Being a World of Warcraft mage prepared me for painful social distancing measures in Singapore.
(Screenshots belong to Blizzard Entertainment)
Fourth time I’m mentioning it on this blog. We are currently living in dark times. Truly dark times no thanks to a certain rampaging coronavirus.
COVID-19 appeared in our world but five months ago, and only began spreading internationally during the Lunar New Year period. Despite that, it has already “taken the world by storm,” forgive my awful pun. At the moment, near two million people are infected and over a hundred thousand are dead. Sadly, it looks very much the case that things are only going to get worse.
Worse before they get any better. As every other politician is saying.
In the midst of this catastrophe, social distancing has become the global catchphrase of the day. The one must-do for every hour whether one is awake or asleep.
Now, for some folks, this is even more terrifying than the coronavirus. How on earth are we human to weather this terrible outbreak without the direct comfort and company of others?!?! Isn’t it long known that no man is an island?
Well, I find social distancing measures grim too. The ever-tightening Singaporean regulations certainly do not make compliance easier.
That said, I am to an extent, conditioned for the harsh social restrictions. That’s thanks to me being a World of Warcraft (WoW) player for ten years. … No, I’m not kidding. Seriously, I’m not kidding!
Having obsessively played Blizzard’s bestselling MMORPG for over ten years, most fundamentals of safe distancing measures are already second nature to me. Sure, it takes some imagination to apply what’s in the game to the current pandemic. But once I “sensed” the similarities, everything became crystal clear and intuitive.
Everything around me also, ahem, began to resemble WoW. Or more accurately, a very deadly raid within the game.
1. 30 Yards Away From Me Please
I play a mage in WoW. Will be the only class I will ever play too.
If you have any experience with RPGs, you’d know that mages and all magician classes are notoriously “squishy,” because we are only able to wear cloth armours. This makes DISTANCING an absolutely must during gameplay. An absolute, absolute MUST, even if we have some sort of magical barrier activated.
Within WoW, the strategy is also to immediately blink i.e. teleport away when an enemy is near enough for you to smell him/her/it. (I.E. near enough for you to contact any viruses) If you can’t blink away for whatever reason, well, hopefully you can freeze the darn creature in place. Before beating a hasty retreat.
After ten years of such gameplay, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve been permanently conditioned in real-life too. I instinctively move away from crowds whenever I see any. For events, I avoid visiting during crowded days and hours. I’ve mentioned the latter many times in my festive posts.
Heck, I even scamper away when I see a cluster of people waiting before a traffic crossing! I’m the weirdo who will always be standing yards apart from the cluster. Often with an appalled or revolted look too.
To think this anti-social, near misanthropic quirk of mine is now implored by every government in the world! Demanded by the Singaporean government too with threats of fines and jail terms!
It’s great being a mage.
2. Do Not Stand in Sh*t
WoW raid fights are intense, often with very challenging mechanics too. However, following one rule ensures you at least survive the bulk of a fight and get the chance to learn the mechanics. One golden rule.
Do. Not. Stand. In. Sh*t.
If you see something weird covering the ground, some sort of goo or gas or light or shadow, MOVE AWAY.
MOVE YOUR B*TT AWAY.
It’s a very simple rule. Strangely, a lot of players neglect to do it in the heat of a fight.
Coming back to our current pandemic-stricken world, I guess people who sit on crossed-out seats at eateries, bus stops, orvoid decks, do so because they are preoccupied? Maybe they see the coronavirus as some sort of Old God-like monstrosity and are casting mental spells to keep the monster at bay.
Or maybe they are just that oblivious. That unconcerned. That guai lan. The sort of “player” you do not ever want in your raid team.
I, on the other hand, pride myself on being a great raider. For that reason, I steer clear of goo and gasses and what have you. When I see a crossed-out seat, I immediately “blink away.”
I assume said seat will blow up in my face, the moment I am within ten feet. Otherwise, why is there an X on it?!?
3. Get Away From Me, You F*ck
Still on boss fight mechanics with this one.
Many WoW raid and dungeon bosses have some sort of extended or belated attack.
One type “marks” you. Seconds later, the attack “detonates” and everyone in the area is damaged. Yourself included.
The second type is more immediate, and deadlier. Damage-over-time begins immediately. If you do not move away from your party, the damage jumps to other players . Literally spreading like a plague.
Spreading like a plague. Like a pandemic. Which makes it imperative to always spread out during showdowns with such ghastly bosses.
Don’t you think this mechanic is very similar to our current crisis? Very similar to ongoing social distancing measures?
To me, COVID-19 is like a raid boss. One with the ability to painfully and slowly destroy an entire party. To even begin to fight it, you must learn the mechanics. These begin with NOT inflicting unnecessary damage to your compatriots.
Slip up, and your party wipes. In our real world, the equivalent is entire populations decimated. It’s a chilling scenario that keeps me very, VERY mindful of all safe distancing regulations.
4. Dude, Your Gear Level Sucks
This one isn’t directly related to social distancing, but I might as well mention it.
WoW is all about gear. The better your gear, the higher your chances of surviving raids and winning PvP fights. The more achievements and gold you get too.
Enter a battleground or a raid with unimpressive gear, and woe to you. You are unlikely to even last ten seconds.
The same goes if you leave home now without adequate “gear.” Gear in the form of face masks, hand sanitizers, etc.
Not to get florid, but the world is currently a raid, agree? Trash mobs and bosses are all around, but we can’t see them because the leaders of our world have yet to find the spell that reveals them. I.E. we have no easy way of detecting the infected.
Even with face masks and liquid sanitizers, the bulk of us are still decisively under-geared. At best, we have but a few hours to safely do what must be done. Before we aggro something and invite infection.
Best is to stay home as much as you can. I’m more than glad to remain at home when I think of the pandemic that way.
5. Love Your Healers by Observing All Social Distancing Measures
I feel many other situations in WoW have direct or indirect relevance to the COVID-19 Pandemic. But one stands above all else.
Love your healer. Respect your healer. Never annoy, never stress your healer.
At the moment, medical staff worldwide are akin to an overworked and under-geared WoW healer, one who’s struggling to up the HP of an entire raid party at one go. This task is made worse by many players insisting on doing silly things. Things like not spreading out to limit AoE attacks.
“Spread out, f*ckwits!” The healer cries. But nobody’s listening. In the end, the healer has no chance to heal himself. And he dies. (And is correspondingly blamed for the party wipe)
I jest. I’ve been jesting since the start of this post and it’s time to get serious. My real message: PLEASE STAY HOME as much as you can. Please religiously observe social distancing measures too.
If you have to go out, if you must venture out, please adequately gear yourself. Please “know the fight mechanics” too by taking the effort to update yourself daily about ever-changing regulations. Don’t make your life more unbearable by incurring fines, or worse, getting arrested.
Most importantly, don’t needlessly amplify your mental strain by considering lockdowns, shutdowns, isolations, and quarantines as torture. Yes, it’s all very painful. But if we all do it, the chances of the pandemic ending soon will be far higher?
Stay at home, everyone. If, for whatever reason, home is not the place to be for you, well, I can’t offer any practical help. But perhaps the direness of the situation can assist you to enlist faster help from the authorities in making alternate arrangements?
Stay home, everyone. We can beat this raid. As long as we work together.