I’ve kind of gotten in the habit of ending an expansion by showing off my level-capped characters, and Legion is no exception. Here they are, in all their fashionable (?) glory.
Bring on BFA!
5 weeks. Leggo.
I’ve kind of gotten in the habit of ending an expansion by showing off my level-capped characters, and Legion is no exception. Here they are, in all their fashionable (?) glory.
Bring on BFA!
5 weeks. Leggo.
I don’t think anyone cares enough to have spent a lot of time wondering about why I left Crisp, though I’m sure when it happened, my guildies probably had a few theories. I didn’t give a lot of details then and I won’t go into specifics now, but since the guild as a whole played such a huge role in this expansion for me, I feel like not talking about it as a I look back on Legion would be to leave out a big part of my xpac experience.
I don’t go into detail about my personal mental health a lot, though in the wake of the news of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, I did open up about my personal experiences on Twitter recently, and I will not hesitate to share my issues if I believe it will help someone else. And yet, as it was one of the primary reasons I left my guild, we’re going to talk about it now.
I have OCD coupled with depression and anxiety. My personal feeling is that it’s all one thing, but breaking it down into its pieces makes it easier to talk about. I’ve written about some of my experience with OCD before, and those who follow me closely on Twitter have witnessed my anxiety and depression firsthand during the times when I fell apart (and, thankfully, had many helping hands to pull me back together).
As we neared the end of progression, some of the relationships I had formed in the guild were unraveling, and that coupled with my OCD and the stress of the progression itself were pushing me into an anxiety-ridden, deeply depressed state that was making real-life living difficult and being in-game almost impossible.
I went to a friend of mine to talk about it—everyone needs to have a friend like this, by the way—and he said something that stuck with me: “Amber. You deserve to be happy.” This shouldn’t be a mind-blowing revelation, right? But it was. So I started thinking about what I needed to do to be happy, and I realized that I needed to get away from my current situation. I needed to move on and make a new start. (As it turned out, I also needed medication, something I resisted for a long time but was and continues to be a huge quality-of-life improvement). And I needed time.
So I forced myself to stay on through Argus progression, both selfishly, because after wiping that many times on a boss, I wanted to kill it, and because after wiping that many times, I didn’t think leaving in the middle of progression would be a fair move for the guild, either. When Argus was over and I considered my options again, I knew leaving was the right thing. I needed to get myself back together.
I moved to my old guild, my OLD OLD guild, the first raiding guild I ever joined. I was in the guild for 7 or 8 years; they are family, and as soon as I told them I needed somewhere to be at peace, they opened their arms and welcomed me back.
It’s been exactly what I needed. I loved Crisp; you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better group of people to hang out with (and I’m sure they’re recruiting, so if you’re looking for a mythic raiding guild for BfA, I recommend them!), and had things been different, I probably would’ve stayed there indefinitely. But I did what I had to do to be okay, and that has to take priority.
The honest answer is: I have absolutely no idea. Within a week of leaving Crisp, I ended up in the hospital with a persistent infection that I’m unfortunately still fighting. It’s fatiguing, but I’m leaving it in the hands of my dedicated (if somewhat perplexed) surgeon.
Unfortunately, all of that combined–the anxiety, depression, and illness–have made being social extremely difficult. I’ve gone into absolute full turtle mode. Outside of Twitter, I barely speak to anyone. I’ve been appearing offline in WoW and Discord for a few months, and the last time I turned it on, I got a bunch of whispers and immediately turned it back off. If you’ve DM’d me or whispered me and I’ve ignored you, please don’t take it personally. It’s not that I don’t love you guys, I just don’t have the spoons right now.
As for BfA? I’m sure at some point I’ll want to be back into mythic progression and that will mean finding a new guild, something that kind of exhausts me to think about.
For now, I’m happy doing what I’m doing, which is mostly mythic+, chasing professions and achievements and mage tower appearances, and leveling in beta. And spending an unhealthy amount of time in Sims 4. No, really, what is it with that game?
Whatever comes next, I guess we’ll see.
