How time as flown by since I last (a) logged into World of Warcraft and (b) logged onto Hots and Dots. Strangely enough the opposite to what I expected has occured: World of Warcraft feels much unchanged and the WoW blogging community seems like a strange new land.
I must confess that even though I haven’t been logging much, if any, game time, I almost always skim through my feed read and will read the WoW posts that catch my attention. So many of Lathere and my blogging contemporaries (er… cronies?) have gone silent. Instead it’s a new crop of writers who are catching my attention.
And the one thing that’s most definitely become clear in my mind is that bloggers are writing about the same topics and quandries and general grey areas that have existed in World of Warcraft play since day 1. It’s still relevant. And each new voice brings a new perspective and new circumstances to the same dilemmas.
I wish that I was writing this post in order to announce CASSANDRI RETURNS TO RAIDING. But it would be a lie. I’m not even really writing this to say that I’m coming back to be a casual player. I’m still sitting on the fence.
I almost titled this post as “I’m at Peace”. I have a new understanding of all those government anti-smoking ads that encourage smokers to think about “life as a non-smoker”. You could stick a picture of me up there with “life as an ex-WoW raider” and I would say that the message holds true.
I think of myself as someone who used to play World of Warcraft.
I don’t miss the game at all. I don’t think about what I could be doing if I could just carve out a couple hours of uninterrupted game time. I don’t wish I had the titles that the new crop of dedicated raiders have. I don’t wish I had the gear, or the mounts or any one of those things.
I do really miss the friends that I used to speak to most nights of the week. I really miss what Lathere and I have achieved here: our blog – a place for us to ponder (or rant) our experiences in game.
The problem seems straight forward: in order to be part of the blogging world I need to write about game experiences. Thus, I need to play the game. Play with friends. Play with strangers.
But I can’t quite find a reason to log in. To log in and do… what?
I’m at a loss.
The truth is, I feel that I accomplished everything that I really wanted to during Wrath of the Lich King. I began the Burning Crusade with the regret that I didn’t pick the stupid box up a year earlier and had completely missed the chance to raid at level 60. I began Wrath of the Lich King with the determination to not just be a raider, but to be a serious progression raider who played with the best of the best and saw real achievement.
I did all that. I could do that again if I wanted to.
And I stuck it out when they announced Cataclysm’s release date. I became somewhat envious of players who had taken 6 month breaks mid-expansion only to return and catch me – surpass me – on the gear ladder. I intended to begin Cataclysm with a holiday. And to catch up as Tier 11 was winding down and Tier 12 was beginning.
The floods in January didn’t ruin that for me, but they did force me to quit for a short time and quit quite suddenly.
I blogged in January that we’d lost only the lowest floor – our study – and that we had been spared the worst. I’m still grateful that we can live comfortably, albeit cramped, in our home. But I also misguidedly thought that our insurance policy would finally pay out. I’m not in any financial position to rebuild with my own funds or even to take out a personal loan so I waited and waited and waited for an assessor then waited again for a decision from RACQ. Eventually they called me only to wriggle out of any obligation entirely citing that “rising river flooding” wasn’t part of the package. I have a nasty suspicion that rising river flooding coverage isn’t part of any RACQ package giving them free reign to decline all claims.
Please, I ask that you learn from my mistake: do not trust or pay RACQ to protect your assets.
So, unless I miraculously stumble across a spare ten thousand dollars I will be without a gaming den for many, many months.
That alone isn’t enough to stop me from picking up where I left off and becoming a raider again. But it’s yet another change. Another thing that separates me from the person I was this time last year so eager to conquer Icecrown Citadel twice over, heroics here I come. I’ve also celebrated a birthday, my 29th, and am attempting a pretty major career change. I’ve even cut my hair short.
I’m trying to complete some major achievements in my real life. And that doesn’t leave me with much mental energy to chase after achievements in my virtual life.
I’m not saying that one achievement is more important than another. In the long run who is to say what affects us the most deeply or for the longest time? I might be willing to debate that when I’m old and grey. But I do believe that when we lack the sense of achievement in our personal lives it’s only logical that we try and satisfy that drive with a virtual achievement in World of Warcraft.
You could say I ought to go “casual” but I’ve never really played World of Warcraft in any way than chasing achievements. And back before there was an official achievement system I had my own personal goals: kill this boss, understand the acronyms in that battleground, learn that tailoring recipe etc.
If I play Cataclysm at all, it will still be for the people – the friends and teamwork – and for the raiding.
Perhaps I need to draw myself into the lore of the Cataclysm raiding scene. I don’t know much about Blackwing Descent and Bastion of Twilight. I mean, I’m sure in the recesses of my brain I know a bit about the major baddies who are trying to take over the world. But nothing really springs to mind while I write this.
Perhaps I should draw my copy of Day of the Dragon off my virtual bookshelf. Or pick up a copy of The Shattering: A prelude to Cataclysm. I need a method to reconnect to the game. And I most assured do not feel very connected to my guild or fellow Alliance players on my server. You might think I’m mad to reconnect to a game by reading a book. Maybe I am and my plan won’t work at all.
I do finally understand why players re-roll new characters of the exact same class and spec as their main. I could see myself rejoining World of Warcraft as a level 1 Priest and a level 10 (that’s when you get to specialise, right?) Shadow Priest. I would be relearning the world in baby steps from the ground up. And still inside the very comfortable, if slightly unfamiliar, trappings of a Shadow Priest.
Both ideas sound silly. And if I’d suggested them to Cassandri on the 7th of April 2010 I know she would tell me to stop wasting my time! Then again, this would be the same Cassandri that spent approximately 156 nights in Icecrown Citadel without complaint.
I never said I was perfect