Remembering What We Fight For

Posted March 7th, 2010 by Kharin


Beyond the fierce bulk of the allosauros-like King Dred and his smaller dino companions I could see the glittering column of moonlight.  My pulse quickened.  This was it …. in a few short seconds my main would pay her respects to this last elder.  Even as Elder and hunter bowed as one dwarf to another Elders of the Dungeons, To Honor One’s Elders and What a Long, Strange Trip it Has Been flashed up on the screen.  As has often been the case for me on reaching meta-achievements, it was the early hours of the morning server time, none of my friends or guildies were online, and the other members of the PUG were already rushing up the steep stairs to the next group of trash mobs.

It didn’t really matter that no one else celebrated the moment.  It felt great to finally have completed a meta-achievement that I had started working on some 16 months earlier, criss-crossing Azeroth trick or treating.  When, a short time later our pug had swept through Drak’Tharon Keep and bested The Prophet Tharon’ja, my hunter main hearthed to Dalaran and made a bee line to the mail box.  Soon she was flying in exhilarating circles around the floating city of Dalaran on her latest mount.    The Violet Proto-drake is a great color with a fluorescent violet mouth though perhaps a bit chunky (not as elegant and slim lined as my previous favourite, the bronze drake).  Best of all he is very fast (310%).  All in all, the proto-drake is one sweet ride and a fitting reward for several months of effort.

And indeed, it has been a long, often strange road full of fun and frustration, the culmination of many hours of game play.  The meta-achievement requires completing the majority of the achievements from most of WOW’s seasonal events:  All Hallow’s End, Winterveil, Lunar Festival, Love is in the Air, Noble Garden, Mid-Summer Fire Festival, Children’s Week, Brewfest (Pilgrim’s Bounty is not included).  Usually at least one of the achievements for each seasonal event can only be completed by higher level characters (often only at level 80 and usually 70+).   The achievements also span across the various types of game play, including tasks that require questing, grinding, drops, instances, raids, pvp and professions (such as cooking).  As the festivals span the year, a minimum of 10-12 months is required to complete the meta-achievement though, due to the level requirements of some of the achievements,  it often takes longer.

My first encounter with a seasonal event was my curiosity about the sound of cracking whips and the sight of players speeding along on rams around Kharanos.   My main was still in her 20s and the experience of ram racing as well as the chaotic madness of defending Brewfest against the dastardly dark iron dwarves sold me on festivals.   However, it wasn’t until the next seasonal event, All Hallow’s End, that achievements and the meta-achievement What a Long Strange Trip it Has Been was introduced.  My main was now in her 40s and I loved the whimsical fun of trick and treating at various inns, and the challenge of reaching many of those out of way places, and the cooperative effort of defending the villages against the Headless Horseman.  In my ignorance, I offered to help defeat that madman within the Scarlet Monastery and was quickly informed of the need to be 70 (as the level requirement was then).  Since then I’ve thrown myself into the various festivals – including Pilgrim’s Bounty which is not required for the meta-achievement (though is a great way to level cooking of even the lowest level toons).  Along the way I have not only earned some cool titles, pets both cute and ugly, mounts, gold, gadgets (the remote), accrual of faction reputation and experience, as well as filled my bank with relatively useless costumes, tokens and paraphernalia, I also gained the impetus to explore and to attempt and succeed at what at times seemed impossible exploits.

And – what is in store now that my main at least has arrived at her long held goal?  No doubt it is just to “get get back truckin’ on.”*  There are after all other meta-achievements still to conquer, other challenges to undertake, other toons to level and another expansion to look forward to.  With the coveted Reins of the Violet Proto-drake came a letter from the red dragon Alexstrasza, Queen of the Dragons (sent to Alliance and Horde alike):

With the drums of war pounding in the distance, it is easy for the denizens of Azeroth to forget all that life has to offer.

You, on the other hand, have maintained the dignity of the good races of Azeroth with your ability to remember what we fight for. To not celebrate our victories is another form of defeat. Remember that well, Reveler.

May others be inspired by your good cheer,

Alexstrasza the Life-Binder

If at times I wonder why the end-game content can resemble “the rat race” of modern, consumerist society (when grinding dungeons to get better gear so that we can grind higher level dungeons to get better gear) or the polemical propaganda wars of cold war politics (as Horde and Alliance as uneasy allies against a greater menace still face off against each other in often hostile bigoted competition) – it is fun to remember that there is more to life than scrambling to be at the top of the pyramid.   Remembering past heroes, generous gift giving, joyful preparing and consuming of feasts, communities celebrating together, joining together to defeat evil -  these can all remind us of the importance of what makes life worth living.


* As in the  concluding lyrics of Bruce Hornsby and The Grateful Dead’s Truckin’ (about Trucking or touring across the USA).  It is from this song that the meta-achievement’s title is drawn:

Sometimes the lights all shining on me
Other times I can barely see
Lately it occurs to me
What a long strange trip it’s been.

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