The Importance of Relationship Context

This is something that I’ve been pondering on lately, partially due to being in a new guild, and listening to interactions between some folks that I haven’t met before.

It’s something that, if recognized by a broader audience, would eliminate a lot of the “but this doesn’t offend me”, or “oh, so I can’t tell a girl she’s pretty”, or any of the Failure-to-Communicate sort of disagreements.

Words can have a majorly different impact depending on the relationship between the two (or more) people having the exchange.

For example: A guy that I have been gaming with for a few years calls me “baby girl”. It’s part of how he talks, and nothing special related to me, necessarily. But it probably took — oh, a year and a half before we had the sort of friendship that allowed for a term of endearment in any sense. Had he, right off the bat when we first ran a raid together, called me ‘baby girl’, I would have considered it creepy and condescending.

The key here being that while yes, this is a general mannerism for him, he doesn’t force it on every single person that he meets. We had developed a friendship before he included me in something that should only have a usage based in familiarity. As such, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. He’s one of the people I’ll call ” Darlin’ ” sometimes. Or jackass, depending. 😉

I tend to equate it to swearing. When you are meeting people that you don’t know, in any setting, really (except, I suppose, watching sports at a pub), you probably have a tendency to watch what you say. You could have the mouth of a sailor around your friends, but you don’t go spouting cuss words immediately upon meeting someone new. Why? Probably because you understand that swearing can be abrasive.

Terms of endearment, or compliments, are much the same way. You don’t walk up to someone and call them Babe or Hunk right off the bat. You don’t use “Hey, you’re damn hot” as your introductory statement. Does that mean that you can never tell a girl that she’s pretty, or a guy that he’s handsome? Of course not. But that’s not how you meet someone.

Relationship context is important. How you know a person directs the way that you can and should interact with them. Think about your own personal relationships. You interact differently with your boss, with strangers, and with your friends. If more people kept that in mind, there would be a lot less confusion. And probably a lot more communication.

Welcome to the Dark Side

Well – twist my rubber arm.

A friend that I used to raid with in WoW convinced me to come back and play TOR with him. He has a laid-back Imperial guild on a different server than I used to play on, one which is much higher population.

And so begins my first venture in to the world of Imperials. Avi has been reincarnated as a Sith Sorcerer, and is going fully towards the dark side.

 

I’ve gotta say, it’s been an interesting experience so far. I’m rather enjoying the arrogance of the Sith. Everything I do is so far from typical for me, and it’s intriguing!

I’m also taking my time and reading everything. I started yesterday and I’ve slowly made my way to level 12. Considering I swore I wouldn’t level again, I’m surprised at how much fun I’m having. I think I really was too rushed the first time around. This is a much appreciated change of pace.

Bring on the lightning!

A day with Maeve

Sometimes, it’s nice to just take some time out with an alt. For me today, it was about keeping my brain occupied somewhere else, but at the same time not doing something that would be too mentally stressful.

So I spent the day with Maeve, taking things in at a much more leisurely pace than I normally experience.

We started the day doing an End Time run, because let’s face it, she really needs to get rid of her 359. (no dice today either, though). I thought perhaps I’d queue for another dungeon, so I fired up the random queue. Well of Eternity – ah, okay, pretty darn simple. Famous last words. On the first Legion Demon, Maeve did 55% of the damage, AND the tank died. (we were all ready to pull, too, btw) Factoring in the “no more mental stress” mentioned above – I left and decided to find something else to do.

Her tailoring wasn’t maxed yet, so I took a look at that. Realized we would need some more volatile fire to finish it. THEN realized that since she used to be horde, she didn’t have access to the Twilight Highlands portal where we should have headed to fish. Et voila – a new activity was born. It was my first time doing these quests where it wasn’t a necessary part of levelling, just wanting to be 85. We leisurely poked our way through the questline, until we finally opened up the portal. We’ll go back and quest through the zone another time. Finally time to go fish up those volatile fire.

After that, we were off to Deepholm. I love the look of that zone, I really do. The pretty glowing colours just thrill me. Find our way to the troggs to farm the necessary embersilk – we still needed 50 bolts more. We eventually got all of our cloth, and some bonus green drops for us to DE.

