The Point

There’s a point, I swear.

I was trucking along in my trial of Scrivener, writing essentially two posts on why I thought the latest Blood Pact just didn’t do it right on its topic.  I say two posts — it started as one, but as I typed more and more I felt like the topic was actually two things.  There’s survivability in PvP and the dynamics of healing, both self-healing and actual healer-heals, and how that all works with your team an objective.

Then there was a reprise of Cynwise’s DPS Pick, which I absolutely love to do, so I was going off on tangents on which Mists talents would make great warlock flag-carrying tanks and which would make great chaos-bringers & distracters.  Because, because, because random battlegrounds are just not ever about the pure one-on-one that a warlock might lose.  Not even Arenas are like that.  And I just felt like Caraway totally missed the point of not only affliction warlockery but the point even of PvP.

And even then, I’d had a page of just why I’d prefer to use Howl on resources BGs like Arathi and why I’d prefer to have a stun (Shadowfury) on CTF BGs like Twin Peaks.  I’m personally a fan of chaos-bringer playstyle — I don’t really care for Ironman but Not In My House would be SO COOL for me to have — and I was just on a speeding train about all the things Caraway missed in his 1500 word overview of the talent calculator.

And then I set it aside.  It’s in a draft status.  I’m not Cynwise; I tried to make a posterous to get me to write more, but the more I write, the more I want to post it on Fel Concentration.  It’s almost like my style of mains and alts are applied to my blog, too.  I love my bear druid, I’ll play her all day long, but there are some things I just don’t give a shit about except on my warlock.

Anyway?  The Point?  

The point is I took a break, because I hadn’t even separated out the two posts from each other — it’s just one giant long text file — and it’s full of my note-taking typing of not even full words forget full sentences.  It has to flow, I have to find pictures to break things up, mainly because I realize even I don’t like plowing into a blog article that is just nothing but text for ages.  It works for books, but not for really long articles unless you’re already quite into it.

That was a really long sentence, and rather an example of the kinds of “full” sentences I had in there.  My name is Poneria and I am long-winded.

Anyway?  The Point?

The point is I came back today to finish writing it, and I opened up my feedreader to start jogging my mind a little.  And there was Cyn’s Five Rules of Field Notes.

And I had to stop for a moment.

Rule the First is my posting resolution goal — 10 posts per month.  Resolutions make me feel guilty, so I’m going to flip the perspective and go for the word goal, because I’m less likely to beat myself up about it if I miss a month of goals (I’ll still be disappointed) than if I miss a month of resolutions.  But my goal, since I’ve been writing single-digit monthly posts for 2010 & 2011, is so I get my writing out there, even if it’s not “perfect” or “important.”  I saw that even after I’d cleaned it out once, my Drafts folder had as many files in it as my Published one did, and that felt wrong.

Fear is a big thing in my life whether online or off.  Anxiety is probably the closer term, because it’s less that I fear something and more that I’m agonizing over bothering to punch that fearful thing in the face and tell it to step aside because I’m walking this way.

So here we go, first draft.  Though, it’s much easier for me to talk about something that relates to me, to talk anecdotes, in a first draft and hit publish, than it is to construct a counterargument against what I thought was a poor post and make sure that I covered all my bases and am not about to make a complete fool and/or ass of myself.

Rule the Second probably won’t happen for me very often.  I am a constant rewriter — mid-sentence, mid-pararaph, mid-word, whatever.  In fact, that sentence just got typed for about 2 minutes before I decided on a satisfactory wording.  I am very much that person on the other end of and IM chat who sits there with the “Poneria is typing…” message across your screen for five minutes, only to have it end as “so, how was your day?”  If you’re in the room, I furiously type when I’m on a speeding train of thought, and the rewriting just hops on with me.

But I hardly ever do the whole rewriting thing after I finish.  Once I finish, it’s trash or drafts or publish.  It looks like I go back, because I’ll do a bare-bones outline half the time and then write it not-in-order, but once I finish a section, it’s fucking done.

Rule the Second also revealed a twinge of jealousy that I knew was there.  If those are Cynwise’s first drafts… My first drafts are terrible and discombobulated.  Where can I find zen like Cyn has for writing?

Rule the Third has already seen some action.  Last post, for example.  Completely silly thing to post about, a bank in Theramore and punching raptors, but there you go.  It’s the kind of things I find cool in WoW and why I love leveling among other exploration things.

Rule the Fourth, too, has seen a bit since I gave up around high school on writing to constraints of words.  It’s my blog, I post wordy things.  You can always bookmark it and come back later if you want.  Or you can just stop reading halfway through and never come back, in which case I should get a little better at writing because I clearly can’t keep you entertained for post, let alone a book or a column.

