Friday, December 31, 2021

2021: Running to Standing Still

It's the end of the year, and I've been wondering exactly what happened to me, gaming wise, these past 12 months. 

Whiplash is one way of putting it. 

In case you ever wondered what
Card's robe from Evelyn looked like...

I started the year as part of a raiding team that was dipping its toes into Naxxramas, and ended it as a raid leader in two raids (three, if the Classic raid gets off the ground). I began the year feeling a bit like the odd person out, survived a bout of depression and the stress of speed leveling TBC Classic, got heart failure along the way, and ended it.... feeling a bit like the odd person out.

The year began with me dialing back my login time on my main but not really desiring to play much other than some lowbies with my oldest, and ended with me spending as little time as possible on my main and leveling a Horde alt instead.

Neve definitely has opinions about
things. And she's not afraid to declare
what she wants. (If someone catches
her eye, they'd better look out.)

It's just that who the main was changed.

Hey, Bright Eyes.
You have caused me no end of
conflicting emotions; not on purpose,
but just because of what had to be done.
I still like you, though.



It could be worse, I suppose.

I was talking with my questing buddy last night, and one of the guilds that her friends had moved to had blown up*, and those friends had ended up taking their mains to other servers. Considering that the guild in question was a mainstay of the Myzrael server scene, this upset me to no end. I realize that things happen --and my questing buddy said as much-- but I still recall the friends I'd made in Classic who just simply vanished without any notice and wish that things weren't like that. 

My questing buddy admitted that if she'd not joined our raid team, she'd likely have unsubscribed by now. And were it not for her, I'd have likely either quit before Briganaa even got to Outland (much less L70) or I'd have faction changed and just started over with Neve.


To be fair, I didn't realize just how much of an impact I made on things until I wasn't there.

Oh, this isn't some self serving bullshit where I can stroke my ego and say "hey, I was the best Loot Master ever" (I'm not) or "I'm too important to the raid's DPS to be missed" (again, I'm not).** But it was made plain to me when I spent the week in the hospital by the people who reached out to me when they discovered why I wasn't at that Monday's raid. Or the people who reached out to me to wish me Merry Christmas in game. 

When I talk to people in game who are feeling down and they need some cheering up, I typically say that "they matter". But this past month, people have been telling me that instead, and I don't quite know what to say. Other than "Thank you."


But this year has been so eventful it's almost surreal to realize that I'm pretty much back where I started when 2021 began, only with a different main. Still have lots of conflicting feels, and I still have me wondering where I fit in overall.

People do have my back, however, and I'm eternally grateful for it.

*Internal drama caused by raiding, and to be perfectly honest bad management as well.

**In fact, you could make the argument that trying to keep all the irons in the fire on Enhanced Spec --Swing Timers + Totem Timers + Totem Twisting + Shock Twisting-- that unless your gear is top notch it's a royal pain in the ass to keep going. By comparison, Mage rotations are MUCH simpler and do MUCH more damage.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

No King Rules Forever

MadSeasonShow, the YouTube content creator, gave us a Holiday present on the 24th when he dropped a 2 hour epic on the history of World of Warcraft:

I put it on while I was sorting medical bills --and the affiliated insurance results-- and it kept me entertained throughout the long arduous process.*

It does have WoW's Greatest Hits, such as Leeroy Jenkins, the infamous Memorial Service on a PvP server, the "You think you do but you don't" and "Do you not have phones?" comments, as well as the sordid events of this year. I realize that his videos aren't for everybody, but Pandora's Box is really worth a watch. 

If there's a theme to the video, it's how Blizz turned away from the community in favor of short term convenience and monetary gains, and that once gone Blizz couldn't get it back.

Still, definitely worth a listen or watch (your choice).

*So far, so good. I believe the saying is "it could have been much worse" as far as bills went.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

When Life Gives you Malt...

We are presently hip deep in the holiday season, with Christmas and Hanukkah past, Kwanzaa just starting up, and the New Years less than a week away.

I hope the gifts you received (and gave) were all what were hoped for. Sometimes my own gift giving knocks it out of the park*, and other times it's, well, kind of meh. 

But by far the best gift I received this year came a month ago, when I was given a second chance at life. And for everybody who helped give me that gift, I don't intend to squander it.

I am still the same person I was, however. I can't look at these commercials for European river cruises or vacations abroad without thinking they are the height of extravagance. Sure, I'd love to travel, but money (and medical issues) restrict me from doing so. As does my Midwestern upbringing in not drawing attention to myself; and let's be honest about travel: the farther away from home you go, the more likely you draw that attention to yourself by merely being there. Your accent and mannerisms will draw the eye as you do not fit in.

It may be funny, but also cringe
inducing for Midwesterners with
neighbors who think Gatlinburg is exotic.

