Archive for the ‘General WoW’ category

WoW and the Itchy Scratchy Thing

June 7, 2010

During the school year, I can’t wait until Friday and Saturday night to crack open some beers or a bottle of wine, close my door and play WoW in peace and quiet. Schooldays are just so crazy hectic that by the time the weekend comes along, I just want to be left alone.

Then summer got close and I came up with the stupid idea to relocate across the country “to try something different”. Despite the idea being very stupid, the experience has been a good one- I discovered a lot of things as I went about my merry way with my backpack, professionally, I got to see a reality different from the one I was used to in Newfoundland and personally, I got to reconnect with an old friend I hadn’t seen in years.

Then suddenly, I went to play WoW and I didn’t want to.

I went over the list of other things I could do in my head.

- I could call my parents.
– I could watch TV.
– I could update my blog.
– I could stare at the wall and feel sorry for myself.

I sighed, logged into WoW and finished the Wintersaber Trainer’s rep grind. Now that I’m exalted, I have no idea what to do next. Get the Justicar title maybe?

During the school year, I have that itch to play. This summer, I seem to have an itch that just doesn’t seem to scratch.

I move around a lot. I took off on my own nearly 10 years ago, when I was 18. Since then, I’ve rarely lived in the same place for longer than a year. I seem to be happy everywhere I go, but I don’t seem to like living places. At first, I’d get attached to people and was devastated every time I relocated. Goodbyes were painful and full of tears. After many years and many goodbyes, it just became part of life. You meet people, you make friends, you leave them, you miss them for a little while then you move on. There’s the odd friend that sticks around, but for the most part, I don’t get too attached. It’s not intentional, its just habit.

One thing I’ve always loved about online communities is that they’re relatively constant. No matter where you are physically, they’re always accessible. I’ve outgrown the deep, intense friendships I had with my online pals as a teenager (I guess all friendships, offline and online, burn a little softer as we get older. I know “high school social life” is generally thought of as a bad, immature thing, but I can say with certainty that I was much better at friendship when I was a teenager than I am now.) but I still enjoy cheerful chit chat over vent or casual girl talk in whispers while running circles around Dalaran.

So what’s gotten into me now?

I’m homesick as heck. Me! Can you believe it? For the past four summers, I’ve worked at the same camp for children with autism back in my hometown of Québec city.

It’s one of those things that I seem to be made for and until I didn’t have it anymore, I didn’t really realize how much I depended on it. Oh, at the ends of the summers, when I’d go back to school, I’d go through a few weeks of withdrawal- after a summer working with such a fantastic team, it’s hard to get back used be around people who, um, aren’t totally in synch with you. But this is different.

I do enjoy my current job as an intern, but it’s not the same. I miss using my imagination to solve problems, instead of pubmed. I miss the craziness of soothing an aggressive child who’s having a meltdown versus a customer angry at their insurance. I miss working with a team of girls who, in times of crisis, can read my mind and function as one. I miss the bond I form with each kid, as we constantly anticipate each others’ next move. I miss the confidence, the feeling that I know I can find a solution, no matter what. I miss tickling the little ones, I miss teaching the girls to braid their hair, I miss playing ball with the boys, I miss the hugs, I miss the laughing over silly things and I even miss the rare times where I reach my limits and come close to losing my temper.

It’s a shame, but life does have to go on. I can’t live off a summer job that pays barely more than minimum wage forever. There’s that gaping void, though, that I can’t seem to fill. I can’t fill it with traveling, I can’t fill it with the people currently around me, I can’t fill it with my job and I certainly can’t fill it with WoW.

WoW’s been my escapism of choice for the past few years, but sometimes even WoW’s not enough to relieve that itchy scratchy thing.

So..what do you think? Justicar title next? I don’t really feel like leveling alts but I’m running out of grindy achievements.

Shared Topic: Starting Over

April 3, 2010

Last night I got the Skyshattered Achievement!

