I don’t usually do this sort of post but this year I’m making an exception since I actually have something to say on the topic.
Today marks the 4th anniversary of the first post (that I know of) to this blog. It seems like longer (in a good way), but four years is what it’s been.
Four years ago I was working on getting my DS3 together in Outland. Flora was 52 and already crafting netherweave – she had to; I had been mailing to her to the point it had clogged her mailbox.
I was reading BRK, Hydra and Ratshag on Vox, and Megan on Blogspot. I had been reading them a bit before that, of course. They
are to blame were influential as far as what I thought I should blog, how I should do it, and why I should do it.
Megan’s righteous diatribes informed Flora’s personality. BRK’s infectious ebullience taught me to find the fun factor in what I was doing. Hydra seemed to infuse a little bit of herself in her gaming and blogging. Ratters … well, he reminds us all by example that we shouldn’t be taking any of this too seriously. Is game, after all. Of all the orcish souls I have known, his is the most … human.
With this cobbled-together framework and multicultural influences, I’ve been hanging words out there ever since, trying to live up to the examples before me, and yet trying to bring something unique to the party. It’s hard to say how that’s gone.
I Got Moves
I started out on Blogspot. I actually considered Vox1, where I found Hydra and Ratters, but rejected Livejournal out of hand, having first hand experience with the nightmare that is customization on that site. After a tenure on Blogspot I swapped to this current site, self-hosted WP, and then back when moniez got tight. After that crisis, we have returned here and I must say I still like this setup best of all. Being able to give each of the toons his or her own login to help promote the "voices in my head" gimmick helps me a lot when trying to beat together a story. As long as I have a blog, I’ll still have that preference.
Do you hear voices?
In my fevered mind, the "voices in my head" thing has been a moderate success, in that I accomplished my own personal goal with that particular tool. That goal: make each toon an actual character, not a PC-In-Name-Only. Azeroth had personality; I felt the least I could do was infuse my participation in it with some as well.
The RP-ish nature of it has not blossomed into the centerpiece I thought it might become, but it is a sizable chunk of what goes on in my head when I’m thinking of things to blog about. I’ve managed to relegate certain things to certain toons. Flora’s the firebrand of the bunch, speaking angry truths when they need to be. Illume’s the geek of the crowd, with a command of things technical. Jasra’s become our financial wizard, in her lucid and sober moments. The others haven’t really found niches, more like personalities that float around and do things that nobody hears much about, but I’m taking notes.
WoW being an MMORPG, roleplaying is an aspect that I’ve always found interesting but nothing like the current custodians of all that is Holy and True about RP. As an old-school DM, I don’t "do" RP in the same sense that people mean when they say they "did" RP last night. But we have common ground. My sense of "RP" is that I have developed at least a skeleton of a personality around every character I roll up2. It’s part of the race, class, appearance, and name that I come up with when I create them; I also have at least a glimmering of a backstory for everyone. Some have come to pass on the blog itself, such as Faiella’s near-tragedy, Illume’s hopeful beginnings. Others have not yet been told, such as How Flora Met Grimmy, which is essentially the origin story for the whole operation.
Besides the obvious, one reason I avoid Horde toons so much is that I can’t draw the same connection with them as I do with Alliance. This is also why I have had a hard time rolling a Gnome – I don’t relate to the race well enough to do so, though I have been happy to write in my own NPCs from that race. It’s a requirement, more or less. Although, I have to admit, my new Orc Warlock, Hanunga, has a compelling aura about him.
I hate that I’m such a sappy writer at times, but I do what I can; I only regret that some of the stories have yet to be told, and may never be. Sometimes I can’t find the words. Sometimes I’m not brave enough. And sometimes I just don’t know where to start. A story, of course, needs a beginning, even if we already know the end.
It’s all connected somehow
I’ve made friends. I’ve made enemies! The latter have mostly floated by, face down, in the muck. Longevity in the blogging world, especially, requires something more than despite and anger to feed it.3 The friends, for the most part, have been what makes this game, and this blog, worth the time and effort.
We Fear Change
The tone of this blog has changed a lot. When I started, it was more of a journal-style narrative of the things we’ve seen and done. As my guild started to raid Kara, that worked its way into the conversation as well. Little did I realize how central it would become.
The greatest changes, though, took place over the last year. As Jasra flamed out and at least contributed to the end of raiding by her guild, I was desperate to find a way to not undraw the line we had drawn there, and still be able to raid. Eff the Ineffable came onto the scene at precisely the right time.
