Taking a look at something a little bit different this time.
I played World of Warcraft for a couple of years, up until last November. My departure from the game coincided with the release of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, and that is no accident. I don’t like change all that much and in an MMO, I’m perfectly happy grinding mobs, doing daily quests and repeating my routine. Few things emphasize Warcraft’s treadmill design ethos than Blizzard hitting the reset button, and with me starting a new job shortly after the expansion’s release, I felt that was as good a time as any to break away.
For most of my time in Warcraft, I belonged to a small guild almost exclusively composed of my real life friends (and real life friends of my real life friends) and from which this blog takes its name. My antisocial tendencies coupled with my strong aversion to internet culture militated against my joining a more established, focused guild, although I did join a casual raiding guild for a brief period towards the end of 2007. Philosophical differences between myself and a large fraction of this guild’s membership quickly became apparent, as did a pronounced disparity in skill level, and I returned to my friends-and-family guild, bringing an end to my raiding experiment after a few stressful months.
When you are a member of a guild with an active membership of maybe three players, and when you generally decline to group with strangers, your options for advancement are necessarily limited. In Warcraft, PVP was a strong alternative, one that I did extensively partake of, but I also found unexpected opportunities. I joined a few pickup raids in vanilla Warcraft just for the hell of it, managing to win a tier 2 hat by beating the next highest roller by one. Towards the end of The Burning Crusade, I was a regular raiding guest of a very casual guild. While the guild was very easygoing, we had a good bit of success, killing Illidan and Kalecgos. Perhaps not a great accomplishment by hardcore standards, being as they were made after the 3.0 patch, but I think they were strong achievements for a three-raids-a-week casual guild, to say nothing of an outsider in a three-man guild as well.
I miss the people that I raided with, but I can’t say that I really miss the game. Overall, I think it was enjoyable, and I have no regrets regarding the duration I spent playing, but I don’t have the time or inclination to go back. I do have a large supply of screenshots that I look at every now and then to remind myself of what I accomplished, but I’d like to have a more tangible memento. Something like a figure, which is, after all, what this blog is all about.
The FigurePrints company – I do not know if that’s actually their company name – makes custom figures based on a player’s Warcraft character. At about $150 in total, they’re not cheap, but I thought it was an intriguing concept, and just before my subscription lapsed I decided to pick one up. I wasn’t sure which character I wanted to immortalize – my shaman was my primary character through all of The Burning Crusade and undoubtedly has the best equipment of all my characters (and arguably the coolest-looking as well) but my paladin was my original character and one that I still liked very much, even though she was relegated principally to PVP towards the end. After a good deal of deliberation, rationalization, and coin flipping, I decided to go with the paladin.
To commission a FigurePrint, you log out in the equipment you want to have sculpted, and their people will pull your data your character’s Armory profile. I decided to go with a variation of the equipment I wore at level 60, shortly before Blizzard released the rank 12 and 13 armor sets to honor vendors. I did deviate from what I actually used in that I equipped my season 3 mace rather than my Unstoppable Force. They also let you select from a variety of poses, and I went with this one. You can also select from a few bases, which will come emblazoned with the character’s name.
It took a couple of weeks for them to construct, paint, and ship my figure to me, which was relatively fast, all things considered. It comes encased in a clear glass dome, which I do not think is removable (admittedly, I haven’t tried prying it off).
I was surprised at how detailed some aspects of the paintjob are. For instance, my character’s belt is actually very close to what it looks like in the game, as are my character’s boots and gloves. Sculpt-wise, my FigurePrint is a very accurate analogue of my selected pose, which I suppose is logical given that they use 3D printers to manufacture each FigurePrint.
I would have liked additional detail on my character’s face, as I think the face is the most important part of a figure. I suppose the figure might be too small for that, which is another thing I would have changed, as I always like larger figures. In anyone is curious, my FigurePrint is about four inches tall, including the base, or about three and a quarter inches tall without it. It appears as if the painter was being very cautious in some respects, as my character looks like she has tanlines on her waist and backside where the painter didn’t want to risk painting over her armor. It looks rather strange.
Making a decision to spend this much money on a FigurePrint is going to be an intrinsically personal one, as each one is completely customized to one’s preferences. Furthermore, each figure is a manifestation of the player’s accomplishments, and by extension is a reflection of the relationships that one has made in the game and the experiences that one has gone through. By those standards, I think this is a very cool figure. There is certainly room for improvement, but I’m pretty happy with it.