Gracie’s Gaming Rollercoaster

The last week has been full of highs and lows in my gaming world and I thought I’d share some here. I’ll get the disappointments out of the way early so I can get on to the happy stuff! The big one is of course I did not get into the Legion beta. A friend asked me why I even care since playing the beta means burning out on Legion faster. Long gone are the days where I wanted to play the beta so I could practice leveling and dungeons and make a run for server firsts. Instead, I’d like to see the beta to poke at the new systems, see how the classes have been changed, and just gawk at the new world at a time when WoW is getting really stale.

The other disappointment also comes from the Blizzard front. I got the chance to play Overwatch both during the stress test weekend and the open beta. I was excited, but it turns out that I really do not like competitive shooters and that’s all Overwatch is. Yes, it is polished, beautiful, with a really interesting cast of characters, but if you don’t like shooting squads of strangers with a group of friends or yet more strangers, then this game probably won’t change your mind. The world seems so interesting, though. I’ll add my voice to the chorus that would love to play a PvE shooter in this universe, where I could take time to explore it better.

Enough with the bad, let’s talk about the good stuff! I’ve been playing the Ratchet & Clank reboot game and loving it. It makes me want to dig out my old copy of the original and see all the similarities and differences. I love this series of games so much, and I think part of why I enjoy WildStar as much as I do is because the style and humor very frequently remind me of Ratchet & Clank. Sadly the movie isn’t playing in any of my local theaters, so it looks like I might have to wait for it on Netflix or make a special trip to civilization to see it before it disappears.

My D3 season 6 is moving along nicely. I still need to set aside the time to work on a set dungeon mastery so I can move forward with the journey, and I still haven’t seen any of the new pets or wings drop for me, but otherwise I’m pretty happy with my progress. We’ve reached the point in my circle of friends where the truly hardcore folks have already finished their goals and moved on so it is harder to get carried, but it also means I can set my own pace from here on out. My plan to be slightly more social has also been working well, and I’ve played with quite a few old friends in the past week that I don’t usually get much chance to hang out with anymore.

The big surprise of this week is that I went back to FFXIV for a bit and had the most amazing possible time. I’m not sure exactly when I stopped playing, but the last time I talked about FFXIV much on this blog was during last Blaugust when we were working on the Ravana EX fight. We never did murder that bug before I left, so I’m guessing I’ve been away 7 or 8 months. My triumphant return started out a bit rocky, since I logged in to the bane of MMO nomads everywhere: cluttered bags full of stuff I had no idea what to do with. Once that was taken care of I also had to rebuild my UI and all my macros, which took the better part of an evening.

After all the frustrations of those activities I took a break for a couple days and came back ready to heal butts. I threw myself into duty roulette for some old and some new content and got reminded that I really do still love healing in MMOs, or at least in this specific one. I danced the dances and healed the butts and even occasionally did some DPS too and had a surprisingly good time. My fancy top hat definitely helped improve my mood too. The icing on top was I got to tag along with my Free Company’s pony farm night and won 2 new pony mounts. It’s like the game is trying to bribe me to stick around, and it might just work!

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Accepting Help

Last week was quite the rollercoaster around here, with a few very excessive ups and downs. The downs are personal so I’m not going to get into details, but they had me sad and anxious and stressed for a lot of the week. The ups were 100% due to the awesomeness of my friends in ways I cannot completely explain on this humble blog.

I had a long discussion with my spouse at one point during the week about giving and accepting gifts. We have so many cultural hang ups about accepting gifts in part because there are so many situations where “gifts” come with an expectation of some sort of reciprocity. It can be disarming to receive a gift, freely given just to make you happy or to help out when you needed it. This weekend I was getting carried a bit in D3, and I can sort of justify accepting that help because I know that once I get my character built up I’ll turn around and carry other friends later on. But in the middle of the silliness of being dragged through TX rifts I got a whisper from another friend inviting me to a WoW friendship moose run. In that case there’s no way I could repay that kindness. I’ve stopped raiding in WoW, all my characters are barely in Tanaan gear. I actually had to spend a WoW token to join the moose party because I had been distracted enough that my subscription had lapsed. I took my completely undergeared kitty druid into that raid and I ate the floor like a champion and walked away with a moose and it was amazing. There’s no way for me to repay the folks that made that possible other than to thank them profusely, and maybe try to pay it forward in some way when I am able.

Here’s the thing: happiness isn’t a zero sum game. Gifts don’t have to be transactional. Doing silly things for your friends can feel pretty great, so being on the receiving end of help shouldn’t feel weird. Life can be pretty crappy sometimes, so embrace happiness when it is offered and do your best to spread it around when you can. And to all the friends who made my week better last week, thank you.