Sunday, September 27, 2009

What a Long Strange Trip it's Been

::::Surpressing the urge to sing Grateful Dead songs::::

After a year of hard work and a lot of fun, I completed all of the achievements for the violet proto-drake on the warlock. It feels good to wrap up some of these achievements, but it also makes me a little sad about what is and what will never be. For now, though, I'll just enjoy zipping around on my pretty purple dragon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A New Beginning, and Onyxia 25

"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." - Robert Frost

When faction changes went live and it became apparent how many of the people I enjoy playing with were going horde, I debated taking the druid over, but as I said to Oct, I couldn't see myself as a cow. I did know, however, that eventually I was going to retire the warlock.

In the end, I decided to go where my friends were - the druid is now a tauren, and I am in a 10-man raiding guild as a social member. I was rewarded Tuesday night with a ninja-invite to do the Brewfest boss. I'm not going to be actively raiding, but I can when they need me to.

Friday night, I got home from work, did a little bit of levelling on the Paladin to get her a little farther and spend some time with the CRC crew like a good GM, then logged in to the druid to socialize, relax, and work on tournament dailies. I was greeted by my friends before I got off the loading screen. I did my jousting and was heading over to the citadel when Rod asked in gchat, "Carol - Ony 25?" I had to say yes.

The revamped Onyxia encounter is a lot of fun. I never got to do the classic version in a 40-man with the level 60 character, but they did a good job of keeping the elements, scaling it, and making it easier to avoid breaths (at least on normal mode). We only wiped once, which is good for a pug. I had over 3k dps on the wipe, and 2.2k dps on the kill, for my Naxx geared toon. That says something about what the dps on the boomkin will be like once I get better gear.

At the end of the night, when I was getting ready to log, I was told by Rod that I did a great job, and that he was glad I came along. Experiences like that are why I rolled horde, and I appreciate Rod and Dem for giving me a place to land.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The End is Here

"Waste our time with words that seem to break our will, they bind us still. Without a care, they tarnish what we hold so dear, what was once so clear." ~ Alter Bridge, The End is Here

I've struggled with how much to write about the events of the past few days, partially because it is so painful, and partially because I needed to make sure my blog wasn't the first place people heard about it.

I don't really feel like going into detail here, but a meeting was held Tuesday night without me to discuss the future of CRC, several raid members, including the GM, left to form a hardcore 10 man raiding guild, and I was promoted to GM after being informed that CRC would now be a casual guild.

For all intents and purposes, Clan Redundancy Clan is no more. However, that in no way cheapens what it was or what we did. We got progression content and were a top alliance guild on the server while maintaining real lives, and never forgetting that there were real people behind the toons.

As for me, I'm retiring from raiding, at least until the paladin hits 80. At that point I'll reevaluate what I want to do. I probably won't be writing very much, because I'm not sure I'll have much to write.

Those of you who have read this blog as kindred spirits, thank you. I have appreciated your friendship and insights greatly.

Those of you who have read this blog to learn, thank you for being here and opening your mind.

Those of you who have read this blog to offer support, I'm tearing up as I write this. Your friendship and caring has made a huge difference to me over the past year or so, and especially through everything that's happened over the past nine months. Thank you for caring, for understanding, and most of all, for being willing to learn. Y'all rock.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Day to Remember

A high school friend of mine asked everyone to share where they were on September 11, 2001. I will never forget, in the same way that I remember where I was when Challenger blew up, when the federal building in Oklahoma City was bombed, and the way my parents will never forget where they were when Pearl Harbor was attacked or when Kennedy was assassinated.

I was sitting at my desk at work, and my co-worker was talking to his wife. He hung up the phone, and said in a sad voice, "A plane crashed into the World Trade Center." I went to find my friend who had a radio at her desk, and then called Bryan to see if he knew. After the plane hit the Pentagon, I thought of my parents, who were visiting Washington, and my brother, who worked in northern Virginia. I spent a lot of time burning up the phone lines with my sister, just making sure everyone was okay (we had a family point of contact before the Department of Homeland Security was even formed). I remember the somber feeling that fell over the whole office area, and how surreal it was walking out onto the plant floor after that.

I remember hearing the stories of loss, and of heroism. I remember America mourning as a country, and coming together to try to heal. I remember the world standing with us in grief and support.

