Classic & Retail

The somewhat recent release of Burning Crusade Classic has thrown all kinds of new flavors into the mix of feelings I am feeling towards World of Warcraft at the moment, some good, some bad.

For the good part, it has oddly really reminded me why I like the game and why I kind of still want to keep playing it, despite all of its flaws. Being somewhat more casual in classic than I am in retail, has meant that there is a greater feeling of freedom to doing things since the only real motivation is what I personally want to achieve and not what is required for some external reason, and also a lot less pressure to actually do things I might not want to do but feel in one way or another required to do the things I do want to do. Classic still has a lot of flaws, especially when it comes to things like consumables, but the fact that I am playing it in a way that doesn't necessitate those things to the same degree as retail makes it much easier for me to ignore those flaws if I want to.

Further, having the goals be that much more personal and also usually concrete things makes working towards them a lot more engaging, since it's a lot easier to feel the progress as it comes along.

For the bad part, it feels like the biggest ill that has come from it isn't even necessarily something bad in and of itself, but it feels like I am questioning a lot more why I am continuing to play retail at this point. It at this point feels like the game might be giving me more stress than it is bringing in joy and that seems like a obviously lopsided equation for what it is supposed to be, and while I would very much like to experience the new raid once more and progress it, I am simultaneously dreading all of the things that might be required to be done around that progress, not the progress itself

These aren't exactly new thoughts, but merely things that having a point of comparison has once again brought to the fore, and I unforunately can't really see any easy answers. There are reasons I've continued playing retail for as long as I have, and those are my guildies, and it feels very wrong to leave them high and dry so shortly before progress so quitting at the very least at this time is not an option, but it feels like continuing as is might be taking an unkown toll on me. At the same time, I fear that not continuing might be the even worse option, since it would provide me with an opportunity to retreat more completely into myself since there would be a certain lack of routine keeping me together, and while that routine can at times feeling frustrating in its limiting of what I have the freedom to do, it also helps ground me and keeps me doing the things I enjoy.

Another thing I fear, is that it feels like playing might have become a too big part of my identity, or at least how I self-identify, and changing who one is is a scary thing indeed.

World of Warcraft

EdgeRouter X

For a rather long while now, I've been running with a virtual machine as a router, first for a decent while running pfSense and then at some point switching to a simple Debian installation due to some irritation with how poorly pfSense handled IPv6. It all ran rather well, and setting up a router using systemd was actually a rather decent experience since there is actually a decent amount of flexibility built into it assuming one is using a recent enough version.

However, having recently started tinkering with other virtual machines on the same host more, and specifically things like PCIe passthrough, it became apparent that there was a decent amount of value in having the router actually be a separate physical box. Since I had been curious about trying VyOS anyway, the EdgeRouter X seemed like a good fit for the task, while still being a rather small, cheap and silent device.

Configuration of the device has been rather easy for the most part, though I have had to do a lot of it through the CLI—which to be fair is my preferred method anyway—since the WebUI has a woefully terrible support for IPv6; it's strange that manufacturers think that's acceptable in this day and age, but I guess I paid for the device too so maybe they're correct? I have also ended up simplifying my network somewhat from the time I was using pfSense which is fortunate, since looking at how the router seems to set up things like router advertisements seems to be handled the same way in VyOS which means I would be encountering the same problems as I had with pfSense again.

Another change I ended up making from my previous setup due to besser hardware support was changing my VPN tunnels from OpenVPN to IPsec, since the EdgeRouter only has hardware offloading for IPsec meaning the performance of those tunnels is going to be better. This was a nice opportunity for me, since I had actually been curious about playing around with IPsec anyway but due to the increased complexity in comparison to OpenVPN had never really had the motivation to actually properly get started with it, which was compounded by the previous other endpoint of the tunnel being on an OpenVZ VPS, which introduced some additional difficulties in configuring IPsec since it's a kernel module and OpenVZ is paravirtualization. The changeover was probably unecessary since I believe the true bottleneck will end up being our Internet upink anyway, but it did prove to be a fun learning experience—even the extra effort of switching from PSK to public key authentication for the tunnel, even if I was rather frustrated at times at the somewhat unclear documentation when one wanted public key without a certificate authority. Another thing that required some figuring out was allowing IPv6 traffic over the IPsec tunnel as well, since while the EdgeRouter does support configuring an IPsec tunnel with a DHCP interface instead of a fixed address which is necessary for my setup, this option is unexplicably disabled when using IPv6 addresses which means there was no straightforward way to configure it. What I ended up doing was running a GRE tunnel over the IPsec tunnel and using that to pass the IPv6 traffic, meaning a bit of extra overhead but it is at least a functional solution and the overhead should be negligible for my use-case anyway.

The final piece of the changeover puzzle was figuring out DNS-level adblocking, to protect devices that don't allow installing an adblocker on the device or software itself. This was luckily enough solved easily by a package by britannic that even ended up having the usual filter list that I use included meaning it was zero configuration needed for me, I only needed to actually install the package itself. I has worked nicely so far, and I'm happy to see such simple solutions be available and tailored for these devices, especially since any custom hacks that I might build myself while certainly functional would mean an increased maintenance burden.

Overall, I've been happy with the switch so far, and everything seems to be functioning rather nicely, and getting to finally properly use VyOS was a nice bonus on top. It does feel a bit unfortunate to lose the "magic box" cool factor of having the router run in a virtual machine, but the separation of concerns makes up for that. Also, it's still a tiny highly configurable "magic box" that makes the Internet work, so there is still a certain cool factor in that as well.

