It’s that time of year, where I start making lists of things I want to get done over the Christmas break. Initially I wasn’t going to be taking any time off work due to not having a lot of leave available to me. But honestly, I am completely wiped out right now and am desperate for a break from not just work, but pretty much everything. I’m taking 2 weeks to be completely and utterly selfish, because I so desperately need it right now.

So what am I going to do?

Well firstly, I’m going to be taking a break from pretty much everything I do in addition to the game – I won’t be doing Battletagged or Reins of Azeroth for at least 2 weeks, and after this Friday Z and Cinder’s Blog Challenge will be taking a break until the new year, too. That’s not to say I won’t be blogging – I just won’t be committing to doing it during that time if I don’t feel like it. I imagine there will be some raiding free evenings (just waiting to hear back from the team about which days for sure are cancelled), but I think for a few at least, whether or not I raid will depend on how I’m feeling at the time, and I’ll be more likely to make plans on raid nights in those 2 weeks if the invitation arose (wouldn’t dream of doing that any other time of the year!)

As for everything else, well that’s up in the air.

My main goal for this break is

  1. to play whatever I want to play, whenever I want, and…
  2. to not feel guilty about it

Sometimes that means I might not play at all, and will laze around reading (which I haven’t done for the longest time). I want to spend time with Thor playing Boardgames. Or playing Overwatch or Heroes of the Storm, or even Bordelands (which I bought MONTHS ago and haven’t even downloaded yet) without feeling guilty.

There has been a lot of guilt this expansion. It comes naturally with raiding at a higher level – there are expectations and requirements – and that’s all fine because that’s what I signed up for. That’s not anyone’s fault. But it does come at a cost. A lot of time and effort gets put into getting Artifact Power for my weapon to make it stronger, and trying to score a legendary that will increase raid performance. Unfortunately my time is pretty limited. I work full time, so there goes most of the week. Monday nights are generally spent writing podcast show notes; Tuesday nights are podcast recording nights and usually server restarts/maintenance; Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday nights are raiding; Friday night Thor and I try to spend as “us” time away from the game (though I try to get my emissary quests done quickly when I get home!); Saturday is when I try to do my blog challenge post; Saturday night has a casual raiding night that I usually go to. So it leaves part of Saturday day and Sunday day to cram in a week’s worth of Artifact Knowledge acquisition, along with anything else I might like to try and do in game (like mount farming etc.) It gets pretty busy.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not the busiest person in the world. How people do this with children is absolutely beyond me! But I am trying to fit a lot of stuff into a set amount of time, and sometimes it’s hard, especially when not all of those pieces are playing nicely. Work has been incredibly stressful this year, and on far too many occasions I feel like I should have taken the redundancy when everyone else did instead of staying on. It’s been a constant struggle of change, insecurity and stress that makes it harder to juggle loads of other things at the same time. I have to admit that on more than one occasion I have seriously considered cancelling my WoW account and just walking away from all of it. But I haven’t (obviously), for 2 reasons:

  1. WoW is more than the game – it’s the people and the friends I’ve made
  2. Why should I give up the good things in my life to be able to deal with the shitty things?

So anyway, the point of this time is just to be separate from everything, chill out and not feel bad about anything.

And maybe do a giant spring clean of our apartment. 🙂

Anyone else taking time out over the holidays?

 

 

 

 

 

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My lovely friend Zeirah and I have turned our weekly blog challenge into a public blog challenge for anyone to participate in. Each week there is a new topic for everyone to write about and share. You can read everyone’s thoughts on how WoW has changed/impacted their lives on our website here. You can find Z’s post about the topic right here

This week started the 12th birthday celebrations for World of Warcraft. It’s crazy that a game this old is still this popular, although I understand it. The topic we chose for the challenge this week is an opportunity to take a step back and look at how this game has impacted our lives. Because let’s face it – WoW can have a massive impact.

I started playing back at the end of Cataclysm in early 2012, shortly after Thor and I moved in together. He introduced me to the game, and I haven’t looked back. From day 1 at had be around the throat. This is what I did now.

Nothing has really changed, and I’ll be honest – sometimes I wonder if it’s a good thing. All of my spare time revolves around WoW. All of it. I start up WoW as soon as I get home and generally play until I go to bed. I write a blog about the game. I record 2 podcasts about the game. I buy all of the stuff. I’m a good little consumer. Sometimes it worries me, if I’m perfectly honest. I am terribly addicted to the game. If I’m not playing WoW, I’m tweeting about it all day every day; I’m reading articles about class balancing or raid strats or guides. And I do it during work hours, too.

There are honestly some days where I wish I hadn’t started playing the game at all.

But would I change anything? Honestly, probably not. (Except maybe how much I do during work hours!)

