Recovery takes many forms

So whilst I haven’t been playing WoW recently (and have decided that I need to wait until I hand in my final piece of coursework at the end of May before re-subscribing), I have been doing other things.

One of the few pieces of useful advice I was given after I was diagnosed with Post-natal Depression was to try and get out as much as possible. So we have been all over the place exploring castles,

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Edzell Castle in the sunshine

looking at neolithic ruins and geocaching. Essentially trying to spend as much time out in the fresh air as humanly possible and I  must admit it’s working. My son adores being in the woods and on beaches and I look surprisingly suntanned.

I have been dabbling with some games though as it still rains quite a lot. Dragon Age Inquisition is still on-going although I’m struggling to get back into the story. There is no denying how beautiful it is but I’m just finding something lacking, perhaps because they’ve got rid of all the Mage Towers.

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I dived back into Hearthstone too and finally no doubt years after everyone else I beat a certain spider.

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Then because we visited Doune Castle recently which doubles for Castle Leoch in Outlander, I’ve started reading the book with a view to possibly watching the series once I’m finished. Given the “mind fog” I’ve been in since my son’s arrival I hadn’t actually heard of either the book or the TV series until I got talking to the lovely Historic Scotland ladies as well as some American tourists who didn’t recognize the Catullus quote on the “Outlander” merchandise and thought that “basia” must mean “love”.

I briefly contemplated pretending to being much smarter than I actually am before admitting that I first came across “da mi basia mille, deinde centum” whilst reading Jilly Cooper of all people. Fair enough I was only 10 or so at the time but still.

My final piece of coursework for the University course I’m doing is handed in 10 days time and then the plan is to resubscribe and attack the Toybox list with a view to completing as much as possible before Legion goes live. I think we are going to pre-order so I’ll also be figuring out what character I want to use the boost on as well as deciding if I’m going with my Priest or not.

For the TL;DR, I’ve recovered about as much as I’m going to (still slightly mad) and I’m back, excited about Demons, changes to the PvP system and nursing a desire to slaughter things.

Running Away – A Short Story

Running away is easy, it’s the coming back which is hard.

“Here”, the once Priestess took the bottle offered by the Undead. The liquid was cold with an acid tang, burning like shame as it slid down her throat. She shook her head slightly, unused to the alcohol, feeling colour rush to her cheeks as the miscreants of the Dark Moon Faire surveyed her with amusement.

“So”, this time the voice belonged to a fellow Night Elf, although this one clearly hadn’t been anywhere near Darnassus for a long time. “What are you running from? Oh don’t be shy dear, we’re all running from something. Me, it’s not my fault that he died from a dagger in the back. No one joins the Faire unless they’ve got a guilty secret, something dark and delicious hidden inside just waiting to be unwrapped like a square of shiny chocolate or a Winter Veil gift”.

“I’m not running from the Law”, her tone was more judgmental than intended or wise. Once a Priestess of Elune, perhaps always a Priestess.

“Poor you”, this time it was a Gnome that spoke. “Running from yourself is the worst kind of running. You think you’ve found space, a moment’s peace from the demons in your head so you collapse on the grass, take a deep breath and then you see them, tramping across the meadow all tendrils and tentacles. You can’t outrun you…not even with Gnomish engineering. We’re afraid of the hand on our shoulders, the handcuffs of iron, the noose, the brand. You…you’re afraid of you”.

Drawing herself to her full height, the Priestess wrapped the shadows around herself like a shroud, breathing in the darkness to steady her thudding heart. “Hit a nerve, huh?” The Undead and the alcohol were back, “I’m not great on advice but if you can’t escape the monsters in your head, maybe it’s time to confront them. Although if they’re real demons as opposed to metaphorical ones, you might want to go somewhere else before letting them out. Wouldn’t want collateral damage now would we”.

The bottle, still seeming full despite having made many circles of the fire lit crowd found it’s way back into her hand. Closing her eyes, she let her mind wander back to the days before. The taverns after battles, drinking to forget and at memorials, drinking to remember. Those she had saved and those she couldn’t. The losses like knives in her skin, branding her with failure. The lovers, gone but not forgotten. Pained, dust in Theramore, broken bodies everywhere, blood pouring through her fingers as she tried to channel the light. Then rage taking her unaware, catching in her throat, squatting on her tongue so the only notes spilling forth were birthed in tendrils of shadow, searing all before her.

