It seems the Warcraft development team are back at work, because this week the first official Patch 8.1.5 PTR went up. And there’s a lot of great stuff in there. As usual, Wowhead are going through and presenting us with a peek at what’s to come (and doing a darn good job of it, too!)

The highlight for me, though, is something I’ve been hanging out to see since they were announced – Kul’Tiran shamans! Since being formally revealed at Blizzcon, I’ve been waiting (im)patiently for a peek at what they might look like. Thanks to the PTR going up, I’ve been able to do a bit of exploring!

Kul'Tiran character creation screen on 8.1.5 PTR

After a few dramas (mainly being unable to copy any characters on to the PTR OTHER than my shaman!) I was able to get my hands on a 110 shaman that I race-changed to Kul’Tiran so I could see the new race in action.

First up was taking a look at the Kul’Tiran totems. Comments on Wowhead’s post featuring the totems seems to be a mix of love and hate.

Kul'Tiran shaman with totems

It makes sense that these would feature anchors. Of course there are anchors – the Kul’Tiran are the children of the sea, so of course anchors and other nautical themes feature extremely heavily in every Alliance zone in Kul’Tiras. It’s these themes that made me fall in love with the Kul’Tiran people. It’s fitting that totems follow this theme as well.

Whilst I like the body of the totems, I wasn’t a huge fan of the anchor on the bottom of the totems when I first saw them on wowhead. However when you use them you don’t really see it- it’s just how the totems stick in the ground. Which makes sense, and looks great.

The only thing I’m not thrilled about is the water animation in the water totems. It doesn’t feel “watery” enough – it just seems to behave like blue fire. I’d love to see it have a similar animation to the water effects in the tide sages totems. And I feel the green of the earth totems is just a little too “fel green” for me. But they are really minor things. Overall I think these look great, and I can’t wait to use them on a daily basis!

I played around a bit to see what their casting animations were like – I think I’ll be quite good at capturing many derpy casting faces haha! But I love it. I think she looks fantastic.

For me, 8.1.5 can’t come soon enough! I can’t wait to be a child of the sea! ❤

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It is New Year’s Eve. 2019 is on the other side of this day, and as is customary, people are making resolutions in the hopes of making the most of the year to come. I am one of those people.

2018 was a pretty ok year for me. It was tough, but I won’t complain. Resolutions-wise, I did quite well (check it out). Outside of myself, though, I noticed a trend that just got worse and worse as the year wore on. 2018 seemed to be the year of negativity. The year that it became “cool” to be a dick. The year of entitlement. Of focusing on the negatives, abusing people because of them and arguing “accountability” to justify their actions. Honestly, it’s been sad.

It has been a really hard year to be a Blizzard fan. Even more so in the last 2-3 months, where it seems that if you don’t hate everything Blizzard does, you’re wrong, and either an idiot or a shill. Which is such a sad mentality to have, and one that has honestly been getting me really down lately. I’m seeing it in popular personalities who have been long-time fans, I’m seeing/hearing it in other podcasts, and I’m seeing it all over twitter from random followers to friends. It has honestly been making me really, really sad. (And personally, I think they are wrong.)

What does this have to do with my 2019 resolutions?

This time, I’m not making an arbitrary list of things to do in game and calling it ‘resolutions’. I want to do something more than that. I want to do something that can help other people who may be in the same situation as me – who are bogged down by the constant negativity; who may not feel brave enough to be a small voice of positivity in a crowd of hostility. And that starts with me.

So, my only resolution for 2019 is this:

Be the positivity you want to see in the community.

I know it sounds wanky. I’m not actually very good at motivational speaking/typing 😉 But what it means is this – if I want to see more positivity in the world (both in gaming communities and the world in general) then that needs to start with me being more positive, more often, and loudly.

How am I going to do this? Well this is where a list comes in:

1 – Celebrating successes – loudly and often
This is about giving credit where credit is due. Pointing out the positives and celebrating them. I need to be doing this every day.

2 – Take “problems” for what they are
I think the most important thing about what I’m wanting to do is really reiterating that this is not about just rolling over and ignoring things that are “not right”. It’s not about turning a blind eye and pretending everything is ok. This is about looking at problems for what they are, and weighing them up against everything else.
Game lagged for a sec? Not really a huge drama.
Someone wants to bomb a country and kill everyone in it? Yeah that’s definitely a problem.

3 – Being constructive with criticism
Linked to number 2 above, this is about recognising when something isn’t right, and finding the best way to express our issues. It’s about gauging an appropriate response- the proportional response– to a problem. It’s speaking in a way that is respectful to the people the problem involves to help find a solution, not to embarrass, humiliate, bully or threaten. Avoiding escalation – trying to solve the problem, not make it worse.

4 – Be patient, be kind
Sounds like a no-brainer, but this one is going to be the hardest. Because this isn’t just about being nice about the things you like- it’s about being patient and kind to the people you disagree with. Seeing a message telling someone to “go kill themselves” over a bug in a game is enough to rile anyone up. But me telling that person to “fuck off” (as much as I would like to) isn’t going to help. Maybe reporting them on twitter and telling that person their behaviour is unacceptable is a better response.


