I can actually remember a time before mail in games. Better yet, I remember dropping stuff on the ground in Asheron’s Call (because you could do that there) and hoping I could swap characters before a) someone else ran by and nicked my stuff or b) the landscape sweeper code made it all vanish. Hoping, at that time, that my ropey dial-up singing-modem paying-local-calls UK internet connection wouldn’t crap out and dump me out of game, metaphorically hopping up and down in a frenzy to try to get back to my stuff before it was gone forever.
Then we got housing and chests we could use for item swappage, so that pleasant little ritual ended. Whew.
Then came SWG, which boasted a mail system — because, you know, it’s a galaxy far, far away where they have decent electronics and the only medieval aspect is sartorial. (Robes and cloaks? Srsly? And we ate it up.) Problem was, rather like the chat system when the game launched, and rather like many other systems when the game launched, mail didn’t work all that well. And you couldn’t mail stuff, you could just mail words. (I think. Don’t hurt me if my memory is faulty. I only seem divine, but I’m as human and flawed as the rest of you.)
And then came WoW, with its apparently antiquated but actually rather useful mail system. And cheap. Let’s not forget cheap. In LOTRO, mailing a packet of tissues is going to cost you half a year’s looting pay, mailing armour is going to give you sticker shock, and you can only mail one item at a time. Faugh!
Okay, so the WoW mail system is pretty much just for mailing items back and forth. The text font used is barely legible and it’s not like you get enough space to do any Abelard & Heloise-level correspondence, even though you can save the text as an item to keep forever in your bags or bank space. Well, almost forever. I’d saved a message from not long after launch, where somehow I won some spontaneous Ironforge-chat competition (back when IF chat was still bearable) and a char called Mordeci kindly sent me — I can’t remember, but it was a whole wodge of money at the time. 100g? Something like that. Anyway, said saved message was still in my bank when I came back a couple of weeks ago, but couldn’t be read. I guess even saved mail has an expiration date in WoW.
So I’ve been mailing stuff back and forth, mostly blow-uppables for my half-assed (and not only because she’s a dwarf) Enchanter alt. But I keep wondering if it’s really worth it. Crafting in WoW is painful and expensive and it’s level-limited, and my alts are mostly in their 20s and 30s, not high enough to really get any of these skills to a useful-output level. It’s probably going to be a lot cheaper for me to beg, borrow or buy what I need from much-leeter guildies who do have useful crafting skills, or from the Auction House. I should probably be selling those crappy greens I loot to some other poor bastard who wants to level their Enchanting.
Well. At least it’s not costing me much to mail.
PS: This week, I shall be mostly titling from Emotional Rescue, probably my third favourite album of all time (though the rankings vary), partly because of the huge number of angsty teenage memories associated with it. Wonder where my vinyl went…?