Archive for the ‘Deep Thoughts’ Category
I haven’t given up on the blog here and I’ve been meaning to post for awhile and every time I sit down to write I just got…distracted. I couldn’t even tell you by what – just that I’ve started this post probably no fewer than five times, and I somehow couldn’t manage to find the words that fill the page. I know it’s not the best of excuses, but none the less it is what I’ve got to offer. I’ve given it a lot of thought and I don’t think I’m quite ready to be done with this blog. I probably won’t post with as much frequency as I once did, and my topics may vary more than they have in the past (although, they were pretty wide spread to begin with!). So, I am sure you are wondering why, if I am going to keep blogging, I haven’t posted in a month. The truth is that after we stopped raiding, I spent a lot of time not really doing any gaming. I’d log in, and then decide I’d rather be doing something else – which meant I’d log right back out. And I’m not going to lie, there was a few weeks that I questioned if I’d even keep logging in.
Adjusting to the Casual Side of WoW
If I am being honest, once my raid schedule was gone, and subsequently my obligations in the game, I felt a little lost. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself. I knew that I had a whole laundry list of things that I wanted to accomplish, yet when I logged in I felt…displaced. The only real goal I had was to have fun. And yet it seemed so abstract and convoluted and I questioned if it was even possible to meet that goal anymore.
The truth is I was simply having a hard time adjusting to no longer being part of something that defined my WoW career for eight years. I didn’t (and don’t) have regrets about it – I just didn’t know where I fit in anymore. How to spend my time or what I wanted to do with that time. This, subsequently, meant that I was finding other (less confusing) things to do with my free time and spending less time in WoW while I worked it out in my head-space. Read the rest of this entry »
Do you know what has always amazed me so much about Jim Croce? The fact that a voice like his comes from a mustache like that! Okay, okay – I’m (half) joking! It’s the way that so many of his songs really hit home. I sit and listen to the lyrics, and I can pair almost any significant event in my life to a Jim Croce Song. I am not really sure how I came to really know him as an artist, as I would consider the 80’s my decade, but somehow I came across his music at some point in my youth and couldn’t get enough. I bet I had his greatest hits album on loop in my car in college for almost a full year. (Well…that and Graceland. I can’t help it, I love Paul Simon!).
Anyhow, if you aren’t familiar with the work of Jim Croce I would encourage you to do yourself the favor of looking him up and blocking out an hour or so to really listen to what he is saying when he sings. Seriously. It will be time well spent, and if you don’t tear up at least once you simply aren’t human. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s been pretty quiet here the last month or so, and I’m not entirely sure what to say about the silence. The truth is that when I created this blog, it was supposed to be a venue for me to express my thoughts, frustrations and cleanse my mind. Unfortunately, as more people started reading my blog, I stopped using it as much to do something that was very healthy for me, due to adverse reactions from some people in my guild and people getting upset. Which is unfortunate, because it was a wonderful venue to think through things that were challenging and frustrating me and I needed to work through – and I want, no need, to return it to that. Over the past six months my blog became a lot less personal, and as a result my internal thoughts a lot more crowded.
So, in the interest of getting back to my roots (pun intended!), this post is going to be personal.
This past Monday Brade and I disbanded the raid team in Monolith. It was not without hurt feelings and controversy – and I will not be surprised if someone childishly (and most likely cowardly) posts hurtful things in the comments to this post (which I reserve the right to monitor and remove). But the truth is that it was long past time. Back at the end of Cataclysm Brade and I discussed at length, over the course of several months, shutting down the raid team. Ultimately, after much back and forth, we made the decision to continue for one more expansion. We thought Mists had promise – and many of the things that were weighing on our minds, and most personal conflicts, seemed resolved. So it was with enthusiasm that we pushed forward.
Unfortunately, once we got into the expansion it became clear that those resolutions were not permanent, and many of the things that made us question continuing on into the expansion resurfaced, and seemingly multiplied. It was disappointing, but because we are stubborn and committed we put our heads down and continued to push on. We don’t quit simply because things are hard – we have over eight years of success to back that statement up.