I know it sounds fluffy and silly, but I really need this. There are so many things in the world now days that are worthy of our anger and frustration. And that alone is exhausting. But it seems like that’s all we know how to do now. We know how to complain. We know how to be mad. We know how to fight. What we’re losing sight of is how to be thankful for what we do have – how to appreciate the good things with the bad and expressing that gratitude.

So that’s my goal. I know it’s hard to measure, but that’s ok. I’m going to try, and I hope others do, too. I hope that I can help other people feel confident about talking about the things we love, and I hope that infects everyone. I want to be drowning in positive vibes! I will be doing my part on twitter and in my streaming and gaming in general. 🙂

I wish everyone a 2019 full of happiness and love.

xo

Blog header photo by Roven Images on Unsplash

Another year is coming to a close. It’s always a time for us to look back and reflect on the year, to celebrate our achievements and say goodbye to perhaps some of the sadder moments that have happened.

For this post, I’m going to take a look back at my 2018 bucket list to see how I did. And of course for the next post, I’ll set myself some goals for 2019.

Looking back on 2018

I tend to get to this time of year feeling a bit sad. Sad that I probably didn’t accomplish or achieve nearly as much as I would like to have. But that’s not the best way to think about things, is it? Because when I look back on my bucket list for 2018, I actually succeeded quite well indeed, despite the roller coaster that was my guild in 2018.

Let me touch on that quickly, actually. Those who have followed my blog or twitter this year will know that it has been quite the year of ups and downs when it came to my guild.

The short version is that after the high of getting Cutting Edge with mythic Argus, we made the decision to push harder going in to Battle for Azeroth. Looking back now, we all agree this decision was our downfall. I wrote a lot about this in this post, and then this post. What I didn’t end up writing about is how we came back together again.

What I didn’t end up writing about is how we came back together again.

As I wrote in my last post about all this, I moved servers to a new guild to trial as an elemental shaman. And I have to say, I got damn lucky. The team I trialled with were so lovely and kind, and extremely patient with me while I tried to figure out how to be dps instead of heals. They were extremely kind to me, and I’m so grateful for that. But in the end, as tragic as it sounds, the lure of old friendships called, and I ended my trial to try, yet again, with Realm.

Looking back on this past year, as tumultuous as it has been, there is one common thread throughout – friendship. Oh I know, it sounds so lame. but it’s true. The people in Realm are people I consider to be friends. I am glad to have them in my life. A few weeks back we had an in-game Christmas party that was loads of fun, and really struck home how much I enjoy spending time with these fine folk. It turned out, for me, friendships were far more important that raiding, and I’m completely ok with that.

The 2018 bucket list

At the beginning of 2018, as I do most years, I wrote a bucket list of things I wanted to achieve. You can see this post right here. I didn’t write it at the time, but in the back of my mind I’d had the bucket list from the previous year in mind, and wanted to make things a bit easier on myself. Although looking on it now, I really failed at that! This list wasn’t nearly as easy on myself as it could have been… but it was definitely fun. So let’s see how I did.

Make a list of every pet and mount available in Legion and get any that are missing (That are not RNG dependent).

Well I suppose technically I fail by default because I never made that list! BUT, I’m pretty sure I did get a lot of them. I got Uuna and finished her quest line, and then later go Baa’l when he came out in BfA. I finished the Family Familiar achievement as well as the Family Fighter achievement, getting pets from both of those as well.

I found Lost Mail and felt like Harry Potter as I got the Mailemental pet (and Katy Stampwhistle toy!)

I was also really lucky with mounts, getting the Shackled Ur’zul mount from Mythic Argus! AND I managed to complete the Lord of the Reins achievement! I was very fortunate all around, I feel.

Were I did fail (other than failing to make the list at all, haha!) was not getting the pvp mounts. They were easy gets, but I didn’t do them. There’s still a chance of going back, but to be honest, I can’t see myself doing that any time soon. But overall, I think I’d call this a pretty successful bucket list item complete. 🙂

Finish getting all of the class mounts

DONE! You can read all about it right here. This was an epic undertaking, but one that I’m glad I did in the end (not just because it helped a lot getting Lord of the Reins done!) It gave me a chance to play around on all the classes, to see if any of them really tickled my fancy for an alt. They didn’t… but I’m still glad I had a go at them all again for awhile 🙂

Get more Mage Tower appearances

This was tougher than I expected it to be. My original list of appearances that I wanted to get were:

  • Enhancement shaman
  • Discipline priest
  • Holy paladin
  • Frost Mage
  • Arcane Mage
  • Retribution paladin
  • Restoration druid
  • Protection paladin (though I honestly don’t see this one happening at all)
  • maaaaybe affliction warlock

What I ended up getting….

Shaman – Restoration, elemental and enhancement
(these were no-brainers – I absolutely had to get all of these.)
Mage – Arcane, fire and frost.
Yep, I got all three! I was pretty pleased with myself for that one 🙂
Druid – Balance and feral.
Yeah you heard me, feral. How could I not get disco kitty? It’s easily the best appearance out of all of them. I didn’t, however get the restoration appearance. I’ve never healed as a druid, and that darn scenario is hard.
Priest – Discipline.
This was tough. I’d never played Disc properly before. But I pushed through, because I really loved the appearance.

