Thursday, 26 November 2015

Where Did My Time Go?

It's a weird feeling for me. I am so used to doing nothing all day, and basically having way too much time on my hands, that actually getting cut down in time is harder for me than I thought. Especially on the weeks where I work 32 hours it feels like I just don't have enough hours on the days I have off. Especially since I tend to plan a lot of activities in my free time, so getting rested is not really anything that is happening for me.
And unfortunately this is coming to bite me in the ass on the few days where I do try to rest and relax. I slept for about 9-9.5 hours last night and it has left me in a state of drowsiness and a nice headache on top of that. I guess I slept too long, or too deep, but it's not really something I can influence since I actually slept all those hours. It wasn't like I woke up after 7 hours, decided I could sleep in and rolled back over just to find myself waking up even more sleepy than I went to bed. So today I had a lot of things planned and didn't do any of them, simply because my head was bothering me.


Maging it up
One of the few things I did manage to do today is obtain the staff transmog I wanted for my mage. I run around in Tier 6 (because I like purplez) and I needed a purplish/pinkish staff to go with it. I have always loved the look of Velen's staff and decided to take the plunge and make my way to Shadowmoon Valley to complete the quest that awards that awesome looking staff. It's the only way to get the model in the game next to killing Doom Lord Kazzak in Hellfire Peninsula. It took me about two hours to get there, the Cipher of Damnation and all it's prequests are very exhaustive, but I'm super happy with the end result.
So I'm rocking item level 660 on my mage, with a Tier 6 transmog and that staff and life is good. Gold is flowing, and I'm having fun running content on a class that for once is not a hybrid.
On the Horde side of things I'm also leveling a Mage... But on my alt account. Sometimes I just really need to step away from the people I know. They are nice enough but I have times where I just want to do things for me and not want to be bothered and that's when I retreat to my alt account. My mage on there (a very sexy Bloodelf) is now level 92 and I'm hoping to get her to 100 somewhere next week. This account is very much a fresh one when it comes to WoW and for once I would love to focus on only one character, so that Mage is the only one on there. I have to re-earn all my achievements, pets, mounts, toys and tabards but that's something I'm very much enjoying. It feels fresh and new and challenging again, and way more fun than only hanging around in my Garrison on my main account.

FFXIV
I'm still leveling Ninja on Final Fantasy and she is close to hitting level 52. Due to me working I've not really had the time to run a lot of roulettes... But I am religiously doing the Vanu Vanu beast tribe dailies and the lowest level Hunts. Add that up everyday and levelling goes fast enough. I'm also slowly working my way through the Ninja relic weapon as a sidequest. I should put a bit more time in, but seeing as I'm still getting used to my schedule and how to divide my time it's taken a bit of a backseat to playing World of Warcraft and Heroes of the Storm.

Speaking of the latter... I managed to obtain Cho'Gall via a friend. The champion is very interesting and fun to play with two people. Personally I think I'm better off playing Cho with that particular friend, mostly because I'm just better with map movements and lane movements in general. I know when to extend and when it's overextending and I know how to be where I need to be. I'm not sure if this champion will see much competitive play. It takes very good coordination to work well and it technically takes a champion off the map. But he is definately a beast to play and very strong if built and played well. I hope I get to play some more... Assuming there are some people to play with!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

My Other Passion


I have (had) a lot of hobbies and passions over my short 26 years on this earth. I've grown up being a gymnast and a dancer and kept doing that untill I was about sixteen years old. I've tried my hand at horseback riding, but decided it wasn't really for me... Although it did wonders for correcting my gymnast posture which resulted in me actually not have the hollow back you normally see with girls who practiced gymnastics for most of their child and teenage years.
Gaming didn't really enter my life untill I was about 18 years old. I had a console at home and a Game Boy, but I didn't play them intensively and saw it more as entertainment for when I had nothign else to do.
I have always been an avid reader and I lost count on how many books I've read exactly. I love almost all genres... But especially autobiographies intrigue me.

Being Dutch however there is one thing you inevitably come across when growing up, even as girl, and that is football. I grew up with a family who were mostly born and raised in Amsterdam and that almost automatically means you're a fan of AFC Ajax. I had some very enthusiast cousins and growing up around men mostly I quickly caught the football virus. We used to have the channel that showed a lot of the games in the Dutch League and a lot of my sundays were spent watching Ajax play anyone.