I hadn’t been planning on taking part in this week’s Shared Topic. Not because it’s a bad topic (it’s a great topic and tons of bloggers participated!), but because my energy level is still pretty bad. I’m always amazed and proud that I manage to make it to the bathroom on time and all my blogging attempts come out like wdedxgnfsdknhjfraswdj.

But the Skyshattered Achievement really inspired me.

I know a flying race seems to have nothing to do with a topic called “Starting Over”, but bear with me. This is, as usual, a Blog Azeroth Shared Topic. It was suggested by Pieces from Blasting Away and you can find links to the (many!) other takes in the thread at Blog Azeroth, appropriately named Shared Topic: Starting Over.

I kinda live in the moment. I rarely get excited about things until they actually happen (Cataclysm? What is this Cataclysm?) I also don’t hang onto regrets. Whenever I fill out one of those teenagery Livejournal/Facebook surveys, I have to give a boring answer to the “what’s your biggest regret” question because, quite honestly, when something is over and done with, I forget all about it. (This also makes me really bland at the truth part of truth or dare because I never remember my juicy, embarrassing mistakes.)

So my original answer to this topic would have something boring like “If I could start all over at WoW, I would do it all exactly the same!”

Then, last night, I was flying around Outlands and thought to give that race over by the Netherspite a try. I’d only ever managed to get past the first race, and I’m sure many of you have seen this video of me as I did my many attempts (yes, I’m totally an animated blob IRL, didn’t you know that?).

This time, almost two years later, I gave it another shot. I kept my eye on the NPC I was following, I used the mouse to navigate and the space bar to move up. I ended up one-shotting every single race. Sure it helps that at level 80, I wasn’t accidentally pulling all the other stuff flying around, but still, I was shocked at how much better I’ve become at controlling my character.

It made me think of how different my playstyle is now compared to when I first discovered WoW. In my head, I went over the misconceptions I had when I started the game.

“I’m always going to pug instances”

“I don’t want to make friends in-game”

“I don’t want to raid”

“Raiding is super serious and scary and takes up all your time.”

You know, I really hesitated before joining my old (very casual and understanding) guild because I was nervous about having to play seriously. Ironically, one of the reasons I moved on two years later was because I wanted to play more seriously.

So, if I were to start over, I’d still play a paladin. A human one. I might level with a better spec…(random talent allocation isn’t ideal!) yet I’d probably still be respeccing all the time to explore my character more.

But knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t be so intimidated by other players and by end game content. I missed out on pre-BC raiding and that makes me sad. If I were to go back in time and do all over again, I would definitely focus on leveling faster, I wouldn’t sweat buckets before joining my first raiding guild and I would experience at least Molten Core, with 39 others, the way it was intended.

Once upon a time, I thought I couldn’t do the Sky Shatter race, just like I once thought I couldn’t level at a proper pace, that I couldn’t find a guild I enjoyed and that I didn’t have what it took to raid. But last night I discovered I could do the race just fine. And it reminded of everything I missed out on in game because I foolishly thought I couldn’t do it.

Shared Topic: Positive Random Dungeon Stories

March 4, 2010

“Is my DPS high enough?”

Our warlock shyly asked us if she was doing alright. I assured her that stuff was dying fast enough so I was satisfied. Our crazy well-geared and could have gotten away with being arrogant tank agreed with me.

This week’s Shared Topic, as suggested by Zan from Altoholic Anonymous aims to balance out all the pugging horror stories floating around the internet. Links to the other participating posts can be found at Blog Azeroth. Also want to mention that I noticed a few other bloggers coincidentally posting about happy LFD stories earlier this week. I didn’t catch names so please let me know or report to Blog Azeroth so I can link you on the Shared Topic recap at Twisted Nether.

Hey, we're almost all at full health! Must be a good group!

I have talked about how impossibly lucky I am with the LFD before, but since I don’t recycle posts for Shared Topics, I have two newer stories to share.

Back to our warlock, I knew it was a “she” because the instance was Oculus. The date was December 26th, some time before the instance was nerfed. Not that it really matters… Players still instantly drop group upon zoning into Oculus. So yeah, after our first tank immediately dropped, I got to know the rest of my pugmates pretty well. After our second tank immediately dropped, I got to know them even better.