Rule the Fifth … I tell my inner editor to fuck off all the time, but I always come mentally and emotionally crawling back and sit under the menacing parental finger-pointer that is my inner editor telling me to fix this and fix that and “No child of mine would ever walk out of this house wearing that.”

Anyway? The Point?

This article was originally titled “PvP as an Exercise Against Anxiety,” as that’s what I set out to publish (by taking a cue from CFN), as it’s one of those blog posts that hangs around in my brain and pokes its head in everyday to play.

Anxiety is a thing I struggle with all the time.  It’s the reason why every month I disappear from Twitter for a day or two because I didn’t take my laptop with me when I went home for a 1-hour session with a counselor.

Where I talk about things that frustrate me, like not being able to leave my apartment because my roommate and her boyfriend are cuddling on the couch.  How it’s a great mental & emotional burden for me to dodge the awkwardness of passing an intimate session on our couch — our, mine & her’s & my other roommate’s — which my roommate is totally free to use for whatever she wants, just like me, and how I’m just awkward in normal social conversation, forget dodging the obvious interruption of cuddling by a third party… How all that battles me in my mind to create an almost physical-feeling barrier between myself and my apartment door than I just don’t let my apartment until they go out to dinner or end up falling asleep.

Or, how Twitter knows, I’ll endure hours of somebody’s Charlie Brown Teacher Wahm Wahm Wahm voice through my bedroom wall in the wee hours of the morning before I finally dig out my Benadryl which puts me to sleep in a matter of minutes…rather than get up and tell the guy to take a hike because I’d like to sleep in the space I pay to sleep in.

Anxiety is a thing I have and do.  Offline it’s fairly more obvious, because I’ve been online for half my years now, and I’m far more comfortable in the land of text than I am in the land of spoken words and body language.  It’s far more obvious when I’m in a new online place than when I’m in a place I’m comfortable being, like my guild.  Online you can also hide more easily than you can offline.  It’s far easier to become someone else for a day online.

Writing is cathartic for me.  I really ought to do it more often, but I’m so lazy at bothering to keep an actual journal for longer than a raid lockout.  I think in monologues to myself all the time, especially those moments in which Anxiety is beating Myself up for something or other, why be redundant and keep it in a journal?  But the truth is, I’m pretty sure I’m just terrified of admitting things to myself that I don’t want to admit.  The few times I’ve written in a journal, I’ve either started crying at conclusions I drew or have thought I come off as a whiny little girl who belongs better with a bedtime and worksheet homework.

Writing gets my thoughts together.  I have pens and pencils everywhere and index cards wherever I don’t have my actual spiral notebooks laying about.  Most things, when I have a problem, I write and draw them to death, until I’m done letting it all out, and then I usually leave it to collect dust in a folder or actual physical dust in my room.

As I was typing about Cyn’s five rules I figured writing is a sort of Offline PvP.  Constructing arguments about whatever topic is at hand is certainly my thoughts and reasoning versus this other guy’s thoughts and reasons.  It’s also a personal struggle for me, the obvious and cliched inner editor versus the quiet and frankly terrified self esteem.

The Point

The original post was PvP vs. Anxiety.  You might say I’ve strayed far from that so far.  I’d say I never left it.  PvP in World of Warcraft is you and your toolkit versus other people and their toolkits.

PvP for me is also an exercise against anxiety.  Leveling & exploring are pleasures for me.  Raiding can be a pleasure and it can be a struggle, depending on what side of the raid leading or DPS-standard-holding I’m on.

PvP is a struggle for me.  Obviously, it’s a struggle in pure finger mechanics, as I’m not a top PvP player by a long shot.  I am that very C swear word “casual” of a PvP player.  But finger mechanics can be learned.  PvP is an emotional struggle for me and some days it boosts me  and some days it’s completely draining.  One of my prideful faults is being right or being good at the things I do, because ever since being a kid I was always just magically great at what I did.  It’s a classic fault, but there you go.

Dying is a thing that doesn’t happen in PvE unless You Done Fucked Up, and it took a while for me to accept dying lots in PvP.  I’d sit an angry ball of frustration at the GY and would already start tripping over my anger when I finally rezzed, which led to more stupid mistakes and more dying.  Snowball.

So I have to tell myself to chill.  At first it was guildmates who knew that when I’m happy I’m fun to play with, so I just needed to chill and they told me so.  Now it’s more internal. The GY visit isn’t a punishment anymore.  It’s 10-45 seconds for me to take a solid breath, like the ones in band class, and to calm myself for the next storm of finger mechanics.  It’s the time I can have to myself, the introverted break I get for just me, before I have to dive back into the crowd and do social mechanics like following or breaking away from the crowd.

