There’s this Honda ad that I see on Hulu a lot. In it, a happy family are silently driving along on some kind of road trip when one of the kids starts singing “Buddy Holly” by Weezer. Soon everyone is singing along, from the small children to grandpa in the back. Oooh, ooh! And I know you’re mine!
I hate this commercial.
To be fair it’s not particularly terrible, but I resent how carefully Honda has packaged my nostalgia. Those of us who were of listening age in the 90s when Buddy Holly was a hit song are now in our prime income and mini-van years. Quick, hold on to your youth by buying a car and singing alt rock classics with your kids! You’re still cool!
I feel close to the same way when I look at the details of this morning’s announcement of World of Wacraft: Legion. While Warlords of Draenor was obviously designed with the orc half of The Burning Crusade in mind, this expansion has taken on the second, more elfy half, with a healthy dose of Lich King to boot.
Hey, do you remember Illidan? And Dalaran? And Violet Hold? And Vyrkrul? And everything being a fel-green color? WELL THEN YOU’LL LOVE LEGION.
I sort of wonder who they are targeting with this idea. I mean I fucking love The Burning Crusade. My favorite raid zone ever is Serpentshrine Cavern. I’ve spent hours of my life flying around Netherstorm while wearing my Junior Third Grade Technician sunglasses. But.. that was 2008. You can never go home again (and as I wrote yesterday, I wouldn’t want to anyway).
I dunno, I’m glad that Twitter is all hyped up for this expansion and I hope it’s great, but another nostalgia retread just feels like pandering to me. How about a new story? Like, a genuinely new plotline and bosses that don’t rely on the audience already being familiar with past material?
Good on those games like WildStar and FFXIV and RIFT who started out with their own lore and keep creating it. I pre-ordered Warlords of Draenor for the boost and then ended up never playing a single hour of it post-launch, and this time I won’t be fooled again.
(Oh my goodness, for the first time ever I’m actually using a draft from my draft folder. What has Blaugust done?!)
This realization is actually quite painful. IDK what could ever fill the hole WoW will leave behind when I eventually stop playing.
— Qelric the Qhaleesi (@QelricDK) May 19, 2015
I quit devoting much of my spare time to WoW in 2011. For such a significant decision, it was made pretty spontaneously. I hadn’t been having fun for a while, and guild leading felt like more of a burden than something I loved. I had an officer at the time who was pestering me pretty hard to push the guild to “up its game”, and instead of acquiescing something in me just snapped.
I cried so much while writing my goodbye post. I cried for the people who had already quit the game. I cried because I missed having fun. I cried because I was scared about what I would do now.
So much of my identity was wrapped up in being a World of Warcraft player. I had earned the respect of my guildies through hard work and genuine caring, but if I wasn’t Liore the Guild Leader then… who was I? No one. I was just some nobody.
The day after quitting, I had all this weird spare time. I had been raiding for 12 hours a week (plus playing for fun) for so long that I had forgotten what people do in the evenings. I wasn’t interested in trying other games at the time. I was bored and listless.
One of the more immediate things that appeared in my life again after quitting was dinner. When you raid, you have to raid at a time that’s friendly to both coasts in order to maximize the recruitment pool, which meant we raided at 6 p.m. PT. I would grab fast food dinner on the way home some nights and eat it while managing raid invites, or eat hastily microwaved snacks in our 10 minute mid-raid break. Sometimes I would forget completely and suddenly it was 11 p.m. and I was shaking with hunger.
So after I quit WoW, I started cooking myself dinner every night.
Before that point I used to state “I can’t cook!” as a source of pride. While in university I mastered the “one-pot stroganoff”. It involved boiling pasta and some frozen ground beef at the same time. Mmmmm.
But when I started cooking dinner, I discovered that in fact I really like cooking. I like trying new techniques, and of course I like eating the results. I learned that for me, calmly and methodically making a meal is a kind of relaxation therapy.
Once I started a new routine of going to the grocery store and cooking something nice for dinner, the time that was previously filled by WoW started to naturally fill itself. I had quit blogging when I quit WoW, but I missed writing and so I started it again, this time writing about different topics. After a few months I realized that there are MANY games out there, and almost all of them had passed me by while I was in my WoW-fugue! Steam, here I come!
