Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand, Nine Hundred and Forty-Nine


I think it isn’t surprising to me that I considered Monument Valley to be the best game of this year. It was well-crafted from a mechanics standpoint, with lush and well-chosen aesthetics. If there’s any one bit of nerdity that I admit to, it is that videogames that employ strong color palettes speak to me moreso than good gameplay. But what spoke to me more than all that was that Monument Valley was a game about hidden depths, about secret faces and alternate surfaces. The comfort came from allowing me to access these things with multiple attempts at twisting, pinching and slowly turning walls and cranks, shuffling Ida and the totem back and forth until it clicked into place.

Life is never so easy as this and Monument Valley gave me the small satisfaction of watching something fall into place, finally.


I think 2014 was the first time in a couple of years where things started to look up. After a disaster, you spend a certain amount of time assessing the damage, slowly taking stock of what you have and cobbling together a foundation for yourself that hopefully you can build upon. The easy stuff comes first, those base needs - safety, warmth, hunger. Little by little, you start erecting plans and developing a path for where you go next.

Last year was the easy stuff, this year was difficult.

And no one gives you a guidebook on how to push the wheel, how to start climbing. You just have to move the fucking rock. You have to show up and do the work.

You also have to want it.


But what is it?

Fame, fortune, notoriety, to make an impact?

It didn’t help that after nine years of thoroughly participating in the monolith that was World of Warcraft and its community, two years of that blogging about gameplay and feminist critique, I decided to finally quit. I’ve drifted back into its orbit from time to time to see how things are but I achieved a kind of escape velocity; I moved away from the harm I was doing to myself being hyper-focused on one game in both my writing and my personal life. In the process, however, I slashed many of my ties with acquaintances, gave up a part of my life I had grown used to and landed square in the middle of unfamiliar territory. It’s true that MMORPGs have a kind of insulating effect that lets very few things in and out, and I wasn’t really prepared for the terrain of the larger gaming community. I’ve been playing catch up ever since.


The upside is that if you have something to say, people will often listen. I have a bad habit of being envious of other people’s success, but there’s nothing stopping me from making my own creations, writing what I want and pushing for the kind of narratives I enjoy most. It helped that I still had my podcast, my blog, and the support of my closest friends. In that respect, this year has been better than ever. Our work on Justice Points has opened up conversations with people who’s work we admire and enjoy regularly as well as made us tons of new peers. It allowed us to explore the kind of themes in video games that we weren’t getting as much from Warcraft.

Getting to express myself on my blog was also enriching. In some ways I’m still new to this whole “gaming” thing, even if I don’t seem like it. I spent a lot of years not being aware of games, and then many more years fully focused on one to the exclusion of everything else. This year gave me an embarrassment of free time and content to consume, whether it was buying my first real console or trying out many games on or made from Twine.


I’ve met so many people who are both like me and yet not and it’s been amazing. I feel connected to a much larger community of people who share some of the same goals and concerns as I do and who make some truly cool shit.

(A by no means exhaustive list of work I enjoyed thoroughly this year:





The inexorable march of squalling baby birds, waiting for someone to regurgitate into their mouths. They say we are cuckoos, that we are here, disguised, to push them from nests. They retaliate, they shit everywhere, they derail in a flock that blots out the sun. Their noise deafens and yet says nothing.

They stood in our way, uncomfortable that the world is suddenly not about them.

It was upsetting and it was suddenly very confusing to come into a community that was full of much of the same behavior I had weathered just a year or so prior, especially when it gained a hard carapace, with hashtags and celebrities, message boards and intelligence missions. Women I had admired were packing up and leaving to do something more worthwhile, and I couldn’t blame them. The ones who stayed behind dealt with an endless torrent of roadblocks, harassment and fear.

Even though this was now a problem we all knew before made visible, it still was confusing from the inside. What did it mean if you were left alone? What did it mean for your work?

The fact that we had to wrestle between being well-known and attacked versus invisible and unmolested still chills me.

