Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Don't stop shining

I miss you.  I think of you often. Happy 21st.

Friday, 27 May 2011

20 Days of Warcraft Redux - This Upsets (Bugs) Me.

It's Saga's meme time again - huzzah! And unfortunately I fell into a bottle of vodka last night (quick tip: vodka is only the answer if you know what the question is) so I have the hangover from hell.  But today gives me a chance to be ranty about stuff that generally sticks in my craw.  Yay.  Mind you, my last few posts haven't exactly been happy and smiley, so apologies... I'll try to minimise shouty CAPS and profanity...

Let's have a bitch fight
I hate blog drama.  Really, I do. I'm incredibly bad with confrontation that involves me personally, but I also loathe it when bloggers start splitting themselves into 'factions' and taking sides.  Healthy, productive debate is fine.  Disagreeing with people in an intelligent manner is fine.  Challenging people is fine. Taking agin people for either no discernible reason, or for some 'reason' that's so minuscule it's on the pinhead, dancing along with the angels, just upsets me. And then using that 'reason' to troll people's blog saddens me further.  I read again today, a slightly vitriolic post (that I'm not linking to because it's the kind of 'churn' post I hate) which consisted of someone spouting off about a known blogger/podcaster (that I'm not over-endowed with fondness for myself but I just kinda... don't engage with it) for seemingly no reason other than they disliked each other (I do get the feeling it was mutual...) and predictably the comments, in the main (with some exceptions) were not particularly relevant to the alleged 'point' the blogger was making but were along the lines of "OMG [other blogger] is win!!11 U r fail!!11"  /yawn.  See that /yawn.  Not even /popcorn.  Let's just make like the imp and "all just get along..."

Trolling and being a jerk
See above.  But also on forums, on blogs, and in-game.  BE NICE!  Don't be ableist, sexist, racist or a bigot in general.  If you must insist on maintaining these charming personality quirks, please keep them out of game. Seriously, my 13 year old daughter wants this t-shirt.  If she can be mature - so can you. Also, don't be an elitist jerk.  Don't tell people to L2PlayN00b.  It's utterly and completely futile. Chances are they aren't deliberately playing badly... and if they are - well that won't make any difference anyway.

I can't jump.  In Blackfathom Depths you need to jump up early on - I need a half an hour head start to swim round in circles cursing.  In Wailing Caverns I fall through the hole because, even with a run up, I usually can't make it.  Raid bosses that require me to jump (I'm looking at YOU Thaddius!) make me sweat and grind my teeth Even with levitate, even with speed potions, chances are I'm going to unintentionally kill you with bad polarity as I try to get across.  How do you do it so easily?  How??

I don't know why.  I don't get PvP.  I'm sorry.  It upsets me that with so many bad things in Azeroth, you'd want to kill each other... /takes tongue out of cheek. Nope, sorry, still don't get it.  I love the fact that you love it. It just bugs me that I can't understand why you do.  PvP has one use in my life:  to serve as a cheesy pickup line to use on Himself (*yoinked* from Bell's Valentine's Day post) "Hey baby, you look like my WoW character.  Why don't we go back to my place and PvP..."

So there ya go.  It's a short list;  be grateful for the fact that I'm dehydrated and my head hurts.  Happy long  bank holiday weekend fellow Brits, and have a good weekend all you poor souls who have to go to work on Monday...

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


1. The fact of having a right to something.
2. The amount to which a person has a right

Ok - all clear about that?  Good. 

So... you are not entitled to anything in a game. Other than what is in your standard T&Cs.  If Blizzard so chose, they could take all the WoW servers down tomorrow and other than refunding the subscripition fee for the remaining 'game time' you have purchased, you are entitled to nothing.  Zip, nix, nada, rien, niente. 

You are not entitled to new content, raids, zones or battlegrounds with new patches.

You are not entitled to assume that because you feel your particular class is over-powered/nerfed in a specific situation/context that this is a game breaking situation for other players and Blizz should devote every millisecond of their dev time to fixing it NAO!

If Blizz so chose, they could implement this and there is bugger all anyone can do about it.

You are, however, entitled to vote with your wallet at any point.  If you don't like the move towards RMT stop playing.  Seriously, if it bugs you that much cancel your sub and go play something else.  If you're not at this point, know that you can reserve your right to cancel at any time in the future.  That's what being a consumer is about. 

