A Path Forward

About two weeks ago, I wrote something along the lines that writing helps me clarify my thoughts.  The very act of putting words to a page, even if the words themselves weren’t the answer, would help me organize through situations to find the eventual solution.  It was also about a week ago that I was writing about my inability to decide where next in the game I was going. You see where this is heading?

Tongue in cheek implications aside, it seems I am no longer at the crossroads I wrote about previously.

I ended up choosing a version of Option 2 from our three choices of yesterweek.  Mythic raiding is on long term hiatus for me, but as I wrote about last week, I’m doing so in exchange for my absolute favorite thing about the game: my friends.

Shortly after writing the article last Wednesday, I reach out to my good friend Dame who had been the co-GM of Praetorian Guard/Objectively Bad.  The two of us talked and realized that, while others may be able to move on, we still very much missed playing WoW in a social setting. We reached out to the other members of the guild and found that not everyone had moved onto other mythic teams or other games.  Indeed, there were a number of people in the same boat we were in – wanting to play WoW but not wanting to find a new guild.

Dame and I realized that, within the end of the last guild was the beginnings of a new one.  No longer a mythic raiding guild – we didn’t have the manpower or inclination for that any longer – but instead something a bit less intense.  A casual heroic guild? We gave it a week of discussion and thought. This wasn’t just a pipe dream; this was doable. The infrastructure was there, the people were there, the only thing missing were the people to give the plan one final push.  The instigators, if you will.

What better instigators than a pair of friends so much on the same wavelength that we find the same Toilets With Threatening Auras twitter account to show each other?

All of this has been to say that I, Fussypants, and returning, not only to heroic raiding but also to guild leading.  And this time, I’ve got an official title.

Co-Guildmaster of Proudmoore’s very own Objectively Bad.

(Has a nice ring to it!)

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t super excited.  Sure, I know this won’t be a walk in the park (as leadership rarely is!) but what Dame and I are doing just feels right.  We’re extremely good about communication.  We’re putting an emphasis on transparency. And we have a very similar goal – to reconstruct a guild family, partially out of the old and partially out of the new, that is friendly, funny, and inclusive.  Along with some raiding in there, of course!

So why this blog post?  Well, you know how I said partially out of the new?

*Cue elevator pitch*

<Objectively Bad> is a casual Alliance heroic raiding guild located on Proudmoore-US and we want you!  We’re an LGBTQ+ inclusive family that loves chungy memes and wholesome content alike.  Raiding atmosphere-wise, we stress a balance between progression and jokes, and we also understand that people have lives outside of the game.  Our raid night is Monday 9pm-12am EST (6-9pm PST) with a potential addition of Sunday 9-11pm EST (6-8pm PST). Additionally, we play a LOT of games outside of WOW, so if you’re looking for a multi-game community, we’ve got you covered!

If we sound like the group for you, feel free to reach out! You can message me on Discord (Fussypants#4821) or on Twitter (@TheFussypants).  Can’t wait to meet you!

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A Crossroads

It’s been three weeks and I don’t know how to write this. I’ve tried multiple times, drafting about 5,000 words in total and still, I can’t manage to put my thoughts down on the page in a manner that I like and that seems true to my emotions. However, it’s been too long a wait at this point. I can’t hold out for perfect, I need to achieve ‘completed’.

Firstly, hi! Long time no see! In the months since I last wrote consistently, life has been totally crazy for me. I helped raise $36,255.17 for the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital through the Perky Pugs Violet Spellwing campaign. I coordinated over half a dozen Herald of the Titans runs. I raided on mythic difficulty, and for real this time. I started college, moved across the country, joined my school’s debate team and was actually halfway decent at it. I’ve been writing and writing and writing, but almost none of it has made its way here.

Speaking of here, I’ve missed the blog. With a million other things all demanding my attention at once, I’ve found myself absent from my little corner of the internet. My dad and I both still play the game (more on this in a second) and we definitely still talk about it but we haven’t found the time to write much of anything. I can’t speak for my father, but I know for me personally, I miss writing greatly. There was nothing like drafting a blog post to organize my thoughts and light my creative spark. Writing made me want to play the game more and, as the writing has fallen off the way side, so has my gaming.