The football fever in this country when there is a World or European Cup is almost unprecedented and I first got to experience it in 1998 when the Dutch national team made it to the World Cup semi-finals vs Brazil. I was only 9 years old at the time and the game was very long. One and a half hours of regular time... Another thirty minutes of extra time... Only to finish up with penalty shooting. We lost in the end and I don't actually really remember much of it. Mostly that it was my first real impression with football like that and that I got to stay up way past my bedtime for it.

Fast forward to the present and I am still a big football fan. I still cheer for Ajax and the Dutch national team, and although they are both not performing very well right now they will always have my heart. Next to this I like to follow individual players and some teams abroad aswell. I've been a huge Zlatan Ibrahimovic fan ever since he played for Ajax and tracked his progress through Europe. For me he's a very strong, very smart player. He is a leader in any team he joins and is able to single handedly pull teams together and push them towards championships or qualifications. His latest achievement? Making sure Sweden qualified for the upcoming European Cup by scoring all the goals they needed and carrying the team through all the games. Jokingly people say that it's not Sweden who goes to the European Cup but it's Zlatan... And I guess this is partly true. I have his biography lying here at home and to get a glimpse into the mind of a man who I admire has been awesome. There will also be a documentary coming out about him in a while and I'm certain to watch that one aswell. But for all the successes he has had, there have also been a lot of struggles. And it's really interesting to watch the good and the bad.

Which brings me to the picture at the top of my post. I honed my skills as pirate of the digital seas and managed to get my hands on a version of Cristiano Ronaldo's recently launched documentary. Ronaldo, like Zlatan and Messi, is probably one of the best players of this generation. Although he might come across as arrogant and vain there is no doubt in my mind that he works hard for everything he has achieved so far. Something the documentary only confirmed. Being an unwanted child (his mother contemplated abortion) and growing up to become one of the best players of our generation almost sounds like a fairytale come true. But ofcourse everything has it's downsides. A normal life? No chance. He can't go out of his house without people wanting something from him, even if he's walking around with his 5 year old son and obviously wants to be left alone. This man lives and breathes football and has given up much and more than you and I ever will to achieve the success he has today. Friends are scarce in that world and trusting anyone is a risk. Not to mention all the physical pain he has to endure and work through which comes with being a footballer in the first place.
Watching that documentary only renewed my respect for him and players like him AND reminded me why I became a football fan in the first place. Ofcourse I hope that one day Ajax will have a star like that for their team aswell, but for now I'm gonna enjoy the few more years that Messi, Ronaldo and Zlatan are around to make football an even more beautiful sport than it already is.


Winter Is Coming

As the days are getting colder it's getting more and more cozy to cuddle up in a blanket and stay inside all day. Even on my days off I rarely stick my nose out of the door and it's been very relaxing. So much stuff has come my way that just sitting down with a big steaming mug filled with tea and watch a League of Legends stream is probably the best thing I could wish for right now. No stress, no action required by me. Just sitting back and relaxing.

Overwatch
I managed to get into the Overwatch stress test weekend this weekend and while I was initially all hyped up for it... I have to admit I barely played. I did a few games on Friday evening to get a look and feel of the game and test out some champions that I thought would be nice to play beforehand. So I played Mercy, Klinkhamer, Soldier 76 and Widowmaker and after that I more or less got bored.
The game itself is fast paced enough, I don't think any match took me longer than 10 minutes. It's really chaotic and you need to be aware of your surrounding at all times. I found out I do better in supporting roles (Klinkhamer and Mercy) than when I need to fight on the forefront... But I managed to get some decent kills in on Soldier 76.
All in all it seems to be a very noobfriendly FPS, something that I really needed.

The one thing this game is missing big time (in my opinon atleast) right now is some sort of personal tracking system. You see your stats at the end of every game, but in the main menu you can't see any game history or some sort of tracking how you perform in the different roles. So the only thing you get to do is queue and play and rinse and repeat this for the entire duration. Ofcourse me having to soloqueue all the time doesn't really help either, I like games the most when I can share them with friends. But since I'm the only one from my circle who seemed to have gotten in, it's mostly been a very lonely experience for me.

