Don't forget to loot the axe


Photo by FuYong Hua on Unsplash

It was our heroes' second journey to Utgarde Keep to satisfy the simple enough request from the game character Archmage Lan'dalock; get the axe of Ingvar the Plunderer. My five guild members and I sped through, taking on huge groups with no problem, Taurenbane and I sheeping multiple bad guys with joy. The boss went down easily and we congratulated ourselves on a job well done. I opened a portal to Dalaran and we all went back to tell Archmage Lan'dalock of our success and get our gold. How many of us remembered to loot the axe? Two.

We all have degrees of noobishness, which in real life are frequently known as mistakes. Putting off the book report until the last second, forgetting to wear the tabard that gives you the extra experience points, not realizing Dodge doesn't work for enemies who are behind you, or letting the laundry get all smelly because you forgot to put it in the dryer – everybody does that kind of thing. Failing in video games is easy because there are no real-life consequences. The good thing is that the experience of failing again and again not only helps you learn the game, it can help you learn to fail. Repeated failures can help you put things in perspective, and people usually have to risk failure in order to achieve the goals they want. So whether it’s a boss fight in a video game or real-life goal, don’t let the fear of failure keep you from trying.


Michelle Colder Carras

Public health researcher and informaticist specializing in games as mental health interventions; passionate about participatory design of interventions and research. Mother of three grown gamers, occasional mage and outdoors lover. Prefers dance games to spin class.


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