Posts Tagged ‘Burnout’

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It is inevitable

January 7, 2014

By the time I’d spent a few months on Daily Kos, I figured it wouldn’t last for me. I don’t seem to possess the requisite hostility to put up with the environment indefinitely. I value causes more than in-fighting. But like a 24-hour news cycle, you can dispense with the petitions and peruse donation requests in a few minutes, which still leaves you with the rest of the day to fill up.

I’ve seen partisans on both sides of debates over whether Obama is a saint or an abomination – they’re all Democrats, but somehow they find reasons to war bitterly over things we can’t control. I’ve seen the ‘liberal’ gun enthusiasts, who try so hard to connect liberal values with anarchic gun rights and fail, troll and bait and drive off whoever gets in their way. And yesterday, I was amused to see religious privilege put so plainly it made me laugh, even as that community now seeks to drive off virulent skeptics.

If the goal of this blog were to express antireligious sentiment, I would never have come here. If you want a blog that is comfortably intolerant of religion, by all means go find one! I’m sure there are many. Intolerance of religion has never been an official or unofficial element of Daily Kos.

A comment from a believer taking offense at religion-bashing. Not xian-bashing or muslim-bashing (hell, people get away with the latter some days) but calling religion a problem. Or like the way Hitchens put it that religion poisons everything. I don’t have the same fire for the battle that I used to, but I have yet to find redeeming qualities to it that are not incidental, that cannot be found elsewhere. And yet so many believers will take offense on behalf of their religion. They seek to identify with their religion, to claim it as their identity the same way the color of their skin or their sexual preference is part of their identity.

Well, certainly people are born with their skin, subject to some change perhaps. And at least there’s data suggesting sexual preference is inborn. But religion? There’s not even compelling evidence for the ‘god gene,’ much less anything convincing about being ‘born’ xian or muslim or … whatever. Even a predilection for god-belief, however misguided, has to find a vehicle through which to manifest. And what is that going to be, but whatever religion hooks them first? Most likely, whatever religion their parents are taught to instill, because it’s so much easier to indoctrinate children.

Get ’em while they’re young. Works for cigarettes too, or so I’m told.

We Democrats have always prided ourselves on our big tent. One of the things that has prevented us from winning as many victories the past several decades has been a perceived intolerance of religion. I would suggest therefore that demonstrating tolerance for people of faith is one way the Democratic Party can expand its electoral victories.

So this commenter raised this question for me. A ridiculous question, but I’ll see if I can find an opportunity to ask it anyway, because I empathize with pragmatism and that’s what this is, a call to pragmatism. Maybe the premises aren’t all true, or maybe it’s not important enough to appease the religious majority by silencing skeptics. Or maybe it’s pointless, because of free speech someone will always speak up. But I want to ask the admins, seriously. Bashing religion is not the same as bashing people, although believers try so hard to equate it with bigotry and prejudice and shame people into silence.

They’re the ones that should be ashamed of themselves for trying to drive people off, but they obviously value their own hurt feelings more than mine. Big shocker.

Should skeptics be silent about religion in order to placate believers? Should we play along with the religious majority? Does the stated goal of Daily Kos, to elect more and better Democrats, mean we endorse this oppression of the non-religious minority by the religious majority? This actual exercise in intolerance, in bigotry, as opposed to the loud plaintive claims of the believers? Should I really get lost and find somewhere else to read and chat, some other outlet for supporting Democrats? I mean to find out. And while the believers claim such painful alienation when their precious religious beliefs are attacked, I’m already alienated enough to have stopped writing there, for months. Work slowed down enough for some new writing a while ago; I just haven’t bothered. And I already get enough email about petitions and causes to donate to. Maybe it is time to go.

So, this is more or less a reminder to self to raise the question at the next opportunity. I already know what I’d do, personally – that intolerant xian hypocrite can piss off. Take those wounded sensibilities and shove it with the actual oppression. They’re so oblivious that they complain about oppression of their ideas while trying to really drive me out of the community. Who is worse off, the ‘second class’ citizen in perception or the exile? But I’m a pragmatic sort. I’m curious to see if this fellow is an outlier or more representative of the community.

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WoW flameout update

September 8, 2011

Kidding, of course.

It’s been about a month since my server transfer, and while my horde o’ Horde remains marooned on Kilrogg with nothing to do, I am occasionally taking Tindalos out for a spin on the Garrosh server. This past week I’ve been on a couple of raids, nothing major. The two raid teams seem to continue on with their preferred line-ups and I have found no openings there. I knew this going in, so it’s no more than I expected. Nevertheless, when the stars align and I am online when they need a fill-in, it tends to go well.