Because despite the all-consuming nature of WoW, it is one of the best things to happen to me (after Thor, of course!) The way I play WoW, it’s not only about the game. In fact, the game itself is probably about 65-75% of my WoW-ing. World of Warcraft is so much more than the game itself (oh but what a game it is). It’s also about the friends that I have made and this great big, beautiful community that I’ve become a part of.

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Without WoW I would never have met Z, who is truly one of the loveliest people I have ever met. And whilst we don’t see each other face to face very often, we email each other quite a lot. She is one of the few people in this world that I can be completely honest with, not matter how stupid, sad embarassing (probably because there are some stupid crazy similarities between us!) So for my friendship with Z, I will always be grateful.

And that’s not to mention the multitudes of other friends I have made through this game. And my podcasts! Klor, Neuro, Spazz and Sirius are some of the most beautiful people I know, and put up with me being completely random or cranky or very sweary. And my lovely gaming girls, Leeta, Natanie, Marie and Mel, who make me realise that I am actually capable of having friends with females, and whose monthly catch ups are a real bright point for me. There are SO many other people that are part of this wonderful WoW family, and I am grateful for them all. ❤

One of my favourite things about WoW, though, is that it’s something that Thor and I do together, and I really value that. I seen far too many relationships where people don’t do things together, and it makes me sad. We raid together, which has definitely taught us how to communicate better and have patience with one another! We also run random old content together and world quests, help each other out with professions etc – it’s just something we enjoy playing together, and I love it so much.

On a personal note, I’ve talked about my anxiety previously. WoW has really helped me to work on that a lot, to the point where I believe that if I didn’t have WoW, I would have turned into a complete recluse by now. WoW helps me have a space where I can vent out my frustrations by blowing up bad guys, but also forces me to interact with people in a way that I feel safe in. There is a distance between us, which makes it so much easier to deal with. That’s not to say that I don’t have anxiety anymore – that’s not going to go away any time soon. But WoW does is allow me to still interact with other people, and give me courage to do the same out in the real world as well. Since playing WoW I have become better at confrontation and finding ways of approaching and dealing with conflict, whereas previously I would have run away. I stand up for myself now, and am getting better at it all the time.

And of course, there’s the fantasy side of it all, and getting to live in this remarkable world that has been created. I don’t know about other people, but when I read a book I enjoy, I find myself wishing I could experience the world that the book was set in. Getting to see what was on the other side of the bridge that a character didn’t go over in a book, or seeing what a place looks like at night time instead of during the day when it was set in the book. WoW lets me do that. WoW has a story that I would have read and enjoyed without the game. It’s fascinating! So getting to experience it first hand, and feel like I’m making changes to that world… well it’s just incredible (and a little god-like in ways, too!)

So for me, I am always going to be so grateful for World of Warcraft and to the people who created it and work on it every day. I don’t know what the future holds – maybe there will come a day that I won’t be playing the game any more. But I know that I’m going to look back on this time of my life and be immensely grateful for it.

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This weekend I took a bit of a break from social media. I was (and to a degree still am) incredibly angry and disappointed with some in the WoW community on Friday. The frustration just got too much for me, and rather than blowing up at everyone, I shut it all down and stayed away for the weekend (minus one pop-in on twitter on Sunday to wish Leeta a Happy Birthday).

If it’s not one thing…

There were a few things that lead up to that moment. If I’m completely honest, I’ve been frustrated by some in the community for a long time. It’s the constant stream of negativity and complaining at every opportunity. First it was flying, then it was Legion beta not being available, then it was the striders, then it was the Legion release date being so far away, then it was who was allowed in to the Alpha, then it was flying some more, then it was vanilla servers, then it was beta coming out, then it was the transmog system changes not being what people want it to be, then it was UI changes being made in the beta, then it was the pre-patch coming out and then it was the camera changes, then it was people complaining the audio drama wasn’t animated, then it was blaming Blizzard for DDoS attacks, and then it was the camera changes some more. I know this has been going on for a long time, and continue on for a longer time still, but it was too much. Too, too much.

Earlier last week, WoW pvp developer, Holinka, retweeted some of the messages that he has received on twitter. They’ve all been taken down now (the user as gone in to protective tweets mode), but one of them said the following:

@holinka if i lived somewhere in usa, i would definitely will travel to find you and murder you without regret

The others were along similar veins. One said something about crossing the street to stab Holinka, and that he (the tweeter) would proudly sit in jail for doing so.

To say I was upset about this is putting it mildly. I know it’s not directed to me, but these messages upset me greatly. Holinka is a person, just like every other dev working at Blizzard. They are people who show up to their jobs every day to work on a product that some of us buy. That’s it. And yet they are dealt with messages like the above every single day, just for showing up to work.You wouldn’t want to receive messages like that for showing up at your job every day, so why do people think it’s ok to do this to Blizzard employees?

