I apologize for the rather long and bloggish nature of this post, but hopefully you wont feel your time wasted reading it.
I’m a very casual Path of Exile player. I play a bit each league (similar to seasons in Diablo 3 where you start a fresh character), but never really get through the campaign before I eventually abandon it. I probably want to like the game more than I actually do, but still I like it enough to give it a new go every few months.
A new League is starting soon, so I looked up a build I would like to aim for this time. The skill tree in PoE is rather daunting, so unless you’re and avid player you’ll quickly feel overwhelmed without a build guide to follow.
I’ve always liked ice themes, so I landed on a build the creator called The Blinding Blizzard for the Scion class.
Upon going through the guide I came to an item called Fertile Mind. Not being familiar with this item, I looked it up in the PoE wiki. It’s a gem that converts your dexterity stat points and adds them to the intelligence stat. Very important for this builds effectiveness apparently. “Well this seems important” I thought to my self and figured I should find out how best to acquire this gem in this random loot game.
It turns out there are 3 unreliable sources, which gives a random gem of that rarity, and one reliable source. Not being one for gambling, especially when my time is on the line, I decided on the reliable source. A collection of 6 random drop cards that are farmable in an area of the game I reach fairly early on.
Now this is where I’m getting to the point of this post.
These 6 cards gives you a “divination card” you trade in to and NPC for a reward, in this case the Fertile Mind gem. This specific divination card is called A Mother’s Parting Gift, and the wiki post is rather touching (linked at the bottom).
The cards art is that of a smiling woman in a beautiful dress, she’s surrounded by flowers and hummingbirds. And there is a poem on the card:
“Nature was her domain, Love was her song, Family was her devotion, Knowledge was her gift.”
The card is a tribute to a supporter of the game (this was when the developer Grinding Gear Games were indie). His mother had recently passed and GGG made this card with her likeness on it and surrounded her with things she adored. And of course the poem on the card was about her as well.
This was a beautiful tribute and a nice gesture from GGG. But one thing made me sit back and just stare at the page for several minutes as I chuckled and and shook my head at the beauty of this card and the absurdity of the username of the supporter who had created it.
As I sat there I realized this put in to context a struggle I have had ever since the first time I encountered the ability to choose names in games (not counting games with named protagonists whose name you can change, like Link). While I have long known vaguely why, this was a perfect example of the reason a simple name caused me so much agony in the past. “What if I become known for something? What if I do something in this video game that somehow people all over the world will know?”
If that were to happen I needed a cool name! And every time I created a new character in a new game, the old name I had decided on was no longer good enough, and the agony started all over again as I scoured the internet for names of old celtic gods I could base my name off of.
I have stopped worrying about names and have a few go-to that I use depending on the character, whether it’s the deadly Kouriku, Cynodia the Huntress, the Assassin Sinclaire or just plain old Hachuu, my wow name that I picked because I was listening to the song Reptile by Nine Inch Nails when I created my character and in 2005 google told me that Hachuu was japanese for reptile. It might be true, I haven’t checked, I have made my peace with names.
But this wiki entry made me feel good about the silly names I picked, and regret for the gaming time lost to conjuring up a name that would inspire an awe or encapsulate a coolness I could never hope to achieve as a person in real life or in any game.
So here’s to you Fartjoke, the touching tribute to your love for your mother juxtaposed by the absurdity of your username was the punctuation I didn’t know I needed to close a chapter of my life.
If anyone has had a similar experience where a chance encounter closed a book you already thought you had put behind you, I’d love to hear about it.
Here is a link to the wiki for those that wish to see the card.