She recalled asking those around her, how they dealt with so much death. Her sisters in blood and her sisters in arms had shrugged, smiled and carried on. Her sister, once a Sentinel, now a Death Knight had sighed not meeting her eyes, her never still fingers sliding up and down, down and up her rune blade. Her lover, a Sentinel still had laughed, kissed, pulled her down into the bed ignoring the blood smears on her armour, immune it seemed to the stench of death surrounding them. Returning to Darnassus in search of answers, the Priestesses there, safe in the Temple miles away from skin puckered with stab wounds, slashed by axes, burnt by fel flames told her the old lies. Discipline, focus, Elune’s work…watch words to live by, if you’re miles from the front line.

The final straw, it wasn’t so much a straw as a moment’s clarity. The enemy changed, Horde, Old Gods, Monsters of every stripe and colour but the injured and the dead did not. From soldiers who mostly knew what they signing up for to children caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, her magic had soothed, healed and given life. She had fought until she could barely stand, until her voice was hoarse with whispered prayers, she had given everything in service to her Goddess and in return had asked for nothing.

Until that day, having collapsed in bed exhausted and drained of magic, she awoke filled with rage and a shadowy emptiness. Had, dragging one foot in front of the other walked away from her responsibilities, from her lover and her friends, from her sister.

Running away is easy, it’s the coming back which is hard.

 

Yes, beneath the illusion there might be some grains of personal truth in this. Madness can and does sneak up upon all of us, it hides in the most innocent of places, twists things beyond recognition and makes monsters out of memories. Post-natal depression is to put it politely a Bitch. 

When Worlds collide

I paid a visit to the Kirkwall Chantry recently…somewhat disappointed by the lack of men in armour wielding broadswords but it was a really beautiful building.

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It did however get me thinking about different game worlds and how they reflect on the world around us. There are some similarities between Kirkwall the real place and Kirkwall the virtual one, both are located by the sea and both have religious buildings as a focal point but there is a distinct lack of chains (at least in the areas we visited) in the Scottish version.

Looking at art work like this, (one of the loading screens from Dragon Age II).

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It doesn’t require a huge imaginative leap to contemplate that perhaps the designers also had the “real” Kirkwall in mind with it’s Cathedral named for  Magnus Erlendsson (St Magnus) when they decided to call the “City of Chains”, Kirkwall.

In fact, the Orkney Islands seem full of virtual gaming references as seen in the picture below:

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Here we can clearly see a Gnome leaving a Dwarfish dwelling (or not).

I know it’s been a long time since I posted last and if I’m being honest, I have no idea if I’m back. It turns out that I was “not prepared” for Post-natal depression, in fact I imagine it was the real world equivalent of fighting C’thun, Ragnaros versions 1 & 2, the Lich King and 4 Horde raids all at the same time whilst in the Suppression rooms from Blackwing Lair.

In an ideal world, I would like to start posting at least once a fortnight (folder full of drafts, half written stories and I’m still finishing the last Dragon Age) and intend on returning to the game at some point prior to the next expansion going live. In the real world…who knows.

A Blast from the Past

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So eight months down the line, we’re finally starting to establish a “routine” and fingers crossed I might actually manage to visit this place more than once every three months or so. I am still playing WoW or rather I log in regularly to kick off Garrison missions which has had the strange (for me) side effect of making me money for once but am hoping that those brief flying visits will become proper ones now we seem to have bedtime roughly under control. It’s almost Hallows End, the evenings are drawing in and you can smell the log smoke in the air so it’s the perfect time for some World of Warcraft.

Now I just to have to wade through eight months worth of everyone else’s posts and I’ll be all caught up!