The warlock told us about how excited her kids were with their Christmas presents. She’s a cool (and obviously rich!) mom who got her kids some video games. The DK chimmed in that he and his wife were expecting their first kid in a few months. The rogue let us know that he was a kid. I couldn’t contribute much to that conversation so they looked at my mana and asked if I ever ran out.

Relaxing and chit-chatting made the wait rather enjoyable. It was especially nice that all four of us were coming from completely different worlds, yet we had plenty to talk about.

The wait was getting long, so eventually the DK offered to reforge his weapon and tank for us. Obviously, as soon as he finished reforging, a third tank zoned in. We called the DK back.

Is this one staying?

We burst out laughing and tried to explain to the clueless tank that we’d been stranded at the entrance of Oculus for the past half hour.

Anyway, once we had a tank, we finished the instance in 15 minutes. Utter faceroll.

And the warlock’s DPS?

Who cares?

My other group had a colder start. I had an ominous feeling when the rogue asked for might. Never mind that the warrior tank that was from his guild already had Improved Battle Shout up. (Yes, I realized that there’s something wrong there.) The ominous feeling grew when we wiped a few pulls in. Wiping a few pulls into Utgarde Keep must be a bad sign.

Sure, in a way, the wipe was my fault, I neglected bubbling or healing myself while I was being attacked because I thought I’d have time after getting that big heal out on the rogue. I shrugged.

As I was running back, I got a whisper from the tank.

I’m going to blame the dps for that wipe and deny that it had anything to do with my crappy tanking. I’m just a dps skipping the queue.

Oh dear. I guess that explained the Improved Battle Shout. I confessed that I could have bubbled but didn’t. He was easy to heal (after all, the mobs were beating on the dps and I more than on him), so it was all good. I just vowed to be more careful.

Thankful for my good nature, the tank chatted with me for a bit as we ran the instance. He told me his stories of fail, bragged about his Ulduar tanking gear. He must have been the funniest guy I’ve ever run into in a pug. He may not have had mad tanking skillz, but he certainly made up for it by having me laughing my face off.

And yeah, we got through the rest of UK without any further problems.

Shared Topic: How Will Cataclysm Change YOUR Game?

February 26, 2010

What is it with these really hard shared topics? When Rilandune from Heroically Random! suggested we talk about our playing plans for Cataclysm and Pheadra from DI The Tank suggested we talk about changes to the game we’d like to see, I groaned a bit and googled “Cataclysm”. I didn’t discover anything I didn’t already know, but for those of you who are even worse than I am with WoW news, here are some references you might appreciate.

Official Cataclysm Website
Official Cataclysm Forums
MMO Champions Cataclysm Thread

I’m going to announce something that will terribly shock you all : I’m sticking with my paladin in Cataclysm. Probably keeping my same playstyle too. Healing most of the time, tanking part time and dpsing when I’m drunk. I’m hoping my guildies won’t be sick of me either, I enjoy my Azerothian home and would like to stick with it.

I also expect to start another paladin to toy around with, just to see how the pally leveling experience has changed. One can never have too many paladins!

I guess I’ll eventually get a Goblin. Yes, I know I usually play Alliance. But given the choice between playing a short, green creature and playing a very hairy creature, it’s a no brainer.

What really comes to mind when I think of Cataclysm, though, is every time I hear the words: “This is my last expansion, I’m not playing anymore after Wrath.

To which my knee jerk reaction is, but…but…you can’t…I like you.

Granted, many of those who plan on leaving might not actually mean it. Once upon a time, I knew a fellow player that I didn’t like much (while I’m generally pretty nice on my blog, rumor has it I don’t like everyone all the time). He was always saying things like “Oh, I’m quitting WoW for Hello Kitty Online!” Each time I would rejoice, only to be disappointed a week later when Hello Kitty Online or Aion or that game with the half dressed chick in handcuffs that advertises on WoW websites didn’t deliver.

