Thursday, January 24, 2013

And so this chapter ends

I realize that this post is a bit late (I mean hello where have I been for a month?!?!), but I wanted to make sure that I was completely at peace with this decision before posting it. That first sentence probably just gave away the ending (damn, no suspense!) but yes, this is the last post here at Tree of Life. I know I went away once before, but as difficult as it is, this time I have a deep rooted sense of peace knowing its the right decision. It's time.

About two and a half weeks ago, Jess and I sent a difficult email to our guild letting them know that the two of us were done with raiding. It's been obvious to us for a while now that we needed to recruit a couple more folks to keep our raiding going, though we had been incredibly fortunate to have our sister guild Emerald help us out. But looking at the crossroads we were in, I just don't think our hearts were in it anymore.

At the same time both of us were looking to focus on other aspects of our lives with the game being a smaller part of our lives. Honestly speaking I think that both Jess and I have had these thoughts for a while, but were afraid to tell the other. I think both of us knew that we would not continue raiding without the other, but not knowing what the other wanted to do, didn't want to bring it up. However we just suddenly both blurted it out to each other after a raid at the beginning of the month. I think we were both a bit surprised and relieved the other felt the same way.

For me personally, I knew that this spurred by really looking at where I am in my life, where I want to be in 5 years, and what changes I may need to make today to get to where I need to be. I think it had become the case where my schedule started with WoW and my ingame commitments, then I was trying to plan my real life around that. When in actually it should be the other way around. There have been a number of things I've wanted to get involved in during our raid nights that I just haven't been able to. Plus all of this happening around the new year/the time of new year resolutions is not a complete coincidence.

But then I had that horrible pit in my stomach about how to tell the kids/guildies. As the mom of the guild, I felt/feel this incredible obligation and honestly, guilt. And I guess in a way this pressure, this pressure where you feel responsible for the ingame enjoyment of others is part of what I wanted to get away from. But in another sense I think I enjoyed being depended on, if that makes any sense?

In the email to the guild, we noted:

"We’ve been exceptionally lucky to have such a healthy and rewarding social dynamic that has been TLC for nearly six years now, and it’s as wonderful now as it has ever been. We shouldn’t need to tell you that the friendships we’ve established here transcend the game and this decision is only a discontinuation of our role in the guild, not our friendships."

While this is 100% true, and while I still plan on being the ring leader to plan another Clawcon this summer, its still hard because the game is the vehicle by which we've hung out together for so long. It's not easy, and three weeks later I still get choked up thinking about it.

After we sent the email out I spent another week or so in a panic reaching out to individual folks in and out of game trying to make sure they understood why/how this happened. As I noted to Jess, even at the end, I'm still the mom trying to personalize things and make sure everyone is ok. To this Jess noted that this was why he needed to quit when I did... he doesn't make a very good mommy.

For our last scheduled raid night, in true mommy planning fashion, I did plan a number of amusing little activities for us. First, I called everyone to Dalaran and had us congregate at the sewer exit pipe. From there we played some guild darts, where we would hurl ourselves to our deaths off the exit pipe to some determined target. For round one, I made Jess go first, then see whose dead body would land closest to his. I figured that was appropriate given we've been following our GM to our deaths for years now.

After that we did a bit of guild dodgeball using those leather balls you can throw to each other. I found a place in Darkshore that was small enough but had some pillars and line of sight issues. We were separated into two teams and I had prepared different colored shirts. The two teams started with 15 balls each. It was clear my team lost when at the end my teammate Nikolai announced he had 24 balls in my inventory. Apparently he just likes collecting balls and not throwing them back out.

From there we went down to Gurubashi Arena for some pvp action, though honestly it ended up being "target K first and kill her first" kinda thing. Boo. Boo!!! In one iteration of it I tried to separate us into more than just two teams, but then ended up making one team with three hunters on it. Ooops.

I think the pvp action got our blood flowing because then we decided to visit each of the Horde cities. We figured we'd go for that achieve where you have to kill 5 players in each major city. Silvermoon and Thunderbluff were pretty empty as expected. I did have to applaud the poor little level 20s who would flag against a group of 7 or 8 level 90s that included two healers.

Undercity was a bit more fun. We ended up find a good little cubby from which we coordinated our attacks. "Back to the cubby!" was our rallying call. Our final visit to good old Org was a bit more eventful. There were some more deaths from our side, but we got a good number of Horde too and everyone got their achieves. All in all it was a great time in typical Left Claw fashion: lots of laughter, sexual innuendo, and swearing.

