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This is a bit of an ask but will be worth it in the end.

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For those of you still here…?

Woo is my Warlock. She became a Jewelcrafter back in The Burning Crusade. Me and my mate Duncan spent a great couple of months pre-Expansion grinding all the raw materials required to ensure that when TBC went live, we’d have the ability to power level two characters to maximum Vanilla skill, ready to start doing the new content. I never really thought about how that experience mattered until very recently, and that Professions weren’t simply something that was significant on my main. All my alts had a string to their bow, and the harmony of being able to create everything required to raid wasn’t an obsession as such but became really rather important.

Then Cataclysm came along, and suddenly the model changed. Suddenly, I couldn’t just buy the patterns I needed with gold. I’d require tokens, only accessible via a daily quest. For a long time, I’d assumed that my dissatisfaction with the casual side of game-play was to do with the weaponisation of vanity pets (which of course started at the same time) but in reality that wasn’t the case. What started the rot for me was that daily quest. It was the need to have to log in daily because if I didn’t do so, I’d get behind. If back then I’d stuck to the plan and finished that grind, it’s a fair assessment that my entire life outside the game would not be nearly as good as it is now.

I’m still not done with the journey, and today I’ll go back with the intention to finally finish.

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I don’t even care that all the recipes are effectively useless. This is the same feeling that I’ve got with the Celestial Tournament, why I’ll make an hour this week to go back and do the first of three final entries into that instance, so I can pick up the final pet and call it quits. I have no desire to hunt rare 3-star recipes for Woo or go play every alt to pick up the Battle Pets that accompany them. I just want to feel that I was true to my own desires back in the past, with content that I ultimately dictate and control. So much of what now passes for content is so ridiculously contrived and signposted because it has to be or else people can’t complete it. The freedom that existed back when I was creating my own rules back then has gone.

I’ll freely admit that this is 100% my issue to address. I could lay blame on the ridiculous token system and the scarily specific nature of the 3-star grind, but I’m enough of a grown up to understand why those systems were put in place, to begin with. I grasp how gating works, that if I could just buy everything without a time-dependent obstacle in place, there’s no point. This is not about tilting at windmills or raging against injustice either. I suppose it is the final understanding that immersion experienced on an individual level is subjective, and the pleasure derived from said experience even more so.

I’m going back to Cataclysm to do this one grind because I can guarantee the outcome.

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The majority of in-game content in which I have any interest is built to ensure that reward cannot be guaranteed with certainty. I’m slowly picking my way through the guarantees, with the time-dependencies attached, of which the Jewelcrafting recipes are a part. Once it’s done, I can finally say to myself I did what was promised to myself all that time ago, and move on. It’s not meant to be a badge of honour either or some means of sticking it to the Actiblizz ‘man.’ I said to myself a long time ago that what matters most to me is not stupid or pointless. It doesn’t matter if you get laughed at or people make jokes about you. They simply do not understand you, and that scares them.

Frightened people often are the meanest, most hurtful of all.

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I wasn’t at sure at first why I wanted to explain my rationale in an entire blog post, then I stopped and thought at length. Now I have an answer. This is my game. This is what I ended up losing for a number of reasons, all which involved me bowing to other people’s desires and not my own. Now I’m no longer part of that aspect of game-play, I can go back and finally complete the part of the game which matters the most, even now. Even if it is impossible to get all the things desired, I can manage some of them.

I am capable of producing my own happiness.

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