This story has been all over gaming websites the past day or two, and it still blows my mind. Anybody who has played World of Warcraft or pretty much any other massively multiplayer game knows the routine for these games. You make a character and then kill a bunch of stuff to gain experience points. Those experience points eventually raise your character up to new levels, at which point you learn new and more awesome abilities to enhance your smitingness. Lather, rinse, repeat until you reach the maximum attainable level and, presumably, are a virtual badass in fantasyland. That’s the way it’s supposed to work, but one player turned it all on its head this week when she hit the level cap without ever killing a single critter, monster, or bandit.

The character’s name is Everbloom, and she is a female Night Elf Druid. My main character was a Tauren Druid when I played WoW, and I can attest to how difficult it was for me to level up, even while killing things to gain xp. But not only did Everbloom never kill a single thing, but she also never completed a single quest. According to a post Everbloom’s player made on the official Blizzard forums, she gained all her experience points just by doing trade skills (mining, herbalism, and archaeology) and exploring the world. I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of patience and frustration endurance this person must have.

If you want to see proof of this determined gamer’s accomplishment, check out her profile on Battle.net. A quick glance through showed me a few other notable points about the character: She’s still wearing and using the same clothes and equipment her character started with at level one, and she has leveled up no talents or abilities other than healing powers.

While this is a notable gaming achievement, I can’t imagine that it honestly would have been much fun until you dinged that final level and didn’t have to work at it anymore. I played a tailor and an architect in Star Wars Galaxies, back before Sony broke that game. Being a non-combat character worked there because the game was designed to work on several levels, and the social / economy aspect was a big part of SWG. But World of Warcraft really doesn’t have a lot to it beyond encouraging players to kill things and then rewarding them for doing so. Playing the game as a pacifist seems a little like using Photoshop to edit a podcast.

It kind of reminds me of the wife of one of my friends who played Grand Theft Auto like a driving simulator, actually stopping at red lights and trying not to hit pedestrians. Have any of you ever played a video game drastically differently than the designers intended?

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