standing at the back in my sissy robe

July 21, 2009

Belgium, man, Belgium

Filed under: D'oh,Sweets for the Sweet — Tamarind @ 11:45 am

WoW, of course, has its vocabulary of obscenity, the most expressive and sublimely onomatopoeic of which is this: Swwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwad.

It is, of course, the helpless and heartfelt cry of someone typing obliviously in chat when something goes wrong.

You say it when somebody is carefully explaining the tactics of the next boss and you look up from the chat window to discover you’ve walked whistling right into his mouth: Swwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwad.

It’s the sound you make as you careen, full tilt, over a cliff with the auto-run key depressed. In which case it, naturally, gets softer and softer and softer as you spiral away to your inevitable doom, dashed on the jagged rocks below: Swwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwad.

It’s the curse that flies from your lips when you’re carefully explaining to someone else about the dangers in the current area and to which they must remain alert at all times.

Something, ahem, like this:

Me: Okay, Cowfriend, listen up. Now we’re in Outland, we’re batting with big boys. We’re kind of punching above our weight here so we have to be super-careful, super-focussed and absolutely prepared for whatever comes our way.

Cowfriend: Um… dude…

Me: No, listen, this is important. You need to remember this. Rampaging about Hellfire Peninsula there are a bunch of level 70 elite fel reavers. You can usually tell when they approach because the ground shakes ominously.

Cowfriend: A fel reaver!

Me: Yeah, there’s no way in hell we can take them yet. They’re kind of like a big stompy engine of destruction. So if you see one, it’s every man for himself. Run like a bastard and don’t look back … hey … where are you going? Swwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwad!


Cowfriend: …

Me: Just don’t say anything, okay.

Most recently it was the sound of my Dwarf hunter uttered, running for the boat from Stormwind. M’Pocket Tank was already aboard, urging me along in the chat window, and waving at me from the deck. The warning bell had already rung and the harbour is bloody long when you’re a level 11 dwarf, barrelling along, hog at heels.

It was kind of like a scene in a 1950s screwball comedy. I was Cary Grant, obviously, and M’Pocket Tank was my feisty ladylove, leaving on a boat for Europe because I’d pretended to her sister’s fiancé in order to investigate a family scandal and, although I’d fallen in love with her For Real, she’d first been traumatised with guilt because I was her sister’s fiancé and then found out the truth, concluding I was only using her to further my career as a playboy-come-journalistic in a stylish hat. Thankfully, my best friend, who had also infiltrated the family, disguised as a replacement housekeeper (the previous housekeeper having run off to Las Vegas to become a show dancer – she’s played by Marilyn Monroe, by the way, in one of those comedy bit parts that suited her so well) happened to fall in love with the sister to whom I supposed to be engaged, although it was complicated by the fact that my best friend has spent most of the film in unconvincing drag as a matronly housekeeper, fending off the disconcerting advances of our heroine’s lascivious, drunken Uncle. Anyway, at this point in the movie, the plot has been untangled, everyone has been paired up appropriately (including the lascivious, drunken Uncle and Marilyn Monroe, separately obviously) and all that stands between us and an irrefutable happy ending is a scene in which I have to persuade the feisty heroine of the sincerity of my love, disembark from the boat to Europe into my waiting arms and kiss me while the credits roll.

Only with more dorfs, obviously.

Okay, I’m thinking about this way to much. Let’s start again:

I was missing the boat.

And there’s an insane sense of helplessness about this. If you’re a druid you can slip into something more comfortable travel form. If you’re a mage you can blink your way to victory. If you’re a shaman you can spirit wolf. But if you’re a level 11 dorf with a gun and no aspect of the cheetah all you can do is say “come on come on come on” to the screen and watch him fail.

There’s some horribly like life in the public transport systems of WoW. They’re never going where you want, and you always miss them by seconds. And you get the same sense of public shame for rushing desperately after them, waving your arms, only to have them pull out of the station just as you arrive. And then you’re forced to stand at the bus stop, purple in the face and perspiring unbecomingly because, of course, you were carrying six tonnes of books and a live zebra about your person when you were circumstantially obliged to break spontaneously into a sprint, pretending that you’d been intending to run wildly down the pavement all along anyway.