Part 2: My Legion Raiding Experience
…was aptly named. Elemental shaman in the first tier were uh—well, not so good, honestly. I also was in the midst of a guild shakeup, which made raiding a lot more interesting (but not in a good way). I started in Syzygy on Sargeras at the beginning of the tier, but due to some differences of opinion, ended up in Crisp on Baelgun, with whom I killed Xavius and finished the expansion.
Things I liked about EN: Ursoc. Who doesn’t love what amounts to a burn fight? Sometimes it’s fun to do minimal mechanics and DPS as hard as you can.
Things I didn’t like about EN: Most of the rest of it. But I don’t know how much of that can be attributed to the instance itself and how much of it can be attributed to my situation at the time.
So uh. Yeah. I was on the bench for most of Odyn progression. Guarm was equally fun and annoying, depending on the day. Helya was an adventure and a test of our coordination and communication skills, which had varying states of success.
And then there’s The Chosen. Ahhhhh well. Our first Chosen recipient was a holy priest with the cloak who cleverly abused the cloak’s power to never technically die. Then there were a bunch of people that got it in one of our runs (including brand new guild members) who had never killed Helya before.
Me? I didn’t get it until halfway through the expansion because something always happened. One time we had a new balance druid who Starfalled Helya while we were setting up, then ran back to where the rest of the raid was, literally ran in a circle around us, and wiped us all. If you’ve heard the phrase “he ran around like a chicken with his head cut off,” he was exactly that. One time I got bombed on Guarm by someone’s debuff. Another time I was out of position and Gust-of-Winded into a tornado on Odyn.
It was so bad that by the time I got the title, the healers were focusing me and there was discussion about getting my druid and just staying in bear form to make sure I got it. Thankfully it didn’t come to that, but I’ve never been so happy to be done with a damn achievement in my life.
Ah Nighthold. Honestly, there are some things about Nighthold I really, really enjoyed. After a tier of what-good-is-an-elemental-shaman-anyway, we had a few bosses where we were able to actually have fun. Earthquake with Sephuz on Skorp was a good time; saving Stormkeeper for the little adds on Anomaly was actually helpful. And then there was Spellblade.
Yeah, our Arcane mage made me cry (I’m looking at you, Pecans), but it was still a good time.
And then there were the other bosses. High Botanist was our kryptonite, and Star Augur and I did not get along. At all. The fel spit phase was almost certain death, and I Trined us a few times until I realized that if you turn on Chat Bubbles you could see the Star Sign announcement above people’s heads and didn’t have to rely on the colors, which apparently in my advanced age of 33 matters (I maintain that the green symbol blends in with the floor like camouflage, I don’t care what anyone else says…).
As far as Gul’dan? I honestly don’t think he gave us nearly as much trouble as Botanist. He was an end boss who felt like an end boss and that was okay. Plus my fellow ele and I got to go ham on eyes at the beginning and that was fun.
I honestly enjoyed ToS. I know a lot of people didn’t, but I liked most of the bosses, I liked the environment, and I ran the place a LOT.
Favorite bosses? Actually, I liked most of them. Mistress I could’ve done without, but I was spared most of the progression on it, so I can’t complain much. Harjatan and Host were fun for elemental. I liked the Sisters, Maiden, Avatar, and KJ fights. I thought orb-catching was fun, I liked the dance on Avatar and while I think that KJ had some glaring issues (c’mon, that stand-around-and-get-bounced phase was actually awful), I liked the idea of the mechanics. But I’m not hard to please, so there’s that. I also was the weirdo who loved Imperator in WoD.
I should mention that in order to get a Maiden kill and to be in for Avatar and KJ, I had to switch to hunter because the lower single target damage of ele combined with the desperate need for immunities made it a poor choice (which sucks, I might add. Getting benched because of the class you play blows, but like it or not, it’s been a part of the game for a long time). BUT hunter was fun to play, so it turned out all right.
Man, screw Antorus. I liked ToS; I didn’t like Antorus. I don’t know if it was my state of mind at the time or the instance itself or a combination of both, but even now I try to do as little of it as possible.
