Mages, ten-man raiding, and other things that are awesome.

Posts tagged ‘that shiny new blog smell’

Tuesday Art Day: Elaina

worgen_large

Soo, long time no see, huh? This was an avatar I did over the holidays. It was a gift commission for a Secret Santa exchange. I think it’s the first time I’ve done any lady worgen avatars, so it was fun. It’s for @GGElaina on Twitter and was commissioned by @_anea.

As far as Warcraft goes, I’ll admit to you that I’m in a bit of an odd place. I’m still enjoying the game and raiding with my guildies, though I don’t find I have as much to write about in the blog these days (obviously). The time was I could barely get posts out fast enough. Of course I’ve never been a mage theorycrafter of much note but I usually had something to say. Going casual as a guild has meant some mental readjustments that way. It really meant taking a step back in many regards – there were some days I didn’t do dailies. I don’t use the maximum stat food, preferring to use feasts that the guild makes. As far as I know, that hasn’t hurt our raiding progression, but even our raiding progression isn’t a top priority as such.

We made further schedule readjustments, going from one night (three hours) to two nights again but shortening the raid to a mere two hours each night. It allows for a later start and an earlier end, which is honestly a relief. It makes my days feel less punctuated by World of Warcraft and more like “this is a fun hobby.” If I’m being honest with myself, there was a good chunk of time when WoW was less a hobby than a second job.

At this time last year I wasn’t sure I’d still be playing WoW; Voss and I wanted to stop raiding as much as we had and we were fully aware that Business Time might close up shop as a result. I’m really glad that it didn’t, though, and this reduced schedule and more relaxed approach has suited us very well. There’ve been times when WoW felt like the only thing that was going right. The danger in that, though, is that if you put too much stock in a video game you react disproportionately to probably minor things. At other times I would despair if our progression wasn’t “fast enough,” feeling that it was a reflection on me and that I was letting the guild down by not leading them better. So these days I try to have a healthy balance. WoW is a game I love to play and I’ve made great friends through it. I spend time doing From Draenor With Love each week and that’s more “WoW-related” time, and otherwise I have cut way down.

I didn’t exactly make any new year’s resolutions but if I had to choose one word for this year (as Alas described) it would be purpose. I’m trying to recognize my purpose in many areas of life and not to lose sight of it, and also to have some perspective about goals that may take some time to achieve. Having no control over things makes this more a necessity than a choice! Anyway, I spent about three days over the holidays working on this:

studio

This is my studio space, which is where I do non-digital art. As you can see from the first photo, it’s been pretty difficult to get in there and do anything for the past…oh, I don’t want to say exactly how long. But you can see to the right of the photo that portfolios and drawings are piled foot-deep there. Notice how on the right-hand photo those are mostly gone? I filled five garbage bags with old drawings and other detritus. The space is ready and waiting for me and it feels good. I won’t go into too much personal detail except that the past year has been punctuated, it seems, by illness or medical concerns, doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds and bloodwork. It’s tiring and it’s really interfered with my ability to work. The only thing I managed to be consistent about was From Draenor and my raid schedule, which I’m proud of but it’s not really enough. I also can’t remember the last time I did any art just for myself that wasn’t Warcraft related. I love the Warcraft universe but I also don’t want all my creative endeavors to depend on someone else’s intellectual property. It’s something to think about, anyway.

Don’t write me off your feedreaders just yet, I promise to write here as topics strike. I’m just a bit preoccupied at the moment. I’m starting up a personal blog at another url so that I can write about personal stuff without feeling like I am bombarding an audience who really wants to talk about World of Warcraft. That blog’s not up yet, but I will share the url when it’s ready if anyone is interested. It will likely be a catch-all for my other interests: art, food and cooking/baking, games (other than Warcraft), and also health stuff. I’d be happy to see some familiar faces reading there but I won’t be offended if you don’t. I’ve lost touch with some Warcraft folks over the years especially once they leave the game and it’s sad but expected. Sometimes our friendships can survive the loss of a shared universe and sometimes they can’t. I’m always happy when they do, though!

I hope you all had a great holiday and so far a good new year. I hope I’ll have more to share with you soon.

p.s. Due to the departure of a few good Business Time friends, we’re currently looking to recruit a ranged DPS, preferably a hunter or warlock. Hunter is the highest priority because right now we have ZERO and all that mail agility gear just rots. So if you are a hunter or an exceptional ranged DPS of any kind and you’re interested in a home for “semi-retired hardcore raiders,” check us out. Our thing is we still have minimum play standards to avoid frustrations that can sometimes accompany very casual raiding, but if you’re looking to push much hardmode progression we’re a bit over that. We just like to be casually awesome, kill some internet Mogu and have a few laughs. We raid two nights a week as mentioned, two of either Monday, Wed, or Thursday from 6:30-8:30 PST. Each week we look at signups and determine the days, so some weeks it’s M/Thurs and other weeks M/Wed and on a rare week Wed/Thurs (we try to avoid that).

