Archive for July 2008

Just when I thought I was out…

July 25, 2008

Wednesday evening I came home to a completed Wrath of the Lich King client download. I casually checked that it had completed, and started the actual client install – which took perhaps 20 minutes to complete. We had dinner and then, through unspoken agreement to resolutely ignore WoW put on a DVD from Netflix.

Out Netflix movie queue is a bit of a mess – Scifi movies, old TV series, classic movies, documentaries, and increasingly Indie projects. The Indies started as mainly comedies, as we both enjoy the darker – and slightly more subtle – of humor sense of humor that they tend towards. Of late however, more and more Indie Dramas have made their way onto the list, and we’ve generally enjoyed them.

I tend to separate good indie films from weird art projects. Netflix occasionally does not, and this particular move was a bust. At 5 minutes my wife was giving me the “really?” look. Five minutes later I was looking for a sign that the movie might settle down into something coherent. Ten minutes more and we gave up. Nothing to see here, back in the mailbox it goes.

And there sat the Wrath client.

Nope.  Not going to play tonight.  Not gonna do it.

Then I wondered about my interface folder.. My Addons? Will they still work in Wrath?

A quick check of the Beta Forums made it clear that no, my interface would not be working.  The vast majority of addons will need to be updated.  My beautiful, beautiful interface is dead.

Since updating my interface clearly isn’t really playing – simply smart proactive preparedness – I logged in to check the damage.  Without my action-bar addon, I needed to redo my key bindings, and remap by abilities.  By this point both my wife and I were groaning over the unplayability of the standard interface.  Obviously, we’d have to go train and pick a pick talent specs.  From there, it was short trip to the boat up to Northrend.

A few minutes of looking around the first town turns into an hour of questing.  Not quite what I’d intended for the evening, but it was a lot of fun.  We got pulled into the story, moving from quest to quest quickly.  In the same way that Outland felt like ‘more’ than WoW 1.0, this feels like the next step.  I can’t point at any one thing that makes the difference, just that the whole experience is simply ‘more’.  I could easily have spent the entire night moving through quests, only pausing to write up quest comments and the *very* occasional bug report.  I didn’t, but I could have.

The next few days should be pretty busy, but I think I’ll not be promising myself to pass on ‘testing’ for the entire weekend.  Utguard Keep looks like too much fun 😀

Wrath of the Lich King Beta Invitation

July 23, 2008

Last night the Wrath beta email appeared in my inbox. This was not surprising since I’d heard that Blizzard had verified that the Blizzcon 2007 Beta Codes would be used for the WotLK – I say I’d heard, because these days I’ve found myself just scanning some the WoW headlines, and I’d missed that one till my wife mentioned it to me.

A thorough reading of Wow Insider (well, as thorough as I could stand.. there is a lot of crap over there) is not the only thing dropped from my daily routine since I’ve stopped playing WoW. I’ve also stopped visiting the guild site as well. I don’t feel great about this, as this type of “make like an Ostrich” avoidance strategy is simply not a good way to deal with problems. On the other hand, the guild crap is what kept drawing me forward in a game that I was largely bored with, keeping me “at the keyboard” well after I otherwise would have allowed my playtime to drop off.

I’m told that the guild is experiencing no small amount of drama. Several members have posted their ‘resignation’ forum messages, so I presume that many many more have disappeared in the night. That this doesn’t bother me is a sign of where I’m at now, since two months ago even the threat of loosing a total pain-the-ass raider would have meant a couple hours of ‘damage control’. I may have recognized the absurdity of the faux-crisis, but would have been dragged into it all the same. An evening of teeth grinding and elevated blood pressure at the bargain price of 50 cents.

Now, I am strangely serene about the situation. Disconnected. While I remember having had fun in WoW, there were so many evenings of stress and drama that I can’t remember the feeling of simply ‘playing’. While I have ‘friends’ in the guild, they are ‘virtual’. Far closer to employees than actual friends. Certainly I was friendly with everyone, but in the end that was a management style – and as a manager, I don’t know that I invested myself deeply in any of the relationships. I feel closest to the guild leader, but the camaraderie of having fought together and shared experience is at play there – even a fake war with nonsensical battles builds bonds. Respect and sympathy, certainly. Friendship?

