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!
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.