On the other side I've been able to grind my Ninja to level 50 on Moogle. She's actually almost level 51 already and so very fun to play. The only skills I haven't really incorporated in my rotation yet are the ones I got today (Trick Attack and Kassatsu) but I'm sure I will learn eventually. It looks like my level 52 ability will be one that is very beneficial for Black Mages (or really anyone who overaggroes the tank) since I can reduce the enmity of a single party member with Smoke Bomb. This makes Ninja even more utility oriented than they already were seeing as they can also provide TP for one party member.
I already have an almost complete set of gear ready for when I ding 60. I just lack the rings, a chest and some pants. I guess I really should start doing some ex-roulette and void ark on my Dragoon so I can use all that to gear up my Ninja who I will probably be rerolling to. After that I will see. There are still so many classes not max level for me and I had planned to stick my nose into crafting this expansion, so I might just see that through.

On World of Warcraft I got my baby Mage to level 100 and geared her up with about two hours of Timewalking. She's now sitting on ilvl 660 and I do better DPS than one of our raidmages... Who sits on ilvl 707. Yeah he's that bad. I really enjoy playing my Mage and will probably do a bit more on her over the coming weeks. It feels nice to be on a character that can only DPS so I don't have to switch roles, only speccs. It can be really exhausting to switch between Healer and DPS all the time and sometimes I wish I never rolled a hybrid to begin with. But what's done is done and there's no going back.

I'm also enjoying playing Hearthstone and watching movies on my tablet as part of my bedtime ritual. I watched Life of Pi last night before going to bed and absolutely loved the movie. It's so colourful and the story is something that is completely up my alley. I don't fancy these high action movies much and prefer movies with a strong story or a story that makes you think. This was one of such movies and combined with the gorgeous effects it was definately not two hours of my time wasted.
The next thing I really want to watch is the documentary about Christiano Ronaldo, I'm a huge football fan and I think he works so hard for his success. I'm really curious to get a glimpse into his life to see how he manages all of it.



Thursday, 19 November 2015

Finding New Goals

Quitting raiding in World of Warcraft has been both liberating and a very emotional experience for me. Ever since I achieved max level on my very first toon in the Burning Crusade I have always been in a raiding group. I've never stepped down from an active raiding roster or guild and the only lulls in my raiding career have been because of inactive people which left me with no possibility to raid outside of pugging.

Now however our raiding group was very much active and more or less stable and just walking away from that has been odd. In a way it feels like I gave up on my goals for WoW (which was mostly killing heroic Archimonde before the next expansion comes out) and I'm struggling to cope with the sense of logging into a game without clear endgame stuff to work towards. Ofcourse raiding isn't the be all and end all in World of Warcraft (or any MMO for that matter) and with the addition of patch 6.2.3 gearing up itself has been made significantly easier with the reintroduction of valor points. But for me it's not about the gear. It's about the goal that I had set when we started the expansion: to clear all endbosses on heroic with this group of raiders. And it's weird to let that go, even though it is probably the best decision I have taken for myself in a very long time.

So now I feel like someone adrift, someone in search of new goals to work towards and new ways of enjoying a game where my entire career has been about raiding in one form or another. I think I might try to pug my way through heroic Archimonde at some point (I was a tiny bit too late with subscribing to FriendshipMoose unfortunately) and I'm sure I will see him dead somewhere before Legion hits. I'm also free to devote more time to some of my other characters that I personally enjoy way more to play, but that I never really got a chance to this expansion. So I'm levelling my mage and I'm planning to do some Timewalking on both my Hunter and my Warrior.
Next to that I'm also relocating my focus towards other games. I'm intent on getting better on Hearthstone.. Which essentially means playing more, unlocking all my adventure wings and keep on unlocking more cards.
There's also the thing that I would love to get my hands on all the heroes in Heroes of the Storm, which mostly requires me to atleast work my way through all the quests I get and level my heroes to level 5 for the gold you get then. It's a bit tedious at times, but I enjoy myself immensly when playing that game, even if I'm on the losing team. I just need to find someone who I can play Cho'Gall with so I can unlock that for myself aswell and then I'm even more happy.

