The blog

I'm struggling a bit with the blog at the moment. I'm not sure what exactly is the problem, but I just don't seem to have any real idea what I want to write on the schedule I had set for myself—weekly—which means I have for the past two weeks just ended up not writing, which feels bad.

It feels a bit strange, since it's not really a case of motivation—I keep thinking about wanting to write and potential things I could write—I just don't know what I actually do want to write. I have some ideas floating in my drafts folder, but they all feel either too big or too small or simply too unripe.

This has had me thinking if I just end up formally giving up on the idea of regular posts on the blog and going back to posting and writing more sporadically. At the same time, as noted, I do still keep thinking about writing and it is still something I want to do, and there is a certain level of fear of this change then relegating writing to something I barely end up doing because I keep simply forgetting to do so if it isn't regular enough.

At the moment, I am then faced with a dilemma: keep pushing through and trying to write, or just decide enough is enough and wind down my efforts a bit. I'm not quite sure what I'll end up doing, but maybe what I have been doing unintentionally is the proper approach to the situation: keep thinking about ideas and writing on the regular schedule as before, but be kind to myself and accepting of not perhaps being able to actually do the writing on a weekly basis. This would both keep it as something I'm actively working on in my memory as well as like right now, afford me opportunities to almost spontaneously decide to write something, while still reducing the pressure and guilt of not doing so.

Writing the above, once again reminded me of why it is that I want to keep writing so much: it's just such a great way to process things, because writing something down forces me to actually think about what I am writing.

This is something that has been gnawing on me for the past couple of weeks due to having missed those deadlines, and in writing this I'm forced to actually confront those feelings and to put them into perspective. It's not a new revelation for me, but sometimes I do need the reminder.

It also feels interesting to note that even prior to having written this, I feel like I was handling the situation better from an emotional perspective than I would have before, in being more forgiving to myself of the mistakes I have made, which means that while it might at times feel like I keep on going in circles with the things I write and think about, there is also learning and improving happening at the same time.

I probably really should reconsider the whole diary thing, shouldn't I?

Diary, pt. 3

Fairly shortly I think after I wrote the second time about keeping a diary, I ended up somehow stopping writing in it. At first, merely only rarely, when something "significant" happened or I felt like I actually had something new to write, but at some point I just stopped completely—probably because I simply forgot to do so after dropping the habit.

The problem for me became—which I also at times have with the blog here—that I just felt like I was repeating basically the same entries most days, which let's be honest aren't usually that exciting. Now, of course, the purpose of a diary isn't to be exciting but to provide an opportunity to both reflect on the happenings of the day and allow you to look back on your past state in order to have a better idea of what you were actually thinking at the time—something which otherwise gets all too easily lost in false memories of one were to try to rely on ones memory alone.

The problem of course, is that when the activity becomes repetitive it kind of loses its shine to me and becomes boring, which means I'm both less likely to do it and more likely to question its purpose—neither of which is very conducive to actually keeping on going with it. This of course prevents me from taking the opportunity to actually reflect on why I keep writing the same things day after day, and if those things are not to my liking how I might go about changing them.

Because of this, I feel like I should give it another try, or at least something like it. I think I could really benefit from some sort of deeper reflection on the state of my life as I feel rather lost in where I'm going and what the meaning of everything is, but at the same time it feels somewhat silly to try the thing that already failed once again instead of something else. Maybe what I need is merely a different approach to the same thing, to be more deliberate of what I want to include and perhaps even just keep it shorter, maybe even just a few sentences, so that it get distilled to the core of the message.

The question, then, becomes what is it that I would want to include? What is important enough for me to want to try to keep track of it on a daily basis? And finally, how do I want to do it—merely pen and paper as before, or do I want to enter the digital realm both with the opportunities that provides but also with the reality of it being something of a less tactile experience? Is being able to leaf through a book of my own writing something that has value to me in some way, or is the easier organization of digital files worth the switch?

I'll keep pondering these things, but it definitely feels like something worth pondering, as I know I must do something to change the current state of affairs and perhaps a greater awareness of exactly what they are is what I need to influence change in a better direction.


