Saturday, June 21, 2014

Think *You're* Insane? Well, Meet Doubleagent...

World of Warcraft. Some people play it as a game, others use it to demonstrate their inherent soullessness.

What do insane people do? Lots of things. They talk to their dogs, fumble their words in a hopeless attempt to appear socially normal, and run websites that are viewed by so few people that they might as well not bother. Wait...that describes me. Yes I am insane. However, there are a few who go beyond me, and reach a level so ridiculous that I question if they are actually homo-sapiens, or some ghoulish demon spawn from Mars, sent to deliver us all to our doom!

One person I came across definitely deserves the "ghoulish demon spawn from Mars" title. I do not know their real name, but, I do know the name of their World of Warcraft character: Doubleagent. Whoever this guy is, he is veritably, absolutely, existentially, and unbelievably downright kooky and off-kilter.

Why, you ask? Yes, playing World of Warcraft is a bit sad in itself, I would know. But plenty of functioning humans play it without appearing too bedraggled in real life. This person definitely would not meet that standard, at least from what I can see.

Basically, what they did was this: they leveled up a character, ALL 90 LEVELS, only mining ore and picking herbs in one of the game's starter zones! Let me put that in perspective for you. Instead of playing the game like your average bloke, this guy went through millions of experience points harvesting in-game materials for the meager reward of 20-30 experience per ore mined/herb picked. They would run around the starter zone for hours, days even, mining and picking stuff just to level up once. The average quest in World of Warcraft gives you thousands of experience points, so just imagine how boring and time consuming of a grind this is.

You either have to be extremely patient, alien, or rich beyond imagination (no way you can have a normal job doing this) to pull this off. Or just downright mad. Probably all of the above.

According to Doubleagent himself, who wrote about his venture here, he spent "173.5 days" total getting the character to level 90. That's in a span of about a year and a half. So, in a period of approximately 700 days, nearly 1/4th of their time was spent running around, picking ore and herbs in World of Warcraft.

I don't know about you, but I would want to jump off a bridge after a couple hours of that, let alone 4,200 hours of it (173.5 * 24). It's just seems like such a mind numbing task. I would feel horrible doing it after a while, and would probably start making a mental checklist of all the productive things I could be accomplishing. Still, I won't judge them, as I don't know their situation. That being said, the dude is nuts!

Why am I writing about this? Well, in some ways, it does make you feel better about your own life, doesn't it? At least you're not spending all of your waking hours in a virtual world, doing a boring and utterly pointless task in said world. I mean, it's one thing to spend that much time playing World of Warcraft if you are actually, well, playing it. It's another thing to be running around performing a repetitive task ad-infinitum, just to prove to everyone that it's possible, and that you have the patience of a lobotomized god.

What's frightening is that people actually cheer this on, and congratulated him for his accomplishment, as seen in the linked thread above. Ok, so sure, it's cool that he did this and it's impressive because nobody has done it before. But really....REALLY...should we be cheering this? I mean, if we ALL did stuff like this society would collapse around us faster than a T Rex on a waxed hardwood floor.

Sometimes going to extremes is admirable, but it's almost depressing thinking about what this person could have done, had he focused his herculean patience on some other task, like, saving dolphins or cleaning up beaches. or some other noble platitude.

Yes I am sounding preachy here, sorry. I just can't wrap my mind around the kind of mental makeup it would take to do something like this. Was it for the fame? The adoring fans he's garnered in the process? Did he do it to stir up hatred towards him (maybe he's a masochist)? Or is he just bloody insane?

Perhaps we'll never know. Just promise me, if you are reading this, that you'll do something at least two to three percent more productive over the next 173.5 days than what Doubleagent did. Maybe then, if I'm lucky, my shattered faith in humanity will be restored. (Just a thought, can I sue Doubleagent for breaking it? Probably not, but it's a thought...hey that rhymed)!

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About The Author

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Nicholas Garcia (M.A.) is a PhD Candidate at the University of California, Davis. He is also a Co-Founder of the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies. Previously, he contributed to and the Davis Humanities Institute.