Monday, April 13, 2009

Then again...

So here we are, on the eve of the first really big patch since Lich King (533 Mb big), and...I'm not up for it, I find. There are so many changes both deep and wide that seem likely to have such large consequences for my play, and I simply don't feel up to keeping track of them all. Some of the changes are good, some just mystify me, more than a few genuinely annoy me—I think Blizzard is making some parts of the game too blandly easy, while others seem to be getting unreasonably hard. How much of that is pure update overload, I couldn't say, really; I know that everyone's got a finite capacity to absorb major changes in existing tasks, and this is mine.

So I'm going on vacation.

For how long, I couldn't say. I've got some preexisting problems with WoW as it is, mostly stemming from having a machine that's way on the low end of their design range and neither being able to nor really wanting to replace it. (I like my MacBook. It is good for me. And I like being happy with my tools. Needless dissatisfaction and unhappiness are luxuries I choose not to indulge in right now.)

I don't want to say anything much yea or nay about planned posts I haven't gotten to yet. I'd like to. We'll see how it goes.

I should say that I am not stomping off in tears and huffs. WoW has been really really good for me through these four years. It's brought me friends and acquaintances, and given me a ton of wonderful adventure, drama, tragedy, comedy, the whole deal. I feel like someone stepping away from a great meal, just plain full up and not needing seconds or dessert right now. I'll see what comes next after this all digests some. :)

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Meanwhile, a month later...

Well, there went March. It was a busy, happy month for me, just in ways that got in the way of blogging here. April should be a month of more activity here.

The biggest thing is improvement in my health. "Health" is a pretty tangled for me, with fixed and variable chronic health problems, acute crises driven by purely internal stuff (auto-immune reactions and like that), chronic and acute environmental complications, and on and on. Four years ago I fell into into a deep valley of not-so-hotness, kind of like a volcanic caldera. I am now climbing out the far end of it, with a virtuous cycle of reinforcements between exercise, diet, environmental hardships passing, and other stuff. I have more energy and physical ability to do (among others) housework backlogged for years, and getting that done opens up more opportunities to do new things I've been wanting to, and it just really is very satisfying.

(It's not all biscuits and gravy, of course. There are nasty down stretches and sundry complications. It's just that the overall trend is very clearly up.)

One of the best parts of the above is that I've been able to resume work on writing projects long stalled out. At the top of the list is a book on playing "outsider" heroes in the pulp '20s and 30s—women, people of color, political and other ideologues, etc. I had to shelve this two years back, and it hurt a lot, and I spent a lot of time wondering if I'd really ever be able to do it. Well, turns out I can. But to do that, I had a lot to do in March, building the infrastructure of schedules and review checkpoints, getting my suite of writing and data-keeping tools in order, assembling playtesters to evaluate advice and mechanics...well, a bunch.

The key point here is that I did get it done. :) Work's now underway within what's providing as sound a framework as I hoped for.

At the same time all of that was going on, several of my guildmates hit points of transition and reflection, and for several weeks there was a lot of uncertainty about who'd be doing what. It settled out happily for each of them, I think. Lots of them are now on what might be extended leave from WoW, with just a few of us remaining activity. I respect my friends' judgment a lot, and it seems to me like everyone's making good, sensible decisions likely to lead to their greater well-being, and that's a very happy thing to have reason to think about people you like. It just means that we won't, right now, being doing the "gang of us" team-ups for 5- and 10-person challenges the way we thought we would.

(Side note: I'm fascinated to see that there's a really big noticeable wave of leave-taking right now. Several big-name bloggers have gone on indefinite leave, and I hear from friends in more dedicated raiding guilds that they have a lot of players doing that too. The conventional wisdom blames it on the initial Lich King content being too easy for the relatively hard-core players, but I have the theory that most of it would be happening even if there were a bunch of harder challenges available right now. People can't assimilate changes indefinitely without it taking some toll. A recurring from those returning from hiatus is that they have a firmer sense of what's happening now in the game, what the possibilities before them now are, and what they want to try next. Sort of a mental palate clearing.)

I dithered around a while, and decided that, no, I don't want to take a WoW vacation myself. But neither was I getting very far as a semi-soloing tank—at the raiding level, which Spiderheart's at the lower edge of now, there don't need to be as many tanks as a fraction of a group's composition, and the folks I do pick-up and scheduled runs with already have a solid cohort of experienced tanks. So I've re-specced to give Spider a nice solid dps build, since dpsers (and healers) are more in demand to fill in raid gaps than tanks are.

Coming up in April, more regular posting, therefore, of my three usual kinds: reports on things accomplished (or at least bravely attempted), random tourism, and occasional essay pieces. I actually have added in WoW posting to my to-do app, because the nudging will do me good.

Looking forward to writing at you more this month!