Well that might be the shortest hiatus in history. So much has changed since the last post.
Basically I had the all clear from my CT scan and then made the decision to finish my treatment early (I was struggling with the side effects). Fast forward a few weeks and I’m now feeling a lot better. I’m back in work – albeit reduced hours until I fully recover and I’m feeling much more myself.
And it was yesterday in work that led to me logging onto WoW today. I was on a course and we had to “Tell the group something they don’t know about you.” I didn’t have a clue what to say. I definitely didn’t want it to be anything to do with breast cancer and my treatment. I’m fed up with letting that define me. So I was racking my brains wondering what to use and I suddenly realised I would usually say
“I’m a gamer, I love playing World of Warcraft and I blog about it”
But now I couldn’t say that. It wasn’t true. And I realised something that had once been an important part of my identity and my goto in these situations was gone and I felt really sad about that. This in turn made me realise I missed being that person and that I didn’t want to lose her. So today I logged back on and started playing my 103 level priest Darllen on EU Argent Dawn. I found myself in Azsuna – I’d left her waiting to do the annoying Farondis escort quest. I gritted my teeth, got through that quest (he must have asked me fifty times where I was when I was stood RIGHT BESIDE HIM) and then I proceeded to do the rest of the Ruins of Nar’thalas quests, killing Hatecoil Naga and generally enjoying myself. I’ve deliberately gone for my 103 Priest in Legion rather than my 116 Hunter in BfA because I would like to heal in LFR (if LfR is still a thing – I am really out of the loop). Plus I need to do Argus to get my reps for all the new races I want to try.
As I played today I remembered that I first started blogging about WoW during a really difficult personal time. WoW and writing about WoW was part of my journey of self discovery. It was quite a ride. I’ve now reached that point in my physical recovery where I need to re-embark on that journey. The fact I’ve logged on today is testimony, I think, to the fact I’m getting better, I have more energy and I want to rejoin the land of the living – I think I’ll start with the virtual one, although once I go there I might never leave.
I noticed today how much I’ve been neglecting this blog. I have not been well since the start of November. I won’t get into the details here – just did a mini update over on Cutscenes for anyone interested.
But what about gaming? Well I’ve not been up to much – whenever I’ve tried anything I’ve just quickly become exhausted. I’ve unsubbed again from WoW as it’s pointless keeping it going while I feel like this. I tried to play a bit of LOTRO and then Secret World the other day but couldn’t get into either of them. Just now I played a bit of Hearthstone (first time in awhile) but found it too tiring. I started off enjoying it but it just went on too long (not the first game – that hunter beat me in seconds with a ramped up Scavenging Hyena, but the second game (also hunter) went on forever (sadly I lost that one too).
Around Xmas time I did go through a stage of playing some Minecraft Regrowth (a modpack that I love) but again I’ve just lost the will. I feel sad about all this as gaming has always been an escape and a joy for me. Gaming gave birth to this blog. But I just can’t settle to anything for too long these days and if I concentrate too hard I just get dizzy and tired. So it’s game over.
I have been doing a bit of writing though – just some sketches and jokes. Short pieces that make me laugh. I’m also going to try some creative writing exercises. Not sure if I’ll do anything with them. Sometimes I used to game just to give myself something to write about. Maybe I’ll cut out the middle man. I’ve also been doing a bit more cooking and baking and I’m going to try making my own wine. I need to be able to potter at my own pace until I get stronger.
But all this probably means that this gaming blog is on an indefinite hiatus from today. Feels like the end of an era.
I’m still playing quite a bit of Hearthstone. It’s so easy to just log on and have a quick game (well not that quick these days, but I’ll get onto that in second) in between doing other things. It’s so different to WoW where I have start up the other laptop, find and plug in my charger, get my mouse etc. Yes first world problems.