Blizz will milk their cash cow for as long as they can (and before it turns into a dog.)  Activision is a business.  It reports to shareholders.  Shareholds don't give a fuck about class balance or content.  Nor do they care about what you think you're entitled to...

Monday, 23 May 2011

Epic... handbags?

I do enjoy my debates with Sven, and readers of both this blog and FailPug may have noticed that recently, he's written a string of posts centering on game design.  Some of his points I've agreed with, some I haven't.  His recent post about removing the cap sparked debate via Tobold and MMO Melting Pot (no I'm clearly not jealous - my eyes have always been this shade of... green).  His most recent post echoes one of his previous posts, both of which have caused me to comment and then write a post in response.

Please take a moment (if you haven't already) to read them and then come back and we'll talk handbags.

Both of these are handbags.  So why do I want the one on the left and not the one on the right?
A while back, I tried to give up smoking.  I went to my GP, got the miracle medication, felt sick as a dog for a fortnight whilst my body adjusted (the only time, I might add, that I bailed out half way through raids - the room would literally spin so hard that I'd have to lie on the floor and hold on) and then I stopped smoking.  And, as many of the 'how to quit smoking successfully' theories will tell you, I religiously put the money I would have spent on cigarettes into my Paddington Jar.  Eventually, I'd have saved enough money to go to Selfridges and buy my dream handbag (for the un-initiated amongst you, that's a Chloe Paddington.)  And not because non-entity celeb whoever had one, just because I adore them.  And they (along with anything vaguely 'designer'-y) was (and remains) firmly out of my financial reach - the only way I was going to get one was to overcome the obstacles (not going back to smoking) and then I'd be rewarded for my effort. I didn't want someone to buy me one.  I didn't want a Primark knock-off.  I wanted to have 'earnt' one myself.    It was symbolic of the 'struggle' I'd gone through in beating an addiction.  I never got one, by the way.  I started smoking again long before I'd saved up enough so my dream handbag remains that.  Just a dream. 

Ok, so I've than perpetuated a girly stereotype of handbag obsession, but what does this have to do with the recent discussions about removing the raid number cap?  Quite a lot actually.  Because for me, trying to separate out the 'raiding for challenge' and 'raiding for epics' mentality is well-nigh impossible.  When I raided I loved my epics because I felt that I'd 'earnt' them, from showing persistence, team-work, commitment etc but I also felt a personal sense of triumph when we downed a boss.  Would I have raided if there was no tangible 'reward'?  Raided 'just to see content'?  I might have done, I'll never know for sure.  But I know that a visible reward for the effort I had applied helped.  For me, it was probably 50/50.  Loot helped, personal satisfaction helped.  I'm not sure one without the other would have worked.

My Chloe handbag would have been symbolic of the effort I had made in quitting smoking.  It would have been 'more' than  a handbag to me.  But to others I might have just been swanking around with a designer label bag ( flexing my...handbag-peen...?)  Is this how we view epics?  How we view raiders?  Is the reason for not removing a cap on raid numbers really as straightforward as the 'elite' wanting to stay that way?  Or is it because that our shiny purples are symbolic of something else, obstacles overcome, challenges met and because simply being able to zerg it wouldn't be as satisfying?  Wanting a tangible reward does not make you a bad person.  But nor does the view that as many people as possible should be able to see content. 

So how do we reconcile this?  I'm not sure we do.  It's very easy to sit on one or other side of the fence and become entrenched in our view.  It's harder to have that view challenged and try to make a coherent, rational argument for continuing to hold it.  One of the most commonly mooted answers is 'easy' and 'hard' mode.  Does this help though?  Another answer is the one Sven proposed - remove the number limit and leave the loot table the same.  The smaller your (skilled) team, the faster you gear up.  And maybe, this is the middle ground.  It's not ground that sits well with me, but maybe it's the least bad of the options.

And another question - people keep citing Rift to me as an example of how Trion do it differently.  I'm playing Rift.  As far as I'm aware, Rift instances have a number limit.  Maybe they don't... but I keep seeing people asking for 2 more for RotF, or 1 more for DD or whatever. I think maybe instanced content does have a number cap, it's only the 'rifts' themselves that are zerg-able...  