Still, I’m a little apprehensive of player turnover. Maybe a little excited, as well. I hate seeing teammates go, but it’s fun to hear from old long lost friends who’re stopping by to see what all the fuss is about. New expansions are the time, every few years, where I get to hassle people about how they never call or write or answer the emails I send them. Just because I’m answering-emailically challenged is no excuse for everyone else to not answer. I’m polishing my giant spoon as await the many returns.

So what do I hope for Cataclysm?

Rideable druids.

No, not like that you dirty people.

Since I often find myself playing lowbies with druid friends, it irks me to no end to run behind their travel form. Or, in later levels, to have stop and wait for them to catch up to my mount. Or, to just be separated in any way while running. I’m not clingy, I’m impatient. I want to ride my friends.

I’m having trouble coming up with significant changes I’d like to see. I went to suggest changes to the Auction House and Mail system, but those would be better suited for minor patch changes, not an expansion.

Having so little tangible information on the actual changes to the talent trees and gear stats, it’s difficult to say what else I would like to see. I know I want paladins to keep their versatility. I don’t mind that we struggle with raid healing more than the other classes since we also have the options of tanking and dps. (Then again, druids have more role flexibility than we do and aren’t as healing pigeonholed as we are.)

I like the removal of defense. I look forward to including uncritabileness in talents. While stat balancing is a meta game of it’s own, a meta game that I do enjoy, I wouldn’t be sad to have replaced with something… less… time consuming.

I realize that I’m finishing this on a rather uncomfortable note, but the time seems too early to work my dreams and wishes for Cataclysm. I live in the moment and my criticism, suggestions, opinions won’t be ready until I have more information to work with.

Shared Topic: What sort of Boss would you be?

February 20, 2010

This week’s Shared Topic is another of those creative types! Sephrenia from Guild Mum asks, if we were a raid boss, what sort of boss would we be? Check out the thread at Blog Azeroth to see how everyone else answered the topic!

If you are looking for my boss form, you can find her roaming the streets of undead Stratholme, exploring the corners and grieving for all those who have fallen to the Scourge.

As for her appearance, I have to say, I’ve always felt a deep connection with the gigantic women bosses in WoW. Bosses like the Maiden of Virtue in Kara or Maiden of Grief in Halls of Stone. I suppose being the tallest kid in school most of my life has taught me to empathize with other tall ladies.

Except for instead of that silly staffmace thingy, I would totally be smacking the main tank with my Giant Spoon. My emotes would be along the lines of “Do you want the spoon? DO YOU WANT IT????

Me, though, I’m used to working with small children. My summer/part time jobs have always involved teaching or being a camp counselor. See, I happen to love kiddie games. If I were a boss, a big part of my mechanics would involve a favorite game of mine:

Every minute, I call out a number between 2 and 5. Raiders have a few seconds to group up according to that number. For example, if I call out three, they have to get into groups of three. Anyone who isn’t in a group of the correct number would be transformed into a stone figurine and stored on my shelf.

I squeal with glee at the drama that would arise from guilds deciding who will have to be sacrificed first.

Another of my featured mechanics would be my unrequited love of singing. As much as I enjoy singing at the top of my lungs, singing, unfortunately, does not enjoy me. Nor does the raid, as they flee in terror and attack each other every time my boss-self bursts into song.

Since I don’t want to be a one tank fight, I would have a chance on hit to put a “submissive” debuff on the tank every time I wack him. Once the debuff reaches a stack of 5, that player becomes completely submissive and must do my bidding. Think madness on the Yogg fight. To avoid becoming my slave, the tanks must taunt me back and forth.

I guess I should give the raid healers a little something to do as well. I’ll admit, I’d love to have fire summoning skills. Whenever my frustration builds up too much….bang! Half the raid gets hit by my angry fireball of doom! Hey, don’t want those non-pally healers to be bored!

As for loot…

Loot is always touchy. I would drop a Giant Spoon, for sure. In case you were wondering, a Giant Spoon is a 2-hander that’s classified as a mace. Otherwise, I would drop trinket. Wonderful, awesome, lovely trinkets that do nothing but be cool. Along the lines of the Deputy Pa’trolla Badge or the Super Simian Sphere.