About six years ago when I started this game, I never could have guessed that the game would provide not only entertainment, but incredible friendships, an awareness of how I act in leadership situations, and in a way a view into an aspect of my true self. Before becoming the mom of the Left Claw, I had always thought of myself as a bit more stoic or emotionally reserved. I'm not sure that I really realized how much of a true nurturer I really am. For all of this I am so incredibly grateful.

Now it's only been a couple of weeks since we stopped raiding, so I'm still trying to figure out and find what my new routine and schedule looks like. I'm not sure what my WoW play time will look like, though I'd like to think that I'll still play casually whether that is to pvp or collect pets or whatever. We'll see.

Finally... this blog. I don't know whether this blog made me enjoy the game more or whether the game made me blog more. Perhaps a bit of both. Having had the opportunity to blog here has taught me that I really do enjoy writing. It's been a great 5+ years here and its really hard for me to admit that this is the last post. However it's time. If I'm playing less and less, I'm just going to have less to blog about here.

Thanks to everyone who has kept up with the blog. It's been a great ride and I've greatly enjoyed being a part of the blog community.

Thanks to my Left Claw guildies, past and present, for not only great friendships, but teaching me so much about myself.

Thanks to Jess... you know what you've done.

And so this incredible chapter sadly but inevitably ends. This blog been a blast guys, and I only have fond memories.

Much love,


P.S. If you're interested at all in keeping up with my random ramblings, there is a pretty strong chance that I will resurrect an old personal blog. Who knows, perhaps any random future WoW posts I want to make may end up there. Follow me at Carolina Blue Dreams


Thursday, December 13, 2012

U of C Indiana Jones Mystery

A short, completely unrelated to WoW post today.

One of my three alma maters happens to be the University of Chicago. Turns out the undergraduate admissions office there received an incredible package earlier this week. Quoted from their blog post"

"Yesterday we received a package addressed to “Henry Walton Jones, Jr.”. We sort-of shrugged it off and put it in our bin of mail for student workers to sort and deliver to the right faculty member— we get the wrong mail a lot.

Little did we know what we were looking at. When our student mail worker snapped out of his finals-tired haze and realized who Dr. Jones was, we were sort of in luck: this package wasn’t meant for a random professor in the Stat department. It is addressed to “Indiana” Jones.

As a huge Indiana Jones fan and U of C alum, I find this so incredibly fascinating! Another article referring to this and a couple more pics:


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Korean NPCs

My blogging activity is highly correlated with not traveling and working out of my office, hence another blog post today!

So I was tooling around Halfhill a while back when I ran across this NPC, Kim Won Gi. This Korean panda immediately caught my eye. I was like wait! He's not Chinese, he's Korean! (/insert Korean equivalent of ZOMG!)

Quick side class on Korean names... I think most folks know that Kim is a Korean last name (actually the most common Korean last name) but did you know that there are nearly 300 clans of Kims? I'm actually a Kim twice over in that my mother's maiden name is Kim as well. It used to be that Kims within the same clan could not marry, though I don't think they follow that anymore.

I'm a Gimhae Kim on one side and I forget what I am on the other side. I've often said that if someone held a gun to my head and said that I had to get a tattoo (because this is such a likely scenario that I've actually thought through...), it would be of the hanja (Chinese character) for Kim, which is 金.

Anyways, apparently this NPC Kim Won Gi was named a retired Korean starcraft player named Kim Won Ki. His ingame name is FruitDealer, hence the WoW NPC's tagline with the Fruit Dealer. He said his FruitDealer name came from the fact that his mother used to be a fruit vendor. Also the red and white shirt the NPC is wearing is similar to one of his professional team's shirts. Aren't they just so clever that Blizzard?

Now it looks like there is a second NPC named after a Korean. In the Korean version of WoW, an NPC named Eun-Choding has been named after the singer Eun Ji Won. There is no Eun-Choding in our non-Korean WoW world, but added in Patch 5.1 is Little Jiwon.

On a completely unrelated matter, I often minimize and maximize my WoW screen to fuss around on other things on my laptop whether that be vent or to lookup stuff online. This control+M used to be a very quick min max feature, but recently the game takes to completely reloading each time! It's really annoying and I'd like to go back to how it was before.

Anyone understand what I'm talking about? Is there something I can change in my settings or is this just the way it is now?

***Edit: I found a post referring to this on the forums. Its only a Mac issue and yes, they are aware of it, "Switching display modes may cause the UI to reload."


