Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Holy Grails

I was recently reading a book in which the main character was assisting Sir Galahad in his quest for the Holy Grail only to discover that rather than it being a physical object it was in fact an IDEA. The Grail was different things to different people and it is actually the journey to FIND the Grail that brings about the real impact. This got me to thinking, "What are your "Holy Grails" in World of Warcraft or do you even have one?"

Collectors seem to be the ones with "Holy Grails" more often than not, or at the very least lasting ones. Raiders will have "sort term ones", that elusive "best in slot" item every one is after that just won't drop seems to be quickly replaced when the next upgrade presents itself. Collectors however seem to hold on to their "Holy Grails, expansion after expansion. Farming, farming and farming some more in hopes of finally obtain that illusive object.

For my mount farming partner his "Holy Grail" has been the Hyacinth Macaw. He has been attempting to get that brightly colored bird since Vanilla with no success. With Cata's release date now looking like early November he is getting rather desperate. Auction house prices on our server run anywhere from 25 to 50k for the silly thing and he has only recently discovered the wonders of the triple digit bank account so purchasing one is out of the question (He still is paying me back for the loan to get his 100 mount achievement.) When another one of our guildies (who also happens to be a pet collector) managed to pick one up for a few thousand I thought he was going to eat his head set in envy. I was rather proud of him when he managed to congratulate him on the great find in a civil tone and still heal him during the raid.

The Plate Wearer in the family went through a similar experience with his "Holy Grail". My husband always wanted the Corrupted Ashbringer. Lets be honest, I don't think there was a Paladin or Warrior around during Vanilla and Burning Crusade who didn't want the Corrupted Ashbringer. The funny thing was WHY he wanted it....Not because of the stats, not because of how it looked, NO, why did my beloved spouse want this green glowing weapon? Because when you would go into Scarlet Monastery (one of his favorite haunts for running lowbies) all of the Npc's would bow down to you).....yes, he is an ego maniac....I love him anyway....sigh. The BEST part was when we went to Howling Fjord and did a quest where you retrieved a "Sacred Artifact", delivering it to back to a certain Paladin who likes to run around poorly disguised. When my poor spouse realized that he had actually had the PURIFIED Ashbringer in his possession (if only by association) I thought he was going to go through his computer screen. I think the only thing that made it bearable was the fact that: 1. it was going to one of his Paladin idols and 2. he couldn't use it ANYWAY.
I have another friend whose "Holy Grail" is to be a part of a World First, or the very least a Server First. In his quest to achieve this he has bounced from sever to server, guild to guild always looking for that elusive golden cup that will provide his desire. As he is young and relatively unfettered it gives him more freedom to pursue this objective.  However he is repeatedly surprised at the negative fallout that often occurs as the result of his single minded focus on his personal goals. Why are "friends" upset that he is unwilling to consider THEIR desires before his own? It is a completely foreign concept to him's mind as he chases after his Grail, unable to understand how it is the way he is choosing to pursue his Grail that is causing it to stay forever out of his reach, closing the very doors he so desperately wishes to open.

For myself it is not an object but a title with Ravenholdt Manor that stands as my "Holy Grail."  However the closest I can get is the "Insane in the Membrane" achievement, so I have been slowly picking away at that. Only Darkmoon Faire stands in my way now, meaning I am farming herbs, to create cards, to craft Darkmoon faire decks, for endless turn ins, as that is the only way left for me to gain reputation with the faction. In the back of my mind is the slight panic that I will not be able to complete this before my goal time of Cata. Real life can do that to you.

At times the task, as with Sir Galahad's, can seem insurmountable. I just have to decide how much to do I really want this? The thing with "Holy Grails" is that part of it is luck, part of it is determination and part of it is separating fact from myth. Knowing what needs to be done to achieve your goals rather than just chasing windmills or bemoaning the fact that your desires are out of reach is key.

The other thing to consider is that few of those goals are ever achieved alone. Like Galahad your quest is best accomplished in the company of friends and companions. They will lift your spirits, give you the tools you need to reach your destination and at times offer a shoulder to cry on when it all falls apart. What is even better is that when success is yours, how much greater when shared with friends? How many hunters have you known who have desired a specific Spirit Beast? Farmed it for HOURS, and then had a guildie, or friend say "Hey! It's here! I got it, come get it, I have it tagged for you!" Or for our healing lead it was numerous runs through Magister's Terrace for the Phoenix Hatchling.

Once you have achieved your "Holy Grail" how did you feel? Does that item, achievement, whatever still mean as much or was is it the memories, the journey, the feelings it evokes that truly have come to be what matter most? On the reverse, has that item that you thought would be so fulfilling come to be nothing more than an empty cup? An empty vessel whose promise was so much more than actual reality? Now it does nothing more than gather dust, or perhaps has even been cast aside, that which was once the focus of all your attention, is now nothing more than trash cluttering up your bank and bags.


  1. Hmm, I am not sure what my holy grail would be. It probably is that elusive dress that spawns on the dress vendor in Moonglade, the Formal Dangui. /sigh

    Supposedly it has a 2 month respawn :(

  2. Wow, I had never heard of that one. Good luck!

    There is a book that I would like for my Steamy Romance collection called "A Steamy Romance: Blue Moon" that you have to pick pocket off of Argent Confessor Paletress in ToC. So far I haven't had any luck with that either.

  3. I had two, the first was the Violet Proto-Drake from 'What a long, strange trip it's been' and the second was hitting the Gold Cap; now that I've done both of them and the warm glow of achievement has dissipated somewhat, I don't really have anything else to focus on. Maybe Cataclysm will supply another Holy Grail for me .


  4. Congrats!

    I hear you it is hard to stay motivated to play when you reach your goals. Thankfully with Cata so close now we will have the chance to set all sorts of new goals.