Oh, I suppose I could drop a mount and a pet, just so that people would venture to my lair to kill me. I’m thinking of a pretty, flying mount. The style of the gorgeous Ashes of Al’ar comes to mind. As for a pet, I adore the Ammen Vale Lashling, but that already exists… Maybe a slightly more aggressive flower. A carnivorous plant that gobbles down critters. Oh yeah!

So what do you say? Do you have what it takes to defeat the Bossy Pally and her Giant Spoon?

Shared Topic: After Arthas

January 23, 2010

This week’s shared topic was suggested by Ringo Flinthammer from Flinthammer Hall. Taking on a very lore-focused approach, he invited us to speculate about what happens to us, our characters, our races, our factions, our world Azeroth after we defeat Arthas, the Lich King.

Ouch. Overwhelmed, but not one to turn down a challenge, I typed “arthas” into my google search bar. Yes, I’m coming from far. Unlike Zan and Littlebark who’ve shared links to their takes on the topic in the Blog Azeroth thread, I have no RP background. I find WoW lore interesting, but my knowledge of it is very limited. It just won’t stick with me.

I considered writing about what would happen to me as a player after Arthas dies. It came out as: “Well, I’ll do hard modes with my guild, polish up my paladin as much as possible, maybe find time to experiment with an alt or two.”

Rather anti-climactic.

So what’s up with this Arthas person? After scrying through WoWwiki, I summerized what I would need to know to think about after Arthas. Since I’m positive that I’m not the only lore n00b on the internet, here’s what I discovered.


I’m Not Addicted to WoW, I Can Stop Anytime I Want!

January 18, 2010

Oh my, I went almost a whole week without playing WoW!

And you know what? I’m happy to say that I didn’t miss it at all! Oh, I missed updating my blog and I’ll admit that I scribbled WoW blog ideas on every piece of paper I came across. Also stressed quite a bit about how my last entry was on a touchy topic, poorly written in haste as I was nodding off at the airport. Word of advice, don’t do something like that if you’re planning to not have internet access for a week. Um, so yeah, to everyone who received shitty replies to comments, um, sorry?

Ok ok, so back on topic, not playing for a week was surprisingly easy. I guess it helped that I had IRL guild meetings all day and huge 800 player IRL raids (in plain English – social events/parties) every night. And let me tell you, when it comes to IRL raids, I’m totally one of those casual hardcore types. I don’t IRL raid often, but when I do, I do it right. Never mind the durability damage: burned hair, lack of voice, blisters on feet and suspicious bruises around eyes. It’ll be a big repair bill, but it was so worth it.

So it’s easy to get out of the gaming routine when the rest of your daily routine is turned upside down and inside out. Not so much when gaming is the only change of routine. I remember a time, about a year and a half ago, when I had to get my computer fixed. For three weeks, there was no email at home, no randomly reading websites, no instant messaging, and, and, worst of all, no WoW. Oh, the horror!

How did that work out for me?

Well, had I written a diary of the experience (note: I didn’t), it would have gone like this.

TITLE: Semi-Fictionish Journal Documenting 3 Weeks with No Computer.

Day 1

This isn’t so bad. Annoyed at having to go all the way to school to check my email, but otherwise it’s all good. Kind of bored though. Maybe I should do homework.

Have to say, though, there’s a bit of an itch to play. I wonder what my guildies are doing right now. Hmm. Might as well do some more homework.

Day 2

Why am I sort of having trouble breathing? And why am I biting my nails? Clearly I need to do more homework.

I wonder what my guildies are doing. I should call one of them. Let me see if I have someone’s number. I don’t. I’ll have to dig out some number from my emails at school tomorrow. Damn my stomach’s upset. I usually play WoW at this hour… How about some more of that homework.

Day 3

AAAAAHHH!!! MY HEART IS RACING AND I CANT BREATHE!!! And my nails are gone. My feet hurt from pacing. Skipped class to refresh my email at the library. I WANNA PLAY WOW I WANNA PLAY WOW I WANNA PLAY WOW. So anxious, anxious, anxious. On the bright side, I’m way ahead in all my courses.