The major thing I did, ever since patch 3.1 launched, is pick up FFXIV again with a fervor. I've been steadily working my way through the new Vanu Vanu beast tribe quests everyday (and am now rank five or six I believe) and am levelling my Ninja which is my new favourite class. Currently she is level 46, but I get some challenge log bonuses when I do my low level and guildhest roulette today so in theory I should be well over level 47 after I log off later tonight.
I haven't really picked up doing ex-roulette again, mostly because I don't enjoy my Dragoon as much anymore as I did, but I think I'll try to make up for it over the coming few days because I want to start saving up gear for when my Ninja dings 60... And what better way to do that than with some Esoteric pieces?

All in all I'm trying very hard to adjust to a more casual approach of games where I find the fun in other things than endgame raiding. In FFXIV it seems to be working out well, I really want to level all my battle classes to max level and start on the new relic so that will keep me going for quite a while.
In World of Warcraft I'm sure I'll find my way around somehow somewhere... But for now even logging that game just feels weird and I can only hope that will pass soon.


Monday, 16 November 2015

Having Snapped

For the past months I've not been in a good place on World of Warcraft. My current guild, which I've been in for about 4.5 years now, has become a place where I no longer really wish to hang out.
I came into this guild when it was in it's dying breath (although I did not know that back then) and have always stuck by it, through good and mostly bad times.

Early on when I entered one of the last active officers left after a big fight that actually involved me. I won't go into details but let's just say couples in guilds are often toxic when one of them is in power and the other is abusing this power. After this, this was during Cataclysm, I stepped up in recruitment, raidleading and generally smoothing out the raidteam and making raids happen. After the raidleader also quit I was responsible for everyting fulltime and it was very draining on me... In the end I managed to get us to clear a lot of heroic Dragon Soul before Diablo 3, the Summer and patch fatigue shut down the guild untill Mists of Pandaria.

In Mists I managed to get a raidteam together for a few weeks after launch and then everything basically fell apart, at which point I decided to throw in the towel. I had to focus on my education and could not handle a fulltime involvement with a guild where I was the only one in charge left. The GM who promised me to be there decided he didn't want to play Mists afterall, leaving me to fend for myself. I suffered major burnout then and didn't really come back to the game untill Siege of Orgrimmar came out.

Around that time a lot of "old garde" people came back and I was interested in atleast killing Garrosh Hellscream before Warlords of Draenor would launch so I hopped into a few raids with them, got my kill and didn't really care too much. As WoD was approaching I was helping out the "leader" then who, in all honesty, isn't that good with the administration side of things. I helped him put together the raidroster, set up a poll for the raiddays and offered to fulfill the healer role I picked up at the end of Mists. This was not necessary and I decided to play Shadow Priest for the upcoming expansion.

Fast forward a few months and I end up levelling and gearing Shadow... Only to be asked to roll Holy. Less healers were showing up than they hoped and I was the only one who had the right class and experience as healer. Even though I was not feeling well mentally, and I didn't really want to switch speccs, I said yes and we continued raiding in Highmaul. A few months later I broke. There was too much going on in my life to handle stress from raiding and dealing with our raidteam, which was filled with bad players. I snapped and stopped raiding for a while to focus on myself, instead of giving so much to others. In hindsight I heard my officer "friends" were trying to get rid of me then for not feeling well, something that hurt me beyond belief. I came back to raiding and just figured I'd focus on myself and getting enjoyment out of the game my own way. I asked to be demoted to Raider down from Officer because I did not feel comfortable in Officer chat anymore. I was in there with three guys who would just ignore anything I said or bitch at me. I didn't and couldn't deal with that well so I got the demote I wanted.

And now we are in the present. Raiding through Hellfire Citadel, which has not been a very smooth ride, and my frustrations with raiding and the group have been at an all time high. It's become more and more apparent to me that it matters what position you hold in this guild. If you are buddies with our raidleader you can get away with everything without punishment, while the rest of us get scolded. Add to the fact that some "friends" who I have always treated well suddenly feel the need to treat me like shit and I just more or less snapped.