The bitter reality is I don’t play as much WoW as I used to. Much of this is due to straight up scheduling; I’ve sort of jumped into just about everything I could have at school – a jam-packed academic schedule, a number of intense clubs, and a job all at once – which leaves me with little time to do anything else. The other issue, however, is that I’m just not as interested in the game as I once was. Both I and my father still play but we almost never play together. I’ve been finding it harder and harder to motivate to log on with the massive amount of “wizard chores” that await me in-game. I’ve barely touched my alts, and those used to be my biggest passions. Perhaps it is me who has changed, and perhaps it is the game that has changed, but regardless of the cause, the effect is that I’m just not playing nearly as much as I was before.

That being said, I’m still deeply invested in the story and the community of the game. I actually quite like the lore of Battle for Azeroth – it’s much more of the actual in-game mechanics that bore me. And I would play pretty much any game so long as the people are friendly and funny, and I have been lucky to know tons of people like that in Azeroth. It’s these two factors (along with the sheer amount of time I’ve already invested) that have kept me from leaving entirely. I’m definitely not done with the game. However, that leaves me unsure of where I stand.

Throughout this recent period of low energy however, I have maintained my love of raiding. With my spectacular guild Praetorian Guard/Objectively Bad, I’ve gotten to see content I would have never thought and challenge my gameplay in ways I never have before. Additionally, I’ve gotten close with a group of people who are truly, truly, special. I am going to Blizzcon this year (side note: hype!) purely because I want to hang out with my guild. They are fantastic people and I am so blessed to call them my friends.
That brings me all the way back to the event which happened three weeks ago, the one I’m still struggling to parse through.

Three weeks ago, my guild met and came to the decision that we would be retiring from raiding for the foreseeable future.

The decision was spearheaded by our guild/raid leader who realized that he no longer had the passion for the game that he once had, and that he didn’t find it fair to us to continue leading the group by only giving half effort. His sentiments were shared by a number of our team. We are definitely not disbanding as a guild, but instead transitioning into a multigame friend group instead of exclusively a WoW raiding team.

It was the right decision to make. And, it was such a hard one to take.
As I mentioned earlier, tow of my biggest passions in the game are raiding and community. Since my enjoyment of raiding is largely due to the social, team-building aspect, that reveals my truest motivation to be the people I play with. I’m not my dad – I can’t play the game barely interacting. I love logging in and chatting with people. So where do I go in WoW when the people have gone?

This is the crossroads I’ve been stuck at for three weeks now. Do I go and find a new raid team? That option carries the baggage of having to make entirely new friends, which is a challenge I’m willing to undertake but one that would be a lot of work. Do I create a raid team out of the friends I have in the game? This option makes building relationships much easier but returning to raiding becomes a much more difficult task. Or, do I give up the game entirely? It churns my stomach to contemplate the last option but it is arguable the easiest path to take.

If I do choose to continue playing and continue raiding, that begets the further question of whether or not I opt for mythic or heroic difficulty. My school schedule begs for heroic, but my personal enjoyment of the game pines for mythic. I have the most fun doing mythic raids, but I’m not convinced I’ll have the available free time to complete all the out-of-raid chores that mythic raiding requires. Furthermore, the likelihood of me finding a mythic team that is flexible with my sometimes erratic college schedule are probably very slim. That being said, it is so hard for me to step down, knowing I have the skill-set (if not the time) to push harder.

I don’t have the answers yet. With the new raid coming, I should be settling on an option, especially considering the first two paths, but instead, I tread water. Maybe, hopefully, writing this all out with make things clearer, but right now, I just don’t know.

One thing is for sure though, I’m casting Resurrection on this blog!

Draecember 2018: Tattoo

Image created by @rurukatt

Welcome to the second day of Draecember! (Do ignore the fact that it’s the fifth day in the month.)  Today’s theme was Tattoo.

A bit of background before I jump into the vignette – this story takes place very early after Kya and Letuus met Mikri for the first time.  There’s still a little residual awkwardness as neither of the draenei quite know what to do with this easily excitable gnome.  Also, this story is far more lighthearted than yesterday’s, thank goodness.

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Draecember 2018: Hugging Someone

Image created by @rurukatt

Happy Draecember everyone!  But what is Draecember you ask? Draecember is an event celebrating the WoW Draenei race (one of my personal favorite races in the game) through art and writing! It was created by the absolutely fantastic rurukatt, and you can find out more information about the event here.

