Yes, I know it’s Wednesday. SH*T! I had better e-mail the milkman and let him know no delivery for tomorrow. Real life grown-up responsibilities! It’s Thursday now! See how that real life stuff sneaks up on you?!
For a few years there, I took a vacation from Real Life. Truly. CD Rogue and I were under pressure and had many stresses. Young leet druid and Cub were going through things. Job is well, stressful. And I regressed. No question about it. I regressed, retreated, and retracted—vows, promises, caring, sanity: you name it. And I am finding that I just can’t balance my virtual life as I once did. I am wondering, too, if other established players are feeling the pinch, too.
Navimie has a thoughtful post about 6.1 reactions. Features are not the same as content. In many ways, I feel that Blizzard sometimes conflates the two, and either one is too little, too late. That the world gets providing–what is the word I’m looking for–authentic isn’t it– meaningful isn’t it–but tangible activities perhaps (?) things to do – food to cook, sights to see, and satisfying experiences, as well as more distractions: talk to my sister about her new obsession with Trivia Crack.
Right now? All I want is for an LFR to drop at least one piece of loot with a bonus roll (my two “mains,” the shaman and the priest, are kept from playing because they can’t seem to afford new gym shoes – in other words, the RNGs have been kind of shitty to them); the other thing are pet battles on the i-Pad. That’s it. That should have come out a LONG time ago. People are and have been mobile for years. If you want to keep your name in the game, have players take it on the road while they’re living their real lives.
Maybe it’s just as well. I’m sucked into a novel right now: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Tough to put down. One more post, check on garrison missions, and back to other thoughts.
Mataoka would like to file a police report on harassment in her own garrison. First, the little pod-thingies with teeth (“Beware of plants with eyes indeed…WATCH OUT FOR THE TEETH!”), and next, some creeper named Segumi who got up all in her personal space. Back off, Jack.
Mataoka could feel his hot, fishy panda breath down her shoulder gear, and she was thoroughly creeped out. Disgusting. She moved to the side because he would not budge, giving her some flimsy excuse about helping her with her ‘pole casting.’ She had few options available: move away from him, or move away from him. Which begs the question: not every soul in our garrisons are of our choosing. Sure, a little reverse sexism can be fun–‘Hey Mr. NightElf Stablehand…can you help me um, heal this pet?‘ or trying to manipulate the bankers: ‘Gee, you look swell today Karl, any gold in
that guild bank? No, lost it all on insider trading fraud? Oh well.’ — but some of those NPCs are well, downright strange. If only there was a counselor or mental health services, or gee, even good old-fashioned stocks to have someone cool their jets. I bet Justin Timberland would build some for Mataoka: he has kind of thing for her, in a healthy, lumberjack kind of way.
In any case, most of the garrison members are becoming like family. I am a little concerned that the miners are trying to unionize, and the saws at the lumber mill aren’t properly equipped with safety plexiglass, and the Lumberfall Inn didn’t pass its last health inspection…but other than that, nothing that can’t be solved. And the next time Segumi tries to get a bit too close, Mataoka will put on her spider-dress and poke him right in the face:
Ah, Azeroth. So glad to be home, riding through the lavender fields on my trusty Talbuk, collecting dinosaur bones and cleaning out guild banks. So satisfying. Look, little monk! Why don’t you try to get some off-spec gear from Ordos – your human is doing nothing better than sitting on the couch drinking wine and eating left-over Halloween candy…go for it!
What, what is this? Two big minotaur-ial bullies blocking the way? That’s okay — if you die (which you will cause you suck), the graveyard is close by and you can just spirit past them to the group.
No– NO! You spawned in the graveyard at the bottom of the hill?! And have to run ALL the way back to Ordos? When did that happen? What? NO – there is a warlock with nerd rage yelling at everyone to come back in if they die? And then…no. This warlock thinks you were slacking! Because you were dead the entire time of the fight!
Those who know me know where this is going. That I can’t leave well enough alone. Yes, I did engage in a conversation trying to explain the situation, but young warlock did not get it, and then proceeded to call me not only a moron, but a liar. Time to log off of Whisperwind and go pay angry warlock a visit on his/her server and set them straight. In a nice way. I wanted them to know that i was not an asshat, that I was sorry for the misunderstanding, and diffuse the nerd rage with my kill-them-with-kindness positivity. All merry sunshine and healing spells, that’s me. He seemed to calm down and be satisfied.
