The Intertwinement of Real Life and WoW

Before anything, there’s a link I’ve been meaning to share for awhile. When a character hits max level, getting the order of rep maxing right makes a world of difference when it comes to getting that character geared. It’s also a huge headache. So Kahiaau at Green Bar Spec wrote a guide for each of the healing classes. I was thrilled that someone did the hard work to, in case I ever level another healer, make my life easier.

And there’s another link I want to share, one I want to brag about. During my previous clerkship rotation, I wrote an article for our student newsletter about my other passion. I’m quite proud of the end result, so I thought I’d share it. It’s written for pharmacy students, but it’s entry level and anyone should be able to understand it. Head over to the CAPSIL website and hit the “Winter 2011 / Hiver 2011” link. I’m on page 14. Don’t stare too much at the creepy picture of me or you’ll get nightmares.

So, World of Warcraft. These days, I want to have my cake and eat it too. I slowed down on the gaming quite a bit so I could focus on clerkship. It’s rough. Clerkship, I mean. Even though I’m averaging 12 hours of sleep a night, I can still barely get through the days. I’m chomping on Advil and having sleep attacks all over the place. Which is pretty bad considering I’m making decisions that affect people’s lives.

When I get home, I get two thoughts: “I’m so glad I get the evening to myself” and “I’m so glad I don’t have anything scheduled in WoW tonight.”

But then I see my friends sharing their boss kills on Twitter and in their blogs. Most are either putting their final attempts in on Nef or doing their first few hardmodes. And I get jealous, I really do.

I have been raiding occasionally. Most weeks I manage to get one night of raiding in. The group I play with are really casual, so there’s no stress. They’re fun people, joking around and chitchatting between pulls. They’ve been super welcoming and have even convinced me to pick up tanking again. But I’m discovering that even when WoW is the least of my concerns, I’m not a casual player and I can’t act like one, no matter how hard I try. Maybe it’s that I’m not a casual person. Maybe my WoW attitude just reflects who I am as a human being.

I Like To Learn Stuff

The topic of “why do you raid?” comes up a lot. I enjoy raiding for a number of reasons, but most of all, I raid because I like to learn. Why do I do anything in life? Because I like to learn. I like the strain of learning, I like feeling the wheels in my head turning.

I’m often asked why I rarely like going out to bars. It’s easy: I don’t learn anything from bars. On the rare occasions I do go out, I enjoy learning the songs that are playing and figuring out new dance moves. But once I know the songs and can mindlessly dance to them? I’m bored to tears.

I’m also often asked how I can suddenly pack my bags and move across the country on a whim. Again, it’s easy: going to a new place, figuring out the local subculture, exploring public transportation, listening to town folklore are what gets me giddy. After a few months in the same place, I’ve got it down. Why would I want to stay?

Raiding is the same way. I actually don’t really care too much about progression or content or gear. My WoW dream is to be in a blind guild. I get my thrill from figuring out the rhythm of the fight, the best use of my spells, how to use different classes to counter various boss abilities. I don’t like reading boss strats, I’d rather figure them out on my own via log parses from different guilds.

When I’m not learning, I’m not having fun.

The Social Side of Life and of WoW

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not a very social person. I don’t like the division into “Introverts” and “Extroverts”- the terms get thrown around too much and I get the impression that those who use them don’t realize that introversion to extroversion is a spectrum, not a dichotomy.

But anyway, I’m not a very social person. I like people to an extent, but I get bored easily. My mom loves to tell about how, when I was a kid, I used to gather up all the other kids in the neighbourhood, bring them to my backyard and start up a game. Then I’d let them play and retreat to my room with a book.

Various bloggers often sadly write about how quiet and impersonal 5 man pugs are. I don’t get it. I don’t do a 5 man to talk about the weather. I like getting a friendly and polite group, but if I’m going to be chatting in a pug, it’s going to be about strategy. It’s going to be about something, you know, useful.