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Cautionary Tales

There seems to be an increasing number of posts and comments popping up all over the blogsphere stating (or implying) that people are coming towards the end of their raiding 'career'.  Or that it's over already.  I know the standard defence for this is twofold:  that we're not all that far into the expansion as yet (or conversely:  there isn't 'enough' content to keep people interested - pick your 'side') and that summer is coming and people naturally slacken off when the sun is shining and the outside world is more inviting than their monitor.  Yeah ok, maybe those are true.  But I'm not convinced.  As we were drawing to the end of Wrath, I continued to read a lot of posts about people exulting in their triumph over the Lich King (even via PuG groups) and there seemed to be a buzz about raiding in Cata.  The raiding glow seems to be diminishing at an alarming rate. There are many reasons proposed for this, but the most common seems to lay the blame solely at  Blizzard's door due to the perceived change in difficulty level of heroics and raiding between Wrath and Cata.  In Wrath it was 'too easy' - do you really get the same level of satisfaction (and glory?) from downing bosses that PuGs can drop?  And in Cata it's been 'too hard'.  As Sven asked:  who'd be a game designer?

Can we, for the sake of debate, try to remove perceived changes to game design from the equation, and instead look at firstly the player base, and secondly at what I call the 'raiding mentality'? 

Let's take the player base first.  According to Wiki, WoW has been around since 24 November 2004. So that's six and a half years.  I don't know about you but my life was a bit different that long ago, however I was still a responsible (ahem) adult.  I was in my... ok, my late 20s but I still had kids and a fulltime job and a mortgage to pay.  I'm not sure how representative of the player base that is though.  I'd hazard a guess that when a lot of the people we now consider to be 'veterans' started playing they were in their early 20s.  Now they're in their mid - late 20s (maybe (the horror!) even their 30s.)  Their lives are probably markedly different.  They'll have shouldered fulltime jobs and mortgages, and have bills to pay.  They may have (non gaming) partners who are going to be (in my view) probably less then cool with them being surgically attached to an online game for hours regularly. (And, as a minor, but relevant aside, have you ever listened to someone raiding without the understanding of 'WoW language'?  Can you imagine how excluding that could be?)  They may even have rugrats and as many parents know, 7pm ain't the ideal time to be needing peace and quiet and uninterrupted time when there are rugrats bouncing about. So is it fair to assume that players' lives may have changed considerably outside of the game? I think it is.

Then there's the raiding 'cycle'.  For some people, every new expansion brings a series of new raids and they're cool with their hard-earned epics being tomorrows vendor trash.  For others, it isn't that easy.  If you raided in vanilla, you'll be on the third loop of the cycle.  You'll have geared up in vanilla, in TBC, in Wrath and in Cata.  Technically that's four times, but I felt, like I think most people do, that the first time you raid and gear up it's all shiny and new and exciting.  But is it really, that much of a surprise that on the 3rd or 4th time round, the pervading feeling is one of 'here I go again...'? We all know the drill:  you hit level cap and start running heroics, crafting epics and the rep grind to get entry level raid gear.  You do the entry level raids and start getting 'proper' epics.  Then you get gear with a higher item level as the bosses and the raid content gets harder.  You get tier gear sets and then the new raid is patched in and whaddyaknow?  It drops the next tier.  Rinse and repeat for every expansion. And that right there - that's the definition of a 'grind'.

Also, and this next bit might be totally specific to me, I think raiding gives you a set of blinkers.  Or tunnel vision.  The primary focus of the game becomes raiding, raid prep, gems, enchants, gear, buff food, elixirs/flasks/potions, loot tables, DKP and on and on and on...  The entire game starts to revolve around raiding.  Everything else starts to form part of your peripheral vision, ok, it's there but it's off to the side and a bit out of focus. I've lost count of how many posts I've read bemoaning the nigh-impossibility of being an 'RPer' and a 'proper raider'.  That saddens me.  Again, speaking for me (and trying to ignore my officer/raid leaders responsibilities as I realise that they form part of the 'raid management' experience, rather than straightforward 'raid experience') the game turned into just being about raiding.  Everything else got sidelined.  Now, you can argue (and I wouldn't disagree with you) that this is a choice of sorts.  One does not have to raid 5, 6 or 7 nights a week.  One, I'm sure can be more... moderate that this, but when you're going for progression it's tough. When you form part of a 10-man, and a 25-man (pre shared lockouts) raid team, it's very hard to just take a few nights off.  More so when you're a proven healer. 

