When to Quit

Hello, friends.

I know that a few days ago was April 1st and that a lot of people were expecting to be trolled by literally every website on the internet, but I decided to forgo the tricks and pranks. I don’t blog enough to have created a niche for myself, so there’s nothing I could have done to make anyone say “by golly, what a change!”. It works out well for me because I get to relax on a day that has most scrambling to redo their Twitter icons or blog headers and Loa knows I hate being active in any way. If you’re reading this and fiending for a taste of April 1st tom-foolery, the MMO Melting Pot has a post detailing the bigger jokes pulled on us today.

Now…

Most of my posts are either guides or introspective (without revealing too much about myself) and, upon reflection, I think I’d like to change that. Not revealing a lot about how I play from day to day and some things about me, personally, was intentional: even now I’m not what any sane person would consider an active or e-famous blogger and felt that I could shed my internet persona as time went on and the blog received more and more traffic. Like Faeldray I’m aware I’ve yet to carve any sort of niche into the community and, perhaps unlike her, I’m still deciding if I really even want to. There comes a time when you craft and craft and craft and begin to question why you do it: is it for yourself or for the currency (in this case comments and page views)? Some can honestly craft for both but I have a feeling that I’ll either fall into one group or the other. It’s time I took an honest look and tried to figure out where my puzzle-piece limbs fit.

Most of you know me as @Buglamp, the guy from Twitter what made a blog about druid tanking through the RDF feature. If I’m regarded as anything these days it’s by my Twitter handle and not my character names (which I find more than appropriate). Despite that, know that my characters matter to me a lot. Of the army of alts I have, three stand out: my bear tank and the original focus of this blog, Bear; my alt holy paladin whom I’ve had since mid-Wrath, Olim; and the character I’ve had since the Burning Crusade and my true and forever Main, Fritenite. (Clicking on Frite’s armory page will bring up something odd. I’ll discuss that later.)

These are my identities in the World of Warcraft. I do not play them equally but I do, in fact, relate to them all and play them whenever I can. They are all in different co-guilds under the banner of alea iacta est, a marriage of convenience if there ever was one.

For the past few months I’ve been furiously leveling Bear through the dungeon finder, tanking the entire way, trying to find out if low-level bear tanking is as hard as most say it is. For the most part it is rather difficult but not so difficult to anyone with prior tanking experience. During this time Bear has become my main. I was no longer a hunter, no longer a Forsaken: I was a troll druid, and a tank at that. My mindset changed, my outlook changed, and my play style changed. Going from a ranged class to a melee class was somewhat difficult, but nothing that time could not adjust. I have spent the better part of my WoW career as a ranged class (my first character in Vanilla was a night elf druid and I was horrifyingly terrible at it) and only now am I truly experiencing life in the front row. Despite these things, what I found the hardest to adjust to was leaving Fritenite.

I’ve recently become burnt out on Bear. For two levels I’ve been playing as a cat, questing in Hyjal and Deepholme when I had the time and tanking once per day to get my Justice points. I could go into a rant about PUGs but, honestly, they’ve never been that bad when I was tanking. I’ve had DPS pull for me, healers who had no idea what they were doing, general douchebaggery, and the myriad problems that every player has when confronted with World of Warcraft strangers, but those people were the exceptions to the quiet let’s-just-get-this-over-with groups that I always seem to get. If I had to pin-point any singular reason why Bear’s been getting less and less attention is because of how excited I was over him. I started him a few months ago as Pazdingo and bravely strutted into instances and tanked fairly well given the toolset I was handed. I was a good tank, guys, and that alone made me want to tank more. I had hopes of being the example by which other PUGers held tanks in regard to.

After tanking and tanking and tanking and druids and druids and druids I’ve lost my way. While I was leveling the bear-formerly-known-as-Pazdingo I did not touch another character. Frite, Olim, my thousand alts: nothing. I wanted Bear at max level and I wanted him there yesterday. I think that’s what made me fall out of love: being in love. And there’s something new about me you know: I don’t take the things I enjoy lightly. I want to be the best I can be and I’ll work very hard to make that happen. A lot of times this comes up and bites me in the ass but I don’t know how to do it any other way.

