Saturday, September 24, 2011

Excalibur...No, Wait, The Holy Grail...Wait...

This is a story about love lost, love discovered anew and then the death of hope.

No, I'm sorry...that's another story. This is actually a story about naked desire and then realizing that sometimes unfulfilled desire can be nice, too.

This will be a bit rambly, because it's not the type of tight, refined concept that I usually try to put forth, but rather some thoughts that came tumbling out. (And despite the next paragraph, this really isn't a post about transmogrification. Honest.)

Ever since Blizzard announced transmogrification, I've been scouring wowhead for items to use in every slot. Being somewhat obsessive-compulsive about these sorts of things, I amassed a huge amount of things for every slot, the better to mix-and-match to create specific outfit looks.

However, the weapon slot presented a problem. As a priest, at any given time, my weapon may be a staff, a mace or a dagger. I have some great options for staff and at least one brilliant option for a mace. However, dagger was vexing me. Daggers just don't have as many remarkable designs as swords do. There are a few quite nice ones (Perdition's Blade is my current favourite among the ones I have) but I just couldn't find that out-of-this-world spectacular one. Bear in mind that I'm extremely finicky about aesthetics...there are very, very specific types of weapons that I like. So while some daggers would be viewed as spectacular by others, it's been a struggle to find that superstar for my tastes.

And then ("then" being weeks ago) I found it. "Out-of-this-world" proved to be quite apropos, as it was Algalon the Observer's own dagger, containing within it a tiny constellation: the Starshard Edge. (While it is Algalon's dagger--in so far as he wields two of them--it also drops from Mimiron's hard mode encounter and an agility dagger with the same model drops from the Iron Council's hard mode).

The problem is that it drops from Ulduar 25 and, as I noted above, only from two hard mode encounters and a third boss in Algalon that is hard mode difficulty by default. Not only is this not something I can solo, it's not even something one can do by dragging along a few friends. You still need a pretty solid raid team (around 10 people) to accompany you, and the number of raid teams who are interested in farming Ulduar 25 isn't particularly high!

However, my guild generally uses Friday nights for "retro raiding." Some of the people in my guild really enjoy achievement collecting, which is what motivates them to organize these raids every Friday. Achievements have generally not been one of my interests, so I only went rarely. I've gone a few times recently, since the possibility of items for transmogging made older raids more fun to me again (and transmog-worthy gear is also of interest to the aforementioned achievement-hunters). What I've found is that just playing with others that I know is actually more fun than I thought, especially when the content is still challenging (due to under-manning it).

In any case, this Friday, with no clear objective yet in mind when the guild master got the group together, they were kind enough to go to Ulduar 25 because I requested it. Everyone, of course, had the prospect of potentially finding some gear they liked and there were 25-man achievements to be gained...but still, the impetus was my wanting something from there.

I think we all had a good time. We did some wiping early because the 7-8 people we had wasn't sufficient for 25-man Iron Council on hard mode. Later, though, we got a few more people and knocked out some bosses, including Mimiron on hard mode and Algalon.

The Starshard Edge didn't drop.

You might think I'd be extremely disappointed. Hell, I might think I'd be extremely disappointed. Getting a chance to do these hard mode encounters in 25 man format is not all that I had my shot(s) and neither panned out.

It it had dropped, I'd have been overjoyed. When it didn't drop, I found that there is a special magic in not getting what you want. Trite though it may sound, it's exciting to have something out there that you really want. I can't pretend that I'm equally happy either way...I'd prefer that it had dropped. However, it was fun going after it. I wasn't upset or annoyed that it didn't drop, because that means my object of desire is still out there to excite me over the idea of acquiring it.

I suppose the correct analogy is to the holy grail...a mythic, elusive object to pursue, like a will-o'-wisp. Of course, in my case, it's largely only mythic and magical to me! However, it's a weapon and as such, I prefer to compare it to Excalibur, despite how much that muddies this analogy space.

I'm happy that I still have something in the game that has the magic of being, at least temporarily, out of reach. Not as happy as if it were actually in my grasp, of course, but it's still a happiness. I had fun doing those fights with guild members, which suggests to me that I might have a new Friday activity that I'd actually enjoy.

The Starshard Edge, probably the item I want more than any other in the game, didn't drop last night. And that's cool.

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