Monthly Archives: August 2011

On the Continuity Problems of Azuremyst Isle

Cyntilate_-_reborn_at_the_exodar_crash_site

I’ve been letting my son play a bit of WoW. He’s 6, and I’m not sure if this is an entirely good idea, but I sit there with him while he plays it, reading quests with him, talking through different moral dilemmas presented by the stories, and helping him out when the mechanics of the game get too much for him.

We’ve gone through a bunch of the starting areas together – he tends to peter out on a toon around level 10-15 – so after finishing up his Worgen mage, he decided to roll a Draenei Warrior. I’m cool with that, warriors are always good in my book, and the spacegoat animation isn’t that bad (though I prefer the female night elf melee animations, personally).

The Worgen starting area is pretty intense for a 6-year old. Near the end he just got completely overwhelmed by stuff and was like, “Dad, do this one for me.” Normally I make it a policy not to do quests for him, but he wanted to see how the story turned out SO MUCH that I made an exception, and, as much I don’t think I should have, I did it. He really struggled with the railroading storyline. Why can’t I go back and save the city? I held off Worgen in the Cathedral for days, how could they have gotten me? Why do we keep evacuating when we keep winning?

Then there are the continuity flubs. Why are the stained glass windows intact again, Dad? Who fixed them? Why can’t we go in through the windows like the Worgen did? Who leads the Forsaken again, Dad? Oh, the one we saw in the cathedral? (I’d forgotten that scene.) Why didn’t she just release the plague right away, maybe from the ships? It’s a gas, right? Couldn’t they just release it and let the winds carry it over the cities?

So I promised him he’d see the end of the Battle for Gilneas, which he did, and which sent him reeling because he was like NIGHT ELVES WHAT, which, truth be told, was pretty much my reaction too. I said on twitter and I’ll say it again: the problem with Gilneas is that there’s too much story there and it goes by too quickly. If I took less than a year to tell that story in a traditional RPG I’d eat my GM hat.

My son is 6. He’s experiencing the starting area no more than an hour at a time, spread out over weeks (he’s only allowed to play on the weekends with me.) He’s paying attention to the story. He is trying to make sense of all the stories, it’s really quite interesting to watch.

It’s off of this that he rolled a Draenei and we headed over to Azuremyst Isle, a place I actually know pretty well. I’ve rolled maybe a half-dozen Draenei over the course of Wrath – two of them became decent or good twinks – but none of them really worked out, and they always end up getting deleted. I’ve yet to connect with the race, and I’m not sure why. Suffice to say, I know the starting area pretty well, and can burn through it quickly when the need arises. I settled in for the opening movie.

Holy. Moly. What?

Basically, the opening film says: things have been settled in Outland, and now the Draenei have decided to stay in Azeroth to help heal it, especially after the Cataclysm. Then you’re thrown right back in time to when the Exodar crashed.

What happened next was predictable, if you’ve ever been around a kid who is trying to reconcile two incompatable stories. Wait, Dad. What’s this ship that crashed? I thought we had already landed on this planet and made it our home? Why are we trying to find out about the mutations? What’s a mutation? I thought we were had already started healing the land?

Cynwagon_-_crash_site

Ammen Vale, back in Wrath, was in a somewhat tricky spot chronologically. You started out in BC, then went back to Vanilla, then back to BC when you hit Outland, then on to Wrath afterwards. I found the expansion hurdles to be quite jarring when I first did them leveling Cynwise, insofar as the timeline didn’t make sense, even as a Human. Adding in starting in one time zone and moving backwards if you were a Draenei made it even more challenging – but at least you could suspend disbelief for levels 20-58, as there weren’t direct contradictions within the timeline. You got in and moved forward, and once you completed Outland and moved to Northrend, you were back in current time.

I’m watching my son struggle with this story as he’s out killing corrupted root lashers. He started in Cataclysm, and is now back in the past (BC). That, right there, is a lot to take in right at the start. What the heck is the story really about? The quests don’t match up with the racial introduction at all. There’s nothing wrong with them, except that they are all about discovering this strange new world – that your race supposedly already knows about, cares about, works to protect and is their new homeworld.

You could say, hey, that’s a throwaway movie that doesn’t matter, but I’m watching him going, yes, it does matter. Blizzard tried to update the Draenei starting area by adding a new voiceover, but by not changing the quests they made it even worse than before. Now it’s Cata (movie) -> BC 1-20 -> Cata/Vanilla 21-58 (those jumps back in time in Dustwallow Marsh make all our heads hurt) -> BC 58-67 -> Wrath 68-80 -> Cata 81-85.