Truthfully, although it’s a complete pain to miss the boat or the zep, I quite like the fact, at low levels, going on a long journey in WoW really feels like going on a long journey. I like the planning that goes into it. You know, you think to yourself: “I’ll run south to here, then I’ll take the fp to Org, then I’ll get the zep to Grom and then I’ll go west from there.” Even though the execution is always a little bit painful, it more than makes up for it, for me, by feeling pretty damn epic. I think it provide a real and invaluable sense of scope and size. And ultimately spending 2 minutes dangling your feet over the edge of a viewing platform or fishing off the end of a pier is often a welcome time out. It reminds you that the imaginary worlds, like the real one, need not always be rushed through. And that journeys can be as valuable as destinations.

So, yeah, the long and the short of it was: I didn’t miss my connection.

My little dorf feet bounded from land to boards just as the ship was pulling out of the harbour.

“Holy fuck,” I typed joyously into the chat window, “I fucking made it. I fucking made it!”

Except I was so smack-dash amazed, so utterly unprepared for the even the slim possibility of success, (to say nothing of far too preoccupied gloating into the chat window), that I completely forgot about auto-run and by the time it occurred to me that I should probably turn it off, I was all fingers and thumbs.

“Swwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwad,” I wailed, as I careened straight through central section of the ship and plopped into the ocean on the other side, to the accompanying incredulous laughter of the rest of the passengers.

Swwwwwwwwwad indeed.



  1. Auto-run and I are not friends. We can barely be in the same room together, actually, and if we are, one of us is most likely tipsy and doesn’t mind hurling me off the lifts at Thunder Bluff.

    Ah, the pain of missing the boat. It is agonizing, isn’t it? That long run down the pier and you are just so close – DING DING! Boat sails merrily on its way. Or worse yet, I usually jump for it and end up going face first into the side of it, much to the merriment of the other passengers.

    The day when my little alts can have a mount at 20 can’t come soon enough.

    Comment by Lhian — July 21, 2009 @ 12:15 pm | Reply

    • I have died in *every single* Horde capital, except maybe Silvermoon, because of auto-run. You think, maybe, there’s a lesson I’m not picking up on here?

      Sometimes I find the “to mount or not to mount” anxiety even worse, than just running for it. I usually end up attempting equations in my head (which I’m hopeless at): would the 3 seconds I lose by stopping to mount up be compensated for over this distance by the increased speed of the mount. Gah!

      But, yes, roll on patch! It’s just not worth buying any mounts until it comes.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 21, 2009 @ 1:23 pm | Reply

  2. I know from past experience that this is the type of thing that happens to us all.

    I was lvl 16 before I actually learned of autorun, and having learned the intricate nature of “off” and “on” I bounded happily along many a great distance, while say, grabbing a beer.

    Ultimately this is a fools button, since it will, ALWAYS, land you in some sort of situation that you did not want to be in. The most memorable time I used auto run was for the lifts at the thousand needles point just off the barrens. My lvl 40 companion had trotted on to teh lift and was sat at the top waiting for me to catch up. Actually in all the time it took me, they had infact gone down and come back up, but meh.

    I finally made it just as the cogs started up, and descent was imminent.

    “Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss” was the formed /s chat box above my head as I plummetted off the other side of the lift, as a chorus of cackles in Teamspeak serenaded my ultimate doom.

    *curses auto-run*

    Comment by Joe — July 21, 2009 @ 1:39 pm | Reply

    • Aahahaha! It’s weird because slapstick WoW might, in fact, be even funnier than real life slapstick. I remember I was once walking to the library and, honest, to god, I slipped up on a banana skin. It was in the middle of winter and thus it was a *frozen* banana skin but it was still a banana skin. I was laughing so damn hard at myself – others were edging away, looking serious and severe. What is that mad Northener doing. But I’ve never heard M’Pocket laugh so hard at *anything* compared to me running through a boat straight into the water, and I’ve done some pretty damn stupid things in WoW in my time. Admittedly, I chuckled heartily at your Great Lift story. I think it’s the knowledge of the lingering “yessssssssssssssssss” as you spiralled to your doom….