However, each game of Hearthstone seems to be taking forever. Part of it is my fault. I’m playing a Mind Blast Priest so the games tend to be long. My strategy is to keep the board as clear as possible, chip bits and pieces off the opponent’s health while keeping mine relatively ok and then finally Shadowreaper Anduin up and finish them off with Mind Blasts and Hero Power. It’s truly a beautiful thing when it works out.
But then I come up against Druids – specifically Malygos Druids and it all goes to pot. Firstly the game just takes so long I end up getting completely bored – and this isn’t just sore loser bored but genuine fed up with this game & just want to play something else bored. Druids take forever on their turn – I guess because they are counting potential spell damage and only have so many fingers. I’ve caught on that I need to keep my health up, wait for Malygos, try to silence it, or Psychic Scream it, or steal it with a Cabal Shadow Priest & Twilight Acolyte combo if I can – anything just to get it off the board and hope they’ve not got that Floop card which will play another Malygos for less mana on the next turn. But if it all goes badly wrong – well the other day I was hit in the face for over 30. Not the nicest feeling in the world.
And it’s not just Malygos. You have to think about their removal – Swipe & Naturalise, their proliferation of Spreading Plague taunts if you overfill your side of the board, and of course Malfurion the Pestilent. I’m jealous really. The Icy Veins version of the deck has 6 legendaries, of which I have just one. It’s so hard to keep up with things in this game, at least if you don’t want to spend much money. Hey ho. Maybe Santa will be good to me this year.
I’m taking a little break from WoW this weekend to try out the new Sims 4 expansion Get Famous. It’s a lot of fun if you like the Sims. In this expansion I’m controlling (or trying to control) the life of Shelly, a wannabe actress who is currently losing her followers on social media because she is selling out by doing adverts. I’m doing this because I desperately need the money – I’m tired of washing dishes in the bathroom and selling the trees on the lot to pay my bills. Financially the life of a struggling actress is hard going.
And there’s a lot to do. My daily routine involves levelling up the skills needed before an acting audition and then doing the required preparatory tasks before the acting gig itself. I find all this takes so much time that I’m neglecting everything else. In fact my Sim aged up without me doing anything for her – not even a cake. This put her in a furious mood (she has the self absorbed trait and so could not believe no one remembered her birthday). She went off to her acting gig in a rage and I thought she was going to blow it. When she’s not in a temper at not having enough attention she’s tense because she has gone too long without looking at her phone. Apparently that’s just the start of a series of quirks that she’ll develop as her fame grows.
Going forward I’m thinking of taking her more in the direction of vlogger (I recently sold off nearly all her possessions to buy a video station to record and upload videos). As she’s now being seen as an influencer she’s being asked to upload videos for a small fee. Seems like easy money – it all helps – but I think her reputation as a sell out is growing.
That said she does have a few fans. She went out to a club the other day and was asked to sign some autographs. However, she wasn’t in a great mood as she needed to use the toilet (I wonder how often that happens to real celebs?). When she tried to use the one in the club she wasn’t allowed in as she wasn’t famous enough. The shame. Thankfully she managed to get home before she peed herself in front of her three adoring fans. That said if she’d thought to take a selfie it might have gone viral.