But then, on January 2nd, as I was driving into work, this happened:
I was driving my normal route, moving with the flow of traffic, when my car hit an ice patch on an elevated part of highway and I lost control of the vehicle. It did one of those scary spin around things before hitting a car entering from an entrance ramp and getting hit by the car that was travelling in the lane next to me. Fortunately for me I drive into work early in the morning, before rush hour traffic is in full force. And that the bus behind me had time to react and stop before plowing into me as well. And that I purchased a car with a very high safety rating, and a bajillion airbags.
I walked away with a minor concussion (a bump on my head about the size of an orange), pretty beat up (they took xrays of my knee to make sure it wasn’t broken) and extremely shaken. Driving to work today, with the weather in the same conditions as it was the day of the accident, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I drove like a grandma, and just about every other car on the highway passed me, but I made it to work in one piece and imagine I will be a little less scared next time.
Anyhow, the accident had a profound effect on my thoughts. It’s strange how one, very scary, thing can make you see things more clearly. Things I had been struggling with, were now crystal. The fact was that Monolith’s environment had morphed into something completely unrecognizable, and completely unenjoyable for a lot of people – including myself. I realized this was no longer the guild that Brade and I had decided to fight to hold onto, and we no longer wanted to see it continue to degrade. Attrition was high – for any number of reasons – mostly real life. And community was almost non-existent. After a blow out on Sunday night, Brade and I spent a lot of time discussing this, and after Brade fell asleep I stayed awake with my thoughts.
The truth is, life is simply too short to do things where the enjoyment doesn’t outweigh the stress, and to surround yourself with people who make you feel bad about yourself and miserable. My car accident was a trigger to make me finally acknowledge this. I realized that I want to write my history in more than pixels, and I want more than regrets on the pages. And letting Monolith’s community degrade to the point that it was a shadow of what we had worked so hard to create was a regret I didn’t want.
Upon announcing that we were disbanding the raid team, many cruel things were said to me. I was told I was selfish – despite the fact that I had given over eight years of my life putting everyone else’s happiness in front of my own. I was told I was mentally unstable and needed to seek professional help – despite the fact that this is the best decision for everyone involved, even though it probably doesn’t feel like it at the time. I was told that the guild deserved to die under my leadership – despite the fact that it didn’t die, we killed the raid team and all the toxic vitriol that came with trying to maintain it, but in the process saved the community and the guild.
And while I would be lying if I said these things didn’t bother me a little, I can honestly say that I’m not upset about them. I am 100% comfortable with the decision we made, and I know it was the right one. But for every nasty comment I received, I got two from those who understood and supported our decision – those who agreed with our assessment of the situation and valued the importance of community. And for the first time in months I logged in and enjoyed guild chat again. There was laughter and fun. People were in high spirits and joking around. It was almost like playing an entirely new game, and I was reminded why we valued certain things over others.
For those of you wondering if the current state of druids played into my decision – I would be lying if I said no. Was it a main factor? No. Was it a top 10 factor? Yes, but towards the bottom of the list. I truly feel that Blizzard needs to do a better job of balancing classes if equality is their goal. I continue to feel they should abandon the idea that 10s and 25s are equal, because they never will. Hating my class was certainly a factor in my decision, and certainly had an impact on my ability to enjoy the game. For right or wrong, I struggled with coming to terms with how poorly resto druids scaled in 25s, and got to the point that I almost didn’t even want to try because it didn’t matter. And, in all honesty, I don’t feel the “new” mushrooms, in their current iteration, are going to improve our situation any – but that is likely a topic for another time.
So many of you are probably thinking “what now, Beru”.
Well, I’m not really sure. Something I haven’t been hugely open about is that Brade and I have decided to start a family, and have started trying to conceive. Because I want to bifurcate my gaming blog with this effort, I did start a new blog, Wind Blown Tree Tops to chronicle my adventures. Right now, it’s simply a completely generic, blank blog as it has been since I created it in September. But I imagine in time I will have a lot of things to say there and will nitpick both the style and the content until I’m happy with it. You are all welcome to follow me through this adventure if you’d like, although I don’t know how exciting it will be
Will I keep blogging here and about druids? Well, I don’t know. I’d like to, but I also don’t know what I’ll have to say. I suspect only time will tell. Will I keep playing WoW? Brade and I have decided to play very casually at this time. We are finally getting around to challenge modes (which are immensely fun!). In time, we will probably do a 1 night a week ten man with friends to see what the new content is all about. I will continue to enjoy the addiction that is pet battling. But I don’t know if I will ever raid seriously again. I find that as time goes on I am less inclined to have my gaming environment constrict my time. I want to be able to take the aquasize class that meets two nights a week. I want to be able to come home from work and relax, game if I want or watch TV if I want. And I strongly suspect that as I continue to have less of an obligation to be online, the value of no longer having a raid schedule (and all the things that come with it – like dailys) will outweigh any desire to be competitive again.
