30 April 2012

Children's Week: I have a rock in my nose.

Children's Week, also known as Week of the Wardens, charges accomplished players with a week of giving back to "the innocents of war - the orphans." This holiday occurs around the Korean and Japanese Children's Day holidays, but makes the goal about orphaned children rather than all children. Are you ready to meet the pre-teen face of Azeroth?

Almost every nation has some kind of Children's Day. South Korea's occurs on May 5th, and is a day for parents to spend time with their children, take in some kid-friendly entertainment, and pamper their progeny with gifts and good food. The holiday originated as Boy's Day, celebrated during the Japanese period of colonization. Japan celebrates "Girl's Day", or the Doll Festival, on March 3rd, but eventually changed May 5th to Children's Day with a special emphasis on boys' growth and development. Although celebrations initially mimicked the Japanese counterpart, South Korea does not display armor or carp streamers on this day. If you recall my earlier holiday posts, you will remember Dano Day, another 5th month 5th day holiday from the Chinese calendar. This holiday may explain why Children's Day was eventually moved to May 5th.

Children's Day in South Korea was originally observed on May 1st beginning in 1922. Dr. Bang Jeong-hwan, a writer and children's rights activist, coined the modern, more respectful term for children eorini and founded the children's rights organization Saekdong. He authored the Children's Charter to proclaim the rights of children to safety and happiness, and proposed the yearly celebration of Children's Day on May 1st. In 1946, after a 7 year cessation of the holiday due to occupying Japanese forces, the holiday was changed to May 5th. In 1975 it finally acquired public holiday status.

Azeroth's counterpart has a much more sober history. Orphan Matrons in Stormwind, Orgrimmar, Shattrath, and Dalaran allow each orphan to spend a week with a player volunteer. During that week the volunteer, assumed to be well-funded and well-traveled, is expected to provide anything the orphan asks for. That means that players will be traversing the entirety of Azeroth and Outlands, and buying a host of snacks and toys for their diminutive companions. The quests, recently updated, provide a unique filter for people and places that are old hat to long time players. I've always enjoyed watching my orphan interact with Lady Sylvanas, marvel at the Dark Portal, and prance around Grizzlemaw. Their childlike reactions to new places and people are sweet and often humorous. However, considering their other requests to visit estranged friends and siblings, I am reminded of the harsh reality in which the orphans live. Furthermore, the fact that my character participates in aggressive campaigns means there's a very real chance that I have created some of these orphans. It's never been implied in the quests, but I have to wonder how the matrons feel about adventurers like me. Maybe they consider the week I volunteer an appropriate penance for my violence.

After finishing the quest chains, players have the choice of adorable companion pets or a Curmudgeon's Payoff. Keep in mind that when Mists goes live, accounts will share pets, so if you can complete this holiday on multiple characters, you can get all the pets more quickly! Not to mention you might be able to knock out Veteran Nanny in one go for a hefty 50 achievement points. There are surprisingly few achievements for this holiday; only 8 for a total of 120 points. However, one of them is the universally-hated PVP extravaganza School of Hard Knocks. In keeping with the theme of "show your orphan around," players must venture into battlegrounds and perform tasks like capturing and returning flags and assaulting nodes with their orphan at their side. Diehard PVPers frustrated with the sudden influx of non-PVP oriented players in their BGs may take out their irritation on players with orphan companions - traumatizing for all involved. My only advice is to stay calm and go early in the morning. If you complete all the required achievements you will earn the dubiously appropriate title Matron or Patron (I mean, you did abandon your orphan in the wilderness when you used your hearthstone...).

The Shattrath and Dalaran orphans mention their names in the quests, but this year was the first time I realized that the human and orc orphans also have names. Now I feel like a butthole, since I randomly created one for my orphan when I wrote about it last year. Sorry, buster. Here are some of my favorite flavor quotes from the little tykes:

Grunth (orc): If your glove is too big, does it still fit like a glove?
If a turtle doesn't have a shell, is he homeless or naked?
Randis (human): If you try to fail and succeed, what did you just do?
Did you just come out of a dungeon? Did you get me anything?
Salandria (blood elf): I bet ice cream would taste better if it were socketed!
Dornaa (draenei): Is the Twisting Nether shaped like a pretzel? And just what is a Nether? The orphan matron said I shouldn't ask people about their nethers.
Roo (gorloc): We can has aged yolk?
Kekek (wolvar): Orcs always point and laugh at Kekek, but he get revenge one day.

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