There’s not a single boss in the instance that makes me go, “Yeah, I really liked that fight.” Varimathras was okay. Portal Keeper and High Command were fun for Chain Lightning. Everything else was decidedly meh. Argus took us over 700 pulls, and I wasn’t in a great place anyway so it was extra mind-crushing.
I have rarely been happy to see an instance come to an end, but when we killed Argus the relief was palpable.
These days, I only do Argus on normal/heroic on my characters if I can help it. I’ll do the Garothi/Aggramar/Argus bit if I have to, but I haven’t done a full clear of Antorus since I quit raiding, and I don’t see myself doing it anytime soon. I’m having a fine time doing Mythic+ and trying to cap all of my professions, tyvm.
Part 3: Why I Left My Guild & What Now?
Legion is over. Well, sort of. I’ve still got a couple of class mounts to pick up, some mage tower appearances to get, some achievements, some profession quests…okay, but really, it’s over. Argus is dead, the expac is done and dusted, so let’s take a look at it.
The Best: Mythic+
Hands down, my favorite thing about this expansion has been Mythic+ dungeons. I knew I’d like them, because I always thought Challenge Modes were cool, but I didn’t know I’d like them as much as I have. While it could never replace raiding for me, outside of raiding they are absolutely some of the most fun I’ve had in this game.
I like the fact that the affixes change to make each week a little bit different. I like that the challenge scales, that you can pick the difficulty based on where you are on your character or with your group. I like that using utility matters, that thinking about what your class/spec actually brings is important. I like that it’s extra rewarding to coordinate with friends but I also like that they can be pugged (with varying success, obviously).
And also, as I’ve expressed before, I really enjoy opening caches. I don’t know, it’s a thing. Send me empty boxes and I’d probably enjoy opening them, too.
The Decent: Story-based, Scaled Questing, the Mage Tower, & Class Mounts
Questing. I’m not going to pretend I did every zone on every character I leveled. I am not that committed. However, I did go through all of the zones on my main, completed all of the chapters, and as I did when they first kind of made the switch to the story-based model, I genuinely enjoy it.
I do love a good batch of quests to turn in (spoiler alert: what I’ve seen so far on beta is a really good balance of the two, at least in Kul Tiras. Story with a bunch of quests you can run around and do and turn in all at once for that super satisfying ahhhhh yeeeeah moment), but I love the progression of the story and having a clear path to follow. And also a clear ending—completing the zones in a dungeon was perfection to me and gave the instances an actual purpose as part of telling the story.
The scaling was well done, too; I liked that I could pick whichever zone I wanted to start in on a given character (Azuna was and still is my absolute favorite) and that no matter where I went in the Broken Isles, it would be appropriate to my level.
Except Suramar. God, I hated Suramar as an elemental shaman at the beginning of the xpac. Ugh. Seriously, I think I casted Healing Surge and Astral Shift more than actual DPS abilities. Thank God for Dwayne, my trusty Earth Elemental and forever tank.
The Mage Tower. I don’t even have a lot to say here. It’s challenging. It’s fun. It feels good to beat it. However, there are certain specs for which it’s annoying in that it could be extremely difficult to beat without a certain item level or legendary. A little bit finer tuning on the balance so that at the beginning it wasn’t a joke for one spec and hell for another would be nice. But they are fun.
Class Mounts. The fact is, I’m a sucker for class-specific things. I like characters. I like things that single out my class, and the mounts are a great little piece of that. The only drawback is that in order to get to the class mount, you do have to do the entire Legionfall Campaign quest chain, and doing that across all my characters got a little lengthy.
Also, my priest’s mount looks like it crashed headfirst into a window. You know I’m right. The wing-flappy sounds it makes when it’s flying are nice, though
The ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ : Legendaries, Artifacts, & Profession Quests
Legendaries. It’s not like we all don’t know what the problem with legendaries is/was, but let’s talk about it anyway: when a spec is reliant on a legendary to do well and the legendary system is RNG, it’s beyond problematic.
