Category Archives: meta-wow

I Want to Believe

As usual I have the best readers. I mention offhandedly in a post that I can’t afford Cataclysm and the next thing I know I have enough money to cover it a few times over. So at this point, not only can I snag Cata and some WoW cards, but I can buy WoW time for my younger siblings, too, as their Christmas present. Awesome! <3 So the world went kablooey the other day, as I'm sure we're all aware. I haven't had much of a chance to survey all the damage yet but I did run around and snag a bunch of new pets in an effort to stave off my gnawing desire to roll and level a gnome priest as my way to see the world (I want to give it a few days until the starting areas are a little less congested). But hey, Fox Mulder is already level 80!

Now taking suggestions on what I should tame for a Scully.

Art, Life, and the End of the World

I want to thank the huge response my art commissions announcement got. It was so huge, in fact, that it warrants this second announcement, which is basically to say that if you are still waiting on your art, don’t worry, you’re in a queue.

You guys are lifesavers though, really.

In further good news I have secured myself a job… it’s part time, and seasonal, and a long drive away, but it’s something and I’m desperately hoping that it will turn into something more stable.

For being my faithful readers who have been here through thick and thin, you deserve nothing less than the truth, and the truth is as such: my personal life has been in pretty dire straights for about a year now. I won’t go into excruciating detail but suffice to say that anytime things start to pick up, they immediately take a nosedive again. Over the course of the last year, I’ve lost my apartment, lost my job, had to move to a remote corner of the world far from all my friends, watched my family fall apart, and been slammed with medical bills that I cannot pay. Really the only stability I’ve had, aside from the glorious escapism of writing, has been my online friends, including World of Warcraft and the various social networks I’ve made there, the blogging and Twitter community in particular.

I’m telling you all of this partly so you know what’s going on, and partly to explain the constant yo-yo “I’m hiatusing! I’m back for good! I’m not back for good!” etc. that has been happening here over the last several months.

And I’ll come right out and say it: I probably can’t afford Cataclysm. That’s fine; World of Warcraft is the first thing to get dropped in the priority queue any time crap hits the fan (which has been happening a lot lately) which is why I’ve been a dedicated “weekend casual” for a while now. I can scrape up enough for month-long subscriptions every now and again and I look forward to leveling a gnome priest and probably a tauren… paladin, I’m thinking. And so long as I am doing that, I will continue to blog as I can. I can’t guarantee a set schedule or theme, but I’ll still be posting. Not just for you guys, but for me. Because I love doing this.

Welp, that’s that. Much love for all, and see you when the world explodes <3

Rah Rah Ah Ah Ah

I always loved hunters but it was a bit of a bizarre relationship. I loved them for what they were, obviously, but I also loved them because I was afraid to try anything new. Because anytime I tried anything new, I was expecting a carbon copy of a hunter, and when this never turned out to be the case, I would quit said new character in frustration. I was, for lack of a better term, caught in a bad romance.

After several months of hiatus things are different. I no longer feel like I have to keep writing hunter guides. I mean, tons of you guys followed me over to my new blog to hear me talk about things like aquarium test strips. Seriously.

I can feel the excitement.

I have also Officially Quit Raiding. I don’t have the time or the previously discussed mental stamina. My guild keeps trying to talk me into letting them drag me to an Arthas fight so I can see it, but I’m pretty apathetic about the whole issue. If I see him, fine, if not, fine. Ya know?

So my beloved hunter has been relegated to the status of BadgeBot. I run random LFGs with her when I’m feeling up to it. I spend the badges on those BoA heirlooms and Primordial Saronite. That’s right, I’m in Ulduar tier stuff and spending badges on stuff that isn’t better gear. Savvy?

Instead of raiding and endgame, I’m dinking around in alts which are tons more fun. When I started WoW again I made a pact to myself that I was going to be The Very Model of a Modern Major Casual, and I’m happy with how it’s turned out. I’ll spend a half hour or so in game every day, doing things that are familiar (starter areas/old instances anyone?) but also different. For example, after avoiding melee like the plague for years, I have a Feral Druid. And a rogue. My word, I love my rogue. And her vanity guild.