So when do you realise that you're burning out, and how do you manage it?  I know people with stronger willpower than I, who simply took a few weeks off and accepted that their need to have some head space took priority over raid progression.  I salute those people, I really do.  I was never able to just take time off like that.  I tried to, and then I'd log on to play an (unguilded) alt, and I'd feel guilty.  Would they get the raid going tonight?  What happened if one of the other healers had issues and couldn't make it as well?  I hated that feeling of 'letting the team down' and whilst, in many cases, that's an admirable trait, when you're burning out it isn't.  Others I knew decided that the guild was what was making them unhappy, rather than the raiding.  They guild-hopped, always leaving amicably, switching guilds every few months, searching for that one guild who they'd feel 'right' raiding with. Totally unable to see that, often, they didn't need a change of guilds, they needed a change of pace.  Eventually, they took extended breaks or vanished off into other games, or just into real life. 

When I stopped raiding, Azeroth became a complex, multi-facted environment again.  I had time to play around with alts, to level professions, to sit around and chat, to re-roll on an RP server... I had time to re-discover all the other parts of the game that I'd almost forgotten existed whilst I'd been wearing my raiding glasses.  I know that I have issues with not hurling headlong into things.  My motto is much more likely to be 'everything in excess, nothing in moderation' than the correct way round.  So I know that, for me, raiding is a closed door now.  But I still miss it.

Lastly, I'd like to salute those who are still there, plugging away at the latest raids.  Just remember that Azeroth is a big place, full of wonder and enchantment.  If it seems to only be existing in capital cities and portals and raids then it might be time to refresh yourself.  Talk a walk through Winterspring, or along the coast somewhere. Don't let yourself burn-out, because once you have, it's bloody hard to be able to get going again.  In other words, don't be me.

Friday, 20 May 2011

20 Days of Warcraft Redux - People You Admire

From Saga's meme of awesome (which I continue to find hugely enjoyable, both in terms of writing and reading other people's responses to) comes Day... erm... 13.  Because I missed some out.  So this is clearly about WoW people, as opposed to people I admire IRL, as it were.  I've kind of been mulling this one over for a few days now, and trying to think about how I'd actually write it, because it could turn into quite a long list. 

Starting with the obvious then - bloggers.
I have a huge admiration, as I think most people do, for fellow bloggers. Anyone who is willing to sit down and spend time and effort committing their thoughts to (virtual) paper, for the entire world to read (should they choose to) deserves respect.  The people you see on my blogroll are the ones I enjoy reading.  Because I'm a bit tardy at reviewing my blogroll regularly there are  a few that are missing.  Ahem. They are in my Reader though...  Jaedia (welcome back - huzzah!) should clearly be on there.  As should Mortigan (also huzzah for a returned blogger!)  I miss Jong and not just because he was a belf with awesome hair... really!) who used to make me howl with laughter and regularly spit coffee over my screen and keyboard. I really, really miss Jong *sniffles*.  Also Oath (where are you?? Come back...) again, not *just* for being a belf with good hair.  Ahem.  I seem to see a theme developing...

Moving on from belf adoration (wow, that's something I thought I'd never write) into what is fondly known in the Pilf Household as the 'blogging circle of lurve'.  Saga and Jae (you've had linkies already my darlings!), Kam, Ama, Jen, Alq and Seph. Himself, who I'm desperately trying NOT to link to, for writing a blog that's always challenging and a great deal different to mine. And for being the source of inspiration for more of my blog posts than I've ever given him credit for (see darling, I kept schtum, aren't I good?)  It's a REAL joy to live not only with someone I adore (obviously) but with a bloke who's a fellow gamer AND a fellow blogger.  There ya go, gush over. 

Additionally, I have a huge admiration for Tobold for both his blogging output and the intelligence of his posts, and the discussions these create.  The Girls Gone WoW posse get a credit for their podcast and commitment (Syl, I will get in touch re guesting when  life just calms down fractionally!) Gaz for his blog, which is both a thing of beauty and a wonderful, intelligent read. Pewter for her... I want to say bravery, but I'm not sure it's exactly what I mean.  Pewter has the drive and the confidence to write about controversial subjects that she feels passionate about, and stay calm and rational.  As I'm unable to do this, I'm in awe of it.   In a different vein, I have to say I do admire (which is NOT the same as like) Gevlon, partially for his output, but more for his seemingly unshakable 'fuck you all, I'm right'-ness.  Which charms me and irks me in equal measures.