But I digress.


The overall trajectory of this year left a lot of people saying that this year was a hot mess, and it was. We still have a lot of work to do, myself included, to raise the tide for everyone, not the select few who are relatively unperturbed by the surf. The personal growth that I went through this year taught me so much about the power of doing my own thing, appreciating the work of others and doing what I can to put out more value than I take in.

I don’t believe that things begin and end depending on a calendar and far too often, I think we assign ourselves these waypoints to attempt to create meaning from largely disorganized circumstances. The bullshit from this year is going to creep into the next year if we are not vigilant. The work we started regardless of what month it was is going to continue on and doesn’t need to have happened because the clock ticked over. I put a lot of energy into beginning achieving things that I hope to see bear fruit this next year because waiting for the right time is a faulty idea.

We are going to do things, we are going to make things, we are going to keep on going.


I have a hard time finishing things. This does include videogames.

When I finished Monument Valley and saw the logo draw itself out of the stars, I felt satisfied. There’s power in endings, really good ones, ones that stick with you. The power to cut things off at the right point in the story is something we chase very hard as human beings, which goes back to this belief in the end of the year. We want to package things in a way that makes sense, that our choices lead to a reasonable conclusion.

This is my attempt at that now, as unreasonable as it was.

See you in 2015.

On Funding and Revenue

A treasure goblin pet named Moneygrubber in Orgrimmar.

There seems to be a lot of talk recently in the community about money. Specifically, who needs it, who doesn’t have it and who really “deserves it.”  I quipped earlier last week that I held a pretty unpopular opinion about how content creators should rightfully get paid for their efforts. With the recent news about Wow Insider laying off a lot of their staff or Gamebreaker soliciting the community to help keep the site afloat, I don’t think there’s a better time to have this conversation.

Now, I am not specifically a business major, so take some of my opinions with a grain of salt on the money front. However, I am a content creator and so a lot of my feelings on payment and funding come from wanting to see people be able to provide content and be somewhat solvent. Now, I understand that not everyone cares about making money at all, much less on multiple projects. Some people have a full-time job that allows them to operate content as a hobby. Some people don’t mind providing information for free. These are all personal choices and I commend that. I operate this own blog at a loss and while some days I wish I could make money writing about World of Warcraft, I am just not at a place to turn this particular venture into revenue.

However, regardless of all that, it is my firm belief that people should be compensated for their time and efforts. It’s becoming more apparent to the culture at large that the Internet is not one large volunteer staff that gives them free stuff. It’s a dedicated labor force that (sometimes) controls the means to production and should be able to see the benefits of. We need to change the popular opinion on content and help people out.

Time is Money, Friend

One of the most misunderstood and important reasons why content creators need some sort of income (unless they are comfortable otherwise) is because people forget that time is a resource. The goblins have the right of it! When people approach any project or see someone asking for money, they do forget that time is a cost. The reason for that is we don’t think of it as something like that is because it’s always there even when we do things we like.  Think of the last time you had someone come to your house to fix something - technicians frequently charge for time, labor and materials. The reason for this is because you spend time doing things. (This is helpful language for reminding you!) Any time you spend doing stuff for free is time you didn’t spend doing stuff for money. (A concept adjacent to this is called opportunity cost and is the reason why people who say that they “make pure profit” off herbs they farmed themselves are wrong.)

It’s confusing to me, sometimes, as an artist who does commissions, why people forget time. Artists tend to negotiate pricing by how much effort is required, factored in by an hourly rate. Most of my pieces should be priced by how long it takes me and what my current hourly rate is but often times I skimp on that and pay myself much lower, almost to the point of being under the minimum wage in our country because that’s just how it goes. It is a sad fact.

