State of the Rez: To Blog or Not to Blog

The last time I posted anything on Waiting for Rez was in July of last year. Since then I have continued to play MMOs, and continued to participate in conversations on Twitter and on the Massively OP website however the lights were off here on my blog. What happened? Since I’m currently deciding whether to continue blogging or not, I figured a good place to start would be to explain the silence.

When I first chose to start this blog, it was because I enjoyed conversations with other commenters on Massively about specific MMOs and the industry. I saw bloggers continuing those thoughts and ideas and decided to do the same when the old Massively site was closing down and the new Massively OP was still just an idea. My goal was to write once a week (it then became three times a week) and the assumption on my part was that writing would take the place of one of my gaming sessions, taking only about 30-45 minutes of my time.

Instead I spent hours on articles that I wrote and instead of supplanting a night of gaming it became an activity I did in addition to the MMOs. Between playing, writing, and reading other blogs on MMOs my hobby was consuming too much of my time. I work full time, I’m married, and I have two kids and all of these things are more important to me than MMOs. I’m a member of a local church and love my church family and I love Jesus Christ even more and these things are more important to me than MMOs. However if you were to make a pie chart of how I spent my time, you would have (rightly) assumed the thing I valued most was MMO games and the communities that surround them.

So I stopped writing. It actually came as a surprise to me too, I never planned on closing down Waiting for Rez or set a date for when my last post would be. Instead I just lost interest seemingly overnight and moved on. I don’t know how something like that looks from your perspective, but from mine— especially in hindsight—it was a clear indicator that God had cut the umbilical cord linking me to harmful, obsessive behavior.

For months now, whenever I have thought of writing again I have shrugged my shoulders and decided I didn’t really want to spend the time available to me in that way. I still look at the amount of time I spend gaming and feel like it’s still a bit obsessive but at least I’m no longer spending hours almost daily writing and reading blog posts. That needed to stop and I’m glad that it did.

So why start up again now? Well, I’m not sure that I actually am. Like I said, I think about it off and on and I certainly have regular ideas that I could blog about but ultimately up until today I’ve chosen not to return. For me to start blogging again a few things would need to change:

  1. I need to schedule a time for writing that is not in addition to the time I normally spend playing MMOs. I have to make a choice and if I’m trying to write again in the evening when I should be with my wife or my kids then I will stop blogging again.
  2. I need to learn to write shorter posts and to be okay with one round of editing before publishing. I can no longer spend 2-3 hours making sure a post is perfect; it never was anyway.
  3. I cannot try to read everyone else’s blogs, and the ones I do read cannot conflict with family time. Just as with the writing, it either must be done during the time I would normally game or not at all.

In the end I may be done with writing about MMOs whether I’m able to stick to these three things or not. At the very least I’ve been wanting to post one more time to explain the disappearance. As much as I enjoy feeling like I am a part of the MMO blogging community, it’s more important to me that I belong to my family and church first and foremost.

And if I don’t see you all on WordPress, you can still find me in game.

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#NBI2015Safari: And So It Ends

My final entry in Murf’s #NBI2015Safari will bring us back to where it all began, the high fantasy world of Tyria. My first entry was a self-portrait featuring a Sylvari ranger from Guild Wars 2. It is the image I use for most social media services as my personal avatar. Today’s submission is a companion to that self-portrait; it is the image that I use as a header here at Waiting For Rez, on Twitter, and a few other places as well. Whereas the self-portrait reflects a point of decision— whether to continue a life of adventure or retire to relative safety— this image illustrates the beauty one might find if one chooses to press on.

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Our Sylvari adventurer has continued his journey through the Brisban Wildlands, leaving the path of safety for darker roads. During his wanderings, he discovers a hidden grove within the jungle, forgotten by the outside world. Carefully traversing a narrow passage of damp, moss covered stone, Weakness emerges into a place of oversized, luminous fungi and still waters. He stops to rest for a while. There is no danger here, only the violence of beauty; a sanctuary undisturbed by the industrial machinations and savage wars of the “civilized” races. It reminds Weakness of the Pale Tree, or rather as he imagines the Dream would have been, were it unaffected by the Nightmare.

Weakness was born into conflict. His transition from the Dream to the Waking was a tumultuous birth, warring against tooth and claw for a chance at life— what should have been his by natural right.

“No one should have to battle for the right to be born,” he thinks, “an opportunity at life should not have to be earned.” The wind ripples the waters at his feet, silently affirming the ranger’s indignation and loss.

It is this thought that steels his resolve, the injustice of never knowing the Dream-that-was or a peaceful Waking. He will fight the Nightmare Court. His world may be tainted by the narcissistic cruelty of Sylvari twisted by the Nightmare, but that does not mean it must remain that way. Weakness rests cross-legged in that place for several hours, allowing the saturated hues and laughing curves to take root in his heart. This sanctuary will be the image that burns in his mind when he is hopeless, wearied, and afraid. The hidden grove of Auroria’s Remains will be the tattered banner he will carry, the hill he will die on. Should he live to see the dragons destroyed and the Sylvari people saved from themselves, Auroria’s Remains will be the place to which he retires, but not until he secures the right for all Sylvari— for all Tyria— to dwell in a haven of their own choosing as well.

Looking one last time upon the grove, Weakness bids the maiden farewell; he will likely never see her again. Broadsword in hand, he disappears once more into the shadowy crest that hides this sanctuary from the horrors to which he returns.

#NBI2015Safari: A Sylvari Self Portrait

Look, this is probably going to be cheesy, alright? I’d like to tell you that’s not normally to my taste, but truth is I’m still a bit of a romantic. And not just in the rose petals and candlelit dinner sort of way; I love John Cusack blaring Peter Gabriel from a 1980s boom box as much as the next guy, but that’s not what I mean. I’m talking about the idealist, the visionary, the person who wishes the adventurous nature of fantasy was reality. We’re talking Don Quixote fighting windmills style romanticism.

That’s what I see in this screen shot from Guild Wars 2. I hardly ever play the game anymore and yet this picture has become the one I use on Twitter, forums, and here at WordPress as my self-portrait. This picture of my ranger invokes hopefulness, an adventurer peering out at the next leg of his journey. He is eager, anticipating adventure and either blind to or undeterred by the prospect of danger.

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Or perhaps his gaze is one of hesitation and uncertainty. He’s older now and has lost much of the recklessness of youth. Wiser, sure, but also cautious to a fault. He’s experienced enough failure to be a realist despite his propensity toward being a romantic. Nevertheless, the horizon calls, the promise of another adventure on the other side of that massive, stony divide.

That is why I love this screen shot, it evokes so many possible dispositions for the gazing Sylvari, all of which I can sympathize with. Whether his mindset is one of fear or expectation, he looks outward regardless. Signs of growth sprout from his head, green shoots that promise maturation with time. Eventually he will leave this vista and step back on the path of exploration. The only question that remains, how long will he linger and what will his hesitation cost him?