Rounded out her afternoon with some new enchants on her gear, and we’d passed some wonderful time doing random things. I think later we might go and join the guild for their weekly LFR, because that still holds some useful gear. 🙂

The lost art of penmanship

It’s been many, MANY a moon since I’ve done anything in writing, beyond things like a scribbled note on a post-it.
I could probably date back to essay questions in high school being the last time I wrote any significant amount of text by hand – we’re talking over a decade ago. I was never a serious journal keeper, but I know for a fact that by at the LATEST nineteen years of age, any journal I did have was written on the computer.

Today, I sat down to write to my beloved Wolfe. We had our last talk on vent super early this morning (5AM), and then my heart was taken from my chest and left with him for basic training with the army. So after I zombied my way through the work day, unable to even enjoy the sushi my mom brought me, I walked back in the house, took out the pretty stationery, and started writing.

It was at this point that I lamented NOT writing more often. While my printing is still extremely legible, it’s still terrible (to me, anyway, though I know I am my own worst critic). But I used to LOVE cursive. I actually got in *trouble* one time, in first grade, because I handed in my school journal in cursive. (We “weren’t supposed to know how to do that”, because it hadn’t been taught at school yet – boy did my parents ever set the school straight on that account. I had been home taught and it was structurally perfect, if still the clumsy letters of a young child. I would have cursive in my journal if I wanted.)

Sorry, that kind of went off on a tangent. Anyway – I used to love cursive. I hardly ever printed, and despised forms which required block printing. Now? Now, cursive requires actual thought and concentration – and even then I make an inordinate amount of mistakes. I would probably end up throwing away more pages than I wrote, because I would goof up enough words that it would be a jumbled mess of stuff being scratched out.

I honestly think part of it is that I “think faster” now, because even when I print I tend to get ahead of myself by a letter. But it’s easier to catch/correct that sort of thing in print than it is cursive, by far. I mean, if you mess up a “lead in” to a letter, you’ve just hooped that entire word.

I really hope that in the course of daily writing letters to Mah Wolfe, this will start coming back to me. I’m not even that comfortable with printing at this point – it feels awkward. So maybe, just maybe, as the printing starts to get easier (and my brain starts slowing down to match the writing pace), I’ll be able to regain the flow of cursive.

Or hey, maybe I’ll take up calligraphy again. I used to LOVE that when I was younger. I had such pretty calligraphy sets, with a variety of widths and ink colours. I kinda miss it. 😉

What’s your “niche”?

Do you like to tank? Heal? DPS? Are you melee or ranged? Or are comfortable across the board, whatever the group calls for?

Me, I’m a DPS – specifically ranged DPS, and hybrids at that. EQ2, WoW, SWTOR – all the same comfort zone. And in WoW, my *particular* niche is with Elemental Shamans.

I have a couple 85s. On Lightbringer alone, I have a hunter, a druid, and two shammies. I’ve got a BC level mage, and an in progress warlock. I have a shadow priest that “died” around level 38 cause I lost interest. I even optimistically started a Paladin, though she’ll have to be a healer (I’m SO not melee or tank), and I’m not sure I’ll be able to level her to that point.

But it’s the two Elementals that I *love* to pay. That’s where I come home, and it’s why the random toons I have scattered across other friend’s servers are *also* near max and/or max level Ele’s.

I’ve never had the same enjoyment out of any other class. My hunter comes a close second because I really do enjoy the pet system. It adds a separate level to the character, to me, and it’s *fun*. But the play of the class itself? Not so much.

Elemental shaman, however, is pure fun no matter what. I like to kill things. I like my totems (screwy fire totem AI notwithstanding). I like my lightning shield. I like being able to toss a Healing Rain when extra aoe heals will be appreciated. I like spamming Chain Lightning on trash packs. I like it ALL.

It’s just pure-and-simple good times for me. It is my ultimate niche. Do I ever wish I was one of the “high priority” classes? Sure I do. Do I wish that some people didn’t think “Elemental Shamans? Who needs ’em.” Of course. But it has never swayed me from my main.

I came in to WoW ‘late.’ I started playing when ICC was already out – hence Avi being unchanged since her appearance as my first ever WoW toon. My first love, my favourite toon, my always Main. That is Avi.

Maeve was originally Horde, started because an old BF raided mainly on his Horde toon on a different server, and the raid schedule was compatible with my current one so I levelled over there to raid with them. After that didn’t work out, I didn’t feel like I could abandon her, so I added some realID friends from that guild and faction/server transferred her to LB.