Don’t Forget About Labor and Expertise

This is one of the reasons that Tzufit and myself decided to start a Patreon account for our podcast. There is just tons of work and expertise that often go into blogs, podcasts, videocasts and just about anything else you could think of. Whether it’s writing words, figuring out equations for theory-crafting, recording a video or even just learning over time to be a better artist, that’s all work. Same goes for research, editing, and gathering supplies. There’s a real effort put into some of the things we use on a regular basis and you should acknowledge that. I think so many people are wrapped up in getting exposure for their talents (not to mention that many unscrupulous people have profited off of this idea) that they forget that not everyone can do the things they do, or much less want to. This phenomenon goes up in value when you involve talents or skills many people do not possess. (See: theorycrafting, addons, class guides) But all in all, even “unskilled” (this is a misnomer) labor is still deserving and valuable because you are putting in the work for something.

Materials Are Also A Thing

Quite a few efforts, even for fan content, tend to operate at a loss just due to materials. This is because website hosting, editing programs, video games and art supplies are all things that cost money and are required for much of the content people want to produce. Time and labor are the most forgotten parts of overhead (also known as operating costs) but materials also part of that. There’s many different items that go into creating stuff that people pay out of pocket. This is means that you have to be comfortable paying for that with some other source of income or else maybe not continue running a blog or videocast. In that way, it is interesting to see so many people as content creators who are also low-income do it with very little revenue. (I am one of those people and I’m not overly fond of it because I would like to pay for things on a regular basis.)

Changing the Paradigm

I wanted to address some of these underlying issues with content creation and revenue/income because I feel that the culture of the Internet has made it all too easy for people to make things for free or for their love of something (which is totally, fine, by the way!) and have people profit off that or otherwise expect everything without recognizing the costs involved. There’s far too many outfits online that make money without involving creators or participators in an equal way and without paying them. There’s a lot of people online, even other creators, who believe that you should treat all your efforts as a hobby and that everything should be handed out with no recompense. It is this presumption that makes creators who do want to ask for money or generate income look like treasure goblins to the vast majority - running off with your money and such. The undercurrent to this is basically saying, “Whatever time, effort or skill you put into this doesn’t matter, and the content you made doesn’t have a monetary value.” Which, frankly, is really upsetting. Audiences getting a value out of something you create means it does have value. Valuing the things you create and other people create, only helps everyone out in the end. It means that the quality of the content goes up, the time the person spends on said content becomes more meaningful and overall, the fact that some people can start to live on their creations has a net benefit of raising the tide so that more people can do so as well.

Another way of changing up how we view monetizing is breaking down who “deserves” to make money off their work. I believe everyone deserves to make money for their work, barring something like being deceptive or outright stealing it from other people. If you don’t want to support someone’s work, then don’t use it. If you don’t like how they how they make their income, then don’t support them. Snubbing someone because they wish to make a living off their time and effort is a pretty mean thing to do. If people want to give money to someone, that’s their choice to do so. But know this - everyone deserves the fruits of their labor. It’s not greedy. It’s fair. It’s work. It should be treated as such.

I do want to reiterate one thing though: if you are comfortable to be able to operate personally at a loss and believe your content should be available to everyone for free? That’s totally cool and awesome! That’s how a lot of open source materials tend to work and there’s definitely a space and mindset for that. However, that doesn’t work for everyone, nor should it. Also, once you start involving other people, I believe the process becomes a lot more murky. If you start to draw revenue for a collaborative effort, I believe all collaborators should be beneficiaries of not just the money but also the direction of the project. This means that if you want to run a fansite with a lot of content, you should be setting up this with a business plan in mind in order to properly mitigate costs as well as pay people for helping your brand and site grow, not just paying them in exposure that looks good on a resume. If you can’t do something solely as your own entity, then you need to compensate people for helping you out.

Create Content, Acquire Currency

But how do people actually make money now?

It’s still a pretty new system, especially online. In the olden days, there used to only be a couple of ways of getting something for something else. You either bartered for equal goods, paid for something or relied on charity or patronage. The new methods online are fairly similar but they tend to take more forms given how technology has developed. However, due to a lot of these methods looking (if not working) slightly different from the old format of making money (“Going to a 9-to-5 job”), I feel that a lot of people scoff at them and combined with our feelings of devaluing content, they are seen as greedy or arrogant.