The Disc priest appearance was the straw that broke the camel’s back, though. It was a tough fight, and by that point I had started to resent the amount of time I was spending trying to finish these, so I stopped. But, I had set myself a goal of getting 8 (maybe 9!) appearances, and in the end, I actually did get 9 appearances. So I’m going to call this one a win, too. 🙂

Stream more

This one was very generic, but I needed it to be (for this year at least).
I managed to get Affiliate status a few weeks after making my bucket list, so that was a nice bonus!

Overall, yes, I technically streamed more. And to that end I can call it a win. But I certainly have a long, long way to go. Will all the raiding dramas this year, I was unable to have a regular raiding/streaming schedule because I kept associating one with the other. It has taken me awhile to separate the two, and branch out to stream other content. I’m still getting my feet with this, but I will get better.

What I have really enjoyed about my streaming, though, is finally settling on an identity. I love my little unicorn self! I’m really enjoying updating my graphics for the year… helps to keep things interesting 🙂 It also helps me to focus on the streaming itself, and not necessarily the games that I’m streaming (if that makes sense).


So, that’s my year! Honestly, I can’t complain. I know that I am a very fortunate person. So for all the difficulties and struggles I face, I know there are people who have it so very much harder than me, and I need to remember that.

I’m pleased with what I’ve managed to achieve this year, both in game and out. I hope you all have had a great year, too! Keep an eye out of my 2019 bucket list post, coming very soon….

Wishing everyone a very happy holidays! I hope your days are filled with happy hearts and happy tummies. ❤

Thank you to all of you for simply just being here; for reading my blog or liking my tweets, watching my streams or listening to my podcast, or just generally being an amazing person to know. I’m so lucky to be surrounded by such lovely, talented people. ❤

xmas_cinder

 

 

It seems to be that the more adamant I am about writing more, the less I do it. It’s like the universe listens to my plans and says “Nup! Not today!” and I get ridiculously busy. Which is how I find myself in the middle of December all of a sudden. When did that happen?! I’ve been travelling a fair bit for work over the past month running workshops and the like, which is, to put it mildly, exhausting. I don’t travel well at the best of times, let alone when it’s for work and I’m stressing about a presentation I have to do when I land. Suffice to say my life has just been a bit overwhelming at the moment, meaning I haven’t written blog posts and I haven’t been streaming.

On the plus side, Christmas is two weeks away, and I’m having two weeks off! *block your ears, universe!!!* I’m determined to stream a whoooole lot during that time off to make up for the lack of streams of late. But before that, we’re having a guild Christmas party that I need to prepare for!

Which occurs to me… I haven’t written that I went back to Realm lol Side note! I went back to my old guild. The plan is for us to try yet again in 8.1, but taking a much more relaxed approach to the mythic raiding. I have hope. 🙂

Anyways, we’re having a Christmas party this weekend, because I just thought it would be nice for us all to get together and be stupid together. I’m going to do organise a scavenger hunt and Dalaran darts and a drunk raid and just silly things to have fun with. I even bought prizes! Half of the big box of goodies I had delivered recently was stuff for the Christmas Party.

R_xmas_C_prizes

Anyways, that’s where I am at the moment. Give me two weeks and I’ll be around a lot more!

xo

Today marks the first day of a 2 week event to help celebrate World of Warcraft’s 14th birthday. As has become tradition, upon logging in today I received a gift form the Dev team, consisting of a ‘thank you’ message, a reputation & experience game token, and 200 time warped badges to spend on whatever you wish. Each year they add something new for you to spend your tokens on. Previous years have included a corgi pup, an inflatable Thunderfury, and cosmetic bronze-tinted glasses. But this year, Blizz really outdid themselves. The toy people can buy this year is Overtuned Corgi Glasses. When they are used, they turn NPCs and friendly players around you IN TO CORGIS!!!!! 

When I first heard about the toy I thought it would be kinda cool. I was not prepared for exactly just how incredible it really is.When active, there are corgis EVERYWHERE!! I could not stop squeeeee-ing!

In the Auction House…

Riding around on mounts…

Strutting around in gangs…

Doing chores on the docks…

Taking magic classes…

Protecting our cities…

Or being terrifying!!!

All jokes and silliness aside, from the bottom of my heart, thank you Blizzard for 14 years of this incredible game that has brought me so much happiness and friendship. It really is something special that I am extremely grateful for. ❤

xo

It’s been 2 lockouts since Realm disbanded. It’s been weird not raiding. I played a whooole lot less. The break was nice in a way, but to be honest one of the main reasons I wasn’t playing as much because there just wasn’t anyone else around. It got very lonely very quickly, and it was seriously bumming me out.

On Thursday (with some help from the lovely Lemon) I changed my status on Wowprogress to “looking for guild” to see what would happen.

