You may have noticed that the posts on this blog have dried up some what of late. If you've been following me on twitter you might have an inkling as to why this is. If not, here's the low down. As usual when I post something of a more personal nature, there is a TL:DR version at the end.
Most of you have probably read my post on the personal trials I've been through in the middle of 2010. What most people don't really know though, is how the relationship I've had with Warcraft has evolved and changed in the last 10 months and why it is changing again now, on the brink of the next expansion.
Warcraft is a fantastic game. It is absorbing, thrilling, social and there is an aspect for everyone to enjoy. With all that it offers, it is easy for people to fall into a trap. A trap that the internet provides to all who chose to use the anonymity it grants to allow them to fantasise, to explore and to develop themselves in a way they may not be able to in 'Real Life'. It is only really a trap if you allow it overwhlem you and you sink down that big rabbit hole and the blinkers descend over your eyes. It's a pretty dark, comforting, little trap, but a trap none the less.
I fell into the trap early in my Warcraft experience, but I only really saw how far I'd fallen in March this year when I left The Monkey Tree, the guild that had been integral to my early Warcraft journey. That was when the blinkers started to fall off and the cozy little trap started to feel more like being stuck at the bottom of a well.
Whilst in TmT I'd risen through the ranks from a social player, to a member of the guild council, one step down from the GM. I'd taken on a lot of responsibility. I was a raid leader, forum moderator, event organiser, class leader (which I am still crap at), blogger and guild council member. In the end, it was too much. I quit raiding, I quit the guild and I ran as a 'lone ranger' for about 3 weeks until I joined my next guild where I steadfastly refused any level of responsibility more than being a good guildie and turning up on time. This break, stepping away from the guild that had consumed so much of my time and energy (through my own doing I hasten to add, I was never forced to do any of it), forced me to lift my head and look at the light at the top of the well. It forced me to look at the rest of my life and it made me realise what else was going wrong. Both my husband and I had grown to rely on Warcraft. I'd come home from work and we'd decide who was cooking dinner, who was walking the dog and plan our evening around the raid schedule we both had. Then we'd sit in the living room raiding with our respective groups and not talking to each other. In the day time, he'd hide from the real world by playing in Azeroth and ignoring the fact that he wasn't working and how terrible that made him feel. In the evening and at weekends, I'd play to hide from how miserable, drained and depressed I felt having to carry the relationship and household responsibilities.
In late March/early April, I visited my 93 year old grandmother in hospital following the first of several heart failures which would eventually lead to her death at the end of June. I kept thinking during the visit, 'Life is too short to be this miserable'. Two weeks later, I left my husband. Throughout this period, Warcraft, and in particular the raiding I was doing with the team I'm in, were very important to me. Each raid was a time when I completely tuned out the rest of the world and that little well of dark coziness returned to cocoon me from the pain I was enduring in real life. Azeroth, through both the game itself, the blogging opportunities it presented both here and on Chaotic Ramblings, and the Warcraft Twitter community, offered me escape and with that escape came a great deal of strength and the opportunity to vent my anger, depression and tears at something that ultimately, wouldn't get hurt by my outbursts or judge them.
That was probably the darkest moment of the last 6 months, the initial step away from my marriage, and then the clearing of the house and the move back with my mum. Hard, hard, H A R D. Time moves on though and I got through it. Which brings me back to the heading of this post and why things are so different for me now. Azeroth, in those months prior to the end of my marriage, enabled me to be a me I'd forgotten about. Existing in a marriage which had become little more than a flat-mate relationship and feeling caged and limited by the situation, I was able to be the fun, crazy, lewd, crude, filthy, flirting, funny, loyal, proud, caring, obnoxious, feisty Amy I had hidden away in my marriage.
In the last 3/4 months this person, the real Amy if you like, has leaked back into the non-pixelated world. It started as a small drip, drip, and has finally become a torrent. A pouring, gushing, hard-hitting, swelling, take-no-prisoners torrent. And fucking hell does it feel good. I've raised my head to the light at the top of the well and I've climbed up the wall to get out. My life has changed and I now stand in the light. No Pally analogies please. From sitting in a dark, dank, smelly well I've got a bright, spectacular, fun-filled future in front of me, that I'm already planning and working on with the best man I could ever ask for. Now I've seen what I was missing out on, now I've seen how much of my time, energy and thoughts Warcraft consumed, I've realised how much I'd sunk into that well, how much I'd shrivelled and hidden in the dark and how much comfort I'd found there. Add to this the end of the Wrath, the completion of my raid goal to kill Arthas and I feel it's a natural time to move on. I doubt I'll ever leave Azeroth completely, hell there's too many awesome people there that I'd never have got through this without, but I doubt I'll return to it in the same way again, which means I'm unlikely to blog to the level I did in my peak. I'm not saying I'll never blog again, just that it's likely to be limited. As for Tweeting, well, my CPS still needs an outlet some where.
I'd like to thank the entire WoW community for your love, support and humour. And also kick out a few personal thank yous. In no particular order, these are just a selection of the people from Terokkar EU who have stood out for me in WoW. Longstrider. Fireshaman. Verde. Woodstone. Aguacate. Amadela. Moreanna. Moreaulf. Hugregotwo. Candlewaxx. Zetronex. Serkul. Vecio. Grokknar. Gorani. Andycoopsdk. Benvalenn. Demomad. Kurufin. Vos. Kekec. Celesta. Gimmypig. Kellyc. Nobbygnome. Bok. Miskus. Gethin. Grethian. Gluck. Tryphena. Haos. Missha. Iosef. BigJ. Craggy. Rosie. Smoggy.
The WoW Twitter community - too many to thank individually but you've kept me sane, motivated and listened when I've raged. Thanks y'all.
If it wasn't for Warcraft, I wouldn't have ended my marriage. Or met my new man. Or had so much fun in the last 21 months. So I guess thanks to Blizzard for that one.
Finally, two special mentions. Ledzep - the bear who taught me to tank and fixed me up when I was broken.
And Darklive. Who I can never thank or love enough because you took me and loved me for all I am with all my crazy faults and over-confidence and loudness and rudeness and over-excitable nature. I am beyond excited to begin our life together in the New Year. All the way baby!
TL:DR - Life moves on, Warcraft changes, our gaming changes too.
Catch you later folks!