The people who makes things tick - officers and GMs
As we all know, they're the often unsung heroes and heroines of Azeroth.  Having officered for some time, I can attest to the drive and commitment that can often change the slant of the game for these people.  I'd NEVER, in a million years, want to wear a GM cap.  Ever.  But gods I'm glad that people do.  I've not always gotten on, on a personal level, with my various GMs, but I've always, but always respected them. 

Azeroth folks - the good (and bad) guys and gals
I can't admire Thrall at the moment.  Sorry, but he's poncing around in the Maelstrom looking like a hippy whilst Garrosh thuds around grunting.  Bah.  I'm loving Vol'jin though.  I blame Himself for opening my mind to the way of the troll.  God, I hope that he eventually opens a can of whoopass on Garrosh (Vol'jin, I hasten to add, not Himself.) Sylvanas *swoons*.  Don't care that she's evil, don't care that she's a scheming, plotting bitch.  I think she's wonderful.  Lor'themar.  Yeah, you know me well enough by now that I don't have to explain this - amirite?  Good. And I'm pleased that Tyrande and Malfurion have been reunited.  I do love a happy ending.

I did say it would be a long list.  I'm sure that I've missed people off and I'll later think 'd'oh!  What about so-and-so?' so if you think you should be here... you probably should.  Have a cookie and know that you're loved.

You get what you pay for?

There's been another kerfuffle started about RMT/micro-trans-whatsits and basically, I'm not going to chuck my hat into the ring in the specific case of WoW's 'premium' cross realm dungeon feature. Mainly because the blogsphere is full of pro and anti posts and you'll have already read a fair number of them by the time I get round to publishing this.  And also because *cough* my sub runs out on 21 May.  Which coincidentally is when I'll actually ascend as part of the Rapture.  As opposed to ascending as a Guardian. Or not.  Who knows?  *shrug*

Anyway - I guess what I was planning to write semi-coherently about is not the inherent good vs. evil of micro transactions but rather what players would be ok about paying for.  From the posts and comments that I've read people seem to fall into two broad camps. 

Firstly, we have the camp that is happy for RMT (which I'm going to use from hereon as I can't be arsed to write micro-transactions every time. Yes, I know that there's a difference, I live with a mathematician, come statistician, come economist - Himself has a broad and impressive intellect, but RMT is measurably quicker to type) to be part of the game as long as it's for, what could simply be described as 'vanity items'.  The sparkle-pony, or the pandaren, or whatever.  Take your pick.  If it's just done for the sake of looking at pretties that not everyone has, it's cool. If it affects 'game play' it's not cool.  The trouble is that people's view of what 'affects' their game play is as broad as the player base. For some people, the mobile auction house gave certain players an advantage.  I can't see what mobile guild chat would do to your advantage (except keep you awake if you could read it during interminably boring meetings at work) but it's a premium service none the less.

The other camp doesn't see an issue with any form of segregation - as far as they're concerned, you get what you pay for.  No issues with paying for additional raid content.  No problems with paying to play with the people you like, rather than putting up with Mrpwnstarr.  Want to have a max level character?  Pay $20 and you can have one. Hey - EQ2 is considering it.  What about wanting more skill, or better PvP?  GuildWars is cool about selling you thatAllods will sell you gPotatoes (yawhatnow??) which you then use to purchase seemingly everything in-game.   However, both GuildWars and Allods are free-to-play.  There's no subscription. And that, for many people seems to be the rub.  Should games be both?  I don't know the answer to that, I'm afraid.

But, unsurprisingly, I've deviated from what I meant to write about.  I was going to discuss what I'd pay for.  Ahem, which is a bit moot, admittedly, but let's say that the sub price went down to, oh, I don't know, £5 a month. And let's not think about a specific game, but rather a 'generic' MMO, which, for the sake of ease, I'll call Pilfkin Online (scary thought, innit?!)