Monday, December 10, 2012

The prodigal son/brother/dad returns?

Now there I was going about my business during one of our raids (most likely being mercilessly made fun of by the rest of my raid) when I get a whisper that made me go OMFG!!! As soon as I saw the toon's name, I knew immediately who it was. It was Adamas!

Now I've blogged before about our history with Adamas, the guy who brought me into the Left Claw and introduced me to Jess. And I think I've also mentioned that Adamas is the first guy I ever even whispered/grouped with in this game. He asked if I wanted help on a group quest in Darkshore back in February of 2007. Then not long after that he invited me into the guild and as they say, the rest is history.

So Adamas casually leveling a toon again after about three years away? Craziness! It was awesome seeing his toon officially join the Left Claw again. It's kind of like the prodigal son/brother/dad returns! Son, because all of the guildies are Jess and I's kids; brother, because Adamas grew up in this guild with Jess and I; and dad because he really brought us in the guild.

I was sharing our history with Adamas with the guild, that Adamas is the one who brought Jess and I into the guild and introduced us to each other. I think Sam's reaction was "So he brought you guys into the guild, then you guys hijacked it and took it over"? Well after 5+ years... something like that.

Adamas shared with me that the only reason he came back was because he knew Jess and I were still around. Awwww. Pretty awesome that someone who left the game 3 years ago still felt a strong enough connection to two people he played a video game with for a couple years.

I do wonder how things are from his end in the guild so far. I mean here is a guy who really was part of initially building this guild. And now the only people he knows are Jess and I. The rest of our guildies have known each other and raided together for a while now, so guild chat does have a very specific family flavor. But I'm sure with time he'll fit in just like our newest guildie Chase, our fifth grade healer (private guild joke here), has.

In other news, earlier today Jess and I were having a google chat conversation where we were trying to compare current raiding to when Cataclysm first came out. Here was the ensuing conversation:

K: Yeah, so it was BWD and geez what was the name of that other place? Our first raids when Cata came out?
Jess: Yeah those two and the air one. Twilight something. Twilight citadel? No. Sigh.
K: Wait. Twilight citadel? Mmmm.
Jess: Haha
K: Seems right but seems wrong at the same time.
Jess: Something of twilight? Bastion of twilight?
K: Oh hmmm. I think that's right.
Jess: heh. Given we can't remember these kind of things why exactly are we in charge?

My thoughts exactly.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Left claw raiding update

We've been raiding for a couple weeks now between Vaults and HoF. Our first official kill was in Vaults though I forgot to take screenshots (though I guess I could do a screenshot reenaction). Anyways here is the first actual boss kill screenshot I've taken of this expansion, last week's kill of that first boss in Heart of Fear:

It was kind of strange how while I was semi horrible at the tornadoes with Alysrazor in Firelands, I rocked the attenuation on this boss. I was trying to describe how to successfully dodge them and I think I used phrases like "concentric circles" and "discs that spiral out from the middle". I don't think anyone understood what I was trying to say. But I was convinced I was making perfect sense!

Though hell, the attenuation wasn't as bad as the mind control in Phase 2. With two priests in our raid, we were pretty concerned about the priests' fear. Damn priests! We asked them to keep fear on cooldown so it wouldn't be up if they got mind controlled. I think this was especially critical on Phase 3.

Anyways, have you guys gotten the two new pets in Darkmoon Faire? I was there early this week and came across the Darkmoon Rabbit in the cave. I have yet to kill this rabbit and thus have no idea what its abilities are. I was curious whether we really needed a full raid to take it down. Once some guildies shared some of the rabbit's abilities with me, here was the ensuing guild conversation:

K: Oh. How can something so cute be so mean?
Nikolai: We wonder the same thing about you.
Jessika: (had the same thought)
K: ...

Thanks for all the love guys, thanks for all the love.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Why is it...

... that I feel I have to watch my back when I walk by Buckley's (which is on my daily walk to work when I am in town) in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood?

And so ends November... a crazy month where I believe I slept something like 8 nights in my own bed here in Seattle.

I haven't kept up with my blog reading this month, but just from looking at the bold blogs in Google Reader WoW folder, it seems that the blogsophere has been a bit quiet as well. I wonder if that is due to the holidays or whether the blogs I follow (most of which I've followed for 3+ years) are in a phase where they are moving away from either the game or their blog.

I said this years ago and I'll say it again. I think Twitter has significantly affected blogging. It's an alternate outlet where you can easily put out immediate brain dumps without feeling the need to substantiate it into perhaps a full post. I can see how it has affected blog output in the past couple years and I seriously wonder whether there will be any blogs left in another couple years.

