It has been a steamy, but sunny, few days here in Seattle. Heat is an unusual thing here in Seattle, largely because it is uncommon. Usually summer peaks somewhere around the lower 80s, and generally resides at a nice seventy-five to seventy-seven. The biggest problem with the heat is that the city is largely ill equipped to deal with it. Most residences lack air conditioning, and at the first mention that it is going to be warmer than eighty-five degrees there is a run on fans in every store in the city.
For me, I grew up in the Midwest without air conditioning. While I can kvetch about the heat with the best of them, I fondly remember summer days where my brother and I just laid on the living room floor in front of the fan because it was so hot you couldn’t move. And well, I survived! Except now that I’m older, and am a seasoned pacific northwestener, I have a little less tolerance for the heat. So yesterday, during our heat wave, I gladly went out for dinner and spent some time at our local game shop playing board games for a few hours while enjoying their air conditioning.
Of course, you probably didn’t come here to read about how I spent my Sunday afternoon. But since I couldn’t think of a better intro for this (bound to be babbling) post, I figured it was just as good as any! In fact before we get any farther in it, I’ll even share what is playing on the radio as I type right now!
God I love Paul Simon. So much. I am pretty sure I’m going to have his Graceland album on repeat for like…a week, since I just downloaded it from iTunes after fretting that I lost my original copy of the CD. Anyhow, let’s talk a little bit about WoW, shall we?!
Raiding is going splendidly. I am still absolutely in love with my two night progression commitment and remain completely excited about logging in every Tuesday and Thursday to kill internet dragons. We recently started working Heroic Lei Shen, and while I think it’s going to be a bit of a slog to get to a kill, it’s a lot of fun working through the fight. (I reserve the right to change my mind on this!). I am enjoying healing the encounter and finding ways to maximize output and conserve mana for the end of the encounter.
I am one runestone short of my cloak, and will be able to snag it either after tomorrow’s raid, or Wednesday. I’m definitely excited about that! Of course, I’m less excited about needing to adjust my reforging to accommodate the new stats, but so it goes.
As far as the journey to Lei Shen, I’ve had a ton of fun working through healing them and tweaking things here and there to see if I can eek out a little more. The only encounter that remains the bane of my existence is Horridon – but I think part of that is that we generally run six healers and two disc priests on it. Also getting my stupid pink dino early for like the past month hasn’t helped either – but Horridon remains the only encounter I am not entirely sure I’ve mastered or can master. I’d like a few more shots at Durumu as well – since I feel like my performance there has a pretty large fluctuation – and I think I can still tweak my play a bit to do better. But overall I feel comfortable with most of my performance this tier. If the tier ended the week after we got Lei Shen and RaDen down, I’d feel satisfied. I think. There would be a few things I’d like another chance to do again – because I think I could play better – but I don’t think I’d have any huge regrets about my performance in the tier either.
I mention this, because this is a huge change from T14 for me. One of the main reasons that I stopped doing my video guides is because I started feeling very insecure about my class – and it took me a very long time to come to terms with the fact that I hadn’t suddenly become a bad player, my class was just struggling a lot. At the time my thought process was “who am I to tell people how to heal, when I am not confident in my own healing”. In hindsight, this was a completely silly head game to be playing with myself and very backwards thinking. But with everything else that was going on at the time, it was very hard to find a good headspace to be in and sort it out properly. So for me to finish the very next tier and say that I am once again comfortable in my own skin, as it were, is a really fantastic place for me to be. I once again feel confident and like the resource I had worked very hard to be in previous tiers. I once again feel like I spend more time challenging myself to find new ways to improve performance- rather than being intimidated by the fact that my class was quickly falling behind and as a result, I was being left behind. And I once again feel like I have things to contribute.
In short, I found my identity again.
I know that probably sounds strange! But it’s true nonetheless. I think a large part of that can be credited to my new raid team and environment. They really have revitalized so many aspects of WoW for me again, and in the process breathed a bit of life back into me as well. And it just feels so good to be comfortable with my in game self again. I will probably talk about this a little more in another post, mostly because I have a lot to say about it, but also because I have other things I want to address today!
Uh, I didn’t need to know that!
Which brings me to my next topic!