Yesterday in work I overheard two of the guys talking about decks, rank 12 and Battletags. My ears pricked up and I just had to ask, ‘What game are you talking about?” “Oh it’s just this game called Hearthstone” they explained in tones reserved for telling granny about this thing called t’internet. Yes I’m probably 20 years older than them but goodness, I’m only 46 – I’m still a gamer and I bloody well know what Hearthstone is. So of course I couldn’t stop myself. Up I stood and, like the child I really am, I pointed proudly at my lanyard (a Hearthstone lanyard – the fact they’ve never even noticed shows no one is looking below my neck anymore – I really am middle aged) and I said, “I am a big Hearthstone player”. Then I remembered I haven’t played in months so added, “I’m no pro of course”. One of the guys said, “I’ve got to Legend three times”. That took the wind out of my sails. For a second anyway. My highest ever was 7 and that was ages and ages ago. These days if I play at all I’m pretty chuffed to get to 18. But I gathered myself, decided in my head that one day I’ll be Legend too, and we all ended up having a nice chat about decks, expansions, standard v wild and other Hearthstone stuff (leading to a number of raised eyebrows from other people in the office who didn’t have a clue what we were all on about). By the time I got home I was all fired up to play Hearthstone again. So I logged on, updated the game and found myself back at Rank 25 (boo) with three unfinished quests. I pulled together a pretty ok Control Priest deck and I’m now Rank 20. Slow slow progress. But progress nonetheless. Just to mix it up a bit I also have a Budget Evens Shaman deck on the go and an Evens Warlock deck. I completed the Headless Horseman Tavarn Brawl this morning (that was fun – I liked hearing the WoW voice lines in the game). I also lost one and won one in Arena (you can currently play as a mix of two classes which is also a lot of fun).
So I’m back at the hearth. And of course I know damn well why I’m back. That old competitive streak never dies. I want to get to around Rank 12 and then if the guys in work decide to share Battletags I might just be brave enough to do it. Maybe. It would be good to show them that middle aged women can play this game called Hearthstone and play it well. There’s life in this old biddy yet.
I’ve not been playing as much BfA as I’d like as I’ve not been feeling up to much for yet more boring health reasons that I won’t get into here. Any time/energy I’ve had I’ve been using to learn iOS app development for … well no reason really apart from the fact I’m enjoying it. The other reason I’ve stayed off WoW though is my Mac gets very hot under the collar when I play WoW and the keys hurt my fingers. And WoW is eating up all the storage. But today I had a little burst of energy and got out my old Windows laptop, sorted a few things out, reinstalled WoW and finally logged back on.
I managed to play for about half an hour and finally hit 115 – yes I’m still bringing up the rear on the levelling front. I’d got a little sidetracked by other questlines previously but today decided to re-focus on Drustvar as I really like the storyline, atmosphere and scenery. So I amused myself killing some evil Sisters, charming a Dormant Ravager and then taking out old Matron Levae. It was all very satisfying, although I did it with Poldark Season 2 in the background and saw that bit with Francis and felt rather upset … I won’t say anymore in case someone else is late coming to the Poldark party and hasn’t seen that bit yet. Anyway I completed the Airtight Alibi part of the storyline and decided to leave it there. I think I needed time to recover from both the questing and Poldark. But in truth healthwise I’m not up to more than tiny bitesized chunks of WoW right now and that’ll have to do. It’s better than nothing.
So this evening I plucked up the courage and queued up for a random BfA dungeon. Don’t know what got into me. I feel so nervous and anxious before dungeons and have had so many bad experiences (either doing something stupid or being yelled at for poor DPS) that I have vowed time after time not to do any more dungeons.. But curiosity got the better of me. Ended up going into Waycrest Manor and loved every minute of it.
There were a couple of reasons why this was so:-
- While I queued randomly I ended up going in with 2 guildmates. I say guildmates but I don’t know them. I’m trying out a new guild and silently lurking there observing what is said in chat to decide if it will stick. But it still felt strangely comforting seeing the guild name in the dungeon.
- I turned pet growl off instantly, neurotically, terrified of pulling threat. It’s my first hunter at this sort of level but I’ve seen in other dungeon runs what happens when hunters pull threat. It ain’t pretty.
- The group was really good and actually turned around to go get someone who’d got stuck with adds. I thought that was nice.
- I was very careful to attack only what everyone else was attacking & I calmly(ish) obeyed everything DBM told me to do – moving away from the group when I had some weird effect on me, switching targets on command etc
- I never used multishot for fearing of pulling something by accident. This probably was a disaster for my dps but I thought I’d best play it safe. From looking at Icy Veins I now understand this might not have been the wisest course of action.
