On writing warlock news

I’m taking a break from raiding. I’m actually on a physical vacation, too — with my desktop, no less! yay driving — but I’m burnt out on wiping and attendance issues in Siege of Orgrimmar. I feel frustrated and annoyed to waste time when I could be having fun in D3 or SC2 or GW2 or even Archaeology in WoW or writing or any number of things that are not unfocused SoO raiding.

I’m actually enjoying the break so far. I’m having loads of exploratory fun in D3 with my full class set of softcore 70s, though I figure I will go back and try to get the full 70 set on hardcore again. If you see posts on D3, it’s because it’s what I’m playing and am interested in. I’m far from a theorycrafting expert in D3 (I’m not even one in WoW, c’mon, get real), so stuff might be wrong or suboptimal, but I don’t really care. It’s the exploration into how stuff works that’s the fun part for me.

Despite not raiding, I am keeping up a little with the various Warlords of Draenor news that trickles in. While I only summarize for Final Boss right now, the rest of the FBTV crew is definitely interested in WoD changes related to progression raiding, of course. I also keep an eye out for warlock information, because …I can’t really stop being a fan of warlock things.

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Know Your Lore: Warlocks

The past couple of days, Matthew Rossi at WoW Insider posted a two-parter Know Your Lore on warlocks. First part covers the history of warlocks while the second part names famous canon warlocks. While I’d love perhaps more in-depth on each warlock (would Nobbel have some?), it’s still cool to remember all the warlocks in the canon game out there.

Matt told me while the first part got posted that I’d see a familiar warlock on the front page soon. In fact, both of the parts have headers that were originally mine; it’s just the second one that is more recognizably my warlock. The first header with the demo-warlock makes sense — demonology and the dominance of demons is the flavor of warlock that most canon warlocks fit. As with the whole petless controversy we have from time to time in game mechanics, generally the demons and fel magic are essential to Azeroth’s universe definition of warlocks.

The second header…I don’t know. There are plenty of other warlocks he could have used — Gul’dan, for instance, even though Gul’dan has his own posts on himself and is just mentioned and linked to in this post. Archimonde or Kil’jaeden could be there. Cho’gall gets talked about. Heck, my spoilerific Kanrethad image with the name over his head could go there. But he went with my character face-on, and then suggests in the last paragraph successors to the Council of the Black Harvest. (I figure if he meant to have simply a player-character warlock, he wouldn’t have mentioned to me specifically about which one it was. The image has been used elsewhere before, anyway.)

The new warlock might be confused — why would Matt be suggesting player characters as replacements to an otherwise lore-based group? In fact, Kanrethad is the only completely fictional warlock. Jubeka, Zinnin, Shinafel (aka Shinafae), Ritssyn (or Nisstyr), and Zelfrax are (or were, at the time of green fire development) high-calibre warlock players. You could go as far to say that only player-character references should be considered for future Council members, to keep the tribute going.

But I don’t know that I’m actually worthy enough to sit canonified on the Council. I’m not amazing at DPS, I’m not a warlock theorycrafter, and I haven’t really contributed that much to the community at large, I feel. Matt argues that I get a spot because I lasted the longest in the Defense Against With the Dark Arts chair at WoW Insider. (Though, I want to mention that Cynwise’s old tweets are now @_cynwise. The old account is now placeholdered by an anonymous someone else, apparently.) When the class columns were finished back at the end of February, Matt was also kind enough to say that I “came in and owned Blood Pact.” So thanks, Matt, I feel honored now.

But did I really do anything? Did I offer worthy criticism or guides? Did I get new players interested in warlocks (or were they already interested and going to play anyway)? Did I represent warlocks well enough? I’m not sure about that. I still have some improvement to do as far as my writing guides or my critiquing content goes.

Cynwise wrote a book on warlocks that was pretty central and significant to the following expansion, for fuck’s sake.

All I did was refuse to shut up about warlocks at WoW Insider for two years. I learned a lot — about writing, about blogging, about news-style writing, about comments/views/audiences, etc. — but I don’t think that I inspired anything worth me being made into lore.

wholebodyshrinkagolemMy Significance

I wanted to do a “famous warlocks” in a downtime Blood Pact — perhaps, if I had still been writing, it would come out around now. I don’t mean the famous warlocks of lore like Matt did for KYL; I mean, I had in my ideas or drafts folder for a while to write about the warlock community, highlighting specific theorycrafters or streamers or top-end raiders. That’s why I was rather thrilled about the one time I covered Final Boss’s early warlock episode with Shinafae & Sparkuggz, before I’d join Final Boss. Amijade did something similar already with warlock bloggers, but I wanted to open up the resources into high-end play beyond, say, the Icy Veins thread.

After covering MoP beta with all the warlock changes, I’m fairly forever burnt out on patch note excitement. Everything can and will probably change by the end. The pressure to always be “right” about information combined with the constant 24/7 nature of web content resulted in a constant stress that I don’t like and that I ultimately found I don’t want to deal with. The Blood Pacts I remember hating to write were when new patch notes arrived but were mostly numerical changes; “X ability got nerfed by Y%” is so godawfully boring to compile. People demand it anyway, even if they have already read it through a dataminer. It’s a merit badge to check off doing. So I’m done with covering the absolute up-to-date patch notes.

The posts I remember loving to write were either critical thinking — like, remember the casting while moving post? Even if I got Auto Shot wrong, it was fun — or they were the narrative pieces. Straight loot lists are boring to me because we all know we’re going to either simulate our gear anyway or a theorycrafter will have posted a Best in Slot (BiS) list elsewhere already. Loot lists that involve the history or references of items or explore the various transmogs or pets you can loot? Those are interesting to me. Narratives are also fun for obvious reasons, and I like taking things like general guides and rewriting them as stories.