I’ve said it before, discussed it with guildies, run it into the ground, but it’s worth repeating: the whole thing could have been resolved by making legendaries 100% utility. Instead of “Oh man, I got Portal Pants” or “Damn it, I got the Feign Death helm” (my first legendary on my hunter, I might add), you’d get “Hell yeah, imma portal all over this bitch” or “I’ll live f o r e v e r.” As it was, if you were looking for that magical legendary (fire mages and their bracers, for instance) and kept coming up short, the difference in your ability to perform was noticeable and that sucks.
Granted, with the new Wakening Essences catch-up system, that’s somewhat improved by making it possible to “farm” legendaries, but it’s still a legendary chance, which means you could still end up on the sad end of the spec you want to play minus the legendaries you need to play it competitively.
Once you get the legendaries, however; they do make for some compelling gameplay and choices (depending on the spec, some specs are just “equip this legendary, do this rotation, check and check”). I enjoyed having them and using them, just the getting there part could’ve been better.
Artifacts. Again, this mostly applies to the beginning of the expansion. The whole “we didn’t think you’d actually farm Maw of Souls endlessly to get AP” and “just because we design the game to be played 80 hours a week doesn’t mean you should” system is an issue. The fact is, sometimes WoW players want to be competitive and if you say “you have to acquire this to be better,” we’re going to find the ways to make the acquiring happen.
Grinding AP was not the most fun experience, let’s be honest. Now, of course, it’s a joke—we have the research that makes catching up characters easy peasy, but in the beginning, that AP farm was a rough haul. Hopefully we’ve learned from this? Team? I haven’t hit level cap in beta yet so I don’t know what that experience is like. I’m cautiously optimistic.
Oh, and while we’re on artifacts, can we take two seconds to talk about the damn Crucible? Do you guys remember when they took reforging away from us specifically because “we don’t want you to get a piece of gear and have to take it to the reforger and run it through sims before you can use it?” Um. Hello? What do you think we end up doing with relics and the Crucible? I’m just saying.
Profession Quests. Okay, so, here’s the thing: I actually like the profession quest concept. I love that you can just jump right into the current level of professions and get moving on it by doing the quests. I even like that there are stories for each profession (if you can’t tell, I like stories).
But some of the requirements for those quest chains got tiresome, especially if you repeated professions on multiple characters. Just—I don’t know, ease up a bit? Shorter quest chains? Fewer instances?
And then there’s Field Medic achievement. I just really started working on this after seeing everyone talking about it on Twitter, and holy hell, I can already see why everyone’s talking about it. Hang in there, boys and girls, I believe.
It’s the end of the tier (at last). A tier in which I was in 2 guilds and we saw 3 raid instances. A tier with legendaries and trinkets and unprecedented levels of gear RNG that could thrill you or make you want to stab your computer in the span of 20 seconds or less.
IT’S OVER. WE DID IT. <Crisp> has killed Gul’dan a few times now and it’s fair to say Mythic Nighthold is solidly on farm from now until, what, like a month from now when Tomb of Sargeras is released?
Hey, I’m taking my month and running with it.
Running world quests for concordance AP, that is.
Anyway, whenever you hang out with the same group of nerds enough, things happen. Memes happen. So I reached back a bit and pulled out the let’s-make-an-album folder for <Crisp>, and this is the result.
See you guys in ToS!
I’m about to get really personal and really long, so if that’s going to make you uncomfortable or you aren’t interested in that, that’s cool, and I’d advise just navigating somewhere else for this one.
If you’re still with me, it’s either because you’re genuinely interested or because that sentence worked like a DO NOT PUSH THIS BIG RED BUTTON sign. I’m cool with that too.
In the environment in which I play games, most notably World of Warcraft (obviously), but it extends to most games I play and most groups of people I play with, shit talking is the norm. Jokes are the norm. And I’m 100% okay with that. I have no problem taking it or dishing it out (yeeeeeeah see, the joke is RIGHT THERE, you’re welcome).
And we can get pretty crass pretty quickly. Not that I would ever…yeah okay, guilty as charged, whatever. 😉 I’ve heard things that would make my parents blush, and my dad’s former military so I know he and I could go toe-to-toe with stories (not that I ever would. Awkwaaaaaaaarrrrd).
But when you use the word “retarded” or when you make jokes about autism or anyone with a disability, really; I don’t laugh. And I’m never ever going to.