This year, in the boundless amount of free time that I’ve had in college, I’ve decided to give the event a whirl for as long as I can! I will be posting my short vignettes and illustrations here on the blog.  Please enjoy this little bit of personal writing I’ve been able to squeeze in between college essays and reports!

Today’s theme was Hugging Someone.

(Small content warning: the contents of this story are a touch emotionally charged.)

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Artists of Azeroth Zine Contributions

Many, many moons ago, I submitted both writing and artwork to a World of Warcraft fanzine called ‘Artists of Azeroth’.  Since the published hard copies are now winging their way towards all their owners (I got mine just a couple of days ago!), all of the contributors were given the go-ahead to post their pieces!

For my entries, I chose to highlight just how the game as shaped me over the years and, in particular, one relationship that has grown and developed through Azeroth. The watercolor painting appeared in the zine near the middle, however, due to a clerical error, the written piece did not appear in the printed copy (it will, however, be in the digital version).  Therefore, what follows is never-before-seen content, first being published right here!!

I hope you guys enjoy both pieces, I poured my heart and soul into them and I hope they stand as accurate testament to the man who has meant so much to me over the years.


Growing up isn’t easy.  There’s a lot of trial and error, mistakes and embarrassments, and a whole bunch of awkward phases you wish you’d never gone through.  Yet, it’s also kind of a good thing.  Discovering who you want to be, finding out what your passions are, and exploring what you want to do, that’s exciting! Also scary, let’s not forget scary.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I “technically” graduated from that segment of my life – at least, if you’re going by legal definitions – and turned eighteen years old.  Although, if you ask me, becoming a ‘major’ only served to teach me just how much more growing up I have to do.

Now, why am I rambling on about puberty in a fan magazine for World of Warcraft again?  Well, a lot of the aforementioned maturing occurred right within a little place called Azeroth.

Growing Up in Azeroth.

My first introduction to Warcraft came at the ripe old age of eight as I stood, neck craned, on my tippy toes, peeking over my father’s shoulder.  Video games weren’t a big thing in my house at that point, so naturally, I was fascinated by this so-called “World of Warcraft”.  The tiny bit of the game that I could see from around my father absolutely captivated me.  There was a whole new world on the screen, and I was determined to explore it.

After a few months of begging, I finally convinced my dad to let me start my own character.  I immediately rolled a draenei hunter (I think every new player, regardless of age, rolls a hunter) named Eightandgreat and zoned into that great wide world.  With my hunter pet at my side in game and my father at my side in real life, I was all set!

At first, picking flowers, making dresses, and getting lost on Azuremyst Isle was the extent of my video gaming.  My dad, being the sensible guy he is, only let me play in small chunks and was always in a desk chair next to me.  Pretty soon, when it became clear that this interest of mine wasn’t some fleeting fancy, he got a second account and the two of us began playing together.

World of Warcraft became our shared hobby.  We’d listen to The Instance on long car rides.  We’d argue about which class was the best over dinner.  We’d discuss where to go next in Azeroth while doing house chores.  And of course, we’d quest, dungeon, and explore within the game itself.

As I got older, our adventures into the game increasingly tackled another new frontier: the social aspect.  My dad and I joined our first guild (which had a ridiculous Latin name, as all good first guilds do) and then later on, started a blog together to record of all our exploits, which we still write to this day.  I started dabbling in the raiding scene and then the leadership aspect of officership. World of Warcraft was becoming something more.

I began to realize that just as I was exploring the game, I was also exploring something deeper and more important: myself.  The challenging teenage years were upon me, and I realized that Warcraft could be more than just an escape from real life for a little while.  It could be an experimentation area.  A… beta test, if you will.  Through the World of Warcraft and the relative anonymity it afforded, I could become anything I wanted to be.

How do I want people to regard me? How do I regard other people? How do I communicate so people best understand me? How do I listen so I best understand other people? How do I lead?  How do I approach challenges?  Who do I want to associate with? And, most importantly, what impact do I want to make on the world around me?

World of Warcraft was the place where I could test out the answers to all of this.  Implement a feature, check for bugs, hotfix the issues, and continue testing.  In many regards, it was the perfect place to do this.  Away from the pressures of real life, Azeroth was the blank slate on which I could craft a new and improved me.

 

I am reaching the end of this first part of my journey.  In a few short months, I will be moving out and starting life on my own.  Yet, the lessons I have learned and the people I have played with will stay with me forever.