So let’s break down some of the ways that people have, in recent years, managed to eek out some form of payment for the work and content they provide.


This is easily the backbone of how websites are “supposed” to make money. The truth of the matter is very few sites actually reap enough revenue from eyeballs or click-throughs to make this work. Ads are the first things to get blocked on any page, even typically non-harmful sites, just due to how annoying they are perceived. The only time ad revenue really works is if you are a large company that can run your own sales department that gets high bids from other companies for specific ads on your network. So in short, if you’re a little guy using Google Adsense or Adbrite, it’s not going to be a sizable portion of your income unless you have a decent amount of traffic.


This has grown over the years as more and more places have sprung up to create products on-demand using other people’s designs, meaning the overhead for getting merchandise and a store attached to your content has dropped. Still, it is a cost that you can incur as a content creator so it might not be feasible for someone who is already low-income, but it is an option. Places like Storenvy and Etsy have also made it possible to operate as a storefront just as one person. There’s also places like Redbubble that allow you to sell your designs with a huge cut of the money coming out to cover production but with no start-up costs required. Gone are the days of solely relying on Cafepress, basically. People tend to like merchandise because it gives them “something” for their money and also shows off that they are a fan of your work.


This ranges from having a Paypal donation button on your website to donation drives (think NPR or Public Television) in order to support your efforts. Even Twitch streamers sometimes have tickers on their videos showing people donating sums of money. It is a subtle (sometimes) way for a person to allow the audience to chip in a little money towards their efforts (or perhaps purchasing stuff for them off an Amazon wishlist) in order to show gratitude. It’s never a secure method of paying for your work but it often works a bit better depending on how faithful your audience is. People like feeling philanthropic and also giving back to something they’ve gotten entertainment from or used on a regular basis. Some donations even come attached with rewards - a shout-out on that person’s videos or a special bonus piece of content. This, however, is not mandatory, as donations typically are based on the idea that the person gives the money freely to say “I enjoy what you do.”


Crowdfunding takes the donations idea and basically relies on the MMORPG principle - everything is better with more people. While donations are not oriented around a single goal, crowdfunding relies on them, as well as rewards and groups of people in order to fund something in specific. Things like Kickstarter (which is crowdfunding based on a creative project that needs money to be produced) or IndieGogo let audiences put a tiny bit of money into seeing something they want in the future and basically becoming producers for said ventures. There are usually rewards attached to sweeten the pot, as well. Crowdfunding tends to work because aggregating a little bit of funding from a lot of different people takes the individual burden of a high cost off any one small group of people. It also allows an audience to directly engage and fund content they wish to use in the future, which re-negotiates some of the creator’s relationship with their fans.

Crowdfunding even works for things that aren’t specifically projects - raising money for someone’s medical bills, for instance. It’s a way of aggregating donations that lightens the financial load.

Patreon is new but operates on both the donations, crowdfunding and then patronage angle: it basically allows fans donate per content creation or on a monthly basis, with some reward levels to keep a project going regularly. I’ve seen a lot of criticism for this site in particular since it is a misunderstood, new-ish concept. In truth, it’s a pretty good way for people who create regularly and consistently to obtain funding and sponsorship on a regular basis versus towards a creative project.


A lot of this are familiar with this as a lot of pay for a World of Warcraft account and the method here is similar: you pay for access on some level to the content being provided on a regular basis. Many things do this to supplement ad revenue and use subscriptions in order to entice users to get a premium version of the content (see Spotify offering a version of their application without ads to subscribers). Some content is stuck entirely behind a subscription (this is frequently called a “paywall” and also has been used heavily by the adult market for a very long time) with some “free” content given to hook people into paying. This seems to be more and more the way that larger content providers are securing income but often still operate at a loss.