...gaga ooh la la?

Stuff dies before I can use Eviscerate. It’s hilarious. Also I’m a gnome, and an engineer, which means that as soon as I go into WSG I am going to become the embodiment of everything that Every Horde PvPer hates. It will be glorious.

I also really like her name. Tourbillon. This is a tourbillon:

It’s POWERED BY PHYSICS! Fully mechanical; and it goes on a watch, which means it’s about the size of what, your thumbnail?

Perfect name for a gnome rogue engineer, no? <3 I've also started making alts on the servers of friends and fellow bloggers. I used to avoid doing that because I was really bad about logging on to them and then I'd feel horrible about making an alt somewhere and never playing it. I'm trying to be better this time, though. I'm Pike, and I endorse this Pointless Post.

So I was playing this game and OMG LOOK A SHINY

When I was younger I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. (And before you all go into some sort of tirade against clueless parents or something, be aware that it was mostly my idea– I was a rather informed young thing.)

There is a long and convoluted story behind all of this but suffice to say that the second school stopped interesting me was the second I stopped caring. As far as I was concerned, my games of make-believe held much more weight than whatever boring homework the school system was throwing at me at the time. The result was that suddenly the “gifted school” girl was failing everything in sight, and nobody knew why. Yeah, that was kind of an uncomfortable time in my life.

I struggled with this issue for quite some time– all through middle school and then some of high school– and then finally I started taking meds.


Mmyep, I read the label, and this was pretty much it. Seriously.

That was when something crazy happened. See, the meds had a completely different effect than what was originally intended. Instead of giving me the drive and focus to concentrate on school, they gave me the drive and focus to concentrate on video games. For hours on end.

Up until that point, I could only play video games for small amounts of time and then need a break. Suddenly I was binging on everything in sight. Zelda: Ocarina of Time for 18 hours a day? Did it. Starcraft for 18 hours a day? Yup. Mario Freaking Golf? Did that too.

Aaaanyways I was on the meds for a while and then halfway through college I quit, cold turkey. There were a few reasons for this but chief among them was “Why am I taking this super addictive crap when the tradeoff is probably not even worth it?”

Plus I missed my imaginary friends.

Well once I got over about a month of painful withdrawal symptoms (further cementing my desire to not touch the stuff ever again), things had returned to normal– so it would seem. See, I wasn’t playing a whole lot of video games at this point because I was working and going to college. In fact, I wouldn’t really seriously game again until I graduated college and installed WoW.

I was soon back to my old shenanigans again as far as video games were concerned: I am unable to sit still and play a game for more than a couple of hours at a time. Oh, believe me, during the early WoW honeymoon phase it was several shifts a day, but these were interspersed with frequent breaks.

Anyways, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Pike, where are you going with this?”

Okay, I’ll cut to the chase. This whole insanely long prologue was meant to be a lead-in for this:

I can’t do that thing that everyone else does and binge play.

Seriously.

Chain heroics? Really? I can do two heroics, max, before I want to smash my head into a wall.

Raiding? An hour in and I’m done. I just stay the rest of the way out of courtesy more than anything. Karazhan was really the only raid that was near-immune to this phenomenon, because it was interesting. And Naxx wasn’t too bad, I guess. But ultimately this was one of the big reasons why I quit raiding. I just don’t have the mental stamina for it. After an hour or so, I simply don’t enjoy it anymore. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I kind of liked ToC. Short and to the point.

Leveling? Guys, not even heirlooms and the new in-game Quest Helper map can save me from how slowly I level. One level a day is a good day for me… and that’s pre-60. All you people that say stuff like “Oh I am leveling from 76 to 80 this weekend?” Seriously, you can do that? I think when I leveled my druid from 76 to 80 it took about a month. And I was a freaking healer and was getting groups every five seconds.

Doing anything on one single character for more than about an hour? There is a lot of crying and wailing and gnashing of teeth on my end.

Let’s not get me started on dailies. Dailies have tossed a sharp pointy stake in the heart of more than one online game for me.

