Tag Archives: Rift

Thursday Thoughts

7 Jun

Over the last few weeks I have really struggled with coming up with cohesive, relevant blogs that I can publish.  For the first time ever I have more than one draft sitting in my Drafts folder and I regularly add more, only to delete them a short time later.  I haven’t encountered a feeling of writer’s block this strong in quite a while and it only makes me feel worse when I see how other bloggers are constantly posting and how they seem to have no such shortage of things to write about.

To be honest, it makes me feel jaded.  Washed up.  I see myself losing Followers because I’m not talking about things that people initially followed me to hear me talk about.  I see myself not being able to relate to conversations that other people are having, because I either don’t agree with them and can’t find a way to word it eloquently enough or because I do agree with them and they have already worded things better than I ever could.  I just feel like I’m watching people, like I’m watching the community pass me by.  I’m suddenly overcome with ennui and I don’t know what to do about it.

Instead of talking about what I haven’t been able to do or haven’t been doing lately, let’s talk about what I have been up to.

World of Warcraft

I haven’t raided in two weeks.  Last week I posted out because I had just broken up with my boyfriend and I was really in no mood to raid or do anything that felt competitive or like I would have to really push myself to do.  This week I had the chance to go out and do something to take my mind off said breakup and so I took the opportunity to do that and volunteered to sit on the bench for the night.

I don’t miss it.  Let me be more specific – I don’t miss Dragon Soul.  I’m excited about raid testing being made available in the Beta.  I’m excited at the thought of grinding the 5 man dungeons to gear up for new raid content in Mists of Pandaria and then doing said content.

The Beta, as it stands right now, doesn’t have much appeal to me, either.  I have no desire to level a toon from 85-90 and then have to do it all over again when the expansion hits.  I would much rather wait until the premade characters are made available and then go from there.  That’s really where things in the Beta will start getting interesting to me.

Diablo 3

I have an Annual Pass, so I didn’t actually have to “pay” for or go seriously out of my way to get my hands on a copy of Diablo 3.  It’s fun.  I haven’t played it as much as most people have.  My witch doctor hasn’t even cracked level 20 yet and I’m not in much of a hurry to change that.

I enjoy the slow pace.  I enjoy exploring every nook and cranny of the map and breaking every barrel, urn, and spider egg that I see.  I don’t feel like there is a clock ticking that tells me I have to be this level or I have to be this geared in order to do this instance within this timeframe.  It’s nice to just say to myself “I want to kill shit,” and then I log on and do it.  It’s very simple and very mindless, which I really appreciate at this point in time.

Magic the Gathering

I have been playing quite a bit of Magic the Gathering lately and it has brought me the most enjoyment these past few weeks.  I find Magic to be very refreshing and so different from World of Warcraft in many ways.  Here are just some of those reasons:

The community.  Since I started playing Magic again, I have been trying to get a feel for what websites are the best resources for me to go to and which forums seem to have the most decent people posting on them.  I have started to Follow certain writers that I enjoy reading the most on Twitter, striking up conversations with them when I can.  I’m slowly trying to get involved in a community that is unlike what I’m used to and it’s intimidating and yet strangely exciting, at the same time.

One thing that really stands out to me about the Magic community is the sense of meritocracy or the feeling that people who are seen as authorities or who are the most respected have genuinely done something to deserve that.  Something that has really frustrated me about the WoW community lately has been the recent surge in people who have obtained this bizarre form of celebrity for seemingly doing nothing at all.

They don’t play the game.  They don’t raid.  But yet they’re in a position where people look to them to tell them what to do or for advice.  They exist solely for entertainment value and while I can see the immediate benefits of such a thing, it still feels sort of wrong to me.  I don’t think it’s too much to ask that someone actually plays the game that they write or podcast about.  I don’t think it’s wrong to ask someone to share their level of experience with you when they try to give you advice on how to do something.

This doesn’t seem to be the case in the Magic community.  The people who are writing for these websites and that you see out and about can genuinely prove that they have been there, that they are successful, and that they have a reason to be doing what they are doing.  They are there to entertain you, but that comes second to the fact that they have some amount of credibility going for them and I really respect that and I miss that.

The social interactions.  I knew that I was starting to experience some burnout once we had downed Heroic Madness for the first time.  I knew that I wanted to take a break from WoW before Mists of Pandaria came out, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do with all that free time.  The possibilities were endless.  I could go back to Rift.  I could try out Star Wars or TERA.  I could throw myself into Diablo 3.

