10 Years, 10 Questions

Over on twitter today, @RhoWoW suggested people participate in @Alternativechat‘s 10 Years, 10 Questions writing… thing (challenge? exercise?? event?!?). It seems like a cool thing to do to reflect on the last however many years I’ve played WoW and write about it. Plus, it gets me blogging/writing. Something I’ve been struggling with for awhile now. So here goes!!

1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?
I was a huge EverQuest player. Top-end guild. Break-neck raiding. WoW came out in the middle of all of this and was very popular, very quickly. I picked up WoW on a whim, to see if I would like it. In the middle of playing a TON of EQ, I found that WoW was too different for me at that time. I picked it up again a few years later because of @Kurnmogh.

2. What was the first ever character you rolled?
A Night Elf priest. I think I named her after my EQ character (despite how different and unrelated they were).

3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?
When I first picked up WoW, the only factor was character models. I wanted to be cute and pretty! Night Elfs were this choice at the time. Later, when I made Hestiah, I was limited to which classes could be druids, the class I wanted to play. I will never forget Kurn’s rants about druids being in the wrong spec and how expensive it was for them to respec (before the days of dual-spec). She said that the druids were the worst because they could never make up their damn minds and stick with a spec!

4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?
This is a hard one. There are so many. But I think running around Southshore with Kurn and Daey and her ranting about murlocs is up there. Lots of death and laughing and corpse running. I also think questing for my Warlock epic mount is up there. That was so much trouble, and so ridiculous. I am SO glad I did it. Even once.

Raiding has also been fun. Killing Lich King and getting the title. Doing “Herald of the Titans”. Killing tough heroic bosses. Getting meta mounts. [What a Long Strange Trip It's Been]. Too many to list, really.

5. What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?
I dunno that there is any one thing that is my favorite, but probably the social aspects. I have made some of the best friendships because of WoW. Friendships that well surpassed any “it’s just a game” situations. Some friendships have remained, some have been lost. But the one thing that always kept me coming back were the people playing.

6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?
Nagrand. Darkshore. And Badlands. Nagrand is just so pretty. It makes me smile to go there and sit on a floating rock. Darkshore has a lot of story that I miss. And a lot of story that I still enjoy. Grimclaw will make me cry every. single. time. (I blame @_Rades for this! *shakes angry fist*). And Badlands because of [Rhea's Egg] questline. I have a lot of love for that egg.

7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?
I played a month in Vanilla, though I have no clue when (month-wise) that it was. And came back at the end-ish of BC. I got dragged along on some raids and was generally awful. Then again about midway through WotLK. Since then I’ve been mostly consistent. played most of Cata. Most of MoP. And will be around for WoD.

8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?
Usually, no. I speed through most of it without paying any attention. Except for some questlines/stories. I love the Grimclaw stuff in Darkshore. And I love the Rhea’s egg stuff in Badlands.

9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?
Some of the guilds I joined were instantly regret moves. Some people I befriended and trusted. But these have little to do with WoW and more to do with personal interactions (ie. me).

The only real regret are the friendships I let lapse for some reason or another. The time I spent playing too much and not doing schoolwork or work-work. I have few regrets.

10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?
This is probably the most personal question, which yields the most profound answers. Warcraft has introduced me to some of the most amazing people. Friends who became my family. Boyfriends. Loves. Enemies. Acquaintances. All of them have had some impact on my life, one way or another.

Many friends have lasted years. There are inside jokes. Similar complaints. Talking about the mechanics of a heroic boss fight that annoys you the most. Achievements you’re farming. Company you have in doing really silly, grindy stuff. I got to know the people. Their lives. Their struggles. Their joys. Their hardships. Their accomplishments, in game and out of game.

I wouldn’t trade any of that in.

It always means I get the strangest looks from people. Folks who don,’t understand that internet friendships are real friendships. Who question my sanity when I say I’m meeting someone from off the internet. Or that I live on twitter and no I will not let you friend me there or on Facebook. That there is a whole other part of me that exists that has nothing to do with business casual attire and welfare benefits and jobs and such. When I do talk about that part of my life, it’s interesting to see who is secretly judging me and writing me off and who feels like they’ve meet a friend for the first time.

