We ended up packing our suitcases a few times to help shuffle the weight around. We had a few big boxes of gifts to give to people while we were in the USA, and then of course we needed to pack clothes, which was interesting because we needed to pack for potentially hot California and really cold Yosemite. So it was a lot of trial and error!
The longest Monday
I don’t know how I managed to sleep on the Sunday night before we left. I think being completely exhausted from work helped a lot! Once I was awake I was well and truly awake, so we had our showers then headed off to catch the bus to the airport.
I like to be at the airport early. I’m not a good flyer, so being there with plenty of spare time helps me to calm down. Having said that, Thor will never let me live it down because we got there so early we couldn’t hand in our bags and check in. Oops! (it was only 10 minutes too early!!) We had a few dramas – for some reason when we tried to put our bags in it said we had 2 too many (which we didn’t). It got fixed fine, but then when we went to put our bags on the conveyor belt thing, the whole thing shut down! Something happened when the man at the booth next to us put his bags in, but the timing of it was unnerving.
So we passed through security no worries and find somewhere to have breakfast. It was only at this point that I started to calm down a little and realise we were on our way to America! eeee!!
Eventually we headed towards our gate, only to find another round of security. Well, kinda. Blocking our path to the gate was a temporary table with some people sitting at it, checking our tickets. Everyone was going through fine, including Thor. But of course it got to me and I was asked to a different area for further processing. Ummm ok? Anyway, it turned out they were doing some new extra security stuff and my ticket had been flagged to go through the process (we think this is why our bag situation got borked at check in). Nothing drastic, but I did have to run around with my little compression socks, looking like a fool.
So I passed through yet another security check and we’re waiting at the gate when next minute my name is called over the loud speaker. I have never been upgraded to business class on a flight, so my heart leapt at the thought that this could be the moment! But no, it wasn’t. I was being called so they could check I had gone through the extra security. Well poop.
Flight 1 was from Melbourne to Auckland and it was uneventful. But I will say this – Air New Zealand has great planes. We paid a little extra (like $15 per ticket) to have a pair of seats together at the back. The pair was the whole row, and we did it because we’re both big people, so this way we were only squishing on ourselves, not random strangers. It was the best decision. The seats were perfect. I could even cross my legs in front of me I had that much room! (And that never happens given my size and height!). So if you fly Air NZ and you get the opportunity for those pairs of seats, do it, they are brilliant.
Our stop over in Auckland was for 5 hours or so. It was a lovely airport. There was loads of art leading us to the international transfer area, and then in the terminal itself there was lots of nice stuff to look at.
We found ourselves a couch and parked there watching netflix on our ipads with the the free wifi. Not the worst way to pass the time!
Eventually it was time for the big flight to LA. It was a doozy. 12 hours all up. I did manage to sleep for a little while. Thank goodness for inflight wifi and downloaded Netflix shows on our ipads! By the time we landed we were pretty exhausted. And had arrived only a few hours after we left (time zones are weird).
Getting through customs was every bit as terrible as people say it is. Despite having visa waivers and being (apparently) able to have a faster process to get through customs, every single person there ended up in the 1 long line, waiting for 3 or 4 border patrol guys to check us all and let us in. It was actually stupid. We were in that line for well over an hour. I felt so bad for anyone who had a transfer, because they were in it too! I was baffled at the stupidity of the system. But it was what it was and we waited.
Then we started playing a game – spot the BlizzCon attendee! We noticed a few people popping up in the line wearing Blizzard shirts. Then we saw Preach and his family in the line… it helped us stay excited and focused. Despite claiming food products on our forms, noone asked what they were or to look at them, and we passed through customs and all the security stuff quickly and easily.
Getting to the hotel was a bit of a pain because I had not gotten around to booking a shuttle bus. Which wouldn’t have mattered because we couldn’t find anything at the airport anyway. LAX really wasn’t that fun lol Being so tired didn’t help either. But eventually we got on a shuttle bus to the hotel… and we were there! We were in LA!
As we were coming in on the plane I couldn’t get over just how massive LA was. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. It was exciting, but in a way made me feel a bit claustrophobic at the same time! Being on the road was also as daft as people had said it would be, and the hotel ended up being further than we thought. But we made it in one piece.
We stayed at the Double Tree at Anaheim, and I will say this up front – they were fantastic. The rooms were really great, beds SO comfy, and the staff were amazing. Price-wise it was pretty good, really. It didn’t include breakfast, but it was so close to the Convention Centre that we didn’t need to pay for Ubers or anything, so had some trade offs there. So if you’re looking for somewhere for a future BlizzCon, we definitely recommend!
Despite how tired we were, we forced ourselves to stay awake, with the goal of going to bed at a normal time for California. So instead of going to sleep straight away (as much as we wanted to!) we forced ourselves to leave the room and go get some dinner. Thankfully there was a Denny’s across the road from the hotel that would give us our first taste of US food. We learned the hard way that serving sizes are really something else in the US. Thor had ordered a “sampler” plate, thinking it would have a couple of things on it… not the multitudes of food that it did have! And the sauces, oh my good lord they were the size of bowls of soup! I got a nachos for myself that I barely made a dent in. All we could do was laugh and try to learn from the mistake (hint: we didn’t get this right ever during the whole trip!)
With our bellies full and it late enough in the evening, we wandered back to the hotel for our first night’s sleep. To help make sure we stayed asleep we had a sleeping tablet each to knock ourselves out, and I have to say it was the best thing we could have done. We both slept solidly, and woke up the next morning at a normal California time feeling completely refreshed. Huzzah! No jet lag for us!
Our first full day in LA, and our primary goal was to get supplies. We didn’t want to be spending money eating dinner out every night, and we needed breakfast foods, so we headed off to a Target that we knew was nearby. We also needed SIM cards. Another lesson learned here… I had initially planned to have SIMs arranged before we left, but just ran out of time to get us all sorted, so we relied of getting things sorted out in Anaheim. It was a giant pain in the ass. Target ended up being a bust so we had to head off to try and find SIM cards from somewhere else…. but then they didn’t have what we needed. In the end we got the SIM cards from a small convenience store, but setting them up was bloody stupid too. Anyway, the moral of the story is to have this stuff sorted out before you go!
With SIM cards, bottles of water, breakfasts, snacks and foods all sorted, we headed back. It was a LOT of walking on this day, but I think overall it helped us get used to the time. And the sun wasn’t terrible 🙂
Once we were back near the hotel, we decided to have a bit of a wander down near the Convention Centre so that we could have a sneak peak at BlizzCon getting set up, and to get our bearings of the place. This was when I really started getting butterflies. It was nearly time for BlizzCon!!!!!
For dinner we had wandered up towards a nearby shopping mall (?) and found ourselves in a mexican restaurant. It was pretty good!
The mall itself was amazing – it had loads of Halloween decorations (which we aren’t really used to seeing back home) and also had loads of art around the place and fun lights and stuff. I liked it 🙂 Then on the way back we passed Bubba Gumps! That was something new for us.
Last thing for the evening was to put together all of our Aussie treats for people. We made some little goodie bags for friends we knew we would see, and packaged together some little Tim Tam packs for anyone else who wanted them. We also had a really big box of treats for a special friend and her team 🙂
All in all it was a busy couple of days, but it really did help us get settled in to a proper sleeping routine, and avoiding jet lag, which we were really grateful for.
I looked at the date today and realised that it’s just over 2 months until we head off to LA for Blizzcon and I am FREAKING OUT.
I have done nothing more for our trip since initially booking flights months ago other than thinking a lot about it. Not acting on anything, just thinking about it all. Freakin’ typical.
Our list of things still to do is pretty big:
sort out visa
buy Disneyland tickets
buy Universal Studios tickets
figure out what we are going to do for the 10 days between when we leave Anaheim and when we fly back home – including where we are going to stay!
sort out our flights over* (more on that below)
figure out what the hell I’m going to wear
buy comfortable shoes
figure out what days we’re going to Disneyland and Universal studios
figure out a day to go to the beach (it’s a personal thing – have to stick my feet in every new ocean I am near)
organise presents for US friends
make a list of people we need to buy presents for back home
$$$ do our taxes so we can pay for everything!!! $$$
Oh look, there’s so much more than that, but that’s just what is floating around at the moment.
Actually, one of the decisions we have been trying to make is around Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. I think we’re pretty settled on going to both of these places, but how we get there has been a bit back and forth. Initially we had planned on driving and doing a fun road trip, but then had advice from some friends who have driven in LA who said to avoid it at all costs. So then we started looking for flights instead. I asked for some advice on airlines for the trip (thanks friends for the input!)… but someone said we should just do a road trip. And honestly, I think that’s where our hearts lie. So even though it’ll be scary driving on the other side of the road and having the steering wheel on the left and all that, it looks like that will be our plan. We like adventures 🙂
So the flights thing. We booked our flights ages ago, which is fine. I got an email from our airline about a week or so ago now saying that the plane we were due to fly over on was one of those planes that was having issues with crashing all the time, so they need to send it away to be fixed. They are leasing a plane from someone else to replace the original plane. Now, I am all for not exploding on my flights so have no issues with the planes being changed – 100% in support of this decision. However it does put us in an awkward spot. We had paid extra to sit in some specific seats that were in a pair towards the back of the plane. We did this to help manage my anxiety over flying, but also because, in a row of just the 2 of us, us being large people wouldn’t impact anyone else (and again would help ease my anxiety). With being on this new plane we have been told seats are no longer guaranteed. While they will do their best, they can’t guarantee any special seats chosen will be available. If we paid extra and didn’t get what we wanted they would reimburse us. That’s all well and good, but I’d rather the seats. So I need to call them to make some arrangements. It’s just triggering my anxiety a bit (seeing a theme here?!!) but I just have to do it.
It’s slow going, and really getting to the point where we have to make some hard and fast decisions. I think this weekend will be quite busy with planning!
I’ve been quite sick all week this week. It’s just a cold, but it’s been a big one. I’ve been off work for almost the whole week (thankfully being able to work from home), and am still recovering now (I sound like a hag! It’s actually kinda funny lol)
Despite being quite ill (and having no GPU at the moment… but that’s another story) I still showed up to raid on Wednesday and Thursday evening to help the team get another Jaina mount. It was pretty rough going, but hey, you gotta help the team out, right?
After our mythic Stormwall Blockade kill on Thursday night, some Slimy Kelpweavers dropped. I checked and they were an upgrade for me, and I won them. I promptly equipped them, as we got on the boat to Jaina. While we were waiting for the rest of the team to zone in, I checked my character screen to look at these Kelpweavers in a bit more detail.
But they were gone.
Instead, on my wrists where the Kelpweavers should be were Icebinder’s Bracers. Huh??! I searched my bags – no Kelpweavers. Then all of a sudden our GM was unable to speak in Officer chat. While he was trying to sort that out, I decided to hearth out to see if I had accidentally sold the wrists to a vendor when I repaired. So I get in to the inn – nup, nothing on the vendor. I brought Thor over and showed him – Icebinder’s on my character, but no Slimy Kelpweavers in my bags! He agreed he couldn’t see the wrists either. I decide to log out and log back in again to see if that would help.
So I log out… and can’t get back in again. Then the GM gets booted too… and a whole bunch of other people. Ahhh ok there are server issues. Crap! The server issues must have deleted my gear!! Ok this is making some sense. (Kinda?)
Once I get back in to the game I double check – still no wrists. But at least now I have an idea of why. So we eventually go on to kill Jaina and give out another mount, and I head over to Support to lodge a ticket.
Clearly there was a mistake here, but it’s ok! The Blizz Support team haven’t let me down yet! They can fix it!
I went to bed confused (and coughing) but hopeful it would be sorted out.
I received a reply the next day:
ok great! So it looks like it’s fixed itself overnight. Huzzah!
I log on to my character to check… but no. There are those Icebinder’s Bracers still on my wrists. And the only other wrists I have are Ape Wrangler’s Wristguards in my bags. This doesn’t make sense! I even did an Ask Mr Robot string for best in bags, and it had listed “Icebinder’s Bracers” in the wrist slot, and didn’t even have the Slimy Kelpweavers as an option to equip! They were clearly missing.
I took some screenshots to show the bracers I had on, and the Ape Wrangler’s Wristguards that were in my bags, and then sent off another reply:
(My favourite part (now) in that reply is my comment “I promise I’m not going batty!… I’m not being completely stupid!”. Yeah ok Cinder! Jokes on you!)