[Disclaimer:  I don't pretend that any of this stuff is earth shattering, or new, ok.  It's just my thoughts!] So, for your £/$/€5 a month you get all the basics that enable you to play the game.  You get six character slots per server, and no strictures on faction/race/class choice.  You can play through all content on the basic subscription, with the exception of raids (that'll cost you extra).  You'll get a ground mount when you hit the requisite level, but that's all.  Want a speedy mount?  Buy it.  Want to fly?  Buy it.  Want a sparkle dragon of pwn?  Buy it.  Want to PvP?  Ok, let's make battlegrounds free, but arenas chargeable.  There are no vanity pets in-game.  There are many to purchase.  In-game currency is for show only.  You earn 'token' gold but everything is available to buy outside of game.  If you want to skip the levelling game then cough up and have a max level character, in 'entry level' raid gear. 

Thems is the basics, but for me there would be a few more things that I'd pay for. Not vast sums of money, but I would pay (a one-off charge) regardless.  Wanna hear them?  Of course you do!  I'd pay to play on an RP server with heavy moderation and a big ban-hammer.  Not to have RP enforced, heavens no: if, like many, you just want to play quietly, without your eyes bleeding from 1337 speak, that's fine.  But if you're talking in public channels in an inane string of half formed, misspelt letters and numbers, boom!  You're gone.  If your character is called Mrpwnstarr and your pet is called ChaseyLaine, boom!  C'ya. You get the gist.  I'd also pay for something that Rift has done for free (I'm sure they're not the only ones either) which is a character wardrobe mod.  What your character has equipped as clothing (for the stats) and what you see (for the image, as it were) are different things.  I've set up an expensively-dyed clothing set and now when I get an upgrade I equip it without changing her looks.  Simples.  Small thing that makes Pilf a happy player. 

Of course, I'm me.  There would be other things that other people would pay for.  So come on.  Give it to me baby - what would you pay for?  Or would you not purchase anything.  Ever.  Period?

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Darling... It's not you... It's me.

Every so often, I seem to fall out of step with WoW.  It goes, seemingly overnight, from something that I can't get enough of, to something that I feel at best, ambivalent about.  I've been through this cycle enough over the course of 5 or so years to have finally reached the conclusion that forms the title of this post:  it's not the game that's out of sync, it's me.  So I've unsubbed (well, when I say 'unsubbed' I mean I've removed my auto-renew thingy, I've a few weeks of game-time left if I choose to use it) and I'm ok with that.  I'm not rage-quitting because of anything Blizzard have, or haven't, done.  I'm not quitting to play Rift (though I am playing it a fair bit at the moment.)  See,  I've stopped playing before and that time I wasn't playing anything other than RL.

And, in fairness, RL has a lot to do with it this time.  I'm under 5 weeks away from getting married (zomfg!) and wedding prep is taking up a fair proportion of my time.  I'm also trying to empty and paint my old house (which is 200 miles away) and get it on the market so Himself and myself can buy a house together.  On top of that, I'm halfway through my first Uni module and am hoping to try and do 2 in the autumn (Open University, wonderful institution though it is, can mean that an undergraduate degree can take up to 7 years to complete if one doesn't shift one's arse and double up modules sometimes) and it's nearly summer.  In fact, it's been very summer-like for the last month or so in my part of the world. And sometimes it's healthy to walk away from things and allow them to just be... whatever they actually are.  Forgive me for a brief tangent...

A few weeks ago, I took Himself back to my childhood home in Cornwall, as part of that 'I want you to know all of me' thing that involves sharing your past with your beloved.  Cornwall was my home from 10 - 17, so not that long; I've lived away from there longer than I lived there.  But for years and years, especially when I was unhappily living in outer London, Cornwall was 'home'.  I used to go back regularly, but eventually my parents sold the house and moved.  But it was still 'home' in my head and heart, because it was my sanctuary.  Even after leaving London and moving to Somerset, and being very happy in my little house, Cornwall still resonated 'home' to me.  I hadn't been back for a few years, mainly because I used to get very churned up and conflicted about it.  I was happy to be there but hated leaving.  So I'd warned Himself that we might drive a long way... only to turn round and drive back (emotions being a bit heightened anyway due to wedding and house clearing).  As it turned out, I went back to the village I grew up in, walked Himself along the moors that I walked and rode on as a teenager and took him to the beach we often went to.  And it was lovely.  No conflict, no feeling twisted and tangled up.  Which was odd.  Nice, but very odd.  It wasn't until I got back home, to the flat I share with Himself, that I worked out why it hadn't bothered me this time.  I didn't need Cornwall to be 'home' anymore.  I have somewhere that is home.  Our flat.  So I was free to enjoy Cornwall, without needing it to be anything.