I don’t know how you guys can do it. I mean, clearly, I must have at one point, because I think back to all the video game marathons I managed back when I was on Speeeeeeed™, and I did it back then. These days, though, I can’t go back to that, and ultimately I wouldn’t want to. I like how I am at this point, you know, with the whole doing-one-heroic and then having-to-log-off-for-several-hours-to-recuperate thing. Because in all those several hours that I am logged off, I’m doing other things like drawing or reading or writing or what-have-you, or maybe even taking out the trash when I’m feeling really inspired.

Well, now that I have elaborated far more on this than I was originally planning to, I hope that maybe you have an unde- SQUIRREL.

LF3M: All the Details On Having a Significant Other Who Plays

song-chart-memes-have-girlfriend Couples who play WoW together is not an uncommon thing. I can think of at least a few in every guild I’ve been in thus far, and the combinations I’ve encountered are endless: married couples, engaged couples, boyfriend/girlfriend, boyfriend/boyfriend, couples who actually met each other in game, couples who play on entirely different factions and servers from each other… yeah, I can think of good friends who fall into each of those categories.

Still, not everyone who is currently involved in a relationship has a significant other who plays, and I’ve seen various opinions on this ranging from “Aaagh I wish my girlfriend played!” to “I’m so glad my boyfriend doesn’t play!” and everything in between. What’s it really like, though?

Well obviously this differs from couple to couple, but lemme tell you my story and what I’ve learned.

As of this fall, The Boy and I will have been together for five years. …huh. Now that I think about it we started dating the month WoW came out. o.O Anyways, neither of played at first. Most of our friends did, though, and eventually one of them talked us into trying it out a couple years later. Thus it was that we began our journeys through Azeroth on the same day. Those were the days. Once we figured out how to be in the same area as each other, we started questing together frequently, although we played by ourselves as well. By the time we hit level 45ish we’d encountered most of the little group of people that would become our collective friends-base, and we started doing instances and stuff too.

I got to level 58 before he did, but waited several hours to go through the Dark Portal so the two of us could go through it together. I also hit 70 a few days before he did– though he would riposte several months later by getting to 80 a few days before me (it’s not my fault I can’t do what he does and scoop up every quest in the zone and do them all and turn them all in within a few hours /grumble).

We’ve done a lot together; raiding, heroics, several quests, the occasional battleground. Until recently we were always in the same guild. Suffice to say, we’ve shared a lot of experiences in this game.

It has, of course, not always been a bed of roses. Let’s talk about scheduling issues, for one. I mostly work afternoons and evenings at the moment, whereas The Boy attends school and does his equivalent stuff during the day. It’s difficult enough to sneak in time with each other with that sort of schedule, but let me take you back to a rather unpleasant period earlier this year where we were raiding on different nights. He was raiding Naxx on Saturday because that was the best time for him, but I work most Saturdays, so I found myself doing my raiding on Fridays (and occasionally Sundays as well).

While we were both understanding about this issue, it was hard as well. Hard enough that it discouraged me from raiding for a long time, because as much as I love raiding– I didn’t like that I was doing it on one of the rare nights where I could be spending time with The Boy. Ya know?

It didn’t help that The Boy was doing it with all my friends and guildies and they would just breeze right through Naxx in a couple hours, whereas I was doing it with a group of unknown faces and we would struggle on bosses that should’ve been easy. After any of The Boy’s Naxx clears I’d inevitably find out a bunch of hunter gear had dropped. I was super jealous of The Boy at that point, and I think it caused some tension. Oh, don’t get me wrong– I came to really love my impromptu little raid group, and it was quite a rush when our ragtag fellowship finally got to a point where we were breezing through Naxx too, and chalking up a lot of achievements in the process. But in the beginning, it was hard.

Here’s another thing I always say is difficult about having a significant other who plays: Ever had those days where one person just wants to chatter on and on about WoW and the other person… doesn’t? I dunno, I think I’ve been on both sides of that coin– I think the both of us have.