      You’re right, though, the worst of auto-run is that you *know* categorically you shouldn’t use it, that it’ll send you over a cliff or into a wall or drown you in a waterfall … you can’t stop using the damn thing.

      At least I don’t raid. Imagine the carnage.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 21, 2009 @ 3:09 pm | Reply

      • Now that would be carnage 😉

        Comment by Joe — July 22, 2009 @ 11:00 am

      • Thanks for your vote of confidence 😉

        Comment by Tamarind — July 22, 2009 @ 11:49 am

  3. LOL, I’ve done before…of course I really wanted to jump in (that’s what I tell myself) and spent the next few moments frolicking about in the water.

    Comment by deimonia — July 21, 2009 @ 2:08 pm | Reply

    • At least you landed in water.

      I ran off the edge of Outland once. That was … humiliating.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 21, 2009 @ 3:10 pm | Reply

  4. Freewind Post and autorun don’t mix. Epic riding mount + auto run + the mountain path = disaster. I’ve been known to ride off the edge on multiple occasions. The only saving grace is the person laughing at me usually follows to their death straight after. I avoid the lift because my experiences with them are even worse, the Aldor lift is the only reason that all my characters bar one are Scryer.

    Comment by Erinys — July 21, 2009 @ 3:20 pm | Reply

    • You know, you’ve just highlighted a massively important point.

      What the hell is with the lifts in Azeroth. Seriously. What kind of sadistic incompetant built them? There isn’t a single non-dangerous lift on the entire continent. The lifts in the UC have *spikes* underneath the platform on which you can impale yourself. All the lifts around Freewind Post are basically just fragile platforms blowing in the wind.

      Health and safety, people, health and safety.

      If the rumours are true and you can be a goblin in the next expansion I am totally making Inspector Goblin and MY SQUEAKING ANNOYING VOICE WILL BE HEARD!

      Comment by Tamarind — July 21, 2009 @ 3:32 pm | Reply

      • It always bothered me that the lifts in Thunder Bluff/Thousand Needles don’t actually have anything holding them up. They’re just kinda rickety platforms FLOATING up and down the side of the cliff. Crazy stuff going on over there.

        Comment by Kiryn — July 22, 2009 @ 4:32 am

  5. Fah, I have been a goblin engineer for about a year now, and I can tell you, they are NOT concerned about safety. Explosions yes, safety, not so much. What I love about the lifts is that in real life if you just missed it, you would fall down to it, but hit it a few feet below you. In WoW it falls at the same rate as gravity, that should mean the hitting the bottom part should hurt like heck, whether on the platform or just above it.

    I am a pally though, so I have a bubble, but I prefer my flexweave underlay. Engineering is so much fun.

    Comment by Arkanenna — July 21, 2009 @ 6:01 pm | Reply

    • By “concerned about explosions” do you mean “concerned to make them as big as possible?” Given what I’ve seen of goblin engineering in WoW 🙂 I’ve never really levelled engineering as far as I’d have liked. But I really want to for the cool gizmos. I think it’s up there with tailoring actually, as stupidly fun to learn, because it actually gives you stuff that seems better than the stuff you put into it without being too-mindbogglingly painful. *grits teeth* enchanting *grrr*

      I am so tempted to go on some lift tour of WoW though… that would be pretty lame, huh? Like trainspotting for a virtual world.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 21, 2009 @ 11:19 pm | Reply

  6. Swwwwwwwwwwwwwad is also often times your new login when you get DCed. You know when you are running in place desperately trying to do something, then the loginscreen is there…..taunting you with swwwwwwwwwwwwad

    Comment by Darraxus — July 21, 2009 @ 7:13 pm | Reply

    • Ahaha, that’s so true.