Others’ Endings Are Not My Endings

I’m generally a very empathic person, and that’s true in my ‘real life’ as well as my gaming one. When it comes to board games, my friends know I’d rather play one where we all work together rather than compete. It’s a big reason why I took to MMOs so readily. Oh, I’ll PvP sometimes, but what I love about MMOs and what I love about WoW is working with a group of other people towards a common goal. It’s kept me engaged in this game for almost three years. When you laugh, I laugh with you. When you cry… sometimes it’s hard for me to recognize that the reason for your tears isn’t actually anything wrong in my life, I become so upset on your behalf.

Learning to recognize when the emotions and feelings of others are affecting me too much is probably going to be a lifetime thing for me. It comes and goes, and it depends on where I am in my life. As Voss and I have dealt with his father’s illness and the natural fears and feelings that arise from that, it’s been a bit harder for me to detach myself from the feeling of the WoW community fracturing, diminishing. For a few weeks, it felt to me like every time I opened my feed reader another blogger was closing their doors. It began to be draining. It makes a person wonder, “Is there something I’m missing? Am I still here only because I refuse to admit that I should be leaving?”

I’ve been thinking about this. I’ve been struggling to write here, not for lack of ideas – I’ve started at least six blog posts over the past week, each one that I think would make a great post! But I get distracted, and I don’t seem to be able to finish them. My writer’s block is not the same thing as being ready to leave or ready to stop, although I think it could have picked a better time. (Is there ever a good time for writer’s block?) I’m sure it’s especially difficult to be one of the ‘old guard,’ bloggers who have been at this for many years. It’s always tough to see your contemporaries leaving. That feeling of loss and uncertainty has threatened to drag me in, too, but I realized something today.

I still have things to say. I still have people to talk to, and the WoW community brings me so much. You’re not even remotely done listening to me ramble, and I think that’s okay. In the wake of Tam leaving, and again with Larisa’s decision to stop blogging, I’ve heard people say things like “We can’t ever be the same without them,” or suggest that the end of their blogs is somehow a sign of the end. It’s bothered me that some comments seem to be that there will be nothing of quality left. In a way, people are right. The community can never be exactly the same as it was when Tam brought his philosophic ramblings to bear on it. We will miss Larisa’s cheerful hearth. It won’t be the same, because it’s going to be different, but not because it’s ending.

New bloggers are opening their doors all the time. Some of us are still going strong and nowhere near ready to quit blogging. There was a series of blogaversies that has stretched from December through January, and these are the people whose enthusiasm for blogging I have shared, contemporaries and colleagues, friends and friendly rivals. We haven’t gone anywhere, our voices are still here. Don’t miss reading an excellent blogger because he/she isn’t a blogger that’s come before. We can’t duplicate the exact approach or personality of those big names, but there are plenty of us still well-worth reading, and new ones joining our ranks all the time.

The unfortunate thing with being empathic is that it’s easy to read others with complaints or feeling tired about the game and to “catch” that feeling. Then you start to wonder if it’s you, too, if it’s just time to move on, if you’re finished. It’s okay to wonder that, and it’s okay to stop blogging too. But make sure if you do that it’s actually your feeling you are addressing, and not just a reaction to change. I hate change, myself. I hate when voices I’ve come to expect are no longer here for me. But I also feel that there are many voices left that I love listening to; many of us with a passion for the game and the words we write about it.

I have a challenge for you, whether you are a blogger or just someone who enjoys reading blogs.

If you’re a blogger: Find a new blog today that looks promising, that you enjoy. Link to it on your blog. Leave an encouraging comment! The Blog Azeroth author introduction forums are a place where new bloggers can introduce themselves, and you can surely find a gem there. What I’m talking about doesn’t even have to be a new blog, though, even just ‘new to you!’. You can find great treasures in people’s blogrolls if you browse around. Link love, recognition, and feedback are what make us more than just a random grouping of people talking to nobody in particular. They keep us together, they make us a community. Instead of being upset that some of the paragons of the community have moved on (although of course, pay them a respectful, loving, or tearful farewell) – today I intend to focus on people that are still here. It’s our attitude and recognition of each other that will ensure we continue to be engaged and enthusiastic about blogging.

For my part, I’ve started reading Stubborn over at Sheep The Diamond recently, and I’ve found his words funny and insightful. His is a new voice I’ve been quite glad to hear!

Here’s my second challenge, for non-bloggers. If you have found a blog recently that you enjoy reading, if you appreciate the content there – whether it’s guides, points of view, or just something to make you laugh – leave a comment. It doesn’t have to be a LONG comment, and you don’t have to leave twenty comments a day on various blogs. But taking the time to comment is a huge part of what encourages bloggers to keep going. Knowing that people are reading but not saying anything can be worse than knowing that nobody is reading. Even if it’s just a comment saying, “Thanks for taking the time to compile this information, it’s been really helpful.” Knowing that I’ve helped someone, or made them think or even just brought a smile to their face makes my day. It’s part of what has kept me blogging for over a year, and why I see myself continuing to blog in the future. I don’t know any bloggers that don’t love to receive a comment. We thrive on it, because it lets us know that people care about what we have to say.