But as difficult as it is sometimes… on the other hand, it’s so nice to have a built-in support system. In a world where only a few people out there would understand all the gaming jargon you’re spewing at them… who else but your best friend and partner to babble it all to? Who else but that shoulder to cry on when your PuG raid is terrible or when there’s weird guild drama going on? Who else to send funny forum links and WoW-related YouTube movies to? Who else to read Warcraft novels with and make horrible jokes with at the expense of various lore characters? Who else isn’t going to inwardly laugh or think you’re crazy when something in game moves you to tears? Who else understands?

Awesome to have that person right there, lemme tell ya.

Oh, and honestly, I’m such an addiction-driven soul that without having someone there to balance me out– someone to say “Let’s go watch House” sometimes or recommend me new Star Wars books to read– I’d probably have really crashed and burned in-game by now. I might be raiding more and have shinier gear, but the tradeoff wouldn’t be worth it.

The Boy quit playing WoW a little while ago; his subscription ran out and he hasn’t resubscribed. He may or may not be back. Either way, he lets me go off and feed my hunger for raiding (or alt’ing) when I need to and he is more supportive of my blogging than anyone else I know. Oh, and he laughs at my “What does Kel’Thuzad eat between meals? SNAXX!” joke.

So, while having a significant other who plays is not always as easy and fun as it might look on the outset…

…in the end, it’s worked out pretty well, I think.

WoWPirates

DON’T WORRY, I’M NEVER GOING TO BE ALL SAPPY AGAIN! COME BACK! /frantically waves audience back D=

Pike's Top Ten WoW Moments

I recently wrote up a post over at my LiveJournal where I listed and posted movies of the top ten video game moments that gave me goosebumps. Anyways, I had a lot of fun writing that post, and I figured I’d go ahead and make a similar post, except focusing on World of Warcraft, which would let me get away with posting it here! I also figured I’d make it more of a “Top Ten WoW Memories” post to broaden the criteria a bit… oh, and add commentary in lieu of having a video for everything.

And so, I present Pike’s Personal Top Ten WoW Moments

10. The Gnome Rogue: You can read the full story here if you haven’t already; this is one of my favorite memories of PvP, period. To this day, I swear to you that you could see the shock on the poor guy’s face.

9. Ice Barbed Spear: For days I lived in Alterac Valley. For days we lost. For days I would push back dinner if it looked like we were in a winning game, which always turned out to be false, of course. And, then, one day… we won. I went from completely Neutral with Stormpike to halfway through Friendly by the time it happened. But we won. I have never seen a battleground chat so filled with shock and cheers. And I, at long last, had My Shiny.

8. The Safety Dance: Most of you who have been reading my blog in its WotLK incarnation for a while know about how Heigan was my Ultimate Nemesis for weeks. Every time I would go doggedly into Heigan, and every time, I would die on pretty much the first glimpse of green fire. Dead. Kaput. Tawyn Flatbread. It got worse as before long, most people I knew were talking about how easy it was. Not for me. And to add insult to injury, “The Safety Dance” is seriously one of my favorite songs of all time. How embarrassing.

Then, one day, in there with a PuG, a friend of mine gave me some brief last minute advice before I headed in. “Just keep moving.” Five minutes later…

safetydance

The achievement. And the first time I survived. At the same time. I was on a high for days.

Since then I’ve only died on that fight if the disease on me isn’t cleansed fast enough. My druid even got the achievement on her first sojourn into Naxx. What was once my Fail Fight has become my speciality. Miracles can happen.

7. “We’re Going For the Epics. Epiiiiiiics!”: The boy and I were level 40ish, questing in Hinterlands, when my comrade-in-arms let out a gasp. I asked him what had happened, and he said, “I just got my first purple drop… and… I think… I am going to give it to you.”

It was called Bow of Searing Arrows, and it was my very first purple. I used it with pride for a very long time.

6. Home Sweet Home: I know I’ve written before about the feeling of flying into Elwynn and immediately feeling that very cozy “home” feeling so I’ll keep it brief; suffice to say it was one of the major motivators behind upgrading my Trial Account to a full-blown paid account. Because no video game had ever made me feel like that before.