(current incarnation – she is set to become a panda when MoP hits!)

And I’ve gotta say, I *love* having two ele shammies on “my” server. Avi is my main progression raider. She’s the one that is there for every guild raid, getting all the improvements first, etc. But Maeve isn’t entirely too far behind because I LIKE to play her. I’ll actually DO LFR runs, because she can use the gear. People want to go back to Firelands for legendary staff stuff? Maeve would enjoy the achievements. She gives me an extra dimension of play that I wasn’t sold on doing with my other 85s, because I simply don’t like playing them as much as I do a shammy.

So where do you slot in with your WoW experience? And what makes your particular preference(s) enjoyable for you?

Totemic Wrath and being needed

You know, it’s an odd thing to provide a “unique” buff in the context of a 25m raid.

We haven’t had a steady warlock in Tranquility in a long time — and I can’t even think of when any (at least semi-reliable) warlock actually played Demo.

Since our other Ele shaman took a step back from WoW shortly after DS launched, I’ve been left as the ONLY person in raid that can provide the 10% buff. It brings me back to the days of Wrath when I was not only raiding with Dark Legacy in the 25m group, but also in the off-day 10m group because I was competent AND an ele shaman with Totem of Wrath.

It just feels odd to have that same expectation in a 25m raid. Out of ALL the raiders in this guild, I am the ONLY person who can give them that boost.

I’m not complaining or anything, don’t get me wrong. I love raiding, I know that I’m not being taken ONLY because of my buff – but rather because I’m actually damn good (or damn decent, at least, since I’m far from being a world-ranking ele shaman) at what I do. But at the same time, it’s a fair bit of responsibility.

I know that despite being more than willing to offer to sit when we have extra raiders on a particular night, if it’s not a straight up farm boss, I’m going to be in for that fight anyway. I know that people are counting on me to not have any sort of scheduling conflict with ANY raid, because that buff is a rather significant thing to lose when you’re looking to make a progression kill. And while I’m ALWAYS there for my guild, I dread the day where a migraine makes me unable to look at my computer screen because I don’t want to let my friends down.

Seems to be a thing you just don’t see very often in the days of similar buffs from different classes – at least not in a 25m group. But I’m honored to be able to be the one to provide it, and the personal dps, regardless. 🙂

Minecraft-yness

It’s been a Minecraft kind of week for me. Apparently that egg-hunting created a need for a WoW break – until raid tomorrow, of course, nothing extreme. 😉

Wolfe found us a new server the other day. It’s been kind of an interesting experience for me, because until now it’s just been us playing together on a small local-host server. This one is, like, giant in comparison.

Granted, we still struck out in to the middle of nowhere and set up our own little house, farm, etc – but it’s still cool knowing there are other folks out there if we wanted to interact. And since he goes away to basic in a few days, he said he wanted to know that I would still have a place to play while he was gone that wasn’t JUST a solo player thing.

And so, le Minecraft.

I find it fun in ways I really can’t explain. I’m still fairly new, but I’m learning. I made my own skin back when I started playing, so even my minecraft toon has purdy green eyes. Me likey!

But coming from someone who, in WoW, hates to fish or farm ANY sort of materials, it’s so-very-weird to me that I will dig myself a tunnel from the basement and go mine for hours on end, happy as a clam, while I chat with Wolfe in vent. Or I’ll go out and collect wood, though with *slightly* less vigor than mining, because I’m not quite as skilled as he is at killing those darn creepers that always show up when I’m staring up at a tree. Or SAND collecting – oh, I’ll do that too! I’ll make you more glass than you’ll ever need.

And I’ll love every minute of it. ^_^

I had a major farm going before we moved to this server. With multi-coloured sheep (every colour!) that were SO PRETTY. And it was kind of a pain, too… considering I had no cocoa beans, so I had to roam far and wide to find a brown sheep. And then *even farther* to find cactus, because apparently we were absolutely nowhere near a desert. At ALL. It was wild. But it was so fun. Chickens and sheep and cows and pigs – oh my!

I like creative mode occasionally too… cause i like building things like this:

 

All in all, it’s just darn FUN – even though it’s such a departure from my normal enjoyment. 😛

But why do you CARE?