But then I realized that I really missed social interaction with people and I mean face to face conversations.  I started to feel like everything I was doing involved hiding behind a computer screen and like I was becoming very isolated and possibly even socially awkward because of it.  It seemed really obvious to me, maybe even too obvious to choose another computer game to keep me occupied until the next expansion comes out.  That’s when I decided to start playing Magic more and to relish those moments when I’m not tied to a headset or to a keyboard and mouse.

To my surprise, I had become really awkward around groups of people.  I found that I had a hard time remembering the names of the people I had started to play with regularly at my local Friday Night Magic events.  I noticed that I had a hard time looking people in the eye when I was talking to them.  I had to remind myself that I don’t have a push to talk key in real life and that I have to keep some things to myself if I don’t want someone across the table from me to hear them.

I’m getting better at communicating and I’m still not perfect.  I do still rage when people stand over my shoulder and make comments about the game I’m playing or someone plays a card over and over again that I don’t like.  I have to get better at being a good sport, for both when I win and for win I lose.  I need to be able to say that I did a good job, even when I don’t feel like I did or when I feel like I could have done better.  Coming back to Magic has helped me identify all of these things (and more) about myself that I don’t think I would have done if I had just moved on to yet another computer game to pass the time.  I’m really grateful for that.

The freedom.  I don’t feel like I’m bound to a set schedule with Magic, the way that I am with WoW.  It’s not the end of the world if I don’t make it to Friday Night Magic, or if I have to leave early.  I can go to a tournament at this store on Tuesday, or that store on Thursday, or do both tournaments and even a third on Sunday.

I find being able to say what I want to do and what I don’t want to do, without any negative repercussions very exciting.  I don’t feel like I’m letting anyone down if I don’t make it to an event or like I am lagging behind, like I would if I missed a raid.  I don’t feel like I’m doing the same thing over and over again, like when you farm the same instance for several months at a time.  It all feels fresh and new and dare I say it – like a game *should* feel.  It kind of makes me wonder why I have been settling for something else this whole time.

Reading

I got used to bringing a book with me when I used to ride the Amtrak to go visit my boyfriend (now ex-boyfriend).  One of the books that I had picked up was the first book in the “Pretty Little Liars” series.  Needless to say I was hooked.  I’m currently on the third book and I just started watching the television show that goes along with it.  It’s been much easier to avoid spoilers of the books than it has been the television show, but it seems like the show is radically different from the books, so it’s not really hurting anything.

Like I said, I’m hooked.  I squeal like a teenage girl when the cute boy takes his shirt off or he says something close to romantic.  I gasp when something sort of scary happens.  I panic when one episode ends and I have to get up to turn the next one on from my computer.   Completely hooked.

I know this post kind of went all over the place, but I’m okay with that.  Life is good – even if it’s not giving me a lot of things to write about.  I still felt like I should say *something,* so hopefully I’ve accomplished that today.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Flexible

7 Oct

I took a moment yesterday to catch up with an old friend from my World of Warcraft days, whom I consider to be a respected authority and someone that I have a lot of love and respect for.  At some point in the conversation, I mentioned that I felt a whole lot more comfortable with the idea of healing as a discipline priest, when she added that she was starting to learn how to be a shadow priest.  I couldn’t help but laugh at the thought of the two of us both trying things that were so outside of our comfort zones and imagining how well each endeavor would ultimately pan out. 

This got me thinking about just how flexible healers should be.  In World of Warcraft, each healing class has the ability to perform other roles, as well.  Druids and paladins can tank or DPS.  All 4 classes can do DPS.  Priests could also choose to heal one of two ways.  I admit that I didn’t really understand the need to be flexible and how important it was until I started playing Rift.  Maybe this is because the idea of performing multiple roles is something that was ingrained into the game from the start and not something that was added in later.  I knew going into Rift that this would be expected of me and so I took to it much easier than I did before.  I think it also helped that I was so overwhelmingly curious about all of the potential souls that I didn’t want to settle for having just one set of three souls.  I wanted to try a little of everything and did not want to feel tied to just one role.

While I had become more comfortable with the idea of being a general healer and not being defined by one spec, I was less comfortable with the idea of being asked to tank or DPS, when needed.  During the last couple of raids, I have felt incredibly bored.  I feel as if either my group takes too many healers or the ones that we do have perform so well that there isn’t really anything to do.  Some healers are asked to go DPS because of this and this is something that I don’t feel comfortable enough to volunteer to do.  Even when we reduce our healing roster, I still don’t feel like I have enough to do.  I don’t feel like there is imminent danger coming from a lack of healing.  I’m really and truly bored.