I was completely baffled by this point. Why could they see something on my character that I couldn’t? Did my character have an issue with getting loot? I was so paranoid about it that I did mount runs on an alt instead of her, just in case there was a bug that would make my loot disappear.
This morning I have another reply from Blizz… and honestly, it’s the most polite reply I’ve ever had, but I am absolutely certain behind the scenes they were either laughing their ass off at me, or rolling their eyes so hard at the stupid.
Here is the final reply in this saga:
Yeah… they were gloves, not bracers. *facepalm* And yes, they were most definitely on my character. In the hand slot, where they belong. I’m pretty sure my ticket is stuck up on a wall of “stupidest support issues” at Blizzard…
Clearly I’m sicker than I thought and my brain is a bit broken. Excuse me while I shamefully crawl back in to bed and die of embarrassment!
Note: there are no spoilers in this post for Avengers: Endgame or Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. This is a safe space!
What a week it has been! With all the public holidays happening over Easter and ANZAC day, I decided to fill in the blanks with personal leave to get 10 days off work for a mini-break – I really needed it! But I tell you what, it has turned out to be one hell of an emotional week.
The bananas week started on Monday, which was my 8 year anniversary with my partner, Thor. But before we got to celebrating, I guested on the Girls Gone WoW podcast, which meant a 4am wake up call. Eep! But it was so worth it. EJ & Raven are justt so lovely, and we had a good laugh. (You can check out the episode here.) For our anniversary, Thor and I spent the day binge watching Umbrella Academy on Netflix, which was so great. Aside from it being a great show, it was nice to just spend time together doing nothing else.
Tuesday I went and visited a lovely friend of mine to have lunch with her and her partner and their gorgeous new baby. This was probably my most chilled out day all week, to be honest.
Wednesday was where things really ramped up. At 8:45am (which is generally far too early for a movie!) Thor and I were sitting in a theatre ready to watch Avengers: Endgame. I will not spoil anything here. Suffice it to say it was an emotional experience, as I expected it would be. It was truly fantastic though, and well worth the early start to the day to avoid spoilers.
Then came Thursday. Our anniversary present to ourselves was to go and see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play that is currently showing here in Melbourne. We bought the tickets months ago. They were not cheap, but as a mad Harry Potter fan, I figured it would be worth it to experience this. I was not disappointed. For those who are unaware, the play runs over 2 showings. We saw Part 1 on Thursday, and Part 2 on Friday. I was in tears just arriving at the theatre. I mean, look!
To be fair, most things makes me cry. This in particular was always bound to have me in a mess – to see this amazing world Rowling created come to life in front of us… well I didn’t really stand a chance. The show itself… it wasn’t without flaws, don’t get me wrong, but it was genuinely magical. Well worth the ticket price, and then some. Being able to experience the world again was just amazing. I highly recommend it.
But the emotions didn’t stop on Thursday night. We got home after seeing Part 1 of the show, and I was way too amped up to go to bed any time soon, so stayed up a bit to level my paladin in WoW. And wouldn’t you know it – Blizzcon 2019 dates finally got announced!! 1-2 November, with a special community day on the 31st (the Thursday before the con itself). EEEEEEEEEPPPP!!!!
What makes this Blizzcon so special is that this year, Thor and I will be attending! We will be making the trip from Australia to LA. We’re making the most of it, planning to be there for 20 days. So far we have planned Blizzcon (of course!), Disneyland (of course!), and Wizarding World of Harry Potter (of course!). Now we are just working on the rest of it. There’s a travel expo coming up in a week or so that we’ll go to to see if we can get some good deals. But anyways, that was Thursday.
Friday was Part 2 of Cursed Child. Again, no spoilers, but I was openly weeping during parts of it.
Come Saturday, I’m pretty exhausted but still seriously pumped for Blizzcon. I had organised accommodation around 2 months ago for the dates I guessed Blizzcon would be – thankfully I was correct! – so we were already ahead with somewhere to stay for the convention and Disneyland. But what we hadn’t sorted yet, and why I’ve been so desperate for the dates to be announced, was our flights. Unfortunately flights that we had been looking at were already gone and almost doubled in price. So I spent a big chunk of Saturday looking at what was available, checking times, legroom etc. In the end we settled on an airline and flights and we think we should be pretty good. Most importantly, we booked the flights. That was a big expense, and hence the overwhelming moment of the day. But I did feel good to do.
The other adventure on Saturday was my passport. I lost it. Well, temporarily. It was funny, because last time Thor and I went on a big trip together there were a lot of dramas with his passport/s and everything was fine with me. This time around he knew exactly where his was, and he’s good to go. Me? I had put mine in a really stupid place and couldn’t find it for the longest time. And then when I did find it, I saw it was expired. Thankfully not too long expired so the replacement process should be pretty quick. But it’s nearly $300 for a new one, and I could have done without that expense!
Today, Sunday, it seems things have calmed back down again. I levelled my paladin and she dinged 120, but other than that it’s been a pretty cruisey day. Tomorrow I am back to work and basically will be super busy until this trip. But it will be worth it!
I’m going to track all my Blizzcon prep and posts as best as I can, and will make a little sub-section on my site for awhile for anyone who wants to follow along on these adventures. In the meantime, I’ve already made a countdown for our trip!! Check it out!
Tomorrow patch 8.1.5 arrives in World of Warcraft, and with it comes the much-anticipated allied races of Kul’Tiran humans and Zandalari trolls (along with a WHOLE bunch of awesome content!) I am beyond excited (as usual) for new WoW content. But I will admit I’m feeling bittersweet.
Since I first learned of the Kul’Tirans being added to the game, I’ve known I wanted to play one. The idea of having a larger sized female model in the game with hips and a butt and a thick waist, who is still strong and powerful was something I couldn’t pass up. I promised myself that if they could be shamans, I would race change my main character to be one. And as luck would have it, shamans were announced at Blizzcon as a class that Kul’Tiran’s can play!
In a way I have been dreading this day for awhile. It sounds melodramatic, but my pandaren shaman was my first toon that I ever really connected with. She has been so good at embodying what I wanted from a character in a game like World of Warcraft. She has been strong, but kind, fierce but lovable. But these aren’t traits that are unique to being a pandaren – they are what I want from a female with curves who isn’t just comic relief or “that fat friend”. So I guess in a way I’m taking this opportunity to make a point.
Maybe it’s stupid to make a statement like this, but right now, for me, it’s important. I need to see a woman in game who kinda looks like me who isn’t a complete mess, who gets up and kicks ass and fights for what she believes in and doesn’t let others’ opinions of her appearance stop her from doing what she wants.
So tomorrow, once I have unlocked the quests, I will log out from my pandaren shaman in the place that made her happiest – her little home at Sunsong Ranch, overlooking the beautiful Valley of the Four Winds.
But for now, it’s time to farewell my pandaren self. Here’s to some amazing moments 🙂
And look, I’m not silly. I know that if I’m too sad not being my pandaren any more, I can always change back. 🙂
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.
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:
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. 🙂
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. ❤
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.
Anyways, that’s where I am at the moment. Give me two weeks and I’ll be around a lot more!
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:
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.
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.
I was staying shaman. I’m too attached to my shaman ways.
No increase to raid time – 3 days max of prog raiding. Ideally, 2, but that’s pretty hard to find.
No downgrades – I wanted to find a team within 1 boss prog of myself.
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! 🙂
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
8. Favourite weather?
See question 3. But also, rain.
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.
one of my favourite photos I have taken
16. Do you believe in aliens?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 😦
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?
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! 😀
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.
I really love a new pre-patch. There’s something about it that makes me feel like I’ve got a clean slate. It’s a new beginning which means new opportunities to kick butt in game and have new adventures.
It’s also an opportunity to have a bit of a spring clean and a makeover, which is exactly what I’ve done. I’ve not changed a lot on my website. Most of the things I did were to prepare my raiding killshots pages for Battle for Azeroth and archive the Legion ones. I also changed some pictures and some slight changes to the landing page. The biggest difference, though, is my new site logo!
Back when I became a twitch affiliate I needed to get some sub emotes designed. Of course I immediately thought of the incredible Sirius, and commissioned her to make some totem emotes (which are absolutely ADORABLE by the way!!) I loved them so much that when it came time to spruce up my blog a bit, I decided to use them here, too. (and you guys should absolutely check out Sirius’ art on her website over at https://supersirius.net)
The biggest changes, though, were on my twitch stream.I’d been wanting a change for a little while, and the launch of Battle for Azeroth’s pre-patch was as good an excuse as any.
I found a neat theme that I liked that was also highly customisable called Stonefire from Nerd or Die. I just love it. (Helped that it was super decently priced, too!!) I made the theme a deep blue to show my Alliance allegiance.
Obviously it looks better when it’s live because it’s all animated, but you get the idea 🙂
Anyways, that’s what I’ve been busy with over the past week or so. That and, of course, getting used to all the class changes. As of writing this, there’s just over 3 weeks to go until Battle for Azeroth launches for real!!! I’M SO EXCITED!!!!!!
I’ve been wanting to do something for my guild for quite some time. Sure, we’ve only been together (in this form) since the end of Tomb of Sargeras (so since around November/December last year? And to be fair, I’ve been raiding with some of them for the whole of Legion. ), but in that time I’ve grown so fond of my guildies. And I wanted to say thank you.
Thing is, the past few months have been a bit rubbish. Well, truth be told, the past year hasn’t been the greatest (work situations are just the worst for making you feel crap!) and raiding with these folks has been one of the few things that has kept me sane (that, and of course, Thor). Raiding with Realm is something I look forward to each week. I love these guys to bits. Even when we yell at each other. Even when we’re apes (ok, maybe especially when we’re apes). When we’re killing bosses together, or playing hide and seek in Dalaran, or fudging our way through mythic+ dungeons & bgs… it’s all just been so much fun. Pulling together and getting our Cutting Edge on mythic Argus the other week really was the icing on the cake of what was already an amazing expansion.
So I’ve been wracking my brains for what to do. And for the longest time I knew precisely what I wanted to do. But… well, I don’t have the talent to do it. (I maaaaaaayy have re-written the lyrics to ‘Part of your World’ from The Little Mermaid to tell the story of someone who wants to raid with us 😀 But I can’t sing for shit!) So I was back to square one.
Then the other day, when I was doing my WoW screenshots archiving, it occurred to me that I have a lot of screenshots. (Seriously… a LOT). And I had already been asking guildies for pics of themselves for me… so I decided to make a mosaic of all of us (and a whooooole bunch of pics from Antorus) into a wallpaper using our guild logo.
UPDATED: added some more raider pics to it cos some people were missing in the first one 🙂
The original is big enough that you can zoom in and see all the individual pictures pretty well (not perfect, but well enough!). If you want to have a look, check out the fullsize version of the wallpaper here. Here are some snippets:
I know I’m a giant sap, but I’m an older lady now, and I’m very fond of the people that I chose to spend so much time with each week. I just want them to know how appreciative I am that they put up with my cranky moods and my nagging for screen shots and silly wee wee songs and inappropriate jokes (though, I’m the tamest of them all, I swear it!). I am so thankful for these people who have stood up for me and come to my defence when trolls came to my stream; who have become facebook friends and not run away screaming when they see pics of me; who don’t make fun of my terrible kill videos; who are there for a chat in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep; who are just good fun people to be around (even when I’m not).
So Realm – thank you for being amazing. I am so looking forward to kicking ass with you all in Battle for Azeroth. ❤
P.S. Here are some closeups of the guildies who sent me selfies ❤ (All the pics below are in the mosaic)
Well hi there, friends. Today I wanted to take on a little peak behind the curtain, and show you where I am when I’m writing/streaming/talking to you all. It’s take awhile… in fact, it’s take the whole time we’ve lived in this apartment, so about 4 years? But finally – FINALLY I have all my gaming/nerdy paraphernalia together! I’m pretty excited about it.
A few weeks back we finally had the extra cash (and time) to go down to Ikea and buy some more shelves. We then had quite the adventure moving old things out of the study to empty it so that we could build the shelves, and build my new desk, then move Thor’s desk back in (and toss my old one in the tip). Our apartment is quite small, so it’s a really strategic Tetris game at times, moving our furniture around. With things set up in the study, it was then a case of getting all the bits and pieces from the random boxes and shelves around the apartment, and bringing them together to their new home.
