World of Warcrack

World of Warcrack

Today I thought I would write a little about the single biggest pit I had ever fell into.  It seems to me that falling is something that scares most people.  That is only natural when a falling from a standing position has the ability to cause considerable damage to a person and falling from a greater height can increase those effects many fold.  But when you consider that there are some people that seek out that feeling, when they know the chances of being hurt have been mitigated or even removed from the equation.  Sky divers, bungee jumping, skiing, snowboarding, and when we were kids sledding down a hill.  The thrill that can come from something dangerous is like crack to some people, and an indulgence to others on occasion.  So what is it that makes us seek out these pits in the first place?

I was a World of Warcraft addict!  It might be proper to some say “I am” addicted, but I believe there are some addictions that can be overcome so much that someone needs not think in that mind frame again.  Overcoming that addiction was key to keeping me out of depression.  Because it is a gain that can easily take you down that hole for years if you have the mindset ready to allow it.  That was me, for years living in my fantasy world of Azeroth.

Somewhere in 2005 I began to play World of Warcraft or WOW to those in the know.  At the time I did not believe I could like the game, at least not as much as I eventually came to like it.  I had tried other MMO’s in the past that touched on fantasy sword and sorcery type games, such as Everquest; and found them not to my liking.  But WOW was much different than those, and I quickly fell into its embrace.

In the basic edition of the game, I became a passionate pvp’er (player vs. player) and started my progression through the ranks.  I had eventually obtained the status of Grand Marshal of the Alliance on my paladin and I did it before many changes made it easier to accomplish.  In those days, I was second in charge of a large guild that had no real drive.  Though looking back, the guild masters was barely there.  So you could say that I ran the guild for most of its time.  The members for the most part were casual players that were just enjoying the game with friends.  But I had become pretty hardcore, you had to be to get the rank of Grand Marshal.  When that was over, I still needed to be “hardcore”!  Deflating from that state of mind was not a possibility at the in those days.  But my guild did not want to raid, or I should say not enough of them wanted to raid.  So I stuck with my pvping.

Another problem arose with a moral code that I had stood by through the game.  I had decided early on that I would be loyal to my guild.  Guild jumpers had become almost a swear to some people.  Imagine relying upon someone, helping them and gearing them up, just so that they would leave for another guild.  I for one did not want to be associated with that title.  So I held firm for some reason, and did not allow myself to recall the simple face: that it was a game.  That was quite a hard task, because when you push something like Grand Marshal, you become friendly with other hardcore minded people.  The same people that ran in the major raiding guilds for instance.  I had offers to join every major guild on the server; numerous times.  But I could not remember it was a game, so most of them let me become an alternate for their raids and I was OK with that.

The first expansion in World of Warcraft was The Burning Crusades.  It was highly anticipated and opened up an entire new world to explore within the game.  My guild went into it with a passion, and I had a good crew of people that had vowed to me that they wanted to raid.  So my excitement for the expansion increased.  After we reached the new level cap of 70 on the game, we quickly geared out; readying ourselves for raiding.  But as in the past, many things fell through.  Karazhan was the first 10 man raid in the expansion, and by all accounts it was fun and relatively easy once you learned the tricks.  The players I took in there, could not pay attention enough to defeat even the first half of bosses and some one that could only defeat the first time.  It was frustrating to say the least and I was reaching my limit in patience.

It was right around then when a good friend of mine who had in the past gotten me into raids and pvp with his guild came to me with an idea.  He wanted to form a raiding guild out of the remaining members of one of the strongest guilds on the server in the past for raiding.  And he also wanted some select people that he knew would do their jobs as well.  It was his goal to become a top raiding guild, not only on the server; but in the US or even world.  Let us say I jumped at the chance, and left my guild on good terms that very day.  That guild beat the expansion, and was one of the top 100 guilds in the world (or perhaps just in the states).

