I have an uncanny knack. It's partly my nature, but heavily augmented by practice and a kind of effort for education.
It's one of those qualities which has been recognized to some small degree in past cultures and is largely overlooked or misunderstood in ours.
In our culture, there is a quality common to a number of efforts in various fields but which is commonly mis-thought to be a distinct "skill" in each of them.
Think of any field, and think about creativity in it. Art, science, literature. Teaching, design, travel. Think about how the frontiers are pushed out a little and what sort of people do that.
With software, I have a wonderful sort of wanderlust which lets me explore in ways entirely unintended and often totally unsupported to the point of causing major faults.
This can be seen in practice by my uncanny ability to find (and reproduce!) bugs. I've encouraged this enough that I've become very good at finding, troubleshooting and explaining issues.
In games, I can find the most curious things.
Here's a little World of Warcraft story that inspired me to write this post.
They are locked in combat off to one side, normally completely skipped by the player. If their enemy is killed, they run off in the direction of the main fight. From what I can tell, each npc rescued in this manner will give one stack of this buff.
I've gained five stacks, giving an occasional 69,375 to 80,625 damage. There seems to be an internal cooldown, and if out of combat/not attacking for a while, it procs very soon into the player's next set of attacks.
The effect is like one pulse of a Warlock's Hellfire around the player, followed by an amusingly-slow fireball. There does not appear to be an AoE for either the player effect or when the target is hit.
All of this is so far off the beaten track.. what was I thinking?
Single-player scenarios are special instanced-ares created for a miniature questline.
Instancing removes the player from the real game and puts them into a single-player game. This can be leveraged to do single-player things which are inconvenienced by having other players around. For example, "grinding" is the continuous killing of mobs. When other players are around, there is a risk of competition and conflict.
So when I was forced into this single-player experience, I explored a bit.
I run off in seemingly-random directions when given an opportunity, and I often make my own opportunities. For example, in the above Tear Down This Wall! scenario, one can run off and find an empty cave to one side, and get the "explored" notice. This shows that the area was meant to have more to it, but the developers put a cork in it and released it incomplete. This is a common design mistake encouraged by pointy-haired bosses, but that's a rant for another day.
I noticed a continuous conflict around the main storyline, and so I decided to not follow through the storyline and instead engage the enemies. I wanted to learn if
- I could get loot from them. (yes, but only from some mobs and not much)
I could get reputation from them. (yes, Black Prince)
Where most people are presented with something and look at it directly, in this case rushing through the storyline, I turn it around to look at other angles. Sometimes I put it down and examine how and why I was given it. The "main event" is often a smokescreen for more interesting things.
In this storyline example, I was exploring what other value there could be in it, not just in its completion.
What I discovered was a renewable single-player reputation grind for a reputation normally only available with more challenging mobs or through late questlines unlocked from other reputation. This grind also includes allied npcs and an interesting buff.
There's a phrase "thinking out of the box".
I have no box.