And now it’s done! This is my little corner! On the shelves themselves, the top shelf is for all the stuffed Warcraft toys (I’m determined to collect them all!). The tall black thing on the left is a fan… so it has to wear a fun hat hehe. The picture on the wall there is from a scene of one of my favourite episodes of Doctor Who (The Doctor’s Wife), which was written by Neil Gaiman (and also has Matt Smith, who is my favourite Doctor). On the far right of the top part is some beautiful artwork by the amazing Frenone, a token I got from the Australian Legion launch, and a Doomhammer necklace.
First shelf, top left, has more WoW goodies. Draped over the side is the amazing alliance scarf that the beautiful Natanie knitted for me ❤ ❤ Inside are collectables, mostly from Blizzcon boxes. To the right is the Star Wars shelf. To the right of that again is miscellaneous funko pops, including Wonder Woman, Thor, a Weeping Angel and Zoe from Firefly. And to the right of that again are all my theatre programmes (and a Singin’ in the Rain umbrella! <3)
Random bits and pieces
Theatre programmes (guarded by E.T)
Second row from the top we have my Collector’s Editions (just Mists and Legion so far- Battle for Azeroth will be added soon, though!) plus the 2 of the Chronicles books, and other Warcraft books. Also that long thin box in there- that was a Kris Kringle gift that I god a couple of years ago from a friend at work. Inside is Warcraft cookie cutters!! I haven’t used them yet… I really should.
To the right of that is more miscellaneous stuff, including a Harry Potter letter writing set (including wax seal!!), some of Thor’s Back to the Future collectables, a Doctor Who sonic spork (lol) and some Princess Bride cards. To the right of that is pretty much hidden by my monitors, and mostly contains random bits of nothing, although does have my Firefly – Still Flying book, and agraphic novel about Eminem (it’s freakin’ awesome). There are also two “books” that I wrote when I was in primary school. I’ll show them to you all one day 🙂 Lastly on that row are other stuffed toys, which are guarded by E.T. He’s currently wearing bunny ears… anyway, he talks what you squeeze his hand. He belongs to Thor, and even though we don’t really have room for him, I just can’t bear for him to be thrown away. So we always make room for him.
WoW collector’s editions, books and cookie cutters
Other nerdy bits and pieces
Lastly above my monitor is a signed print of the Firefly cast, and stuck to that is a pic of the amazing Joss Whedon (yes… I’m a massive Joss fan-girl). On my desk I have a replica Doomhammer, and because I am all about the Alliance, my Blizzcon Alliance coaster, and an Alliance notepad, which I use to make my raiding notes. And of course all my lighting is blue at the moment 😀
So that’s about it for the fun stuff. The rest of the shelves are stuff related to my writing (research books etc.) an old typewriter, and general storage. I’m pretty happy with everything. Under the desk I’ve currently got 4 big boxes full of stationery and shit. I’ve ordered some printed fabric to cover them… will show you when it arrives 🙂 But otherwise, I’m happy with it all.
Anyways, hope you enjoyed this peak into real-world Cinder 🙂
I have been working on this darn post for weeks now and haven’t gotten around to finishing it. I should have added “write my bucket list post” to my bucket list. Lame.
So 2018 is a big year for many reasons. The most obvious being that World of Warcraft’s next expansion, Battle for Azeroth will be coming out. awww yeah!
BfA’s release this year actually makes a bucket list a little tricky to do, because the release date will impact just how much I can get through. For the purposes of this bucket list, I’m going to assume that BfA will release on September 21st (which is the latest it can release, according to the pre-order). Obviously if BfA comes out a lot earlier, I’m not going to be able to achieve everything I want to… but we’ll see how I go. So, on with the list!
Make a list of every pet and mount available in Legion and get any that are missing (That are not RNG dependent).
To be fair, I think I’m most of the way through this, though there are obvious mounts that I am missing. Namely the pvp prestige mounts. There is at least 1 that I absolutely definitely have to get, and maybe even a 2nd if there is time. With the pets, I need to get Uuna and do her little quest line. I also need to get the new Mailemental pet, and need to finish the meta pet battle achievement on Argus (which thankfully is a lot easier than Family Familiar, but will still take a decent amount of time).
Finish getting all of the class mounts
At the time of writing this I have warlock, warrior, rogue, demon hunter and death knight left to go. The warlock is at 110, she’s just very slowly making her way through the rest of the order hall campaign, and will then move on to the class mount quests. The Rogue is at 108, so not too far off dinging (slow as she is) but my warrior, demon hunter and death knight I’ve not even started. And given how busy I’ve been lately, this is actually going to be a bit of a challenge to get done. But I will!
Get more Mage Tower appearances
When Battle for Azeroth launches, most of the artifact skins will remain. That is except for the Mage Tower challenge appearances, and the 15+ mythic keystone skin. Which means I have some work ahead of me! Below is a list of all the challenge appearances I want, in order of preference. The enhancement shaman one I’ve just been lazy about. Disc priest I’m just crap at… the rest I haven’t even bothered trying yet. But I do love their appearances so would really like to be able to get them done before they go away. The 15+ skin I’m less concerned about- that one would just be nice to have. 🙂
Protection paladin (though I honestly don’t see this one happening at all)
maaaaybe affliction warlock
The one thing I am very glad about is that the Balance of Power appearances don’t appear to be going away, so I’ve decided that I won’t focus on doing those on any toons yet. That will be a future Cinder problem.
I’m cheating a little with this one, because technically I’ve already “achieved” this, but I do want to stream more. I also want to be putting together more videos (though I would also like either some decent video editing software for my PC, or a better place to put my Mac so that I can do my editing work more easily!). I’m enjoying streaming, even though it kinda goes against all of my personality traits. But it’s nice having people around when we kill bosses 🙂
So that’s my list. I looks short, but each of those things is pretty time consuming. I’m genuinely concerned about my ability to get through all of these, given that March is hot on our heels, and let’s face it, Battle for Azeroth is more than likely going to come out earlier than September 21. But we will see how I go!
How is it that a month has passed since I wrote in here? Usually this happens when I’ve spent a lot of time out of the game and have just been busy with work, but that’s not the case this time (although the being busy with work is definitely true!).
Anyways, it’s been awhile, so I thought I’d best do a catch-up post to let you know what I’ve been up to and what I have planned.
So first up, probably the biggest reason I’ve been writing less in here is that I have been streaming quite a bit. It initially started to stream our raid nights, which was fun and all. But then this happened:
For reals! This was me at work when I got the email. Followed shortly after by tears.
I’ve been spending a bit of time in the Alpha running around and seeing how things are, reporting bugs and typos in quests and what not. And I’ve been streaming it, which has been quite fun. I don’t have a lot of viewers on raid nights because it’s a silly time in the US, but when I stream on weekends there are more people around, and it’s really enjoyable. I’m not a great streamer; I don’t show my face (because no-one needs to see that!) and I ramble a lot and get distracted, but hopefully it’s a little entertaining to people.
The other weekend I had a great time hanging out in alpha with some lovely friends in chat. We go to experience a terrifying quest line that just freaked me out so badly. It was scary and hilarious. I made a video about it, which was fun! It’s over here on YouTube if you’re interested. (WARNING: contains Alpha spoilers).
Between streaming all the raids and now the Alpha as well, I’ve been clocking up a decent amount of streaming time. And somehow have managed to get a reasonable number of followers and viewers… enough that this ended up happening the other day:
This basically means I’m able to have subscribers and stuff, which is kinda cool! I don’t actually expect this to go anywhere, but it is kinda fun 🙂 I celebrated by setting up a new overlay for my stream and making some new panels to match. I’m trying to get better at streaming, but I know I’ll never be anything interesting. I’m just doing it for the fun 🙂 If you want to stop by I’m over at twitch.tv/cinder_streams. (note: I will always say if I’m streaming Alpha so that if you’re not wanting spoilers, you can avoid them).
I KNOW! This was completely random, but we’ve started up Battletagged again. This time it’s going to be a lot more casual, with episodes being recorded when we have something to say (rather than trying to stick to a strict schedule). It’s just me and Neuro at the moment. We talk about it a bit more in our first episode back. We’ve got a new website address – Battletagged.com.au – but everything else should be the same. We’re back up on Stitcher and iTunes. Have a listen! And if there’s anything you’d like us to talk about on the show, let us know. 🙂
Raiding has been going ok. We had a rough time with Kin’garoth as well… for awhile we just weren’t really using a strat that worked for us (one of the challenges of there being so many different strats available for a boss!) In the end we got there though, with a strat that seems weird, but it’s what works for us, so that’s good!
After that it was Varimathras which we managed to get down really quickly actually. (I still need to make a kill video for it- oops!!) This week we went back to do a re-clear which took us awhile, but we do have a whole night to work on Coven tonight, which is going to drive us up the wall, but should be do-able either this week or next week.
So real-life stuff. Well, I got a promotion- huzzah! That was nice. But I has also meant that my workload has increased quite substantially. At the moment I don’t mind tooooo much.. it’s been really great the past week actually because part of my work requires us to do public consultation to get feedback on what we’re doing, and then check in again with everyone at the end to make sure we did what people wanted. I’m at that end part now, with checking in, and I’ve been getting some really lovely messages back, saying how impressed they are with our work etc. It makes all the extra hours worth it, you know? (That and I do honestly feel like the work I do has the ability to do some good in a small way, so that’s great too). Anyway, all of this has meant super busy days at work, which some people have noticed because I’ve also been neglecting twitter!
Anyways, that’s where things are at at the moment. I have to finish off my bucket list blog post (which is part way written… but might be December by the time I finish writing it! lol) I also want to do some posts about the alpha and the class changes and things like that… I just keep running out of time to do all the things I want to do. Gah! Why is sleep a thing, eh? Or maybe I could just be younger so I could deal with having less sleep. I hope everyone reading is doing well. I promise to keep trying to write more often!
I’m currently in the middle of a different post, but I saw that the Blizzcon2017 schedule was released today and just had to squee about it for awhile! Seriously, the hype is oh so real.
Blizzcon schedule now live
Blizzcon this year looks AMAZING. There are so many panels that I’m planning to watch, that I don’t know if there will be enough hours in the day.
One of the more notable differences to the schedule this year is the inclusion of an extra stage. This means more panels, which equals one happy Blizzfan! The addition of this extra area has meant that some of the panels that Virtual Ticket attendees haven’t been able to see in the past, are now on stage and being recorded for us. The stages also have new names to show the focus each area has.
Blizzcon 2017 stages and their names
The stage I’m so excited to see is the Heroic stage. The panels on this stage are everything I could have wanted to see, and more. Panels on this stage alone include:
LoreCraft- the art of storytelling which is all about the writing side of Blizzard games (and area that I am just so passionate about!)
SoundCraft – and interactive Blizzard sound demonstration which has is described as being a live demo of how some of the in-game sounds are made!!
Exploring the Wide World of Blizzard Careers – because who doesn’t want to work for Blizzard!
Stay Awhile and Listen – this has the following description: Everyone at BlizzCon has their own unique story to share about how Blizzard has impacted their lives. Hear from four different storytellers as they narrate their touching, funny, and memorable experiences live. AMAZING! I can already tell I’m going to end up in tears watching that.
The stage also has a bunch of art-related panels, and some coding and programming panels, too, which will be so great for anyone who is wanting to move into that area.
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!! the Epic stage is described as the Community stage, and it too has some excellent panels listed, including an Author Showcase, LIVE recordings of The Instance and AllCraft (I’m with Rho- had no idea this existed…and me personally, I wouldn’t be calling this a podcast…but should still be interesting non-the-less), a panel with Geek & Sundry (ZOMG), a panel called Living Blizzard – Pursuing Your Passion (which, for someone like me, sounds amazing and will probably make me cry)… there’s also two panels about getting into cosplay.
Already, this is more hours of visuals than I’ll have time to watch, and we’re not even talking about the main events here!!!! In the announcement of the schedule, Blizz mentioned that the Opening Ceremony, which is usually held on the main stage, will actually be presented across the multiple stages. This sounds brilliant, especially for physical attendees- not everyone can fit into the main stage to watch it. This way, they will have a bit of live action at whatever stage they end up sitting at. And as a Virtual Ticket holder, we just get a darn awesome view of everything 😀
Clearly I’m more than a little excited about it all. More excited than I have been in past years, actually, mostly due to the additional stages and all the creative panels. It’s right down my ally in terms of things I’m really interested in. I’m extremely grateful I’m not the only person who enjoys this stuff, and even more grateful that Blizzard recognises this and does some presentations for us. I’m expecting an announcement about the closing act in a few weeks’ time. Here’s hoping it’s someone fun! The one thing I did notice was that the cosplay competition wasn’t listed anywhere. I’m wondering if it’s the panel currently titled as Community Night, or maybe I’m just blind.