Call Chromie, the spacegoats are time traveling again!

There are certain MMO conventions which I think adults handle better than kids, or young kids. Give my son an engaging quest to save 8 people, he’ll do it and then want to spend the next 30 minutes rescuing people. Why can’t I save more of them, Dad? He grudgingly accepts the convention, and gets that the world resets itself and we have to pretend that a lot of things that are happening on screen aren’t what the world would really be like. But that’s because the story pushes him forward – he saves Tauren braves and moves on. He kills Ice Trolls and moves on. The story demands it.

But this particular convention, he’s not getting.

I tried to explain the logic of expansions with absolutely no sucess. Dad, what do you mean they changed some parts of the story but not others? How can a story work like that? Why didn’t they change it to all fit? What are development resources? Why? Why?

I dropped it for now and showed him how to use Charge, which distracted him for a little while. But I know he’s still thinking about this.

I know I’m still thinking about it, because … well, I had a big problem with expansion continuity when I leveled Cynwise, and that was all forward motion. (I still have a problem with it if I think about it too hard.) Now there’s forward motion, backward motion, forward, backwards…

I feel like I’m playing Back to the Future MMORPG sometimes.

Cyntilate_-_life_as_a_pirate

I’m not going to sell my son short on this – while he’s confused now, I think he’ll eventually make the cognitive leap to deal with the problem of the Draenei, like most players do. (Or he’ll ignore it, which is a way of dealing with it.) Most adults go, okay, that’s strange, but deal.

But should we deal with it?

Blizzard has a reputation for polished games, but I have trouble reconciling that reputation with the product I see in front of me. One of the playable races’ stories falls apart during the first 10 minutes of game play. (It’s a popular race, too!) How would you evaluate a game where you get contradictory timelines when you start out? Or of asking players to follow along with one story, and then completely disrupt it after they’ve played for a few weeks when they get to Outland?

I look at the mess inflicted on the timeline by the expansions and go, how is this a coherent product? As a story-driven game, how can this be defended as a good experience? How can you stand up and say, yes, we want character’s stories to be fragmented as they level through our game, and we are proud of it?

You can’t. Blizzard can’t. To their credit, they aren’t proud of it, and they cite very reasonable arguments as to why certain zones got revamped and others didn’t. The BC zones are in pretty good shape from a quest flow perspective, after all, and others were much worse. Resources are limited and you have to prioritize features. The story problems inherent to BC/Outland content are a low priority to fix.

I’m reminded of my mantra when dealing with vendors who fail to deliver.

This is just business; it’s not personal. I don’t care about your other customers if they’re taking away development resources on things I’ve paid for. I don’t care about your process problems which cause you to be 6 weeks late in installing a circuit, and then cause you to do it wrong. I don’t even care if you’re going to take a loss on the transaction. None of those are my problem.

Trust me. I understand that there are development constraints both from a product development and coding standpoint in any software package, games included. I get it.

I also have a 6-year old who is very interested in the story of this game, though, and wonders why it contradicts itself right at the very beginning of his new character’s story – especially coming off a story where it didn’t. Gilneas may feel rushed, but at least it’s consistent. Azuremyst Isle is a well designed zone which doesn’t make any sense.

Let’s say I wrote a book, and each chapter is internally consistent chronolgially – excpet the time each chapter is set in might vary. (Let’s call this book… Cryptonomicon.) I could tell several stories this way, with different characters, or a younger and older version of the same characters. If I did it halfway decently, and tied it all together at the end, it would be an effective storytelling technique. But that’s not what WoW is doing because of the linear progression expected out of leveling. You start off as “young” – level 1 – and progress through experience. You can’t jump around in time, go relive your adventures at level 20 and then come back to 85 (unfortunately.)

I’m just struck by how lazy it is. I’m sorry to put it like that, in deference to development time, but it’s saying – it’s more important to us that we get new raiding tiers out than it is to have a fundamentally sound game from 1-85. (And perhaps they’re right!) Content revamps are these huge, expansion-wide things, and while there’s talk about revamping Outlands/Northrend to fit in with the Cata timelime, there’s no indication it’s a priority. Why should there be? The mechanisms are in place to completely skip those parts of the story (LFD, PvP, gathering.) They’re dead content zones. They’re places to skip over, instead of part of the whole. Blizzard effectively said, players can deal with the flaws here, leave them untouched, do other things. That’s lazy. You can call it “correctly prioritizing new feature development over maintenance on current systems” if you like, but as a customer – I don’t care about your development constraints. I shouldn’t care about them, asking me to care about them is insulting. Provide a good product. Period.