Kind of getting sick of doing homework, good thing I wrote down a guildy’s phone number while I was refreshing my phone number. I might as well call him. I may have a phone phobia, but apparently I have a lack of repetitive behaviour phobia too.

Hope he doesn’t get too shocked hearing from me.

End of Week 1

Anxiety’s getting better. Still pacing a lot but can sleep again. Speaking of sleeping, I’ve been doing more and more of that. Never realized how many hours there are in a day. Days sure are long. Doing a lot of homework. Also cooking a lot. I love cooking.

Spent record time on the phone over the past few days. Spoke to my family for the first time in months. Also happy that I have a guildy who likes to talk on the phone. I wonder what the rest of the guild is doing. I should call my guildy again and ask.

Week 2

Worried that male guildy is getting the wrong idea from my frequent phone calls. Need to find other ways to occupy my time. Getting pretty sick of studying. Also seem to be putting on weight from all this food I’m cooking. I wonder whats on TV.

End of week 3

Computer should be back soon. Not sure I want it back. Sure, I spend the last 5 days doing nothing but watching TV and eating. But, you know, I’ve kind of forgotten about WoW. I’ll be really far behind too. Don’t want to have to catch up on dailies, rep grinds, gear, qq. It’s probably not worth getting back into the game. I should just find a new hobby.

How it all turned out

Until I had to get my computer repaired, I hadn’t realized how much of a nervous wreck I was. Pretty pathetic how lost I was without doing repetitive things all the time. On the bright side, those were pretty much the best weeks of my life in term of grades. Yet, I don’t think that WoW really gets in the way of shiny grades for me – as soon as the initial shock had passed, I replaced WoW with TV. And food. I must have put on 20 pounds during those three weeks. Then, once I found a new routine of time wasting, I didn’t want to go back to playing WoW.

Looks like I’m just destined to dorkness.

But anyway, this time I was just gone a week which, by most people’s standards, isn’t much. Can’t wait to do dailies! Or, um, whatever it is I do in game when I’m not raiding.

Shared Topic: Looking Back

January 11, 2010

After what feels like forever, the Shared Topics are back from their holiday vacation! I wonder if I still remember how to do them.

Speaking of remembering, this week’s topic involves looking back to the beginning of Wrath and everything that we felt and thought during that time. It was proposed by Jaedia from the Lazy Sniper and, of course, you can find a link to her take as well as to all the other participants’ takes in the thread on Blog Azeroth.

Looking back to my first memory of Wrath…

The first morning of Wrath I was actually sitting in Blade’s Edge, trying to solo a group quest. Well, I wasn’t sitting there, but my character was. I, the player, in my room, was feeling pretty bummed about my solitude in Blade’s Edge. The rest of clique, my partners in crime, were online. Their locations read Howling Fjord and Borean Tundra. I wasn’t sure where those were, but I was pretty sure they were somewhere I couldn’t get to.

See, I was trying to be good. The fall semester of second year pharmacy school is the brutal one. 7 or 8 difficult courses, over 30 hours of classes a week and more than that in study time…I didn’t have time to obsess about grinding 10 levels. Besides, money was super tight and video games are an expendable luxury. I was worried about passing and about not starving to death.

But I was sitting alone in Outlands with all my friends away in Northrend, happily grouping and laughing and holding hands while prancing gaily through meadows of flowers.

Author's impression

No time or money.


All alone in Outlands.

Two hours later I was installing my copy of Wrath. I would have installed it sooner, but it takes awhile to get to the mall and back.

I remember respeccing to retribution. I remember things dying all around me and squeeling with glee. I mean, me squeeling in glee, not the things dying around me.

I remember being impressed by the quest diversity. Sure, there were the “bring me 3439483 ears” quests, but there were also vehicle quests, cut-scene quests, riding on missiles quests and torture quests. Yeah. Torturing someone with a needle until they passed out was a little, um, you know, but it was pretty original. I can safely say, before that day, I had never tortured someone in WoW with a needle until they passed out before.