So then comes the question of what will become of this blog: after all, it was made specifically for bear tanking through RDF. What am I to blog about when the luster is gone? I thought about this for a couple of days and decided: I’ll quit playing Bear for a bit. Fritenite, ye Olde Maine, got some play in recently and I’ve been loving the hell out of BM once again. Olim hasn’t been touched yet, but she’ll get some time whenever I get the healing itch (or the healing rash, as it leaves and comes back whenever it chooses).

And then, again, I got bored of Fritenite. After like two days, guys. I didn’t get bored of hunters, just my character. So I did the one thing that is sure to get me interested in ‘im: I changed him.

We are... Forsaken.

Her name is Buglamp and I’m in love with her. This character has been through three server transfers, two faction changes, five race changes, and now one gender change. I’ve deleted other alts and shelved mains, but this is what I come back to time and time again: this hunter, in whatever form it is for the time being. My happiest moments in WoW were on this hunter in BC, chain-trapping my way through Moroes or kiting slimes in Wrath. This is me: my main. She’s tough, no-nonsense, and fierce. If I were put into any video game I’d hope it’d be as her.

This, my friends, is how I deal with quitting: I quit. I can’t change the fact that the guild I’m in right now is not my home, nor has it ever felt like my home, or that Earthen Ring no longer feels appropriate for my playstyle – at least not yet. What I can do is figure out what in the game I do enjoy and clench onto it while the fire still burns hot in my hand. One day I’ll leave World of Warcraft, or it’ll leave me, but until then I need to play for me and only me, to do what makes me happy with my money. In that regard I won’t be changing the nature of the blog all that much: I have notes from PUGing and I remember quite a bit of it vividly, so there will be guide posts for aspiring bear tanks, and the fluff posts will still be going strong whenever I get the urge to churn out some bile.

This game we play, where we’ve found friends or loved ones, needs to be considered just that: a game. You need to find your own enjoyment within or you’ll end up hating yourself and the people around you for doing things that don’t make you happy. And if you find something boring? Quit, start again with something else. If everything you try can’t hold your interest then I suggest getting the contact info of people you really care about in-game and canceling your subscription. WoW is a game to be enjoyed, not a job to be despised.

And so, to Larísa: you will be missed. I wish you knew how much you’ve inspired several bloggers to do what you’ve made into an art for three years. For the past year I’ve seen the pillars of our community whither away and leave while you’ve stood stalwart against time. Inevitably, you’ve fallen prey to time as well. As long as you know that your existence has touched the lives of hundreds of people and that they are better off having known you through your writing, I feel I can say no more. Godspeed, miss.

And so, to my friends: please be happy. Please play because you want to. Please, please, please just be happy.

- Bug

(e: Further redundancy: sometime soon, Bear will hit 85 and will raid tank the shit out of some instances. But not for a couple of days or weeks at least. He’ll get love, make sure of that, but in the mean time I’ve got some BGs to attend to. *salute*)

Race Pride

I’m going to forgo this week’s My Week in Azeroth segment to touch on something that will no doubt be brought up time and time again on this blog: the races in Azeroth. Particularly, the Forsaken. Don’t worry, for the two of you who enjoyed last week’s article, I’m bringing it back next weekend. I’ve found myself having very little time to do much on the internet, much less play WoW, so the post I’ve wanted to write all week has been pushed aside again and again.