It’s not to say that I never like socializing. I love getting into really personal talks with friends, I like gossiping with the right people, I get excited when I find someone who can teach me about obscure things. I also come running whenever someone, whether I know them or not, needs help. (Don’t mistake it for selflessness. I’m a rescueholic, I can’t help myself. I need to feel needed.)

But the masses? I prefer them from a distance. If I’m forced to be around a group, I really appreciate when I feel welcomed, but allowed to stay in the background. I love how my classmates act all happy on the rare occasions where I’ll show up for a social event, but don’t hold it against me when I leave early. In game, I’m happiest when I’m encouraged to hang out in voice chat with people who aren’t weirded out by the fact that I usually prefer to listen without saying anything.

I Wonder if I’ll Ever Have Enough Hours in my Day

You know, there’s are a lot of things I’d rather do than have an office-type job. For example, I’d rather pull out my fingernails one by one than have an office-type job for the rest of my life.

But there’s one thing I really envy of you office-type job people: quality internet time. I look at my outdated guides, the lack of links to them, the comments I have yet to answer, the less than once a week updates… If I had access to the internet at work, I could totally clean up the cobwebs. But I don’t. And what little time I get in front of the internet, I’d like to, you know, actually play the game. (That stupid trinket isn’t going to find itself.)

But, I do enjoy clerkship. It’s straining, but I don’t think I’ve ever had such a wonderful learning opportunity. I’m doing general medicine, which is kind of boring (we don’t have a cardiology unit, so most of our patients are there for heart attacks), but at the same time, it’s amazing to see the stuff I learned in school put into action. I get to make medication recommendations, which is totally scary, but also exciting.

It means that I can’t play WoW the way I want right now and I’m worried that when I’m back on a decent schedule, I won’t be geared enough to join a progression 25 man guild. But it also means that I’m performing better at work and that I’ll be better prepared for my after-graduation career.

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25 Comments on “The Intertwinement of Real Life and WoW”

  1. Osi Says:

    That is a very pretty picture of you (the page with the butterfly and green background?) Nice article too.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Thanks 🙂

      I think I look super creepy on the picture (but I’m so terribly unphotogenic that it’s not like I had better options), so it’s nice to know that at least someone didn’t get nightmares from it. I really wish the CAPSIL didn’t post pictures next to our names!

  2. Oestrus Says:

    You look great in that picture! I’m loving the sideswept bang look on you.

    That’s a huge accomplishment to be in that newsletter. Congrats!


    • Ophelie Says:

      Thanks! ❤

      It's just our student newsletter so they'll take any half-decent, but I'm still excited about having written something that I'm not ashamed to show to my colleagues across the country. All that blogging practice came in handy! But if someone had told me 10 years ago that my dream job would be working in the field of addiction recovery, I would have laughed myself silly. Yet, here I am, frantically looking for job opportunities in the field!

  3. Marisa Ong Says:

    Long-time reader, first-time poster! Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed this column. I especially thought the bit about “wanting to learn” as the reason to play WOW struck home. Maybe I’d rephrase it as “wanting to master.” Not many of us are as enthralled with combat log parses as I am (why not?!?), although luckily my husband is. You can do some amazing things with the Expression Editor in World of Logs, although I have to lean on my husband for some of the syntax.

    Anyway, I’m lucky enough to be GM of a small friends and family guild that is raiding blind. We don’t get very far very fast, but we enjoy puzzling out fight strategies on the fly and post-raid. You know, you can learn a lot about a fight by reading tool tip descriptions of buffs, debuffs and spells. It probably helps that some of us are in the game business

    • Ophelie Says:

      Thanks for dropping by to say hi! It’s always great to “meet” readers!

      Now that you mention it, I stopped to think if “wanting to master” fit me. It seems to fit me sometimes (I do tend to be a perfectionist), but not always- I’ve been trying to sustain my interest in raiding by focusing on perfecting my healing technique and it just doesn’t seem to cut it. I’m too hooked on novelty, I think. Perfecting my healing technique doesn’t get me giddy, but relearning the basics of tanking did.

      I’ve heard a lot of wonders about the Expression Editor, but so far I’ve yet to get it to do what I want. Figuring it out will be my next project!