Commercial Sponsorship

This is more and more a thing in high-end raiding and competitive e-sports but still applies here. A company chooses to invest money in a group of people or individual who has high notoriety in order to advertise for them. They pay for some of their operating costs, materials as well as advise on some level to keep the group in the forefront. It’s a way to supplement any income someone may be making from elsewhere but it tends to be contingent on performance (whether that be winning competitions or otherwise staying in the limelight.)

Corporate Backing (Also Known As “A Real Job”)

As internet content becomes more and more profitable as a media source, larger media corporations are starting to notice that websites for content are profitable. This means that more and more businesses are investing in content sites or starting content sites themselves. It might not be the early 2000s and the “dot com” boom, but as more and more manageable paths for revenue start to become available, it is possible to start a business online and do well. Whether it is an established company investing money to a start a site or run one that initially was for free, it can lead to people who produce content to actually make a wage or reliable freelance income off their content. This is considered one of the holy grails of being a creator, as it means that you can have that as your day job and not do something you hate. Downsides to this? If the company that was paying for everything suddenly decides that they need to tighten the belt, you are often the first people dumped on the street.

An alternate way that companies frequently “give back” to content producers, specifically in the arena of new media providers like YouTube or Twitch, is a partner program. This is a way for someone using their service in a lucrative way either because of ad revenue or attention to get a cut of the money that the company makes off their content. It’s a symbiotic relationship that doesn’t directly make the content creator their employee but also gives them more incentive to keep using their content delivery system.

While not exhaustive list, making money from your content is valuable and there isn’t one way of doing it that is more ideologically pure than others. Whatever route you choose or choose to support someone using, feel good that you are saying, “Hey, this Thing is great!” Treating people’s work as someone valuable is a good step towards a better Internet, one where many of us can make a subsistence doing stuff we actually love doing.

Be kind to a content creator today!




And the New Warchief Is…!

The new warchief of the Horde, Sassy Hardwrench!

The new warchief of the Horde, Sassy Hardwrench!

One of the questions on everyone’s mind is who will be ascending to the title of Warchief after Garrosh bites the dust in 5.4. According to my sources deep inside Blizzard, apparently this will be none other than the wonderful Sassy Hardwrench. Miss Hardwrench, not content for being someone’s assistant and being passed over for leader of the Goblins, is a larger part of the raid on Orgrimmar than players may expect.

“We felt that the Horde, as well as the other leaders of Azeroth had too few women in charge and we felt that this was a pretty grievous error on our part. The idea of having the second most recognizable leadership of the Horde be Sassy seemed like a natural choice,” said a person who does not look like or sound like Dave Kosak in any way, shape or form. Other Blizzard story developers declined to comment on the record but it seemed to be like a unanimous decision.

But how will Sassy take over an entire population of orcs? Isn’t she busy running her weapons depot in Stranglethorn? Apparently her good looks, charm and even suspected romance with an unnamed (as of yet) lady orc warrior help win her the hearts of the people.

“There’s some gaps in our representation and we feel that Sassy is a perfect in-road towards showing more kinds of characters in the future.”

Good on ya, Blizzard!

Reclaiming the Shadows

A draenei shadow priest floats in front of the moon.

 “I’m as fucked up as they say
I can’t fake the daytime
Found an entrance to escape into the dark”

— Metric, “Artificial Nocturne”

It struck me that I really do not talk a lot about the alts I have or played over the years. I have a habit of starting an alt, finishing it and promptly moving onto someone else. Some alts have rose in prominence while others have fallen quite by the wayside, often to my chagrin. The first alt that I rolled and stuck with was my shadow priest in Burning Crusade. As soon as I had leveled my gnome to 70, I felt a tug to work on someone else in a serious fashion. I was swayed by watching our GM play his shadow priest (a human female) at the time, and so I decided to ape him. But I didn’t felt particularly tied to being a human, so I chose one of the “new” races, a draenei. Little did I know how complex my backstory for her would be.