And, I am content with that. For the first time in years I feel a freedom that I had forgotten about. Will I miss raiding? Yes, absolutely. And I will continue to cheer on and support those of you who are still pushing through it. I have many happy memories brought to me from raiding and I think it is a fantastic group effort that can teach valuable life lessons. I don’t have any regrets about the time I spent in WoW – it was well worth it and got me through some of the most difficult times of my life. It is my hope that I can still continue to enjoy it, just on my terms now.
And, well, if things go as planned, I have some big changes on the horizon
I’ve been thinking a lot about respect the past couple of weeks, and more particularly how people or teams can earn or lose my respect. By definition respect is giving something or someone a “high or special regard” or “to consider worthy of high regard”. Respect is a strange thing. It often takes a lot of time to gain, but can be stripped away in a minute.
For me there are a few key things that will cause me to lose all respect for something or someone. Not being humble in successes, or gracious in struggles top that list. With regards to this I am often reminded that “modesty is attended with profit, arrogance brings on destruction”. I cannot stand people who gloat needlessly; regardless of if it’s the game winning touchdown or simply crossing a finish line first. It is the fastest way to lose my respect and likely never regain it. I have almost zero tolerance or patience for those who let their egos control their actions rather than their minds and morals.
That being said, not far behind is being dishonest or disingenuous – either as an individual or as an entity. I cannot stand being lied to, regardless of the reason. If you can’t be honest with those who trust you, then you are not worth respect. And to push that even further, if you can’t be honest with yourself then you can’t be honest with others. Which, again, means you are not worthy of respect. And if you lie to promote yourself at the cost of my friends, you can bet that you will never gain my respect again. Ever. Read the rest of this entry »
I found this picture on the internet. Google links it back to ectmmo.com – so credit to them, I suppose!
I have now had experience with all six of the raid bosses that are currently available, as well as the two world bosses. As I have approached raiding this expansion, it has been with a love/hate relationship with my mana bar. And by love/hate, I suppose it’s probably more like a 20/80 split. There have been so many times that I’ve approached the end of an encounter cursing that damn blue bar. Cursing the raid wide AE damage pummeling the raid. Cursing my relative inability to efficiently deal with it.
And one night, as I was trying to squeeze out one more spell at the end of Elegon, in hopes that it might keep someone alive long enough to do just a tiny bit more damage, I couldn’t help but wonder: who decides what makes healing fun?
I mean, I know that the devs are invested in making the game engaging for everyone. But as we are immersed in yet another healing paradigm change I once again revel in the shortcomings of our toolkit, that are always highlighted the strongest when mana is an issue. But I don’t necessarily want to talk about how Mushrooms fell flat, or how Rejuv is still our way to get a raid topped up in high damage situations, and is so expensive that it’s laughable to think it can be effective – which means you have to throttle the one of the only tools you have to work with in those situations.
Rather, what I want to think about is why the devs seem to always go back to “making mana important” or why making your mana pool so tight that it’s borderline frustrating to work with equates to fun. Read the rest of this entry »
Everywhere you look, Pandaria is all the rage. People are preparing, excited to start their new adventures, counting down the days until Tuesday, September 25. And while I am usually one of those people, I’m having a hard time working up to the frenzy that usually surrounds a release. I know that the expansion is gorgeous – I marveled at the detail in the beta. I know that there are a lot of things that I’m looking forward to doing. I’ve got gear lists running out my ears, new raid bosses to explore and pokemon to play.
But when I think about next week, it’s with a little bit of regret and fair amount of sadness. And, I suppose if I’m being honest, a case of the jitters and nerves.