5. My Kingdom for a Horse: The other big motivator behind upgrading my Trial Account was access to a mount. I decided early on that I wanted a horse rather than the typical Night Elf Cat, largely because of Tawyn’s RP backstory but also partially because I just really dislike the look of the cat mount. And so I began my long climb up the mountain that is Stormwind rep. Fortunately for me, Stormwind is arguably the easiest faction OF ALL TIME to gain rep for, so I was exalted at level 37– this was back when mounts were at 40, remember.

The boy and I were smack in the middle of Stranglethorn Vale quests when the big 4-0 happened for both of us; he got his special fiery warlock mount and I got my Chestnut Mare, which I promptly “named” Buckles. Then, the two of us rode up and down the entire southern half of Eastern Kingdoms together, simply out of the sheer joy of being able to do so.

TawynsHorse

4. Healing Naxx: This PuG Naxx10 was basically the culmination of a project involving my only non-hunter character to ever get anywhere near endgame– the final exam, so to speak, of my decision to doggedly level a druid as 100%-pure-Resto. I’d never healed a raid before (that wasn’t “Kara with 80s”, anyway) so I was ridiculously nervous, and then I found out that this group wanted to do it with only two healers: a trade of faster boss kills at the cost of less room for healer error, which absolutely terrified me.

And yet, one by one, all the bosses that I was afraid of as a healer… Patchwerk, Razuvious, Loatheb… went down to the healy might of a scrub tree druid in blues and the nice holy paladin who coached her and whispered her tips. At the climax of it all was a Kel’Thuzad kill during which, after a few false starts, not a single person died to one of my worst fears: Ice Blocks.

Most of the memories in this post are of my hunter(s), and naturally and understandably so, however, my healing alter-ego is very proud of what thus far is probably her finest hour.

3. “ENTELECHY GLORIAM!”: I have no doubt my fellow Silver Handers will recognize the guild that is involved in this story: a Paladins-only super-hardcore RP guild that focuses on, well– zealous paladins. They’re pretty well-known on our server, and as frequently happens with really well-known RP guilds, everybody starts tying in their RP with them. Our guild was really no different at the time; although we made a pretty conscious effort to have “our own RP” it was hard to not have tie-ins with the biggest RP guild on the server.

So it was that we held our weekly in-character guild meeting on the steps of the Stormwind Cathedral, against the in-character wishes of the Paladin guild. It wasn’t long before several members of said guild showed up and demanded that our little group of ragamuffins left; we countered that the Cathedral was for everybody. Now our guild meeting had had a rather impressive turnout that day, and it wasn’t long before, a good fifteen- or twenty- strong, we all marched right into that Cathedral. Paladins were yelling at us left and right to get out, and we were /yelling “ENTELECHY GLORIAM” which was actually sort of a spoof of the paladins themselves (hey, you can have some fun when you RP!) and we had a little gnome making “Myek!” noises and Trade Chat was hating on us and it was all around one of the greatest things of all time.

ENTELECHY GLORIAM, NEVER FORGET.

2. The Gift: This one was the mastermind of one of my bestest-WoW-friends. He had a level 80 hunter long before I did, and I idolized him for it, but he eventually perma-switched mains to Tanky Warrior and that’s how we all leveled up together. Anyways, one day, when I was level 65 or so, he asked me to meet him out in Blasted Lands. Mystified, I did, and when I got there, he traded me a present, all wrapped up. I opened it and inside was The Gunblade— it would be Tawyn’s very first gun.

He proceeded to show me how to level up my gun skill (from zero) on those mobs that never die, and as I did this, he performed a little mini-ceremony that was half-RP and half-not, about how he was proud to present to me the same ranged weapon he’d used to get his hunter to 70 (and how he liked to pretend it was the same gun), and how I was the best hunter he’d ever played with.

That gun is in my bank, and it is never going anywhere. <3 1. Karazhan: I’m sure you all saw this coming. The raid that is all at once the mystical awesome-land that I only heard about in hushed whispers on Trade Chat as a nubling, and the setting for my favorite Warcraft novel of all time, and the weekly watering hole and training grounds of a bunch of friends who were having the time of their lives in Ventrilo.