I can truly say that those were good times, and I enjoyed them.  But with recollection comes more things to consider then you might had thought while they were happening.  I explained that I gained Grand Marshal of the Alliance during my times pvping in WOW.  That came at the expense of countless hours a week for months and months.  It was a slow grind and in the end, when I was so close to reaching that goal it became more of an obsession.  For the first time in my life this A type personality came out of me, and I ruled my pvp groups with an iron fist.  I had a waiting list to join my group that was normally over 30 people long; and if someone made even the smallest mistake in my eyes they would be out of the group for a time.  The last two weeks of my ranking push, I played well over 126 hours per week.  I slept, gamed, ordered take out for all my meals and nothing else.  That was my vacation for the year, for one goal that existed only in a fantasy world… just a game!

World of Warcraft

While that was bad, at least I can say that raiding was not nearly that consuming.  It was like working a part time job.  We raiding hard core for at least 4 to 5 days a week, and you were expected to be there ready with your consumable.  The goal of a raider is always to be perfect in a team situation.  You move when you should, you use the abilities you have to the maximum performance you can; and you always pay attention!  If you cannot do those things, then you can’t raid at that level, because that is what it takes and more.  And I did those things for the entirety of the Burning Crusades, and into the next expansion the Wrath of the Lich King.  I healed my ass of for years, working that job, while working full time.  I was good and I suffered greatly in my personal life for that commitment.

That addiction happened during a time in my life, when gaming online was preferable to going out with friends or even family.  I had been in depression for years, and had slowly closed much of my social life off.  On top of that, I was morbidly obese and what comes with that disease is much of the same as depression.  You close down to others, hide, and see interacting with the outside world as a nightmare.  Perhaps that is not how others feel, but it was for me then.  While I am still morbidly obese, my mind has changed a great deal since then and just maybe that was one of the reasons I left the game for good.  I have gone back to it from time to time, when new expansions have been released, or when I had been offered free trials.  But I know fully that I have no passion for such things anymore.  I believe I accomplished everything in the game, and seek other things to take my time away from me.

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My Geek Cred: (Part 3) The Final Years Till Now

It was my expectation that the last post would be the final on this subject, but it seems that I am older (or much more long winded) then I had though.  So I hope that I do not sound too pretentious when making what I hope to be the last post finishing out my geek resume.  With my humblest apologizes, I will begin now and wait for the flames to find me.

After reading my past two posts, or perhaps after remembering my history; it seems to me that I might had left certain topics.  Like watching each and every science fiction or fantasy movies that I could find, or even my love of comics for a time or more.  Then I asked myself what topics would truly encompass being a geek? And frankly I came down to the opinion that for some people that could be computers and technology, for others it could be comics or anime, or perhaps fantasy movies and books, maybe it is gaming for some, or even mixed of all of the above.

Still that seemed limited to me!  Yes “geek” culture now encompasses technology with science fiction and fantasy type combinations.  But perhaps it should just be passion that drives one person to be a geek over another.  Could someone be a nature geek?  I believe so, and I am one of those people.  Because of it, I have recently went back to college and gotten a degree in Forest Ecology and Conservation.  Could someone be a NASCAR racing geek, If you’ve ever meet my aunt and uncle, and then seen them off to a race; you would think that they look and seemed incredibly geeky.

But I derail from what my goal today had been.  Let me gather myself, and continue with my life.

Where I had left off, would put me close to 2004.  So I will pick up there, with the first and brightest light in those years.  Do you know where I am heading, it is quite obvious to me of course; and will be to many of you after.  In November of 2004, Blizzard Entertainment released World of Warcraft, and the face of MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) gaming was changed forever.  Perhaps not that drastic, but they did become the new big boy on the block quickly enough.

Though I will first say that I did not buy the game when it first came out.  I had years before tried Everquest, and found myself unhappy with the game.  It was not the size or the time it took to level, for me it was the similarity of characters appearances.  I laugh at that now, but I can be a picky bastard when it comes to my games at times.  Because of that, I never got into many MMO’s at first.