My time in WoW has helped me be a better person, even if I falter from the pedestal of my own creation. I’ve learned to accept that I’m not good at all things. How to accept constructive criticism. How to engage in difficult conversations in a more productive manner. I probably would have learned these things eventually, but it was my interactions (failed and successful) with people I knew because of WoW that made me reflect on myself more.

I am a better person because of World of Warcraft.

The Long Journey Home

It’s been nearly a year since I posted a blog post. That’s not to say the 20+ posts in Drafts doesn’t mean I didn’t want to say something. I wanted to talk about what happened with my guild, the one that fell apart, which, for the most part has just sort of blown over and no one really remembers much of it anyway. I wrote multiple posts about Con Creepers after Blizzcon last year, but never published those either.I want to blog about things, and games, and stuff. I want to talk about things that are important to me. I just feel like it’s almost not worth the effort. Or, I should say, I’ve convinced myself it’s not worth the effort.

I was thinking about it tonight, as I was getting friendly advice on twitter (from a multitude of people), trying to figure out why I got so self-conscious about my writing. What was the moment when it seemed to matter the most to me. When did I start to care what folks thought about me. It dawned on me, as I was standing there staring into my closet looking for something to sleep in.

I know exactly when it was. It was right about the time when the internet turned on me and I had to face a small army of misogynistic assholes (trigger warning on the link: harassment, misogyny, rape jokes) who were asked by their shitty leader (who now goes by an entirely different name these days) to harass me. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to get this from folks on a daily basis. And the worst part is that I don’t even give a shit about what people think of me! I don’t need to please everyone and I certainly don’t need everyone to like me, but it was the way in which they banded together, I guess, to “fight against their common enemy”. Namely, me. It was the idea that my blog, being a gaming World of Warcraft blog, was something worth mocking.

The comments that are hidden from view because this guy felt he deserved, no had a right, to comment on my blog and have them be posted publicly for everyone to read. He attacked my humanity. He attacked my hobbies. He attacked gamers and gaming. He attacked those identifiers that are part of who I am. It was more than just harsh words and criticisms, at least at the time.

My roommate (and ex-boyfriend) brushed it off. Told me I shouldn’t let it get to me. I shouldn’t care, because in the grand scheme of things, that guy and his followers didn’t matter. He was right, of course, that ex of mine. It just didn’t stop it from bothering me. And it certainly didn’t stop it from bothering me to the point that I simply limited what I was writing about on the internet. If I don’t say it, it can’t be used against me, right?

In the end, though, he won. He silenced another woman on the internet. So for 2 years, I’ve written posts that I never published. I wrote about things that mattered to me, but didn’t share them with anyone. I wrote and re-wrote but the time was wasted since I never posted them. I talk about writing and I am encouraged to write, by my friends closest to me and even seeming strangers, but I still seem to convince myself not to bother.

Will this be the start of a different trend?? I don’t know. I’ll see. For now, I just really wanted to see something different on my blog. ;)

My new obsession: Animal Crossing New Leaf

AnimalCrossing_Logo

Animal Crossing: New Leaf. I admit that I have a serious obsession with Animal Crossing. I’ve logged countless hours in the month or so since it’s North American release. Twitter blew up with picture sharing and tweets about stuff going on in their respective towns. People created designs, leaving them on display in towns where they’ve visited. 3DS friend codes filled my timeline as people shared between them (Nintendo has made it so you have to mutually share friend codes before you can be friends). For those first few weeks that’s all everyone was talking about. While it certainly feels like some of the initial buzz has worn off and people have started to find their own Animal Crossing groove, I’m still spending countless hours playing.

In the process of playing I keep thinking “I should blog about that”, especially when I’ve learned something new about the game and had myself an epiphany moment. I feel like though there are a lot of sources of information for ACNL, there is still a lot of stuff that never gets talked about for some reason or another. The simple things that most people assume you already know when you’re picking up the game for the first time. Not everything I want to write about is for the beginner, but at least here are a few tips for those just starting out (or not that far into the game so you can easily start again without losing very much).

