I've been busy at work, but that's not the reason why I've not not posted over the intervening time. I guess the best way of putting it is that I've had trouble trying to articulate what's been going on in my gaming life since even before my post celebrating Shintar's guild's 9/9 AQ40 kill.
Part of it is easy: I need to help the oldest mini-Red replace her (literally) creaky laptop. The machine is an old AMD A-10 that struggles to do anything beyond the basics: MS Office 360, browsers, etc.* You could argue that is all a college student needs in a laptop, but come on. Let's be real about this. You're going to want to play games and handle more graphic and processor intensive tasks, and you're going to want a machine that won't be functionally obsolete within a couple of years. Which all points to a more modern chipset + an actual separate graphics card.
Plus you'll want a laptop whose hinges don't stress the casing so much that screw heads have been stripped off of the case. I've dug into my supply of spare screws and come up with a computer screw long enough to add a couple of washers to and then used that screw to hold the case together, but every couple of months that screw works itself loose, and it's just a matter of time before the case itself breaks. And is it worth repairing at that point? Not really; the laptop is 6 years old and driver support is becoming hard to get.
So I've been haunting laptop reviews online and casing the rows of machines at Microcenter.**
|When your dreams start looking like this,|
you've been spending too much time doing
research. From microcenter.com.
Visiting Microcenter that much hasn't helped me personally, because it has revived my desire to build a PC of my own so that my wife can use the "home" PC and not interrupt me whenever she wants to use it. Part of the reason why I game so late at night --US Eastern Time-- is because I don't have to worry about overlap whenever she wants to use the machine. With a new machine of my own, I won't have to worry about that so much. Additionally, her PC usage is very much limited to social media and browser activity --she games on our Nintendo Wii U-- so the current PC will be perfect for her for years to come.
But you know, there's this thing called a budget, and building a PC isn't part of it.
So I've been trying to beat that urge to build a PC back into the depths of my psyche from where it emerged.
That aside, gaming has been... Okay, I guess.
I mean, I hang around with friends, I raid
a bit a lot, I run BGs a bit, and I run 5-man instances a bit. I even have managed to spend a little time on an alt or two.
Oh, and I farm a lot to keep up gold for pots for raids, and to allow myself time to think.
With Naxx coming, I've been realizing I need to start work on prepping for that. And with Card's current gearset, she is ideally equipped.... to start running AQ40.
I am not kidding.
With the exception of the cloak and belt, all of my gear is BWL or lower. I've come a long way, but I've also just about gotten to the point where the rest of the Mage team was when they started raiding AQ40 back in August. And I'm only starting to get some of the pieces enchanted, because I figured they'd get replaced so why waste gold enchanting something that's gonna get replaced soon? And with Naxx coming --and our AQ40 runs shutting down shortly-- there's just about no reason to get my hopes up about getting all the mats needed to get the T2.5 Enigma pieces together.***
So I'm looking at taking a Bloodvine set at the core into Naxx. And if you think that's gonna work out well I'd point you to the fact that Bloodvine does not have any Stamina on a single piece. There's a reason when I go to half T1/half T2 for AOE work that my health bar gains 500-1000 health. Once I started going back to that T1/T2 mix for a lot of the AQ40 fights, my survivability went up by a lot.
Beyond Naxx I know BC is looming, and with it 25-man raids. Which means that Mages aren't going to be as dominant --DPS wise-- due to changes in the classes, and that dropping down from 40 to 25 means that at least 2 Mages will likely be put on the bench.**** Or, if I'm lucky, a spot on a second raid team, with people's alts and whatnot. Either way, I realize that my time with this current raid configuration is going to be coming to an end in the Spring/early Summer.
And of course somebody just had to post this in the WoW server Discord channel yesterday:
|From the Myzrael-US Discord channel.|
No idea who actually created this version.
As if I needed any reminders that friends of mine from Az's old MC group are struggling to clear content while others have gone back to Retail for the next 2-3 months (at least).
At times like this, listening to music is a salve. I can put on anything (in the case of Sunday morning, the Sunday Baroque program found on classical radio stations), begin farming, and just get lost in the music. It's not exactly meditation, but it works for me. Work, the pandemic, social upheaval, family concerns, gaming worries, personal issues#, repair work around the house/car(s), etc.: they all fall away to whatever I put on.
I've commented before on the zenlike nature of this sort of thing, but it doesn't work the same way for other people. Or even myself, for that matter, depending on the situation. Put the right music on before a raid or an instance, and I'll be inspired enough to want to run through a wall. (Well, Card running through a wall, but you get the idea.) But I'm not necessarily going to put on Black Sabbath when I want to chill, either. ##
Still, farming to music is a coping mechanism for the situation we've found ourselves in late November, 2020. Here's to hoping you have a coping mechanism as well.
*I've no idea how well it can handle MS Teams, but I'd bet that it struggles there too.
**Our Microcenter store is the second oldest one in the country. I remember when they had their "Buck a Meg" sale back in the early 90s, when you could get a hard drive for the price of a dollar for each megabyte of storage, and everybody at my job thought it was a steal of a deal.
***Have you seen the prices on the auction house for some of these idols? Zoinks.
****And if you think I'm going to be one of the 3-4 kept on the main team, you're in for a surprise. I've been pulling in at 6/6 fairly regularly, and other classes are catching up to me since they've been getting more gear drops.
#Including, I suspect, a mild case of depression. The hints have been there for years, but it's only in the past few months that it's become more obvious to me.
##I know; your mileage may vary.