My favorite moments, though, involved stepping into the new instances.

See, this was theoretically my first expansion. I started playing long before BC, but the first max level I reached was 70. When I started running dungeons with guildies, it went kind of like this:

“Now you pull this group.”

“Now you turn right.”

“Now you pull that group.”

“Now watch out for the pat.”

Kinda bland, really.

When Wrath came out, suddenly I was allowed to explore instances at my own pace. My friends were just as unfamiliar with them as I was. Together, we discovered the paths through Nexus. Together, we were confused by the Prophet Tharon’ja fight in Drak’Theron Keep. Together, we gasped as we fell a looooong way through the hole in Azjol-Nerub.

There was no one to tell us what to do, what to expect. We had to tell ourselves what to do and see what happened. We compared impressions and laughed at our mistakes.

We learned quickly, so the magic was short lived. Still, looking back, I’d have to say that those first few weeks of Wrath were probably the most enjoyable in my WoW life.

In the end, I didn’t regret buying Wrath. I still passed my semester, paid rent, didn’t starve and had a really good time leveling to 80. Which goes to show that I probably try to be masochistic for no reason.

* * *

On a completely different note, please take notice of the out-of-office sign.

I’ll be away at a conference until next Monday with very limited net access. Seriously, I’m staying at the only hotel in the country that doesn’t have free wi-fi. I’ll try to make a decent post during the week, but if I fail, rest assure that I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth and abandoned my blog.

WoW – Where You Can be a Kid Too!

January 9, 2010

After my yoga class today, I had a really interesting discussion about WoW with another adept (at a loss for a better term – we’re not exactly yoga “students”). Well, it was interesting by my standards, I can’t speak for him or for the other coffee shop patrons who overheard. He’s not a gamer but knows I am. He even reads my blog at times (hi!). The discussion started when he mentioned seeing some episodes of The Guild and asked whether I knew of the show.

As a side note, I love The Guild for more than one reasons. Obviously, it’s hilarious and scarily dead on. I also love it because it’s easily enjoyed by non gamers as well. Thanks to The Guild, I’ve been able to have discussions about WoW with non gamers who would think I’m on crack otherwise.

There’s a scene in Season 3, in the first or second episode (I can’t remember which) where the rival guild, Axis of Anarchy, childishly cuts in line at the gaming store. Suddenly, all these adults start acting like little kids.

I hadn’t stopped to think about it before, but video games (and well, games in general) are a direct line to our inner child. All those pop psych books, all those self help workshops, all those reality TV shows of people in therapy… Those are just money making schemes. If you want to get in tune with your inner child, video games are where it’s at.

It’s usually a good thing. Having fun is a good thing. In perspective, most of us have pretty boring lives. Seriously. How many dragons have you slain lately? How often do you get to kill your rivals without getting in trouble for it? Can you throw around big balls of fire? Lift a badass two handed sword/mace/axe? You’re boring, boring, BORING! But it’s ok! You (and me and them) can temporarily forget about it. We can take a few hours a day/week/month and immerse ourselves in a world of make belief.

Like children playing make belief, we become powerful heroes (or villains, depending on what you do). Like children playing make belief, we no longer face serious consequences to our actions (oh dear, repair bills, boo hoo!). Like children playing make belief, we’re finally in control of our world. Not completely in control, no. But in control enough.

Video games give us that outlet, plus remind us of that important thing we tend to forget about it. What’s it called again? Oh yeah. Fun. By bringing out that child within, video games remind us that our dreary, lackluster lives can still contain pleasure and enjoyment.

Some time back, I had a troll try to insult me by saying my blog was a “fantasy blog”. He wrote it so viciously, it must have been an attempt to upset me. I was confused. My blog is a fantasy blog. Mr Troll, your point is?

I was vaguely reminded of the third grade. We were lining up to go outside for recess. My usual daydreaming was interrupted by another little girl. She looked at me with that snotty look little girls are so good at. “Sophie says you’re as skinny as a needle.” Nastiness was just oozing out of her. The two messages collided and resulted in confusion. Being skinny was a compliment. Why was she complimenting me with an insulting tone?