It would have been interesting if Blizzard had taken a different design route with Ouland/Northrend in Cata – instead of thinking, we have to revamp these zones, provide players with a story-based way around them. Leveling through Outland it feels like I do HFP, a bit of Zangar, and a bit of Nagrand before hitting 68 now – why not make that two zones in Azeroth? Maybe Silithus needs to be expanded to give you some reasons to stay, to level up to 64 there. Maybe Kul Tiras could become a zone that gets you to 68. Providing an alternate route for the story would still let people do the old content if they wanted, but they could also have a consistent story that takes them through Cata the entire way. Players are tired of Hellfire Pennisula! Give them another way to go through those levels and they’ll probably take it!

That still leaves the problem of Azuremyst Isle, though.

I don’t see how to reconcile the story of the zone with the place of the Draenei in present-day Azeroth without changing either the quests – or putting it all back in BC.

I just know that the way it’s handled right now – with the Cata intro and the BC quests – makes it even less likely I’ll click with a Draenei anytime soon.

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On Hunter Rap Boars

So @pixelexecution wrote:

In keeping with my guild’s hunter tradition of rapper boars, my alt hunter has added HamMasterJay to the stable in honor of RunDMC.

Which led @ilikebubbles to reply:

@pixelexecution I’m not getting a rapper boar.  Just…no.

Which inspired me to say:

Hey twitter, @ilikebubbles needs name suggestions for her Hunter’s new rapper boar!

… because Amber basically asked for it. Only in not so many words.

Here’s what Twitter came up with. Pick your favorites in the comments!

  • HamMasterJay (@pixelexecution)
  • SirOinksaLot (@pixelexecution)
  • BUSTA SWINES (@_rades)
  • Bebop (@bryterside)
  • PigletsWithAttitudes (@arrens)
  • Boared (@foldberg1)
  • L’il Ribs (@ammonightfall)
  • 50 Pork (@wowcynwise)
  • Porc.I.9 (@wowcynwise)
  • Pork Chops-N-Harmony (@wowcynwise)
  • L.L. Cool Pig (@wowcynwise)
  • 50 Scent (@pixelexecution)
  • Notorious BLT (@rezznul)
  • Busta Rinds (@cutaia_net)
  • 2Swine Crew (@darthregis)
  • Pigzibit (@darthregis)
  • Jam Master Jowel (@geeklectic)
  • Snoop Hoggy Hogg (@geeklectic)
  • Pig Diddy (@geeklectic)
  • Insane Pig Posse (@wowcynwise)
  • P-Money (@wowcynwise)
  • Porcine Enemy (@wowcynwise)
  • Miss Piggy Elliot (@_rades)
  • BB4 (Bacon Block 4) (@darthregis)
  • A Pig Called Quest (@asmenedas)
  • Pork Rind Clan (@asmenedas)
  • Piggy by Nature (@asmenedas)
  • Da Le Swine (@asmenedas)
  • MC Hogger (@_rades, @druidis4fite)
  • Rind-DMC (@_rades)
  • Beastie Boars (@_rades)
  • Notorious P.I.G. (@lyraat, @relysh)
  • Lunchmeat (@lyraat)
  • PiggyCent (@lyraat)
  • MC Bacon (@lyraat)
  • ODP (@tartdarling)
  • System of a Pig (@wowopa)
  • P!g (@wowopa)
  • Puddle of Pork (@wowopa)
  • Pigz Markee (@relysh)
  • Biz Porky (@relysh)
  • The PZA (@stoppableforce)
  • Pigface Killah (@stoppableforce)
  • Piggie (@relysh)
  • Haminem (@relysh)
  • Wiz Piglifa (@tartdarling)
  • Pig-Z (@tartdarling)
  • Kid Piggi (@tartdarling)
  • Pig Class Heroes (@tartdarling)
  • Piggie Fiasco (@tartdarling)
  • Tupork Shakur (@_rades)
  • Slim Pigdy (@kenichan)
  • Shnoop Pigg (@kenichan)
  • Daft Oink (@kenichan)
  • Squeal City (@kenichan)
  • Porkye West (@kenichan)
  • Ham Master Flash (@druidis4fite)
  • Gnarls Oinkly (@druidis4fite)
  • The Wu-Tang Ham (@druidis4fite)
  • The Roots aroudn for Truffles (@druidis4fite)
  • Salt n Dry Cure (@druidis4fite)
  • The Pigees (@druidis4fite)
  • The Honeybaked Gang (@druidis4fite)
  • Bayconcé (@druidis4fite)

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On Self-Indulgent Rock and Roll Songs

One of the tropes of classic rock has been songs about being a musician; be it about the touring life (and its attendent challenges), the party life (and those attendent… difficulties), or about being famous, there are an awful lot of songs about what it’s like being a rock star, and most of them are about how hard it is.