It makes me sad for the human race that this is how people are about pixels on a screen – the level of entitlement that exists because they bought a product. That feeling that Blizzard owes them something because people gave them money for a product.

We go back to that list above and we see it’s the same thing as those death tweets, just a weaker version of it. It’s bullying, no matter how you look at it.

What tipped me over the edge on Friday morning was the response to Blizzard’s attempt to address the issues people are having with the camera changes in WoW. I was happy to see them because I was hoping it would help address the issues people are genuinely having with camera changes in the game. (I know of some people who are directly affected by the camera changes. I also know some people who are just whinging.) So I was really disappointed that my twitter feed was full of messages of “it’s the least Blizzard could do”, or “this is not good enough”, or “this won’t fix the problem”. The changes weren’t even live in the game yet – people weren’t able to test them out – but Blizzard were faced with instant dismissal of the changes. And I just had enough.

I know everyone is not like this. There are so many wonderful things that the WoW community is capable of. There are beautiful support networks and organised group runs for mounts and charity events, the shared art, not to mention the love and good times everyone has during Blizzcon. This community is capable of so much good.

For some people, nothing Blizzard does will ever be good enough, but I don’t have to agree with it. I made a deal awhile back that I would try to make my positivity louder than the negativity, and I have been trying really hard at doing that. This weekend I just had to take a step back before it broke me. But I can, and I will, do better. I need to blog more, even if it’s just about random things I’m doing in game – anything that will help fill people’s timelines with good WoW news instead of the negativity a lot of us are seeing.

Check out…

In the meantime, while I get off my butt to write more, go visit some of my favourite things:

Z is for Zeirah’s blog. Z took a bit of a break from WoW and is back to it full time and has been posting wonderful blog entries about her latest adventures.

Natanie & Moogyver’s WoW Roadtrip is a brilliant new blog that collates Moogyver’s roadtrip adventures throughout Azeroth. Natanie also shares some of her latest adventures. (Also – check out the little hoofprints on the maps! ZOMG just the cutest!!!)

Adventures in Azeroth is a new podcast with Leeta and Stone, and is just delightful. Together they share what they get up to in WoW, and it’s loads of fun.

As for shameless plugs, you might be interested in the two podcasts I co-host on. Battletagged is all about what’s happening in game – we laugh a LOT during this show (we can be a bit silly sometimes). And Reins of Azeroth is all about achievements and mounts and collecting things – all the different things you can do and collect in game.

If you know of a blog or podcast or anything you think others might like to know about that promotes a good time in game, let me know and I’ll mention them in a future post.

As for now, go be loudly positive!

xo

 

It’s been awhile since I posted. I’ll be honest, I’ve been busy and not really having a brilliant time of things so haven’t had a lot of energy to write. That’s not to say that things haven’t been happening, so that’s why I’m here.

Raiding

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All dressed up for a Mythic Mannaroth fight

The biggest thing is that I’m now 12/13 mythic bosses down in Hellfire Citadel. Things with the new raid team are going alright. I still feel like I’m not good enough, but I am trying my best and hopefully it’s enough. I’ll probably feel a bit more stable about things when my trial period is over. The existing healer team is very strong, and as a restoration shaman going up against well geared priests and paladins… well it was always going to be a bit rough. I just focus on doing the absolute best that I can, and making sure I do all boss mechanics properly (or admit to failing them when I do!).

The guild has a really interesting dynamic – everyone is very passionate about raiding and doing it well, which can lead to heated discussions. There’s also no issue with calling people out if they do something wrong in a fight. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea – and I never thought I’d do well in a team like that – but it actually works well with these guys. None of it is taken personally – if you’re called out for making a mistake in a fight, you’re not being called out on a personal level, just the mistake that you made so that it doesn’t happen again and so that other people don’t make the same mistake. It makes me work harder – it makes me want to be better. And like I said, it’s not personal. Everyone jokes around and seems to have a good relationship with one another. I’m liking the guild and the raiding – I really do hope they keep me!

The only downside at the moment is having to grind out valor. My game time has been shrunk a bit lately because of how busy I have been, and how often we raid. It feels like all my WoW time is going in the valor capping, and it’s awful. One of the better ways of getting valor is with mythic dungeons, which I personally am just not a fan of. But more than that, it just means that what little time I do have in game is spent doing that. I haven’t done mount farming for weeks. I forced myself over the weekend to do what I wanted to do (more on that later) but the niggling in the back of mind that I should be grinding valor was there the whole time which soured things a bit. I’m trying to find a compromise with myself, but haven’t got there yet.