      I really envy you for playing in a blind guild! If you’re on an American server and find yourself looking for a holy pally, you know where to find me! (I know most of the fights of the current content, so it wouldn’t work at the moment, but in the future…) I’ve done a little bit of blind play- mostly 5-mans at the beginning of instances, and a few raid bosses that I didn’t get around to preparing beforehand. I find the same as you: if you pay attention to tool tips, a lot of the fight is explained. There have been lots of occasions where I’ve learned more about fights by being observant than my teammate have by watching Tankspot videos.

      • Marisa Ong Says:

        Thought a bit more about why I’m more about “wanting to master” than “wanting to learn.” There’s always something I could do better (judge more! pop Divine Favor! why did I forget to eat my Healthstone?) so I never feel like I’m out of things to learn and improve upon. It’s probably why I don’t have a lot of alts.

        Our guild is probably too casual for you 🙂 I’m hardcore in some areas (WOL parses), but laissez-faire in others (raid signups). Did you ever play “The Sims”? I was a micro-managing Nazi to my little Sims in that game. No free will for my Sims! But in real life (or at least with my guild), I’m a lot more lax.

        Anyway, you can look us up on We’re a mostly West Coast-based guild on an East Coast-based server (no idea how that happened).

        If you’re interested in raiding blind, you should definitely try it! People ask how I manage to avoid boss strategies, but it’s not that hard even with all the WOW reading I do. I mean, I might know some boss fight is a big dragon with drake adds — but that doesn’t mean I know the specifics of the fight.

        Also WOL’s Expression Editor is really neat. You can do all sorts of cool stuff like parse for interrupts (to see who really interrupted Arcanotron’s Arcane Annihilator). In one log, I almost died to a double Arcane Annihilator so I used the Expression Editor to see who healed me back up enough from the first one so I could survive the second one.

        • Ophelie Says:

          2/12 is pretty good if you’re raiding blind. But you’re laid back with signups/family aggro, I might struggle a bit. I’ve just always really wanted to raid blind, but it’s hard to find a blind guild outside of the world top guilds (and I REALLY don’t have that kind of time on my hands!)

          The regular log parser can track interrupts and specific heals too, but from what I understand, the Expression Editor is more efficient with finding specific moments. I’ve yet to find a good syntax guide though. Even the WoL help section doesn’t give much information. I assume it uses an existing computer language since some people do know the syntax, but unfortunately, my knowledge of computer languages doesn’t extend much beyond html. 😦

          • Aoyanagi Says:

            Hey, RE the WoL Expression Editor, Auracen is awesome and maintains this thread over on


          • Ophelie Says:

            I thought I had seen that thread, but it’s waaay more comprehensive than I remembered. I must have been remembering a different how-to-thread. Thanks for the link!

          • Marisa Ong Says:

            Oddly enough, it isn’t raiding blind that’s holding us back — more lack of participation. We’ve lost a bunch of people to various things (babies, burnout, work) so our raiding roster is very thin right now.

            I got very grumpy on our last raid night because we didn’t have quite enough to put together a 10-man; kept getting close but not quite enough. In the end, though, one of my guildmates suggested we at least practice the fight vs. Omnotron Defense System. Despite only nine of us in the raid, we still won! It took 11 minutes and I was screaming about lack of mana for the last 1.5 minutes, but we still beat the golems 🙂

  4. SmashNHeal Says:

    In case you didn’t know, Rhidach (author of Righteous Defense blog) got the job as Prot Pally columnist for WoW Insider. He posts his tank insight in The Light and How to Swing It column on Fridays. Between his advice and the number-crunching, theory-crafting threads by Theck at the maintankadin forums, I’ve perfected my tanking as much as I can without having them actually play the game for me. Both good places to go for people who are interested in learning the why’s behind what we do as pally tanks. BTW, how are you liking tanking in Cataclysm? Are you doing raids or just 5-mans?

    • Ophelie Says:

      Oh yes, I love Rhidach! He’s helped me through so many tanking fiascos. I actually got to meet him at Blizzcon and got all screaming schoolgirl on him. Good times.