I think I get on best when I feel like this about WoW.  If I need it to be something, whether that 'thing' takes the form of distractions, or socialising, or whatever, I probably won't enjoy it.  I've been working hard to make it feel like a distraction recently ('I'll just play another level then I'll do wedding stuff/study/the ironing etc etc') and haven't felt like I was enjoying my play-time.  I'm enjoying my mage but I'm happy to take a break.  What I want the most from WoW is something I probably won't get back.  I want to be able to play Pilf, and really 'feel' like her again.  But I suspect, as my life has changed, so has she.  I have logged onto her a few times recently and she's just pixels.  As daft as that sounds, I don't want her that way.  I want her the way she used to be, neuroses, insecurities and all.  And I don't know how to remedy that.

I'll still be blogging here, by the way.  I've a fair few days left in Saga's Challenge and I'll probably twitter and witter about stuff as usual.  Just not as often.  I'm trying (without success, I might add) to persuade Himself that we should have a joint blog; that way we'd actually get a decent posting schedule sorted, but so far nothing concrete has been agreed. If you're pining for me and don't mind RL and Rift posts (and feel like bunging up your Reader with utterly insignificant ramblings) then you can always find me here as well.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Off topic (ahem)

Necro-focussed Rift post here.  WoW blogging will return soon (TM).

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Breakin' down the stereotypes

Because sometimes it's just such a joy to sit back and watch a master at work.  It's even better when he's funny too.  Go here and worship.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

20 Days of Warcraft Redux - A Regular Day

Hold on to your hats - it's Day 12 (I'm finkin' I missed a few somewhere along the way) of Saga's Challenge! Because I'm determined to make this post longer than a few sentences I'm going to treat you all to the *thrills and spills of 'A Day in the Life of Pilf-the-Housewife-Extraordinaire'

5.45am  Alarm goes off.  Himself rolls over and swipes at it until silence reigns once more.

6am  Alarm goes off again.  I drag myself out of bed and stagger to the kitchen.  Usually manage to fill kettle up and get coffee made on first go.  Occasionally I am outwitted by the kettle not being plugged in and so it takes even longer for caffeine to get into my bloodstream.  Am thankful that we decided to drink less 'proper coffee'.  I love, adore and worship my Gaggia expresso maker (it's red and shiny!) but the co-ordination it requires is a bit beyond me first thing in the morning... Pack Himself's lunch (yes, I am that devoted!) and make Himself toast and marmite or bagels and cream cheese (please refer to previous point re levels of devotion) for brekkie. Eat banana (my brekkie).

6.15am  Drink coffee in companionable near-silence with Himself whilst we sit side by side browsing our Reader.  Point out posts of interest to each other.  Pick up emails that have appeared over night (usually whilst on the balcony having the first of many cigarettes.)

6.30am  Kiss Himself goodbye as he leaves for work.  Drink more coffee.

7am  Wake up Daughter and sort out her brekkie/homework/ school uniform/any other crisis that didn't exist at 9pm last night but now does.

8am  Kiss Daughter goodbye as she leaves for school.  Occasionally get a kiss or a hug in return.

8.10am  Load dishwasher and washing machine.  Drink more coffee.  Smoke more cigarettes.

9am - 12noon Choose options from the following:  Try to Study.  Panic about essay deadline.  Swear at the idiocy of sociology modules. Reply to emails.  Think about blog posts.  Play some Rift/WoW.  Potter around doing household chores/cleaning /de-kippling/ironing/shopping etc.  Drink lots of coffee.  Smoke more.  Deal with phone calls from "the computer company" and try not to lose temper at blatant (and time consuming) lies designed to make me hand over credit card details (favourite response to this was Himself, before I lived with him, asking "the computer company" to tell him which colour his ethernet cable was "because I don't know which one it is"...)  Catch up with friends.  Write blog posts.  Panic about wedding stuff.  Read trashy novels. 


12.30 - 3.30pm (approx)  As 9am - 12noon.

4pm  Himself and Daughter arrive home from work and school respectively.  Catch up on the day.

5pm  Cook Daughter supper.

6pm  Cook Himself and myself supper. 

