PvP Mondays are back, thanks to Miltock, and as I joined the guild to capture towers and kill General Drek’thar in Alterac Valley, I found myself really enjoying PvP for probably the first time ever. For those readers who are less familiar with The Great Game, I should explain the PvP stands for Player vs. Player, a form of gameplay that pits two real life players against one another in a test of speed, skill, and strategy. But computerized PvP pales in comparison to the PvP we create in our real lives, such as the Amish-style PvP I enjoyed last year at a local amusement park.
Dutch Wonderland is a charming family place located in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, an area famous for being the residence of a large Amish population. The Amish, colloquially known as the Plain Folk, are a religious sect that value living simply to the point that they don’t have electricity in their homes, rely on non-motorized transporation such as a horse and buggy, and wear simple, dark clothing. They are a peace loving people whose lives revolve around service to God and community. Unfortunately, they are widely considered a quaint tourist attraction. Dutch Wonderland presides over a stretch of Route 30 that, while plunked down in the middle of farmland, is devoted to touristy outlet shopping centers, smorgasbords, and Amish gift and furniture shops. The amusement park itself until recently featured fiberglass Amish farmers and a simulated cow milking station.
On the day of the real life PvP, I was there with my brother and our families. It was a hot August day, the kind of hot that makes you want to go under the sprinklers with your clothes on, the kind that makes you want to skip all the kiddie rides and go straight into the waterpark area despite the approximately one thousand other people already clogging the sidewalks. After we changed into our suits and let the kids scatter, my brother and I walked the edge of the playground to try to keep track of the little ones. Along one side of a walkway, we noticed many startled and confused eyes turning toward the middle of the playground as if searching for something. When we followed those looks, Brian and I discovered two adults of about our own age manning the water cannons and taking pot shots at the people who were making their way from one section to another.
My heart started thumping the way it does when I’m fishing topless in Ironforge and hear that forty Horde have materialized in the Throne Room. “They dare assault innocent bystanders?!” My brother agreed that this was pretty rotten. The pair seemed to choose people at random, from slow moving dads pushing strollers filled with swim gear to jumpy kids carrying snoballs. “We need to stop them.” I explained to Brian about the importance of PvP in The Great Game. “Nice,” said he, or something like that. I squared the baseball cap I wear to keep the sun off my aging skin and adjusted the skirt of my cute tankini. “Let’s make a plan.”
I hightailed it over to the kiosk where they sold the water snake-type squirt gun, a small, phallic-shaped object that you carefully fill with pressurized water then try to flip a valve closed before it all shoots out again prematurely. When you’re ready, this little beauty will fire a stream up to 30 feet (comment deferred). I took up position behind the provocateurs, then released the valve. After a few seconds the lady frowned, then looked down at the hip I had somehow managed to hit. As she looked up I quickly ducked behind a smiling dragon fountain and counted to ten, then casually looked back. She was back at the controls of the water cannon. This made about ten minutes now that she and her pal had been monopolizing them, despite kids bouncing around on their toes, waiting for their elders to finish.
I reloaded and aimed for the guy, got line of sight and fired off my second Waterbolt, then ducked back to join Brian, who had been watching from the sidelines. The pair was looking around in confusion. “My turn,” said my little bro, and started off. This time I got to watch from a new angle as the bad guys got it, and it was a great sight. For some reason, their joy of randomly ganking the other visitors to the park faded, and they left their posts. Brian and I shared a high five. My husband was especially excited to get in on it when he caught up with us, reminding me of McGruf’s rule to always return a single ganking with two kills, but despite looking around for several minutes, we were unable to track down the offenders.
Since that wonderful day, I’ve had a different perspective on PvP. In my new enthusiasm, I’ve come to see that many situations in real life provide us with opportunities to go up against other players: crosswalks, merges, passing on the highway and even the surrogate version, child vs. child: “Yes, Amanda got into the theater production of Beauty and the Beast, which is really too bad, because all of those rehearsals make it so hard to get Joshua to his practices for the travel league, which went to Nationals last year. At least Samantha’s black belt class includes transportation.” While I always pass on the CvC version, I have to confess to having somewhat of a lead foot on the highway.
But the real life scenario of last year, combined with the joy of joining my comrades in felling the Horde together, made me realize that I may be a bit more competitive than I thought. And since my job as a housewife involves a lot of sitting around waiting until the moment when I’m suddenly indispensable, I’m glad I’ve got battlegrounds to keep that part of me occupied between trips to Amish country.