      Most of Theck’s posts are a bit beyond my level at the moment, but the basic training threads at Maintankadin were a lot of help. My main spec was prot through a good portion of Wrath and the end of BC, so Maintankadin has had a place of choice in my bookmarks for the past few years 🙂

      So far I’ve tanked BH and some raid trash. I’ve yet to muster the courage to do a 5 man. It seems pretty good, though. I used to struggle a lot for aggro in Wrath (I know, I know, I was the only prot pally to have aggro trouble in Wrath!), but it didn’t seem to be an issue this time, past the initial pull. I’ll need a few more tanking excursions to really know what I think though.

      • SmashNHeal Says:

        Ah, yes, I recall your post about meeting Matt at Blizzcon. Now that he’s risen to WoW Insider columnist status, perhaps you will cherish that moment even more. Even with the schoolgirl giddyness.

        If you were a tank through so much of WotLK, what made you change? Inquiring minds want to know. (Is that saying just an American thing, or did the commercials become popular in Canada?)

        I am interested in your initial thoughts on tanking 5-man random heroics once you have tanked a few. I have my own opinion, and it is probably not the common opinion, but I’d rather not influence your thoughts with my ramblings at this point.

        And I forgot to comment on your article. I thought it was well done. It reflects your writing style, which I feel is both educational and personable. Look forward to reading more. BTW, have you updated your other blog???

        • Ophelie Says:

          I was a healer up until the near-end of BC. I was in a casual guild at the time and had gotten to the point where I wasn’t learning anything anymore about healing as a holy paladin. So I made the switch to tanking. It never felt natural the way healing did, so when I applied to Conquest, I went back to healing. I still tanked on occasion but I’m not a fan of being in the front of fights. I’d rather mop up other people’s mistakes than be the first one screwing up.

          Thank you for your words on my article 🙂

          I update the other blog from time to time, not often. Lately I’ve been posting pictures of food I made. That’s what I do when I’m not in front of the computer: make food.

  5. Jen Says:

    I’ve never been particularly interested in drug addiction, but I have to say that article was well-written. Congratulations!

    (And I was convinced your name is Ophelie in real life!)

    • Ophelie Says:

      Thank you 🙂 And sadly, no, my real life name is less fancy. (On the bright side, having such a popular name means that if anyone googles me, they won’t find anything that has to do with me!)

  6. Kallixta Says:

    I never knew much about MMT and appreciate the chance to read it. (I like learning stuff, too!) I’m afraid too many of us rely on old media presentations. We might be a bit more sympathetic to those addicted, we aren’t sympathetic over how hard it can be to break.

    I started to read the entire newsletter before I realised I need to prioritise! Ordering which reps to grind next is more important. Sigh.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Hehehe, even I haven’t even read the rest of the newsletter yet ^_^ (And I really should since the article about PDW was written by a good friend of mine.)

      The media portrayal of MMT and drug addictions is pretty bad. I actually wrote the article at a time where a number of events had happened in my area and the news was going wild. I wanted to do something in response and that’s what I came up with.

  7. Arybeth Says:

    And I thought your real name was Ophelie!

    It’s nice to see the amazing write-style you do on blogs also goes as well on your serious business stuff.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Nah, I’m not cool enough to be an Ophelie IRL. I purposely picked a French name, though, since growing up I hated being the only kid in the region with an Anglo name.

      Thank you for your kind words :). The writing tricks I picked up from blogging come in handy a lot in the offline world. Writing is a really useful tool.

  8. Kimboslice Says:

    It is alright to say you miss me

    I have that effect on people

    • Ophelie Says:

      You know it. Every night before I go to sleep, I say goodnight to the pictures of your character I have taped to the wall next to my bed.

  9. Brangwen Says:

    I might have become distracted by the french article.

    Man my french is rusty!

    • Ophelie Says:

      We actually used to have the entire newsletter in French and English, but professional translators are so expensive and amateur translating is so much work that we just ended up trying to get articles in each language. The joys of being a bilingual country!

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