On the Potential Selfishness of Selfies

As I ran through the Black Temple the other night, I realized that I’m grateful I no longer raid. The thought of trying to oversee people trying to do this whilst in combat would have got old real fast…. The sheer number of Hunters we would probably have had to kick for posting selfies of themselves hugging our corpses during wipes they avoided with feign death would most definitely have been over 9000 and that’s before we get to the wipes certain members of my old guild would have managed to create whilst trying to grab artistic shots of themselves with the next boss.

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Doing on your own though… well that’s another story.

A Bittersweet Return – First Thoughts on WoW following Seven Months away

On Tanaan

Three days in and it’s been bittersweet so far. I’m glad to be back, WoW is a distraction like no other in many ways but my thoughts on Tanaan are mixed. It feels much like the Barrens campaign did, lots of disjointed wanderings around slaughtering things for rewards which much exceed the effort required. Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite happy with my three bits of 675 gear I’ve acquired to date but I’m still not convinced that it’s the right model moving forwards. If most people raid for gear (this is my cynical experience from many years in high end raiding guilds) where is the incentive to encourage those on the fence so to speak if you can get better gear than you need for grinding/questing purely from grinding and questing. I know there was an issue with the vanilla model and whilst I was lucky/responsibility free (choose what you think is applicable) enough to experience high end raiding during that period, I know most people didn’t or couldn’t so something had to give but I think things have shifted too far away from organised scheduled content to random throw your hat into ring chaos. What I loved about WoW in those early days was the multi player aspect and I feel that’s definitely been a casualty of the move towards being all inclusive. You don’t need a guild anymore thanks to the Raid Finder, dungeon groups etc and I’ve gone from knowing everyone on my original servers to speaking only to a handful of people. When you run Dungeons people err towards the unsociable and often down right rude end of the spectrum and many of the Garrison missions like the one Yrel gives you for Auchindoun can only be done by people on the same quest which is why my poor Priest had the time to be taking selfies rather than be healing Mr Harpy. Having one party member being able to disappear down a hole in the group whilst the other just stands there doesn’t smack of multi player.

On taking Selfies
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I now have this sudden desire to have Snowflower wander around all the dangerous locations taking selfies whilst being beaten up… a sort of living on the edge collection.

On the Navy

This was a surprise. I made a point of not reading patch notes whilst the game was updating and I’ve been a bit too busy to read many other blogs so this came out of left field. Despite the odds of failure seeming awfully high, I like this addition to the Garrison but I’d be hard pushed to express why.

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Here is hoping that at some point we can make fishing boats and something a little less warlike in our shipyards.

On the Death Recap Button

I must admit to being disappointed with this. I was hoping for a “Horrible Histories” style video replay of my demise and so having to sing the “stupid death” song myself whilst looking at a damage log isn’t quite up to par.

On the Garrison in general

So far apart from the new exit (which I don’t like on roleplaying security grounds), I haven’t noticed many Garrison changes although either I’ve got much better at pet battling or the opponents have been heavily nerfed, I’m assuming it’s the latter.

On what I’m most excited about

Flicking through the achievements list in search of new ones, I couldn’t help but notice a new Raiding with Leashes and seeing that M’uru drops a chaos pup, something I’ve wanted for a very long time so that’s definitely high up on the list. I’m also becoming a bit obsessive with those races at the Darkmoon Faire.. so close and yet so far. Given that my approach to time is now more like a Goblin one, it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to do more than dip in and out of Azeroth for the near future at least, although the little one does find it fascinating in short bursts so I will be focusing on the exploring, the curious and strange rather than raiding and PvP. The biggest question though seems to be what’s next, which feels a little disconcerting less than a year after Warlords launched. What ever it is, I can’t help but feel less Orcs would be a good thing.

The bottom line though is I’m back and I have a camera… oh and apparently I still enjoy playing WoW 10 years after I started (see Mrs Hill… I’m capable at sticking at things I like so nah!!!).

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Home Coming

Apparently it’s over six months since I last logged into WoW ….

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Although it seems on my first admittedly brief glance around that little has changed. I haven’t been keeping up with the news so am hopefully setting off on a WoW voyage of discovery this weekend and surprisingly enough I’m looking forwards to it.

As for what’s been keeping me distracted, well…. I can’t believe he’s almost five months old. We were experimenting with selfies this morning and it seems he rather likes them.

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