Thanksgiving the Virtual Way

In the last 24 hours I have made 40 slow-roasted turkeys after catching just as many wild turkeys. I have also made scores of pumpkin pies, bowls of cranberry chutney, dishes of candied sweet potato, and portions of spice bread stuffing. Further, I have even managed to make 20 bountiful feasts. And all without breaking a sweat.

You see, one of my other pleasures at the present is playing World of Warcraft, also known as WoW to its adherents, all twelve million or so of us. WoW is a massively multi-player online role-playing game (MMORPG) with a Dungeons & Dragons-like (DnD) theme. In addition to being a DnD fan from way back, I enjoy that I can be on-line in a group of adventurers with my kids, both when I am traveling thousands of miles from home or when we’re in the same room. In fact, my twelve year old son Bas is the in-house WoW expert and has been teaching me a wide range of things I simply was not aware of previously – a fun thing to share, as someone his age is not usually acting in the role of an expert adviser, especially with respect to adults.

In addition to being able to increase one’s skills as a hunter, mage, priest, warrior, or whatever class one’s character in WoW happens to be, there are also professional skills one’s character can learn, with first aid, fishing, and cooking among those.

This week in the WoW universe happens to be the time of the Pilgrim’s Bounty (the in-game version of the U.S. Thanksgiving celebration). Characters who have an interest in learning how to cook or already have in-game cooking experience can learn a variety of  new recipes for the holidays, including the ones I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

The Slow-Roasted Turkey Recipe in WoW
The Slow-Roasted Turkey Recipe in WoW

Cooking in WoW is not nearly as complicated or intricate as in the real world, as evidenced by the above screen-shot. Basically, once you have all the ingredients, you click on “Create”, and a few seconds later, you have finished cooking that item. Getting some of the ingredients can be a bit (or even extremely) challenging, as evidenced by recipes like “Spiced Mammoth Treat” or “Baked Manta Ray”, and your character needs to build up his or her skill to a level sufficient to practice more complicated recipes. I can proudly state that my Night Elf Hunter, as of yesterday, has the maximum cooking level of 450, not an easy achievement.

So why would one bother cooking in WoW other than for self-aggrandizement? Because the foods you cook have “health” benefits. For example, eating the slow-roasted turkey allows your character to regain 4% of his health and mana (spell power) every second for 30 seconds (25 should be enough though), and if your character remains seated eating this dish for ten or more seconds, you get a “well fed” bonus of attack power and stamina for an hour (see below):

The benefits of slow-roasted turkey in WoW
The benefits of slow-roasted turkey in WoW

The cooking skill in WoW is one of a number of other crafting skills, all of which make the game more interesting (and less boring). Considering WoW has at least twelve million users at present, it appears to be working.

I will note that although I did a lot of virtual cooking for Thanksgiving, my family and I enjoyed a tasty real-world Thanksgiving dinner as well, with turkey and all the trimmings, including a number of pies.

For those of you in the U.S., I hope you had a very enjoyable Thanksgiving as well!