I was chatting with a friend yesterday afternoon, and they pointed out that I usually do best with stressful stuff by just setting it all aside for a while, giving it time to settle down or clearly not settle down or do whatever it's going to regardless of my efforts. They're right. Anything that has me fretting as much as hunter and guild stuff have recently is, whatever else may be said of it, not working as a game.
While I was thinking over that, I read a typically smart post by my friend Adam, "Retro Raiding and the Calm Casual". The upshot of this particular post is that accepting his position well behind the cutting edge and not worrying about it has opened up a lot of fun for him. He's taken his druid Leafshine into Zul'Aman, which was still a very tough nut for his guild to crack pre-Lich King, and done some other retro-raiding sightseeing, and like that. Go see the details for yourself, if you wish; what matters here is that he feels at liberty now to move as he wishes, rather than according to any external timetable like that created by raiding needs.
That's resonating very deeply with me today.
I loved being among the first in Archon to 80, as I posted about at the time. Then guild bickering stole away a lot (though not all) of that pleasure, and chronic insomnia and health crud has kept me rattled and disoriented. One of the great pleasures, I've identified, in playing Spiderheart is that nobody I'm playing with cares in the slightest what pace of progress I set. My friends are happy when I'm happy, and enjoy teaming up when it's appropriate, and there just aren't egos or competition at stake. And I'm freed of the fun-sapping side of the impulse to advance because I can't be in the first wave with any of my alts—not without a time machine, at least, and I have none.
I've been playing this way this week already, but hadn't quite so consciously formulated it as an actual goal until today. So:
• Tivara is on the shelf for the moment, because I'm bothered by hunter stuff. I will let the theorycrafters sort out post-3.0.8 options and then see how I feel.
• Archon in on the shelf for now, because even where I feel I've genuinely mended fences, I can't stop the stuff rattling around unpleasantly in parts of my mind where memory does not care to pay attention to current judgments.
• Spiderheart goes front and center for now, because death knights have nearly everything I love about warriors, plus magic that doesn't require me to hassle mana, plus that great gothic ambience. Speaking of which:
That's Spiderheart in the middle, with a lich's cackling head over hers to show she's using the Lichborne talent to improve her defense and intimidate bystanders. The floor is angry red and the people are dark purple because Death & Decay is rotting the bodies and burning the souls out of everyone in the vicinity—that's what all those 155-hp ticks are from. Commander Mograine is face down on the floor facing her, just to her left; Whitemane's also on the floor back by the altar, hard to see in this picture.
It wasn't a single-pull clear of the Cathedral. I tried that and got close, but didn't quite make it. A level or few more, though, and it'll work.
• I'm thinking about a dual-gathering alt to support Spider financially; enchanting + tailoring is a very handy combo, but not cheap. I might do a night elf druid, which I've been vaguely talking about forever, or something else. We'll see. Something with stealth would be nice, and I'm not worried about leveling fast, given how lucrative mining is right from the outset.
I'm not committing myself in the long term to any general shift of priorities. This is what I'm doing right now to accommodate physical and mental stresses, mostly from illness and its side effects. This seems fun-maximizing right now, and there'll be time to consider what else might be fun right then when my situation changes, as inevitably well.
Now if you'll excuse me, Spiderheart has an appointment with mana-hogging members of the blue dragonflight. She doesn't touch the stuff herself, but allies do, and besides, it's just rude....