Let’s back up. I suppose this story needs to start at the beginning.
When MoP was released, I did what I do every expansion year: I requested a week off work, and got ready to hunker down. Brade had done the same thing. We’ve leveled every expansion together since TBC. And even though he drives me absolutely nuts leveling with him because he often forgets I’m there, doesn’t give me time to read all the quests, doesn’t account for my OH SHINY distractions and tends to be very particular about the pace at which he does things, it’s just something we’ve done together time after time. Once we’ve deprived ourselves of sunshine and sleep to reach max level, we start the gear grind together (which is significantly less rage inducing on my part!). This process is just as much a part of the expansion for me as having a gear wipe, relearning my class and spending several hours leveling fishing. Read the rest of this entry »
Yea, yea. I know, I’m supposed to be talking about patch 5.0 and how to get ready for it. But I’m not! (I’m such a rebel! Look out now!). Instead I’m going to talk about something else: finishing games.
A couple of weeks ago I saw that there was a new Kingdom Hearts out for the 3DS. I just had to have it, and so I asked Brade if he could pick me up a copy so that I could enjoy it. He gave me the look, you know the one, it’s the one that says “but you have all of these other unfinished games (and unstarted!) that you can play!”. But none the less the next day he came home from work and lovingly handed me a copy of the new Kingdom Hearts and I was quite excited.
However, this copy of Kingdom Hearts, that I just had to have, is still sitting on my desk unopened and unplayed. Which is actually kind of sad, because I can play the 3DS without too much discomfort to my hands. And, well, it’s borderline tragic because hello it’s KINGDOM HEARTS. If you’ve never played the series, perhaps you don’t understand. But getting to kick ass with Mickey and Sora is just, well, magical (plus….Gummy Ships, just sayin’). Read the rest of this entry »
There have been a lot of things over the past week, both in and out of game, that have made me want to throw my hands up and walk away in frustration. I cannot tell you how much I would love September 25th to arrive already, and put idle hands and minds to work with activity. However, I’ve ranted up and down for the past week about those things, and honestly I want this week to start off on a more positive note. You see, I grow younger at heart this week and I intend to enjoy that despite everything else around me.
As such, I’m only going to talk about things that have pleased me or brought me joy over the past week and coming in the week ahead. Maybe this is some hippy mumbo-jumbo, but it seems to me if I want to have a happy, upbeat, pleasant week I need to take control of that from the start and build a good foundation for it to thrive. Or something.
The Outback Adventure
So in the biggest of news of the week, I think, we bought a car. Well, more specifically, Brade bought a new car. I haven’t even gotten to drive it yet! (Granted, that might be because Brade has driven with me before…). Anyhow, we started our Saturday morning at 8:30 in the morning with Breakfast out, and then drove and drove and drove. And oddly enough the first car we drove ended up being the one that was overwhelmingly the favorite.
And so when we got home around 7:00 Saturday night, it was in a new Subaru Outback!
For those of you in the Seattle Area, I will tell you that Sonny over at Chaplin’s Subaru in Bellevue was amazing and provided one of the best car purchasing experiences that I’ve ever had. When all was said and done, the actual purchasing part of the car was one of the most painless things we experienced throughout the day. In fact, I would buy another car from him in a heartbeat. If you are in the market for a new Subaru, I would absolutely recommend going to visit him!
Resto Round Table
What happens when you put 4 resto druids in a room and mix? You apparently get almost two and a half hours of druid talk! We recorded the Waffle Cast resto roundtable on Friday night, and it was a lot of fun. You can find the pod-cast here.
On Enjoying Lunch with a Friend
I have a semi-regular lunch outing with my good friend Tikari. This past week he was kind enough to listen to me ramble not once, but twice, as I had an emergency OMG THIS JUST HAPPENED AT WORK situation that I needed to vent about. It’s one of my favorite parts of the week, as we get together to ramble and rant about WoW, Work and how NBC broadcasts the Olympics (ok, maybe not really that last part!). But mostly it’s just nice to have someone to regularly bounce thoughts, ideas and frustrations off of, and receive an ear or advice in return.