Moving alts & transmog

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Silly Cinder…

I did have a realisation the other day that avoided what could have been a bit of a disaster – I’ve been wanting to transfer my paladin and my mage to my new server (hoping I get to stay there!). I feel really naked without my alts with me, so I was wanting to bring over the 2 others I had definitely planned on bringing. Thor suggested I wait until we’re in the team for sure, which is good advice. But then I realised something else. On my old server (where all my other toons are) I have 7 other max level toons as well as a bank toon with a jam packed guild bank, and another level 65ish DK with big bags that are probably about three quarters full. Most of these toons are hoarding huge amounts of transmog gear. Some has been to sell, but a lot is being held in preparation for the new transmog system in Legion.

With the new transmog system, a player needs to be able to equip the gear in order to have it added to the wardrobe. So for example if I wanted to add a plate chest to my wardrobe, a paladin, warrior or death knight would need to be able to equip it (which means they would also need to be at the appropriate level to learn it, too). I only have 1 plate wearer – my paladin. If I had have transferred here now, I wouldn’t have been able to learn all of the plate transmog gear I’ve  been holding on to! (She has no bag space either… I really am a bad hoarder!) So I saved myself some heartache there. What it does mean, though, is that no toons will be moving until the pre-expansion patch releases that brings out the wardrobe system. Very glad I realised all that before I made the move!!

Making a monk

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Cindersong – fierce, but adorable!

Speaking of feeling lost without my alts – I can’t afford to move all my toons over to the new server. It’s a server and faction change, which is over $60 per toon. I have 7 plus the guild bank toon, which means a small fortune to move them all. I’ve made the decision that I’ll definitely be moving across my paladin and my mage (because they were my first toons and I always find myself falling back to them.) I miiiiight move my warlock because she has the green fire and title etc. and I worked really hard for that! But not sure yet.

Anyway, this means that I need my other alts. So I have started levelling a monk. Most of the time I play her while on the bench from raiding (I’m not in for Archimonde fights) but this weekend I decided to spend a decent amount of time levelling her, so that I could feel like I’d had some “me” WoW time. I really love levelling. The world of Azeroth (and beyond) is so amazing. But there is so much content that gets skipped over. (definitely a topic for a future blog post).

Anyway, Cindersong is currently level 64. She’s Windwalker at the moment, but I’ll get her doing Mistweaving again when she’s higher level. For now, she’s having a blast kicking things in the face 🙂 (Monks really do have awesome animations!) After my monk, I’ll get back to a Night Elf druid I started levelling awhile ago.

All over the internets

So in addition to the WoW stuff, I’ve also been getting around the interwebs. A couple of weeks ago now I was approached by Dorelei who writes for the Chain Heal website (which is a GREAT site for restoration shamans, btw! Check it out!!). She wanted to do an interview with me for their “Shaman Meet Up” segment. So that was a lot of fun. You can read it here.

Battletagged has been going well – we’ll be doing episode 13 on Tuesday which is all about datamining. Should be a good conversation I think.

Reins of Azeroth is also going well, with episode 14 of that due to be recorded next Tuesday as well. I’ve been spending a load of time on the website for that, including making a huge spread sheet of all the mounts we’ve covered, which hopefully people are finding useful. It is starting to get to a the point where we are going to have covered all of the mounts, so it’s in the back of my mind that we need to figure out what to do after that. Achievements? Toys? Pets? All of the above? Who knows. People seem to like the show, though, so we might just ask what the people want 🙂

In addition to all of that, I’ve going to be a guest on 3 different podcasts in the next month. I am geeking out about all 3. One is Girls Gone WoW which I’ve been on twice already, but EJ and Raven are so lovely, and it was the first podcast I got into so it always has a special place in my heart. The other two podcasts I won’t mention yet because the shows haven’t mentioned me being on there yet! But they are two other podcasts that are right up there on my favourites list, and I am so stoked to have been asked to be on them! I’ll definitely be posting when they are out.

 

Ok, that’s enough from me! I think we’re all caught up here. 🙂

 

So for the past few weeks a couple of us have been hard at work putting together a brand new podcast, and we are now ready to share it with the world! Battletagged is a podcast hosted by a bunch of Battletag friends – Neuro, Klor and myself – and we talk all things Blizzard games. I.e. the games you play with your battlenet friends (with a heavy focus on World of Warcraft, because that’s the best game!).

The show is designed to be like the discussions you have with your guild mates in vent/mumble/guild chat etc – light hearted, thought provoking, a little bit silly at times, with lots in depth discussion and of course loads of laughs. We’ve been recording for a couple of weeks now to get in to the swing of things and to get used to the whole podcasting experience, so there are a couple of episodes ready for your ears.

You can listen/download the show on Battletagged.com. If you’d like to get in touch with us, you can email us at battletagged@gmail.com or add us on twitter @Battletagged. We’re always keen to hear from listeners, whether it’s a story you want to share, or a show idea or just general feedback – get in touch!

Hope you like the show! 😀

P.S. We do sometimes swear on the show, so if you’re not a fan of the occasional naughty words, please keep that in mind.