Patch 5.4 – Mad about Moon Moon

Moon Moon the wolf falls on his wolf friend.

This is one of the least objectionable Moon Moon meme images.

Trigger warning: ableism discussion and terms.

The first Patch 5.4 notes and PTR came out this week and with it, all the fervor over our first real peek at the content that’s been talked up since Pandaria came out. People have been going gaga over set bonuses, new boss models, but what caught my eye was something way less exciting – a battle pet. Originally when I saw listed that there was a Moon Moon pet dragged out of the datamined content files, I thought it was just something stuck there that wouldn’t have anything meaningful around it.  Contrary to my belief,  Moon Moon is a pet dropping from a new Darkmoon Faire boss and will most definitely be in Patch 5.4. This has me pretty annoyed, if you could guess from the title of my blog post.

Moon Moon is a reference to this meme that got started on Tumblr. It is yet another meme that capitalizes on the mental differences of someone, with a host of veiled ableist insults and terminology. What is ableism? It’s specifically discriminatory actions and language towards someone’s physical or mental disabilities. Ableism usually and casually often occurs to making fun of people with learning disabilities or being on the autism spectrum (“spergin'” “retard/ed”), or for mental illness (“crazy”/”schizo”/”bipolar”/”hysterical”), and physical disabilities (“crip/cripple”, “spaz/spastic”, etc.) or using those terms against others as a negative.

Given that the person who started it all said that Moon Moon would be the “most retarded wolf”, it’s not surprising that everything else has followed suit. Memes, due to nerd culture in general, really like to constantly revolve around this sort of everyperson (or animal) that has speech impediments or some sort of mental “slowness.” It’s gotten so casual to the point that most people don’t realize that it IS insulting, but the reason these jokes proliferate is because denigrating people’s mental capacity has always been a trope for humor, because people consider themselves “better” than others for that reason. It’s hurtful, in short, but very few nerds really care.

Since Blizzard has a really inconsistent policy on including meme fodder in their game (Nom Nom Nom as a druid talent got scrapped, but we have this, plus look at how many Slapchop references there are), the fact that they felt it necessary to make a battle pet (as well as a raid boss, really) dedicated to a fairly recent,  insulting meme is frustrating to me. Meme culture is persistent but often long after it is actually funny, on top of the fact that a lot of them are generally offensive in some way. Did we need this? Not really. I’m sure this is considered by some to be a very petty gripe, but popular culture making its way into World of Warcraft doesn’t always mean it is good.

 

Darkmoon Faire on PTR – Carnies, Cannons and Cannibals

View overlooking the Faire.

It was another boring Sunday yesterday, so when I heard that the new Darkmoon Faire had hit the public test realms, I scampered over and updated. Let me tell you – when Blizzard announced that they were revamping what was a fairly pitiful, forgotten “world event” that people only went to turn in decks and occasionally get their fortune read, perhaps engage in some world PVP, I was over the moon. I love fairs in real life, and the chance to port that feeling into World of Warcraft excites me.

This time around, the fair isn’t plopped next to Elwynn Forest, Shattrath or Thunder Bluff, but on an island shrouded in dark smoke far away. However, Darkmoon Faire NPCs make it very easy to get there. They will teleport you from capital cities to that month’s fair portal (not 100% sure about this), located in one of the spots where the actual fair had been before. The portal then takes you to the Darkmoon Isle.

Loading screen for the new Darkmoon Faire.

When I got there, I was not prepared for all the sights and sounds! There were NPCs scurrying all over, players trying games and lots of debris and supplies piled everywhere. It definitely felt like I was at a real fairgrounds.

Games

The fair has a lot of games of chance that act as dailies. Games tickets are purchased from NPCs at the start of the fair and don’t have a limit. The dailies have a certain objective to complete. However, given how they are structured (using a special vehicle UI, have timers), they often require multiple tries to complete the quest. This means that buying multiple tickets is a must. I went through at least 8 tickets just trying to get the Whack-A-Gnoll game right. (Go for the Hogger gnolls, they count for more!) Completing the quest objective or game mechanic in a exemplary way is how you get the individual game achievements. For example, if you got dropped into the target for the Cannon Shooting, you got an achievement. It was fun trying to do the games as fast and perfectly as possible, even though a lot of them required multiple tickets to learn. None of them felt like a slog though – even with the vehicle UI. This is no Jousting v.2! And like any carnival game, there was a certain element of “being rigged.”

One of the interesting mechanics that Blizzard decided to drop into the games portion of the fair was this “GET OUT” zone around the large space each game had. It meant that if you felt like running across the game area for any of the games (save for the Shoot-Out game), you would get teleported out and stunned momentarily, much like when you entered the various Shattrath faction areas when you weren’t supposed to be there. It kept most of the game fields clear so you could see what you were tossing rings at, whacking, etc. The only place that didn’t have it’s own dedicated area and anti-grief field was the Shoot-Out game. It was three small targets in a typical vendor tent and had no way of keeping all the idiots on the PTR back from standing on the tent or inside the tent on their giant mounts. The point of the game is to shoot whatever target is being highlighted and to win, you had to basically shoot blind. I made a suggestion to the PTR forums that they give this game its own space and bubble; there’s no reason that people should not have fun playing it because people just want to make stuff hard to see.

The games themselves include: a whack-a-gnoll game, human cannonball, shooting gallery, tonk challenge, and ring toss on a turtle.