I had some decisions already set in stone:

  1. I was staying Alliance. I just dislike the Horde aesthetic so much that I don’t want to go back to it. Also, almost all of my toons are Alliance, and I just don’t want to have to faction change them all just to raid.
  2. I was probably going to have to move to Frostmourne in order to find a team. It’s a very Alliance heavy server with a high population, so lots of Alliance raiding guilds. And all the other servers are far too quiet, so if things didn’t work out I’d be stuck on a server with few options.
  3. I was staying shaman. I’m too attached to my shaman ways.
  4. No increase to raid time – 3 days max of prog raiding. Ideally, 2, but that’s pretty hard to find.
  5. No downgrades – I wanted to find a team within 1 boss prog of myself.
  6. The guild I end up in has to be a good fit people-wise. That’s what made raiding with Realm so amazing – the people. I want to be able to dick around with people and have fun and joke around with each other. And kill bosses.

I got a btag friend request the next morning, and well long story short, I’ve moved servers to Frostmourne and have a trial in a guild. AS ELEMENTAL. Yep, this shaman’s shooting lightning for awhile.

This was a big decision for me. I’ve been a healer for as long as I’ve raided (minus 2 weeks where I tried to be dps back in WoD), so raiding as a full time dps will definitely be a change. But I think it’s going to be a good one. I’ll still always have my healer spec there if I’m ever needed to heal, so that’s not going to go away. There are some changes coming in 8.1 for elemental shamans that I’m hoping will help make the spec a bit better to play… but we can only wait and see.

The thing that really attracted me to this guild was the recruitment person was really lovely, answering all my stupid questions. They also apparently watched some of my streams, which made me feel better because firstly, they know I’m a girl, and secondly, they have seen me play, so they know what they’re in for. They don’t mind me streaming raids, either, which is great. And lastly, something that will either be fantastic, or terrible, their raid times start and finish earlier. I’m a little nervous at the start time being 6:30, as sometimes I haven’t even left work until that time. But if I can get to work earlier and leave earlier, it will be fine. Which means slightly earlier nights, which I think will be good for my tired old self.

I’m obviously terrified. I’m always terrified of putting myself out there, especially knowing people will be watching and scrutinising. I’ve said that they just need to let me know if I’m not cutting it – I’d rather know sooner than dragging it out, because I don’t like letting a team down. But I just have to try my best. It’s all I *can* do. If things don’t work out, at least I gave it a go.

So! Please keep your fingers and toes crossed for me that I can actually pull this elemental thing off, and that these guys are a good fit! 🙂

xo

I’ve been working hard since my last post to set everything up for me to get a bit braver and be more serious about my streaming.

Like I mentioned in that post, I’m going to start streaming some non-WoW content. Because of this, I’ve made the decision to move away from having my pandaren shaman be my “face”. It was a tough decision, because my pandaren has really been the embodiment of my personality for almost as long as I’ve played WoW. But that right there was the problem. So much of what I do creatively at the moment has been so focussed on WoW that trying to do something outside of it has been extremely difficult. WoW has been my clutch, and despite it opening so many doors for me in terms of friendships and content creation, it has also been holding me back. So my pandaren had to go.

cinder_unicorn_at_laptop

I thought a while about what I wanted to be outside of my pandaren. I am not even a little bit attractive, so showing my real face and body is out of the question (I do not have the self esteem to deal with that at all). The answer was obvious in the end – a unicorn! Well, a chubby unicorn anyway hehe. While looking for inspiration for what she might look like, I came across the perfect depiction of me. She’s chubby, sassy, and she games. 😀 There’s actually a whole series that I’ve purchased that depict her in so many different ways. (I can’t wait for Christmas!!!)

I have been madly making graphics and updating everything to have my new unicorn persona. My name won’t change – I’m Cinder now until the day I stop gaming. Despite having only recently revamped by twitch stream, it really didn’t suit the new persona. Thankfully Streamlabs have some really great set ups built in and free to use. I’ve gone all out on this. It has sparkles!!! It might be girly and silly, but I truly don’t care. I’m really having fun with this. I even made new emotes and badges (though I will say this was the hardest part – I really love the totems Sirius made for me).

Here’s a little peek at my twitch page…

unicorn_stream

Cute, huh?!

I have a friend helping me get a capture card for my PC so that I can hook up our Nintendo Switch and stream some games from there. I also had a look at some games on Steam (and was promptly disgusted at some of the games suggested to me there.) I’m even considering getting Discord Nitro to try out some of the games they have on offer. In the meantime, I’m focusing on getting a proper schedule going, starting tomorrow night. I’ll probably stream some WoW first… might even brave LFR (oh my!). Onward and upward! In the meantime, if  you’re interested in coming to hang out with me while I stream, you can find me here – https://twitch.tv/cinder_streams

Anyways, I wanted to share the new Cinder with you all. Hope you like her!

xo

 

It’s been hard to start this post. Or any other blog post for that matter, if I’m being completely honest. But this one, I don’t really know how to start. I know the things I have to say, but putting them in order is proving difficult. So how about we make a deal and pretend this is the middle of the blog post and flow on from there. Let’s give it a go.

The past few weeks (or months, really), haven’t been the greatest for me.

