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.

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They call me… Badge Pants

Galaxy girlAs you might have noticed, there’s a new tab up top on the toolbar.  And if you’ve done any sort of poking around up there, you’ll probably notice that that tab has a lot of info regarding Blizzcon Art Badges.  And at this point, you are probably connecting the dots, about to ask the next logical question.

To which my answer is Yes, I will be making Blizzcon Art Badges for the upcoming Blizzcon.

*sounds of a small bomb being set off*

All the information about me as an artist, the details about the badges, and the overview of the order process are all explained in long form up top for you to read, so I will be only lightly touching on that here.  What I really want to get at is why I decided to create art.

I have mentioned this a few times offhandedly on the blog but I actually draw and paint all the time. I’ve filled dozens of sketch books, doodled on hundreds of page margins, and painted on more than just a few canvases.  Art is one of those things that I do almost every day, I just have never been very vocal about it.

For a long while, I was very self-conscious about what I created.  Writing, writing was easy.  I could get my idea across in a number of different ways to a number of different audiences.  But art was always harder.  That picture in my head never quite translated onto paper.  And for years, I told myself that was because I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t talented enough, wasn’t trained enough.

That is, until I started looking and really listening to what other artists both in my real life environment and in the Warcraft community were saying.  People like Faebelina and Frenone passionately telling everyone that yes, your art is beautiful and uniquely yours.  I began posting more and more art out for the world to see.

I joined a group a chat group of artists and began getting critiques and advice.  I began to see that my struggles with capturing an idea on a page weren’t mine alone.  They were something that was shared by almost all artists.  I wasn’t terribly behind or bad, I was just like everyone else!

So when Frenone put out the call for artists to join Badge Babes, I had a decision to make.  I could keep creating art like I was, drawing mainly for myself and not really stretching my wings much farther beyond that.  Or I could give it a shot.  Shoot for the moon.  See where I land.  And see how I grow.

And that leads us to where I am now.  Am I the most talented artist? Of course not! But I’m ready to grow.  I’m ready to go beyond just ‘Oh yeah, I mean I kinda like to draw sometimes’ to ‘I am an artist’.  I’m ready to develop a style, push the envelope, and change it all again.  I’m ready to see where this passion of mine takes me.  I’m ready to even fail, and then to pick myself up and keep going.

So if you happen to be thinking about getting a badge for Blizzcon, perhaps think about commissioning me. You’d have the bragging rights of saying you got your art from the youngest of the Badge Babges! And the money goes to a worthy cause! (The Send-Pants-to-College fund)

Thank you for your continued readership and interest in all that I do!
❤ Fussypants

Get Off My Virtual Lawn!

Yotaan in NagrandFussypants wrote a post about what she learned from playing WoW. Essentially, she wrote about the skills she needed to acquire to manage other people, respond to trolls, and such. She is figuring herself out.

 

It’s a bit different being an adult (and not a young one at that.) Not to say that I am not learning, but it is certainly not as broad as Fussypant’s experience. What I have learned is that WoW, for me, allows me to be a curmudgeon.

 

Sounds terrible, doesn’t it!

 

I’ve happily watched Fussypants expand her borders. She’s made many many friends in and around the game. She went from being a lurker in The Queue in WoWInsider to a contributing member in BlizzardWatch. I’ve watched her organize raids, set up special events, and chat endlessly. That is awesome and wonderful. And, I have no desire to do the same.

 

My daily life includes dozens of interactions with people all the time. I need to be positive, helpful, and caring. I love my job, and am excited to go to work. I love my family and also want to be a positive force for them. But, when I decide to play and escape, I am interested in having fun on my terms.

 

When I play WoW, chatting is not my thing. I want to read the quests and explore the world. When I am particularly annoyed with life, I love to pvp (even when my toon is underpowered), this gets my aggression out. The social part of the game is the least interesting to me.

