Out In The Wild
I spent this past weekend in a tent. On purpose.
I was partaking in a family camping trip, which should matter on some level but doesn’t. What does matter is that when I finally got home, my body felt like I was a horse that had been ridden hard all day and put away wet. I was exhausted both physically and mentally. There are people who claim that they go camping to relax, and I suspect these people are either a) masochists, b) hauling one of those house-sized campers with a built-in microwave and satellite dish, or c) lying through their lying teeth, those liars.
After showering off days of camp funk and feeling somewhat closer to the definition of “human”, I logged into WoW and queued an alt up for a PuG. The story from that point is a familiar one – zone in, run in silence, wipe about a half dozen times, insults fly, people leave, people show up, and kicking and screaming we finish the thing.
I zoned out, logged off, and felt like I needed to shower again. The sensations twisting my insides were similar to the ones I’d just experienced in the really real world, and why wouldn’t they? Camping and PuG-ging share many similar qualities.
1) The importance of preparation.
After unpacking the tent and putting the posts together, it’s both embarrassing and frustrating to have people stare at you like a primate using tools for the first time while you pound tent pegs into the hard dirt with a can of beans. Why tents don’t come with a mallet or hammer of their own, I don’t understand. Even worse is when you try to stare that same can of beans open because – oops, no can opener. A little forethought would have saved a whole lot of aggravation, not to mention hours of ridicule.
Also chalk full of aggravation is when you’re in a PuG and someone has to port out because they just noticed that they didn’t repair their gear beforehand. Even showing the foresight to bring bandages can make you look like a rockstar (or at least not an idiot). There’s no reason any DPS should not be ready to go as soon as they zone into the instance, unless their spending their thirty minute wait in the queue surfing for porn.
2) Nutrition is key.
When you’re away from the comfort of your own refrigerator, what you stuff in your face becomes a little more crucial. Fruits and veggies, while not a traditional staple of camping life, is a good idea to have with you. Nobody likes to be “that guy” when they’re camping, and by that I mean healthy, when everybody else is loading up on hot dogs and bacon. While it may be fun to gorge yourself on several different flavors of homemade beef jerky (it was, for the record), over the next few days your body (and colon) will very emphatically, and repeatedly, punish you for it. So be smart with your food selection. Or smarter, at least.
That goes for your instance grub too. It’s not expensive to buy stat food anymore, and if you’re a Hardcore Casual you can probably whip up your own. For extra cool points, set out a feast for your group after a wipe, or while you’re buffing up at the beginning of the run. It’s not mandatory, but it shows that you’re looking out for the other group members and not just there to ninja the boss loot.
3) Respect your surroundings.
Hiking down a forest path is heavenly for some people. Taking a left turn that sticks you balls deep in poison ivy, is pretty much the opposite of that. Having a restless sleep because the wind is blowing things around your campsite is bad enough, but waking up the next day to bear poop beside your picnic table will kill your desire to have breakfast. Also, to ever leave your home again.
These are not-so-subtle reminders that Nature, no matter how cozy you are in her presence, is not your friend. She will kill you dead the second you’re not paying attention. You have to keep your head on a swivel and pay attention to your surroundings. Otherwise you might end up with a puss-dripping rash in places you’d rather not be pussing from, or as the nuggets of corn in a huge bear turd.
Same deal as PuGs. Whether it’s your first time running the instance, or your hundredth, you have to pay attention to what’s going on around you. “Situational awareness” is what the kids used to call it. Know how to fight without drawing proximity aggro. Don’t step in the glowing/burning/voidy piles of stupid. Be aware of where you can walk and what you can stab. It’ll keep you alive, and might just keep your group alive too.
Much like a PuG, I found chunks of enjoyment during my weekend camping trip. But also like a PuG, I’m glad when my tenting time is finished.