One of my favorite things about WoW and the blogging community that I’ve been part of for the past (oh god, has it really been four years?) has been the connections and sharing of information that happens amongst members of the community. It’s not uncommon to have lunch pow-wows where the discussion is “how did you guys handle x”, or receive emails from a friend who is struggling with something else. Historically, I’ve known every last nook and cranny of every encounter and had the information available at my fingertips. Largely because I was responsible for knowing all of the information and was integral into the creation of our raid strategies.
But it has been very interesting for me to realize that now that I am just a raider, the cog in the wheel I want to be, I really only focus on the parts of an encounter that are relevant to me. I mean, I have a general gist of what is happening, but if you ask me our Megeara head kill order all I could tell you from the top of my head is which head the tank I’m assigned to heal is tanking each time and where I need to stack up for each rampage. I could tell you how we handle cinders and frost beams. I could tell you the do’s and don’ts of the encounter. But even if you offered me one million dollars, I probably could not recall which heads we were killing in what order without looking it up.
I have mixed feelings about this realization. On the one hand I have a very solid knowledge of my responsibility for any given encounter, but on the other I absolutely do not have the same depth of understanding of each encounter that I used to have. After some internal debate over it, I’ve come to the conclusion that is okay. I still do all of the research before an encounter to know what is happening. I still make notes on pieces of it that are important to me. I still have a basic understanding of how each encounter works. But I’m missing the ins and outs of a fight that a raid leader would need to have close at hand – and I’m okay with that. Maybe I don’t understand the timing of every tank swap, maybe I don’t understand every DPS call, but I am comfortable with my role and how it plays out in any given encounter.
On Other Things WoW
I am currently working through challenge modes with my priest. I’m finding priest healing a bit of a challenge compared to my shaman and druid. Some of it is that I’m just not as comfortable with the toolkit, but some of it is that I have to heal almost completely differently as well. I’m definitely getting more accustomed to it as we work though them, but I will say that I haven’t found my priest as versatile for challenge modes as I thought it would be. Maybe I’m just priesting wrong :)
I’m slowly leveling my paladin to 90. I play a bit here, I play a bit there. I’m in no huge rush to start the gear grind once I reach 90, so I mostly just putz around when I have a few free minutes and nothing else to do!
I think I’ve almost basically given up on achievements at this point. I am still three achievements short of my pandaland dungeon mount. I can’t find the heart to do the archaeology ones. PvP pet battles? Pffft. I don’t know – when I sit down to play, nerd points just aren’t on the top of my list right now. Maybe that will change. But I just can’t seem to bring myself to doing things that aren’t “fun” and feel like just one more box I need to check off of a list. Of course, losing internet 5 trainers short from the Longest Day achievement on Friday may have something to do with this feeling at the moment!
I am slowly working through Dan Brown’s most recent book, Inferno. I really like Dan Brown’s books – but they are starting to get a little preachy for me. The last one was fantastic until about that last 50 pages, and while this one isn’t as overtly preachy the semi-subtle preachy message has been pretty persistent throughout. So while the story is good, I do get hung up at being lectured at during my recreational reading.
When I finish this book, I will probably go back to the Rizzoli and Isles series that I had been working on, or I might pick up the John Grisham or Mary Higgins Clark that I missed! I am also a little eager to get back to the Inspector Lynley series by Elizabeth George that I had put on hold and am not three books behind! My “to read” list is growing daily!
On Other Entertainment
We’ve still been enjoying table top games quite a bit. We finally broke out some of our Christmas purchases and played an Arkham expansion. We also found the time to figure out Netrunner (although it wasn’t until after playing it that we dug for some additional clarification on the rules). I am still enjoying this hobby quite a bit and find that it’s a nice refreshing activity for Brade and I to enjoy together. Even if the dog does step on the board when we play on the floor! (Hard mode board games, y’all! You heard it here first!).
We’ve also been continuing with Buffy and Angel. We are about half way through the final season of Buffy and starting the final season of Angel. I’m not sure what series we will turn to next, but I’ve been hearing very good things about both Downton Abby and American Horror Story.
While I haven’t dug through many of my computer or console games yet (I swear, I did not buy the SC expansion just for the WoW pet!), I have been enjoying a casual play through of Luigi’s Mansion. I also have a few DS games on my list to work through, and have been advised that I will not be receiving any additional games until I’ve finished some of my current ones. I suppose that is fair! (Sort of!).
All in all it’s been a good few months for me, and I don’t really have much to complain about! How have you been?