The stuff at Ironyca's really has an archivist's and an academic's flair. Not an industrialist academe, determined to, you know, be relevant by applying whatever theory has their goat to today's hot game (okay, no, really, GTA deserves your attention), but a, "Politics and fads be damned; I'm going to do good work and start chronicling and commenting on this [sub]culture," kind of academic. (Though she's light on the Deleuze.)
So I've been meaning to blog this particular post with more context, but I'm going to stop waiting and share the latest excellent series of material Ironyca's been putting together. Honestly, if you can't let her work spin you forward a few steps, you're not really interested in non-self-hedonistic WoW .
Myths and Urban Legends in WoW – The Bengal Tiger Cave | Ironyca Stood in the Fire:
In Stranglethorn Vale near Zul’Gurub hidden in the mountains, there’s a secret cave with an even more secret mount vendor. She sells a cat mount, supposedly a bengal tiger, but she only spawns once a month for 30 minutes.
I'll admit that I'm much bigger into exploration than I am raiding, for instance, so maybe this is more fascinating to me than most. I cat form prowled around the Scarlet Monastery for hours before I actually ran it, spent waaaay too much time trying to sneak into Dalaran before I'd leveled high enough, died too many times trying to find where I could drop into Un Goro Crater so I didn't have to run the long way around, and ran around Wintergrasp (hard not to call it "Winterfell" now) for a while well before I was the right level. Soloing for fun can be, well, fun. It's nice to take some time off from doing things the way the developers intended and instead see if I can't prank the game -- which, of course, was the whole point of the poorly scanned chapter linked to above.
But Ironyca goes well beyond exploration and strongly into the land of metalepsis. I've wanted to write about gaming's "industry of metalepsis" for years... how the "real world" and [the horribly backwards notion of] the "virtual world" intersect, whether it's a trick like Rockstar's hidden game or the extra levels in N64's San Fran Rush (iirc)... there are things that can't be found without looking at media that exists only outside of the game (see Picard, via imgur with a small decency edit, above).
And that's why this series is so important. There's nothing in the game that's explicitly there to make you think that there's a vendor than spawns thirty minutes a month in some cave selling mounts. Sure, there's a skin, but that's it. Plus, the skin isn't an Easter Egg by any account. It has a good, reasonable explanation. The mount was in an early beta (alpha?) and was removed. It's a true fossil (again, read the previous link).
But through metalepsis, the digital fossil moves from forgotten mount to legend. That's a distinctly human reaction. We explain the unexplainable through story and narrative, and sometimes prefer to be seduced by romanticism rather than apply William's Razor.
Okay, that's enough. Your homework is to read every link in this post, and then find the cave of metaleptic legend.
And speaking of things not changing, you'll never guess what my first LFG instance was. Okay, well, yes, yes you will. The upside is that I sure as heck remember how to run it.
 Not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you; beyond capturing the raw materials of my time playing, this blog is essentially just hedonism.