colorado.

No worries. At the Phoenix Concept this morning one of the regulars shared how he always asks God for help in his daily challenges for this simple reason: “God don’t lose no battles.”

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One Response to Hi. My Name is…

  1. Lindsey says:

    Hey Len,
    Well Joel and I just read your post and it made us LOL (laugh out loud). As you have probably already noticed internet gaming, especially MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games) are really their very own subculture, complete with its own etiquette, jargon, and other identifiers. Like a lot of subcultures it can be somewhat baffling at first, but you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly. As you have several friends who are more generationally close to most of the players on wow (average palyer is a 14-18 yr old suburban male), we can help explain the confusing bits to you. Keep in mind that most people in WOW communicate in something called l33t speak. From Wikipedia:

    Leetspeak is a form of written slang or street talk for the information highway. It is sometimes used to create group identity and to “obscure meaning” (my emphasis) from outsiders, especially newbies (referred to as “n00bs”). It also establishes a hierarchy, as more complex forms of leet are increasingly unreadable to the untrained eye. It is nonetheless a cultural phenomenon well known amongst hackers and many other Internet users, especially gamers.

    the above quote is excerpted from Wikipedia see
    for full entry.

    So one way to make your gameplay experience more enjoyable is to keep in mind that most of the players around you are highly caffeinated and sexually frusterated teenage males. I say this to prepare you for any rampant rudeness, homophobia, and impatience with n00bs you may encounter. This is also why Joel and I and your other friend probably expressed some nervousness at the thought of you being “unescorted” by someone within the subculture. But now, since you know what to expect, you hopefully won’t find many of the more rough around the edges players offputting. Just keep in mind that many of your fellow players don’t have much success or status in rl (real life), so they are compensating for it in the virtual world.

    Just one more quick tutorial, you may be asked by players “are you an alt?”. They are asking you if the character you are playing is your Main (highest level primary avatar in WOW) or if the character you are playing is an Alt (lower level alternative character, which you created as a secondary character to help a friend new to WOW, explore another class, race, etc.)
    The question is basically a way of saying (are you new around here, or are you actually an experienced higher player with an alt). So your reply should be, “no, this is my main”, and you can ask them if they are an alt. Now, many new players will lie about this to disguise the fact that they are new, (again, because they are 16 yr old boys) and about half the low level characters playing in WOW have a “level 60 rogue” or something like that.

    Anyway, not to overwhelm you, just trying to give you a feel for the culture and a context to place your experimental forays into WOW in. Hope to play with you soon!

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