Oh my goodness what a month this has been! Back at the end of August when I finally made the decision to move my blog to somewhere more permanent, I had no idea how long it would be until my blog was safely in place and available to post to. I expected a weekend of setting up and getting comfy before I would be able to post… but a month passed in a flash.
It’s been, well, pretty stupid to say the least. Firstly, work has gotten really busy. As many of you know I started a new job a few months back now, and about a month ago things really picked up in pace. I finally got my own project to work on, which has had me working later and completely flat out while I’m at the office, so doing sneaky blog work during my lunch break was impossible.
And then the move itself. The plan was to move over to wordpress.org. I had spent ages researching different hosting options, found the template I wanted to use and was all set. But I hit roadblock after roadblock; posts wouldn’t export properly nor would they import properly over to the new server, the template seemed to cause problem after problem… nothing seemed to work the way it was supposed to, and not matter what I did, I couldn’t get things right. It was all just a complete and utter nightmare. So much so that I even considered just forgetting it all and closing my blog. But I really missed writing in here, so that wasn’t really an option.
In the end I didn’t go anywhere. I set myself up on a paid plan at wordpress.com and just rebuilt here. Yes, it’s more expensive, but I know it works, and I have loads more storage space (which was one of the big reasons I needed to move in the first place).
But I tell you what, what horrible timing this all turned out to be! The past month in WoW has been AMAZING! Argus is absolutely everything I could have hoped for and more. I’m having so much fun running around there doing all the quests, experiencing some amazing lore and those cinematics!! SO AWESOME!! And then there was the lucid nightmare, and our raid team is back up and running and even this weekend alone has been eventful. And my poor blog challenge with Z has been awfully neglected while I try and get all of this blog stuff sorted out. Just terrible timing for it all.
BUT! I’m here again, and more excited than ever to be playing WoW and SO glad I have a place to share all my adventures again.
I hope you guys like the new layout! Something a little different 🙂 The front page was interesting to put together. I’ve also added some new pages, including a better looking Raiding Gallery, and a brand new Art Featuring Cinder page…which is kinda self explanatory.
I’m going to try and play catch up a bit and get some posts together about bits and pieces that have happened over the past month, as well as get up to speed on Z and Cinder’s Blog Challenge and get some new topics posted. In the meantime, keep well!
Hey guys just a quick heads up. I’m making some changes to my website over the coming days/weeks, so things might look a bit weird around here… hopefully I shouldn’t break anything!! But don’t freak out if I do, or if things look strange or broken or whatever. I’ll get it right at some point!
I’ll let you know when I’m back up and running properly. In the meantime, if you’re looking for other WoW blogs to read, go check out Z and Cinder’s Blog Challenge (#ShamelessSelf-Plug)
Hey, what a surprise, I’m behind on posting responses to our blog challenges! That is so unlike me! 😉 Clearly I have a lot of catching up to do, and rather than starting at where I last left off, I’m just going to go in any darn order that pleases me.
I’ve been writing in blogs/journals since I was 11 years old. I got given a diary from a friend of mine at the time, and sporadically wrote in it when I felt I had something “important” to say. When we got our first computer, one of the first websites I came across was Open Diary, and over the years maintained at least, sometimes multiple, journals on there. I made some really wonderful online friends there, some of whom I’m still friends with today. Eventually I got a LiveJournal account, but it didn’t really gel with me at all. It was “too cool” for me, and so I found myself moving back to good old pen and book.
When I moved to England, funnily enough, I didn’t write a lot, even though I was having a lot of adventures at the time. Instead, I took a lot of photographs, which in some ways replaced my words for awhile. One thing that did happen while I was over there, was that I found myself doing more creative writing, working on a story idea that has been floating around in my head since my last year of uni.
Coming back to Australia, I had a whirlwind of study and moving interstate and finding work in Melbourne and settling in here, and I didn’t write much. And then I met Thor, and, because we were on opposite side of the country, all of time was spent talking with him, and I didn’t need a journal. And then he moved in with me, and introduced me to World of Warcraft. And well, we all know how that turned out!
It doesn’t matter how long I stop writing for, I always come back to it. I love it. It’s what I studied at uni, and it’s what I always seem to fall back on. So when you ask why I write about WoW, it’s because I can’t help but write for starters. And secondly, it’s because so much of my life is about WoW. I spend a lot of time playing the game, and interacting with the people I have met through and because of it. I write about WoW because there is so much to write about, because there are so many stories to share, because I still just need to get words out of me.
One of the questions that seems to pop-up alongside why you write about WoW, is who you think reads about WoW. Who is your audience? And this is probably the part that will be a bit weird, but my audience is me. If you look at my past and see how I have written, it’s always been for me. For my blog, it has to be for me. Because if it’s not, I stop being truthful. I start censoring myself, worrying I’ll offend someone who might be reading. And I don’t like that. I don’t like the dishonesty.
So as rude as it sounds, I’m not bothered if people don’t like my blog, or if they don’t like what I write about or how I write it or what I have to say. This is my little corner of the internet to use my words how I want to. And if people like that, if people enjoy what I have to say and want to come back to read more, that is so immensely flattering and kind, and such a wonderful bonus to this whole thing. I appreciate each and every person who comes to my blog and reads it or likes it or comments on it- it’s a beautiful feeling! But it’s not the driver for this blog. The driver is me, and will continue to be me, and my adventures with WoW.
PS: For anyone who is looking for new/more WoW blogs to read, check out our Bloggers page on the Z and Cinder’s Blog Challenge website. It’s a list of anyone who has ever participated in the challenge. You might find someone new to enjoy reading!
Well, I find myself here once again where the team I’m raiding with has crumbled. We had been losing a few people here and there over the past couple of months for a whole bunch of different reasons. I’m not sure what happened, but this last week something snapped, and we were done. Through a combination of real life issues and people wanting a change, we dropped enough to not have enough people on the team to raid anymore.
It’s not a new story, and it’s not a story that we’ll never hear again. This is what happens. And even though I’ve been here so many times before, it doesn’t get any easier. Before raid on Wednesday we all logged on and had a chat about what everyone’s plans were. There was talk of server transfers to try and rebuild the team on a more populated server (and then further discussion about what the server might be); there were talks of staying put and pushing through it; there were talks of finding other teams, of going our separate ways… and of disbanding entirely. In the end, some people decided to move on, which in turn made other people also decide to move on to other teams rather than waiting for the numbers to come back up again.
There were no hard feelings towards the people who decided to leave for other teams. I totally understand it. Things weren’t perfect, and some people had really good reasons to go, but it still makes me sad. *shrug* It is what it is, and I truly hope everyone is happy wherever they end up.
In the meantime, there are 10-13 of us who have decided to stay and try and rebuild, rather than moving the guild to another server. Our team is 5/9 mythic… past the halfway mark of Tomb of Sargeras… so hopefully we will be able to attract some good players in time to get mythic Kil’Jaeden down. (Shameless plug! Here’s our recruit thread on the forums.)
For now, I’m just feeling sad. I know it’s (hopefully?) not my fault, but it doesn’t stop me from feeling like rubbish. Being in a guild and raid team like this always feels like a second family. We all spend so much time together, and we argue and celebrate wins… so it just feels weird everyone not being together any more. But like I said, it is what it is, and it will probably happen again. In the meantime, I’m holding out hope we find some more awesome players so we can get back to killing internet pixels. 🙂
I’ve been meaning to write this for a couple of weeks now, but I ended up putting it off and putting it off because of all the drama that ended up happening.
Those of you who follow me on twitter know that I finally bought a PC to replace my Mac. I did this because it had gotten to the point where I couldn’t play WoW properly at all- I would have UI settings down as low as they could go to help try to get my frame rate above 12 (which didn’t always work), which also meant that I was unable to see boss mechanics properly. I was having a really miserable time all around. So I finally bit the bullet and decided to get a PC.
This was all new to me- I haven’t had a PC for YEARS. I’d been using one at work, of course, but they were all pre-built and I didn’t get a say in what their guts would be like. This time around, I was in control, and I wanted something that was going to kick butt. So the researching began. It was almost the end of me. I just didn’t understand all the bits and pieces and what was supposed to be better than other bits and what was compatible with what other bits etc. It did my head in. I am extremely grateful to my guildies, to Klorithor, to Spazz and of course to my partner Thor for putting up with my millions of questions as I tried to get a handle on all the specifics.
Klor had got me on to a really great site that listed everything and would let you know if anything didn’t go well together. He had also sent me a list of all the bits and pieces to build one, which was so awesome. In the end, that formed the basis of what I what I bought. Except I may have boosted a few bits and completely blown my budget in the process!
So here are Alice’s guts:
Intel Core i7 7700K
Gigabyte AORUS Z270X-Gaming 7 Motherboard
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 G1 Gaming 8GB
Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4
Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD
Corsair Hydro Series H105 240mm Liquid CPU Cooler
Thermaltake Toughpower Grand RGB 650W 80 Plus Gold Power Supply
Seagate Barracuda 2TB
Phanteks Eclipse P400S Tempered Glass Satin Black
extra LED strips! 😀
ViewSonic VX2757 27in FreeSync Gaming Monitor
So with everything decided upon, I jumped onto PC Case Gear’s website (they came highly recommended by multiple people) and started ordering the parts. By the time everything was sorted out and in the cart it was almost midnight on the Friday night. Which meant that I wasn’t likely to get it until around Tuesday. And I wanted it NOW.
Shipping was also coming to around $100. Given I had gone WELL over my budget, I was looking for opportunities to save some money somewhere. The store itself was a bit outside of Melbourne city- couldn’t get there by public transport, but close enough to get there by car for a short time. We had some frequent flyer points available, so decided that we would use them to hire a car for the day on Saturday to pick up all the parts. Good plan, right?
Here’s a side note that is important for this story. I am a pretty fortunate person, I know that. I have many good things that happen to me through a combination of hard work and a whole lot of good juju from the universe. But to counter that, every now and then I have days where every single thing you can think of would go wrong. And there was nothing you could do about it. Unfortunately, you are about to witness one such day.
When I put the order in (just after midnight!), I chose the pick-up option. The order confirmation email said “thanks for your order! We’ll let you know when it’s ready to pick up.” And this is where I started getting worried. On the Saturday, the store was only open for 4 hours- 10am-2pm. And I didn’t know if my order was going to be ready for pick up on the Saturday. To add to this, the invoice clearly said “Orders will only be held for 24 hours before being returned to the shelves”. I was in a dilemma- if we hired the car for Saturday but the order wasn’t ready to be picked up until Monday, the hire would have been wasted (and the money). If the order was ready to pick up on the Saturday but we didn’t have the car, we couldn’t go and get it. So we were a bit stuck!
“Not to worry,” I thought, “I’ll just call them when they open at 10 in the morning to find out when they thought it would be ready for pick up, and we can go from there.”
So I have a pretty restless night’s sleep on Friday night. It was like Christmas Eve! I was going to get my shiny new computer parts the next day, and it was going to be awesome. Of course I woke up quite early. Too early. 6am too early. On a Saturday! Lucky I had WoW to keep me company, though. I left Thor to sleep and went and levelled up my priest to kill some time until 10am when I could call, all the while checking my emails every 2 minutes to see if the golden ticket had arrived that would tell me it was time to get my loots!
It’s almost 10am when figure I should get the details together to make the phone call. So I bring up the invoice for the confirmation details, and I go onto their website and the contact section to grab the phone number. Except there isn’t one. They didn’t have a phone number. Well shit! I figured it was time to get Thor involved, so went to talk to him about what we should do. Do we keep waiting until the email arrives, getting more and more worried about time frames as time wears on… or do we just get a car now and drive down anyway and try our luck? We went back and forth about it all for awhile, but in the end decided, stuff it, let’s just get a car and try our luck.
I checked my email again quickly to see if the email had arrived, and there it was! It was time! By this time it was a wee bit before 11:30am. That meant we had 2 and a half hours to go pick up the hire car and drive down to the store. No worries- the store was only 30 minutes away according to google maps, which meant 2 hours to go pick up a hire car. We could get there by 2pm, easy.