So leave a comment, link a blog, read a blog, and remember that there is a vast community of players of all stripes writing about a multitude of topics – and that’s what makes our community so awesome and will keep us strong for a long time to come.

One year and One Month: A Blogaversary!

Once a Paladin, not necessarily always a Paladin, but still grateful nonetheless.

December was a big month for blog birthdays! Mine was actually December 11th, but as Rades put it, I felt a bit like the kid whose birthday is on Christmas. Cataclysm had just come out, I don’t think anyone was paying much attention to blog birthdays. Now it’s been one year (and just over a month) since I first made that little paladin and started pugging. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. You might read that and think, “Oh, Vid. Pugging was so hard for you, what an ordeal! Now you are going to complain about how hard it was.”

Nope, that’s not what I mean at all. What I mean is that I had no idea how richly rewarding blogging was going to be for me. I still remember my jaw dropping when I saw that Lath at HoTs & DoTs had linked to me. It was my first link! Later, Tam also linked to me, and I have shared links with many other awesome bloggers in the time since. It would be easy to say that I was frustrated by the actions of puggers as I leveled Vid, and it would probably be true. But it would be more true to say that I have been astounded by the generosity, warmth, and welcome shown by the blogging community. I didn’t know what I was missing. For each person in a pug who did or said something outrageous, there have been many more people who have commiserated with me about it, or gave a kind word.

I’ve made friends, colleagues, and cohorts. I used to enjoy reading blogs, now I truly can’t wait to hear what folks are saying because in many cases I feel I know the people behind them. I have the utmost respect for all of you and I can’t thank you enough for helping make the past year such an enjoyable one.

If you’ve ever left me a comment, or linked to me, or mentioned a post of mine on Twitter, or even just read – thank you.

You probably know that Larisa at Pink Pigtail Inn has been holding her annual awards – for instances, blogs, and noteworthy events alike. She’s honored me by choosing me as the winner for Biggest Blog Facelift. It really means so much to me, because I was incredibly anxious about moving from Pugging Pally. I was afraid I’d become a pariah – that people who only read my blog thinking I was a pally would stop reading it, or that people who only wanted to hear funny pug stories would realize I’d stopped writing those and just stop reading altogether. I wondered if I’d lose all readers and just be talking to myself. I worried about those things, but I tried to press on and hope for the best. I hoped that a few people would still be interested.

I worked really hard to make Manalicious an inviting place and to keep writing here consistently to show that I was serious about keeping my blog and I wasn’t just a “gimmick” writer, good for writing about pugs and that’s it! There’ve been times where I wondered whether I’d succeeded, and made the right decision. I think it was the right decision and again I owe thanks to people who supported me, changed their links, blogrolls, feedreaders, and continued to comment although my subject matter had changed.

Thank you all. Thanks to my guild members, too, who always tell me if I’ve written something they liked, and even for reading and being patient with me when I want to write about them or guild stuff in general. Thanks guys. I can’t say it enough times.

It was Windsoar who started the fine tradition of offering a “muse” to celebrate her blogaversary – I love the musing, but I don’t think I’d do as good a job of it! What I am going to do instead is a quick (literally, I am limiting my time spent on these to a set amount, I think about five to ten minutes each) drawing for folks who comment on this entry. I really do want to do something tangible to thank you for your support.

If you’d like a small black and white character portrait sketch, all you have to do is:

  • Leave a comment on this entry.
  • Include a link to your character’s armory.
  • Have commented before. (I don’t know how many people will comment so I have to put some restriction. I’d like to give these to people who have taken the time to share a bit of themselves. If I have to “confirm” your comment it’s out, unless there aren’t too many).

I have in my head a semi-limit of how many of these I’ll do, but I’ll try to do one for everyone who wants one. It might take a bit of time. But then again, you’ve stuck with me for this long, so I imagine you’re willing to wait a little longer too!

Welcome!

Now with 100% more mage.

Thanks for dropping by Manalicious. If you came here from Pugging Pally, I appreciate it! You’ll find a convenient subscribe button in the sidebar for my RSS feed. If you are a fellow blogger, I would be very grateful if you would update any blogroll links from Pugging Pally to Manalicious.

For any links made within posts; I won’t be taking Pugging Pally down so those should continue to work. I’m sorry for any inconvenience!

I’ll be transferring my own blogroll over from Pugging Pally over the next few days. It consists primarily of blogs I regularly read and enjoy, but if you think I’ve overlooked yours I’ll be happy to consider adding it.

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