Things kind of came to a head last night, during one of our farm nights.  I think we were running the bare minimum of healers that we needed to clear the zone and I still had very little to do.  Some people are fine with that, but I am not one of them.  I need constant stimulation or I’ll start to tab out and lose interest.  I saw that one of our rogues had been benched or was sitting out, so I asked if he could take my place.  I wasn’t mad or upset.  I just wanted something to do and I wasn’t finding that in my raid.  I knew that they would be fine without me and that they would have more than enough healing to get them through what they wanted to accomplish for the night. 

When I logged on this morning, I found that I had been demoted to a casual status in the guild.  I can’t say that I was surprised or terribly upset about it.  But, it did get me thinking again about healer flexibility in the games that I enjoy.

I’m sure I could have offered to go DPS and I would have been entertained enough where I wouldn’t have felt the need to leave and find something else to keep me occupied.  I didn’t have to sit out for a DPS, when I could have just re-specced and performed that role myself.  I had opened myself up to being a better healer by learning how to heal in various ways.  But now, I feel like I have to take that one step further and be a better cleric or priest, in general.  It’s not enough to just be a healer.  I have to be a tank and a DPS, too? 

The number of healers required in Firelands seemed to bounce back and forth.  This seems to be the case in Rift, too.  I was open to being a Purifier in Rift.  I am now open to the idea of being discipline in World of Warcraft.  Why don’t I feel like that’s enough?  Why do I feel like healers are being asked to be something they’re not, in order to get a raid spot?  What happened to the days when we were asked to heal and do nothing but heal?  Am I the only who feels this way?  Mind you, nobody has ever asked me to perform any of these roles.  But, if you only need so many healers to get past an encounter and you have more healers than are necessary, what else are they supposed to? 

I’m a healer.  I love to heal.  I love seeing 20 health bars falling dangerously low and knowing that I have to pick them back up again.  I get a rush from seeing a tank’s health bar bounce back and forth, from full to half-full to really low.  It gives me purpose and it gives me something to do.  I know that if I’m not there, those health bars may not fill up as fast.  It gives me a reason to log on, to sign up for a raid.  That’s how passionate I am about what I do.

When you have mages who can heal and do damage, plus clerics who can DPS while healing, and both seem to provide more utility and healing than a healing cleric can, what’s the point of even showing up?  To me, there isn’t one.  I feel that the original intent of make healing more inclusive by allowing more people to be able to heal is doing more excluding than anything else.  There are only so many spots to go around and far too many healers to fill them all up with.

Choice

5 Sep

Whenever I read something, I try to imagine the author’s voice in my head and what it would sound like if they were reading the story directly to me.  If they’re angry, I imagine their voice rising and falling and maybe even that they’re pacing back and forth.  If they’re happy, I imagine them smiling broadly and expressively talking to me with their hands as they’re sharing their good fortune with me.

For anyone reading this post, I would like you to imagine that I’m speaking to you in a very level headed, professional tone.  I’m not angry.  I’m not upset.  Imagine that I’m speaking to you in the same tone of voice that I would if you were listening to my podcast or if you were listening to me discuss strategies with you during a raid on Vent.  What I’m about to write has nothing to do with being spiteful or malicious, but with the feeling of maybe being a bit misunderstood.

It’s recently been brought to my attention that certain bloggers or personalities have expressed concern or frustration with the fact that many of us in the blogosphere have been highly critical of World of Warcraft and Blizzard for certain decisions that they have made and continue to make towards the game.  Certain people feel that we have become overly negative and that we are fostering a sort of bitter rivalry between those of us who still enjoy World of Warcraft and those of us who may have moved on to greener pastures (i.e. Rift).

While I can certainly see where people are coming from and I respect that most people that are coming forward with this opinion have been extremely respectful about it, I can’t help but feel a bit confused by all of this.

At the end of the day, we are responsible for the choices that we make.  Personally, I write about what I want to write about.  I support who I want to support.  I don’t do things for the greater good or because I feel it’s going to get me somewhere by doing a certain something.  I have never felt that pressure as a blogger and I hope that I never do.  If I see that someone is writing about something that I can’t relate to or if I don’t enjoy their writing style anymore, I stop reading their posts.  I choose not to download their podcasts.  I may not Follow them on Twitter anymore.  I may even block them on Twitter.