We quickly get all our stuff together- Thor is getting a map printed with directions to the store while I’m booking the car to pick it all up. Despite the fact that the service has been available for YEARS, the car hire company just doesn’t deal well with using the frequent flyer points for car hire. The man I was speaking with was SO lovely, though, and worked him bum off to help us, which was really nice. So everything is being processed and we’re almost good to go, he just need to confirm with the venue that they have the car needed and we’d be on our way. I’m on hold for a short time, when the fellow comes back to let me know that the venue around the corner from us has no cars available. Not just the type that we needed- none at all. Argh!!!! BUT there is another venue a little further into the city that did have cars available- could we get there easily enough? Sure! Just book it and let’s go.
We leg it down to the tram stop to get the first of 2 trams we’d need to get to the car hire place. I shit you not, it was the slowest tram ride I’d ever been on. They got EVERY single red light, and on one occasion, thanks to a slow passenger, we got TWO red lights.
It was during this tram ride that Thor was looking for ways to help me be calm and not freak out. (He’s amazing and keeping himself together during stressful situations). So he was just holding my hand and generally saying lovely things. When the passengers were being slow, that’s where he came up with “put your shit in the freezer!”. It all stemmed from “calm down”, to “calm your shit” to “cool your shit”… and of course how does one cool their shit? By putting it in the freezer! It became our motto for the whole endeavour, and worked a treat.
Finally we get to our first stop, jump off the tram and wait for the next one. Time is ticking away… We make it to our second stop, and start walking to where the car hir eplace is. Oh but look- there are roadworks! And even though we only need to walk 10 meters down that path, we have to go back the way we came, cross the road, walk down and cross the road again to get to the street we needed.
We finally made it to the car hire place. By this point it was somewhere around 12:30/12:45pm, and even though Thor was doing his best to keep me laughing with ‘putting my shit in the freezer’ my patience and hope was almost gone.
Up we go to the counter with the booking information. Despite the fact that we had just been through the whole process with the people on the phone, they couldn’t figure out the system to process it with the points. People came in after us and left before us as they were trying to figure out how to process it all. By this point I said “just forget about the points- take my card and we’ll just pay for it. We’re really late and need to get going”. But they kept trying. Eventually they got it. But then the car that was allocated to us wasn’t there…
Finally we are handed the keys and we can head out. It’s a wee bit after 1pm by this point. Technically we should have been ok. I sent an email through their contact form on the website given there was no number to call, in the hopes that someone would see it and would know we were on our way…
Remember how I said there were roadworks nearby? Well, they did a terrible job of putting up detour signage. So when we pulled out of the car park, we followed the road signs that said right turn only. Ok, all good. Oh… it’s a right turn on to a blocked off road, and we have to turn around… into a giant line of traffic of other people who were having to do the same thing.
Bless Thor. He is such an amazing man. He was driving, and did such an amazing job of navigating through the city as best as he could to get to the store. And I was a bitch. I was a total downer who had given up, and he just kept going, being patient and calm with me.
In the end, we made it to the store at 2:10pm. We ran up to the doors in the hopes they were slow to close… and got there just as the team were walking out the front door to go home. We’d missed it. I asked what would happen to my order given the 24 hour window would be well and truly done by then, and they said it would still be there on Monday morning.
So the day was just pants. We were heartbroken to get there just as they were leaving- felt like a big slap in the face from the universe! We decided to go get some lunch and figure out what to do next. In the end we decided to extend the hire on the car for an additional 24 hours so we would have it for the Monday morning (it was still cheaper to pay for that than for postage!). But right then the afternoon/evening called for a slow drive home for icecream and movies on the couch.
Of course, with this being one of those days I have where everything goes against me, we had issues when we came back home- someone was parked in our carpark. Which sounds minor, but it’s a giant pain in the butt (that and we pay for the damn thing, so it’s ours to use!).
On the plus side, it was nice to have a car for awhile. The next day we ended up going for a bit of a drive to where we think we’ll need to move to later in the year when our lease it up, so it was good to see what areas we liked and didn’t.
Monday morning rolled around and I was very fortunate to be able to do a work from home day. I got up extra early in the morning to get some work done before we headed back to the store. And there she was in all her pieces! She got safely buckled into the car (the case was in the boot) and off we went home to put her together.
I’ve said it a million times before and I’ll keep saying it- I am so, so lucky to have Thor. He spent hours on that Monday putting Alice together for me. And even better, for you nerd types, he took some pics along the way, which you can check out below.
I was so nervous throughout the whole thing. I had no concerns about Thor’s ability to build it- I was just terrified that something would be broken in the box or wouldn’t work properly. The whole PC world was so new to me (I’m used to just taking a Mac out of a box and using it!) so I was nervous. I was actually really glad that I was working from home that day because I could pop in every now and again and have a peak, but could just hide in the study and get semi-distracted with my work.
In the end it took a few days to get settled in. Windows didn’t install well the first time, so we had to do that again, and then of course there was downloading all of the drivers and apps for all the bits and pieces that were in her, which was all very new to me- don’t things just work!? 😉
I was also have a lot of issues with my monitor, and how things looked. You see, I came from a 5k imac that looks AMAZING. And I was going to just a normal every day monitor, which, although not entirely rubbish, was just very basic. And so now I see pixelation were I didn’t before, and it was very jarring at first. Again, Thor with his infinite patience played around with settings everywhere and eventually got things to a point where they looked pretty good. But I will be saving up for a 4k monitor, for sure! 🙂
So this is Alice. I can change the LEDs with a press of a button, which is loads of fun 🙂 When we move I would like to get a bigger desk so she can sit somewhere properly. But for now she’s great. It was quite the adventure to get to this point, but thanks to unwavering patience from Thor and him helping me keep my shit in the freezer, we got there in the end.
For what it’s worth- as I mentioned earlier, one of the main reasons I bought Alice was because I couldn’t see raid abilities, frame rates sucked and it was all around a crappy time. Well, I can now have my settings at max all the time. I drop them to 8 for raid just in case, but I really don’t need to. Frame rate is beautiful, I can see everything- it’s wonderful. 🙂 So even though it was all a bit of a drama, it was worth it.
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. This topic was put up to help get some great positive posts out there, to remind people why the love WoW. You can read everyone’s thoughts about this on our website here.
I really struggled with this topic, which is why it’s late! I thought long and hard about which areas in WoW reminded me of home….
Could I see my current home in the docks of Stormwind?
Or could my childhood home on the beach by the mountains be found in the far northern parts of the Jade Forest?
Was the small country town where I was born be found in Westfall?
Or my temporary home in England, could that be found in the outskirts of Gilneas?
The truth is, there is nowhere in Azeroth that reminds me of my home. And that’s just how I like it. For me, WoW is an escape. It’s somewhere that I can go to get away from the real world, to explore different worlds and different lives. And I am incredibly glad that none of those little worlds in WoW reminds me home. I would hate to imagine my home being destroyed by demons. And I would hate my Azeroth world to be overrun by “real-life” troubles. So for me, nowhere in WoW reminds me of my home, and that’s just how I like it.
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. This topic was put up to help get some great positive posts out there, to remind people why the love WoW. You can read everyone’s thoughts about this on our website here.
It’s funny, I’ve put off writing this post for awhile. Not because I don’t have anything to love about WoW, but because there is so much to love and I’m finding it difficult to pin down only a few things to talk about. Like Ann, I just love it all and could go on for days. But I won’t! I’ve chosen a few things to talk about, but this by no means is everything I love. Hands down one of the biggest things is obviously the people I have had a chance to meet through WoW. And the characters and the story will keep me coming back for years to come. But I want to talk about some of a couple of other reasons. 🙂
The music in WoW constantly breaks my heart with its beauty. I went looking for a favourite piece to share with you guys for this post, and here I am crying my eyes out just listening to it already! (I know, I’m a sap!)
Some of my favourite memories from WoW are because of the music. I loved all of the music in Mists of Pandaria, but the moment that stood out for me randomly happened the day after the Vale of Eternal Blossoms had been destroyed (good one Garrosh!!). I was kinda just afk-ing in the zone, just looking around at all the beauty we had had a part in destroying and feeling really awful about it. And then the music came in… the music had changed. When the Vale was pure and alive, the music was sweeping and beautiful and generally what you expect from such a stunning zone. When it got destroyed, the music changed. It still had similar themes, but they were sad and quiet, like a wounded song bird. I cried, I truly did. It was just a small thing, but it was the final straw for me. I felt so terrible about what had been done there – it was destroyed in so many ways.
More recently… well, we’ve had quite a lot of heartache already in Legion, haven’t we? So of course the music is just going to rub salt in the wounds of our already breaking hearts. The first time I knew the music was going to kill me in Legion was in the Broken Shore was of course during the Legion cinematic trailer. But the real clincher for me came in the Broken Shore cinematic…
It just… oh man, it just gets right in there. It starts out well enough, all dramatic and action-y while everyone is fighting, but it starts to change as everything goes downhill, getting more and more tense. That moment when Varian realises he’s not going to get on that ship to freedom, and music softens as Varian asks Genn to give his son the letter… and then it sweeps up into this huge damn heroic moment as Varian lets go, and falls to battle to the death. It’s heroic as fuck, there’s no other way to describe it. But then, he defeats the demon, and the music stops, and in that tiny breath of silence we have hope, a tiny feather of hope that maybe, just maybe, he might survive, even as we hear the motors of the ship flying away. And then the demons come, and he’s a hero again, fighting until his very last breath until we’re at the feet of Gul’dan, and he’s saying that Varian has died for nothing, but we know otherwise, and Varian shouts “For the Alliance!” and the music confirms it – he’s a hero until his dying breath. And god that music, the way it works at that moment… my heart feels like Varian does as he shatters into a million pieces. #cries
We get to hear bits and pieces of those themes throughout Legion as we run around the world and to the raids and experience the important quests and what not, and every time my heart twinges.
I mentioned the original Legion cinematic earlier – re-watching that again to write about this music I realised that the other music I wanted to write about was actually featured very briefly in that! The other big music moment I had in Legion happened quite by accident again, and it made me cry as well (I’m sensing a theme here…) Obviously the death of Varian has hit me pretty hard, so I have a soft spot for this.
It happened shortly before Legion launched, and I was flying in Stormwind from the Keep to the Mage area where the Demon Hunters were hanging around at the time. Those who know Stormwind well will realise that in doing so, I flew right over the memorial to Varian, Lion’s Rest. I stopped to look and pay my respects. And then this happened:
I don’t know what it is about this piece, but it pulls on all the heartstrings. (And those darn lyrics don’t help, either!) It seems a beautiful farewell for a fallen warrior. ❤
Anyway, as you can tell, I have a thing for the music. It’s always so fitting, and really helps me feel so immersed in the game. One of my favourite parts of any new expansion or zone is hearing the new music that comes along with it. If you haven’t done so, I recommend turning the music on in game while you’re running around doing your World Quests and what not.
I mean, come on…
Being a hero
This is a big one for me. One of the questions that Leeta asks her guests on Behind the Avatar is whether or not they play male or female characters, and why that is. When I first read that question it got me thinking about why I always play female characters. Of course part of it is that I’m female, so I want to play someone like me (hence a chubby pandaren suits me just nicely!) But it’s become more than that.
For me, in my real life, I feel like a lot of it is out of my control. I feel like I’m not good enough, and I feel like I’m not talented or useful in any way (hello anxiety and self doubt!). But in WoW I am so much more than that. I am strong. I’m (somewhat) intelligent (why did I have to set Gul’dan free again at the start of WoD?!?!). I am a hero. A hero! I get to wield strong weapons and use the elements to hurt or heal, and I love that. And despite it not being real (I promise I’m not throwing buckets of water on people in real life in an attempt to heal them!!!) I have found that as a result of me being a hero in WoW, I have more confidence to try things in real life. I feel empowered, and sometimes I even feel strong. And that to me will always bring me back. That and to me, there is no better sound in the world than the quest completed sound!!
So those are some of the slightly different reasons why I keep coming back to WoW. To be honest, I’ll probably end up doing posts about my thoughts on the other reasons as well, but for now, this is it. 🙂
What are your reasons for coming back to WoW time and time again? Why do you love it? Leave a comment below, or join the blog challenge!