Truthfully, I’ve never been comfortable with this, as far back as I can remember. But I’ll make no pretense of the fact that my son is autistic and that my daughter is also likely on the spectrum and that it weighs heavily on how I feel about the subject.
The thing is, to you it’s a joke. Someone does something weird or stupid and you ask, “Are you autistic?” Every time you say it, it stings. Every time you say it, I wince.
Because when I hear the word “autistic” and I look at my son , I see almost 9 years of love and struggle and understanding and amazement and wonder and joy.
I remember the night I realized that the way he was acting had a reason. I remember worry and terror struck into me by certain organizations that use fear-mongering to capitalize off of parents and families of autistics.
I remember the first time he spoke a word in context (it was “go” and I cried for 10 minutes). The first time he responded to his name. I remember when I thought he’d never be able to blow a bubble or tell me he loved me.
And then I remember the moments he did those things. And the people who helped me see and remember that “autism” isn’t a scary word. It’s just a thing that some people have. It makes my son different, sure; but it doesn’t mean he’s stupid. It doesn’t mean he has to be limited in what he wants to achieve. It’s going to be a different path for him. And so far, the kid he’s becoming is amazing.
This year is the first year he’s been in a standard classroom for some of his subjects, and he’s excelling. He’s smart, compassionate, sweet, and he’s developing a pretty hilarious sense of humor. I love all of him, even (and maybe sometimes especially) the “autistic” parts. You don’t know what joy is until you see him flapping his hands because he just can’t hold the happiness back.
Some things are hard. It’s difficult to see him frustrated or upset because he can’t communicate in the way he wants to. I know he does things sometimes and doesn’t know why he can’t control it, and I know that must be really frustrating for him. I can’t always fix those things, I can only be there to help him cope with it and find ways around it.
But that’s okay, cause he’s incredible and strong, and my heart still melts every night when he says, “I love you, Mom.” When I go afk in the raid with a “brb babies,” it’s because that’s a moment I refuse to miss, no matter what else is going on.
So yes. It’s very, very personal.
Except you are. And every other autistic. When you make “autistic” synonymous with “stupid” or “weird,” you’re creating a new label while simultaneously removing the importance of the actual meaning of the word.
“You just ran into that patch of fire on the ground, are you autistic?” Change the word “autistic” to “stupid” and the meaning of this sentence doesn’t change.
“Amber’s son is autistic.” Change it to “stupid” in that sentence. You’ve just insulted an 8-year-old kid. You’ve also minimized the fact that autism is a very real part of our life and a very pivotal part of who he is.
You are devaluingthe word. And that makes it a lot harder for our voices to be heard when we’re asking for things like acceptance and asking for people to remember to always presume competence.
Okay, let’s be real here for a minute, me and you. Let’s put ourselves in one of those situations. Let’s be halfway through a raid when you say “are you autistic?” and it starts a string of jokes about autism. Let’s jump right in to the times you’ve actually insulted me as a mother or my son as an autistic (cause it’s happened).
What would happen if I said something? What would happen if I told you in that moment that you were being offensive? That I didn’t think that was funny? What would reallyhappen?
Things would get weird, at best. Everyone would feel a little awkward. Or, at worst, you’d start to make fun of me for being sensitive. The new joke would be that I can’t take a joke. Maybe it wouldn’t be a joke, maybe it’d just be whispers between people about “Oh, don’t make an autism joke in front of Amber, she’s gonna get all mom about it.”
Not only would it not make a difference in how you think or behave, it would make the situation worse for me. So I sit and I listen and I wince and I’m sad that people I otherwise really, really like have this ugly thing that I have to put up with.
This morning, when I dropped my son off at school, we did our routine. He gave me a hug, a kiss, and one forehead kiss. He said “Goodbye, Mom,” like he always does. He walked down the hall by himself and into his classroom. And every day I couldn’t be prouder.
When you say autistic, I see my son’s face, and it’s not stupid or weird. It’s wonderful.
So I decided to start blogging again because I missed it, and then I couldn’t think of anything good to write. Typical, yeah? Navi stepped in and offered a hand this week when she tagged me in her post for the Real Neat Blog Award.