 

I should say that I am not totally antisocial. I throw in a comment in guildchat now and then. I’ll answer a question when I know the answer. But mostly I’m quiet in the chat. Group activities are fine, but often I’ll choose the random ones. Currently, I’m working on expanding my mount collection via the Stables questing – a totally solitary activity.

 

Honestly, I was hesitant to write this article, but Fussypants correctly pointed out that I need to write what I learned in WoW. So, I have learned that I like to be a grumpy old man when I play my game. Actually, this is very strange, as this is pretty much the opposite of who I am!

 

In WoW, I have learned to play as I want to play. Currently, I’m a curmudgeon, but maybe I need to learn a little bit more from Fussypants…

Beta-Testing Life through WoW

Walking towards the futureI wrote a post a long time ago about the impacts that WoW has had on my life at that time.  However, I have gotten a good bit older (in kid-years at least) and a great deal more mature so WoW’s impact on me has definitely changed.  So thus, Beta-testing life through WoW.

I wish to start by saying that WoW has had an enormously positive impact on my life.  I know there are people out there that had the game completely take over and ruin their lives, but my experience has not been anything like that at all.  I’ve grown up in WoW, and it has been one of the best teacher’s I’ve ever had.

At this point in my life, I’m starting to decide what sort of person I want to be when I grow up.  How I want to act and react to those around me.  How I want to portray myself to others.  How I want to think of myself.  I’m beginning to realize just what the world is like, and its not an easy thing. I don’t know how many of you remember your teenaged years, but they can be a difficult and emotional time.

Which is why I find myself ever grateful to know about and play WoW.  That might sound strange; during my most vulnerable years I want to play a video game? How does that help? But it does.  WoW is the the place where I can really try out who I want to be. It’s the beta test, in a way, of my personality.

Because in Azeroth, I can be anyone I want to be.  Anonymity is a powerful thing but also a chance for me to try out who ‘me’ is.  How do I treat strangers? How do I treat friends? How do I make friends? I’d like to say it’s been a successful trial run thus far, since I don’t know of any enemies.  But it’s so much better than school, because there are no strings attached.  No history or past prejudice.  How I acted years ago doesn’t affect me now.  It’s a really empowering feeling, especially coming from school with it’s baggage of history.

But along with how I act, WoW has also taught be the best way to react.  Dealing with trolls is one of the stickier aspects of life.  This is going to sound really ridiculous, but the trolls of WoW have actually taught me a valuable life lesson.  How do you deal with insults? How do you deal with arse holes? I’ve learned that you can’t always fight it, but sometimes you have to.  And other times, you have to stand up for another. I’ve had some encounters with some really awful people in real life, but because of WoW I know how to come out on top.

Leadership is another thing I’ve picked up from WoW.  I’ve been an officer in three guilds now, and have organized and executed dozens of events.  I’ve led raids, organized people, and dealt with managerial stuff, to the point where I thing I have a good handle with what I am doing.  This sort of knowledge translates superbly well into the real world.  School projects become a lot easier (usually no one wants to lead, so I often step up and fill that role) and I would assume the workplace too. Because of my beta testing in WoW, I’ve learned how to lead and how to get people to follow.

The list goes on and on.  Time management, how to own up for mistakes, how to ask for help (I really struggled with this).  I won’t say that I’ve learned it all because I know I haven’t.  But I have certainly got a lot of advice and experience under my belt.  It’s made me a more mature, more confident, and more successful person.  Because of WoW, I’m finding who I want to be faster that most others my age.  I’m making mistakes, absolutely, but I’m doing them in an environment that will let me move past those mistakes.

However, I don’t believe that I am the only one who can change and grow because of WoW.  I would bet money, that every person who plays WoW can use it to better themselves.  This probably sound really hippy dippy talk, but I think this is an important idea.  You get out of life what you take out of life.  And I’m going to take all this WoW experience and run with it.

Because of WoW, I’m finding me.

 

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So yeah.  One soul baring article with added philosophical musings.  I promise I won’t get all profound and deep all the time, but I really needed to write this and get this out there.  Have a nice weekend folks and a Happy Spring Break (whenever that might be)!