I (meaning, my virtual avatar, Allora) hit 60 some time ago.
Uh, we’re talking like nine months ago here. Just for perspective.
Those of you unfamiliar with the lay o’ da land once you “max out” in the Warcraftian World may find it startling to understand that the journey has only really just begun. (I did some discussion on this topic a while ago, illustrating in some small way the level of insanity that is required to achieve pleasure from the game at this level.)
Let us say this: many of my more stable friends who did play this game stopped when they hit 60. Because, they reasoned, what would be the point?
I have for you a tale of the point. It is a tale of faith… of hope… and most importantly, how the power of prayer can help you. No, really.
Let’s set the Wayback Machine to somewhere’s around two weeks after Allora had hit 60.
These were hopeful, naive days. I was happily adjusting to the fact that I could (gasp!) log off anywhere I damn well pleased, because the rest I was accumulating by logging off at inns gave me extra experience points, and… I was all done with that!
I had me some green gear that I found quite fetching. (“Green” in the previous sentence refers to the color of the text of the item, which reflects its rarity… yeah. Nerds.)
(Come to think of it, I still find that fetching; Alabaster Plate is one of the best looking suits of plate in the game, IMHO. It looks… authentic. And, this was in Allora’s “I’m a Holy Paladin, Don’t Fuck With My Gods” phase, so it was very appropriate.)
Ahhhh, young I was. So young, in fact, that I was only just beginning to explore this whole new thing that I knew was to consume the rest of Allora’s gameplay time: grouping. Specifically, grouping for instance dungeons.
I knew little about this, so I decided to go at it slow and easy, so as not to make vast, long-reaching mistakes that would haunt me for the next nine months of gaming.
You may or may not be aware of the various armor sets that exist for the collecting pleasure (ahem) of the upper-level character. It suffices to say that traditional XP-based leveling after level 60 is replaced by two things: faction (which we have discussed) and armor sets.
These armor sets contain within them the stat bonuses that would normally be granted by leveling up. See how that works? It’s as if you had to go and kill a dragon (over and over… and over) until he decides to randomly drop your new level, as treasure. You equip it, and bang! You’re 61!
Kinda. It’s not quite as cut-and-dried as that, but that’s the gist.
So, there I was, quite suddenly, in my first high-level instance group. It was, by chance, a run into Scholomance, a marvelous place with high stone ceilings, lots of books, and undead legions filling every hall who are happy to take your coat, hat, and soul, if you give them a chance. Very excited, I was polite to a fault. “Hi, hi, how are you, yes I have Blessing of Kings, no I haven’t done this before, hi, hi…”
One of the members of this party of illustrious adventurers was a paladin as well. Shortly after we were under way, this fine fellow messages me, and asks if I have the Lightforge Helm. After all, the end boss of Scholomance is the only place it drops.
At the time, I genuinely had almost no idea what he was talking about. I mean, I knew there were these sets of armor, and I knew that I would be seeking them… but beyond that, I was still virginal in my approach.
“Nope!” I chirped.
His reply went something like this: “OKAY OMG LISTEN I’VE DONE THIS RUN 42 TIMES AND I’VE NEVER SEEN THE DAMN THING DROP EXCEPT ONCE AND I GOT OUT ROLLED AND I HAVE EVERYTHING ELSE I JUST NEED THE HELM SO IF IT DROPS CAN YOU PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE NOT ROLL OMG OMG!!”
“uh… sure?” I said. Seemed reasonable.
BRLLIRBILRIBLBLBRBLRLIRLIRIB–wiped on the goddamn spiders–LRIBLRILBRBRIRLBILRIRP–green gas sucks sucks sucks, and I died again–RLBPIBPLBIPLIBPRIBP–Ras Frostwhisper fell before our mighty swo–LRILRIPBPBIRLLIRBP–and Darkmaster Gandling collapsed on his goddamn face, YEAH BABY!!! We BAD!! We SLICER-DICERS!!
We loot… and, of course, there it is. Lightforge Helm. Ding ding ding.
I hesitated. I had, after all, promised this guy who I didn’t know and would never see again that I would let him have it. But… holy crap! Look at those stats!
Nah, it’ll drop again. Pass.
[ ASIDE: if you find yourself in a similar situation, and you have this thought? Destroy it. ]
…actually, we need to skip forward through several of our vast archives. In fact, we need to run all the way up to last night.
Becuase, you see, I’ve run Scholo a lot since that day. It’s a very Paladin-friendly place, what with it being populated almost entirely by the living dead. I have a way of exploding undead brains that makes for very fun gameplay. I can tank there too. If you don’t know what that means, I envy you.
By “I’ve run Scholo a lot“, I mean, like, 42 times. And the goddamn thing has never dropped again.
Those of you following my tales of woe will know that I am currently in Molten Core, and have been collecting my Lawbringer gear, which is, in fact, far superior to the Lightforge stuff. Lightforge is twiddly n00b stuff compared to the Lawbringer gloriousness.
But… man. It’s a classic, you know? And I haven’t gotten the Lawbringer helm yet. So, I keep going back.
[ ASIDE #2: You know where this is going, but I have a message I want to pass to you along the way, so hang in there. … It won’t be worth it, by the way, but hang in there anyway. I dunno, what else do you have to do, work?? ]
So, last night I did a Scholo run for a guild member: a warlock who is working on getting her Epic mount. We pulled a group of guildies together, and went down into the depths of this undead-riddled “school”.
It was a lot of fun; good run, everyone was on the Vent server, so we could all talk to each other (which helps enormously). Our warlock complete her quest, we turned the immortal lich Ras Frostwhisper into a human and then hacked off his head, got good loot… a pleasant run.
…and Darkmaster Gandling collapsed on his goddamn face, YEAH BABY!!!
And suddenly, we are all standing around the fallen corpse. I breathe in fearfully (as I always do when we reach this point in the run), but this time, I say into the mic, “Ladies and gentlemen, let us all take a moment to pray, silently, for the Lightforge Helm to–” and then someone looted, and there it was.
I peed myself.
Ladies and gentlemen, members of the press, assembled dignitaries, I give you…
…my Ronald McDonald hat.
Now, the fact that I prayed every single other time for the exact same thing to happen, to no avail, has no bearing on my conclusion. I am convinced. And so should you be. In the immortal words of George Michael, ya gotta have faith.
…and, if you think I’m gonna walk around with that horrendous thing showing on my head, then, in the immortal words of Judas Priest, you’ve got another thing comin’. That is why the WoW gods put “Show Helm” as an option.