The guild crash

WoWScrnShot_100618_145054

Unrelated to the below (but in a way still very connected) my guild fell apart for good. We tried to keep it together but it was too much to try and push through. The gap between strong players and weaker players was becoming bigger and bigger. The in-game workload for officers and the GM was far too much, and the payoff wasn’t there. It was a really tough call, but it was the right decision in the end. So as of last week we stopped raiding mythic, and the guild officially went casual, with a social heroic run planned for every Saturday night so we could all still spend time together.

This week was the first week without raid, and it felt weird. Tonight was the first casual Saturday raid… and we only had a handful of people come along. So I really don’t know how that’s going to go in the future. Suffice it to say that I’m pretty sad at the moment.

For me, I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do. Raiding has always been a favourite thing for me in game, so to not do it feels weird. But trying to find another raid team… well I dunno how I’m going to go about it. I’ve never had much confidence in my skills as a raider. I do know that I’m not terrible. I do mechanics, I heal while I do them, and I try my damn hardest. It’s the same as when I try to apply for jobs – I know that I can contribute well, but I’m shit at selling myself. Especially with raiding. Logs are a thing, but my numbers always look shit because I hate overhealing, and I make sure I’m focusing on doing mechanics first and foremost.

And this shitty lack of confidence in myself doesn’t help when (now) ex-guildies are getting offers left and right from other teams wanting them to join. I haven’t had anything. Which is petty, I know, but it just reinforces that shitty feeling about myself not being good enough.

I’ve been looking on the forums to see what guilds are after, and I’m not finding any at the level I want to be at who are looking for restoration shamans. (Well, Alliance guilds, anyway). There’s a high chance I’m going to have to go Horde if I want to keep raiding, and that on its own is not at all appealing. I’ll need to give it some more time and thought, and hope something comes along.

Then there’s…

The anxiety

WoWScrnShot_092318_140445

There are a handful of things that I am good at in life, but the thing that I am the very best at is pretending that my anxiety isn’t as bad as it is, and that it doesn’t affect me as strongly as it does. I’m very good at putting on the face that the world needs to see on me, and pretending that everything is fine. I can laugh and joke and make others feel great, and I do it in an attempt to hide the panic that grumbles inside me on a constant basis. I’ve become very good at it. So good at it that people don’t believe I have anxiety at all, and when I bring it up with doctors, they laugh it off thinking I’m just being melodramatic or joking around.

And yet.

I struggle to sleep, laying there as my body tingles with terror, restless and exhausted all at once. If I am lucky to sleep, I wake up in the middle of the night with panic attacks so intense they make me gag. At work, I go to the bathroom for a short moment of solace, squeezing my legs in an attempt to calm the roaring in my ears, to breathe, to focus. It’s exhausting. And over the past few months, it has gotten worse, to the point where it’s crippled me. I’ve not been functioning properly. It’s affecting my health, my relationship, my friendships, my streaming and gaming; everything that is important to me.

I bring this up, because firstly, I wanted to explain my absence (noted or not). I wanted others who may be feeling the same way to know they aren’t alone. And I wanted to be accountable for trying to get better. It has taken awhile to build the courage, but I went to the doctor again this week (a different one) and insisted they help me do something so I can stop feeling like this. I have referrals for a psychologist, and some anti-anxiety meds to help me get out of this funk. I’m not going to let anxiety get the best of me.

What’s next

So then what’s next. Well, I’m starting to feel better, which is why I’ve written this post. And I’m taking steps to keep getting better. I don’t know what the future is going to hold for me and WoW. I know I will continue playing, but I don’t know to what extent. I had a great chat with Neuro after our Battletagged show on Tuesday, and he was telling me about how much more he’s been enjoying WoW since he stepped down from raiding. So maybe there is hope for me outside of raiding.

One of the things I’m saddest about though, with everything that has been going on, is my streaming. It turns out that I really, really enjoy streaming. I’m terrible at it, and I don’t think I’m interesting at all, but I just enjoy playing games with other people. Thor (who I just don’t deserve- he’s so freaking amazing) has been incredibly patient and wise, and we’ve been talking about what I might do. And it became obvious – I just stream something other than WoW. We looked in to what I might stream, and there a whole bunch of games on the Nintendo Switch I’d enjoy playing, and of course Steam and even Discord has a bunch of games now. So I’m looking at getting a capture card and expanding my gaming options.

I’m still ironing out the finer details, but some changes are on their way. I want to get back in to a regular streaming schedule. I will (of course!) still play and stream WoW, especially if I manage to find a new team, but between that, I’m going to try some other games. This also means that I’m going to do a bit of a “re-branding” of myself. Whilst I love my pandaren Shaman, I need to move away from the strictly WoW focus. So keep an eye out for some fun new things in the very near future.

Look, if you’ve made it this far through my post, thank you. Thank you for sticking it out with me when I disappear for lengths at a time. Thank you for reading this post and helping me feel like I’m not alone. You’re amazing, and I’m grateful for you.

xo

 

Topic 40 of Z and I’s fortnightly blog challenge is all about getting to know the people behind the blogs. As usual, I’m late with my post, but better late than never! So! Here are a bunch of random facts about me!

