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The Eternal Lightness of Being An Item In WoW

That is my knee. Guess what it did when I read the news that sold, destroyed and disenchanted items in World of Warcraft can now be automatically recovered further down the line? It jerked. Jerked hard.

This isn’t for bugs, it isn’t for thefts and it isn’t for immediately fixing accidental sales (that’s been in-game at vendors for ages). It’s just for changing your indecisive little mind later on. Yeah, it can only be done once every thirty days, but it’s still a bespoke, streamlined system for mass revisionism.

I guess I’m known for being a sneering little turd in the majority of cases that I mention WoW, but the reason for that is that I once loved it. Its broad transformation into a numbers game for a particular section of its playerbase felt – and still feels, even years on – like a betrayal. I’d come for the adventuring and the exploring, but that aspect of the game seemed to be disassembled and discarded in favour of routines and ever-more precise maths, which in turn meant that so much of the game existed outside of the game. The forum’n’wiki hunt for fixed boss strategies and item drop ratios, the slow grind for reputation points and PvP points and points and points and points: it’s part and parcel of a modern MMO for sure, but it wasn’t the game I wanted to play.

So, news that there’s now an official wepage with which to request the automated restoration of sold, destroyed and discenchanted items just seems in keeping with the policy of WoW’s internal logic becoming external logic. No consequences to your poor decisions and indecisiveness. No dealing with your screw-ups, but instead appealing to an outside, real-world force to intervene, thus openly demonstrating once more that what’s in Warcraft’s world and what you do in it is entirely meaningless, as it can be changed from the outside so very easily. Yes, this could be done in the past by appealing directly and pathetically to a passing GM, but now it’s a nice clear, robo-page to used and abused at will.

I don’t deny for one second that it’s useful, and certainly there were times I’d have killed for something like it back when I was still playing, but there is strength, honour, excitement and discovery in living with your decisions then finding an in-game way to survive or correct them. Please, can’t something seem to have substance, rather than openly being a checkbox for someone to tick on the server settings?

Jesus, I actually didn’t realise I cared so much about such a little thing. I should try harder to care about things that actually matter, like why Mars bars don’t seem as big as they used to be or whether Jeremy Hunt’s lost his mind and is running naked through the halls of Westminster yet. I guess, as always, the one thing that might bring me back to WoW is more world, not more systems.

Those for whom the item restoration system is mana from customer support heaven can find out more and apply here.

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Alec Meer

Senior Editor

Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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