Tuesday, April 03, 2007

My weekly post about Terokkarantula.

This is a story about World of Warcraft, but it's a story about games and emotions too. My wife and I were playing together, in a zone that I had played before with my other character. While doing a quest about freeing some victims from spider webbing, we found another quest giver I had not seen before. This new fellow had a sad story about being attacked by the same local spiders, and wanted us to kill twenty of them. Rescue work, courier jobs, and extermination, that's what we get paid for.

I was surprised since I had not seen this quest giver before. Probably missed him in my rush to dash off to turn in the original quest for rewards. We sauntered once more into the barren forest to kill off a score of huge spiders. Spiders that reminded me of a particularly bad experience I had almost two years ago in the game, when I led a party into harm's way and a group of level 19 characters were killed by a single level 53 spider. My wife and I had just turned level 65 for this current quest.

To be honest, I don't like spiders. I'm not arachanophobic, and I have no trouble killing the ones I find in the home. Games are immersive enough experiences for me that when a spider shows up, it makes me uncomfortable. Remember, by this point we have killed 20 spiders for the second quest, and a good dozen more for the one before that.

When we turn in the second quest, the quest giver wants us to kill a particular spider, mother of all the others he says, with the unlikely name of "Terokkarantula." I have trouble remembering or even pronouncing this, cursing the designer that thought it up.

I remember a specific named spider I had seen with my other character further north, and we take off that way. We find it and see that it's the wrong one. Another unique spider, but not the one for the quest. So, even though I sometimes write things like this for a living, I realize that I haven't read the quest description very well. The Big T lives in "a lair." I assume this is a cave and look up its coordinates on the internet.

We head for that location, killing a few more of these forest spiders on the way. Finally, nearing the coordinates, I see a few huge, red, hairy legs above a ridge ahead. The designers have placed this boss in the perfect position. I can't see the whole thing, just a few legs poking up awkwardly, and I can see it is absolutely huge. It's probably three times as big as the other spiders.

By this time, my lizard hind brain has had enough spider action for one evening and is sending messages to the cerebral cortex, mostly consisting of the word, "Ick." The quest says 3 players are suggested to fight it, but I assure my wife that we can do this. A squishy, cloth-armored pair of casters.

We climb onto the ridge, I see the thing, and fire up all my short-duration spell boosters. I'm the mage, I'm the artillery, and I'm going to simply try to shoot the thing to death before its damage surpasses my wife's priest's healing abilities.

I load up a fireball and pull the thing towards me. I'm getting the usual tank view of the battle, which is to say the huge beast is right on top of me, clacking away with mandibles and legs and making yucky noises. I just keep firing and firing and she keeps healing and healing.

Finally, without too much trouble, we kill it. This makes me happy, giving me "fiero," as a book I just finished reading describes the feeling of accomplishment in games, particularly defeating a powerful adversary. I took a screen shot, as you can see.

All in all, this whole series of encounters provided a lot of what gaming is all about. Even returning to an area I had visited before, I found new challenges. I even experienced a little irrational fear of arachnids. There was mystery and uncertainty, and the making of plans of battle. We approached a difficult problem and solved it ourselves, on the first attempt. We used teamwork and skills developed in many hours of previous gameplay, not to mention the improvement of our characters from where they began.

I think what I'm trying to say here is that it was cool and we had a good time.

Yes, this is the sappy post I wouldn't make last week, but I posted it anyway, so there. Compare and contrast. Please turn in your essays on Friday.


TheGirard said...

can it be double spaced to make sure I hit the 1 page pre-req?

Kathy said...

I like this one.

Dave(id) said...

Dear god, you are totally hooked on that game. You need help. Still makes for an interesting read. Keep 'em coming.

Aussie-Askew said...

Thou should only kill the spiders in the game, Hobo Chuck! Spiders in your house should be left alone, or transported safely outside.

They are here to kill the things that really can hurt you, flies and mozzies!

I feel kinda strongly about this. Kind of an Australian 'bush' upbringing thing.