The rules are pretty familiar: there’s some tags and some questions and some more tags. Oh, and I couldn’t get comments to work but I wanted to say that Navi’s idea to go 500 years into the future and see what’s up is awesome and I never would have thought of it but now I have to steal it.
Here’s Navi’s questions for me:
1. What would constitute a perfect day to you?
I like tranquility. The older I get, the more I just want peace most of the time. A perfect day would start with a really good cup of coffee and a little bit of chill in the air and a porch or a balcony where I can sit quietly and think. Then some quiet time with my family (which is itself a miracle). Definitely a restaurant in there somewhere because I admittedly love going out to eat. I’ve had a lot of perfect little moments lately–if I could string them together into one whole day, that would be it.
Honestly just a peaceful day with my family and some good food thrown in. It really doesn’t take much to make me happy.
2. Which super villian (if any) do you secretly admire or feel sorry for?
Mmmm, Magneto maybe. Not admire so much as feel sorry for. You can look back at his history and see why he’s become what he’s become, and that’s kind of heartbreaking.
There’s a whole ‘nother thing about villians I think are amazing villians. I hate them, and I am allowed to hate them because of how evil they are–I guess that’s kind of a backwards admiration? Agent Smith from The Matrix, Voldemort from Harry Potter, and Negan from The Walking Dead. The thing these three have in common is that they aren’t redeemable characters. They are unquestionably, undeniably bad, which makes them incredible villians.
3. If you had to recommend one book to read, what would it be?
Ugh, that’s really hard, limiting it to just one. There are 2 books I read early in my childhood that had a lasting impact (as in, I still read them today), so I’m going to have to mention both. First, A Wrinkle in Time, and second, The Giver. These are books I am encouraging my daughter to read because they’ve stuck with me for so long. If I were a middle school English teacher and was allowed the choice, these books would be in my curriculum.
4. What is something you wish you could do but you can’t (eg draw, sing)?
Draw for sure. I love art, I have all these images in my head that are amazing in my head but they live there because I’m not an artist. To try to reproduce what I picture would be to do a disservice to anyone who saw it.
5. If you could play with someone in World of Warcraft, who would you play with and what would you do with them?
With anyone or with someone that already plays? That’s difficult. For as social as the game is, I tend to spend a lot of my time alone (and I’m perfectly content with that). If I’m choosing anyone, probably my little brother, just because I rarely get the chance to spend time with him (he’s not a gamer and he’s a very busy band nerd!).
If I’m choosing someone famous, I think it’d be fun to play any video game with Chris Hardwick. He’s all Nerdist and The Talking Dead now but I remember when he was on G4 and I think that’d be a blast.
6. What was the kindest thing anyone has done for you in a computer game?
Ahhhh there are so many things, honestly. I’ve said it so many times, but the WoW/Blizzard Twitter community of players has been an amazing network of people for me. There are many of you guys who have supported me in everything from game-related stuff to things with my kids to my husband’s heart attack…the list is long and full and I’m very blessed by you guys.
The most demonstrative thing any one person/group of people has done for me was when my previous guild, Syzygy-Sargeras, sent me and my husband a gift basket following his heart attack full of healthy foods he could eat and thoughtful notes of encouragement. I literally cried; it was pretty amazing.
Also, the little leadership team of that guild when we first started surprised me with my good friend Pepe because they knew I wanted him, and it still makes me smile every time I see him.
7. If you could choose your spirit animal, what would it be?
I like to think more of a Patronus (a la Harry Potter) than a spirit animal, and I think that would be an owl for me.
Okay, so I hate tagging people cause I never like to feel like I’m putting someone on the spot OR leaving someone out, so as usual with things like this, I will leave it open-ended. If you feel froggy, I’d love to read your answers to my questions! Here, your own blog, Tumblr, Twitter…skywriting? Maybe not skywriting. 😉
My questions…sort of questions? Prompts?
And thank you again, Navi. ❤ Thank you for always making me feel like part of the community. You’re a star at what you do, and we’re all better off for it.