- I do not currently have a dps meter installed so I do not know how poor my dps was. This was somewhat liberating but I will install one and start reading up on the best rotation as I genuinely want to do a good job when I go in.
- There was no greed/need angst (some long time readers may remember this blog post from a zillion years ago – still my most read post). In fact I looted no gear just gold and Azerite
- There were no quests at the start so I wasn’t lagging behind everyone from the off as I picked them up (I always seem to be the slowest person in the group doing this).
- The place is a maze but someone in the group knew where we were going so yay for them
- Everyone said a nice hello and goodbye.
In short a very pleasant dungeon run – although I did forget how to exit a dungeon so hung around for ages after everyone left wondering how to get out (short of using my hearthstone). Husband then reminded me about right clicking my picture & finding the Leave Instance Group command. That worked and I escaped! But other than that it was event free. Now that’s a nice thing to type.
Yesterday I posted about buying BfA and resubbing. Today I’m posting after spending the best part of the morning playing WoW. What follows is a random collection of thoughts and observations – can’t seem to think of a theme to pull the post together apart from “It’s good to be back.”
- I created/boosted a brand new 110 hunter – ShellyT. I’ve wanted a high level hunter for a long time now so we can tick that off the bucket list.
- I found myself feeling somewhat anxious in the Battle for Lordaeron though as I have lots of memories of being in groups where the hunter left beast on growl and then pulled threat from the tank and earned a stern rebuke and/or boot. I am neurotic about being singled out in a group so I dithered around for ages with my pet to make sure Wolf did nothing untoward. By the time I’d finished everyone had run off without me.
- My computer had a panic attack half way through the scenario and shut down. I had to coax it back to life with the promise of chocolate and by the time it acquiesced I was dead. Thankfully my tragic demise was quickly sorted and I was able to rejoin the scenario in time to see Sylvanas’s flirting technique – nose to nose with the object of affection and then a dramatic soul destroying scream. Never failed me yet.
- When all that was said, screamed and done I was back in Stormwind and, with strict instructions to get to Silithus quick sharp, I decided instead to change my hair and transmog my outfit. I suspect someone in Anduin’s command is going to be having a chat with me soon about my priorities.
- Then I decided to look up pets on Petopia which resulted in me going off to Hillsbrad to get the Dark Prowler – renamed Michael after The Good Place (recently binge watched that show and wow – what a show).
- Only when all that was said and done did I deign to return to the mission. I dutifully accompanied Elsa …I mean Jaina … for a heartwarming reunion with her mother (and in my family that kind of chat definitely passes for heartwarming) which ended up with me in prison. I note in passing that Kul’Tiras is filled with npcs who sound like they failed the audition for Fable.
- After escaping prison I am faced with a choice of important areas to visit to progress the mission to save Azeroth. I choose instead to go to the woods to chase beavers (sounds wrong) and then stoats, and I finish up partying on the Norwington Estate. I’m pretty sure I’m due some sort of court martial by now.
- I then try and fail to do that quest where you ride Cooper and have to use a harpoon and bolas on stuff to get 150 points in one minute. As anyone who has ever read this blog knows I CANNOT DO these sorts of things. Husband has a go for me but fails miserably and I’m uncomfortable with the way he is mashing my keyboard (not a euphemism) so I cancel the quest and go off to some harbour where I’m sent off to find seaweed. This is more like it – I’m Welsh and laverbread is a national dish. Now I know I’m home.
In short I’ve spent the last few hours having fun on WoW and letting all other thoughts disappear from my mind. I still feel pretty rotten and I’m burning up. But I don’t care because ShellyT is exploring Kul’Tiras and loving every minute. Yesterday’s decision might be one of the best I’ve ever made.
So I vowed I wouldn’t buy BfA. I vowed after resubbing a few weeks back and hardly playing that I wouldn’t resub again. But this evening I found myself thinking about downloading Guild Wars and my husband said don’t get Guild Wars, get WoW. “I’ve only just cancelled my sub”, I said. “It doesn’t matter,” he said, “Guild Wars is not what you need right now.” So I went on Battlenet and resubbed. I also bought BfA and it’s downloading as I write this post. “You need it,” he said, and he’s right.