Nobody is making me be exposed to things or opinions that I don’t want to be exposed to.  I make that choice to listen to them and to follow them in their endeavors.  I knew that by even admitting that I played Rift that I was going to be isolating many of my readers.  I knew that things would only get worse once I left World of Warcraft for Rift.  I was prepared to lose readers, Followers, and subscribers once all of the changes on my blog took place.  I knew that support that I had come to rely on for page views wasn’t going to be there anymore and I would be foolish to expect everything to stay the same.

I understand if people who Followed me for one reason can’t find that reason anymore and they have to remove me from their blog or Twitter feeds.  I would never fault anyone for doing that.  It’s ultimately your choice and I respect that.  But I feel like some of that respect is not being returned, in that we are being criticized for sharing our opinions and being asked to sort of censor what we say for the sake of other people.  If you’re allowed to gush over things that you enjoy in your personal space, why shouldn’t I be allowed to talk about things that I find upsetting or frustrating in mine?  To me, that seems like a bit of a double standard.

 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that if people have such a problem with what others choose to talk about or how they choose to portray themselves, they’re under no obligation to stick around and to keep following us.  While that’s not something I think anyone aspires to have happen, we understand if it has to happen.  I think it’s only natural for people to want to be around those with similar interest and opinions and to want to seek out other avenues if those opinions don’t really mesh anymore.

When people say that they don’t understand why we keep bashing a game that we don’t play anymore, my response to that would be “Why do you keep listening to it?”  If it bothers you that much, you can choose to divert your attention away from such things.  Take that person off of your feed reader.  Remove them from your Twitter feed.  I’ve had people that I Follow that may have rubbed me the wrong way and I’ve chosen to distance myself from them for brief periods of time.  Once I’ve gotten over whatever bothered me about them, I go right back to supporting them, like nothing ever happened.  It’s not personal and it doesn’t have to be permanent, either.  Those options are there for a reason.

I don’t think this is a situation that has to lead to someone being right and someone inevitably being wrong.  I just think that people can exercise their freedoms a bit better, in all aspects, and that any conflict that comes out of something like this is really quite unnecessary.  It shouldn’t have to come to this.  We should all be able to say what we want to say and give people the choice of who they want to speak for them or to represent them.  I think the blogosphere would be a mighty boring place if everyone agreed with each other and had the same views on things.  I like that we all don’t get along sometimes and that we all want different things for ourselves and for other people.  To me, that’s a beautiful thing and I would never want that to change.  I would like to think that others feel the same and if they don’t, that’s OK.

That’s their choice.

New Holy Shatt Podcast – Episode Seven!

19 Aug

Start your weekend off right by listening to a podcast that I was recently asked to be a guest host on.  The show is called The Holy Shatt podcast and it’s hosted by a friend of mine who I met through my time on The Sundering podcast.  You can check out the episode here:

http://raleighite.com/2011/08/holy-shatt-episode-7-o-i-guess-i-should-record-a-podcast/

I don’t think I’ve ever laughed this much or this hard on a podcast before.  Travis was a lot of fun to record with and we were both extremely candid, regarding our thoughts on why Blizzard is losing subscribers, how to properly say my name, and how to best handle stressful situations in the Dungeon Finder.

If you’re looking for an episode with a lot of laughs and some heartfelt opinions on the current state of things in WoW and Rift, take a listen and have a good time along with us!

Have a great weekend!

Monday Update

15 Aug

Hey readers,

I just wanted to put up a quick post to say that my site is going to be undergoing some maintenance in the next week or two, as I convert The Stories Of O into a Rift (and general gaming) themed blog.  You may notice that the design theme may change frequently, the widgets on the sidebar may come and go, etc.  Or if you read my blog from a feed reader, then none of this will probably affect you and it should still be business as usual!

In the meantime, please enjoy the posts that are already here and also be sure to check out Episode 7 of The Double O Podcast!  Our special guest was Markco, from Just My Two Copper and The Traffic Blogger.  As expected, he was a lot of fun to have on the show and he gave Ophelie and I a number of tips on how to play the Auction House game, how alts can help you get rich quick, and even how to apply that business sense towards directing more traffic to your blog!  Check it out here:

http://thedoubleopodcast.wordpress.com/2011/08/12/episode-7-copper-for-your-thoughts/

See you soon!

Bang

10 Aug

“This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.”

– T.S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men.”

I woke up the other day to find this post in the Breakfast Topics section over at WoWInsider and it got me thinking.  I related a lot to what the author had to say.