Not long after that guild gave up the ghost, I pulled together a montage of the things we did in there together and made a eulogy video of sorts, one I can’t watch without my eyes getting misty…

And that, well, sums that up better than any words I say ever could.

Well, that and the Outtakes, of course…

Phew! That was a tough list to write. Seriously, I had so many things I wanted to put on this list, and trimming down to what would make the final ten was tough. And ya know what, that’s really the point. I dare you all to think about your top ten best memories in game– write ’em down if that’s your thing, or just think about them otherwise. I sorta hate to be the stereotypical “count your blessings” guy, but really, I think you’ll find that there’s more of those memories than you thought there were. Don’t forget that…

It's All About the Balance

The current topic flying around the WoW blogosphere is “How do you balance WoW and real life?” I’ve seen this issue addressed in a few places; I know Trackhoof has covered it, as has Softthistle and Alda. (I keep seeing that last name there as “ALSA” which is a Linux sound thing. Forgive my geekism! /beg) And in the time it’s taken me to write this article, another one has popped up at She Rolls Horde. Apologies if I’m missing anyone!

Anyways my own answer to this topic has been stewing in my head for a little while now, largely because, to be honest, I often have no idea how I manage to pull off maintaining a balance. How the heck am I juggling the dozen or so characters I have that I consider “active” and my job and my family and my friends and housechores and so much else?

Okay, let’s break this down.

A Day In The Life of Pike:

Work Day:

4:45am: Up and out of bed. Feed my guinea pigs, get ready for work and grab some breakfast. While eating breakfast I’ll typically check my e-mail, catch up with my Livejournal friends, and read a WoW blog or two (or three, or four… I’m a fast reader)

5:45am
: Out the door and in my car.

6:00am – 2:00pm: Work!

2:30pm
: Arrive home after work. Take a nice, long shower. When you work at a pet store, specifically in the pet care department, you will come home covered in cricket guts, fish guano, hamster fur, and bird poop. It’s just unavoidable. The shower is a must. (My parents’ dog thinks my work pants are a tasty delicacy, however.)

3:00pm – 4:00pm
: Checking the e-mail, the Livejournal friends list, the personal online forum my friends and I hang out at, the news headlines to see if there is anything going on that is marginally interesting to me (my definition of “marginally interesting” ensures I really only see the oddball or geek news, like the new Star Wars animated movie), and of course, checking Google Reader for updates on my ever-expanding blogroll. Sometimes I’ll work on a blog entry here.

4:00pm: This is typically when I log onto WoW. It used to be I would log into Tawyn and hang out on her for basically the rest of the night. These days– within this past month or so– I am much more apt to log into one of my alts at this point. Occasionally I will still log into Tawyn first to see if the guild has anything going on, if not, I’m off to play my lowbies. What can I say– I love leveling lowbies. Yes, I know I’m insane.

6:00-ish, give or take an hour: Dinnertime. Unless there is something crucial going on (like me being mid-instance) I generally take my sweet time with dinner and sort of take a half-hour or hour-long break here.

6:30-7:00ish: This is usually when I switch over to my Windows partition (it pains me every time!) and get onto Ventrilo. Originally I was only going to save Ventrilo for things like instances, but I’ve decided I like hanging out and chatting with the guildies so I try to get on for a little bit every day or almost every day. This is also usually when I log into Tawyn (unless I’m really into one of my alts at the moment) and if we’re doing an instance, this is usually when I do the instance. Otherwise I’m typically doing PvP or working on bringing rep or skills up.

8:30-9:00pm depending on how tired I am and what’s going on: Say goodnight, log off, in bed no later than 9:30pm (and being in bed by 9:00pm is preferable).

And that is how a typical work day goes for me. As you can see, my work schedule has me waking up early and going to bed early so I don’t have a whole lot of time for “social activities” even if I wanted to (and I’m so shy… I really don’t! =P) because I’d have to be back home before 8pm. Also, this schedule is of course subject to changing: somedays I am on WoW a lot less. Somedays I’m multitasking and doing my laundry while I play. Somedays… about once a month or so… work pulls a switcheroo on me and I work a 1pm-9pm shift instead of my typical 6am-2pm. In that case, I pretty much just flip the day: Try and get some WoW in during the morning.