Now I have a friend in Azeroth who told me he is going to be writing an English paper on the g&m&er&&G/hate thing. I also told Dahahka about CD Rogue’s theory about the huge influence Japan/Sony has been in the gaming world, with ugliness and misogyny. I thought last night I would turn over some rocks, in a scholarly pursuit of information. I wish I hadn’t. Gentlemen: take me at my word: Japanese culture, like all cultures, has very, very dark sides. Little girl faces with exaggerated, absurd, grotesquely figures and a lot of mention of horrible things. The thing that maybe the average player does not consider is how incestuous the gaming industry is: if one works for this company or that, the game worker takes that culture to others and spreads some of the yuck like a hate virus. I don’t want to link some of the “rocks” I overturned. I need heart soap. It’s ugly, ugly stuff. Young men justifying, smugly, why they are entitled to rape video games. That’s the least of it. And I must admit: I am a more than a bit irked when the CEO of Blizzard, Michael Morhaime, mentions the ‘tough subject’ of g*m9erh/ate and how they don’t condone it, while I’m looking at a backdrop of muscly testosterone. It’s hard to believe they are really that invested in equanimity at this moment. It’s a lovely gesture though.
While standing in line for souvenirs and goodies, this banner hung over us for hours:
This is truly the expansion for Orcs. I still feel kind of betrayed. That all the while I was marching with Dwarfs and heroes the Orcs in the battlefield would wipe their snot-noses, take a shower, put on some Axe body spray, and come out smelling like roses. There is not a single female represented in that tableau, either. Compositionally, the highest point is the Orc-in-Front, causing the viewer’s eye to move and stay on his figure. What’s his name? Hellscream? Looks like he’s wearing an Armani suit, while Varian pouts, small and petulant, in last season’s Dolce and Gabbana. And Velen? Damn, man, take your meds.
In any case, young squires, I cannot help you seek knowledge about this. This is not a judgement on my part, or cowardice. The human condition is extreme and fascinating. We’re all trying to navigate our way through a lot of muddy, invisible rules. And run back from far away graveyards.
So just what is the deal with skin tone? And why does it even matter? Perhaps racial features defined ancestral lines. This reminded me of Irish dialects, how one little country can produce so many nuances to “one” language. How one speaks is indicative of region. I’m still feeling guilty about changing Mataoka’s skin from husky brown to blue. Reminded me of a Drunk History episode (San Francisco) about Mary Ellen Pleasant who “passed” for white, and this freed her to run in the highest echelons of society and wealth. This worries me: do Draenei support or conform to a caste system? Hmmm….if I open that ancestral vault for Mataoka, what skeletons with horns will I find?
In any event, the electric company wrote me and said revenues were down, so I thought I would help them out:
Happy Horns, seriously, you gotta pay more attention to your dangling modifiers: The other day I noticed my childhood friend (since we were four years old) posted an article about Anita Sarkeessian. I PM’d my friend, finally revealing my secret identity as “Mataoka, The Most Beautiful Shaman in the World” and she was quite accepting and wonderful. Not many folks I can share that with in the muggle world, you know. (There needs to be a parallel term for “real life” folks like the term ‘muggles’ in Harry Potter…let’s work on that.)
Anyway, my ears have been perking up quite a bit over women and the sciences, specifically computer sciences. I know even know many young women who do not see the correlation between sex appeal and intelligence, who are still ‘playing dumb,’ so much so they become the illiterate idiot they imagine “boys” want. I hate to tell you, chicas, but beauty fades fast, but a sharp brain gets you through even the dullest moments of life. It helps you cut through the bullshit.
In any case, I can see why so many folks, male and female, take a step back from Azeroth. I wonder if there is a correlation between the amount of mental challenges the game requires and engagement. (In fact, I am certain I can make a strong case for this.) The other night I was in a fun group doing heroic MSV. We got to heroic Sha, and it was hard! What?! We can’t just roll through it?! Hawt said she liked it, that she enjoyed the challenge like a puzzle. I totally get that. When you need to figure out the mechanics of a fight it’s more fun.
I know I tested Turk’s patience a little bit last night because we were trying to two-man Deathwing’s spine. He finally drew me a diagram on the boat and patiently explained it (it’s okay Turk–I try CD Rogue’s patience, too.) We almost got it, but it was late, and we thought we’d try again another time. That gets me thinking, too, (it is RANDOM Tuesday Morning Thought after all): what kinds of things aggravate or irritate you in the game based on your personality? There must be a direct correlation. Me? I can fly around on all sorts of characters collecting candy for pets. That doesn’t bother me. However, for those whose game time is precious, those time sinks are hell.
In any case, it’s cool to be smart, it’s worthwhile to be who you are, and this is true for men and women.
Today’s Random Tuesday Morning Thought is brought to you by Comcast, Who Can’t Get Its Sh*t Together, So Now It’s Wednesday.