And especially, one person in particular.

Dad.

Thank you so much for being there for me, both in game and out.  Thank you for supporting me in all of my endeavors, as crazy as some of them might have been.  Thank you for encouraging me to embrace my love of gaming to see where it would take me.  Thank you for being the best dungeon buddy and father that a girl could ever ask for.

Thank you.

Today I left my guild

Today I left my guild.

This decision has been months in the coming and yet, even now, I find myself struggling to type it out. There’s a mental block. A stubborn and insistent demand that maybe, if I don’t say anything about it, the issue will go away. But intellectually, I know this is not the case. I’ve been unhappy for months now, I cannot let fear of the unknown stop me. I am writing this out now, posting it for the whole wide internet to see not because I am angry and not because I want revenge, but because I need to get this off for my own sake. And I need to do it right.

Four years of faithful member and officership.

Over four years ago, I joined a brand new guild established on the idea of connecting the then WoW Insider, now Blizzard Watch fans. I was quickly made an officer, although back then, the guild didn’t have nearly as much structure as it does now. We were honestly more excited that the guild had even gotten off the ground than anything else.

The next year was a honeymoon period. The guild continued to grow and, with the help of the other officers (the corps was now being more established), I helped run social events and coordinate out of game communication. Everything was friendly and perfect and fun, and I know this is the image of the guild that is forever frozen in my mind. When the act of logging in could put an instant smile on my face.

An expansion came and went and eventually, our little guild decided to adventure into raiding. As is unavoidable, the switch from a purely social guild to a raiding social guild was a little bumpy and there was some hiccups along the path. But overall, the transition went incredibly smoothly and I finally got a chance to raid in an organized fashion for the first time. A bit later on and I found myself raid leading for the first time. Everything was fantastic.

Another expansion flew by, and our little guild started shifting again, this time in a direction I wasn’t so keen on. The leadership aspect, which I had always been a part of, started narrowing down to a few certain individuals calling the shots. Areas that used to fall under my responsibility were taken away from me, and I started hearing about big guild changes at the same time as the rest of the guild rather than ahead of time as seemed sensible for an officer.

When I brought up these frustrations, I was at first brushed off. Then, I was screamed at.

That should have been my warning.

But it wasn’t.

I told myself that I had so many other friends in the guild who made it worthwhile, so if I just played my cards right, everything would be ok. Tensions would smooth out. I would be able to talk to certain officers openly again. The honeymoon period would return.

In hindsight, I can see how ridiculous this all sounds, but at the time – and even a bit now – I was afraid of change. Afraid of leaving a guild full of all the people I knew in game. Afraid of the unknown world outside. Afraid of taking that leap. So, in my fear, I stayed, even as things worsened.

The trends which had bothered me before only increased. The size of our officer corps increased again, but the number of people making the decisions shrank. Social events, which used to be the bread and butter of our guild, fell off the wayside as I was the only officer making an effort to continue them. As a high school teenager with a life outside of the game, I just didn’t have time to run everything and no one else would step up. Instead, the focus became almost exclusively about raiding.

I do want to be clear here, I have no problems with hardcore raiding. If anything, the opposite is true, I loved the notion of going into Mythic and chasing that realm first. But what bothered me so much was how we were going about it. Our game plan was unclear and unrealistic. We wouldn’t do enough to proactively bring up low DPS or HPS numbers. And, the part that bothered me most, we were focusing on higher tiered progression raiding almost to the detriment of every other aspect of the guild.

As the weeks and then months went on, my concerns started to transform into something else: the inescapable feeling that I was not wanted. Whether this was perceived or real, I found I could not shake it. Slowly but surely, the game turned from an escape into something I would escape from. Chatting in guild became a chore. Keeping an upbeat attitude on voice chat became a challenge. And finally, raiding itself, one of my favorite parts about this game, became an absolute nightmare.

It got to the point where my guild-related stress was leaking into other aspects of my life, unrelated to video games. I got some pretty major awards recently, including being selected to be the speaker at my graduation, and I found I was so distracted by guild stuff that I couldn’t even enjoy that news. And this was something I’d been dreaming about since freshman year!

The final straw.

The final straw came Sunday evening. While in the middle of an Antorus raid, I happened to check my guild note. Rather than the cheerful ‘Fussypants!’ I had on almost all of my characters, I found something radically different.

