Thursday, June 05, 2008

A Magical Realm of Gold Farmers

Today I'm going to write about something that really happened last night, and to a lesser degree over the last three nights. We live in a weird world, which is a meaningless statement, in terms of philosophy (what is "normal" and what is "weird"). All the scholarly discussions aside, I maintain that what happened was irrefutably odd. Judge for yourself. You won't be shocked by the story, and it won't ruin your character. It's definitely benign, at least from where I'm riding my ram.

About that ram. I sometimes play a game that you might be familiar with, called, "World of Warcraft." It's an online realm with millions of players who pretend to something, ANYTHING other than what they are in real life. Some players live in their mother's basement and make believe that people outside the house know they exist. Many more players are IT guys who are a whisker's width away from bringing a magnet to work and cramming it into the server. They, too, find release in a magical land of scantily-clad she-warriors and fiery violence. About thirty percent of the people playing this thing, believe it or not, are women. Very unsatisfied women.

I think I'm making it pretty clear that I have a low opinion of people who play this thing. But that is almost certainly because I play it myself. Not nearly as often as most people, I'm sure, given the crushing migraine that always follows playing for more than 90 minutes. That's about the time when I would start to worry about myself anyway.

If my beloved Linda ever breaks up with me and I find myself in that Hellish theme park, Six Flags Over Your Lonely, Rejected Ass, I'll have to cancel my subscription to World of Warcraft. I absolutely must have a girlfriend if I'm going to play any sort of role-playing game. Not having a partner and playing video games as an adult is a deadly combination. I'd collapse into myself, shrink and disappear in a glowing ball of negative energy like the house at the end of Poltergeist. And I can't let that happen again.

On to the story, which some people find terribly amusing and I just find odd, and yes, I did laugh like hell when it happened.

Last week a friend paid me a small sum for cleaning her apartment while she was away. Some people are willing to pay a small amount of money in return for not having to scour off the small bit of black shit that somehow finds it's way up the toilet bowl, just under the rim, and anchors there. Anyway, I was told to "treat" myself, so I renewed my World of Warcraft subscription, bought an issue of The Economist (don't ask, I don't know why I like that magazine, either) and did something I've never done before...I pooped on the hood of my neighbor's car.

Well, that last part isn't true. I don't even like the word "poop." If anything, I'd have shit on the hood of my neighbor's car, which I didn't do, either. What I did do is find a website that sells "gold" for use in World of Warcraft. For a mere $10, they would give me 1000 gold. To give you an idea of how much fake money that is, I've never had more than 40 gold. It seems that in magical realms and in the real world, I'M ALWAYS BROKE. So an order was placed, I got my receipt via email and I waited for something to happen.

Later that afternoon, something did happen. I got a call from a mysterious company "Albatross Research." Since I am sought after by numerous bill collectors, I just hung up on them. But they called again, and I just hung up. Then again, this time at a hard to ignore 1am the following morning. I suspected then, for some reason, that Chinese fake gold people were involved. Here's how the conversation went.

Phone Person: (thick accent, vaguely sounding like a Chinese dialect) Ya, ya, is this Thundercrush?
Me: I'm sorry? What?
PP: You Thundercrush, you go on now?

Because I'm so smart, I began to figure it out.

Me: Yes, I'll go on now, I'm Thundercrush, where should I go?
PP: (Ominously) You go Goldshire. Five minutes.

Nothing but sex itself would have kept me from running to the computer. For one, I wanted my gold. And I was really curious at all the Cloak and Dagger. I thought they were just going to mail the gold to my character online.

Linda sincerely wanted to know why, at 1 in the morning, I was getting a call from a Chinese woman (she picked up the day before). Even more interesting to her was why I seemed to have received a message that actually meant something. I was in motion, scurrying nude to my computer desk. I quickly explained what was happening, and then there was a long pause. Then, you know what she said?

"You're a fucking weird guy, you know that?" And off she went back to sleep.

So I logged into World of Warcraft, literally shivering because of my shameless nudity, and because the air conditioner was blowing right on me. My nipples were like little +10 Frost Resistance shields. When in the game, I bolted to Goldshire and waited. The rest played out like a Hitchcockian spy thriller.

As I stood in the thick crowd, mainly made up of Pacific time people, a level one character approached me. Her name was "FakJoy" and immediately she sidled up next to me, and paused. Then a whispered command, "Follow me to Stormwind, now we go." And off we went, and again I followed. It should have been raining.

At Stormwind, another level one peasant showed up and spoke with FakJoy. I asked if they were from the magical land of Hong Kong, but got no answer. "Do you work in a factory," I asked. Nothing. Suddenly, a trade window opened up and 1000 gold was just there. I took it, and FakJoy had one more thing to say, "You have gold now, you go, you go play."

And with that, I was left alone. I tried to follow, possibly back to a dim, Chinese gold farming factory in Xincuan, but she disappeared into the crowd. I was left with 1000 gold and a lot of questions.


Apocalypse Cow said...

"Not having a partner and playing video games as an adult is a deadly combination."

I currently play the hell out of video games, and have done so for the past 28 or so years. Now, I'm 33, so that tells you that I've spent a good portion of my life interacting with a computerized something or other.

Most of the time, I'm fine with that, especially lately, as I am married, my wife games, and gaming itself is becoming more acceptable. I can still remember the time I felt the worst about myself and my situation. It was a Saturday morning, and I was playing my level 60 Cleric in Everquest. I had gotten up at 5 AM, the sun wasn't up yet, and I was sitting there trying to get to the raid point on time so I could then spend the next 12 hours with people I had never met trying to kill some bunch of zeros and ones. Not a good time for introspection, let me tell you.

The gold farmer was probably Korean. They're batshit about that game.

Chica. said...

LOL! OMG, I almost peed my pants! What a man will do for 1000 fake gold coins... It's shameless! LOL

Thank you for a hearty laugh, Darren. It was much needed. Same time tomorrow? *grin*