Before I begin my post in earnest, I have to mention this, because it’s just completely ridiculous and I’m not even sure how I managed it. But I did.
This last weekend I shuffled all my games over onto my external HD that I have set up, but was going relatively unused (1TB, inherited from my husband when he bought a newer model). I was clogging up my internal memory quite horribly (having Guild Wars1/2, Rift, Star Wars, WoW, Diablo, etc will do that to you). The ‘easiest’ way to do it was to do fresh installs on the external since pretty much every online game/MMO has an option to download the client directly from their websites. Had to reformat the HD itself to get it to accept Guild Wars 2 (which needed a NTFS platform, and the HD was set for Fat32) which was pretty annoying, but it got done. I patched all my games up again whilst watching back-to-back episodes of MST3k on Netflix (the best show ever, by the way). Then, I proceeded to uninstall ALL the games from my internal drive, giving me quite a bit of nice shiny space left over. Huzzah!
Till three days later, when I was messing about with my theme for this blog. I can’t seem to settle on anything, but sometimes if I go through my screenshots folder I’ll find something just by chance that will make for a good background or header…
Imagine my surprise when I find approximately five shots in the screenshots folder. Normally there are loads because it goes way back to when I first got this PC in 2010. Pictures from my time in Ebon Phoenix. Pictures from end-of-Wrath, and Cata, and everything in between. Most of them were kinda bullshitey, just random pictures I took while faffing about.
Muggins here forgot to back up her screenshots folder before deleting it from her internal HD. Completely and utterly forgot to do it. Years of memories lost because I was a complete dunce and forgot I even had a screenshots folder to begin with (this is why I love GW2 because their screenshots folder ends up in My Documents, so it’s hard to miss). To say I was mad at myself could be considered understatement of the year for 2014; the cats were privy to a string of curses that would make a sailor blush as I just sat at my computer, staring at a very weaksauce screenshots folder.
I can look back on it now and laugh I guess, because we’ve all been there–all done something so incredibly dumb, a ‘how did I even manage THAT?’ moment where our brains just up and fail us. If there’s an ‘up’ side, it’s that I do have some shots I put on FB which I can try to retrieve (‘try’ being the operative word here, since it might muck up the quality compared to the originals), and wordpress has saved what I’ve uploaded to use here on the blog. So there is some stuff left, but much more gone the way of the digital wind. There might be some really high-tech way of getting it back, but it’d require more effort and brainpower then I can muster–I’m a proper dunce I am :D
And now on to your regularly scheduled programming:
I’ve been working on pushing my shaman, Zanzeeli towards 90. Last I spoke of her, she was stomping all over the Outlands, and despite not having any heirlooms (I do things the hard way obviously, including leveling–I don’t really mind the grind most of the time), she made short work of Northrend. Cataclysm was a tiny bit slower just because urgh, Uldum, but lo and behold she dinged 85 last night mucking about with the shamans up in Twilight Highlands. Whilst working through Cata content, I’ve been trying to keep her gathering professions up to date, which is a bit difficult when you’re boosted through content at a faster pace than intended.
With most of my professions (okay, ALL of them) I try to use profession guides to keep me on track, and to keep me from wasting my time and efforts and mats doing ridiculous shite that won’t give me any progress. I also use them if I’m stuck in a spot with mining/herbalism/skinning and need a reminder of a level-appropriate grinding spot. This happened with my mining, where I was a few levels short of being able to mine elementium, which was getting super annoying since I seemed to be tripping over it whilst questing in Uldum. The guide I consulted suggested some spots in Vash’jir to go to level; normally I wouldn’t bother with it and just go to Mt. Hyjal, but 1.) I’m frankly sick of Mt. Hyjal, and 2.) I had already quested in Vash’jir and had flight points, plus it’d give me another excuse to use my sea horse.
So, out I went, trying to follow the path outlined by the guide. Long story short, I found myself in this particular bit:
It had mining nodes…but not much else. No mobs. No quests. No NPCs. No battle pets. It’s just a spot on the map in Vash’jir that, at least to me, was unknown and unexplored. I most likely went far enough to get the exploration achievement for that zone, but I obviously didn’t go any further since all this was new territory to muggins here. It was completely empty, devoid of any obvious life*, on the very edge of the zone map.
And once I had finished with my mining, I just stopped and looked around, taking in this ‘new’ area. I realized that wasn’t something I was used to doing anymore; exploring, taking in the world around me wasn’t a part of my gaming experience anymore, at least in WoW. It was going from point A to B, running along the rails and never deviating from the course set out for me. I had stopped putting myself out there, exploring for the sake of exploration, just to find something new. It had been something I had done in Vanilla–back before exploration achievements (where it’s become more about ticking the objective off rather than consuming the content itself), back before you could fly in Azeroth–this is kinda sounding like I’m shaking a fist at Blizzard because they totes ruined the game. I’m not. They haven’t ruined anything, or else I wouldn’t still be playing, seven years after I started, with very few lapses in my subscription.
This is more a personal thing, where I’ve slacked. I need to make more of an effort to color outside the lines, to give myself permission (and ambition) to explore the world, no matter what expansion we may be in. Of course so much of it has lost that awe because I’ve been playing so long, and there’s a finite amount of what you can see, I’ve accepted that reality. But once and a while, there’s a spot that pops up that catches my attention like that, where I stop and smell the roses (metaphorically speaking, obviously).
That said, this bit of the map–known as the Abandoned Reef (according to WoWWiki) is a very comforting place for me and my shaman. I’d like to think she’s the type much better suited to a more solitary life, and you can’t get much more solitary than this spot. It’s calm, and serene, and you could just…float, just commune with the spirits, get away from all the distractions and anxieties that life likes to throw at us (and our characters!).
In short: you could send me to the Abandoned Reef, with this 8tracks playlist (http://8tracks.com/8cvetko/pure-chillstep) playing in the background and I’d be one very happy shaman. I’ve been dealing with personal issues lately, various levels of anxiety and depression popping up to kick me in the face every so often, so finding this particular spot in-game was quite apt timing, in the grand scheme of things. I found it just when I needed to. It’s now my place to just go, and to just be. Nothing about the past, nothing about the future, or even the present really; just existing for the sake of existing, floating along without a weight in the world.
That’s rare. And I cherish those spots, and those moments with every ounce of my wee troll heart.
*A/N: I learned that the Abandoned Reef is where Ghostcrawler (the rare spawn) pops up. I didn’t see anything when I was out there, and I was on my shaman anyway, but Applecore might make a trip out just to see. I knew he spawned somewhere in Vash’jir, I just wasn’t sure the specific subzone. The more you know!