So with the Wreck List I’ve gotten to see Nefarian die a couple of times, and yesterday I filled in on one of the raid teams as they got someone started on the new legendary quest line. It’s nice to see some more of the Firelands content, I suppose, as the raid downed three of them in short order. Considering that I hadn’t even seen two of them before, I guess I didn’t hold them back too much. Enough of their raiders know that I can step in, follow instructions, and lay the DPS smack down with the best of them, and what more do they need from a damage-dealer, really?

I haven’t seen any particularly interesting new gear, but Tindalos is decked out in his full tier 11 and a few items I’ve unlocked on the Molten Front, so he’s doing just fine. I’ve never had to have the very latest and greatest gear in order to put out the damage. Funny how that works. This game isn’t that hard, but it helps to have a competent crew. Even if I haven’t been raiding much, I know they have been. They’d have to, in order to get started on the legendary.

None of this has inspired me to stick with the game, though it has been nifty to occasionally hang out with nicer people, and on rarer occasions raid with them. Bit of a happier ending for my WoW experience than I was looking forward to on Kilrogg.

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Moving on, again

August 10, 2011

Maybe for the last time, since I’m still in no mood to actually renew my WoW subscription…but I’m about done with Kilrogg, thanks to my now-former horde guild. The camel’s back broke after I picked up the United Nations achievement for the guild, by grinding out the Steamwheedle goblin reps. So they become interested in what I’ve been doing, for a brief moment. And I mentioned how I may take one last shot at Shadowmourne.

A few days later, I see the guild has set up an ICC 25 run, amazing! I didn’t even ask, they want to do this now? And I’m about to join in when they announce that it’s specifically for Captain Indispensable to get his Shadowmourne. Hey, that’s a good idea, going back for the axe. I think I’ll steal it. And, I’ll make the guild do it for me. Why don’t you come along and help? Not that we would ever help you. Well, that is the last dick move that guild will perpetrate on me. I found time this morning to /gquit my alts when no one was on to see it. I could have been dramatic about it, but it’s not my thing. Probably won’t be noticed, and certainly won’t be missed.

As for Tindalos, he has transferred to Garrosh and the Wreck List, so I officially have a geared 85 there. I can consider raiding with them, even, although they may start too early. I don’t really care. Garrosh is most likely my last server transfer. I’ll spend my last few months in the game with people resembling actual friends instead of…whatever social construct/substitute typical WoW ‘friends’ represent. If it turns out that I start to really enjoy the game again, so much the better. As far as I can tell, the whole ‘social’ thing is not even genuine, just a means to manipulate people as resources. It is odd that I never did that in a ‘social’ guild. Only in the one hardcore experience did I get to see how a more a-social system worked. Even that was too dependent on its leaders. I guess I bought into the social conventions. Silly me! Not nearly as goblinish as I’d like. Or maybe I prefer not to be.

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Pricing Playstations and the Old Republic

July 27, 2011

After playing WoW for this long, these phenomena seem like bad omens for Azeroth and me. I had to look back at my last WoW-related post to see that it had already been about a month at the beginning of July, since I bailed on raiding and actively playing the game. Since then, Sue has done a little raiding, we’ve played our troll alts with the Wreck List and raided a few old dungeons for fun, and I’ve wasted some time trying out different rep grinds.

So now we have SWTOR on pre-order, and I’m looking to get a new gaming console. Kinda sad! But what else is there, when the game just isn’t doing it anymore. I can’t find the motivation to raid with our present set of misanthropes, nor do I feel like leaving them and finding some new crew, getting back on a schedule. I don’t miss having to be online at all. I have a few more things I’d like to do, and maybe some of them I still won’t get to do, like finishing the Shadowmourne quest line. I may look into how difficult ICC 25 pugs are to organize and run these days, and perhaps run a few to get the rest of my shards.

Unless something changes, though, one day soon I will park my death knight somewhere in Grizzly Hills, maybe with the legendary axe or maybe just with a fishing pole by a salmon pool, and that’ll be it. Not going to give away my stuff or delete my toons; one never knows, could go back to it one day. And I’m not going to feel bad about playing the game for years. I’ve played it until it wasn’t fun anymore.

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Azeroth blues

July 1, 2011

Three weeks into the no-raid, no-schedule switch, and so far I’m not missing it much. Granted, I don’t even play WoW nearly as much now, but aside from the subscription cost what do I care? It would be nice to get back to raiding, but after burning out on the Kilrogg guild’s social raiding pressure it has been interesting to see the result. For all that it’s supposed to be social, there isn’t a lot of casual conversation going on. I’m a non-entity in fact, just as it’s turned out before when I burned out on raiding. Not that this surprises or even bothers me.