“Do you want to be sent to your room and go sleep by yourself? And nobody will see you ever again?”
You have probably seen this by now. I don’t care. This. Was. Me. I have always been a diva in my own narrative. I would send myself to my room, denying my mother of my charming company, and stage elaborate productions where of course, I was the star.
Yesterday was a great day: I am in MY GROOVE PEEPS. Until my boss saw one little thing I intentionally didn’t do, one little hoop I decided the poodles did not have to jump through, and she called me on it. Man, what’s a girl to do but get her fancy dress on when she gets home, and sing a round of Frozen to an adoring audience? (Translation: Kellda struts her fancy robes and raids the night away!) Alas, it was not meant to be.
Comcast sucks and blows.
My Internet was out until about five minutes ago. I reset everything I could, and even killed a spider while pulling out the wires, pieces of dog food, and dust bunnies with teeth. I fixed it, but still, the night is gone. Thursday night I have to work, so can’t make it then. either. It was weird though, not having my usual routine.
I made dinner.
I tried to read my next book for book club, but need my old lady glasses and couldn’t find them so I just used cell data to play Hearthstone. I watched The Daily Show, and mused at all the folks who want to kill everyone. Talk about shit getting real.
I responded to a Facebook post of a zealous Christian acquaintance who says climate change is a hoax.
And I went to sleep trying to scrape off the bullshit and nonsense that is the world, and think about gnome kisses and knights in shining armor.
I set up the coffee pot for the this morning the night before, so there would be caffeine. It’s not all bad.
I guess Blizzard felt sorry for me, because it gave Kellda a Blue Drake:
Now: When I brought this up to CD Rogue when I heard of the vile harassment Sarkeesian received, he said no gender is free from sexual harassment and abuse, and this is sadly true. Women also, in perhaps this gender’s effort to be “just like the guys” also use [sexual/workplace] power to intimidate and harass. I told him, though, there comes a time when the broad brush of bullshit isn’t the conversation, but the details, the specifics, are. I asked him if we could focus the conversation. For example, I can’t think of a time when a man was told this:
Well, okay. Perhaps Edward Snowden was told this. Several times, I suppose. But he wasn’t told to stop making games–he was trying to save us from ourselves.
People use love as a weapon. They make it something not love, resembling nothing like love, till it becomes monstrous hatred. What really galls me, the terrible truth, is that somewhere there is an ex-boyfriend, and he will find another woman to date, perhaps marry, and that woman who thinks “she can change him,” or he was right in issuing death threats is somehow ‘bad boy sexy.’ Sheis the one who undermines us all, men and women. I had to explain to a young squire the other day why it was important that women are paid the same as men for the same work. Yes, it’s 2014. He asked why, so I told him: wouldn’t he want his mother, or future wife to be healthy, have the ability to support their family and life equally as him? Logic, young squire. Logic.
I asked CD Rogue, “Why aren’t parents explaining moral, ethical and common sense treatment of other humans?” He said no one thinks about the next step. We have always discussed social issues with our cubs. Are parents assuming their children are getting it somewhere? God help us all if they think the Internet is doing a good job.
So: a plea to my friends in Azeroth: never hurt me, be kind, and enjoy the friendship we share. I do believe we make things better, and it’s the only way to destroy darkness is by light. This battle is ageless, and will never end, so we might as well make each other strong with love. Logical? Oh yes.
We interrupt this regularly scheduled Random Tuesday Morning Thought to bring you little monsters. Specifically, little troll hacking monsters.
Helke alerted me to this news story. Usually when I’m in Azeroth, I’m IN Azeroth – in spite of the chaos, mice, unpaid bills, and Cruel Taskmaster’s BACK TO WORK’s–I’ll get whispers late at night, when I’m snuggled in bed, playing Hearthstone, and it’s hard for me to respond. I wish I had an “Open Sign” that went dark between the hours of 9PM and 7AM.
And claiming national security is not an overreaction, but I do believe it’s misunderstood. It is not that people couldn’t play games, and our responses to national security are –let me just say complex at best. Frisking eight-year-olds does not security create. However, when young civilians have the brains and psychopathic tendencies combined with a steady stream of disassociated reality, we create a potential for even more than disruptive shenanigans.
On a tangential note, Mr. and Mrs. WoW ask about our feelings about Big Blizzard itself. This incident, and many others, remind me that Blizzard is a business, first and foremost; they are allowed and encouraged to employ, pay taxes, and return on investment to the infrastructure and customers that in return, help them make the profits they do. So when I, as paying customer, have an issue, they have been great in resolving it, and for the most part, have turned from arrogance to being more responsive.