Deciding on your face.
I didn’t realize that the way you answered Rover’s questions changed the way you looked once you arrived into town. This is a good guide to tell you how to answer the initial questions in order to ensure you’re happy with the way you look! Keep in mind that you will eventually unlock Shampoodle and can change your hairstyle, hair color, and even eye color pretty easily, however, you won’t be able to change the shape of your eyes. The start of the game is the only time you can choose that, so choose wisely.

eyes

Layout of your town.
maplayoutWhen you’re chatting with Rover on the train, you get 4 town maps to choose from. When I started the game again I had learned from my previous mistakes. I ensured that everything was fairly close to each other to minimize the amount of downtime running around. Re-Tail (the store inside of your town) buys your items for significantly higher

than any of the stores on Main Street, which means you should be selling there almost always. In my original game I built my house at a southwestern point, with Re-Tail and my Town Center across a bridge northeast. When I started my second game (don’t even ask, I’ll get into this later) I made sure that Re-Tail, the train station, my Town Center, and my house were all close together on the map (I restarted the game over and over again until I got it the way I wanted). This made life SO much easier (even before I had my 3 bridges built).

First Perfect Fruit.perfectfruit
I’ve played Animal Crossing before, but I don’t remember “perfect fruit”. As I was shaking down my trees (like a town mayor does!), gathering up all my pears (my native fruit), I inevitably sold that first perfect pear to Reese. Don’t do this. Getting a random perfect fruit later is significantly harder than planting that first one and creating a small forest of perfect fruit trees. You can only have perfect fruit trees of your native fruit, but planting that first perfect fruit will yield a tree of 3 perfect fruit. I’d suggest planting you first perfect fruit tree close to your house, but away from an open area. Over the course of a few days you’ll get new villager at a rate of 1/day until you have 8-ish. They don’t care what’s in the way or what type of tree it is, so putting the trees somewhere where a building can’t be constructed is perfect to make sure that it doesn’t get destroyed.

In my 2nd game, I put my house as close to the train tracks as Isabelle would let me. This game me enough space to plant my perfect apple trees behind my house. No space for villagers moving in to build their homes, my perfect apple trees were safe. I still, however, haven’t managed to get a perfect pear in TARDIS (Hestiah’s town). After so many shakedowns, perfect fruit trees eventually go away, but if you’ve managed to get yourself a small orchard of perfect fruit, stash some in your home somewhere. This brings me to…

Stacking fruit.
I bought my games digitally, so I paid almost no attention to the manual that’s usually a little paper booklet. I didn’t know you could open your inventory (X) and drag fruit onto each other, stacking up to 9. Harvesting fruit will take less time since you’re not running back and forth every 16 pieces of fruit.

Storage.
lockers
Re-Tail sells a locker at the start of every game. Any sort of “storage” piece of furniture (drawers, doors, etc) is basically having an Animal Crossing bank. Stack of fruit placed in the bank don’t rot. This also goes for flowers and saplings. You can also access your ACNL bank by hitting up the lockers in your train station, if you want to wait until you get something that’s not a gross gym locker to put in your home. This is accessible from any town you visit and is great to take advantage of if you’ve got the hook-up on amazing turnip prices in someone else’s town.

Now you can stash some perfect fruits in there and save them for when the trees eventually disappear.

Cataloging items.
Thanks to @thinkwhatwows, I found out that you can catalog items and music that you can order later from Timmy and Tommy Nook (once your store is upgraded to allow for catalog ordering). Doing this requires a little bit of planning.While you can move your furniture around with your gates open and guests are visiting your town, you can’t move your furniture while you have guests inside your house. You can’t, however, pick up music to allow friends to catalog while your gates are open. Otherwise, this is a very easy way for your friends to get access to items for themselves.

So those are the tips I have for now! I’ll probably try blogging about more things with regard to Animal Crossing coming up. Most of all, enjoy your time in your game.