His voice was so excited that I was a little surprised when I looked up and realized the young man in front of me wasn't just another general attendee of BlizzCon 2010 but an actual employee of Blizzard. "I love you guys!" He exclaimed as I boggled over his official staff shirt and badge. Was this really happening? Wasn't I the one who worked for a fan site? Shouldn't I be excited about him?
He didn't notice my cognitive dissonance and motioned to the empty space on the bench next to me. "Can I sit down?"
"Uhh ... Sure, go ahead," I replied and shifted to face him as he seated himself.
"So what do you do for the site?"
"I write the healing priest guide."
"I really love the work you guys do," he gushed. "I've messed around with some of you on PTR in the past."
"Oh?" I said, wondering if maybe Adam or Alex knew this guy more intimately than I did. "So are you a GM or something?"
"Nah, I'm a ..." I know I heard the actual words he said, but I had no idea what they meant.
"That certainly sounds impressive," I told him. "What does it mean?"
"Well, mostly I deal with spawning critters in the world, make it look more natural and inhabited."
"Wait, so you're the one who put all those skunks in Grizzly Hills?"
An undetectable yet involuntary shiver ran through my body as several charges of fangirl C-4 went off in my brain, decimating my cool composure for exactly four seconds. I had no choice but to instantly fall in love with him.
"I ... really like all the skunks." I confessed bashfully. I then went on to explain how I knew all the skunk spawn locations near Conquest Hold because every time I was there for dailies, I would try to collect as many as I could with Critter Bites before they all despawned. To my relief, he seemed touched by my notice of his work and responded warmly.
"If you like skunks, you're going to love some of the new zones in Cataclysm."
We talked casually from there -- him inquiring as to where I was from, me asking him how he came to work at Blizzard. It was comfortable and just starting to border on intimate when he glanced down at the time on his phone and jumped up.
"I'm sorry, I've got to get back to work," he said, his voice genuine with apology.
"Oh, no worries," I told him, though I wished he could stay. "I know you're all busy this weekend."
"Yeah ... Well, it was nice to meet you." He'd been smiling the whole time, but he smiled even bigger as he said that last part.
"Nice to meet you too," I told him. Then he walked off, taking my critter-loving heart with him. I was just about to sigh wistfully when he stopped in his tracks and hurried back.
"Hey, do you have a card?" he asked, while my insides did a couple of somersaults.
"Oh! Yes, I do. One second." I had rehearsed handing my card to people in my preparation for BlizzCon. I'd never had a business card before BlizzCon, and I felt it necessary to not look like a fumbling idiot when I handed my first one out. As it turned out, this was my first time handing out my business card, and I managed to look like only a partially fumbling idiot. I handed him the card, and he looked at it.
"Oh, that's cool." He was referring to hand-drawn sketch of Benediction nestled in the corner next to my name. "Dawn Moore," he read aloud. "I'm ... "
Connection, or no connection?
With the way we'd parted, I assumed he'd call or text me before the end of the con for a rendezvous; maybe we'd have a drink at the Hilton after-parties or coffee on Sunday morning. Why else would he ask for my card in the manner he did? But much to my dismay, the call never came, nor an email in the days and weeks following the convention.
I didn't give up, though. Remembering what he'd said about PTR, I took quick initiative when patch 4.0.1 hit the test realms. I made a guild for the WoW Insider staff as soon as the servers came up and named it something so stupidly obvious (WoW Insider Super Guild) that my critter guy would be sure to find me if he was looking. Alas, he never turned up.
I coped with the rejection by inventing all sorts of paranoid reasons a person might not follow up with me. Maybe he had an equally cool, super-artistic girlfriend who was tall and worked in the cinematic department? Perhaps he met a prettier critter fangirl who he ended up inviting out for drinks instead? Maybe he was just really good at hiding the fact that he thought I was a weird, creepy, critter-obsessed fangirl (which to be honest, I just might be) who was going to turn him into a lampshade if he didn't get away?
Once the sting of rejection subsided, I did my best to forget him, but it's sort of impossible to forget someone like that when there are critters all over the freakin' place. I remember the first time I saw a skunk scampering across a field in the Twilight Highlands. Having competed for server first 85, I was barely awake when I spotted it, but a delusional thought crossed my mind as I did: Was that skunk put there before or after we'd met? Was it possible that skunk could be for me?
And of course, it's only gotten worse playing the Mists of Pandaria beta. Now whenever I see a critter, I think of him. I wonder what his thought process was in putting it there and whether or not he was successful in adding to the overall ambiance of the environment. Sometimes I even wonder if it was even him who put the critter there at all. What if he doesn't work for Blizzard anymore or got promoted to a different position? Is it possible he's not even the critter guy anymore? I guess I'll never know.
Things that remind us of unforgettable moments
So, is there anything in the game that reminds you of something you can't forget? Maybe a piece of gear you won in an old guild that doesn't exist anymore, or a special spot in the game where you once had an important conversation with someone? It doesn't have to be a happy memory or a sad memory -- just something that sticks with you.