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1. How do you drink your tea?

I like English Breakfast tea, a bit on the stronger side, with milk and honey. Really not a fan of fruity/herbal teas. I’m trying really hard to enjoy green tea… slowly getting there!

2. Favourite dessert?

Far too many things to mention. Right up there, though are Apple Turnovers. proper ones, with delicious fresh cream and flaky pastry om nom nom
turnover

3. Favourite season and why?

It depends on where I am in the world, but anything that’s on the colder side. I like cool weather with blue skies and gentle breezes and jumpers and socks and scarves and also rain and changing trees and new flowers… bit of everything really. Just as long as its not hot!

4. What cheers you up?

I use music to help a lot of the time. I have specific playlists to boost my moods, and some to help me get out of funks. Other playlists are there to just rid out the low times. And if all that fails, Thor is always the first to cheer me up with his silly puns and snuggles.

5. Dogs or cats?

Both. I’d love one of each, and I’d love for them to be best friends 🙂

6. What’s your dream holiday?

Hmmm… somewhere new, where I can take loads of beautiful photographs, have somewhere to have a picnic with Thor then just relax and read/nap the afternoon away. Somewhere away from people!

7. How many kids do you want?

None.

8. Favourite weather?

See question 3. But also, rain.
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9. What would your last meal be?

Thor’s chicken soup, for two reasons. Firstly, its bloody delicious, and it always helps me feel better when I’m sick. But secondly, if it’s Thor’s chicken soup, it means he’s there too ❤

10. You can spend 24 hours anywhere, any year, where do you choose?

Honestly, I don’t know a god answer for this. All of the moments I would like to see would be greatly impacted by my presence, and I wouldn’t want to change them. If there was a way to see dinosaurs without being eaten or messing up the future of the world, then I’d see dinosaurs.

11. If you were a ghost, who or where would you haunt?

Many of you know that I have anxiety. I’ve had it since I was a kid. I remember my Mum was going out to a friend’s birthday one night, and I was losing my shit over it. I was scared something terrible was going to happen to her. So she made a deal with me. She said “if something happens to me while I’m out, and I don’t make it back, watch the clocks. I promise if I die, I will change the clocks to a silly time, and you will know that I’ve passed away but that I’m ok and that I love you.”. It seems ridiculous, I know, but it calmed me down and has stuck with me always.

So, to answer the question, if I were ghost, I’d go to my Mum’s house and change her clocks to silly times, just so that she would know that I was ok, and that I loved her.

12. What is your family ancestry?

Oh man we are so white. Our family history is pretty much all in England. Apparently there’s the very tiniest sliver of Spanish, but everything else is English. Pretty boring really. (My old boss has Viking blood in her!!)

13. What scares you?

I have anxiety – everything scares me lol

14. What are you most grateful for? 

Oh it’s corny, I know, but I’m most grateful for Thor. He believes in me when I don’t or can’t. And holy crap is he an amazing cook.

15. Dream job? 

This question is haunting me at the moment. since turning 35 I’ve been having a crisis about what I’m doing with my life. A big issue is that I don’t know how to answer this question. I don’t know what my dream job would be. All I know is that it’s creative, flexible with location and hours (i.e. I don’t have to get up at stupid times in the morning) and it satisfies me. I mean if I could do anything, I’d be a full time writer/photographer.

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one of my favourite photos I have taken

16. Do you believe in aliens?

Yes

17. Favourite sport?

I don’t like sports. Esports I can get on board with, though.

18. How do you relax after a long day?

By blowing up internet pixels in WoW 🙂

19. If you could meet one historical figure, who would you choose and why?

Honestly, I’d love to meet Jo Rowling. She gives me hope that there’s still time/a chance for me to be a proper writer.

20. If you had to be a teacher, what subject would you teach?

Fun fact: When I was in highschool I wanted to be a music teacher. We had to do compulsory work experience in our senior years and so I shadowed a primary school music teacher and a high school music teacher. I didn’t want to be a music teacher after that.
If I had to teach now, I’d probably teach English.

21. Describe your perfect day

Waking up in a little cabin by the beach, a soft breeze coming in through the window, blue skies outside. I’d hang out with Thor, read, go for a swim, play games and just not have a care in the world.

22. Describe yourself in a sentence

Undecided.

23. What makes you laugh the most?

Thor. And animals being derpy, like this one here.

24. What superpower would you choose?

Teleportation. I’d love to be able to travel anywhere I wanted, whenever I wanted. Would make for a super fast commute home, too! 😀

25. Favourite animal?

I really do love owls. But honestly, animals in general are pretty neat, don’t you think?

26. Biggest accomplishment?

I’ve had my writing published once, and that was kind of a big deal, but also not at the same time because it was a uni thing. I’m proud of myself for getting on a plane to randomly nanny for 4 children in England… it was hard but I survived it and feel I’m a better/stronger person for doing that.

But I honestly don’t feel like I’ve reached my full potential yet.

The end! We made it! 