The problem: I was by no means raid-ready, and had zero experience with serious progression raiding. I am extremely grateful for Alas, Zel, Orv, Nymphy, Morenhai, and many others for tolerating the endless font of derp that is me, and encouraging me as I found ways to shed some of that (in other ways, derp is who I am, but we’re finding ways to work around that). Blog posts here have shifted in tone largely because of this.
As we reach the twilight of patch 4.2, the Effers are 6/7 T12 and stand a decent chance to make it 7/7 before the endgame. This is a position I have never been in before.
Especially That Change, Over There
The future is murky, and maybe that’s why I feel like acknowledging where we are this time around. I’ve had the same sense of uncertainty before, of course (see: Jasra, burnout thereof). But this time the sense of uncertainty has more visible "handles", and seems less inevitable.
While recent drama (both raid-related and not so much) can wear on a GM and the members thereof, I don’t think that EtI will suffer permanently from that. Zel has stated that she believes that the raiding aspect of the guild – which is our backbone, our raison d’être – ends with 4.34. I feel that’s a bit optimistic, considering the attitude of some of our core raiders recently and the approach of SWTOR on December 20.5 At the very best, I think, we lose them temporarily as they experiment and find out if it is or is not worth sticking with. At worst, we lose probably a half-dozen raiders to this game and the raiding aspect of our guild implodes without recruitment – and recruitment’s a mixed bag insofar as results thus far.
Look Into The Abyss
So, kind of bleak looking, and at this point I’m starting to wonder if it’s time to hang up my omg-thats-ugly hat as a blogger as well. Five years would be nice and neat, but, really, it may be hard to sustain posts that aren’t all gloom and woe after one of the two aforementioned events take place.
On the other hand, maybe that means I’ll have more time to focus on other things I would like to do on the blog. There are a number of activities, stories, projects, and other things that I have deferred for lack of time to do them. I have a frantic, almost conveyer-like process every day that I do to maintain the toons that could be dialed WAY back if I didn’t have certain pressures bearing down to always do this and that and the other thing. Heck, I might even write an addon or five.
This fifth year, then, marks a moment of great uncertainty for me. I have much yet to do, but since I’m not even sure I’ll be playing the game past 4.36 I don’t know if I’ll ever get to it. And without any major projects, this blog would go back to what it was in the beginning. I’m not sure that regression is what I want here. I go back and read those kinds of posts years later, and I feel kind of let down. Clearly, not standing up to the test of time.
Regardless of what I decide going forward, this post represents the perfect opportunity to acknowledge those that have made it all worth while. (In no particular order)
My long-suffering GM of Ordo Cunniculi Vorpali, who I have known far into early days of FidoNet7, something like two and a half (!) decades. Without a doubt one of the most intellectually formidable people I’ve known, and one of the few who can connect to my inner geek on a fundamental basis. You are a lovely and awesome person.
Megan, who inspired me to rock out with my ‘lock out.
Zel, who’s acerbic wit and outrageous sense of humor is a joy, even if it gets her in trouble from time to time. Well, fine, I’ll cover ya.
Lonomonkey, who almost has as big a mouth as myself, and who can swear in Franch and still thrill all the ladies. I am intensely envious. May your lightsabre never run out of juice.
Rhii, who brings common sense to the table when everyone else has forgotten to. Since she hangs with the effers, you know she has a sense of humor, too!
(M)Apple, who’s courage challenges us all.
Amber, who’s gift for abuse sets her apart from all others. I can only admire from afar. Also, flowcharts.
I’m sure I left dozens out, but I’m writing this on a Monday, so my brain is somewhere besides in front of the keyboard, most likely.
To all the haters, you know who you are. Work on that, will ya?
To all those I mentioned, to all those that come by and read and comment, and to all those I’ve overlooked: thanks to you. I appreciate you all.
Here comes the future. I hope it’s friendly.
- It is no more, so no links. [↩]
- "Roll up", "re-roll", etc, are clear indicators of the old dice-and-paper origins of our genre. [↩]
- Well, that doesn’t explain Syncaine and his ilk, but I really don’t know everything about that side of the blogging world. [↩]
- Opinion, peeps. Deal. [↩]
- No, I have no intentions there. I’d be more at loose ends in that game than I was in WoW at first. Hell, I didn’t even know who Mara Jade was without Wikipedia. [↩]
- No, I am not hating on the Pandas. 5.0 looks very exciting. I wouldn’t ragequit over that. If I stopped playing, it would be because all the joy had got sucked out of the game for whatever reason. [↩]
- Look it up. [↩]
- Go to the end. [↩]