      It’s clearly Blizzard saying “fuck you” in its own special way.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 21, 2009 @ 11:20 pm | Reply

  7. Once, I ran like the wind and made it, jumped up and down in excitement and then fallen off the boat…

    So now, I mount up and head to the boat – if I make it, I make it. It’s too embarrassing falling off the side at the dock – or worse, right before or after the zone screen.

    Comment by Ysinnia — July 21, 2009 @ 9:01 pm | Reply

    • Hehe. I don’t know why but people falling off things in WoW never fails to be amusing. I suppose it’s the virtual equivalent of falling over in the street.

      Actually sometimes the increased speed offered by the mount makes more inclined to get myself into a swwwwwwwwwwwwwading situation.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 21, 2009 @ 11:22 pm | Reply

  8. Epic riding? Bah! How about Epic FLYING and autorun? Only bad things can happen:

    1) Your bird is pointed at the sky and you fly too high and it starts complaining
    2) Your bird is pointed at the ground and you land in a group of angry NPCs who commence raping you
    3) You run into the side of a tall building or mountain and go nowhere
    4) You fly over a no-fly zone and get dismounted, either falling to your death or landing in the aforementioned group of NPCs
    5) You fly off the edge of the continent, get dismounted and subsequently drown

    And yet, I keep putting my bird on autofly and go AFK to use the bathroom or to get food. With always the same result.

    Comment by Zaphind — July 21, 2009 @ 9:39 pm | Reply

    • Wow, I’m really looking forward to getting my epic flyer now. So many opportunities for FAIL. 3D Fail!

      This is a really funny list, actually. I look forward to adding to it 😉

      Comment by Tamarind — July 21, 2009 @ 11:27 pm | Reply

    • 6. Fly into the side of a mountain and get slaughtered by a passing Undead rogue who must have thought it was his birthday.

      Sometimes I hate being on a PvP server.

      Comment by Erinys — July 22, 2009 @ 2:35 am | Reply

  9. no longer works… coincidence?

    Although the Sistema Web de Apoyo a la Docencia is still operating in Uraguay.

    Comment by MomentEye — July 22, 2009 @ 4:35 am | Reply

    • I’m so glad for them.

      I can only presume fell off a cliff.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 22, 2009 @ 11:51 am | Reply

  10. Major benefit to mouse turning reflexes. There have been a few occasions where I’ve found myself panicking because my chat window was open while I was autorunning, and rather than fall helplessly off of a cliff/elevator, I just slam my hand on to my mouse and right-click-turn to stop myself. But I’ve had some pretty close calls.

    Comment by Kiryn — July 22, 2009 @ 4:36 am | Reply

    • You’ve obviously honed your not-playing-like-a-monkey skills with Khoa.

      I, on the other hand, am too much of a spanner.

      My reactions are kind of like braking a car – thinking time and stopping distance 🙂

      Comment by Tamarind — July 22, 2009 @ 1:31 pm | Reply

  11. Another good one is when you land on the side of a cliff wrong on your flying mount and slide down the mountain to your death….on a flippin flying mount.

    Comment by Darraxus — July 22, 2009 @ 5:21 am | Reply

    • Hehe, that sounds particularly ignomious.

      Must be, err, gravity, weight of the wings, or something, dragging you down.

      Actually I don’t know if you ever played The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. It’s a first person RPG, but you did get a (completely useless) horse on which to ride around. I remember very early on, not long after having received said horse actually, I was going full tilt, glorying in the speed and grace of it … straight over a mountain. And it was a very long fall, watching my character and the horse turning over and over and over through the air….

      Comment by Tamarind — July 22, 2009 @ 1:36 pm | Reply

  12. Pro-tip: one day, you will get a bird. Once upon said bird flying very high feeling almost god-like. do. not. change. aspect.

    …I’m just saying. Not that I’ve ever never done that (don’t look at me, I swear *blush*)

    Comment by dw-redux — July 22, 2009 @ 8:43 am | Reply

    • I’m just glad the game doesn’t let you shapeshift. I get weirdly walrus-twitchy when I’m miles above the ground.