I am beginning to understand why players stick with maybe one to three solid classes/specializations: truly and deeply specializing takes hours of intense scrutiny and practice. I am feeling somewhat a restoration druid ‘failure’ these days: I have the gear, and yet I still can’t produce the healing potential Momokawa possesses. One HUGE issue I had the other night was I tried to use Clique, and it was an abysmal failure. Well, it wasn’t: I was. I didn’t take the time to try to understand it, and it disrupted my targeting. That’s an understatement.
Sitting here trying to decide what kind of player I want to be, after all these years: do I want to focus on one or two characters and dig into raiding? Do I want to go more solo, play with my Garrison?
I don’t know. Don’t judge me, please –it could happen to anyone–but in my own little Matty-shack a mouse family has moved in (I have called in professionals to help them move out), and the wisteria vines engulfed over the eastern facade, growing into the crevices of shingles, denying their shoots of sunlight, producing pale whitish-yellow chlorophyll-depleted tendrils. In other words: I better look after my own garrison, instead of a make-believe one. I envision a not-too-distant-future where I’m sitting at my keyboard adding a pet or lighting sconce to pixelized castle while around me are mouse parties and Sleeping Beauty style thorny vines.
Warlords of Draenor is going to be huge. Garrisons will be awesome. The story will be fine, and Draenei will have a role to play. It’ll all work out, and is not worth any iota of stress or concern.
Then why am I starting to wake up again at 5:30AM with headaches?
Here is what I do know: summer is drawing to a fast close, and this summer has been wonderful for me. I consciously did nothing. I read one book (and I loved it, every word). I watched Game of Thrones repeats on Netflix. I played Hearthstone like a old card shark. I sat like Margot Tenenbaum (without the cigarettes) and relaxed as if it was my job.
I had a great time yesterday goofing off with Starre in Blackwing Lair on various characters, and made a Red Knight ensemble for Luperci:
So mice, take notice: pack your little cheesy bags and get the hell out of Dodge. I know you’re not like Cinderella mice and will not sew any dresses or make pearl necklaces for me, so scram. I’ve got other things to do than worry about you.
This morning’s Random Tuesday Morning Thought is brought to you by the northern sun of Norway, a young mother, and twin boys. I cracked up watching this film of this mother trying to put her sons to bed, or rather, having them stay and sleep. I can draw a parallel between so many things, but since this is at its heart, a WoW blog, I’ll stick with one: those nagging achievements. Get one down, and up pops the other; accomplish that, and like a three-headed hydra or twins, never ending. Last night I saw that Shel from AnLaShok guild was on – I think she’s the bees’ knees, by the way-and that she was in Ice Crown. I need two more achievements for the ten man and asked if I could go along. She was talking to me in Vent, but I didn’t have Vent on yet, so didn’t hear that it was 25 man. A small group runs it every week for Invincible. It was fun to tag along anyway. Maybe I’ll try to organize a few more achievement things for Old Ladies this weekend, and actually somewhat “lead” the group so we can get them done. Everyone wants mounts, don’t they?
The problem, or should I say ‘social opportunity’ is that many achievements in Azeroth require…ugh…other people. We hope to see someone who’s not only on, but willing, and available to do something, be it planned or spontaneous. Finishing up achievements requires list-making and goal setting, both of which often take some of the mojo out of the fun for me. Maybe that’s just me. Lists can be sexy, too, I suppose. But take yesterday for example, when something is not sexy, or fun: I took little priest Pessah (which means Passover by the way, which I swear was a subconscious choice for her) to do some dungeons. Under level 44, (level 44 is when you get Mind Spike) the shadow priest abilities are truly anemic. There is no AOE, and heaven help you if you try to put your phantom down and fear anything that’s eating your little face. But it seems that I can still get hurt feelings when unannounced, get kicked from DIRE MAUL, because you know, those low level dungeons are critical to success in Azeroth.
When the group stopped, hesitated before the next group, and then I saw the splash screen, I had that disheartened, sad feeling of being kicked. Why does it still bother me? Why do I take it personally? We didn’t wipe, we didn’t fail, nothing bad happened, and no joke, the warrior tank jumped to everything and downed it before Pessah’s little legs could get there and get her dots on…I couldn’t tell them that she and two other players just three-manned Stratholme (she did! Really!) or that give her a chance, cause when she hits level 44 she’ll Mind Spike the hell out of those level 40 spiders! Just you wait! So, back to Eastern Plaguelands to squeeze grubs and skeletons. Pfft. Poor little thing. I really hope some of the changes help, because I love playing Shadow Priests, but I’m just not very good at it.