I did Shrine of the Storm yesterday. This was a big deal for me as I went in as melee (Ret Pally). I am not good as melee, I always seem to stand in the wrong place, fail to target anything and just generally get overwhelmed with everything going on. But as it happens it went well yesterday. I don’t have Skada or Recount or anything like that at the moment so don’t know how I did. At one point one of the players typed three dots in chat which I immediately took to mean I had done something wrong, but then we killed that particular boss and someone in the group said, “Wow that was really fast”, so it might have been ok. I think I just need more practice – it was the first time I’d been in there so I didn’t have a clue where to go and in the bit when you swim underwater I was lagging far behind everyone. But I did it.
It’s weird though – after everything I’ve gone through over the past two years why do I still get nervous in dungeons? I mean I’ve had cancer, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, lost all my hair, had to face the fact I could die and leave my husband and daughter, had to really think about the reality of mine (everyone’s) mortality. Big big stuff. But when I’m in the game all I can think about is not doing anything stupid in a dungeon! I get so tense when the dungeon group is ready. Once again it seems I’m still the same me in game as out of game. When I first started playing WoW (and first started this blog all those years ago) I thought I could carve out a new identity for myself in WoW – a freer identity. But it wasn’t to be. I’ve always been the same anxious self both in and out of game. I worry about what people think of me in never is this more acute than in a dungeon or raid. Then when I got cancer I thought that would change me. That in someway battling cancer would end up freeing me from my anxieties. But again it turns out not to be the case. When it comes to worrying about messing up in a dungeon I’m still the same neurotic Bravetank! The me in game is the same me outside of the game, sometimes brave but often scared. Nothing’s changed.
I’m enjoying WoW right now. We’ve just come back from a lovely holiday during which I spent a lot of time lying by a pool listening to my favourite WoW podcast (The Instance) which always gives me the WoW bug. Since coming home I’ve been focusing on levelling up my Paladin Terema on EU Argent Dawn (say hi if you see me – I’ll be the one looking fancy in an expensive plate dress I’ve just bought now that I’ve also caught the transmog bug) and getting excited for WoW Classic. I’m looking forward to strange things in WoW Classic like having to pay to learn skills, the old talent tree system and feeding pets to keep them happy. Not having LFG or LFR won’t bother me as I rarely do group content and if I do I’ll try it with husband and daughter and enjoy wiping as a family. And of course I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the old landscape – in particular Auberdine, the Wetlands and Thousand Needles. But I’m not still sure how much I’ll end up playing WoW Classic once the initial, “Oh my goodness remember this” moment is over. I’m still enjoying BfA and still have a lot of stuff left to do as I’ve been on/off with my subscription since last year. But more than that – and less specific to BfA – I like all the quality of life stuff WoW has introduced over the years. I like sparkling loot, quest info on the map and Pet Battles. I like what the game has become even while loving what it once was and here’s only so many hours in the day. But having recently watched last year’s Blizzcon session to see what it’s taken to create WoW Classic I’m definitely in awe of the effort, dedication and love shown by the devs. I really hope WoW Classic ends up being worth it rather than being a museum piece that people just visit the once and then forget about, choosing instead to play the latest shiniest expansion.
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’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.
My return to WoW is progressing. I’ve managed to get Darllen my priest all the way to 102. Yes I’m going great guns! In all honesty I got a bit sidetracked trying to sort out Luxmii my shaman. I had forgotten I had boosted her to 100 so I found her in Dalaran but with no Legion quests and for some reason I can’t seem to get the artifact or class hall quests started at all. I’ve run around Dalaran, gone back to Stormwind Harbour and Stormwind Keep, then back to Dalaran, and I cannot find anything anywhere to get me started. I wrote to a GM who gave me a lovely detailed response but it all presupposed I has access to the Class Hall, which I don’t. Anyway it was all too much for me – I’ve not got that much energy at the best of times these days and I can’t waste what I’ve got running round Dalaran, so I hopped back over to Argent Dawn realm, and Darllen my priest and restarted her. Yesterday I completed the second artifact quest so I’m now levelling Disc (which I’m enjoying a lot more than Shadow) so I’m going to try sticking with her for awhile.
But it’s all a bit strange on Argent Dawn. The guild I’m in seems to be losing members by the day so I’m usually the only one on. I’m not much for chatting but I now realise how much I enjoy reading other people’s chat. I’ve thought about changing guilds. Thinking about life at 110 (and onwards with BoA), there’s a part of me that would like to be in a guild where I can take part in some friendly supportive guild dungeon runs to practice my healing. But that said I’m probably not yet up to the stress of any type of dungeon run – even with a friendly guild I’d have crazy performance anxiety. Plus energy-wise I can only play in short bursts so I’d probably struggle with any group content. So I probably just need to focus on getting Darllen to 110 and then see how I am.
But I might still have to change guilds. It would be good to see a bit of green chat as I grind my way to the top. My real world has shrunk so much in the last few months (I only seem to leave the house for hospital appointments) that I really don’t want my WoW world to be even smaller.
Well it’s been awhile. A lot has happened, mostly chemotherapy, stomach injections, sickness, aches, pains and tears. And a misguided attempt to get into games that do not start with the words “World of…”. What was I thinking?
I’m currently undergoing radiotherapy. In some ways it feels worse than chemotherapy. During chemo I was attached to a drip and they gave me tea and biscuits while I read my Kindle. Lovely. Of course three days later I wanted to curl up and die but that time on the drip … ah the memories. In contrast during radiotherapy they expose my top half to the world, draw all over me, giggle over in jokes I don’t understand and make me hold my breath for 20 seconds while they zap my left breast with something that, to date, has failed to turn me into a superhero. I have another 16 of these ahead of me. After radiotherapy I continue with 3 weekly injections of Hercepin (basically something that stops my type of tumour cells from sending out Feed Me Seymour signals ) until January 2019 or so. In other words treatment is ongoing and I am not yet a superhero. It sucks.
But there is WoW. I started playing again on my Starter account a few weeks ago but my Dwarf Shaman, unimaginatively named Herceptin (at least she’s not called Tumour) did not float my boat. I wanted to play my proper characters. So I resubbed yesterday and played Darllen my Shadow Priest. It was fun although I was playing on my old Mac which is no longer really up to it so there was a delay every time I tried to cast a spell which was a little off putting and led to at least one death (my keyboard panic thrashing was nothing to do with it Your Honour). So I’ve now reinstalled WoW on my laptop which is, I hope, more up to the task (although it does get a little hot under the collar whenever I ask it to do something other than coding – I think it’s the shock of seeing graphics).
I think I’m going to stick with my priest. Last time I played I got my Paladin Terema to 110 but I know I’m never going to want to melee in a group situation (I don’t like to rub shoulders) so I really need to commit to a range character. I know I want the option of healing so that leaves a Priest or Druid or Shaman (am I missing anyone?) and I’m not that keen on the Lunar Solar Druid stuff and I’ve not really thought about Luxmii my Shaman in ages (to be honest I forgot about her until writing the post – I think she’s stuck in MoP somewhere wishing she could fly). Maybe I need to rescue her.
The truth is I’m not loving the Shadow Priest. I think you can level as Disc but not sure what that would be like. I need to look it up. I definitely miss not being able to heal myself straightforwardly (if you know what I mean) and I don’t like looking …well…Shadowy.
But it’s nice to be playing. Not sure why I thought Stardew Valley and YouTube could replace Wow. I blame it on the chemo.