December 13th, 2009


I'm Caitlín, and I'm an "altaholic."

The last two days have been a sort of...I'm not sure. Not so much a blur, as that implies they passed quickly, and they didn't. More like a smear. The past two days, I would say, are an utter smear.

I've begun a story called "The Jetsam of Disremembered Mechanics." I wrote 1,048 words on Friday, and only 685 words yesterday. I hope to do better today, as I presently have far too much to write to write this slowly. It doesn't help that I want to get started on The Wolf Who Cried Girl, but first I have to get through at least one short story. That leads me to have fears that I may not be giving the short story my full attention, or that I may rush it, and I am determined to do neither. Also, the contracts were signed and sent back on Friday.

We've been reading Greer Gilman's splendid Cloud and Ashes. Last night, we finished the first section and began the second. I can't recommend this book strongly enough, even though I'm nowhere near finishing it. In fact, I've hardly begun. But the language and imagery are that amazing.


Back to the bit about the smear of the past two days. I think most of it can be blamed on World of Warcraft. Which is what I've been doing, mostly, when not writing. Our copies of the "Wrath of the Lich King" expansion arrived very late on Friday (thanks to an anonymous benefactor), just before dark. After the 3+ hour installation, we both rolled Death Knight characters, Morskalíi (me) and Morsophelia (Spooky) based on our Draenei alts (Kalíi and Ofelija, respectively). And I have to say this Yes, the Death Knight "starting area" is beautiful, and suddenly, after more than a year on WoW, we found ourselves caught up in a game that was not only addictive, but intriguing and well-designed. Ebon Hold, Death's Breach, the attack on the Scarlet Crusade, Havenshire, and New Avalon, the climactic battle at Light's Hope Chapel, all of it was, for the most part, splendidly handled. We played far into the night (well, morning) on Friday (actually Saturday), until after 4 a.m. Then, last night, went back in and played the last part, ending up with the trip to Stormwind to beg for acceptance into the Alliance (and get pelted with rotten bananas). So, yeah. Cool.

However, I must also say that I was extremely disappointed that the whole thing only lasted about three levels (55-57). I was just getting the feel for it, when Darion Mograine turns on the Lich King and tosses the cleansed Ashbringer to Tirion Fordring (who do they pay to come up with these awful names?). Here I've created a character, devoted to the Lich King, and the whole thing is over after about six hours of gameplay. Sure, we still have a new character class, and now there's all of Northrend to play...but that's not the same. I actually spent much of the evening last night just tracking down and slaughtering the Scarlet Crusade, as Morskalíi, because, in my mind, she'd refused the betrayal of Arthas and was still devoted to the original cause of the Death Knights.

But, for me at least, there's a much bigger problem here. When I announced on Friday evening, via Facebook, that we'd received "Wrath of the Lich King," someone commented that by Monday we'd have Level 70 Death Knights. And I thought, well, probably not, but we'll see. Now, though, after playing 55-59, I can't imagine bothering to level Morskalíi any higher. Sure, she's probably the coolest looking character I've ever made, and the spells and weaponry of the Death Knights are great. But the leveling largely involves grinding through quests I've already played, and, more importantly, I simply do not have the free time* to devote that much of my life to WoW. I can't imagine anyone does (though, obviously, millions do). I'd rather go back to Shaharrazad (who, I suppose, is my "main") to finish up in Outland, then head for Northrend with her and Suraa (Spooky's "main"). It seems to me that WoW depends far too much on players who are willing to sacrifice gigantic swaths of their lives to repetition. I'm not in a situation to do that, even if I wanted to...and I don't. So, yeah, I wish the actual Death Knight portion of the game could have gone on at least ten levels. It was grand, watching people shriek and cower and run about in terror at the very sight of you. For once (after more than a year) the battle actually felt like a battle, and the "evil" actually felt like "Evil." Sadly, the end result is nothing much more than a weird paladin/warlock hybrid alt that I haven't time to level. I would even go so far as to say the defeat felt hollow— Mograine's epiphany and all us falling into step behind him —and running off to Stormwind begging for sanctuary...bah. Though I may never play her again, Morskalíi will continue her private war against the Scarlet Crusade, the Forsaken, and humanity in general, as she seeks reunion with her true Master, the Lich King. My alts will make their own moral decisions, thank you very much.

So, no Level 70 (or 80) Draenei Death Knight for me. And Blizzard gets points for the wonderful job they did with those three levels, but I'm taking half those points back for not stretching it out a bit more and finding a more satisfactory way to divorce the Death Knights from the Lich King, if, indeed, that had to happen.


Okay. Enough of this nonsense. Time to work.

* As it stands, time played with Shaharrazad equals 30 days, 20 hours, 5 minutes, and 50 seconds (over the course of about 14 months). So, more than a month. For Morskalíi, I played a total of 7 hours, 43 minutes, and 45 seconds (over the course of two days). I cannot help but wonder at all the ways this chunk of my life might have been better spent.