What I Did on My Summer Vacation

First off, I believe apologies are in order. I haven’t blogged in nearly two months and it’s been even longer since I’ve written a review. Friends have griped at me about this via email. They were snide. They were sarcastic. They were right.

I suppose I could defend my sloth by stating that my time has been filled with changing jobs, taking the first steps toward buying a home, and exploring new depths of depravity with Betty. For the most part, that would be pretty accurate. But like a serial killer’s history of child abuse, such data points explain a lot but excuse nothing.

To make matters worse, there is a new time sink that has me in its grip, World of Warcraft. I’ve always been a junkie for escapist fantasy, going back to my teenage years when I used to play D&D with kindred spirits (“kindred spirits” in this case means other pimple-faced youths with unwashed hair who weren’t getting any). As years passed, I have explored many escapist pursuits but Warcraft has turned out to be much cheaper and won’t show up in my urine.

Part of the game’s appeal is that you get to kill. Of course, this applies to most games. The one exception I can think of is “The Sims” but even then, I managed to turn my virtual home into a house of murder by removing the doors from a corridor and waiting for the guests trapped inside to starve to death. “Look,” I would say to my then wife. “She cries and wets herself just like a real abducted child.”

She was as little impressed with my comment as when I showed her the house’s trophy room filled with the urns of the departed, but I digress.

With Warcraft, the first step is to create a character. You get a number of menu options for the person’s appearance and if you’re creating one who is both male and human, chances are good you’ll end up with someone who resembles Ted Nugent.

This works well for getting you in the proper mindset for game play. The game starts you off in a place of great natural beauty, not unlike the Yosemite Valley. The difference is that in Warcraft, people are running around slaughtering the wildlife wholesale.

Young wolves (i.e. puppies) are the standard first targets for your fledgling sociopath. There are also Kobold Vermin who lumber around like special-needs children and only put up a feeble resistance as you cut them down and loot their bodies for one or two pieces of copper. If you don’t care about earning experience points and are a purist when it comes to defenseless prey, there are plenty of rabbits to kill. If your character is a paladin, you get to smash them with a hammer.

As the game progresses, the beasties get tougher and will attack unprovoked. I suppose that’s all for the best. For most of us, training a magnifying glass on an anthill is only fun for so long.

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