I hate those fucking songs.

No, seriously. I’m all for writing about what you know, but it’s hard to sit there and go, I can sympathize with with you on how hard it is to party like that ALL the time. Yes, boo hoo, you’re famous.

What’s bad is that I think this attitude (which is really only towards some songs) masks what is geniune, honest sympathy for another person whose job involves a crapton of travel, the likes of which I can’t even fathom. It involves toiling in obscurity, of relying heavily upon people’s opinion of your work, of dealing with an industry of parasites and leeches and folks who do NOT have your best interests at heart.

I’ve made some money as a musician. Not much, a few hundred dollars at best – but enough so that I can say that that is hard, hard work. To make millions involves being lucky and good, mostly luckly. If someone makes it as a musician, they deserve sympathy. It’s a hard job.

Yet, I still hate those fucking songs.

This completely irrational dislike of a trope (which isn’t limited to rock, of course) sadly stops me from writing more about what being a Warcraft blogger is like, of how the game and blog interact in my head, how the blog exerts pressures that make you sit there and wonder what it would be like to just log in, play, and log out, never telling a soul what you’ve done. This isn’t “oh, I wonder how the common people live,” because I’m pretty common. Being a Warcraft blogger, even a midly successful one, doesn’t come with groupies and a fat paycheck. (If it does, I’m doing it wrong.)

But there it is. “Rock star whine” is the fastest way I know to kill a post in my head.

Which is too bad, because there are things to talk about! Public perception of playingvs what you really play, moving on from your main, representing yourself as an expert on a class, or an area of the game – or representing a single spec, which is REALLY hard – writing about a specific part of the game, what you do when you burn out of the part of the game you write about, why it’s hard to excel at both writing and playing at the same time… lots of topics.

And now I realize, to my chagrin, that this post itself has turned into a rock star whine.

Damnit! I hate it when it does that!

*plays “Turn the Page” on a battered acoustic guitar*

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On the Horrors of Uldum’s Cursed Tombs

So, the gnome quests in Uldum. Finally got to them today. Interesting stuff there.

First; your character is immune to the effects of the tomb’s curse because of… brain damage. You’ve taken one too many hits from the snake, so the curse won’t affect you.

That’s… well, it kinda removes any sense of danger, to be sure, but… you’re immune to a curse because of repeated head trauma?

I laughed at first until I thought about it. Then I scratched my head a little at the reasoning.

I guess it explains some things about what our PCs do, though?

Second: the holographic projectors that show the dinosaur riding a shark with laser etc., designed to appeal to the adolescent brain of the affected gnomes. SHINY THINGS WORK.

Subtle dig from Blizzard at its playerbase, or a straight joke at the awesomeness of sharks with lasers? Especially interesting considering the third point.

Third: Gnomebliteration. From a RP standpoint, this quest is absolutely horrific. You take the word of a machine you just met that there’s no cure for this curse (aside from head trauma, whoops) and it’s going to enable you to slaughter thousands of them. You might feel a little guilt, but really, there’s no saving them.

Part of me was like… okay, HAL-9000, sure, I’ll take your word for that. Not like you aren’t a murderous little thing, I’m sure you’re completely trustworthy. Except, of course, you’re not.

Part of me was like… in character, I’m pretty sure that this is something even Cynwise wouldn’t do. She’d find another way, or at least explore some fucking options first before slaughtering thousands. “Trust me, there’s no other way?” Please.

Part of me was like, okay, this is like a lot of scary Egyptian archeology stories I read growing up, I get it, when does the mummy come out?

And the other part of me was like, SHINY BALL ROLL OVER GNOMES.

I stopped and thought about that holoprojector for a little bit before accepting the quest. It’s interesting placement – a quest whose message is that being distracted by over the top, ludicrous things appeals only to the adolescent part of ourselves, followed by a quest which is so over the top, so ludicrious, that it transcends practically every other quest in the game for sheer carnage and joy.