7pm  Eat supper (with Himself on balcony in the evening sun whilst looking at the sea /flex) and chat.

8pm  Either watch film or go WoWing/Rifting!  

If WoWing pick from the following options:  Log onto guilded alt and chat.  Log onto unguilded alt and quest.  Decide you want to go gathering so put appropriate music on and go flower-picking or mining.  Heft heavy bags to AH and try to strike a balance between ripping people off (I twitch (for no good reason, Himself would add) at putting stacks of briarthorn up for 50g) and almost giving stuff away. Try to remember if you're on an RP or PvE realm and price green gear accordingly.  Log onto high level character briefly then log off again.  Log onto Pilfkin, tell her you still love her and log off again.   Decide whether you really need yet another alt. Try to convince yourself to roll a hunter.   Chide yourself for seeing bugger-all content post-80 and resolve to do Something About This. 

If Rifting pick from the following options: Log onto Defiant character in the 20-ish bracket. Log onto lowbie alt.  Log onto main (with Faebulous the fairy!) and remember how many levels you have before you get your satyr.  Log off in a sulk.  Go gathering.  Swear that the economy is still flat and try to decide whether to hold onto crafting mats for an as yet undefined time on the basis that eventually they'll be worth something or just to flog them for a few gold.  Go to creation screen and make another High Elf.  Log into Guardian start area, realise you are a fantasy cliché and log off.  Sulk. Fiddle with character creation screen for... a while.  Try to convince yourself that you will play something other than a mage or a cleric.  Chuckle at excessive self-delusion. 

10pm Bedtime... (wiggles eyebrows suggestively...)

Sometime after 10pm...  Sleep.  

*Ok, there aren't many thrills.  And the spills tend to be of a coffee related nature.  Also this is an average weekday.  Also I do do stuff like use the toilet and have baths (not like, multiple baths in a day.  Just bath.  Singular. One a day.) and scratch my head and fiddle with my hair and paint my nails and... yeah, you get the picture - amirite? 

Tuesday, 3 May 2011


I've been thinking recently about how I'm currently playing MMOs.  Or, to be more precise, how I'm incorrectly playing MMOs.  For whatever reason I'm playing both WoW and Rift like they're MOs.  Minus the 'Multi-player' bit.  Ok, maybe that's less true of Rift, where grouping is an essential part of the game, though I guess, if I really chose to, I could just play solo the entire time, by choosing not to hit the 'join public group' button in rifts.  But in the main, I go my own way, alone (save my minion in Rift and my water elemental in WoW) and that kinda suits me.  I know there are other players around, I see them, I interact with them (if such a word is applicable in the circumstances) via the auction house, but aside from that I don't have anything to do with anyone else.

Two of my characters in WoW are guilded and I like both guilds and characters a lot.  But I'm playing my non-guilded ones.  Which is kinda frustrating as I quite like both my (guilded) warlock and priest.  The trouble is that I log on, feeling vaguely sociable, and after a short amount of time I'm all socialised out.  This is especially difficult on my priest as I go waaaaaaaaay back with a lot of the guild members so even if I just bow out of guild chat people still talk to me via whisper.  Oh woe is me - I have too many friends... Yes, I know.  You're playing the smallest violin in the world right now...

I'm not quite sure when this occurred.  I used to be very sociable, the life and soul of the party guild chat etc etc.  But at the moment it's all just too much work, dammit.  I don't WANT to have to talk to people and be polite when I log on, and there's something else, which I suspect is the fault of ano domini. I can't play and talk any more.  By which I mean I don't appear to be able to stay alive and type simultaneously. If I talk to someone I'm dead (or as good as) by the time I've finished writing the sentence.  And it never used to be like that! I used to be able to instance and carry on a conversation in vent and two via whisper.  And only occasionally send the wrong tell to the wrong person...  As it's doubtful that WoW has gotten harder, I guess that I'm just not as quick reflexed as I used to be. Le sigh.

So what I want Blizz to implement is an offline button.  Much like MSN or whatever. One that enables me to be online, playing my characters but NOT appear as logged on on guild or friends lists.  Then, when I want to be sociable, I can just click a button and materialise into guild again.  That way I could play whichever character I wanted to, regardless of whether I want to be sociable. Then again, I have a good line in wanting to have my cake AND eat it AND make trifle from the left-overs, so I won't hold my breath...