Draenei have a fairly extant commitment to being Lightsworn children of the Naaru, as well as being universe-wide diaspora. It was so intriguing to me to play a race that was effectively immortal; the piousness was as well. Considering I’ve lived my entire life as a secular human being, the idea of being a devout space goat kinda tickled me. But how was my priest’s inherent shadowyness (I refused to ever, ever heal on her) going to mesh with this? The Cult of Forgotten Shadow seemed like a likely avenue into this, but that was predominantly Forsaken. I admit, I was stumped. So I rolled her story around as I leveled, gathering bits and pieces here and there. It wasn’t until I did quests in Outlands (including the quest chain around Auchindoun and Nagrand where you gain the ability to see the dead) that her backstory really became concrete. She was a Deadspeaker, a death priest draenei of rare skill and innate ability to see and speak with the dead. Having this means of communicating with the dead and not being branded as “crazy” required a lot of attentive studying and reflection. The dead do not ask politely and seeing them is not something you can just shut out, but Neviim (as I called her) had mental discipline after hundreds of years. The shadows she clad herself in made her form more appealing to the spirits she frequently trafficked in and fortified her mind as well as the Light would. Sometimes it would shut out the near-constant humming of the Naaru she heard when near Shattrath, but that was an acceptable side-effect.

Neviim became my preferred alt, even when I rolled the toon that eventually became my main alt (my shaman, Sedo.) I did everything on Neviim that I did on my mage. My priest has the Hand of A’dal title that I earned when it was relevant, getting keyed for raids in case we needed alts as well as several rare mounts and pets (Captured Firefly, Zhevra). She has a Benediction/Anathema, one of my proudest accomplishments. The one thing that I got interested in on my priest but not my mage though, was PVP. From the moment I started playing her, I was pretty much hooked on doing world PVP. Shadow gave me tools that were slightly harder to use than a mage’s arsenal but I found myself loving them a whole lot more. I’d spend days, once at level cap, just watching World Defense. Back in Burning Crusade, that was a thing that people actually did. Some of the high-level zones had PVP objectives people worked on for zone buffs or fun. Otherwise, it was all part of PVP/RP storylines or just general trolling. It hearkened back to the vanilla days of sacking Tarren Mill from Southshore. I’d go around zones with guildies or people I met in Trade and kill some Horde. It felt good. Really good. World PVP is not the same as battleground PVP, honestly. It requires a lot more strategy with terrain and knowing where you can effectively bottleneck people or outsmart them with guards, roofs, and running around to hide. You could use anything really, including strange potions and nets (remember those?). But my friends cajoled me into doing battlegrounds and eventually arenas. Eye of the Storm became my favorite map, as well as Arathi Basin. I liked holding nodes and using Mind Vision to zoom around the map and call out defenders at each spot. I could hold Draenei Ruins and see across to Blood Elf Tower and freak out the offense. I could watch what was going on in mid with the flag. I could fear and mind control people off cliffs at Lumber Mill. All the skills that world PVP had taught me served me well in battlegrounds. They also helped when I moved onto doing 3v3.

My initial forays into arenas in S1 had been failures. I was going to do a pretty typical DoT/Drain 2 x Shadow Priest, 1 x Warlock comp with my GM and our mutual friend but due to personal friction of PVPing with someone I cared about and not handling bristle-y PVP arguments when I was still new to the class, I quit. S2/3 went much smoother and I had an established 3s team with a guildmate who was a fantastic ret paladin and one of our world PVP buddies who went holy. Two paladins and a shadow priest was not represented anywhere on Arena Junkies, but we liked it anyways. We weren’t perfect, but we had a lot of fun. We’d stop for the night any time anyone got upset or mad, and eventually we went onto having a Rival ranking. It might be small potatoes to some, but it was a pretty amazing title for someone who had never really grokked PVP prior to this. There were elements to PVP I didn’t really like, such as the relentless shit-talking, machismo and anti-teamwork spirit the Alliance seemed to have, but I got over it. At that time, I was mostly friendly with all guys and this was just part of the “culture.”