There’s also the BG chat thing.  Maybe it’s part of social anxiety or maybe I’m just actually paranoid half the time — I’m not a psych expert at all — but I always feel like I’m being watched, particularly for when I’m about to fall pretty damn hard on my face.  It’s like tiptoeing everywhere, frantically making sure I’m 100% right about what I’m doing, and even then, when I am great and good, it’s not satisfying, because the performance fatigue almost always kicks in immediately.  Pon’s good, but she’s always good, so pulling ridiculous DPS is nothing to write home about.  Megan’s good at math, but she’s always good at math, so acing a test is nothing to write home about.

BG chat is the cesspool of epeen and people pointing out your every mistake.  Everyone points out the people fighting on the road, or the guy who’s wearing mostly raid gear with no resilience.  BG chat is an exercise for me to not get upset over what people think of me.  Previously I had to either turn it off or PvP with friends, because I couldn’t handle being yelled at when I was alone.  Even if I wasn’t the reason they were yelling, it felt directed at me.

I can queue solo and play with BG chat on and finish feeling like I did my part with the calling incomings and thanking healers and like I did something useful rather than feeling like I was a scrub failure.  Maybe it’s trivial for you, but that’s a big triumph for me.  It doesn’t happen as consistently as I’d like it to eventually — I still refuse to PvP during the evenings without guildies, because that seems to be when the Alliance really digs into the bullying and self-attacking.

I still need to work on my smack talking, though.  Typically, when I start talking smack about the teams, that’s my anxiety showing.  And by smack, I mean posturing smack, not legitimate pluses and minuses of the teams.  That smack talking is me in defensive mode trying to shift the failure off my shoulders rather than owning up to it.

The Point?

The point is, I don’t think PvP is ever really about will I survive the rogue’s stun because I have five million Corruptions streaming Siphon Life heals to me.  I don’t think it’s about whether I have the ability to peel off melee at any time I want because I now have all the CC that Mists is forcing me to choose between.  I agree that it’s about the 1v1 encounters, but I have a different sense of the person I’m fighting against.

I’m fighting against me.

So I didn’t like the Blood Pact this week because it felt like Caraway is saying be OP or go home in the land of PvP.  It felt like he was giving up because he feels affliction’s healing is being nerfed and our CC is being nerfed, so clearly our survivability is being nerfed.  I feel like he thinks finger mechanics are all that matters in PvP, when I believe that finger mechanics are a very small part in the PvP land.

So there, I’v had my say about what I think the purpose of PvP is.  It might take my arguments in a different direction than Blood Pact was aiming or even able to go in, but there we are.

I’m going to take a break, log in and play a bit (maybe PvP!), and then visit those posts I was writing about yesterday.  Maybe finish them, but I feel like I need to explore each a bit more before that happens.

The Point

One thought on “The Point

  1. I’ve long maintained that PvP is the most introspective part of Warcraft. It’s the place where you have to come face to face with yourself. You have to grapple with your fears and passions, your anger and your joy. It’s not an activity that allows for the perfectionism of PvE. You have to get messy. You have to accept that there are things outside of your control. Not: RNG. Instead: You got outplayed. You have to deal with failure. Repeated failure. You have to look at your own motivations, a lot, just to keep on going.

    This is why I love it.

    I struggle with anxiety as well, Pon, and I think it’s great that you can talk about it. I started playing Warcraft as a way to get over my panic attacks. I’d worked really hard on a work project for about 6 months and it had killed me. Just killed me. I had to find something to do at night that wasn’t working, so I figured I’d try out WoW.

    I had no idea it would rekindle my writing, that I’d find the spark that blogging had snuffed out years before. Yes, blogging – I was so tired of failing to write on my tech and personal blogs. I’d try, and it just … wouldn’t work. I’d try to emulate the kings of those social circles, guys like Jon Gruber (Daring Fireball) and Jamie Zawinski (JWZ) and just … fail. I didn’t want to write anymore.

    But I could play Warcraft. That was something.

    The road through anxiety is rough, and personal, and I wish I could help everyone I know who struggles with it. But it’s a road people have to walk on their own, and no matter how much cheering they get from folks on the sidelines (YOU CAN DO IT!) it remains their own cross to bear.

    I feel it creeping up on me all the time. My temper gets short, I yell, I start avoiding the phone, I start having panic attacks, I eat too much. Exercise helps, a lot. I’m going for a lot of walks these days.

    But writing helps, too. Getting it out is good. Even if it’s not about what I’m really feeling, the act of writing – of sitting down and organizing my thoughts, distilling them and focusing them and saying THIS and then THIS and therefore THAT – it calms me down.

    I feel like there’s more I should say, could say, want to say, but I need to think about this some more.

    Suffice to say, I enjoyed the post, and thank you for sharing it. 🙂

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