No…not like those ears that you collect at the Darkmoon Faire! Exactly what do you think we do out here in Seattle! Seesh.
This past week we went to a newer place in the area, and stumbled on the most delicious thing ever. EVER. Grilled Cheese Fondue. It’s basically a pot full of tomato soup, and you are brought these amazing grilled cheese dippers for them. I am fairly confident that I could have sat there and eaten it all day. In fact, when they lady asked if we wanted more dippers I all but yelled “OMG THAT IS POSSIBLE?!?!”. So. Good. I think I might even go back today for lunch, since I’ve done nothing but think about how delicious it was since Friday!
On Growing Young
If I’m quiet this week, it’s because I have big plans! Tuesday night a friend is treating me to dinner at my favorite steak house, and I’ve been drooling for almost a week in anticipation. Then Thursday we are going to see King Tut. I’m quite excited, as I’ve never gotten the opportunity before and I’ve heard that the exhibit is quite amazing. After spending some time with the Tut, we are going to dinner at another one of my favorite places, and then going to see Weird Al in concert.
I have never seen Weird Al before, but I have high hopes that it will be an evening of frivolity and laughter.
Then on Friday we are going to head to the zoo, weather providing. Last year when we went to the zoo I fed a giraffe. I was completely chicken and pretty much threw my branch into its mouth the second that freakishly long tongue started to head my direction, but it was still a lot of fun. This year I think I’m going to feed the elephants instead. Although I suspect I will likely be equally as chicken when that trunk starts to move in my direction.
At some point, we will probably also go see a movie. As Brade listed them off, he conveniently left Sparkle for last – and then pointed out all of the other fantastic options that he had previously provided, including Paranorman and The Odd Life of Timothy Green. I guess he really doesn’t want to see Sparkle if he’s trying to sell me on the two above
In short, I’m very much looking forward to the week ahead!
How have you all been? Do you have anything excited planned this week? Are you looking forward to anything coming up? What are you using for your anti-irritant for the week?
Have a video of Heroic Scholomance.
Yesterday Blizzard’s devs dropped a bit of a bombshell on the raiding community that was met with mixed reactions. Namely, they revealed that while there are three instances comprising Mists’ first raid tier, only one will be open at launch. Not only that, but they alluded to the first instance, Mogu’shan Palace, not being opened until the second week the game is live. There was talk about how second two zones in the tier were tied together in a story arc, that admittedly looks kind of cool, and would be released a few weeks after Mogu’shan Palace became available.
These announcements were met with a combination of sighs of relief from some and anger from others. I wanted to take a minute and explain my thoughts on the topic, which may well be a minority opinion amongst progression raiders. I like that the instances will be gated. Let me see if I can articulate why I feel this way. Read the rest of this entry »
Warning: This post will have spoilers for all three of the Hunger Games books. If you haven’t read them yet, you may not want to continue reading this post. If you get to the end, and are pissed that I spoiled something, I will simply remind you that the very first thing I wrote in this post was a warning.
My hands have had a bit of a set back the past few weeks. While the original issue has somewhat plateaued in the improvement department, about three weeks ago I developed additional tendon damage/injury to my left thumb/wrist area. While this has been highly disappointing, and the new injury has affected more than just playing on the PC (trying working with fondant when your hands hurt trying to soften it up or color it, or try shuffling a deck of cards when the action causes pain in your thumb), I’m trying to roll with the punches and facilitate as quick a recovery as possible. Which means that I’m not spending a lot of time on the computer and I am again spending a good deal of time reading, watching TV and doing other things.
I bring this up, because over the weekend as I sat and enjoyed one of the ten days of sunshine we get here in Seattle, I finished up the Hunger Games trilogy. In fact, I was so involved in them that Saturday night found me up way past my bed time trying to finish the final book (I sadly had to give up with about 75 pages left when I just couldn’t keep my eyes open any more). Anyhow, as I read through the three books and observed the changes in Katniss and the other characters I had some thoughts on them that I wanted to flesh out, and figured this is about as good a place as any to do so. Before I move on, I want to again remind you that I am about to enter into spoiler territory, and if you haven’t read the books yet, you may well want to stop reading this post now.
Read the rest of this entry »