Special Attack

Special Attack
Directionally Challenged

Mur Lafferty | 5 Apr 2012 21:00
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My favorite lost-in-WoW adventure happened when I decided it would be easiest to get from here to there (or from NEAR to FAR for old school Sesame Street watchers down with Mr. Hooper) by going up the coast. What could go wrong as long as I kept to the shore and avoided monsters, right?

A lot of things, it turned out. First being the good old death-by-deep water. You see, none of the warriors in Azeroth got higher than polliwog in swim class at the YSWA. (That's the Young Sentient Worshipers Association. Their dance is awkward.) If anyone gets in water over their head, they begin to take damage and drown. So yeah, I drowned.

As usual, I came to as a ghost, tried to tip the bathroom attendant angel, and ran back out to get my body. Then wondered, huh, what happens if I didn't come back to my body, but kept running? I can run on top of the water, and I'm already dead, so what's the harm? Run across the water, hit the graveyard up the coast in the next zone, and take the resurrection sickness hit. Brilliant!

Only... Blizzard didn't like this bit of cleverness on my part, and made me drown again. Yup. I drowned as a ghost, losing all the way I'd run during my escape from the chains of life, and then having to go back to my bloated body already nibbled on by sea scavengers. (OK, that's not in the game, but it would be awesome if it was.)

When I discovered the Clairvoyance spell in Skyrim, I nearly wept. So wonderful! So helpful! Take me to my quest! Keep me on the road where it's safe! Except for the bears that nap in the middle of the road. And except for dragons. And except sometimes doesn't work. Sometimes it tells me to go into a building, and when I go in, it tells me to go back out. It's like my GPS without a map update. "Recalculating! Recalculating!" Other time it says there is no discernible path. I still haven't figured out what that means, I guess my magic has yet to download the appropriate Skyrim road map.

It can't be my magic that's faulty. I'm the freaking Arch-Mage for crying out loud. And the freaking Arch-Mage will not cast a faulty Clairvoyance spell. What would they say at the college?

My sense of direction has led me off cliffs in SSX and Mario Kart, into monster caves in Skyrim and WoW, and have gotten me so turned around that I go the wrong way in Portal and the dungeons of any game. My stubborn streak to go the way the crow flies has gotten me more death and fewer "wonderful surprises" than you'd think, but on the other hand, if I try to go the way the game leads me, I could still take a wrong path and end up in a level 35 area when I'm level 15.

I'm at a point in my life where I think less on how to completely overhaul a problem and more of how to patch it. I'm not going to change- I don't know where the crap I'm pointing or what direction on the highway I'm going. When traveling alone in cities, I take cabs. At home I use my GPS. And while gaming, I suppose I could focus on games that have tougher restrictions on the areas you're not supposed to go. Games like earlier Final Fantasy (I haven't played XIII and didn't finish XII. Gasp.) come to mind, where you simply can't access some parts of the world till you have the proper method of transportation.

But hey, if I knew where I was going, then I wouldn't learn the joy of stumbling across different areas, or discovering places that I probably shouldn't have been able to climb over/through. I wouldn't have accidentally gotten stuck where the only way out was reload, jump to my death (and, in Skyrim, probably my horse's death. Damn but that's a horrible sound!) or fast travel.

And where's the fun in that?

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