So today, with a lot of heartache, I have decided to stop raiding whatsoever. I need and want to focus on my own happiness right now and I don't want to deal with such a big frustrating factor in my life. I feel betrayed, used and generally drained. After 4.5 years I'm more than done with this guild and the people in it. I hope for them that they get Archimonde Heroic down before the new expansion hits, but for me this is the end of my raiding career for now. I might log in casually just so I can get enough gold to buy a WoW token to keep my sub active. But I might just let it all run out and see.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Terror


I want to start this blogpost off with a few words from me personally about all that has happened in the past 24 hours or so.
First off, the attacks on Paris have made me sick to my core. It's in times like these that you realize how close you actually are to a city like that (it takes me about 4 hours to travel from my house to the center of Paris by train, let that sink in) and how frighteningly close terrorism has actually come to a continent that is supposed to be safe to live on. The general feeling here is that these terrorists are trying to take away our feeling that we are safe in our own countries and it's damn well working. Events like these only make me want to avoid the big cities in Europe like the plague, scared that something will happen.
So many innocent people's lives have been taken by a few that by all means are no better than savage animals. They murdered... no butchered innocent people in one of the busiest places in Paris, people like you and me, that go about their daily lives and never get involved in politics or global scale things to begin with.
For me there was an added layer of terror in knowing that one of the people I love and care about most in this world not only lives right ontop of Paris, but could very well have been present in the Stade de France watching that friendly football match. I got very early confirmation that said person was actually unharmed and safe at home, but still. Everytime I see it slip by on the news I get cold and think of all the people who have not been this lucky and have lost a loved one last night.
Whenever you see on the news that there is trouble in the Middle East or Israel it doesn't make that big of an impact for me because it's so far away and I don't actually know anyone there. But with all the recent happenings and knowing France (and Paris) have been the target of multiple attacks over the past year everything is suddenly much closer to home, up to the point that I'm actually dreading Monday since my friend will have to go back into Paris for work then... And I can only hope and pray he is safe and nothing will happen.

Gaming and Work
I've started my new job last week and am in the process of learning everything involved... Causing me to come home extremely tired and irritable. The only thing I want to do after dinner is head to bed and catch up on all the sleep I feel like I've been missing.
Because I'm forced to think about priorities it's also becoming more and more apparent to me that I need to take a step back from World of Warcraft. The struggle there is becoming more and more intense for me and it's pulling me under. People who I thought were nice turn out to be not so nice and I've lost respect for a lot of others... I don't really know what to do with this. Mentally I'm just exhausted with that part of my life and the only thing I would want is to retreat from the raidteam and focus on the aspects of the game that still make me happy, instead of logging on frustrated and emotional because of everything that has been, and still is, going on.
It's hurtful for me on a personal level because I feel like I have given my all for this guild over the past four or five years and I never got anything in return. My heart and soul went in there, I was officer/GM/raidleader for a while, I helped setup the new raidleader, handled things like roster balancing, raidrules, lootrules and everything that came with maintaining a raidteam. I assist our current raidleader with tactics and calling things out while still needing to be focused on keeping people alive on my Priest. It's all a bit too much, especially when you get zero respect and acknowledgement for what you are doing, it just feels like a spit in the face.
Add to that the fact that I'm already exhausted when I come home after work now and you just get a very volatile mix that can explode any minute. My heart is bleeding over this situation and right now I'm not sure of anything anymore... Only that I no longer find any enjoyment in logging onto the game.


Instead I have been playing a lot of FFXIV again since patch 3.1 came out. I've been steadily leveling away on my Ninja, who will probably hit level 40 before the weekend is over and am doing the new beast tribe dailies on my Bard, who is halfway to level 52. I'm really enjoying the game again, especially now that a lot of the lagg issues have been resolved. I really think I will make this game my maingame again and will probably devote most of my time to getting my Ninja to level 60 and geared up, while also slowly plowing away on my other classes.