      I suppose I just have Hitchhiker visions, me the walrus, and a pot of petunias, falling down down down through the skies of Azeroth 🙂

      Comment by Tamarind — July 22, 2009 @ 1:37 pm | Reply

  13. Swwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwaaaaad….”Hello again, Bob!”
    happens to me every time I go into Arathi….I love standing at the sawmill…and dying every time…*sigh*

    Comment by nimayne — July 22, 2009 @ 8:49 am | Reply

    • Hehehe.

      My usual pattern of demise in Arathi goes something like: “Watch out for the alliance riders, they’re really tough and swwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwad….”

      Comment by Tamarind — July 22, 2009 @ 1:41 pm | Reply

  14. Hehe, or when you dismount to mine something and it turns out that your bird was really not too well positioned, flop.

    This post and comments made me laugh so hard that my colleagues were looking at me strangely, woops.

    Comment by Shy — July 22, 2009 @ 10:28 am | Reply

    • Actually, I was mining ground-level saronite in Scholazar Basin the other night, and an epic mount kind of rolled past me down on a mountain. I though it was either a bug or a moment of madness, on either my part or that of the rider, but now it makes perfect sense and is even funnier 🙂

      The comments to this post are hilarious – they’ve kind of made my day for 2 days running now 🙂

      Comment by Tamarind — July 22, 2009 @ 1:51 pm | Reply

  15. I think I just can enter this club of fails, get my freen gift pen and name tag, and just stand here grinning at the world. Last night my little cow of an alt dragged her ass up to lvl 30, and suddenly I had a whole new form to shapeshift into. “Mmm, travel form.”, I muttered to myself and decided to run around a little to check it out. “Ooh, look at those green fields down there, tempting me like a cold beer on a sunny day!”, I eventually thought, and headed my litte cat for the lifts. Such speed, such elegance, such grace as I ran through Thunder Bluff. Such speed, such elegance, such disgrace as I ran straight through the lift and hit the grass down there like a sack of potatoes. I believe the word is “Swwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwaaad..”


    Comment by Naïve — July 22, 2009 @ 12:03 pm | Reply

    • You’re not merely a guest of the Failclub, you’re a VIP! Hehe, this did make me laugh. Travel form is dangerous is the wrong hands. Mine, for example – I, too, have a bad habit of dashing gracefully off the edge of Thunder Bluff. Alas!

      Comment by Tamarind — July 22, 2009 @ 2:23 pm | Reply

  16. Upon receiving flight form on my NE druid, I thought I would never again suffer an embarrassing death by self-defenestration. I reveled in druid-style BASE jumping, shifting at the last possible second before impact. After leveling up in Outlands, I was in the habit of jumping off things, shifting, and flying away. This habit did not serve me well when I returned to Azeroth to work on my Explorer title. I plunged to my death countless times. If its tall, and in the Old Kingdoms, I’ve plunged to my death from it.

    Comment by Frankenbeer — July 23, 2009 @ 11:25 pm | Reply

    • My fiance often marveled at my habit of flying as high as I possibly could over stuff, then just falling to my doom as a shortcut back to the ground, while he would be stuck flying back down at normal flight-speed. Worked on my paladin too, if I just bubbled right before I hit the ground =)

      Comment by Kiryn — July 23, 2009 @ 11:46 pm | Reply

      • Damn paladins – they don’t know how lucky they have it. Or, actually, they do. That’s the worst of it 😉

        Comment by Tamarind — July 24, 2009 @ 11:28 am

    • Points for use of the word self-defenestration 🙂

      Honestly, stuff loremaster and exporer, there should be an acheivement for such comprehensive suicide 🙂

      Comment by Tamarind — July 24, 2009 @ 11:26 am | Reply

  17. […] under: Diversions — Tamarind @ 6:43 pm A couple of posts back, I was talking about the WoW obscenity swwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwad and quite a few of the comments […]

    Pingback by standing at the back in my sissy robe — July 25, 2009 @ 6:43 pm | Reply

  18. […] “Swaaaad.” […]

    Pingback by /AFK – July 26 « Bio Break — July 26, 2009 @ 2:08 pm | Reply

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