I’m down. I remember writing on this blog years ago that I play WoW when I’m sad, when everything around me feels hard and terrible. And things are hard right now. I’m still in the middle of my cancer treatment – Herceptin injections every three weeks that make my bones ache, make me shiver, make me tired, make me sad. I’ve done chemo, I’ve done radio, I’ve had the tumour removed, but its not over yet. These injections take me up to the end of next Jan. They make me feel rotten. That feels like a long time to feel rotten. Yes I’m alive but I’m not me.
And I’m back in work but not really up to it. Luckily I can work from home when I need to but that doesn’t stop me feeling rubbish and ineffective, imagining everyone rolling their eyes and sighing when I email in once again to say I’m working from home as I just don’t feel well. My Occupational Health report says I should only go in now and again for meetings but I feel like I need to do more so I am doing more. But it’s exhausting. Even taking leave is exhausting. Last week we had a few days away in a caravan and I overdid it walking on the beach and going in the pool. This week I have had fever and shivers. Then found out I have lymphodema of the breast and cellulitis. Now on antibiotics. The fun never stops.
And so I turn to WoW again. And not just a resub but a whole new expansion. I’m hoping it can help me feel better about things. At the very least it might help me wind down a bit. I have a habit of working in some way, shape or form whenever I get on the computer and I know it’s not helping. Yesterday I clenched so hard as I worked on stuff I didn’t need to work on that I gave myself jaw ache. I need to destress
I’ve not read anything about BfA. It all stands before me to be discovered. I am excited but guilty. It’s a lot of money to spend to try and cheer myself up. Meditation comes for free. Or just hiding in my bed. But I’m a gamer. Old habits die hard. So I turn again to Azeroth.
I haven’t made much progress this week as every time I’ve gone to play I’ve found myself fiddling round with Addons instead. Over the past few years I’ve not really used Addons. I’ve been playing so intermittently that I’ve not seen the point. It’s probably a sign of something – a real return to the game? – that I now want to start using Addons. Sort of like giving someone a sock drawer. I’m in it for the long term baby.
But it’s all so complicated. Last week I tried to use Vuhdo, Grid, Auctioneer, then Auctionator, a Pet Battle addon, HealBot, OverAchiever, and some others I forget about. Auctionator seems to be doing enough out of the box for me so I’m happy with that. I’ve not looked at the Pet Battle one yet except to turn of all the stuff cluttering up my map. I sorted things out on Vuhdo for Darllen my priest but then decided I wanted to go back to Terema so that was a waste of time. I uninstalled HealBot without properly looking at it after deciding to go with Vuhdo but now I’m not using Vuhdo so aargh!! I just generally exhausted myself installing stuff, opening it up, looking at all the options, deciding it was all too much and then uninstalling everything.
Some of this is the treatment I guess. A lot of things are too much for me right now. I need to keep things simple. But generally I just can’t cope with all the different ways you can customise every single thing you use these days (in life, not just WoW). It’s great when you know how to do it but overwhelming when you don’t. I have limited energy right now. If I spend half hour tinkering with stuff then that’s half hour out of my play time and probably me done for the day.
The worse thing was trying to use ElvUI. I really wanted to freshen up my UI (I use the default Blizzard one – the shame). I installed it, clicked through those first couple of screens that automatically set up a few things for you, but then I was left with a new UI I didn’t like and a gazillion different screens/tabs to read to work out how to change it. So I uninstalled it.
I’m only using a couple of Addons now- basically the ones I don’t have to do anything with. I want to use my energy to play not tinker. And the more mindless my play the better – focus on target, spam buttons, loot corpse, move on. It won’t always be this way but right now I need to play WoW like I need to live my life, on the simplest setting possible.