I like putting flavor into things, and I like reading things with flavor in them. So I’m steering myself back in that direction and going back into writing things for pleasure rather than because I “should” be writing it (guides, the pressing Issue of the Patch, BiS loot, etc.) or feeling like I otherwise artificially “have” to write it.

On [...]

Cynwise might fit on the Council of the Black Harvest because he’s analyzed the ins and outs of warlocks, but he’s not a personal hero of mine because of warlockery. I’m a Cynwise fangirl (there, I said it) because of the same thing Psynister once said to him:

He said that I was a good, thoroughly competent Mage player, but it never seemed like quite the right class for me.

“It’s because you play Warlocks with style,” he said. “You’re a good Mage. You’re an awesome Warlock.”

It took me a while to absorb what he meant by that. What did he mean by style? Style is joie de vivre, style is letting the world know you’re having fun with what you’re doing. I had that on Cynwise.

There’s a certain freedom and honesty in Cynwise’s CBM writing that I craved & still crave a little. Specifically the “On [Topic]” posts he had. He didn’t spend time on some overarching structure with a clever title; it was just THIS TOPIC and then GO.

Blood Pact was necessarily restrictive in word count, but also, as time went on, I found it restrictive in content as well. I unfortunately tried too hard to please everyone all the time, and burnt myself out many times in the process. When I did indulge myself in a narrative or fun piece, I usually got the starkly split comments: either the piece was viewed as “useless” and “boring” because it wasn’t the latest Issue of the Patch, or I received a circle jerk positive comment that didn’t really give me anything to build on (what was good? I still don’t know). I wanted to feel accomplished and happy with my work, and it was almost always exclusively one or the other, not both.

I have a bookmark in my “Writing” folder called Titty Sprinkles, and I revisit it a lot for a reason. I have yet to take Cynwise off his writing pedestal yet (sorry!), but my inner CFN editor has been growing stronger. Perhaps not on a writing basis — I’m still as anxiously constipated as ever — but starting with the decision to take my first ever break from raiding, and extending outside of the game. I’m figuring out what my time is worth, and what I want to do with it, rather than what I feel like I, as a warlock writer, should be doing.

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Possible Future Blog Topics

I’m playing D3 a lot right now. I still love it, and I love the solo player aspect of it. I like creating my own spreadsheets for how to crafting things (farm spreadsheets in WoW were fun, too!). I like playing builds that are fun to press buttons with, not necessarily to do the best damage. I play with Haunt/Spirit Barrage on my witch doctor (with a helpful horde of Zombie Dogs), and I’m working on seeing if I can build my way into a smite/ranged Crusader style. I find it hilarious to shoot at mobs from behind gates or across the way in Pandemonium despite being on a primarily melee-based class.

I’ve thought about doing a playthrough video of Starcraft II campaign, since I’ve just gotten into SC2. But I play more D3 right now than SC2, and trying to put meaningful commentary on it makes the SC2 playthrough feel like a merit badge to complete instead of something I actually enjoy doing. So that’s on the burner for now.

I am still subscribed to WoW, though I’ve barely logged in at all. I am still chasing the Scimitar of the Sirocco item (for transmog!) & Seeker of Knowledge title in Archaeology and I still enjoy soloing old raids from time to time. I thought about combining a writing challenge with raid soloing by writing a guide to the soloed instance/boss in the form of a narrative or roleplay. But that takes a lot of planning before I’m satisfied enough for publishing, so that won’t happen for a while.

Warlock news from the alpha will be flying around. I do mean to highlight those who are blogging, theorycrafting, streaming, or whatever else content creation is going on. I myself won’t be creating too much guide content on warlocks — I prefer to wait until it’s all settled and almost released. But as part of Final Boss and by extension Sentry Totem, I’m still going to be around a ton of community that will be producing content. Though some reach larger audiences than I ever will, I still like to pass the word on when I see something cool.

For example, I had a lot of fun trying to write up the enhancement shaman episode summary as the old ShamWOW commercial, so you should go read it to get a laugh for the day.

I will probably tag non-WoW content as what it is. There will likely be a Diablo III or D3 tag and/or category soon.

So, uh, yeah, that’s it. I’m going to start writing other things now.

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One response

  1. I would usually leave feedback via twitter, but this platform lets me use more than 140 characters. I always enjoyed the articles that weren’t tied to a patch, or content. Things like that change all the time. http://wow.joystiq.com/2012/05/07/blood-pact-those-who-are-not-afraid-to-wield-power/ is still among my favorite, if not my most favorite articles that has ever popped up on WoW Insider. The style of it was fantastic, and more importantly, it captured the essence and the flavor of what makes Warlocks awesome. That article will still be cool in two years, whereas an article on 5.2 trinkets loses a lot of importance as soon as 5.4 comes out.

    I think by nature when covering “current” things, there is always going to be an arms race. By writing on a platform that has a schedule + editors, you were always going to be bound to running into the issue of things being changed after submission, but before the article went live. You also seemed to be a magnet for players who didn’t necessarily understand the scope of the audience. It seemed like there were always people who would nit-pick little things. Sometimes they were right, but they were arguing for something that only applied to the top 5% or less of people playing the class, and I don’t think that was ever your intended audience.

    For what it’s worth, I referenced your posts to lots of curious guildmates who rolled Warlock alts over the course of MoP. You definitely helped them quite a bit, and having a well written, enjoyable resource helped keep them out of my hair :)

    The loss of class columns still stings, but I’m happy you’ve found work in the extended WoW universe. I hope WoD fills you with lots of ideas, and you’re able to enjoy writing about what you want to write about when the time comes.

    05 Jun 2014 at 12:18

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