Misc

The Burning Crusade

As a astute reader may note, it is Wednesday and not Monday on the day this post comes out, and that is for a somewhat good reason: I've been too busy playing Burning Crusade Classic to make time for writing a proper post. Well, to be more accurate, I was too tired after finally getting to 70 Sunday evening/Monday morning to actually sit down and write a post—I still have the habit of leaving it to the last minute most of the time.

The journey of leveling itself, along with our first run of Karazhan on Monday, has been a fun one so far, even if towards the end of the leveling I was getting rather frustrated partially with my own unfounded fears of abandonment along with worries that I wouldn't be able to level up in time to complete the attunement to participate in the Karazhan run.

I ended up mostly, or rather exclusively, leveling in a group, for the most part through dungeons, which suited me rather nicely since I once more picked up my priest and played her as a healer, so solo content wouldn't exactly have been the most enjoyable to do. It actually felt rather nice being back on my priest in Classic after having recently spent a rather significant amount of time levelig a hunter there—which while enjoyable just doesn't feel like home quite like playing a priest does.

Leveling in a group it turns out, is also a rather efficient way of leveling due to giving a rather decent chunk of reputation with the different factions in Outland, meaning I could simply buy at least two of the keys needed to enter heroic dungeons—I say at least, because I'm actually not sure where my reputation ended up on with Lower City, so I'm not sure if I could simply buy the key there, but I shouldn't be missing much at the very least.

The heroics themselves, though I have only had time to complete two so far, have also proven fun, at least with the right people and mentality. It is definitely slower going when comparing it to current high-end content, but it feels somewhat difficult actually classifying it as distinctly hard content, more perhaps simply unforgiving. To be fair, I've been in there with relatively experienced players who know the dungeons fairly well, so there haven't been too many surprises along the way, which is probably contributing a lot to that feeling. Still, so far I've actually rather enjoyed the difficulty level of the content, making use of my familiarity with it to actually enjoy it more than I think back in the day where the insecurities due to my lack of knowledge would've prevented me from actually enjoying what I'm doing even if my youthful arrogance at the time may have masked it.

Entering Karazhan again was something of a swell of nostalgia, and I think once again I ended up enjoying the raid more than I ever did at the time due to the knowledge I've acquired in the years between, especially of the layout of the tower itself. Not being afraid of going the wrong way and actually to a degree knowing my way around the place really helped me both with figuring out where in the raid we were and what was coming up next, but also in actually soaking up the atmosphere since I wasn't as focused on not making some sort of mistake that while in the grand scheme of things minute would have probably ruined at the very least my evening back in the day.

Overall, in both gameplay and nostalgia, Burning Crusade definitely scores higher for me than Classic itself, and it has been really fun to go back and see the old things with more experienced eyes even if the whole experience of playing is rather different due to the way the landscape has shifted in the intervening years as well as how I've changed with time. Still, the game does to me stand the test of time of still being enjoyable, and I'm happy to share the experience once more with a group of friends.

World of Warcraft

Late

Something rather strange happened last week, or I found it amusing at least: I completely forgot to write the blogpost. Well, not completely, but Monday evening in bed I had the sudden realisation I hadn't written it yet, and did so, and only after submitting the post did I realize that it was indeed already Monday evening and not Sunday evening as I had thought, and that I had missed my self-imposed deadline. The strange part was, I didn't end up being mad or frustrated with myself, as I might have come to expect, but simply amused at being so completely, oblivious I suppose to the passing of time or the weekday.

I could probably try to attribute this to some sort of growth that has been going on lately with me trying to deal with things like failure and making mistakes better, and in this instance I think it was the only appropriate reaction since there was nothing I could do to change what had happened and the corrective action as it were—writing the post—was already done so the only thing remaining was being amused at my mistake.

Misc

Boredom

Being bored is something I feel like happens relatively rarely in modern times, at least being properly bored. It's so very easy to find a distraction that being bored is rather rare. I've noticed this in myself at least, where the moment there is even the slightest hint of not having something occupying my mind, I turn to some easily digestable task like scrolling through memes or watching videos.

Both of these activities aren't bad in and of themselves, and sometimes that distraction is exactly what one needs, and the videos I watch tend to even be mostly educational in nature, at least slightly. Despite this, I've noticed a certain need in myself for allowing myself to actually get bored and not fall into the trap of these easy distractions; both because I need to actually take time to process what I am doing or feeling or wanting to do, and because being actually bored and not doing anything seems to be the best motivation to actually do the things I want to do instead of filling my time with the distractions from my boredom.

So that's been what I have tried to do as well as I can lately, and I have to say, while the switch has been partially quite fruitful in getting me to do more things and appreciating those things more as well, other things it certainly doesn't make any easier to achieve and it is quite hard to pull of in one fell swoop. It almost seems like in order to still avoid being bored, I've merely changed the category of tasks I do to distract myself, but still don't necessarily the things I actually want to get done. The reflection part is also still missing for me, where I merely give myself time to think, though to be fair that's usually at least partially covered by me thinking during my daily walks, this isn't the always the case and I do often end up escaping into fantasy worlds during those in order to avoid confronting the things bothering me or to avoid boredom. Consequently I also haven't been as succesful as I'd like in exploring more and simply taking in my surroundings better, since I tend to just walk the same route and be lost in thought while doing so.

Still, the steps I've taken so far feel like a good start, and I think I'm expecting a bit too much from myself by expecting me to be able to make such a drastic change at the drop of a hat, this is something I'll need to work on for the forseeable future I think. But it feels like I'm working on the right thing at least, trying to make myself more capable of achieveing the things I want to achieve and doing the things I want to do, so that feels like a positive. I'm not sure what the next step after this will be, but I think I need to take this one first before I start worrying about that.

Mind