By the end of Burning Crusade and the start of Wrath, my shaman had started taking a lot more of my time. When it came to leveling characters in Wrath, it went my mage, then my shaman. Then a few other alts such as a druid and a paladin. I leveled my priest out of sheer habit once I realized that I had gotten her 3 levels from just fishing and cooking dailies. What happened? Where had the light in her gone? I made up part of her story to be that she had gone into hiding because Northrend was an endless screaming pit of despair for her - that the voices of the dead overwhelmed her. She remained in the protective bubble that Dalaran afforded her and recuperated.

Little did I know that my priest’s story was largely my own. End of the Burning Crusade and beginning of Wrath is when I had started getting harassed in earnest. Deciding to date my GM had earned me a lot of scorn and a lot of my dude friends suddenly had no time for me, not to mention having a growing stalker problem on my hands. Wrath is when I was being impersonated in Trade Chat and having people whisper behind my back about what a slut I was. So was it really my priest that was going into hiding, or was it me? PVP was off the table. I couldn’t handle the insults, I couldn’t handle the stress. Suddenly all the things I had loved about it - the rush of victory, the tallies at the end - frightened me. The language backed me into a corner. It felt too harsh, too abrasive. I suddenly saw it for what it was: hate speech designed to demoralize and intimidate. As someone who was being demoralized on a regular basis, it suddenly was not easy to ignore. I gave all of that up - my PVP friends, the culture and the atmosphere, for whatever little I had been involved. One or two stuck around, but most of them faded into the background. My priest was pretty much just a disenchanting mule at this point. All of her accomplishments felt tacky and outdated now. I had put her away for good, as well as my love of PVP.

And so it went. Wrath had come and gone, and so Cataclysm. Once again, I carried my priest along to the level cap out of some sort of guilt to not leave her behind. To extend the metaphor, I suppose this is a symbolic thing. That part of me that I had locked so tightly up in myself, the dark parts, would never be that far behind. Until this week. I’ve been going through a lot of changes lately - changes I can attribute to not being victimized every day of my life. I was reminiscing with Buglamp about PVP and wondering how the fuck I’d get over the anxiety that was now a huge part of PVP for me. It wasn’t until I talked to Cynwise (isn’t that always how this stuff goes) that made me realized that like all the other things I’ve worked on in therapy, anxiety has roots in larger things I’ve dealt with in my life. It doesn’t come out of nowhere; anxiety is the brain’s way of expecting a certain outcome, how ever illogical, from a set of actions. PVP, and by extension, my priest, was tied up in a lot of gross feelings of shame, guilt, and victimization. She represented all the dark parts of me from that time period.

Neviim in Auchindoun

But didn’t shadow priests embrace the darkness?

The key features of shadow priests are how they deal in using the Light, the dark side of it, to ensnare the minds of those they fight. They don’t seduce or mesmerize, they get into the deep places of your mind and tear them apart. They play on your fears and your insecurities. They peer into your secrets. Think about it: Mind Flay. Psychic Scream. Psychic Horror. Isn’t that what I felt sometimes? That I wanted to inflict my emotional pain on someone else? That I wanted to cut people down with how badly they had hurt me? To hold someone not in thrall, but in turmoil? My priest was Light-abiding, but she was the vengeance of the dead that wandered, whispered in her ear. She was revenge for every spirit that was tormented and tied to the soil she tread on. It is a soothing thought to someone who has been hurt so badly; to have control back over your emotions and use them as a weapon instead of a weakness. To be able to shut out the screaming.

It is with that thought in mind that I logged in the other day and dropped a bit of money crafting a tailored PVP set. I need to rebind some keys, add some spells I haven’t used in 4 years, but in a lot of ways, I feel like my real-life adventures back into the sunlight world has given me the strength and the courage to delve back into the shadowy trails of my priest. I want to go back into battlegrounds, I want to kick some ass and I want to be the person I was so many years. I want to be good in the ways that only she can be. I want the power I had with her.