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Those of you who follow my twitter account will have seen that this past week was quite the rollercoaster. I’m personally still reeling a little bit from everything that happened (though I am overly dramatic, I know).

On Wednesday, Realm as a guild ended. And then on Thursday, it didn’t. Confused? Well, it will make sense. But to explain properly, I need to go backwards.

At the end of Legion

Realm as a guild technically formed at the end of the Tomb of Sargeras raid in Legion, though was made up of people who had been raiding together already for at least a year, some even longer. We went in to Antorus as a new team, determined to get Cutting Edge Argus. Which we achieved. We also managed to be the top ranking Alliance guild on our little server, which we were pretty proud of. We ended Legion as Titanslayers- strong and ready for Battle for Azeroth.

A few weeks before BfA came out we held a guild meeting to start making plans for raiding in the new expansion. We were having troubles trying to figure out our roster as it had suddenly grown to almost 40 players – waaaay too many. We needed to make some decisions about what type of team we wanted to be so that we could build the right team. So we asked everyone what they wanted from BfA; did we want to work on mythics, but bring through lower performing players (effectively being a “friends and family” mythic raiding guild) or did we want to push harder, be tougher about who came to raid and try for faster progression. The agreement from everyone was that we wanted to push harder. We were in a good spot- we had loads of players to choose from, and we all wanted to be better.

Going in to BfA

Going in to BfA everyone (including officers and GM) were dropped to trial rank. Our GM was re-chosen to lead us all, and new Officers were voted in (myself included). We had requirements about what level people needed to be at for raid, and agreed for the first few weeks of Uldir, we’d add in an extra night of raiding to help get us ahead.

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Our first week of Uldir was great with us getting Heroic G’huun down, giving us Ahead of the Curve in the first week. We were pretty stoked. The following week mythic opened, and we managed to get TWO mythic bosses down in addition to a heroic re-clear, giving us a bit of time to work on mythic Zek’voz.

And then last week happened. We cleared through heroic relatively quickly, as well as re-killing the first two mythic bosses, giving us days of attempts on Zek’voz. But we struggled. We didn’t get the kill. And worse than that, we felt like we were going backwards. On Monday, we had a really bad night, with many people under-performing and even more people getting extremely frustrated at both performance and lack of progression.

Here’s the thing about mythic raiding. It’s really stressful. There’s a lot of pressure to be performing to a super high standard. If you don’t meet that standard, you make mistakes, and mistakes mean wipes. For some people (like me) I like the pressure. I like the stress of it, I like wiping and failing, because we we do win, when we nail that delicate balance and we all figure out the dance together, the victory is so worth it. I love that feeling of accomplishment when it all just falls in to place and we win as a team. I love the nerd screams. I love our failed kill screenshots. I love it all. But it is really stressful. And you have to feel like you’re getting the payoff for it to be worth it.

Monday

After our rubbish night on Monday, the Officer team had a meeting, and our GM confessed he was done. He’d had enough. For him, as GM and raid lead, the stress and pressure is multitudes higher than for anyone else, and after that night it just got too much. The payoff wasn’t worth it, and he needed to step down. At that time he wasn’t 100% decided on what to do, and our meeting was to try and figure out what we could do. Could someone else take on lead? What would be the consequences of him stepping down? Who would step up? What could we do? I went to bed that night in tears – I could see the writing on the wall, and I was devastated. I could only imagine how our GM was feeling, too 😦

Tuesday

At the end of our meeting, one of our officers (and top dps) decided it was time for him to move on to a higher progressing guild (which he has found, and I’m super happy for him). We had suggested our GM think on his decision a little more and get back to us, but on the Tuesday, we also lost a tank. Then the Wednesday morning, another dps.

I spent a lot of Tuesday talking with the GM and other officers about the whole situation. It’s always a hard decision. I won’t go in to any specifics of our conversations, but a lot of what was making the decision so difficult came down to just how much the GM loved the guild and the people in it, but also just how stressed and worn out he was with it all. Being GM and raid lead has got to be one of the most thankless tasks out there. It’s so much work and effort to keep things running. And even with officers helping with bits and pieces here and there, and with talking to the team and asking them to take issues and concerns out of raid, it doesn’t stop those things from happening. It drives me up the wall, and I only experience it a little. It’s nothing compared to what a GM has to put up with.

Wednesday – the break-up

A team meeting was held on the Wednesday night (instead of raid) and our GM announced he was stepping down as raid lead, and that the future of the raid team depended on what everyone else wanted to do. People were asked to think on it for a bit, and let us all know what their plans were – did they want to stay and try and fill in the gaps, or did they want to move on to another team. No grudges would be held, we just needed to know so a decision could be made. In the end, too many people said they would be moving on without our GM in the leadership role.

So we came back together for one last team meeting with everyone… and our GM announced there were too many people looking to move on, so this was it…. and I bawled my eyes out (as did he, the poor thing). It was a horrible, emotional moment. I was genuinely heartbroken. I’ve been in guild break-ups before (far too many, actually) and they have always been hard. But this one felt different. This one really cut deep. It really felt like a relationship breaking up. I couldn’t imagine not spending each week with these people, laughing and yelling and struggling with these people. We all had good and bad times together… I didn’t want that to end. And yet here we were.

