Saturday, November 24, 2007

All's Fair in Love and War(craft)

On busy server days, it's not an uncommon occurrence to depart the bank or the Auction House and find a female Night Elf, bereft of any armor, dancing endlessly, as a stream of characters (all male, strangely enough) lining up before her. I will refrain from passing judgment on this practice, but you should avail yourself of any delusions that this nearly naked Night Elf is, in all probability, either a gold-strapped male, or a female who is, how shall we say, alarmingly starved of opportunities to relieve her pent-up frustrations in real life.

To put it more pointedly, then: At best, you're giving your gold to a really, really, really unattractive woman; at worst, you're giving it to another guy. (Or, if you happen to be gay, and that is perfectly cool with me [although you probably wouldn't be giving gold to a female Night Elf dancing in that case], then reverse the "at best" and "at worst" qualifiers.)

The fact is, most of us aren't stupid--we know this! We accept as unquestionable gospel--perhaps begrudgingly, but accept nonetheless--that most WoW players are male, and the few female players joining them wouldn't be so (to be blunt) slutty as to strip and /dance for the benefit of a few gold pieces. Exceptions exist, naturally, but this is by and large accepted.

But, as I already pointed out, you're not stupid! So why am I belaboring the naked Night Elf point? Well, while most of us wouldn't be taken in by such a vulgar display of pixellated poontang, there's no denying that WoW is a social game by nature. Group quests, guilds, instances, raids, the Trade channel--all depend upon forming parties and interacting with others.

And when people interact, sometimes they hit it off. They become friends; they grow interested in ages, in locations, in families, in jobs, in other personal details, as friends are wont to do. As they grow more comfortable with each other, they confess sordid details and ask, in [Guild] 10-point, fluorescent green Arial, for help--not just with quests or mount money, but with real-life issues. And should it become evident that they are of opposite sexes, and single, and looking, then a bigger question looms on the horizon, one that begs to be asked and, all too often, is...

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