Apple Cider Mage Does Blizzcon 2011

Business cards with the blog's header image on them.
Sorry about the quality of the image today - I had to take it with my phone’s camera in low light. If you can’t tell what they are, those are my business cards. I’m taking a cute white box full of them with me to Blizzcon this week. Oh, wait, I didn’t mention I was going to Blizzcon? How silly of me! Then let’s back it up a bit and start from the beginning.

The Convention

Blizzcon, for you World of Warcraft devotees, is Blizzard’s annual convention that celebrates all of their game properties - most notably World of Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo. It takes place in Anaheim, CA, in the city’s multi-hall convention center, right near Disneyland. I’ve personally been going every year since 2008 and I always have a ton of fun. This year should be no exception - not only does their promise to be some juicy unveilings (new Warcraft expansion, possible DLC for Starcraft II and maybe even a whiff of Blizzard’s secret project, Titan) but a lot of talk about next year’s hot release, Diablo III.

The schedule of events for the convention has been posted (sort of) via their mobile phone app, as well as various Warcraft news sites, but not on their actual event page. I’m using their Android app to figure out where I’m going each day and what I want to see. A rough plan of things I want to hit looks like this:


  • Opening Ceremony  11 AM-12 PM, Main Stage
  • World of Warcraft Preview 12:30-2:00 PM, Main Stage
  • World of Warcraft Class Talent Systems 2:15-3:15, Main Stage
  • World of Warcraft Dungeons & Raids 3:30-4:30 PM, Main Stage
  • World of Warcraft: 4.3 Raid and Deathwing 5:00 PM-5:50 PM, BlizzChat: Live Forums
  • World of Warcraft Lore and Story Q&A, 4:15PM-5:15 PM
Items that are bolded are ones I’m definitely not missing, hopefully, as I go to them every year. You can also see that my schedule is fairly Warcraft-oriented. I tend to keep my schedule fairly loose though and allow myself to wander or go elsewhere as necessary.

Meetups and Parties

Besides just attending panels and trying out demos of the new games, I also go to a couple of social events in and around the convention. Most notably is the WoW Insider party at 5 PM on Thursday, October 20th, at the Annabella hotel, which is right around the corner from the east entrance of the convention center and up the block. It’s an amazingly gorgeous mission-style hotel and I’ve had a blast every year I’ve attended this party. The WoW Insider staff are always fun people to hang out with, with lots of MCing, podcasting and prizes/swag. Just don’t get pushed into the pool. This year the party is being jointly sponsored by WoW Insider and  Wowhead and should promise to be the biggest party yet. Don’t be late and get stuck outside because there’s no room! I heard that this year there’s even going to be faction-inspired cocktails so everyone can imbibe for the Horde or the Alliance.

I also go to my server’s meetup every year but since Blizzard doesn’t display the times for that until the day of the convention, I have no idea when that will be. In past years, I’ve taken part in the Elitist Jerk’s /flex picture outside, as well as hanging out with some of the fine ladies at WoW_ladies.

This blog doesn’t have a ton of fans (yet) but hopefully if any of you guys are going to Blizzcon, that maybe we’ll get to say hi. If anyone wants to hang out or get in touch, you can send me an e-mail at my address from my contact page. Also if anyone wants to invite me to anything, just let me know as well.

Hope to see some of you there!

Let’s Jam!

There’s nothing that quite says a fresh start like “Tank” from Cowboy Bebop. See, I’ve been out of blogging for a little while. But I got the itch; the itch to blog. Every time I’d read a news story on Wowhead or somewhere, or see a link on Twitter, I’d say to myself, “Why can’t that be me?”

So I’m getting back on the horse again, here to bring you hopefully the most entertaining or at least insightful look into Warcraft, feminism and beyond. Whatever my little heart desires, really. I’m taking you all along for the ride. Won’t you come with me?