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Legging Up

Written By: Diana Arya on May 1, 2009 3 Comments

I couldn’t look at myself without cringing. My pants were a major upgrade from what I normally wore when I went out, but they were seriously lacking in material. They looked more like chaps that covered most of my quads and calves, but only had straps along the inner sides of my legs, thus showing quite a bit of skin. Every time I looked at myself, I was mortified and wondered what kind of message I was inadvertently giving others by wearing these pants. There are children around, you know? My husband is a sympathetic partner and so he bought me another pair of pants at a local auction house. He assured me that the new pair of pants was not only an upgrade, but they would cover my legs completely. Since he had the male version of these same pants, I had no reason to refuse this gift. But then I put them on. Much to my horror, it was even worse—now I looked like I had thigh-high stockings with a g-string. I couldn’t possibly go out like this! How could this be an upgrade? There is even less coverage! Thank god I had a long cape that covered my backside. Well, there was only one thing left to do—I needed to go to regions that were less populated and kill some high-level beasts very quickly.

It’s amazing how I connect with my level 50 human warrior that I call Jaleh, after my middle name. I’m still new to the World of Warcraft (WoW), but I continue to learn more about the game every time I log on. She is the “me” that moves within in a virtual world of monsters and quests that grow more challenging as I gain experience. What fascinates me the most are the interactions I have with other players in the game. My husband, who is more experienced than I, helps me to navigate through the sea of online characters and decide who to engage in discourse and who to ignore. Some charac—people are hard to ignore, like the night elf hunter “Shadan,” who gave me 60 gold coins just because. This would be like passing a person on the street, and this person decides to give you a hundred dollar bill. And this may actually happen if you were wearing the pants I was wearing in the virtual world of WoW. So what do I say to Shadan? I had no idea and even my husband was puzzled by this situation, especially since Shadan didn’t say a word to me. However, I didn’t have to wait long until Shadan began doing flip-flops, which is a special talent among night elves. So I did what Jaleh would do in this moment. I laughed. Well, I typed “/laugh” and Jaleh laughed. So Shadan performed more flips. And I typed/laughed again. Throughout this exchange, I wondered what it meant. Was I flirting? Jaleh is not the flirtatious type. But I am the type of person who laughs in situations that are incomprehensible. After a few more turns, Shadan and I stood motionless within the town square as other characters bustled about to various destinations. Not being fettered to the normal conventions of interactions, I turned away without a word. I approached the flight master that would transport me to another region where I could hunt some beasts in peace. Here’s to the serenity of combat and the hope for a better pair of pants.

jaleh

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3 Responses to “Legging Up”

  1. Youki on: 1 May 2009 at 6:33 pm

    great post! hah yeah, interactions in online games are fascinating, huh? Although what that guy “Shadan” was doing seemed very peculiar. I mean, who gives gold away like that? Maybe you’ve gotten yourself an online stalker! Very creepy if you ask me.

    And you’d think that someone going into battle would at least wear pants! but I guess it’s incentive to make your character higher level. Clothes as symbols of social stratification or something like that.

  2. daveski on: 7 May 2009 at 10:34 pm

    There must be many studies now that talk about identity in immersive games and virtual worlds like Wow (but I haven’t read them!). It’s interesting to me how much back-and-forth there is between words like “characters” and “people”, and how you talk about how Jaleh is doing things that *might* be you and yet might not…what does it mean, like in Youki’s comment, to have an “online stalker” in this kind of environment? Does that term even make sense anymore when there’s this 3-D realm where the other avatar/person/character is fully visible to you embodied (and pant-wearing) Jaleh? Does “online” describe the environment in WoW, or is there an “online” with respect to the “reality” that is Jaleh’s world too?

    And why does the SAME pair of pants look different when a female character puts them on as opposed to a male character????

  3. Quest Helper on: 13 September 2009 at 12:08 am

    It seems the better your armor is, the less if covers, and until your up at the maximum levels, forget about getting armor that matches. I know they are trying to catore to the teens out there, but it would be good if i would run around and not think about putting a blanket on my character!

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