About 2 weeks ago I managed to pick up a casual job thanks to an old boss and some awesome friends. Getting back to work has been really great – knowing I’ve got money coming in again to pay bills is a big load off my mind! But it does come with the downside of a lot less game time. Even less than last time because I actually care about this job, so I’m not being cheeky writing blog posts and what not during work hours! But even with less time in game, I’ve still had a really successful couple of weeks.
We’re doing pretty well with our progression, getting 1 new mythic boss down per week. Since getting Krosus down a couple of weeks ago, we’ve successfully managed to continue getting him down each week, which gives us 4 mythic bosses on farm. From next week we’re stoping the heroic runs altogether and starting mythic from scratch so that we have more time to spend on progression bosses when we get to them, which is great.
We got Spellblade down the week after Krosus, and then last weekend it was Tichondrius’ turn to go down.
Hanging with Bume (he looks so serious!!)
Mythic Spellblade Aluriel
We should have had Botanist down tonight as well, but thanks to Easter and WoW server crashes being the attendance boss from hell, our raid night didn’t end up happening at all. Hopefully we’ll get him down on Wednesday so we can start the long slog on Star Augur.
Team wise we’re doing really well. We’ve got the numbers which is awesome, and we’re all really gelling together quite well. There’s tense time of course, but that’s part and parcel of mythic raiding, I think. It’s just about making sure that at the end of the night we’re all still mates. We’ve got a great little healing team as always, though really need a strong swing healer to fill gaps for us when someone is away. But otherwise, things are going really well.
I’ve been pretty lucky with some new mounts lately. Firstly, I finally got my fox mount! I do love it so much, though I think my pandaren shaman is a little too big for him, so I think I’ll use him on my night elf toons instead. 🙂
Then after raid last week I was so lucky!! Thor was flying over Azuna and asked me “what’s an Ephemeral Crystal?” I spun around and asked if he’d seen one. I immediately flew to where he saw one, and off I went. (Thor wasn’t really interested in the mount, and he knew how much I wanted it, so I hunted with his blessing!). It only took me about half an hour to find all 5 crystals needed to get this beautiful mount!
Then of course there was a Mind-Riddler’s Worm, which the WoW secrets discord group had been hunting for since Jeremy Feasel sent out a series of cryptic tweets. It was really fun to watch the whole thing unfold. I had joined the server just to follow along – people are amazing!!! I knew they’d figured it out when my notifications for the server started going bonkers. It was such great work on their part! There’s a great guide on how to get this mount for yourself – shouldn’t take too much time, especially if you have some friends with you to help make the old raids part faster. It’s such a funny looking mount, but I had to get it! I loved that when I got the final piece that rewarded me a mount, there were loads of people just hanging around on them, floating on these strange worm things in solidarity. So much fun.
And then lastly there was of course the unlocking of flying on the Broken Isles. And so now I have a whole other level of exploring to do from up in the air! 😀
March of the tadpoles
Another micro-holiday came along. This was one I was really looking forward to – March of the tadpoles! Seriously, is there anything more adorable than baby murlocs?!?! No, I didn’t think so. 🙂
So for this micro-holiday, we were able to go see a whole bunch of the more adorable little baby murlocs running around. And best of all, we got to befriend one for the day! Every single baby murloc that was there had a different name, and it’s very own little personality. I had such an awfully hard time choosing which murloc to adopt – I wanted them all! I didn’t want any of them to feel left out! There were some running around really fast like hooligans, having so much fun; there were others there were just hanging out chatting; there was even one little guy that just kept “fainting”! He was hilarious, and I nearly chose him… but then I thought a lot of people would choose him, so I didn’t. I wanted to choose one that no-one else would. (I blame this song that my Mum used to sing to me as a kid for this whole feeling sorry for the “runt” of the litter thing I have!)
In the end I found a little guy hiding in a corner under water. His name was Bloop, and I loved him straight away! He seemed like me – too shy to hang out with everyone else, but still kind wanting to be a part of things… at least from a safe distance.
We went on some adventures together, and in the end he gave me a little present – a Wet Rock. I’ve kept it in my bank for safe keeping. ❤ It was a wonderful little holiday!
Questing all over the world
The rest of my time has been spent on the Broken Shore and around the Broken Isles in general doing World Quests. I want to do a whole separate post about the Broken Shore world quests, but in the meantime I’ll just say that I love them, and I’ve been having so much fun with them!
As well as the World Quests, I’ve been banging my head against the wall that is the healer’s solo artifact challenge. I’m so determined to get it!!! But no luck so far. In time, in time.
So that’s my big catch up post! What have you been up to?
It sure has been quiet around here, hasn’t it? To say things have been chaotic in my life right now is a bit of an understatement, and it has obviously been affecting all the “extra-curricular” things I do in my life – this blog included. I have finished up at my last job and am working hard to find myself another in its place, which is incredibly draining, at times depressing, and incredibly time consuming. And in addition to that, my Nan is incredibly unwell at the moment. So much so that I flew up to see her in case things got worse and I was too late. It’s very much a “wait and see” situation at the moment – she could go either way.
Anyway, all of those things combined with still trying to maintain a raiding schedule has just thrown me for a loop, and my poor little blog has suffered. But I am getting things back on track today, so expect some catch up Z and Cinder’s Blog Challenge posts to head your way very soon, and hopefully some more regular updates.
*** I’m heading this post with a trigger warning. If you are sensitive to discussion about online harassment and rape, please do not read on. ***
I’ve ummed and ahhed about writing this post for quite some time now for a number of reasons. The main one has been that I just didn’t want to talk about it. The second one has been that this has, until recently, involved a minor. But last night something changed, and I stopped being angered and upset by the situation and instead felt an immense amount of pity and, well… schadenfreude.
So here I am to tell you the tale of my internet harasser. Not because I want to publicly shame him (there will be no name and shame here) but to talk about this experience that I’ve had; to add another number to the data of women who are harassed online simply for existing; to let others who may be affected by this know that they aren’t alone. And to laugh. Oh how we’ll laugh.
Let me start at the start.
This is a story about a fellow we’re going to call Blah (no, that’s not his real or gamer name, I just can’t be bothered dignifying him with anything other than boredom).
When I first joined my now ex-guild about a year ago now, I was keen to make some new friends and make a good impression. I was excited about joining a mythic raiding team, after all! I liked to help out when people needed help or answer questions if they needed them, let people know of rare spawns etc. and just generally have a bit of a chat in game. You know, what most humans who play WoW do.
I got along fine with most people and made some friends pretty quickly – all was going well. I hadn’t raided with anyone yet so this limited time in guild chat was the extent of the contact with anyone. A couple of weeks after I had joined I saw Blah had made a comment about something or other in guild chat. I asked a question about it – no response. Someone else asked a question and Blah responded, so I asked another question. I received a rude response back , and then he just stopped talking to me. At the time I thought it was incredibly rude (especially given he was happily chatting away to others at the time) but I ignored it and went on with my day. If he didn’t want to talk, fine. I wasn’t going to go out of my way to engage with someone who didn’t want to talk, so I just didn’t bother.
Not long after, I was brought in to the raid team, as a healer had left and they needed me in. Huzzah! I was so excited about it all. During raiding Blah was just a generally gross human being. Aside from the usual rubbish of someone who doesn’t care about a team, (like showing up whenever he wanted, not doing mechanics or anything or listening when he was there, and talking shit to/at everyone) it became apparent very quickly that he was in a level of his own filth. It was the way he would “speak”. He would “joke” about rape pretty openly and harshly about girls that he knew in real life. He would laugh about it, and make derogatory comments about other girls in the team. It was disgusting and disturbing.
Legion came along, and his behaviour didn’t change. The guild jumped on the Discord band wagon, which quickly turned into a cesspool. Most of it I could ignore. This, I could not ignore:
The first time
The raid team progressed through Emerald Nightmare pretty quickly when it first came out, clearing heroic in the first week. We were all pretty pumped. But it was early in October when we hit a slight bump when it came to mythic Ursoc. We had a tense night of wipes on that fight, having to call it before we got the kill. We were all running back in after the last wipe and the raid lead was talking about how to improve for the next night, when in chat I see
Blah spits on you.
I was grossed out, and angry, but waited to see how many others he would decide to /spit on (such a team player!) The answer was none. No-one else was going to be spat on, just me. He sat there, went through the raid frames, found my name, and spat on me. I was livid. I got up to calm myself, then sat down again and said to my heal lead, “Is it ok if I don’t heal certain people in the raid anymore?” I was half joking, but frustrated – this was really shitty behaviour! My heal lead said “Blah?” to which I said “yes”. He replied “We saw. We’re talking about it in officer chat now.”
I felt immediately better. This act hadn’t gone unnoticed. And more than that, the fact that the officers were talking about it indicated that I wasn’t overreacting and it was a shit thing to happen.
This is the part where guild leadership is an important part of determining whether or not a guild is going to be right for you. It doesn’t matter how many officers or fellow guildies might feel about a situation, if the guild master doesn’t agree, nothing much happens. Which was the case here. Blah was given a warning by one of the officers, but that was as much as they were able to do given (from what I understand) the guild master didn’t see this, or anything else Blah had done/said as a problem. (I don’t fault the officers for this at all. They have been brilliant throughout all of this.)
The next time
The warning seemed to have at least a small impact on Blah, and he was quiet for almost an entire month. I (stupidly) thought this meant everyone had moved on and we were done with it. Remember, I don’t engage with this person at all. I don’t speak to him, I just go about my business healing people and doing my thing. Which is what makes it all worse, I think. So many times I’ve sat here asking myself “what did I do?? What was it that I did that made him hate me??” And I come up empty. It always seems to come down to the fact that I just exist, and that I am a female.
I’m getting off track, but in some ways, I’m not. Because what happened next quite literally came out of nowhere at all.
I’ll preface this part by saying that I don’t talk about my blog or podcasts in guild. Mostly because I don’t think anyone would be interested in them, but also because sometimes it just feels like showing off. So they don’t come up.
On Tuesday evenings we live stream our recording of Reins of Azeroth on Twitch. It’s fun! We get a couple of people come along in the chat, and it feels more like we’re actually talking to other people rather than just each other. On this particular evening in mid-November we were in the process of setting up when Spazz comments that someone is already in our twitch chat room. Then he went a bit quiet. I asked what the comments were (I wasn’t logged on yet) and he said something about “Blah says you’re a shit healer”. It took a bit to register, because like I said, I don’t have anything to do with this guy. And what’s more, I’ve never spoken to him or anyone else in guild about that podcast, so it took a bit to put two and two together.
I asked Spazz to send me a screenshot of what was said.
The text is small, but it reads
“blah says you’re *** healer”
I then looked at who was in the chat at the time and saw Blah with 2 of his mates. This was an attack perpetrated by Blah, and they were all sitting in twitch chat waiting for me.
I’m going to interject here with a note: I don’t care what people have to say about my healing. I really don’t. I’m not the best healer in the world – I certainly don’t proclaim to be! – but I’m not the worst and I do the best that I can. I’m not offended by someone saying I’m shit – sometimes I am!
So believe me when I tell you that it wasn’t the comment that upset me and freaked me out.
Here’s what did freak me out. Firstly, this is a person who thinks rape is funny. Secondly, the amount of work involved to find where I was going to be at that specific point in time is too much for this to not be premeditated. As I said, there’s no previous discussion of my blog or podcasts anywhere. So for him to find me he had to:
google my toon name
find my blog
find the podcasts I worked on
see that Reins was recorded live on twitch
set a reminder to go to our twitch page at the time we start recording
and then have someone harass me on there while he watched.
That’s a lot of effort. That’s also a lot of evidence that it was a targeted attack designed to publicly shame me. He could have just tweeted abuse at me if he wanted to, but he chose to do this in a public space, to publicly humiliate me.
The users were banned from the channel, and they were reported for harassment to twitch. Which is about all you can do in these situations.
The kick & the aftermath
I still had a show to do, so after taking a breath to calm down and talking with Thor, we got on with recording. That was fun! /s But while we were recording Thor logged in game and immediately talked to one of the officers that he gets along well with. Thor explained what had happened, and showed him the screenshots of what was said and who was there. I understand that a quick discussion was held with officers who were logged on at the time, and shortly after Blah and all of his alts were removed from the guild, regardless of what the GM thought.
After recording, I warily logged into WoW and immediately received a whisper from the officer Thor had spoken to – he was checking up on me to make sure that I was ok. We had a bit of a chat. It was greatly appreciated. (Like I said, the officers have been great).