To preface, let me make a couple of things clear: 1) if you follow me on Twitter, or take two seconds to browse what I’ve tweeted, you’ll know that I am an unabashed fan of the Forsaken; 2) I know my way around Azerothian lore; 3) there are no playable races in-game that I find to be boring. What I mean by the last part is this: the human model, in-game, is horrible unless you are playing a female. Humans in World of Warcraft, however, are incredibly interesting (tell me with a straight face that the formation of the Defias and the reasons behind it are not really, really cool storytelling). I joke about punting gnomes, as do a lot of Horde players, but honestly I can’t get enough of their architecture and characters. Blood Elves, while I hate their casting animations, are some of the slickest guys you’ll ever see, with a mean streak in them a mile and a half long.

What I find throughout my time playing World of Warcraft is that I’m drawn more towards races as opposed to factions. I think that the Alliance and the Horde are cool and that they’re both as morally gray as the other. They’re both interesting to me. Yet time and time again I wonder why I haven’t picked one side to be fanatically devoted to and I’ve only been able to come up with one reason: I love the races. I love the lore behind the gnomes and dwarves as well as the orcs and trolls. They’re all so fascinating to me. I suppose that if you spend enough time reading the pen-and-paper resource guides to WoW as much as I do, you get a feel for more that happens in Azeroth. More than you would playing through one quest hub/zone.

Some people play through Hillsbrad and come out of the experience hating, loathing, the Forsaken. I read about Brann Bronzebeard’s travels through Brill and about how he has come upon Forsaken losing their minds to the Scourge again and how he’s seen friends or family around the increasingly insane undead shudder and cry out with fear and I see a race beset on every imaginable side by adversity and the rage they possess at simply existing. The smallest things, to me, shed scads of light on things I had previously thought illuminated. There is more than just the Horde, or the Alliance: there are the dwarves and the humans and the tauren that make up both sides. That’s something that I think slides past some people’s mental sieve.

But, if more people cared about a particular race, would this cause a problem? Would we niche ourselves even more than we already have? There are players out there who will never, in their entire life, play an Alliance character, and vice versa. Were there more people who identified and cherished a select few races, could there bloom a group of people who will never, in their entire life, play anything but a blood elf? The stagnation in both cases is astounding: so much is lost by simply only playing as an Alliance, or a dwarf, or a Forsaken. So much lore passed by, so much immersion and emotion thrown to the wayside simply on the basis of perceived superiority.

Keep in mind that this is coming from a person who loves the lore in World of Warcraft. I’ve stayed up entire nights because I wanted to continue a quest line that just never seemed to end, or farmed something on the offchance that I’d have a new vanity item named after a really cool dude. If you’re still lost: I’m kind of insane and often have too much time on my hands. This post is a call-out to those who enjoy their MMORPGs as story-rich as I do. If you’re the kind of dude who only plays blood elves because you like their model most of all and not because they are, without contest, the slickest motherfuckers this side of the Dead Scar – power to you, brother, rock on in your play time.

When the urge to finally write this post was coming upon me I put the call out to Twitter, asking if anyone was as proud of a specific race as I was. Rades was quick to say that there were, in fact, those kind of people out there. (I’m actually kind of ashamed these people slipped my mind…) Antigen, Jong, and Rhidach are all members of the Blood-Elf Appreciation Club (23rd chapter, order of the wombat), Vidalya of various-blogging fame has an intense love of draenei (which is great, ’cause someone has to), Rades himself is a self-professed fan of orcs and Forsaken (I’m getting to him, I think), and Faeldray is a lover of all things tauren. These are, of course, member of the WoW blogging community, with a voice louder than my own and interests known by quite a few people, so there’s always a chance that we’re the outliers of the playerbase.

Idea: people have an intense love of one race and, instead of saying “yeah man I play on the Alliance, but more importantly dwarves” they just say “I’m an Alliance player”. Is this a lie, though? Is there anything inherently misleading about the label – or are they the same thing?

The logistics are slightly confusing at this point, but Loa help me I’m charging forward pretending like I’ve got a clue.

What about you, those two readers I have? Do you have a race you love above all else? Why? I’d love to know in the comments!

(Oh, and speaking of the Forsaken, I have five ideas about posts concerning them… You’re in for a treat.)