From a RP standpoint, I was sitting there going, there’s no way she would do this. Cynwise is vicious, but not cruel. At the very least, she’d be asking “what’s in it for me?” and “let me get some independent verification on this ‘uncurable’ bit, okay?”

I did the quest. It’s huge visceral fun, rolling a big ball of fire over dozens of gnomes. I enjoyed it. Possibly the most fun quest in Cataclysm. I didn’t even turn it in, so that I can do it later if I want. It’s for me, not for Cynwise, that I did it.

But all the while, I couldn’t shake off the thought of that holoprojector.

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Five Things My Main Snarks About Lakeshire

Lakeshire_town_hall

Cynwise is from Northshire, and she doesn’t like Lakeshire.

 

At all.

 

There’s something in her past she’s not telling me about the place, because whenever I bring up Redridge she starts in with the invectives.

 

  1. “Look, it took them 5 years to repair a bridge. In all that time they never thought, hey, maybe we’re not so good at this bridge-building thing, and we should start a ferry service instead?”
  2. “I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, but if you build your town right underneath gnoll-infested hills, wouldn’t it be a good idea to have, I don’t know, a militia? Maybe instead of whining that Stormwind isn’t protecting you, get off your butts and go clean out those damn caves?”
  3. “Listen, if you want to live on a lake, that’s fine. If you want to live on a lake that’s infested by murlocs, don’t you think you should, oh, I don’t know, do something about it? It’s a LAKE. They’re not going anywhere. Get some damn boats.”
  4. “I’m not what you would call a monarchist, but if you’re going to keep electing council members who don’t do a damn thing when your kids are stolen out of their beds at night, maybe you should rethink your town’s government?”
  5. “Honey, I know the soldiers are in town, but do you think you could… I don’t know, put on a little something that’s warmer? Not look quite so desparate about it? Have some pride? Oh, that’s right, you’re from Lakeshire. I forgot.”

And don’t get her started on the town clock… (“It doesn’t work. WHAT KIND OF A STUPID TOWN DOESN’T FIX THEIR DAMN CLOCK!!!”)

(p.s. Cynderblock is from Westfall. She has no problems with Lakeshire.)

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On Leaving the Endgame Behind

Ashwalker_-_primal_scream

I’ve been playing my two warriors, Ashwalker and Cynderblock, a lot more lately. Ash is up to level 70, and I went ahead and twinked her for PvP. I’m choosing random BGs, but only AV seems to pop with regularity – I presume that it’s for max honor/rep gains, and not just because AV is a hell of a lot of fun. Tanked Drek the first time through, no sweat as long as you stay out of the Whirlwind. I’ll have to start trying him with a few towers up to see if I can do it (and if I need to switch to the Northrend tanking set instead of the Brutal Gladiator’s gear for it.)

Cynderblock… well, I actually took her back into PvP as Fury, because I’d seen a lot of guides saying “that’s the only viable DPS spec left in Cata.” It sucked. I hate squishy melee DPS, I think that’s part of my probem – blowing people up by standing next to them is fun and all that, but I’d rather blow them up slowly and survive than be a plate-wearing glass cannon.

Also, playing ‘block after playing Ash is like … it’s hard. It’s hard playing ‘block in PvP after losing *so* many abilities in 4.0.1 – I was yelling at my screen tonight, WHERE IS MY FUCKING INTERRUPT? – but Fury made it harder. I switched back to Prot and am doing a little better, mostly because I can be the FC and switch to reasonable DPS as a backup.

But it’s hard switching back to something where you have all these tools – Warbringer, Shockwave, Hamstring, Spell Reflect, Shield Bash – to where you don’t, and you don’t even have the toolkit you remember having. This was why, to get ‘block’s groove back, I had to take her out of PvP and solely into PvE. She’s just not a lot of fun in PvP, except as the FC – and that’s a very specialized role.

I don’t normally start off posts with “hey, here’s what I’m up to,” but these war stories have a point.

I’m playing alts more because I did something that I didn’t think I could do – I walked away from the endgame for a while. In the words of Jack O’Neill, I’m taking this loop off, Teal’c. I was about to go nuts, whacko, three fries short of a happy meal, trying to reconcile my schedule with grinding out more honor for gear, capping Conquest Points every week, trying to match up schedules. I’m still happy to do casual Arenas with my guildmates, but it’s not something I’m feeling compelled to log in and do at all.

And you know what? I feel great about it. I dreaded giving it up for a long time, but I needed to say, let’s take a break. Take a break from the game itself for a while, then play other characters casually. Really casually. The grind of the endgame is something that doesn’t stop, ever, so either you keep up with it, or you don’t, but it never ends, and it’s a time sink. It can be an enjoyable one – very much so – but it’s still a grind, and a commitment.