The aftermath was unexpected, though. I went to bed that night feeling hot with shame. Why is that? I hear this a lot from women who have been harassed, and one of the first emotions they feel is shame. Where does that come from? What on earth did I have to be shameful of? I racked my brains to figure out what I had done or said to Blah that made him hate me. What did I do? I would replay the raid nights over and over in my head trying to pinpoint the moment that made me a target, and I couldn’t find it.
Then the anxiety and the fear joined in with the shame. It was a lovely cocktail that kept me from sleeping properly for quite some time. In the middle of the night I panicked about ways Blah might find my personal information, and had Thor calm me down by setting a few things differently to help me feel better. (What would I do without Thor? He has been my rock).
It wasn’t a good time.
I worked really hard to push that cocktail of emotions aside. I had to go to work and function as a human being. And I sure as hell was not going to let a useless turd stop me from playing WoW (which I guessed is was goal?!). So I went into raid, and it was great. Not having the constant negativity from Blah made it a really great time for everyone. And so I tweeted as such afterwards.
Blah decided to reply:
Again, I can’t stress enough that I don’t give a hoot about what a person like Blah thinks of my healing. It’s not his words that are the problem here – it’s the targeted harassment that is the problem.
Except this time, he messed up. He tweeted from an account that uses his real name. So not only is he a disgusting, rapey asshole, but he’s a stupid one at that. This was the first time that I actually laughed about the whole situation. How could someone be that stupid. It took literally 5 seconds to google his name and find his facebook page which showed where he lived, what school he went to, and who his family were. I had a face to the name. It was also apparent from this publicly facing information that he was underage (17), which immediately stopped me from naming a shaming or progressing with anything publicly any further.
What I did do is start writing a letter to his mother to let her know about his behaviour. It was therapeutic for me to write it, and so by the time I finished it, I had calmed down and I didn’t send it. Also by then, time had passed and I thought things would end because Blah was no longer in the guild and would find something else to occupy his time.
This was not the case.
Again and again…
Since being removed from the guild over 3 months ago, Blah came been back time and time again to harass me in new and interesting ways.
He came back to another live recording on twitch:
You know there are other words, right?
This one was interesting – he logged on to our team speak server during raid one night (so in front of the entire raid team). He kept logging on and off and on again, making a sound in the channel each time it happened. So we checked the log to see what was going on, and he’d done this:
Hi-larious! He was banned from the server.
Up until this point, the worst thing that he’d said was that I was a bad healer. But then he started to bring in more profanities. And in this case below, other people.
This was posted on the guild’s Discord server at around 11:30pm one evening:
In this instance, white male = Blah
Delightful. And not only was he attacking me, he lashed out one of the people who had stood up for him in the past. Again, he’s not the brightest crayon. This was quietly deleted from the discord server by the GM in the middle of the night. Part of me is glad to have seen it when it happened – it just adds to my body of evidence.
During all of this there were comments made in guild and raid chat from his friends who were still in the guild, saying things like “Let Blah out!” etc. It made it easy to know who to avoid. (A side note – I did find it incredibly amusing that his “friends” didn’t jump ship with him. Rather than sticking with their friend, they stayed in the guild and just bitched for awhile before giving up. I can only assume they weren’t all really good friends after all, or didn’t care enough to follow him.)
Then the guild fallout happened and we all split up. When the new guild was formed, it was very easy to know who would not be invited to join the team. People who wanted to be immature and harass other people could go their own way, and the rest of us who weren’t like that could go the other way. I truly thought that would have been the end of all of it. The guild fell apart, his mates were free to play with him if they wanted to – it should have been over.
But we wouldn’t be here if it were, would we? 🙂
Happy Valentine’s Day!
This Tuesday just gone, Valentine’s Day, was a recording night for Reins of Azeroth again on Twitch. We were having a nice time talking about WoW reputations and things like that, when this appeared in chat:
For those who can’t read the name, it’s posted from “Cindersllut”.
This was a new one – I’m a slut now?
The comment was deleted from twitch very quickly by speedy Spazz, and the user banned from the channel. Sure enough, a few minutes later in the list of viewers, Blah’s twitch handle appears, confirming that he was the perpetrator.
This time, though, it didn’t bother me. I actually laughed. As lame as it may sound, I was in a nice guild! That’s apparently something to be ashamed of? That’s something to try an embarrass someone about? I mean, you’re really reaching with that one.
I spoke to Thor about the latest Blah episode after we had finished recording and he said:
“So you’re telling me, on Valentine’s Day – a day that you spend with people you love and who love you – Blah had nothing else better to do than go on twitch and harass you? He had no-one to be with?”
It really doesn’t get any more pathetic than that, does it?
This was the big turning point for me. I had always known Blah was a waste of space and oxygen, but the image of him being completely and utterly alone on Valentine’s Day, and choosing to harass someone as a way of dealing with that was just plain and simply sad and pathetic. It’s where the schadenfreude comes in. Every single time he has harassed me, he has done so in a public way, with the goal of trying to make me look stupid in front of other people. Which means he was tracking my movements, know where I would be and when I’d be there. It’s creepy, yes, but it also means other people are seeing him behave this way, seeing how pathetic he is.
This whole thing isn’t about me. It never has been. Blah is not a happy person, and I am. I work hard, I have fun, I laugh with friends – I have a good time, and a good life that I am immensely grateful for, and I think that shows. He does not have that. I didn’t do anything to make him treat me this way other than live my life and be happy. He sees that and can’t stand it, and tries to shoot me down. Well, I’m the personification of this song 🙂
I’m bored of this, I really am. I don’t have time for someone who gets their jollies by bringing others down. It’s gone on long enough. I have kept a record of every time Blah harasses me, and I’ve already built up quite a collection of evidence. 4 months, 5 different platforms and multiple instances of tracking down my location at a specific time are all enough for police action to be taken. And thanks to Blah’s non-existent facebook privacy settings, they will have no troubles finding him.
As for me, I’m not going to stop playing WoW, or stop being a nice person or enjoying my life. I will continue to block and report any attempts Blah makes to humiliate and harass me – and I will watch him self-destruct as fewer and fewer people want to be around him as a result. Because at the end of all of this, he’s not making me look bad, he’s just showing the world what a pitiful human he is.
Thank you to Thor, Spazz, Sirius, my guild officers, Z, and Spanky for their (sometimes unknowing!) support in all of this. If you are being harassed online, please talk to someone. If you are in Australia, visit the SmartSafe website for more information on where to go and what to do.
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.
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.
My lovely friend Zeirah and I are challenging each other with a weekly blog post. We choose a topic and both write about it. This week’s topic is all about Patch 7.1. You can read Z’s post about this topic right here.
It’s lucky Z and I do these challenges each week, or I wouldn’t have had an update this week at all!
This week patch 7.1 Return to Karazhan was released. And what a patch it is! 7.1 brings with it a new min-raid, a whole bunch of new pet battle content (including a new Raiding With Leashes achievement and wild pets to raise into mounts) and, of course, Karazhan – the mythic dungeon on steroids (plus a buch of other stuff) . So how have I been spending 7.1? Feeling bloody miserable.
This is not the fun post you’re looking for.
It’s a bad time to ask this question because I’m generally having a not so great time in game. Though it’s nothing really to do with the game, per se, and more to do with the people in it. To put things bluntly, I’m not having the greatest time in guild at the moment, and it’s really affecting how I play. Although I can’t place the blame solely on that.
As I mentioned up front, a big part of 7.1 has been the introduction of the Return to Karazhan dungeon. I have really been looking forward to this dungeon since I heard about it being redone (hell, I was excited when there were hints of rumours that it was being done!) I’m yet to step foot in there.
One of the most challenging aspects of Legion as an expansion is, I feel, mythic dungeons. Not because of their difficulty to complete, but in their difficulty to find people to group with. Now please do not get wrong – this is not any fault of Blizzard’s – I completely understand why things are this way, and if it were up to me, I’d also design it this way. But for me, it’s hard. I have never been any good at group finder. My anxiety always gets the best of me and I get too scared to join groups. I have been trying to get better about it, and have been running random heroics a lot more often than I used to, just to try and get better at playing with strangers. But I’m hopeless. I had a list of mythic dungeon missions from my class hall in my quest log for the longest time that all went away when 7.1 came out. Such a waste of opportunity, and all because I was too scared to run a mythic dungeon with strangers.
The obvious answer is to run with guildies, but even then that’s a problem (and comes back to why I’m not feeling great in guild at the moment) because I don’t feel comfortable with my guildies. I can’t make mistakes around them, because I know that comments will be made or griping will happen (because it does happen – seen it and experienced it). So it makes my anxiety levels all that much higher as a result. Which means I haven’t yet done the attunement to get into Karazhan.
You’d think that would be the worst of it. But no.
You see, the biggest trouble that I’ve had since 7.1 came out is that it has destroyed my display settings. Fixes that were made to improve display on Macs for OS Sierra ended up trashing settings for those not on Sierra, which includes me. Prior to 7.1 I could run with my settings on 8 during raid, and 10 out in the world. Since the patch went live, I can’t play the game at all unless they’re set to 4. Yep, 4. It has made me incredibly upset. When settings are on 4, there is no water texture – it just looks like there’s nothing there:
I wouldn’t be as mad about it as I am if I hadn’t spent a ridiculous amount of money buying this computer just last year. (And please spare me the Mac jokes – they really aren’t funny). I just find it upsetting because the game is so, so beautiful, and that’s been taken away. There are apparently fixes in the works to help with this, but there’s no ETA on them. And there’s no money for a new computer. So I just have to deal with it for now. I know it’s a stupid minor thing, but it upsets me a lot.
Ok, enough being a sook.
There are some good bits though, right?
Of course there are! These issues I’m having are to do with me, and not to do with the game. 7.1 really is an incredible patch so far. One of my favourite additions has been the introduction of the Falcosaurs. They are these feathered dinosaurs that are roaming around causing trouble, so we have to go cull them a bit to keep people safe. In doing so, we create an orphan who needs a new home – so of course we adopt him! I have gotten one from Val’sharah so far. I tried twice to get the one in Highmountain, but it wouldn’t spawn for me no matter what tips I tried from wowhead, so I’ll come back to that another day.
They are kinda cute though, in their own ugly little way 🙂
My absolute favourite thing, though, is that we’re continuing on the Suramar storyline. I love how dynamic Duramar is – it’s constantly changing for us. I’ve really been enjoying it. And boy did I kill the crap out of some demons there this week! They made me so mad with what they did!
But best of all – hands down absolutely the best of all – when in Suramar with the disguise on, I can *finally* use ghost wolf form, because I turn into a MANASABER!!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ I’m so pretty!! I wish there was a toy or glyph in game that could make this a permanent ghost wolf alternative.
I also really loved going back in to Shal’Aran since betting exalted with the Nightfallen. I won’t spoil anything here, but there were some changes that I really, really liked.
A new Raiding With Leashes achievement also came out in 7.1 – there are now 18 new pets all up that have been added to Wrath of the Lich King raid zones – 16 for the achievement, 1 more for completing it, and another 1 that is super-dooper rare, but not part of the achievement. I ran all the raids on my shaman this week and got a grand total of…. zero. I got zero pets to drop for me. Oh well.
Overall, I think 7.1 is brilliant. It’s a huge amount of content that we’ve been given in this patch, and I can only see more to come. And I’m loving it. I’m sure we’ll get some hints about what is coming up next during Blizzcon next weekend. But for the time being, there is a load of stuff to do in 7.1, including me trying to be braver.
My lovely friend Zeirah and I are challenging each other with a weekly blog post. We choose a topic and both write about it. This week’s topic is a bit different – this week we’re talking about ingame persona vs. real life persona. You can read Z’s post this right here.
There’s something about being in your own safe home with nothing but the glow of a screen to keep you company that offers a sense of security and confidence that is not otherwise afforded. In some ways it’s like when a surgeon puts on his mask or a police officer puts on her uniform or the actor puts on their costume – the “real” you is hidden away, and you start playing the role the mask gives you.
We see it all the time online, where the freedom of appearing to speak into a void with unseen consequences causes people to put on the mask of online vigilante. Some people say things they wouldn’t say to people if they were standing right in front of them, but when they’re mere pixels on a screen and the online mask is on, the new persona comes out and the behaviour changes, and suddenly making inappropriate and threatening comments are the norm.