I will never forget 9/11/01, and I hope I never do.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A House Divided

Last night, it was 15 minutes past invite time, 15 minutes until raid, when I got home from taking my son to practice. As we settled in to see what was going on, Oct made a revelation: he was considering a faction change. He had stumbled upon a guild website, saw that they were recruiting a fire mage, and talked to the GM. His only concern was not being able to take me with him, which really doesn't matter; he couldn't take me to Conviction either, and that worked out okay.

So he's gone, and I'm a little sad. I miss being able to whisper him when he's raiding and can't hear with his headset on. However, the raid times work a lot better for when I need him to deal with parenting stuff, and he's been looking for a guild like Escalation for a long time.

Where does that leave me? Right where I am. I have no desire to leave my friends, so I intend to stay, at least until I see how things shake out. At least now if I get passed over for pugs, I won't have to know that Oct was asked first, and that I wasn't wanted.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Women have the cleanest minds; they keep changing them.

My friend Mark used to say that quite cynically when we were in college, but there's some truth to it. I tend to get very upset, especially when I'm tired or hurting, and then calm down later.

Yesterday was a crazy day - nothing like not being able to find your teenager for a half hour to put some silly video game issues into perspective. Oct had told me that the guild was probably going to do Ulduar with pugs, so I wasn't feeling like I had to log into the lock, however, when I got home after scouts, he was in trial of the crusader with his raid window open and I saw one open slot. Decision time: Do I get on a horde toon and ignore my guildies, or make myself available to a group of people who have made me feel unwanted? Added to that fact, the only televised game that my alma mater will have this year was on, so I had to decide if I wanted to watch the Wolfpack lose.

In the end, though, I told Oct to ask Larry if he needed me and logged on. It seemed like the right thing to do, and it would be nice to get a second piece of tier. First attempt on Twins, I stayed in affliction, since I had been running heroics. After that, I went demo. I found out something interesting about my dps in those attempts. Demonic Pact procs often enough that I do equal or higher dps as demo than I do in affliction.

After downing Twins, we got a few attempts in on Anub'arak. There is a sizable learning curve to it, but it was okay. I realized that I am still enjoying raiding, and despite all my challenges, I'm a good player. At the end of the day, talking to a friend on vent about what was going on in his life and sharing a little bit about my frustrations made me realize that this is where I belong.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Oh, the times, they are a-changin'

Faction transfers went live this week, and it's going to change the complexion of my guild, even more than it already has due to real life. It's no longer a nuturing home for me, where I know that I will get invites not because I'm pro, but because I'm fun and giving and caring.

In the past couple of weeks, I have learned some hard truths about the current leadership of the guild. When an officer pulls in pugs rather than wait 5 minutes for me to come back from being afk, but is willing to wait 15 minutes for one of the leet dpsers rather than pull me in, what am I supposed to think?

Like I said, the guild is changing, and yet, the friendships I've made haven't. People who have left the guild still read this blog (hi qtpis), as do people who have retired from raiding (I'm trying to keep this as positive as I can for you). The thing that keeps this whole situation from feeling like the one I left a year and a half ago is that people do care. People who came on last night to check in before retiring or switching to horde took the time to whisper and say goodbye.

Oct and I both got trophies for tier 9 Tuesday night, and that makes me feel a little guilty about what I want to do, which is focus on the paladin. Honestly, though, if I look at why I'm not having fun on the lock, I feel like I don't owe the guild anything. Tonight when I get home from running kids, I'm not even sure I'll log on to her, unless someone asks Oct to have me do it.

Those of you who do care, and have given me your shoulders to cry on, thank you. Dev and Boom, love you guys, appreciate your leadership even when I gave you grief, and wish both of you continued success in real life.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"It's Only a Game"

That's what Bryan said to me last night, when I was fuming about something or other that happened in game. My response to him was, "That's easy for you to say, you have been getting invites to work on achievements you don't even need." Eventually, I think he realized that my mood was more the product of my aching legs than taking the game too seriously and he backed off to let me work through it.

It seems to me that the phrase, "it's only a game" is used to justify mistreating someone. As a dear friend remarked yesterday, when I was asking her if my recent posts have been too harsh on certain people, sometimes players forget that there is a real person behind the avatar.

I am a real person with real feelings, and those I game with have a choice in how they treat me. They can be one more person who finds it necessary to hurt me because I'm different, or they can be the one who lets me know that despite all my flaws, I'm worth having around.