Around 2004 I was playing several games, along with the my MUD’s.  The one game that I spent hours and hours on was then Planetside.  I think I had been playing it since its release, and I had at many times considered playing Star Wars Galaxies as well.  Many of my fellow players on Planetside were also playing Galaxies.  I believe that it was free to those who played Galaxies (though I could be wrong).  But I was so entirely hooked on Planetside that I did not give Star Wars a chance.  I regret that to this day, people still talk fondly about that game.

Then in August of 2005, Planetside became a ghost town.  If you played the game in those days, I am sure you know why.  Sony released a new expansion for their Star Wars Galaxies game, completely destroying their franchise.  In one utterly stupid move, they recreated the entire character system, and took away the one thing that made their game loved.  I do not believe there was another action by a game company as devastating, at least in my option.  So there I was, with nobody to play with on Planetside and in a game that was dependent on other players; it became another failed game.

I left soon after that change and decided to try my hand at World of Warcraft.  I had heard good reviews from both friends and online communities.  It had been many years since I had my disappointment with Everquest and I thought things must had changed since then with fantasy MMO’s.  Well I was surprised and delighted with what I found in that game.  Soon enough, my time online became devoted to WOW and I had discovered that a huge portion of those Star Wars Galaxies players had found their way to the same game.

Many years were devoted to World of Warcraft.  My first and main character had been a paladin.  Like many in those days and now, I tried my hand at Ret Paladin (Retribution).  That satisfied me for a while until I discovered the magic of the reckoning bomb; and from them forth I was a Pro Paladin (Protection).  I must also state that I was not a snob about keeping to my spec and naturally had build up gear for all facets of being a paladin (Healing, Tanking, Fighting).

The entirety of my time playing WOW can be made into a separate section of posts itself.  So let us just say that I PVP’ed my heart out and obtained Grand Master of the Alliance, before it became easier.  I raided with a top 100 guild through Burning Crusade, up through the Sunwell.  Then when Wrath of the Lich King came out, I raided for many months as well.  It was there that I lost steam or even the passion to play.  I retired from World of Warcraft and have only gone back a few times to see if I could rekindle some of that passion again.  It has yet to happen.

I have tried many other MMO’s after World of Warcraft: Everquest 2, Rifts, Age of Conan, Warhammer, Darkfall, Planetside 2 (love this still), Star Wars The Old Republic, EVE, and so many more.  But it seems that WOW has stole the passion for MMO’s from me.  I have since dove more completely back into other things like reading and social gaming.  But I continue to search for a computer game that will allow me to enjoy that type of playing once again.  If not in a more moderated allowance, for I believe MMO’s can suck the life out of a person and the people who want or need their attention.

With the loss of my addiction to MMO’s, I had a gap to fill.  I probably could had filled the time with much of the same things I had done before.  Such as reading, writing, role playing, and all of the things that my geeky heart thrives on.  But I decided for many reasons to head back to college; the time was right and I had gotten put on disability from work.  Oh yes, I did do all of those other things as well… haven’t you been reading?  I am an addict after all.

After 3.5 years, I walked away from college with my bachelors degree and an offer to join a master program.  That masters program will start in a month and a half (as long as I can get the funds required).  As I stated earlier, I received my degree in Forest Ecology and Conservation and hope to begin a masters in Water Sustainability.  I might expect that if you have been reading that these seem to be odd choices for me to have made?  But let me say this… always let your passions guide you and let things that bring you the greatest happiness mark the paths that you walk in life.  It took me a long time to see these things, even with their direct opposition staring me in the face daily.  But we do not always open our minds to what our eyes see and complacency follows, obscuring the difference between what is and what could or should be.  I choose to smile; I choose to walk the paths that I decide and not let them decide for me; and I choose to love: myself, someone special, family and friends, work, hobbies, and of course the most important thing to love, that I am alive (again).