“You’re not a feminist, why are you getting your panties in a twist?”

So not kidding, folks. Thus, in response…

You’re right – I do not take the label of feminist. Local culture defines interpretation of everything (rightly or wrongly). In my case, a lot of my choices, opinions, and general “all that I am” conflict with said life-long experiences for the definition of that term – and that means this isn’t a word I use to define myself.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t object to things that EVERYONE on the face of this earth should object to. Things like sexism, racism, or anything like that. Or a valid point being kicked around like the person behind it (not to mention the underlying CAUSE behind the point) means nothing.

When I see something like that, it’s really hard not to speak up (unless, of course, it’s in defense of myself, ie: my recent TOR experiences).

When I come across someone that has been brave enough to make a statement about something that bothered her, and the response to it was to make a giant mockery of it via a *business* blog, I’m going to say something. I will call out that company. Even if I wouldn’t have thought twice about the object in question – the blatant disrespect of the way a “professional” company handled a situation will light my fire.

At the same time, I get irked by personal disrespect too. It doesn’t have to be a corporation. I made reference to this before, in regards to a concern over sexism in some beta wow quest text. The situation wouldn’t have bothered me, but the response did. Because it *should*.

You don’t have to be a feminist to understand treating people with respect. You don’t have to be ANY sort of label to expect that. Well, ideally, simply being human would make people understand – but we’re light years from that ever happening.

This applies to any sort of scenario. Just because you aren’t offended by something, doesn’t mean that there isn’t someone else that you just hurt in the process. I know I’ve said stupid things in the past — and I very likely will in the future. Things that may have hurt someone, *even though that wasn’t my intention*. But you know what you do in those scenarios? You apologize and consider this new angle that was brought to light. You don’t brush it under the rug because it has never offended anyone before. This is not a case of “the needs of many outweighing the needs of the few.” There is no NEED to offend anyone. It is not a life-or-death situation for you to be offensive just for the sake of it.

So if you want to ask why I jump all over these sorts of issues, it’s because of the way people respond. It’s because I’m tired of people’s opinions being skewed by responses full of misunderstanding – and sometimes even absolute hatred. It is that sort of response that makes it so hard for people like myself to actually speak up initially.

Respect those around you. That’s all I ask.

“May we learn together the lessons that give us peace and a giving spirit, that we may be of value to others.”

So long, Noblegarden!

Don’t get me wrong… I like achievements, thus I enjoy the holiday events. But that is strictly a single-toon domain – Luna, Cyn, none of my alts do things like get the Meta.

Unfortunately for me, Avi also likes mounts – and pets, tbh. So what happens at Noblegarden this year? I’m collecting [insert bad word] eggs again. And guess what? In true “nothing comes easy for this toon” fashion (do you know how long I fished for that darn seahorse pet?), not a single egg that I opened contained the mount. I got to farm all 500 chocolates for that bad boy.

I stared at this for HOURS today:

Me in all my purple bunny goodness, watching my Creepy Crate munch on all the unsuspecting rabbits hopping around – because I needed some sort of entertainment.

But of course, not every egg has a chocolate. Oh no… I actually collected 528 eggs all together – with an amazing abundance of things that I really didn’t need:

Spring Robe x3
White Tuxedo Shirt x3
Black Tuxedo Pants x4
Spring Circlet
Elegant Dress x2
Spring Flowers x2
Blossoming Branch x7
Spring Rabbit’s Foot x6 (hey, at least all my alts get bunnies?)

All for this. Which I don’t even really LIKE, but dang it, I could get it.

It will just never replace my trusty War Talbuk. 😛

Those amazingly vindicating kills

You know when you’ve been bashing your head against the wall to kill a boss?

Yeah, we were at that point in our herioc progression. We were stuck at the “button boss”, and couldn’t kill Ultraxion for a few weeks.

Tonight, we FINALLY did it. Sure, I was sitting there every six seconds saying things like “Hour of Twilight, group one”.. “Fading light”… “Fading light”… “Fading light”… “Hour of Twilight, group two”…

But the fact of the matter is, IT IS FINALLY DONE.

And thus, Tranquility is 4/8 Heroic. For a fairly casual guild (we really don’t raid that many hours per week), this is kinda huge for us as a 25m raiding group. And it feels damn good.

Grats to everyone in guild on that kill. 🙂