Why do I persist in toiling away at my transmog site, knowing that it gets very little outside use and is even despised by some? Is it because I take some form of sadistic enjoyment from working so hard on something so esoteric? Well, yes, but there’s more to it than that. To get the real scoop, we must delve into the murky depths of my personality. Buckle up!
- I’m a collector. I have been since early childhood. Some of my earliest recollections include organizing rocks and seashells that I’d found on family trips and around the backyard (not that we had seashells in the backyard, mind you). In elementary school the “in” things to collect were marbles and baseball cards, and I collected both with great relish (I think the baseball cards are still in boxes at my parent’s house; sadly, none of them are very valuable). In junior high I discovered what was to become a lifelong passion: entomology. Over the last 30 years or so I’ve amassed a fairly decent collection of insects, most of which are safely ensconced in an old museum cabinet in a closet under the staircase (though I do have two glass cases of butterflies and moths mounted on the living room wall, because they’re both beautiful and somewhat socially acceptable to display). I hesitate to call myself a book collector, since I’ve mostly stopped buying physical books after running out of shelf space at home. In a perfect world, my home would have a dedicated library with wall-to-wall bookshelves, a library ladder, and possibly a secret reading room hidden behind one of the bookcases… SIGH.
- I love to tinker with datasets. My first tentative steps into this seemingly mundane world took place in late elementary school, when I was poking around with some hand-me-down floppy disks for our family computer (a venerable Commodore 64) and found a general-purpose database program. I immediately decided to modify it to track my baseball card collection, using my rudimentary skills in BASIC (picked up from “computer time” at the school’s Apple II machines and a few books from the public library; there was no “internet” to speak of at the time). By the time I finished the program and got a good chunk of my collection entered, I had tired of baseball cards in general; the overall experience, however, was a formative one. Fast-forward to early high school, when I was working as a low-level science tech-type at the local UC agricultural research station. My boss had pushed me into applying for a small grant to catalogue his lab’s extensive insect collection, and I actually received it! I spent the next few months developing a database using Paradox on the lab’s then-current Windows 3.1 PCs. It had all the bells and whistles you’d want (and some literal ones as well; I was young and stupid and had way too much fun playing with .wav files), and it did the job nicely. My college career was filled with a hazy blur of Excel, Access, SAS, and various other data manipulation programs (sorry, but most of those programs are BORING). Fast-forward yet again to a cool project I developed for work, using Coldfusion for the Web “app” portion and SQL tables for the data storage. It was clunky and messy, but it definitely laid the groundwork for my fascination with developing a transmog database site. My chosen platform for the site is Drupal, which lends itself well to tinkering (IMHO).
- I love transmogging. I love being able to customize my character on a whim, at a moment’s notice. I love hunting down transmog pieces, either at the auction house or in the wild. I love sharing cool pieces with people, and learning what pieces/sets they enjoy. I LOVE COLLECTING GEAR. The transmogging system is probably my favorite addition to WoW since I started playing back in late Vanilla.
Put it all together, and you get a recipe for an obsession with creating a transmog website! I have no delusions that it is or will ever be the best, or the most complete, or the most popular, or the most ANYTHING. It is, however, MINE, and it is a labor of love that I will continue to add to and improve until it becomes utterly pointless (i.e. the final death of WoW), or somebody stops me (not likely, though I have been shamed into starting it over from scratch, a misstep that will NOT happen again, I assure you).