For some reason that I can’t explain, The Penguin on the Telly is one of my favorite Monty Python skits. There is just something about the absurdity of it all that cracks me up every time I watch it. For more reasons that I can’t explain, that skit the first thing that came to my mind when I was trying to think of a title for this sort of catch all post that I’m about to write. So, enjoy the Penguin on the Telly.
Adventures at PAX Prime
Brade and I once again went to PAX Prime. Being local, it’s kind of neat because I never feel rushed to see all of the things and I just kind of show up and do the things I want whenever I want and have the rest of my weekend to do whatever else I feel like. This year I actually attended more days that I had any of the other years that I went. I think the highlight of my weekend was probably dinner with a lot of WoW/Twitter folk. We had a great time, and it’s definitely something I’d do again!
So, you probably want to know what it is that I do at PAX while I’m there. I’ll tell you. I play lots of board games. No, really! I play lots and lots of board games. It’s actually very cool because many of the game companies have representatives and volunteers that sit down and teach you how to play games, so it’s a really great opportunity to see if you enjoy a game or ask questions for a game with a more complex rule set (or really crappy instruction booklet). I thought I’d tell you a little bit about what we played! Read the rest of this entry »
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 »