When you’re in the grips of an obsession, or at least a hobby that you’ve made a huge part of your identity, it can be really strange and scary to consider what your life would be like without it. But once you make that decision your routine starts to fill itself in more easily than you think.
I’m not Liore the Guild Leader anymore. I’m Liore the Blogger and the Podcaster and Twitterati and Game-Player. I’m Jessica, the writer and partner and home chef and Slack chatter and occasionally the exasperated tabletop cleric. Sometimes I miss the camaraderie of the old days, but I never, ever miss putting all of that time into a single part of my life.
While I am enjoying FFXIV still, lately I have felt a bit like I’m just dithering around in Eorzea. To be clear there’s nothing wrong with dithering should you enjoy such a thing, but I’m a goal-oriented player who likes to be working on tasks and ticking things off to-do lists when she’s playing.
The most obvious thing for me to work on is the main story quest. I’m level 53.5 at the moment, so there is a lot of it for me to do still, and many unlockables that need.. unlocking. However, the feller and I agreed to do the MSQ together, and we’ve done so since level 15. Our schedules have been super busy lately, so I find myself looking for other things to work on while soloing.
It sounds like I need to focus on a few in-game tasks for August. Let’s make a list!
1) Finish leveling Thaumaturge to 30. My THM is currently level 24. At level 26 I get the Swiftcast cross-class skill (cast a spell instantly), which is incredibly useful on all jobs. At 30 I hit the pre-requisite for creating a Black Mage. Which reminds me…
2) Level an Archer to 15. This is the other part of the BLM pre-reqisites. Right now my only job above 40 is White Mage, and while I love playing it I would also love having a DPS option for high-level soloing. Also, BLM have amazing hats.
3) Do 3 dungeons and 10 FATEs each week for the Challenge Log. Just because I’m not doing the Main Story Quest doesn’t mean I’m not leveling up my WHM! Hitting the challenge log entries for dungeons (low-level roulette for me) and FATES each week gives a nice XP bonus and provides a little structure to my leveling.
4) Complete the level 1 Clan Hunt Bills. At level 53 you can start picking up Clan Hunts, which is essentially the new Hunt Log. Travel the world, kill mobs, get XP bonuses!
5) Pick away at level 50 dungeons I have not yet completed. Okay so real talk: I am kind of scared of doing this. I haven’t done any hard mode dungeons aside from the Primals, and I know for a fact that the people I will encounter in the FFXIV Duty Finder have a high probability of being nice, understanding players, but I’m still a little nervous about it.
6) Finish the Hildibrand quest line. I want to be most gentlemanly!
Bloggers, let’s talk about comments for a minute. I think more than anything else, comments are the currency of blogging. I mean sure, page hits or whatever are nice but numbers on a chart pale in comparison to getting a bunch of comments. A comment means that someone actually read what you wrote and found it interesting enough to spend precious minutes of their life sharing their own thoughts. It is a friendly wave from a community of writers and readers.
(The second best kind of interaction, by the way, is a retweet. Favorites on Twitter are lovely, but retweets are how you can help amplify the audience for someone’s work. RT more!)
As part of Blaugust I planned to leave a daily comment on a random participating blog just to say hello and show support, but my plans were stymied yesterday by technical difficulties. If you want blog comments, I recommend the following:
- Make sure your comment sections are functioning. Leave a test comment both as yourself and as a guest to kick the tires.
- Visit your comment sections on a phone to ensure that they’re legible.
- Requiring that I sign in with an account before leaving a comment is a significant barrier. If I can only leave a comment with a Disqus or social media account, I simply won’t bother. Sorry, but it’s just not worth trying to remember what name my social media account will use or sharing my personal information with yet another service.
Lock down your comment section any way you want, but the best way to encourage comments is to make it as easy as possible for someone to leave one. Turn on Akismet or another spam filter, and open up the gates! In my experience you may get the occasional angry gamer who wants to be a butt about everything*, but the benefits far outweigh the costs.
* Rule 4 on comments is: delete anything you want. Seriously. You are not obligated to host angry rants by strangers, and you are not obligated to engage in ridiculous arguments that will never end. Delete at will!