standing at the back in my sissy robe

June 24, 2009

the tell-tale head

Filed under: Bitchin 'n' Moanin — Tamarind @ 1:59 pm

True –nervous –very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine (fail friend, actually) developed a whim to go take down Onxyia for old time’s sake.   I was well up for this, being just a glint in Blizzard’s eye when regular expeditions were being undertaken to Dustwallow.  However, it soon transpired that “take down Onyxia” meant strolling in there with his level 80 uber raiding resto druid and a level 80 uber raiding deathknight tank, while I stood behind them in my sissy robe and … what?  Polished my fingernails?  Watched them be awesome?  Tried not stand in fire?

The thing is, I could very much see why it might be fun to be either the druid or the DK – if anybody deserves a good bitchslapping it’s Onxyia, and there is a low and dirty pleasure in just steamrollering stuff because you can.  But the role of admiring observer is devoid of anything even remotely approximating fun.  I can understand why boosting happens – if you’re grinding for a particular item, or it’s absolutely the only way you can get to do the instance, or maybe if you’ve run the thing eighty thousand times and you’d rather impale  yourself in the eye with a rusty teaspoon than do it again – but I don’t understand its popularity.  I mean, I’m a lazy person, I support other lazy people in their laziness but being boosted, or for that matter giving boosts, is so unspeakably, toe-curlingly boring.   To be a good boostee, you have to do absolutely nothing and you have to maintain this state of doing absolutely nothing very very carefully indeed.  Because if you do anything you’ll upset the delicate balance, pull aggro and get chomped.  And the only thing more tedious than boosting someone is waiting for your boostee to corpse-run so you can press on with the tedium.

Kahleena over at Feldeeds wrote a rather nice post on this exact subject a while back, and I remember slash-cheering in my head because I didn’t feel so alone in my boost-hating universe any more.

There seems to be this weird conflation in the average WoW player’s head (and to be fair, the developers seem to subscribe to a similar perspective as well, as evinced by their nerfing strategies) between seeing content and experiencing content.  I’m not saying WoW isn’t a beautiful and exciting game, and I’m not saying the sun setting over Thunderbluff doesn’t warm the cockles of my bitter little heart, but it’s not a fucking Rembrandt.  You can’t just stare at it, you have to be a part of it.

To give my friend due credit, I think he genuinely thought he was doing me a kindness in taking me to see other people kill Onxyia and, for the sentiment, at least, I’m touched and grateful.  I didn’t want to spit on what I perceived as benevolence so I let myself be persuaded and, nail polish in hand, off we went.  I think if I’d actually been a participant, it would have been quite something. I’m always childishly delighted by huge, awe-inspiring monsters and dragons are quite difficult to do successfully.  It’s not so much a graphical thing, or even a scale thing, but a dragon should make you feel, just a moment, as though the sheer mythological weight of thousands of years is pressing directly on your heart.  Tolkien, who was also crazy into dragons, said rather famously that the dragon in Beowulf wasn’t quite up to scratch (not dragon enough for him, apparently – I’m not kidding) but the way he articulated it, in his slightly pretentious, 1920s Oxford academic way, was this: “the conception approaches draconitas rather than draco.”  What I think he’s getting at (maybe) is that dragon-ness (draconitas) is an abstraction of the truth of draco (dragon).   I think you can pretty much evaluate any dragon you encounter, in literature, in art, in computer games, in Duswallow Marsh, by that first moment when you see it and all you can think is: dragon.  Or possibly “ohshitdragon” if you can spare the breath. For me, at least, Onyxia passes the Draco Test.

This being so, it was kind of tragic to see a level 80 DK hammer her into the floor without breaking a sweat.

There was, of course, a bumper load of out-dated loot and epics, some of which, I’m sure, would have been floggable regardless.  And, of course, Onyxia’s head.  Which my friend insisted I take.

As, what?  A trophy?  A glowing testimonial of my ability to stand around?  Go me!

I didn’t really want it, but I couldn’t refuse without being grossly impolite to two people who just thought they were being nice to me.  The least I could do, under the circumstances, was bring myself to be grateful.