The only person who contacted me once, did so to exert a little social pressure when the evening’s raid was short on people. I can’t say if they miss my DK, or if that’s just the social thing to say to get a social raider to join the group. A bit skeptical, I kept my responses short and non-committal, and did not raid. I stopped raiding because the raid leaders had issues. AFAIK those issues still exist. I haven’t brought them up with the guild; I don’t think it would do the slightest bit of good. If it did I’d probably end up as a raid leader or officer, and…no. It’s not for me, not again.

Meanwhile, the Garrosh server experience has been much nicer. Although there is an excess of achievement GRATZ’ing, I join in jokingly on occasion and otherwise tune it out. And the Wreck Listers also occasionally just talk; it’s not all requests for help or group invitations. Those groups and raids, of course, Sue and I aren’t a part of yet. Our little trollies are only level 32, although it has been a quick climb so far considering that we only play them once a week. It should be pretty fast until at least level 60 if not more.

Yesterday we explored part of the new Desolace. This zone has gone from a bleak, vast desert with little to do but a series of centaur kill quests, to a zone with a lush jungle in the middle and lots more going on. A fair number of zones got Cataclysmed into, well, much nicer places. (You’re the best, Deathwing!) I especially enjoyed the quest series that ends with your hordie conjuring a flaming hurricane and nuking everyone in Nijel’s Point. I never liked you guys when I had to fly out to the boonies just to go to Maraudon. Face the flaming wrath of the blood elves!

That’s right, I mean real fire! Not the other kind of flaming belfitude.

Since we recently leveled a pair of worgen through Azeroth, we’re making a point to hit some different zones. Maybe we’ll go visit the eastern kingdoms. It’d probably take 4 or 5 sets of alts to try out everything. But I don’t think we’ll go that far.

Ah well. It’s not as if I have completely abandoned the Kilrogg server, yet. The new 4.2 content is much more than just the Firelands raid. It includes new daily quests in Hyjal, and the quest line involving Thrall’s curse and rescue was fun, aside from a few flagged griefers interfering with the quests. It personally involves you in saving Thrall from certain and painful death, and along the way we get to know more about his relationship with Aggra, a female orc shaman, that ends with a sort of marriage proposal. I had previously chalked up the taciturn Aggra as the orc they sent to Thrall so he’d stop fawning over Jaina Proudmoore. (kidding. a little)

It was the sort of questing that would be nice to have more of…but there’s only so much ground-breaking, life on the line plot material one can do, especially in an MMO that for the most part remains static. Games where solo players change the world drastically, I think, will remain single-player on PC and consoles. And even those run out of steam.

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The expectation game

January 11, 2011

It’s interesting to see how the new guild levels and perks have changed how the individual relates to a guild. Pug raids seem to be a thing of the past, now; what calls I do see are for a pug or two to fill out a guild group. At the same time, I seem adrift in the role of disinterested observer, unsure if I want to commit to raiding again — although I have gone on a couple of raids, it’s primarily been through ninja invites and dishonest tactics by the officer crew.

There exists a certain pressure amongst these casual guilds, it seems, to keep up with the Joneses. A sort of embarrassment at not being able to say ‘we’ve downed boss X, Y and Z’ instead of the reality (none, so far). Some fear, perhaps, that some of the more hardcore types will /gquit if the guild doesn’t produce some boss kills and purples for them. This is the expectation game.

The relative handful of hardcore types in the guild produce most of this pressure. The rest comes from the sense of entitlement many others seem to feel. They’ve hit 85, they’ve done some heroics; the raid bosses should surrender their goodies like the proverbial prom night score. My sweetie refers to this as the Wrath mentality — expecting to be able to play the game like it played in WotLK. Heroics as facerollers. These opening raids like Naxxramas. And Naxx was easy. Wasn’t it?

Of course not. Naxx became easy; it didn’t start that way. Though I was not there for the opening raids (I was leveling/gearing a DK, and then my priest), by the time I had raid-ready toons the sense of where to begin was still shaking out. Heroics weren’t that easy; some of them stayed hard till pretty late in the game, or until Oculus got nerfed, heh. And then there were the new ones, like Halls of Reflection. The newest raids, like Ruby Sanctum. Very hard and somewhat unrewarding.

As part of that Wrath mentality, she wonders if the Blizzard devs were showing us the future with those dungeons and that raid. Perhaps she’s right.