This is obviously an extreme example of what happens when we live a life online, and not everyone behaves the same way. But the point is that, for a lot of people, the person they are online is not the same as the person they are in real life. In some cases it can be seen as a negative difference, in others it can be positive. I feel I fall into the positive changes.
Under the mask – the “real life” Cinder
The real life me is difficult to explain, especially to those who have not had similar experiences. But we’ll try anyway!
The short version is that during my final year of high school I suffered severe anxiety and became agoraphobic. Which basically meant for me I had a lot of difficulty leaving the house and being around people. My school was great and found ways to work with me to help me graduate, and I in turn found ways of coping with my anxiety so that I didn’t fall back in to being fully agoraphobic, and found ways to leave the house to go work, even live overseas for awhile.
My anxiety is a struggle to deal with every single day. The easiest way I have of explaining it is actually with a WoW quest. Remember in Mists of Pandaria there was a quest with a fellow named Mudmug who was in Valley of the Four Winds? He had you run around the water areas to fill up a vial that kept leaking. (It’s this quest here for those who don’t remember). That broken vial is me, and the liquid inside it is the energy I have to interact with people (or be out in the world). It is constantly depleting. Some things make me deplete more than others. I am (probably unsurprisingly) massively introverted. (My personality type is INTJ-T which you can read about here. I’m around 90% introverted). Being around people exhausts me. Crowds are the equivalent of tipping that vial over and pouring the contents out. I don’t cope well. Getting on the tram each day to go work, speaking to anyone, talking on the phone (oh god phone calls), sending emails, buying my morning coffee, going out to dinner with friends – all of it depletes that vial. And some days I don’t even start with a full bottle. Being with Thor helps (it is nothing short of a miracle that I found someone who understands my anxiety and helps me deal with it. Thor is my rock, as corny as it sounds.) He understands when I don’t have it in me to go to the movies or the shops or even outside the front door. But he also helps to keep the vial from getting empty when we are our in the world. It really helps.
Things that help me energise essentially involve me being alone. Things like reading or playing WoW or watching movies or just sitting staring into space – they all help me keep calm and able to leave the house again the next day.
Essentially the real me, if it were up to me, would live in the mountains by a stream with some books and pen and paper (and good internet access!). And I’d be totally ok with that.
It’s hard to explain this to people who have not had anxiety or who do not understand introverted behaviour. People don’t understand that if I’m upset or frustrated or angry, I’d rather be alone. People will say things like “go spend time with your friends” or “just smile anyway” or “just be positive” or “these things happen for a reason – it’s what you do next that matters most!”. It doesn’t work like that. Statements like that, while well meant, upset more than they help, because they say “you are broken and what you do to try and function in the world is not enough, and you are not right to feel the way you do”. Sometimes it upsets me; sometimes it offends. A lot.
The real me likes to have a laugh, (over)thinks a lot, tries to be creative and just generally tries to be a decent human being. I’m just better at doing those things on my own than with/around other people.
The Cinder that leaves the house
Obviously, I’m not a hermit. I still have to function in the world – I still have to go to work and pay bills. And I do like to venture out to the movies and things like that. I don’t like to miss out on everything. So I needed to find a way to do that. And it comes back to what I used to do in high school – I would act. I would put on a mask and pretend to be someone else to help me get through the day. All the while that vial underneath is getting emptier and emptier as the day wears on. Sometimes I do alright – I can do the pretending just fine, and deal with it all when I get home. Other days I’m not so great and don’t get too far (or out of bed).
The Cinder that leaves the house is not the real Cinder. Just a functioning one. 🙂 It’s the Cinder that people at work know. Sometimes it’s the Cinder that even my friends know (depending on how well I know the friend).
The online Cinder
Which leads me to who I am in WoW and online in general – the third Cinder, if you will. The online Cinder is who I would prefer to be in real life. Both my in game characters and who I am on my blog and in my podcasts – that’s who I would like to be in real life. Funnily enough, my online self is actually a lot closer to my real self than my day to day self is (i.e. the Cinder that leaves the house)
My characters in WoW are all representations of who I am, even with some of the negatives. My shaman in particular really embraces the split personality types that I have – the carer who wants to help and protect those around her, and the fighter who will stand in front of blades if it means doing the right thing. And already, every character I have played in the game is different to my real life self in that they talk to a LOT of people. They do everything they can to help, they stand up to fight when they’re afraid, they are good and they are kind. Mostly, they are strong.
The way I interact with people online is different as a result. My characters give me confidence that isn’t always naturally there. I have learned to channel my inner Cinderstorm and speak up when I want to say something and contribute to discussions and share things. Being in a raid team has really taught me how to work better with others and interact with them to achieve something. Because I’m doing that in game, I’m doing that in teamspeak as well. I’m also more confident in game to speak up for myself when I disagree, or even getting angry at people who are being dicks.
The other reason I’m more confident online is that people can’t see me. They’re judging me by my personality and my actions rather than how I physically look. Given that I am overweight and not an attractive person, I find that people interact with me very differently face to face in real life. There are automatic assumptions made about who I am as a person because of how I look. I’ve learned to ignore it, but it’s draining. In WoW and online I don’t have to worry about that because people can’t see me. It’s very freeing.
I think other things that also help with online confidence is that I’m talking to people who love what I love – they love this game. Sure it’s probably for different reasons, but having something in common with someone else is a big step towards making interaction a little easier. Doing the podcasts also really helps with this. No-one wants to listen to me be a robot. So I put on the “online Cinder” mask and do the best I can to be interesting and entertaining for people – I try to be the me I would like all the time. And yes it is exhausting – the energy is always dripping out of that vial – but it’s a different kind of exhausting. It’s draining but in a more satisfying way.
The overall point is that, yes, I am somewhat different online to what I am in real life. But I am trying my hardest every day to work towards being more like my online self. I will always be very introverted (that’s never, ever going to change) but I am trying more and more to be who I am online in real life as well. I’ve found at work I have more of a voice – I will stand up for myself if someone is being bossy or a bully, and I’ll make suggestions for alternative ways of doing things if I think they’ll be better. And it’s good.
When it comes down to it, I have a lot to be thankful for WoW. Not only because I’ve made some wonderful friends all over the world, but it’s helping me be better in the real world, too. And I like that. 🙂
It seems to be that barely a few weeks go by before we are saying “farewell” to another Blizzard employee. And it’s always followed shortly after with the chorus of “Blizzard is collapsing” or “this is the end of WoW – even the devs know it, that’s why they’re jumping ship” conspiracies. What people tend to forget is that most of people who have been leaving Blizzard recently have been there for 5+ years. And no-one really does that anymore! I’m not interested in conspiracies here. People move on – it’s just how things are.
It’s an interesting thing, this, being impacted by the employees of an organisation. It’s not a TV show with actors we’re watching each week, where suddenly there’s a face missing or a new on in its place – where it’s obvious something has changed. These are all behind the scenes people. We see their faces every now and again, but that’s about it, so why does it impact us like this when one of them leaves?
When I hear news about devs leaving, I tend to get upset. And it’s not because the person is leaving, per say. It’s the same reason I cry during awards ceremonies – I’m watching people who are passionate about what they do in life, and I feel like I’m wasting mine. It’s a personal thing. But it boils down to witnessing people who have figured out life. They’ve got it. They have found that thing they are good at and that they love. They are winning (in every sense of the word). It’s an amazing and beautiful thing to see. In one way, devs leaving is more about me than them.
I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to these people. Which sounds so fluffy, but it’s there. Every day I play a game that was built with the heart and souls of hundreds of talented, passionate human beings. And the combination of all of those human beings have made an incredible game that means so much to me. They are responsible for an experience that sparks my mind alive with stories and adventures and beautiful imagery and heart wrenching music. It’s because of them. These people are also the reason I have found new friends (when I am so bad at that naturally!) who mean the world to me. It’s because of them. It’s hard not to be grateful for all of that.
When something new comes out, I picture everyone who worked on it presenting it in their small hands saying “I made this thing. I hope you like it.” And I just want to shout out YES! Yes a million times over I like it. I love it! Even the things that frustrate me – I love them! You made this thing and it is beautiful, and I am immensely grateful. We all are. And this is why everyone at Blizzard has a special place in our hearts – because they are the reason we have this.
And this is why I get upset when they leave – because I haven’t been able to give something back to them. I haven’t been able to repay them for the happiness they have given me. I don’t feel like I’ve said “thank you” enough.
When devs say goodbye, and I respond with “thank you for everything – I wish you every happiness in the world” I mean every single word of that, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And if I shed a few tears, it’s only because I’m going to miss what you bring to my life.
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.
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.
I don’t think there is ever going to be a time that I’m not worried about being good enough in this world. When it comes to World of Warcraft, I’m always worried that I’m not a good enough healer, or that I’m not a good enough raider, or that I don’t contribute enough to the community etc. Sometimes it gets to me – last night was one of those nights.
During raid last night I was asked to be the swing healer who would dps unless needed to heal. Which is fine – I enjoy playing elemental, so it was no big deal, other than the fact that I hadn’t dps-ed in HFC for quite a few months, and never at mythic level. So I was a bit terrified. I wasn’t at the bottom of the dps, but I wasn’t doing as well as I would have liked, and as the evening wore on I just found myself feeling worse and worse, which meant I performed worse. Our last fight of the night was Gorefiend which I thankfully got to heal, but I still made a couple of mistakes (nothing wipe-worthy, but silly enough mistakes that I shouldn’t have made). At the end of the raid I was just feeling a pretty blah.
Then I’m dragged in to a different channel in Team Speak that our healing team is in, and I start to panic. I know that I’ve been approved for the team, but like I said, I’m still always worried I’m not good enough and they’ll change their mind (thank you anxiety). I thought this was going to be it. But it wasn’t. Instead, it was our healing team leader wanting to get us all together to say thank you to us for being a great healing team and for doing so well. That he was happy with everyone and felt that our healing team was strong going in to Legion and he wanted to say thanks. It felt really great to get that feedback, you know? Especially after feeling rubbish throughout the night.
I then took the opportunity to say thank you for having been accepted in to the team permanently, even though my heals had been low coming in late to the expansion. And then all 3 of the other healers all at once immediately jumped to my defense and said the most wonderful things about how no, actually I was doing a really great job, and I’d been especially awesome on Archimonde, and sure numbers may play a part in it, but more than that it’s about being able to follow mechanics and use cooldowns etc. when they’re called and I was doing all that really well. And it was just so lovely to hear that from all of them, and that they could see that I had been trying and working my bum off to do things right.
So that’s all this post is – to remind people that even if you’re not feeling great about how you’re doing, chances are someone is out there seeing the wonderful things that you do and they are glad for it. And I also just wanted to say that I am very grateful for my new raid team. I’m excited about raiding in Legion more than ever.
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.
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
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
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. 🙂
My poor little blog has been neglected of late. I had a very busy week at work in the lead up to me flying off to visit family for an early Christmas, so I didn’t have much time to post before I left. I didn’t have any way of posting while I was up there either.
And then the day after I got back home (Monday last week), I went in to work and found out our whole department had been made redundant. Merry Christmas indeed! (the joys of being government funded). So the past week has been, well, difficult to say the least. I tend to go in to shut down mode during times like this hence the lack of blog posts. As it is I’m still struggling to put words together but I need to snap out of it as I have jobs to apply for that require me to be articulate.
I won’t bore you with details, but I’m basically in a situation where I need to make that choice between having job that doesn’t interest me/is not in my field, but pays the bills vs. taking a risk at finding (and getting!) a job that I would be passionate about (and that I know I would be good at). It’s all coming down to whether or not I have enough faith in myself, and boy that’s a bloody big question. But I think I’m going to take the chance…
Anyway, that’s enough about that! I do have a great big post that I’ve been working on that will probably need to a wait a little longer as my days are filled with job hunting and resume writing, but hopefully I’ll get it to you all soon. In the meantime, I hope everyone is enjoying the end of the year. Here’s to a successful and happy 2016!
Last week I received a very large box at my work. Inside the box was Blizzard goodies! I finally got around to making some space in the apartment over the weekend to give them a home and thought I would share them with you.
So my boyfriend wanted to make sure that I had something for my birthday, despite buying me safari tickets (!!!!!!!) So he bought me the most expensive mount in WoW – the Grand Expedition Yak, This thing is gloriously obscene. I LOVE IT! It has a little sales guy on board who does repairs, and best of all a reforger. Never again will I have to hearth every time I get some new gear – now I can just do it mid-raid. SO EXCITED!