October 1, 2014

A Handful of Explorers (And My Consequent Adventure)

Atlach-Zath seemed to stare into me. And right back into his multiple eyes I glared right back, the glint of a swashbuckler's pride making the spider falter. The clashes and clangs of combat echoed below me, grunts and battle cries orchestrating the usual stir of Devilfish Hollow. After two hours, I had finally wrapped back around to the closest location of interest within its nooks, a place I would have been able to access in less than a few minutes if weren't for an impulse and a few friends.

You know what? It was completely worth the time.

"Hey, nice ship!" I often speak of my own ship-hiking excursions and the awkward conversations that evolve from those, but this was the first time a hiker on my own vessel had approached me. It was early in the afternoon on Sunday, and I was just recovering from a nice lunch, logging on to take pictures for a recent post.

“Thanks!” I replied. The pirate, David, said that my ship was probably one of his favorites, and I had a little time to spare, so I gave him an offer.

I'd take him on a trip.  Anywhere he wanted. 

To my surprise, he said he'd go wherever I was going. “Alright,” I said, launching.

I approached Devilfish Hollow with confidence in me, hoping to scale the odd, natural levels to get pictures of pirates below. Though I found no real competition in the mobs, I soon realized that David fared differently. I told him that if he got caught, he could yell back to me and I'd come running. Besides taking pictures, I wanted to make a beeline to the spider enemies (partially because they were high up, but also due to this interesting post). However, on my way around the initial area, the light of sandstone and torches caught my eye. I decided that I'd take a little extra time to get a better look at what there was to see. I got caught in the middle of the Waponi area to gain some time invisible to keep going until I hit a safe patch. I told David that I wouldn't be long and charged into a battle, expecting to tear things up easily. I saw another text box appear, this time from a Charles:

“Haha, no weapon!”

"What do you mean?" I stammered out loud. Before typing in my contradiction, I took a closer look at Dead-eye.

 She was holding a single wooden blade. Lucky me.

I cried out in frustration and sat back in my chair, fingers dragging down my face. Today was supposed to be easy – just take the pictures. It seemed that it would be going otherwise. I assisted with simple hits until my Barrage power came up, during which I was able to finish off the rest of the enemies. I immediately reequipped my weapon. “So, you've never been here?” inquired Charles. I mentioned that I'd journeyed in the initial area once before, but I hadn't been through the entire Hollow. “Have you seen the sharks?” I hadn't. “I'll show you.” We hit the Troggy area quickly and I spent a moment exploring before Jessica, a menu-chat player from below, called out from below for some assistance. Immediately, Charles rushed in, and he was followed by both David and I. We spent the next four or five battles helping others, back and forth within the outcropping, meeting two other pirates, Eric and Wolf.

“You know,” I said as I took out a few Troggies, talking to both of the current battles, “What I love about online gaming is that I can meet so many awesome people like you guys.” The others went on to explain that some of them were shy in real life and had good friends in the game. I started going over the differences between tabletop and online role-playing games, but the conversation ended as soon as we got clearance to the area with the sharks. Selfishly, I had deserted my group as soon as I could run in. However, the others were quick to follow and stop at inopportune moments as I watched the formations of the moving shark mobs. (I still can't get over the simple ingenuity of stand-still mobs where you least expect them.)

I reached the end of the area and circled a few times around the shark jaws, then reaching the lip of the place. I took an opportunity to take a screenshot with as many people as were there.

Charles showed us to the ladder from where we could reach the spider enemies. David got caught behind us, but he was quickly followed by other pirates in the exploring group. Consumed by wanderlust, I continued up the ladder. I checked for my weapon and then dove into battle. Charles and another roaming pirate joined me, and the fight was simple from that point. Shortly after, David turned up, and the next fight was too populated for me to join. I took screenshots instead. 

Birds still chatter within the leafy hollow, darting in between explorers' heads and dropping feathers all over the Waponi sling-bearers. Light still filters in until the dark caverns are introduced around the Troggies, taken over by and torchlight where cutthroat jaws snap at the abundant dust.

And there, wandering, wondering, are pirates.

It was there that I feel I at last gained my rank as a mob-ignoring, arrow-denying explorer...an honor only achieved in presence of others. 

1 comment:

  1. Nicely written. I love how you captured one my my favorite aspects of the game, helping out the random player and discovering you have found a great friend. Such a fantastic side effect of this wonderful game. :D


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