‘Fussybitch’.

Someone had edited my note to say ‘Fussybitch’.

I do not know who changed it. I do not know why. But at that moment, I was shattered. In that instant, my guild had turned from a friendly, welcoming place, to one where I would spend the rest of my days wondering just who’d edited my guild note. Adding that onto my general stress and guild frustrations, it was too much. My guild was no longer home.

(I want to be clear here, throughout that time period where I was becoming more and more unhappy with my guild, I was very careful to remain as friendly and cheerful as I had ever been. Whenever I felt I was too upset or emotional to play, I would always log off and step away rather than bring that baggage into the guild as a whole. I am sure those who know me well probably could tell that I was upset, but I made sure to keep that out of the atmosphere. The note wasn’t inspired by that.)

For my own sanity, I can’t keep acting as if everything’s ok. I can’t keep ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away. I can’t keep making excuses, both for myself and others. I can’t keep this up.

So, for that reason, I left my guild today.

To those of you still in the guild who may be reading this, please don’t take this as me trying to get you to leave. What I wrote about here are entirely my own experiences, and they may well have nothing in common with yours. I am not trying to convince anyone other than myself that I made the right choice.

To those of you with whom I was a friend, I hope this is not the end. I truly, truly have enjoyed playing with you guys for these past couple of years, and it is because of you that I stayed around for so long. Please keep me on Battle.net, keep me on Twitter, keep me on Discord and don’t be afraid to reach out at any time. I understand if it is no longer feasible to stay friends but, regardless, I want you to know that I wish you the very best.

What comes now? Well, that, I’m not sure. This guild has been such a huge part of my World of Warcraft experience, that I’m having a hard time imagining the game without it. And additionally, with college coming up, I don’t know how much I will be able to play Warcraft. I want to keep playing, this game has been an enormous part of my life after all, but with this chapter ending, I do not know what the next one holds. I do intend to finish out this expansion strong, but after that, the future is unclear.

But one thing is clear. I am done being passive when I am hurt. I am done being silent when I am excluded. And I am done waiting for a better day to come tomorrow.

I am going to go find that day myself.

A Call to Arms: Herald of the Titans

CALLING ALL ADVENTURERS, ULDUAR AWAITS!

Many moons ago, I used to lead runs for this little achievement called Herald of the Titans. It was great fun; I’d bring a group of at-level, at-gear players in to fight the awe inspiring Algalon, in pursuit of a pretty awesome title and Feat of Strength. I had retired these runs a while ago after getting dozens upon dozens of people their Algalon kill, but the time has come to once more venture into Ulduar. Back by popular demand, I am once more setting up runs for Herald of the Titans!

So what exactly is the Herald of the Titans achievement?

Designed to mimic the experience of Wrath-era raiding, Herald of the Titans is a Feat of Strength with some pretty stringent requirements. In order to earn the FoS, players must defeat Algalon the Observer in 10 man Ulduar:

  • At level 80
  • With armor item level 226 or below
  • With weapons item level 232 or below

Effectively, you have to recreate a character as it would have appeared in Wrath (although, you can bring a class that wouldn’t have existed during that time, they just have to follow the aforementioned guidelines). Your reward for completing the encounter as it was designed to be approached is a pretty spiffy title – Name, Herald of the Titans – as well as a shiny new Feat of Strength! Pretty nifty, huh?

This brings me to the Fussypants Herald of the Titans runs!  The preliminary deets are below.

Where: Nesingwary/Nazgrel/Vek’nilash US, Alliance Side
(You are not required to level your character on this realm cluster, but I would highly recommend doing so since I have stockpiled a great deal of foods, enchantments, and other raiding materials to use during our attempts)

When: TBD, depending on the availability of the team(s)

Who: YOU! I’m looking for anyone interested in achieving this Feat of Strength!

IMPORTANT NOTE: YOU DO NOT NEED TO HAVE A LEVEL 80, GEARED OUT CHARACTER AT THIS POINT IN TIME. I AM ONLY ASSEMBLING TEAMS RIGHT NOW.

Will you answer the call to defeat Algalon in the depths of the titan city of Ulduar? Please fill out the Google form and join this Discord so I can start to organize the groups!

If you have any questions, feel free to message me on Twitter @thefussypants, on Discord Fussypants#4821, or by email thefussypants(at)hotmail(dot)com.