Now let’s talk about my days off:

Non-Work Day:

Between 5:00-6:00am: Wake up. Yes, this is my definition of sleeping in. I try not to allow myself to sleep in very much, actually, because it throws off my circadian rhythm and gives me a headache.

Until about 6:00 or 6:30am: The general morning routine: feeding the pets, feeding myself, checking up on my e-mail and that fun stuff.

And then
: Early morning WoW. I love early morning WoW. There’s something so serene and calm about playing so early in the morning. I love watching the skies turn from pink to blue. I love the fact that there’s hardly anyone else around and that sometimes I’ll be the only person in a given zone. Usually I really like playing my alts this early in the morning, but sometimes I’ll log on Tawyn too. Because lemme tell ya, 5am server time is the best time to go farming for motes at the Elemental Plateau. There will be like one or two other people there, and plenty of elementals for everyone. One time I was the only person hanging out with the water elementals for over an hour.

After a few hours of WoW I’ll generally log off and then this is where my schedule cycling kicks in– typically on days off I have a lot to do so I try to make the most of it. I’ll do blog stuff for an hour, then I’ll do housework for an hour, then I’ll maybe read or play another video game for an hour, back to WoW for an hour or two, back off to try and get more work done… etc. A lot of times on my days off, my family will go out to eat and I’ll accompany them. I’ll also try to do something decently social for a little while if I’m feeling up to it (yaaaaay being shy!)

As evening settles in I’ll sit down and get on Ventrilo and have some “serious WoW time” reserved for instances, hardcore-PvP-marathons or grinding. Those last two are actually often more fun than they sound.

And I’m in bed by about 9:00 or 9:30 again. If I don’t work the following day either, I’ll sometimes stretch it to 10:00.

Well, there you have it. That’s how most of my days go and I suppose you can say that my key for balance is a lot of variety and a lot of breaks. Way back when I first started playing, my initial addiction was pretty bad. Not to mention that was when I had a job that had a lot of problems giving me all the hours I’d ask for. So I’d be working 18 hours a week, and the rest of the time I was either eating, sleeping, or playing WoW. No joke. I’d be on from morning ’til night and eat while in flight from one zone to another.

Since then, I’ve made a big improvement in terms of striking that balance. I am not in game nearly as much, I’m rarely on for more than a couple hours at a tim

e (exceptions will be made for things like big instance runs), and my full-time job keeps me busy. In order to save time, I also often “consolidate” things; for example, if I need to go shopping, I just run over to the Target right next to where I work after my shift is done and grab stuff. The gas station and post office are on the drive home so I can stop for gas and stamps too. Things like laundry, as I’ve mentioned, can be done while playing. And of course, the constant switching between WoW and other things that need to be done, is something that I think helps a lot.

At this point you may or may not be asking “Hey Pike, what about that boyfriend of yours? When do you guys ever see each other?” Okay, well I will admit that it’s hard for a few reasons. Firstly he’s a notorious night owl and I, well, my schedule has got me turned into an early bird. Secondly he’s going to college full time and he’s also one of those motivated people (unlike I ever was) who studies and does homework and stuff. But we still somehow manage to be able to talk to each other throughout the day. I’ll send him a cheery text message on my phone during my lunch break or something, and somehow, no idea how, we still sometimes even manage to play WoW together. Oh, and to be completely honest with you guys, we’ve been dating for over three years and have successfully dealt with all sorts of weird scheduling conflicts in the past, so it sorta doesn’t phase us anymore. =P (That probably sounds horrible, doesn’t it? Hehe.)

I know a lot of you guys are far more busy than I am; you’ve got kids and school and all sorts of stuff going on that I currently don’t have to deal with. How you guys successfully manage to pull off a WoW/real life balance I don’t know, but I /salute you all. I hope I can be as balanced when life catches up to me and I leave the post-college doldrums. (Probably not gonna be anytime soon, but hey!)