The fallout was… interesting. Once the meeting was done, people kinda just took a breath, and then decided to go run heroic Uldir together. I was a mess and sat out, but stayed in game because I just didn’t really know what else to do. But no-one gquit or raged or ranted. Everyone was just… sad. Overnight a couple of people faction swapped to join other friends in other guilds, but it wasn’t in anger. It was quiet and kind.

I posted about it on twitter, and had so many beautiful and amazing responses of support back from people. I was genuinely overwhelmed. But still heartbroken. I went to bed that night wondering what on earth I was going to do. How was I going to find a new team? Who on earth would take a shaman to a raid right now? Did I still even want to raid? And even worse… did I still even want to play WoW anymore?

Thursday

I went to work on Thursday exhausted and mentally drained. No-one at work really understood it (one person even kind of scoffed at the situation) which didn’t really help. I felt sad, and tired, but added to that, I was also sick to my stomach. Our GM was feeling almost instant regret about the decision, and it made me feel awful. I felt I had given him bad advice about everything. (My focus was on making sure he was going to be ok with the decision he made, and to not feel guilted in to sticking around if he didn’t want to. You know my mantra – WoW is a game, and games are supposed to be fun. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.) Thursday morning SUCKED plain and simple. I had lost my guild, and felt like I had been a bad friend to someone who has been exceptionally kind to me. I was not having a good time.

But then Thursday afternoon happened.

Thursday afternoon, our GM logged in to game, expecting the guild to have emptied, and instead still found it full of people. They didn’t want to go. This was their home, and they wanted to stay. That coupled with our GM’s regret… and well, the guild un-broke-up. Our GM posted in our Discord a really heartwarming message saying the guild would be staying together… and then I cried again as people cheered and left sweet messages and were just everything we didn’t want to leave behind. The thing that makes this guild so special is the people in it. Sure, we all fight and bicker and give each other shit, but that’s what families do.

We went back in to finish off the heroic clear on Thursday night with a renewed sense of togetherness. We also managed to one-shot the last 3 bosses on heroic and the first mythic boss, which just goes to show how much better peoples’ performance is when they’re in a good mood! 😀

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The aftermath

Things seem to be calm, now. The people who had faction changed managed to have them reverted (thanks Blizzard!!!) and came back to the guild as soon as they could. We ran our usual normal run on Saturday night, which went surprisingly well. And tonight’s mythic run, though thwarted by the attendance boss (thanks NRL grand final!), was smooth and successful.

Most people understand why things got they way they did – we pushed too hard. Raiding 4 nights a week was taking it out of people. The constant feeling of pressure was overwhelming for a lot of people, and it was wearing everyone down – not just the GM, but everyone. So we’re taking a step back. We will continue to raid mythic level, with the goal of getting Cutting Edge each tier. But not at the expense of the team.

The whole thing feels like a really sappy daytime romantic comedy in a way. But whatever it was, we’ve come out the other side of it, and I feel like in a way, we’re almost a bit better for it. Those who wanted more have moved to a place they can get that progression, and everyone else back here is on the same page. I’m grateful for this crazy bunch of beautiful people. Here’s to many more raids together as a the silly, dysfunctional WoW-family we are. realm_logo_on_dark_grey

xo

This long weekend I said to myself that I would take things a bit easier, and get back to just enjoying WoW. Yeah, there are things I definitely need to do, but my goal for the weekend is just to make sure that I’m doing the things I love. Like explore and finish obscure achievements and what not.

One of the achievements I ticked off today was Cursed Game Hunter. I only had a goat and a shark left to kill for the achievement, so was on wowhead looking for where they were, when a related guide popped up – Hidden Secrets of Kul Tiras. I mean, of course I had to check it out.

First thing I ticked off in this guide was getting Taptaf. He’s an absolutely adorable little piggy!

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The in the guide I saw that there were other pets that could be purchased if certain conditions were met. Turned out I had met quite a few of those. I decided to go get Greatwing Macaw because I just love the birds! This lovely pet was available to purchase from Dana Pull in a part of Boralus we don’t really spend a lot of time in. So off I went to find Dana. Not only did I find Dana, I found heaven.

Dana is found in Boralus:

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Here’s the entrance to his shop…

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And inside? PUPPIES!! PUPPIES EVERYWHERE!!!!!!

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I went around and patted EVERY.SINGLE.PUPPERS in there so they would know that I loved them all. What a magical place!!! (And yes, bought the macaw pet, too).

The NPCs in there make my heart swell, too.

It’s things like this that make World of Warcraft such a beautiful game to me. I remember seeing tweets from Blizz employees in the lead up to launch saying that their pets had been found in the PTR. It was a surprise to them, too, which is just so lovely.

There are so many things like this in BfA, too. Whilst levelling I found a couple of houses absolutely PACKED with cats! And somewhere in Zuldazar (I think!) is a flight point for Alliance that has little baby dinos that you can pet, too! And there’s so much more. It’s nice to take some time meandering around and finding these things.

 

 

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