Quests and the Darkmoon Faire Guide

Along with the gaming dailies, there’s also profession quests and quests that allow you to gain items from PVE or PVP content. The quests that you get are determined by what professions you have – I had quests for cooking, first aid, archeology, herbalism and alchemy. Some of the quests require you to go fetch items from inns or general crafting vendors back in the capital cities, but with city portals on the fair’s docks, it is a quick snap to go and come back. And the quests are fun! I was running around, picking flowers, bandaging up injured carnies, and mixing up fizzy drinks. (Why can’t we include brewing with alchemy, please?!)

As you can see, it awards  you five skill points, a token (for using at the games), and a prize ticket – the prize tickets are obtained from the quests and games and can be put towards many of the vanity items that are sold at the fair.

The other quest is called Test Your Strength and charges you, Darkmoon Faire Guide in hand, to kill 250 mobs or players that give you experience, reputation or honor.

But what is the Faire Guide for? Apparently the guide is an item you keep in your bags (obtained from the Darkmoon Faire Information NPC at the fairgrounds), and helps you “discover” artifacts when you are out questing, doing raids/dungeons, or PVPing. Anyone of any level can use it as well. The actual blog post about it on WoW’s front page explained it better:

The Darkmoon Faire Field Guide

It’s your passport to riches, my friend. Y’see, we need a few things — just some junk, nothing valuable to a big hero like you. We call ‘em Darkmoon Artifacts, and there’s all different kinds to be found all over Azeroth. The Darkmoon Field Guide helps you discover artifacts while you’re explorin’ dungeons, slayin’ monsters, and fightin’ in Battlegrounds. Without a guide, you’d never notice ‘em, and it’ll help keep you focused on the stuff we want. Whether you just reached level 10, or you’ve crushed the biggest baddies in the land, we need somethin’ from nearly everybody. You won’t have to go too far out of your way to get ‘em and each month you’ll get a new opportunity to seek out an Artifact for us. What do you get out of the deal? Don’t you worry, you’ll get your cut. When you bring a Darkmoon Artifact back to us, you’ll get valuable experience (it builds character, you know!), earn a better reputation, and possibly earn precious Darkmoon Faire Prize Tickets too!

The field guide will help you unlock several artifact-based achievements by discovering all nine artifacts, so make sure to carry with you at all times.

Vanity Items – Mounts, Pets, Heirlooms and Much More

The prize tickets I mentioned before are the main currency for the rewards you get at the faire – and there are quite a lot. I found 3-4 vendors just selling cute things that would be of interest to anyone. One contained mostly pets that you can purchase at the fair (along with another balloon vendor), and one contained mounts, including the datamined Dancing Bear.

There were also two armor vendors; one sold the heirlooms that are still purchasable with both Argent Tourney tokens as well as Justice Points, and another sold the Dungeon Tier 1 set revival gear that people can use to skin their regular armor with via transmogging. I of course had to try the Magister armor on my goblin:

I try on the Magister's armor.

Don’t I look cute? It is funny but I had most of that set and trashed it once I got Tier 1 and 2. Mostly because I thought it looked very ugly and garish. Funny how nostalgia changes things! It looks right now that an upper bound of the tickets you can get in a full week of Darkmoon Faire dailies and quests is 175, meaning that you can purchase 2 pets, or one mount, or an assortment of your chosen dungeon set or heirlooms once a month.

Attractions

Peppered in-between the quests and various vendors are a few things that make the faire feel more than just a hub for dailies. It feels very alive and swims with things for you to see or do to your heart’s content.

  • Level 90 Elite Tauren Chieftain concert that plays on a special stage at the top of the hour.
  • Krolin the Dancing Bear
  • Deathmatch Arena – while the island is a sanctuary by design, there is a giant Gadgetzan-style arena cage where participants can jump in and bloody eachother.
  • Sayge’s Fortunes – gives you a buff!
  • Food Cafes
  • Pony and Ram Rides
  • Petting Zoo
  • Pavilions – under construction currently but should contain something later on.
  • Sandbox – pick one of your favorite tiger designs and get to riding!
  • Fire-eaters, Torch Tossers and Fireworks – lots of pyrotechnics on display here.
All of these things make you feel like you can wander for hours and relax while taking in the amusements and frivolities of the faire. My only wish is that one of the pavilion tents gets turned into a nickel-odeon where we can watch various cinematics! I tried out most of these attractions and even got pounded a pulp by 40 Alliance players that were sitting in a raid inside of the deathmatch cage. Ouch.
…Cannibals?
While out exploring the entirety of the island’s landmass (there’s a named cave on the map but it holds nothing as of yet), I heard a croaky voice hissing somehow in my ear.
“Come, my sweetling, come taste my delicious waresssssss….yesssss….”

I gulped and turned. Stinking of who-knows-what, I was face-to-face with a haggard gash of a smile containing moss-green teeth.

Beware Rona Greenteeth’s wares if you run into her. Sure, she may offer the most savory Troll tartare in all of Azeroth, but caution to those unaware adventurers who don’t know where the meat is coming from…

Jokes aside, I feel that Blizzard’s world event team has really been knocking it out of the park lately. Between the revamped Hallow’s End event and now what promises to be a bigger and better Darkmoon Faire, we are in for a real treat when 4.3 actually drops in a couple weeks. Prepare to put on your best dresses and plate and stomp down to the fairgrounds for an immersive, expansion and entertaining monthly event that has all sorts of achievements, prizes and acclaim for those who wish to seek it!

For full guides and videos on this event, check out WoWhead News, as well as Mat McCurley’s video guide over at WoW Insider.

For an intriguing look at Darkmoon’s creepy past, check out Mia’s Azeroth.