So, knowing that this email would be coming, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I’ve said before that I’m enjoying not playing. Golf, painting, Netflix, shopping. I don’t need to start playing WoW again.

Perhaps I’d get the email, and then let it sit and wait for a while. I’d open it in a few days. Maybe wait a few weeks to go any further. I don’t want to seem too needy. Play it cool.

Or maybe I’d get a few drinks in me over the weekend, and work up the courage to leave a slurred and disjointed message on Blizzard’s voicemail at 3am.

Instead, the mail hit my inbox and I’d setup my account and had started downloading the client before I even stopped to think. Crap.

Brilliant beyond words

July 18, 2008

Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

Moose Mousse

July 18, 2008

A major side-effect of taking a break from Warcraft is that I have far more time available.  Clearly ‘Raid nights’ took up several nights a week, but the time spent setting up raid groups, preparing strategies, or even the quick “20-minute auction house scan” – all really adds up quick.

Tuesday we can home from work and painted a room, and then went out furniture shopping for a few hours. After ordering a new couch, we headed out to Mimi’s for a late dinner, before heading home for the evening.

This room has set empty – excepting a rug on the floor – and bare walled for about two years. With a coat of Moose Mousse paint up on the wall it already feels more like a living space.

The couch is a reasonably contemporary piece. Armless, clean lined, and with the “Celery” fabric I’m very excited about how it will work in the room. It won’t be delivered for 4 to 6 weeks, but we’ve already got an idea for several other pieces to help the room feel a little more complete. We have several other still unpainted and empty rooms and have lived for 2 years with the barest few window coverings decency allows, so there is still a lot more work to do around the house – but starting to make a dent in the list feels really good.

Pulling into the garage Tuesday evening, it was only a bit after 9:00, and I realized that we had done more in one evening (painting, shopping, eating out) than we typically have done over an entire weekend – or even most weeks.

All this following a Monday evening in which we played a par-3 golf course, worked out at a driving range, bought paint and supplies at Lowes, and took care of the week’s grocery shopping.

While I’m somewhat missing WoW, I am very much enjoying all the “extra” time I have. Simply not having a raid at 7:00 – requiring me to be online by 6:15 at the latest – frees up several nights each week.   I’m also realizing now how often we stayed at home the entire evening and poked around in game, even if nothing was scheduled and we didn’t end up actually doing anything..

I’m certainly don’t regret the time spent playing WoW (well, not all of it) – but I’m hoping that I can remember *this* feeling, once I finally do start playing again. I’ve not been so good and finding balance, and while my wife has been very patient with (and probably shared more than a bit of) my OCD, this is something I”m going to need to be cognizant of once I do start playing again.

The once and future WoW Blog

July 10, 2008

Taking a bit of a break from WoW, and as such I’ve been avoiding the blog as well.  I’ll likely address the “why I’m not playing” question in another post, presuming I can stretch it out any farther than “I’m tired”.  Looking at my post history, I presume that won’t be an issue.

I started this blog intending it to be more of a “My Interests” page, rather than a WoW blog.  However, since WoW has consumed much of my free-time in the last year it isn’t surprising that I’ve not strayed very far from that single topic.  I expect that to change.  I also expect that I’ll be back to playing WoW before too long, so there will be posts on that subject as well.  I will likely be in the WotLK Beta, and will almost certainly start playing again sometime before Wrath launches – just not now.

The wife and I are playing other games, watching movies, and catching up on some things that have been on-hold for too long.  We are also just a few days back from visiting my new nephew :D.  I may end up writing about some of that.  The Wrath Beta, BlizzCon 2008 (if tickets ever go on sale) and big WoW news are also fair game.  However, it wouldn’t shock me if the page is a bit quieter than usual for a while.  We’ll see.