So now, we’re five weeks in, and the guildies who are raiding (not me, mostly) know a little about a lot. I’ve been suckered into attending a few times, and what I see is painful. Hours of wiping. Strategies that will supposedly work, and then they don’t. Watching the officers tweak things and generally flail about. It’s hard to learn much of anything from an encounter that only lasts about a minute, even thirty seconds before it starts to fall apart.

At the same time, she questions whether it’s going to be any fun to submit to the next couple years of raiding, if this is all there is — a quick trip to 85, some dungeon warmup exercises, and then dive into raid instances. For years. The prereqs seem so much shorter. Admittedly, I lack the additional delay I had in Wrath of having to level the DK to 70 first, whereas the non-DK ‘mains’ started at 70 rather than my 55. But that only added about a week for me.

I’ve done the tank thing, the raid leader thing, and the officer thing before. I know what they could be doing better, what I’d do if it were me. It’s not me in charge, nor do I particularly want it to be. And since I’m not in charge, I don’t speak up much. We only set aside a few days where we could raid…and we needn’t do it. If we don’t make some kind of decision I expect the guildies will stop asking after awhile, and move on without us. There’s enough game to play without raiding that we could be at it for a long while, and when that gets old, well. Maybe it’ll be time to set it aside.

So we’re on the cusp of that decision: commit to more raiding, and all that it entails, prep work and study and arguing with folks, the ‘second job’ problem nobody likes, in return for the challenge and reward of raiding; or just screw it, don’t play that game of expectation. Should be an interesting week.

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The sin eater

July 12, 2010

Been a curious weekend, thanks in part to my last WoW post I guess. Curiouser still that my conclusion was a bit off. Well, let’s say more than a bit. Rather more.

Ah well. When it’s this bad, they had better be good friends. Fortunately, they are! And this summer of discontent will pass.

So instead of a predictable, temporary doldrum because of summer or the economy or pre-Cataclysm blahs, the summer of discontent turned inside out and exploded. The guild-of-friends has shown itself to be a more typical species, the guild-of-internet-acquaintances. It was an interesting experiment while it lasted, but perhaps there’s some quality to friendship that can’t be captured by a single interest, even if we seem to spend so much time together at that single interest, or occasionally meet up IRL and hang out and talk about…our mutual interest.

It must be a strange sensation for the more social types, to see a group grow from friends to friends-of-friends to friends-of-friends-of-friends and etc. until you’re in this cliquish organization you don’t know anymore and then…it’s become what you set out to avoid. A few years ago, I can recall back when the guild was young or in pre-planning, reading some papers the social studies majors have written on guild interaction. Ours has become a statistic. I wonder how much of it was predictable.

I was treated to a variety of insults and detachment has served me well. It was interesting to see what personal data of mine they dredged up, how it made them claim they understood me or how they tried to use it to hurt me. It was interesting to see the misunderstood remarks, and to ponder how deliberate that misreading may have been. Detachment allows me to choose freely between feeling offended or hurt by a cheap shot, or taking amusement from it. An insult presents a choice: we choose to be offended. Society has rules, manners, of course. But such systems of propriety are based on values, which are, in turn, choices.

Friendship was of course the running theme. I thought you were my friend. You don’t know what friendship is. You can’t lecture me. I’d be the first to admit…well, maybe the only one to admit that no, I don’t know for sure. After the weekend, though, I have some new data on what it is not. Time to revise the theory. Perhaps it’s a sliding scale from acquaintance to friend. It seems ironic that as one has less invested in an acquaintance(friend?)ship, things like propriety — being nice — seem to matter more.

Unfortunate, I suppose, that the concept of ‘friend’ has become so squishy, been appropriated by social networking and made to do things it shouldn’t, stand for things it’s not. Likewise the paired concepts of loneliness and solitude; there is a difference. Some more irony for me as I find a relevant quote from a theologian I’m sure I disagree with when it comes to god-concepts.

Language… has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone. — Paul Tillich

And yet, how to explain the masses of immature jerks that populate the realms of Warcraft? Oh, they can’t all be overweight, pasty basement dwellers. They’re not all cloistered monks or Blizzard wouldn’t be busy foisting social networking onto its gamers. Someone has to want that crap.

Real misanthropes are not found in solitude, but in the world; since it is experience of life, and not philosophy, which produces real hatred of mankind. — Giacomo Leopardi

One my brother might sympathize with, at any rate. Sheesh, not much WoW to this one eh? Well, sometimes WoW becomes philosophy. If loneliness is pain, and this social ‘pain’ is a choice, then I am glad I do not care. Instead, it is a joke, and so I smile.