Next to Final Fantasy I've seen a ressurection in my Heroes of the Storm play. I've been playing atleast 3 games every day and have been enjoying myself immensely. I've picked up Johanna on my alt account and am currently wrecking face on Jaina on my main account. It's so fun to play different roles and feel like you're actually good at them. Whenever my team wins a game by good communication and gameplay I'm just super happy and feel like I've achieved much more than whenever I killed a new boss on World of Warcraft. I'm saving up for the next champion to buy and I'm very much leaning in the direction of Leoric, Butcher or Artanis. I'm sitting at 7k gold right now so it shouldn't take too long to get that 10k gold together to buy either one of them. Especially since I picked up doing my quest with a fever. Sometimes I will do them on Quick Match on champions I'm comfortable on, sometimes I will choose to play vs AI because I either lack time or need to play a role I normally don't play (warrior/specialist). Either way I make sure quests are getting done and gold is getting earned. I really want to own all the champions in the game, so I guess I still have some work ahead of me!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Taking Steps

Even though my head is killing me I felt the need to write a blogpost today since a lot of stuff has happened over the past week.
Let me start with the big news: I landed a fulltime job for a longer time. This means my days of scavenging the job market are more or less over and it takes a huge weight off of my shoulders. I've been looking for a steady job for over a year now and have not been very lucky so far. I had some temp jobs that were fun, but never lasted longer than a few weeks so the disappointment after they ended was often big. It also meant I was never financially stable enough to actually spend money without worrying about it.
I'm starting this new job next week (the 12th) and it will run for atleast 6 months but probably closer to a year. I won't be getting a world star paycheck, but it should be enough for me to get some financial breathing space and start saving up to buy a car or maybe look for a place to live.

Ofcourse I had to celebrate this milestone in my life so I went and splashed some money that I had saved on a tablet. I picked the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, which is probably the best tablet in it's segment together with the iPad Air 2. Only a lot cheaper than said iPad. So far I've been very happy with my purchase... I ordered a case for it so it won't scratch and I've been using it already to just stream or play some Hearthstone in bed in the evening.

Gaming wise I've picked up FFXIV again after the big server overhaul that Square Enix did for the European Data servers. I actually have a better connection on my PC than my PS4 now (only marginally though) and I've been happily chipping away leveling my Rogue/Ninja on Moogle and my Machinist on Cactuar. I notice the ping difference a lot. On Moogle everything runs smoothly and I've discovered it's only a 22ms ping, whereas I have a 500ms connection to Cactuar.... It really shows in gameplay.
In WoW it's the same old story with my raiding group. I've mostly been focussing on making a lot of gold so I can keep on paying my sub with WoW-tokens. Seeing as they are slowly going up in price I've had to adjust a few things in my garrisons... But seeing as I make about 1,5k gold a day without any issues I should be fine with gold for a while.

I've turned my back a bit on Destiny and Wildstar. Not because I don't like the games, but more because I just can't find the time to play. Add to the fact that my Playstation Plus also expired and I feel less and less the need to log into Destiny at all.
For Wildstar it's mostly the "where is my time" thing. I've been working on a temp assignment for the past two weeks and when I get home I'm just tired and want to relax. Since Wildstar is a very engaging game to play I often just cannot get into the mindset needed to play. Seeing as I will start working fulltime soon I will either have to figure out a play schedule again or just push Wildstar a bit to the back. Trying to keep up with 3 MMO's isn't as easy as you think it is!

On the other hand I've been playing a lot of Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm. Heroes mostly because I want the pumpkin portrait, Hearthstone because by all means it's a slow paced game which I can play on my phone (or now on my tablet) without having to turn on my PC. I can just sit, relax and game and that's what I really need at the moment.

In the health department I'm managing to go to the gym more frequently. I was supposed to go today, but since my head feels like someone has smashed it into a wall I figured being on a treadmill is one of the last things I would want to do. To help me reach my goals I ordered a Fitbit Flex (since I'm spending money anyway...) to see how much exercise I actually get during a day and how my sleeping pattern is. I really hope this will motivate me even more to be more aware of my health, especially how much time I spend on "burning calories". I do start to feel better already and I've lost 2 kilograms (about 1 pound?) of the 15 I want to lose atleast.

All in all I've had a very positive week. A lot of stress has disappeared now that I've gotten my job and am more motivated to do stuff in general. Now I just need to turn my attention to actually finishing school and then I think I can finally start living life the way I wanted to: stressfree and happy.