The Year in Review: 2015

Hello, dear reader. I sincerely hope that you’ve had an excellent year. Perhaps you’ve learned something about yourself; perhaps not. As for me, I did not learn anything about myself or my relationship with games in 2015. It has been a rather muted year ‘round these parts in both the gaming and blogging domains. My transition from Blogger to WordPress saw my regular traffic reduced by 90% due to the lack of popular keywords in the title of my blog. I am quite satisfied, however, with the scope of my authorship which involves talking about the games I play and the person who plays them. This is done from the perspective of a human being who is rather emotive and betimes ethereal – I have no regrets.

It has been a year of relative silence and letting others do the talking when it comes to heady topics involving the application of analysis and industry knowledge. The majority of my traffic this year came from blog posts of mine which Syp highlighted on the front page of Massively OP from time to time. Generally speaking, these were “what I’m playing” roundups or impressions of “what I played” (Final Fantasy 14, WildStar). I am genuinely thankful for the exposure that this has given me. I am also happy that some of the things that I have written were deemed interesting enough to share with a much larger readership than what this small blog typically entertains. If you’re interested, what follows is an excerpt from WordPress’s annual report for my blog and a link to the full details:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,600 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

My most viewed posts this year:

Top referrers: twitter.com, massivelyop.com, anook.com, biobreak.wordpress.com, and bhagpuss.blogspot.co.uk.


I am not of the opinion that resolutions should be confined to the old year’s end and the new year’s beginning, just as I do not believe that generosity is best realized during the Season of Giving. Nevertheless, today does offer a rather convenient excuse for looking forward to tomorrow, so that’s what I’ll do.

Looking Forward to 2016

1. Let the past rest. Make new memories.

January 1, 2016 marks two years of personal sobriety. I am an individual whose pathological, long-term abuse of beer and alcohol precludes ever having a relationship of any kind with either of those things again.

I played World of Warcraft heavily during those periods and discarded it as a hand-in-hand co-conspirator when I stopped drinking permanently. I recently spent 61 hours playing a Priest on a private Wrath of the Lich King server with 1x rates and a peak population of 10,000 players. I was able to play for so long because it was the class I enjoyed most in the expansion I enjoyed the most. In attempting to recreate the past, I found that the context of the present had rendered many of the things that I enjoyed in 2008 sterile, lifeless, and utterly irrelevant. The toxic puerility of dungeon groups, the overfamiliarity with mechanics and locations, and the necessity of endless amounts of grinding to get to the fun bits eventually prompted me to quit in the middle of yet another fetch quest in Stranglethorn Vale at level 43 and whim-delete my past persona. I have taken Liore’s observations on the impermanence of objects to heart and banished the specter of my silk-wearing light-wielder to the realm of memory. Others are welcome to her name.

Going forward, I will be looking to make new memories rather than attempting to relive old ones. The past belongs in occasionally recalling this or that every now and then which may make me laugh or frown. It is not a world to inhabit, worship, or pedestalize.

I am now embarking on a mission to rehabilitate my old friend World of Warcraft back into a healthy relationship, as I do not believe that it is the culprit of my past toxic, unhealthy behavior. I am open to the possibility that I am crushingly stupid and therefore wrong. I am fully cognizant of relevant quotes on the subjects of insanity and learning from history; however, being aware that one may be engaging in folly merely indicates the presence of self-awareness and not necessarily active intelligence.

I am therefore taking advantage of the Season of Generosity and have purchased the game again for less than $20 which entailed creating a brand new account that has not – and will never be – tainted by booze. I have boosted a single character, a Blood Elf Paladin, to level 90 on the Scryers (RP) server, which I understand to be the Horde-side server on which at least some fellow bloggers and associated friends play. I will thus be returning the game to my rotation of entertainment activities during the month of free subscription time and leaving the door open for healthy socialization.

2. Play what I like. Don’t play what I don’t like.

I’m done with leveling and grinding. If it is not fun, I am not going to do it. Exceptions are things that are trivial in terms of either effort or time. I enjoy healing in WildStar. A byproduct of my reaction to my temporary self-imprisonment on that private WoW server was to go on a purge spree to offset my binge. All of my WildStar characters except my Healslinger fell victim. I did not enjoy Stalkering, despite the fact that it offered stealth, melee attacks, and tanking. It was also the character on which I had 100% map completion and loads of dyes, mounts, and other goodies. To hell with it. For some reason I still cannot fathom, I simply do not want to tank in WildStar or play any of the other classes. And so it is that I will be healing whenever I play, because that’s what I like in that particular context.

3. Games are entertainment. Live in the real world.

This sounds like something you might say to a person whose cognitive functioning has not matured. Well, you have to remember that this is me we’re talking about. Jeromai’s personal realizations with regard to the role of Guild Wars 2 in their gaming library struck a chord with me, as did Roger Edwards’ conclusions on his relationship to games as a subset of his leisure activities. Games are, after all, money-making entertainment ventures. There is more value to be had in living in the real world which is inhabited by my children than in implicitly and repeatedly saucer-eyeing the existence of some secret, mystical place in one’s head and heart. Those things belong in creative, artistic expression, something that games reflect when viewed from particular angles. With that said, at some point this year I do intend to transform and complete my Mesmer’s current Mary Sue-esque origin story into a mature, non-self-absorbed, completed fictional novella with commissioned cover art.


I hope everyone has a happy and entirely non-adult new year. I’m celebrating mine with coffee and licorice.

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2 thoughts on “The Year in Review: 2015

  1. Happy New Year!

    “Games are, after all, money-making entertainment ventures” – Well, yes, but so are novels, movies, tv shows, plays, professional sports… Even museums, art galleries and national parks frequently include a strong money-making and/or entertainment component. I’m not at all sure that gaming as a class of activity is significantly worse, or even different, in that respect to most other non-survival-based human activities.

    As cultures we tend to assign high value to some activities and low value to others where, from the perspective of cultures other than our own, those distinctions appear to be arbitrary or perverse. As a lifelong reader, for example, I have long believed that reading for pleasure is only exempted from the category of potentially damaging addictive behaviors because of the cultural cachet it retains due to its history of association with elites. There seems to be to be nothing intrinsically superior or more valuable in spending twenty or thirty hours a week reading about imaginary people and worlds than there is in watching them on a screen.

    Most non-survival-based activities rely on the value we bring to them and the value we can extract from them rather than any intrinsic value of their own.

    Like

    1. I was trying to inject a measure of levity into my relationship with games, a bit like metaphorically fist-hammering one’s own backside after having been sat in a chair for too long.

      I agree with everything you said!

      Like

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