Friday, August 28, 2009

The Tyranny of the "What If?"

I'm going to get philosophical, but it's better than the rages that Bryan doesn't understand and send him running to check the calendar.

Life is a mix of pleasure and pain, and WoW is no exception. I play a game that I enjoy, at a level that I enjoy (most of the time), with people I enjoy. However, there are frequent reminders of how different I am, and it's beyond my control.

Oct got his priest to 80 this week, and I'm getting to see how different it would be playing Kyrania if I didn't have CP by watching him. I'm starting to feel like I'm being compared to Oct again, and it hurts. As much as I love being guilded with him again, at times I wish he'd never come back. There are factors in marriages where one spouse is disabled and the other isn't that most couples never have to consider. When my husband declines to run something, and the group pugs someone rather than ask me, I feel immensely jealous.

A couple things have happened over the past week that have made me feel quite marginalized in the guild. It's leaving me feeling stranded, like there is nowhere I belong. I don't have the twitch and reaction time to run with the big dogs, and yet, I'm hardcore enough in my personality that a guild that doesn't have a lot of raiding discipline would drive me crazy. That's when the "what ifs" take over. What if I didn't have CP and could react to things fast enough? I listen to Bryan push buttons and wonder how he manages to cast so quickly and not get hung up on the global cooldown.

I know Bryan sees me hurting, and he's powerless to fix it. I'm sure it's been a relief to him when I've gone to Baelgun to level my paladin when I don't know how to deal with the pain without causing drama.

At the end of the wall of what if's, this truth remains: I am unique, and I have found a guild that has embraced that uniqueness. One of my friends told me last week, while trying to take the bite out of something that was said in my hearing, "I don't play with you because you're pro, I play with you because I like you." If that can't be enough, I need to stop playing altogether.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The End of an Era

With a few tears, I deleted my alliance character on Baelgun. I never play her, some of the people I made her to keep in touch with no longer play, and to many of the others, I am a distant memory.

I left Baelgun for Turalyon amid guild drama that I was blamed for, but someone else started. Granted, I could have handled things differently, but so could others. Live and learn.
Still, the finality of typing "delete" into the box wasn't easy. I may make a horde toon to say hi to a friend who plays over there, I don't know. Right now, I've been concentrating on my warlock, who is okay as demo.

I'm hitting a wall where I'm very discouraged in-game, similar to what I went through around February and March. The difference now is that real life is livable, and WoW has become less important, although the people I play with have not.

Although I'm grieving for friendships I have lost, I treasure the ones I have now. To be valued for who I am, not what I can do, is special.

PS: I now have a Blood Elf Paladin on Baelgun. Not level 10 yet, but I'm enjoying her.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Titles, Mounts, and Pets!

It's summer, so raiding has took a bit of a back seat around the guild. I've been spending time working on achievements. The bottom picture is of me with the results of a few of my rep grinds. I got the Wintersaber mount, and the diplomat title. The top picture is of me in Archmage Vargoth's room right after he gave me the Kirin Tor Familiar. I'd spent a little bit of time this past week camping the locations, and I had some good luck with spawns. Last night, after raid, I decided to go to the spawn point of the last book I needed, and it was there! As soon as I clicked it and the achievement flashed on my screen, I heard on vent, "Grats, Carol. Now where's the book?" I love my guildies!
As another update, we're 2/5 in Trial of the Crusader, and are making steady progress on the third event. I'll talk more about the whole instance later - it's quite different.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Losing an Advocate

I haven't really posted about WoW (or anything) much lately, and I really should update on all the achievements I've gotten lately, but I wanted to do a tribute to someone whose work touches on the reason for this blog.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver passed away this past week. She was a tireless advocate for the disabled, and founded Special Olympics. In doing so, she made acceptable the idea that barriers to recreational activities should not exist for the disabled.

When I was disagnosed in 1975, my mother went to the local independent living center where she taught classes, and asked them what they could do for me. The response she got was that she should be happy that I could do so much. I look back on that, and look back on the past 30 years and all the games I've given up playing and all the activities I've stopped doing, and it doesn't seem fair to me.

Is it wrong to want access to everything a nondisabled person can do? Mrs. Shriver didn't think so, and she helped disabled people take their place in society with their heads held high, rather than feeling ashamed of being disabled. God bless you, Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

Friday, August 7, 2009

New Raid, John Hughes, and Free Speech?

Today's post is going to be kind of a mishmash of things. A lot of things are happening online and in real life that have me thinking about what it really means to be disabled in America, and with 3.2 coming out this week, I feel like I have to talk about raiding.

I went into Trial of the Crusader on 10-man on Wednesday night, and 25-man on Thursday night. Blizzard has decided to introduce the instances in stages, similar to the way Sunwell was unlocked. They are introducing one boss per raiding week until all five are out, and you cannot do heroic mode until you have finished normal mode. It's a bit of a pain, but it also keeps the Ulduar guilds going back in. The first event is very interesting, and requires a good bit of coordination, but we were able to get it down.

Yesterday around raid time, I read the news that John Hughes has passed away. I came of age with many of his movies like The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Pretty in Pink. He captured the '80s teen culture like no one else could, and created characters that teenagers could identify with. The messages he sent about being yourself and looking beyond labels still resonate with me today, as I look at my own teenager.

The last observation is from a facebook comment one of my friends made regarding a campaign to remove the phrase "that's so gay" from people's vocabulary. The comment characterized campaigns like these as interfering with free speech. Yes, free speech means that you can use "gay" or "retarded" (my hot button word) in a negative way, but just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean it's right to do. Also, the way we use words that refer to certain groups reflects how we feel about those groups, and marginalizes them. This is a really hard topic for me to talk about, because I risk making people I care about defensive, or hurting their feelings, and that's the last thing I want, but I can't stay silent about it anymore. Words reflect attitudes, and attitudes are hard to change. Think about what you're saying when you use those terms, please, that's all I ask.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New Content - Yay! Server Lag - Boo!

Yesterday was patch day, and I awoke to storms and a power outage before I went to work, or at least attempted to. The lightning strike that disrupted power to my subdivision also disrupted the power to the shopping center where I work. After a couple of hours, the power came back on, and I went to work, expecting WoW to be up when I got home.
When I walked in the door, my son told me he'd been looking at the realm status, and that Turalyon was still down. After a while, found an update that realms would be up by 3 PST, or an hour before raid time.
I went to make dinner, and as I was finishing it up, the server came online. Spent way too much time at loading screens, but looked at new jewelcrafting stuff, the new orphan quest, and my new druid forms. Given how horrible the lag was, we decided not to raid, but some of us went into the new 5-man instance. It was interesting - very different, and a bit of a learning curve, but interesting.
I've mentioned before that this summer, real life is hitting the members of CRC very hard. I'm hoping the new content brings some of them back. I miss my friends, and wonder how they are.
Last night, after the 5-man, a group of guys decided to try out a 10-man raid. They asked Oct, but not me, and I tried not to let my feelings get hurt. You can't talk about my dps without getting personal, because my disability, which is a part of me, affects my gameplay. However, what I learned in the process of going to social member was a reiteration of a lesson that I learned through nine years of competitive swimming. There's more to life than being the fastest or the best. Sometimes just quietly fighting can do more to pick people up than anything.
I've come a long way, in game and in real life, and that's enough.