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Excuse Me, But Your Funny Bone Is Showing

by Raya

Peals of laughter echo to me from the ghostly voices and happy hearts
that filled my halcyon gaming days…my time in EverQuest, the game
that critics accused of stealing souls and chaining people to their keyboards…with
or without pizza. Many of the details of that lively humor are lost to
me now, as my mind becomes filled with new experiences and truckloads
of encroaching information. But the humor of EQ and my other MMOs lives
on in my heart.

I
remember the days, coming into the game for planned raids, led by Patrynn
Ironfist, wood elf warrior extraordinaire (a wood elf warrior?!) and guild
co-leader. Manic Mondays was our weekly guild event, and every Monday
we would go to a different spot where we either hadn't been before, or
where we'd had such great success and fun that we wanted to return. At
the time, some of our trials and tribulations seemed frustrating and annoying
but, looking back, they rank among the best hours of my life.

There was the inevitable wait for latecomers. Patrynn adopted the tactic
of setting the rendezvous time for the raid 15 minutes early, to try and
encourage people to be on time. It never worked. Inevitably, we would
be off to a remote district requiring druid or wizard teleporting and
then a forced march to such places as City of Mist, Chardok, Mistmoore,
or Dragon Necropolis. Invariably, the latecomers, usually the same ones,
would holler at us over the raid channel to let them know where they needed
to go…and, also invariably, this was after the last druid had left
the meeting spot (under the tree next to the little bank in Plane of Knowledge)
with his/her contingent of raiders.

The
rule was, if you were under 15 minutes late you could still join the raid,
but you had to get to the main body of raiders on your own. And just as
invariably, one or more people would die in the attempt, and one or more
raiders would escort a cleric back to rez/rescue the dead people. We got
frustrated the first few times, but soon it was the Manic Monday rallying
cry. So-and-so died, right on time. (You could practically set your watch
by it.) Who's going to get him/her this time? Yeah, we could have left
them and continued on, but you see, the unspoken motto of our guild and
our raid was…family fun and people come first. If we left them, they
wouldn't have had as much fun, and in the end neither would have the rest
of us.

There were always the people who tried so hard and just couldn't quite
get it. They were cheerful, willing, and happy, and a pleasure to have
on board. Their humor was off-the-wall, self-deprecating in a funny way,
and just what we needed when we were facing unbelievable odds. These people
would die with a quip, and take the pain away from the rest of us.

To my way of thinking, there are three ways to deal with a raid death…happily,
unhappily or take it in stride and move on. We worked most with two of
the three. This too was a time of laughter. I am trying to remember some
of the hilarious things that were said, the gentle teasing of our guildmates
and allies in channel. Again, I don't remember the specifics, but the
lightness of heart made the whole experience rank up there with party-times
in my 20s, and even showing off baby pictures of my kids.

There
was one time in Chardok when the raid leader (not Patrynn, another friend)
was renowned for pulling large trains and for TYPING ALL IN CAPS BECAUSE
OTHERWISE PEOPLE DIDN'T LISTEN TO HIM. After we had been wiped because
of the somewhat large train Cap had pulled, we would laugh long and hard
at his comments while we recovered our corpses and got rezzed. Someone
always got a screenshot of the train and always published it in a forum.
The comments after that were just hilarious.

There was the joshing of the cleric on dying yet again by gaining aggro
for the mob too soon. Or the exhortations of the cleric to the tanks to
STAND STILL when casting CH (Complete Heal). My own exhortation included
the words "<Target,> failure to stay within range for CH for
the next ten seconds may cause death." Or the enchanter's many varied
and hilarious taglines on what she would do to anyone who broke mez during
her crowd control ("You break mez, you tank it!"). One of our
druids was learning the fundamentals of combat…don't nuke until the
tank has aggro good and strong. She commented that she thought she was
maybe getting the hang of it after about her third death. None of it really
was funny, until you took it in context, listened to the other people
and just enjoyed the whole humor of it.

I remember another time in DAoC. Remember when you had horses to travel
back and forth in Hibernia (where I mostly played)? It was not unusual
for me to get on a horse going the wrong way and then, shortly after arriving
at my destination, climbing back on the horse to go the other way. It
was hilarious, and I got the nickname (not necessarily in my hearing)
of Wrong Way Mavourneen (or WW Mav for short).

To this day, ex-guildees in A TALE IN THE DESERT reminisce about the
number of sheep killed by sheep pox (or some equally fatal sheep-type
disease). We actually didn't laugh until the bug (for that was what it
was) was fixed. Nowadays, when we talk about ATITD, it is often prefaced
by, "Remember the time you set up the sheep in their pens for the
third time, and some idiot forgot to feed his sheep?" The later was
the presumed cause of the number of sheep deaths in a given area. We mourned
those sheep as if they were long-lost pets. And laughed about it afterwards.

Laughter
with friends is the same everywhere…it produces a warm, glowing feeling,
a feeling of contentment... and acceptance. It was no different in EverQuest,
or any of the other MMOs I played in. Some of the friends from these games
have gone on to become friends in real life. It has been my experience
that, sometimes, online friendships do not survive translocation to real
life. But the laughter helps…because it never stops. People are funny
when they are happy and having fun, and that humor cements the bonds that
have stretched over space and time.



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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Karen 1
Karen is H.D.i.C. (Head Druid in Charge) at EQHammer. She likes chocolate chip pancakes, warm hugs, gaming so late that it's early, and rooting things and covering them with bees. Don't read her Ten Ton Hammer column every Tuesday. Or the EQHammer one every Thursday, either.

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