Monday, May 17, 2010

Min/max and you. Mac and me.

Mac and Me, anyone remember that gem from the 80's? No? Probably not. It's a lesser-known movie about a family of aliens that crash lands on Earth, the youngest of which is named Mac. Over the course of the movie, the diminutive Mac befriends your run of the mill wheelchair-bound nerd, of which whose name I simply cannot remember. Regardless, the paraplegic's name is unimportant. What is important is this picture:

Now then, let us examine the picture. We have Mac, the alien, riding on the shoulders of said crippled child, utterly obscuring his view of the world. Is this a metaphor for how we are to live life? That we are forever-blinded without the help of our dearest alien friends, and that only through their assistance are we able to see life completely? To be completely honest, I doubt it. If you ask me, Mac looks something like a sex toy just waiting to be used, but that's beside the point.

Metaphor aside, what is really important here is the child's ability to accessorize effectively. Yes, the child could have chosen a simple yet stylish hat to round out his wheelchair ensemble, or a snappy pair of sunglasses. Yet he has chosen an alien to wear atop his head. This in itself sets him apart from his peers. Well, it does. How many people do you know that wear BJ-giving aliens upon their heads? My sources would say not many. Does this make him better than your average twelve year old? Probably, yes.

And herein lies the point I wish to make: What you wear says something about how you play down to the smallest detail. What you wear on your head says something about how you play. What hairstyle you use says something about how you play.

It sounds odd, but there is some bit of logic to it. We are all given the choice as to how we wish to present ourselves in the game, or at least we're able to alter a broad number of variables to our liking. Within those variables that we change (this is assuming that you didn't just /random your toon's appearance), there are some that we like, and some that we dislike. By way of this, you essentially profile your character down to a few key traits that ultimately get at the real essence of your toon and your play style.

But then, of course, what do I know? You're right. I know next to nothing, but admitting such is the first step to true enlightenment. So, let's take a look at a few of the usual suspects. Granted, I play exclusively Horde, and my main is a Blood Elf paladin of the female variety. As is such, I've limited myself to the female hairstyles for the moment. If you want to complain about it, leave a note, we'll chat.

The bun. Simple. Classic. A dyed in the wool killer, cold-blooded, methodical, and thorough. This is the style that I use, and I feel it best encapsulates my outlook on Warcraft on the whole. My toon is a bitch to the core. I don't want to make puppy kisses with you, nor do I want to help your level 73 alt clear the amphitheater of anguish. I work hard every morning to make sure that not one single strand of this hair is out of place, and by god if it is, you'd best stay out of the battlegrounds. If you're a DPS class, I would suggest this style for optimal DPS. The bun allows for proper airflow over the curve of the head while still allowing you to negotiate with extreme prejudice. For healers, well, this hairstyle is a bit hit and miss. As a healer wearing the bun, know that you probably will only be healing a select few in the raid. It's not a friendly hairstyle, and you won't play well with others. Coincidentally, it's great for eliminating bad raiders.

The boar tails. What are you, six? This hairstyle is one borrowed from the gnomes, as is such, it shouldn't even be considered. If you're going for the cute look, try elsewhere. This one ultimately pulls off being annoying and flippant, if not outright childish, more than cute nine times out of ten. Remember, you're out slaying dragons and undead, not trying to compete in the local Miss Pre-teen USA pageant. What fun is slaying dragons, burning legions of undead, and stabbing things if you've got a curfew of 8PM? Grow up a little. Furthermore, the balancing of this style is completely off. Those pom-poms are almost as big as the girl's head! She'd be in danger of listing terribly, if not completely fall over, every time she turned her head. From a logistics standpoint, this hairstyle just isn't feasible. You want to do the raping, not get raped.

The rooster. What is this I don't even. I really don't know what else to call it other than that. This has to be one of the lesser-known styles for females out there simply because even though only 3% of Blood Elf females are actually females in real life, clearly men know something about style. This just looks idiotic. It's like a failed sorority prank in motion. This rates even worse than the boar tails. If you're sporting this look, you're simply out to make an ass of yourself, and possibly others. You're probably one of those level 1 people that stand outside of the bank in Silvermoon and tell people how you'll give them a naked dance for one gold. You're wasting your own time, and the time of others. Nobody will take you seriously, and you don't take yourself seriously either. If anything, this toon probably isn't even your main. Any toon wearing this hairstyle is probably the alt of someone that plays on the Alliance, and they only use this Horde-side toon to spy on trade chat and figure out where the next For The Horde raid will be striking. You're clever, but you've got a lot of leveling to do to play with the big boys and girls.

The sorority. Now then, not he failed sorority prank as seen in the rooster, this is more subtle. For those of you that have spent some time in college, or at least around the college scene, this sorority is one where...well, you know the type of girl that clearly cares about her appearance, but doesn't make it a priority. You'd most commonly run into this type of girl, well, running, or at least out for a jog. They're usually the smarter ones in the sorority scene, as is such, they're well-balanced for raiders and casuals alike. The style is simple, and yes, still a classic, but has something lively to it. The nonchalance with which the ponytail settles allows one a certain breath of life that isn't seen in the bun. You enjoy raiding, yes, but only when you're not buried in a mountain of tells discussing the guild drama of the day. You're everyone's friend, and this is both a blessing and a curse. You've got your finger on the metaphorical pulse of the guild and all information runs through, or by you at some point. You're able to bridge the raider and the casual scene effectively, and because of this you are a great mediator, even if you are looked down upon by the bun from time to time.

Are there others? Yes, there are nineteen total hairstyles for female Blood Elves, of which I've only touched on a brief few. Should there be interest, maybe I'll delve deeper, but this is, as they say, a good start. So, getting back to the title of this post, where does min/max come into Mac and Me? Where does min/max come into hairstyles? Well, in order to mix/max properly, you have to ask yourself what your goals in the game are. What's the best way to find out what those goals are? Just look at your toon's hairstyle, it'll tell you plenty about all those little subconscious things that are going on in your head all the time.

Monday, May 10, 2010


It'll have to be short since I'm currently in the office waiting for students to show up so that I can fail them, but this last week was a triumph. I'm making a note here: huge success. It's hard to overstate my satisfaction. 10 man drakes plus rounding out our team for (what I hope to be) good makes me quite pleased.

Now to wait and see if the 25 man raid makes tonight. Heroic Blood Queen and Lich King left. Given the turnout we normally have for non-farm content, I'm thinking tonight will be a fine night to go farm Naxx for the weekly and some much needed abyss crystals. It should take something like fifteen minutes, twenty tops. After that? Why, I'll be the complete douche that I am and AFK over the well in Dalaran with my bloody skeleton drake.

So very much to do.