Overall though why the decrease in blog posts? Do you think its Twitter? Is it just the maturation of the game itself? Perhaps just selection bias (aren't you proud of that statistics reference there Jess) due to the blogs I've followed for years, with those bloggers evolving into a different phase of their life or game play? A combination of all three?

So yes, I've wondered lately whether after 5+ years, I still have anything left to say and whether I want to keep this blog. Sometimes I waver back and forth on it. But then I realize that I've long ago given up on feeling pressured to provide anything of value or substance on this blog on a somewhat regular basis (for stuff like that go see Beru).

But at the end of the day, this blog started as a personal diary of not only my game play, but my crazy but lovable guild. So even as my life, my WoW play, or the WoW blogosphere changes, I think this blog will still be around.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Pet battling in flight and a WoW wedding

Still around, though a busy two weeks of traveling for work has me very much behind in blogging and blog reading. I've flown 56k miles so far this year and I anticipate another 15k the rest of this year. Someone noted to me the other day that the circumference of the earth is 25k miles. So by the end of the year I will have flown the equivalent of almost 3 times around the world. /boggle and /needtobedonewithconsulting.

With tons of travel the last two weeks, my guildies have gotten used to my weekly habit of logging in during flight. The strength of the inflight internet access varies from flight to flight so sometimes I am limited to what I can do. But at the very least I can pet battle at 30,000 feet since latency isn't a big deal there. You will wait for my next move Pet... deal with it!

However I don't have enough room on my tray table to use my mouse, which means I can't really maneuver around while flying. I just have my keybind to switch into flight form, the space bar to fly up, then the same key bind to switch out of flight form. So to all those who have been surprised by a druid crashing out of the sky next to you, I apologize. And yes, I have died from this. :)

Now last weekend, I did fly back to Seattle to attend Beru's wedding. It blew my mind for a second that here was a wedding of two people who met through WoW and I was there because I met Beru through blogging about WoW. Those of you in your 30s may remember how 10 years ago meeting someone through online dating was kind of different and novel. I believe in another 5 years, this whole meeting someone through online gaming is going to be just as common and accepted as online dating is today.

Anyways, I was so honored to be at their wedding. I'm not sure how much Beru noticed this, but I was struck by how Brade was looking at her all night... it was a look where I could clearly see that she is his whole world. It was incredibly sweet.

I am back home for four days next week (hello my own bed!) so I hope to catch up here. We have officially started raiding so I probably should blog about that. Here's a preview: No mana = cranky tree.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

This clam shell is out of control!

I was flying back to Seattle last night when I got an email that Nikolai had sent to the guild. There's nothing I can really say to prepare you for it, though I guess yesterday's post should have warned you. You just have to read it. So here's Nikolai's story:

So there I was, minding my own business (as usual) when I get a whisper from Lorosia asking to meet on some Pandaren beach at night.

Being somewhat dubious of Lorosia's intent (let's face it - Lorosia ACTS all like "Oh Nik... have no interest whatsoever..." - but I think we KNOW the real deal)...

It's funny how being in private with someone they can be totally different, y'know? I kept telling Lorosia " are seeing someone…this isn't right!"

Lorosia would not take no for an I had no choice - I caved and gave in to Lorosia's advances.

Now - being somewhat prone to "naturalism" as I am…merely being naked was not nearly enough for me to cross the line Lorosia so desperately wanted me to Lorosia played dirty and displayed the inherent masculine side of his toon.

I cannot lie - such a burly expression of power coaxed a response in kind from me...

But that wasn't what Lorosia wanted to Lorosia demanded some tail...I didn't WANT to do that - I just couldn't help myself...

Something about the combination of a burly dwarfish woman coupled with the intense charge of commanded exhibition and the next thing I know, I lose all control. Lorosia was not prepared

That's right...Nik began to "ride that donkey donkey!" And even though the tastefully placed air bubble tried to hide what was in store for Lorosia, the fear became overwhelming. (Of course it did…there is nothing more intimidating than a Draenei in full rut, after all!) Lorosia, realizing this was far more than could be handled screamed "Stop!"

I yelled back "Is this NOT what you wanted?!"

WIth a whimper...Lorosia ran away and I learned valuable lesson - many may want the Nik, but few are prepared to handle

The end.

I've long said that Nik needs to do guest posts on my blog, and now you know why! And I swear, this shell is taking over our guild!