So, my life changing goals are a bit less exotic and more along the lines of "let's work on the house a bit more and get things done that you said you were going to get done all those years ago". Or perhaps revisit a hobby because of my now incessant need to know just what is going into my body when I eat or drink something:

Cardwyn: "Oh no..."
Me: "Oh yes. And you're still a figment
of my imagination."
Cardwyn: "We'll see about that."

Sorry, I'm not a hophead, and I can't stand IPAs**. But I do like other beers, so I'm going to return to a hobby I abandoned a couple of years before I took up MMOs and start homebrewing again. I don't intend to go bananas, but I do intend to brew about 3-4 batches a year. I can drink beer and wine, but I have to strictly monitor my intake. And with homebrewing, I can control exactly how many carbs are in my beer.

I've already reviewed my 20+ year old equipment and replaced most of the food grade plastic with new material from Northern Brewer --the glass and metal stuff is still in good shape-- and I've already got a basic recipe obtained, so I think shortly after New Year's I'll hold my first brewing session since what, 2005 or 2006? Probably 2006.

If I can't visit Great Britain, at least I can brew an English Bitter and drink that. 

Hmm.... I wonder if someone had created a homebrew version of Shindigger Stout....

*For the unfamiliar, some baseball slang referencing a home run. The equivalent in futbol of kicking a goal from the midfield.

**India Pale Ales.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Some Monday Updates


The first Classic Throwback raid was a bust. 

Too many people said "hey, great idea, but I can't attend this week," and that lack of signups killed off the BWL run.

So, I'm going to give it a try in January.


In other news, the holidays are almost here, and that means Winter festivals galore in MMO space.

I still am somewhat ambivalent about those, but I have to acknowledge that a festival or celebration around the time of the Winter Solstice has been around in our (real) history for thousands of years, so we pretty much expect one when we participate in something akin to an MMO or RPG. 

I still enjoy this.

And yes, the Elf reference still makes me chuckle.


Finally, the gang is all here.

My youngest arrived back home just before midnight on Saturday, straight from Chicago and a music convention* there, so now the entire family is back together. Just in time for me to get a cold.

Oh yay.

I've finally turned the corner today, but it still sucked to have to isolate myself for a couple of days.

But hey, we're all back together --until the UofL bowl game, that is-- and I'm going to enjoy this time with all seven of us.


Yeah, seven. Because we now have two extra family members:

Amazingly enough, they stood
still for this photo.

Say hello to Athena and Artemis. My oldest adopted them late last Summer, and I am now a guinea pig grandpa. I've gotten used to this concept, and after my hospital stay the three of us now compete for the same leafy greens that are stored in the fridge.

I guess that makes me part guinea pig at this point.

*Her major is Music Therapy, and she is also a member of the University of Louisville Marching Cards. So we have two mini-Reds who have been part of a university marching band as well as wind ensembles and chamber orchestras. Yes, I'm a proud papa.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Fun is a Relative Thing

Next week, I'm going to flip the script.

I'm going to take my raid back into the Classic past and our first Throwback Friday Classic raid.

Instead of running Karazhan every Friday of the month --and struggling to keep the same number of tanks/healers-- every third Friday I'm going to run a Classic raid instead. The poll on the channel currently shows Blackwing Lair leading the vote, which means we'll need a few tanks with a fire resist set*, but given that Naxx was originally leading the poll I'm fine with that.

Still, this will be a new (old?) experience for me. 

I mean, I know what BWL is like. (The goblin packs alone make that obvious, you know.) But still, this will be a major endeavor, because I'll likely be leading a raid with a significant number of non-guildies for the first time. If our forays into Naxx for Atiesh completion is our guide, non-guildies will come out of the woodwork for a chance to go back to BWL and pick up various and sundry gear for RP purposes. And for the chance to get Neltharion's Tear, too.

So this will be my maiden voyage into 'herding 40 cats'. Ought to be fun, I suppose.

*Still need one, as far as I know. I can't assume we'll just overcome it by sheer force of will. Or idiocy.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

A Follow-up

Um, wow.

I've been very humbled the past week.

People I haven't spoken to in years have reached out to me, checking in, and that's just people I know via Facebook. My gamer friends have outdone my FB friends, and for that I'm extremely grateful.

When I logged in last Friday for the weekly Karazhan run --yes, I felt well enough to handle that-- I got (virtually) jumped by a couple of guildies who gave me a stern talking to about how I need to take care of myself because there are a lot of people who love and care about me. The rest of the Monday raid lead team echoed those sentiments before and after our progression raid*, and random people on the server that I knew colloquially checked in as well.

To all of you who reached out, thank you. Your good wishes and prayers and even tough love are all welcome. I will behave, I promise. (I have continued to lose weight even after having left the hospital, so that's proof that I'm doing something right.)

Again, thank you for everything. I have the best friends. (Even those who lurk.)

Mr. Red agrees.

*Hey, we made it to Tempest Keep and one-shot Void Reaver! We also didn't wipe on trash, which is very much a thing in TK, and we also got some good experience on A'lar.