I put a lot of pressure on myself to continue playing Cynwise, exclusively, over the last couple of months. This is not just due to her being my public persona (though it’s part of it, I’m honest enough with myself to admit that), but also due to the feeling that if I were accomplishing things, they needed to be contributing to her achievements, her statistics, not some alt that I was going to throw away in a few weeks. Every 30 minutes I spent in WSG on an alt was 30 minutes I could have spent getting THAT MUCH CLOSER to exalted with Silverwing Sentinels. The fact that I have Resilient Victory on Cynwulf and NOT Cynwise burns us, my precious, it BURNS US.

And yet, in order to PvP at level 85, you have to be willing to commit SOME time to grinding out good gear, or great gear. I was honestly personally crushed to find out that the Conquest grind of S9 didn’t carry over to S10, because it meant now I had even MORE crap to do on Cynwise to get her up to speed. Another 40 hours of grinding just for gear? Jiminy.

It’s not just the grinding. I’ve done it before, I can do it again if I need to. It’s not like I’m going OH NO I CAN’T BG HET IS ZO DANKER – far from it. It’s that I’d have to do ONLY the grinding, which is actually what I ended up doing at the end of S9, with very little time to do anything else. The only fun thing I did during S9 that wasn’t Arena Arena TB TB BG BG Arena Arena was level up a warrior to about 70 – which took me 4 months or so?

No, it’s that I didn’t have the time – don’t have the time – to do anything but the grind. I haven’t finished Uldum yet, on any character. I didn’t finish Deepholm until last month. I am just now looking at Redridge mountains. I can go grind out more Conquest Points, maybe start running Troll Heroics and gear up my VP set, sure – but at the expense of doing anything else. Seeing anything else. Not on ‘wise, not on anyone.

So I started thinking, what would happen if I took some time off from the endgame?

  • I’d miss Arenas with the guys, but Psyn has already quit Arenas, and Dolar and Hex are usually busy raiding when I’m on. That’s admittedly tough to drop away from, but I know they’ll understand. We have that kind of a guild.
  • My gear will fall behind, so if I do want to just do a random BG, I’ll be at the bottom of the barrel, not the top. I’ve been there before, but … well, let’s be frank. If you take a season off, you can restart the next season at the exact same place as everyone else. I could come back for S11 and get crafted gear that is better than my current gear. That’s crazy.
  • I won’t progress towards any of the Battlemaster achievements. Well… that’s too bad.

That’s not actually a very long list, and the social component is really the strongest one.

But I’m in a guild that values long-term friendship over short-term gear gains. So that first one’s not really a big deal.

Crafted gear will be an upgrade in a few months. Yikes.

And I need to remember that achievements are programmatic fun.

In return, I can:

  • Learn some new classes. Maybe even some old ones!
  • Quest in some new zones.
  • Maybe level some hordelings? OMG red team what?
  • Play on twinks, see BC at level.
  • Write some blog posts and fiction, which has been on the back burner for some time.
  • Keep my play time more structured to my actual leisure time.
  • Get some fucking sleep at night.

Saying “I don’t want to play the endgame right now” has been really … liberating, for lack of a better term. All the pressure to perform, to grind out, to accomplish dailiy and weekly tasks is gone. Poof. Vanished. I don’t have to feel guilty about not logging in. I don’t have to feel guilty that I didn’t cap any points, or that I didn’t grind out a reputation.

I can build a twink, and say… You’re not a lot of fun in PvP like this, maybe if we tried something else you might be? And if not, let’s face up to that fact and let you quest at level for a little while?

I can stop XP on another character and say… hey, how is this level 70 twinking bracket, anyways? Here’s some great gear, maybe we can get some awesome gear but also practice fundamentals of tanking before we move on? Maybe I can see what BC was really like, or at least approximate it?

I can roll on other servers and not sit there and feel guilty that I am not actively contributing to my main.

I know that all of the guilt was up here, in my head. The pressure to succeed, to achieve, is entirely self-generated.

So even if I choose to spend time on ‘wise questing (Loremaster? At least finish Cataclysm’s new zones, Cyn!), I don’t have to feel guility about it anymore.

Yeah. I’m pretty much playing a level 70 twink right now. She looks awesome, kicks ass with authority, and gets to play in my favorite battleground in all of Azeroth – Alterac Valley.

How is that a bad thing?

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