Back to WoW, thank the light we can bring that careless child out once in awhile. Thank the light…but…sometimes we get a tad too connected with that careless child.

Ever roll your eyes at a fellow adult player throwing a silly temper tantrum? Ever done something so utterly childish that you couldn’t log into your character for days out of embarrassment?

Don’t lie. I know you’ve done it.

Gaming, playing, brings out our inner child, for better and for worse.

For the record, next time I’m called a drama whore, I’m pointing out that I’m not drama whoring, I’m working on my personal growth.

It’s so nice to have time to play “casually” again!

January 7, 2010

pwned by this guy

I go out and party a little too hard once. Once! Once and my immune system gives away. Welcome to three days of being curled up on my bed, wishing my respiratory system would stop trying to kill me. In my dizzy haze, I couldn’t get any work done. Nor did I want to go out and do some last minute shopping before heading back to Newfoundland. But other than whine and feel sorry for myself (which, I must admit, are some of my favorite activities), there was something I could do. I could play WoW.

I didn’t have the presence of mind to work on my gear sets and wishlists. Reading about new bosses was over my head. Pugging a raid was out of the question. I barely made it through my regular raids.

So I decided to kill naga in Zangarmarsh to get exalted with Sporeggar. I hunted down some non-combat pets so I could get the 75 pets achievement. I cleaned out all the leftover quest items in my bank. I ran a lot of heroics for no reason. I annoyed my entire battlegroup in Alterac Valley. I spied on my guildies in vent. Eventually my throat healed enough for me to join in on the talk. I learned plenty of things about my guildies. They learned way too much about me.

That’s when the strangest words came out of my mouth. As I was happily killing naga, I blurted out, “it’s so nice to have time to play casually!”

Then I thought about what I said. The words “casual” and “hardcore” don’t have set meanings. “Casual” can mean someone with limited time. Or someone who doesn’t do organized play. Or it can be a euphemism for a bad player. “Hardcore” can mean someone who focused on performance. Or it can mean someone who takes the game too seriously. Or it can mean someone who has way too much time on their hands. In general, “casual” and “hardcore” are thought of as a mixture of all of the above.

When I say “casual”, the image that comes to mind is a very relaxed person, just chilling for a few hours in front of the computer.

When I say “hardcore”, I picture someone gripping their mouse with all their might, clenching their teeth.

I remember a time, a long time ago, where I would chill out on WoW. I raided, but had little idea of what I was doing. I ran heroics with guildies a lot. I had a lot of exalted reps. I leveled alts. I did relatively useless things just for fun. I played a lot of hours, but I was totally chilling.

These days, I’m all business in game. During a semester, my days are often planned to the second. Well, until I somehow discover that I’ve fallen asleep in the cafeteria and wasted 2 hours. I log into WoW to get ready for raids and to raid. I do my auction house stuff to make sure I can afford to raid. Then I log out. On a Friday or Saturday night I might do some farming while listening to podcasts if nothing interesting is going on in the offline world. I really don’t play as much as I used to, but when I do, I grip my mouse and clench my teeth a lot.

It can be way more time consuming to play casually than to play hardcore.

What I realized, though, was that I forgot how fun doing non-raid stuff was. I did a lot of nothing in Zangarmash for no reason and I like it. I’m almost at 7000 achievement points. I don’t see any purpose to these points, but bigger numbers are prettier. I pwned a lot of AV n00bs. Ok, no I didn’t. But I healed the AV n00b pwners so it counts. And it felt good, it felt really, really good.

Taking the time do “useless” stuff ended up doing wonders for my mood. Sure, it would probably lose its effect if I did grinds every day. However, as a brief escape from reality, “useless stuff” had some use after all…

I’ll pull out my agenda right now and figure out how to plan a “casual” night into my weekly schedule… Maybe between 9:54 and 11:18 pm on Wednesdays? That sounds pretty good, no?


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,969 other followers