I always imagined that when the time came for me to quit World of Warcraft that I would go out in a blaze of glory.  I fantasized about going out like Jack Berger and randomly shouting “Fuck you and fuck you!” before casually walking off and going about my business like such a random outburst never happened.

Or maybe I would go out in the most passive-aggressive way possible.  I would tell people I was quitting the game, leave a huge goodbye post on various forums and check back often to see who would miss me or who would try to convince me to stay.

Instead, it just kind of happened.  I received an e-mail from Blizzard, telling me that my subscription could not be renewed because the credit card linked to my account was no longer valid.  This is because I had to cancel my debit card a few weeks ago, due to some unauthorized charges that were made to my checking account.  Normally, I would have been all over that.  I would have been tapping my fingers impatiently on my desk while staring at the login screen, waiting for my payment to go through so I could keep playing.

This time, I took a good, long look at the e-mail and deleted it.  Just like that, I had decided that I would not be renewing my subscription to World of Warcraft and that I was ready to finally move on with my life and with my gaming experience.  No string of expletives.  No emotional forum posts.  No one last thing before I go.

I have been spending a lot more time playing Rift and I’m really enjoying it.  I belong to a great guild that is home to some familiar faces in the blogosphere who I can see myself doing big things with.  With that said, I have decided to begin posting regularly about topics pertaining to Rift, specifically healing and the calling that I play.  I feel inspired in ways that I haven’t experienced in a long time and I’m eager to pour out my thoughts and feelings here.

Because Rift is a new game, they don’t have the resources that World of Warcraft does.  There isn’t an Elitist Jerks or a Blog Azeroth or a WoWInsider just yet.  There aren’t many personal blogs out there that talk about things from a player’s perspective.  There is a huge niche out there that could be filled and I would like to be one of the first to fill it.  It’s a huge opportunity and I look forward to giving it a shot and seeing what becomes of it.  I plan on giving my blog a face lift,  too, to reflect that I’m going in a new direction.

I have no intention of deleting World of Warcraft from my computer.  I have nothing bad to say about the game or those who continue to play it.  I still plan on going to BlizzCon in a couple of months and continuing to support those who I regularly follow and enjoy reading.  The Double O Podcast is still going strong and you can count on Ophelie and I to continue bringing you the best episodes we possibly can and to keep talking about the things that you all want to hear about.

They say that lightning never strikes twice.

We’ll see about that!

Crutch

4 Aug

Things have been kind of quiet around here lately, for one big important reason:

I decided to take a break from raiding.

The circumstances surrounding my most recent post really tipped the scale in that direction.  When I say “tipped the scale,” I mean that there were other things already on the scale that were making it lean in a particular direction.  This just ended up being the deciding factor.

For the most part, everything has been entirely amicable.  There were no hard feelings between myself and my group (other than the initial furor by some over the post itself).  I’m still in my guild and I’m under the impression that I could come back and raid at any time (if not with my current group then with another one that falls under our “umbrella,” of sorts). 

It’s been a lot easier to go without raiding than I thought.  I don’t even think I’ve logged into the game since I made the decision to take a break.  I feel overwhelmingly disappointed with the current state of things.  I feel like “Bring the player, not the class” has turned into “Bring the cooldown, not the player.” 

I feel that we have fallen into a state of convincing ourselves that we need certain things to succeed, when that wasn’t always the case.  I feel that this has created a demand or a sense of obligation that everyone needs or deserves a cooldown, which I’m sorry to say isn’t true.  I was against shamans receiving Spirit Link Totem and I can’t say that I sympathized with druids who insisted they needed a cooldown, too.  This is what the game has turned into.  It has turned into taking classes who were strong and are strong and convincing them that they aren’t or that they are nothing without a desired cooldown.

I have been spending most of my time cooking real meals, going to Zumba classes twice a week, and getting addicted to various TV shows on Netflix.  I have been spending quite a bit of time playing Rift and getting familiar with how the end game works and trying to decide if I want to get involved with that at all.  I have entertained the idea of coming back to WoW, either by raiding with a different set of people or choosing a different spec that’s outside of my comfort zone (like the deeply misunderstood Atonement spec).  Most likely I would remain holy.  I don’t really have a plan right now and it feels good to be able to say that.  I’m just kind of putzing around and having an absolute blast doing so.

So in closing, I’m still here.  The blog is still here.  Ophelie and I are recording a new episode of the Double O Podcast this weekend, so the podcast is still here.  I don’t really know where I’m headed, but hopefully a few of you will still be willing to take the journey with me and see where I end up.

Thanks for stopping by!