“Thanks,” I said, shoving an enormous decapitated dragon’s head into my back pocket.

The worst of it is, I’m still lugging the fucking thing around with me, more than three weeks later.  I know there’s a quest attached to it but I genuinely don’t feel like I deserve to do it.  Maybe I’m just being over-sensitive (I tell you, I am not mad!) but  I get a blaze of guilt and shame every time I open my bags and I see that accursed head staring accusingly up at me with its dead, probably decomposing eyes.

I don’t know what to do with it.  And I have no floorboards beneath which to bury it.

I don’t want to do the quest because, well, I only like to take rewards I’ve earned.  I don’t want to delete it because that seems disrespectful to the people who gave it to me.  I don’t want to put it in the bank because that just seems absurd somehow, although banking in WoW is inherently absurd anyway.  “Good morning Sir, I’d like to deposit 20 bolts of linen, a blunderbuss, some silver bullion and a baby polar bear.”

But even in terms of WoW banking, I think an enormous (soulbound) gore-covered dragon’s head that’s been draggedn the length and breadth of Northrend takes the biscuit.


You know … I think it’s looking at me.

Stop looking at meeeeeeeee!



  1. I got an idea, pretend its the head of fuck off enormous dinosaur and use it to scare children with ;D

    My 2cents, do dungeons at the appropriate lvl with 4 good friends and have fun…

    btw this next patch with its “XP stop for 10G” should be just what the doctor ordered for ppl who want to see old school content at lvl 60, or lvl 70.

    Comment by Salvà — June 24, 2009 @ 2:42 pm | Reply

    • Ah yes, I’ll be unstoppable next Children’s Week. Those orcish orphans won’t know what’s hit them… =P

      Doing dungeons at level with friends is by far the best way to do them. It was how we worked our way through most of the Old World before people drifted away and moved on.


      I hope the XP stop will re-enliven the cool stuff in the Old World that’s currently sadly neglected. Party time at Strat.

      Comment by Tamarind — June 25, 2009 @ 5:01 pm | Reply

  2. I say bite the bullet and turn it in. You walked in, didn’t pull aggro, didn’t die, didn’t run away while wetting yourself at the sight of a dragon, etc.

    Besides, I’ve had max-level people in raids I’ve lead who probably did less than what you did in this little adventure…even if it was just a self-manicure.

    Comment by Misneach — June 24, 2009 @ 4:16 pm | Reply

    • I didn’t pull aggro because the dragon didn’t think it was worth kililng me 🙂 But, yeah, you’re right, I shouldn’t spend the rest of my WoW life weighed down like one of Bunyan’s pilgrims with an enormous dragon’s head 🙂

      Next time: manicure the tank, as well as myself 🙂

      Comment by Tamarind — June 25, 2009 @ 4:57 pm | Reply

  3. […] probably be a liability.  And, of course, it’s a bunch of 80s, and we know how I feel about polishing my nails behind level 80 characters.  I very nearly made it to an RFC run (on an alt, obviously) the other night but between me […]

    Pingback by Guild Woes & posts that made me go hmmmm « standing at the back in my sissy robe — June 26, 2009 @ 11:39 am | Reply

  4. it has to be said…. onyxia gives epic head.

    Comment by uke — July 4, 2009 @ 2:16 am | Reply

    • Sweet Uke – at the risk of sounding like The Needy Blogger, I was wondering what had happened to you 🙂

      And bwhaha. You just had to, didn’t you?

      Comment by Tamarind — July 4, 2009 @ 6:17 pm | Reply

      • lol i just did, teehee! *giggles gleefully*

        and yeah i’ve just been a little busy with life and stuff /sigh

        Comment by uke — July 5, 2009 @ 2:37 am

    • Awww, poor you. I hope things ease up on you.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 6, 2009 @ 1:08 pm | Reply

  5. […] we decided to take a crack at Onxyia, partly because M’Pocket Tank was curious but mainly because I’m still carrying her goddamn head around in my back pocket and feeling guilty about it. I thought defeating her honourably would help […]

    Pingback by standing at the back in my sissy robe — July 9, 2009 @ 10:23 am | Reply

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