Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

World of Warcraft
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Our friends Jenn and Kenny got themselves totally into an massive-multi-player online fantasy role-playing-type game called World of Warcraft about a month ago, and because of their enthusiastic praise for it we asked for copies from Santa Mom, who came through.

This may be a bad thing. We spent several hours Thursday evening building Dark Elf characters and getting them started in their environment. Jenn and Kenny created two to accompany us, and then brought their computers over on Friday about noon. We then played straight until about 2:00 am (except for a short champagne toast at midnight), took a sleep break for about seven hours, then played another eight or so through late afternoon today. Whew.

At the end, we have all reached about 15th level. Every new step up brings new quests and powers but also raises the bar to the next level. I'm playing a hunter, whose special purpose is to train beasts as pets, then use them to distract monsters while firing a bow from afar. Shelley has a rogue with great sneaking ability and finishing moves. Kenny has a sturdy warrior and Jenn plays a cleric who has already raised all of us from the dead more than once.

One of the nice things about WoW, compared to EverQuest, is that characters can specialize in skills such as leathermaking, enchanting, fishing, and herbalism, which allow them to acquire and work natural resources into items that other players in the game will pay for and/or to sell them to computer-controlled merchants for cash. The game not only has an internal economy, but also a postal service so that players can send packages to one another, an auction service so that players can buy and sell from each other with bids. Further, points to advance in the game come at a higher rate if the character is not played for a while, thus serving to encourage people to do other things in life besides play the game while their characters rest (in real time).

So far I find the game a bit trying on my computer, which is minimally compatible and not very good a presenting the game smoothly, plus it throws in a lot of strange flashes in the sky and terrain. But it worked for this weekend okay. At 12:01 I ordered a new iMac that will handle the game much better, although its real purpose is to process panorama files and let me concentrate on learning to apply my stitching programs for maximum effect.

About an hour ago the cable companies Internet service went down, otherwise I'd be out there gathering a few more hides, catching some fish, or killing a few beasties. I can stop anytime I want to. Really.

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