Sepulcher of the First Ones

The new raid released this week—though "only" the first eight bosses—and so far we've gotten rather decent progress in. To be fair, being the first week, it's heroic and not mythic, but with the apparent state of the bosses I'm fairly content with how far we have gotten, that being progressing on Anduin.

As for the raid itself, it really is a welcome change from Sanctum of Domination and so far a lot more fun as well. Though part of that is surely the novelty, it still just somehow feels better to me in a nebulous hard to specify way—aside from the rather ridiculous amount of trash, which luckily has been rather possible to skip so far.

What has been personally more interesting to try to pinpoint however, is how I feel at the moment in regards to World of Warcraft in general, since I have been in something of a low point concerning the game for a somewhat long time at this point. What I'm noticing is perhaps not a direct return to form or overabundance of excitement towards the game—which I do also think would be very difficult to build at this point in time—but I am distinctly more interested in playing now than I was, say, at the beginning of the last tier. It just feels like the reduction of more-or-less mandatory content to do along with a raid I am actually somewhat curious to see is creating something of a spurt of motivation towards the game. I do still think I will end up taking it slow, as the situation feels somewhat precarious at the moment, but it does feel encouraging to see at least a slight uptick in interest once more.

Now what remains to be seen is just how the week ends up working out for our progress in general—as I'm writing this we're only halfway through on our progress days, Sunday and Tuesday still to go—as well as how and if my feelings change next week with the last bosses in the raid that we know very little about so far as they weren't available for testing.

Another confounding factor is the potential to actually be playing both priest healing specs in the raid again, as I've been running holy so far for our progress which usually hasn't been the case. I've, surprisingly, actually kind of enjoyed the opportunity to do so again especially since it has given me the chance to try out a new covenant along with getting to experience their campaign for the first time which was nice. The "new" system of being to change covenants more freely is certainly a welcome change for all of this at it allows me to actually prepare both specs to a decent level for the raid, though it is still somewhat clunkily implemented and it always feels a bit weird to get berated when changing back to Venthyr—though I guess the whole humility and remorse thing fits with their theme.

That was a long and winding path of thoughts, but I hope they made some sense. I think I better stop before it gets even worse.

World of Warcraft


In recent times, for our D&D game, I've been thinking rather a lot more about the world the players inhabit and their role within it. It's something I somewhat intentionally didn't do in the beginning, since I firstly wasn't sure how long we were going to play and secondly I also wanted to give the players and the story an opportunity to form the basis for what the world is—it is a collaborative storytelling game after all.

Along with that, due to us now having better tools for playing the game—we switched to Foundry from Roll20, along with me getting Dungeondraft, the use of which was enabled by the increased storage I have available through a self-hosted option like Foundry—I have also been preparing the maps and places the players might visit more thoroughly than before, and consequently having a better idea of what might happen in the future—staying open to surprises and what the players decide to do still of course.

These two things have meant that while there is still always a certain level of stress associated with the anticipation of the next session for me, it has been markedly reduced since I notice how much better prepared I feel to handle whatever they decide to throw at me and I also feel more able to create a more interesting story for them to explore and influence because I have the opportunity to think about the potential outcomes and twists more.

Despite this, I think I do end up improvising as much as before during the actual session—partially because I often end up forgetting what I had planned beforehand and not remembering to read my notes—but I think, hope, that the increased confidence if nothing else provides for a better experience for my players—that is, assuming they notice anything different at all, since it was mostly a case of pre-game anxiety rather than something that affected me during the game itself.

Another thing, with worldbuilding specifically, that makes it fun for me, is that while the time and opportunities to play the actual game might be limited, and as such the utility of any direct content I create for the game, expanding my knowledge and understanding of the world is somewhat evergreen and as such feels a lot more useful. It ends up being things I can reference again and again during the game, or something I can use to build the content and stories within the game. This makes it a lot easier for me to just create when I feel like doing it and as such it's easier for me to stay motivated while doing it, as opposed to planning the next session or the future parts of the current story arc the progression of which is limited by the available time to play.

The only problem with this type of creativity and creation, is that the opportunities to share aren't as obvious and abundant, and I'm not sure if my players are as interested in all of this as I am, which might end up feeling somewhat demotivating—no matter how much one tells oneself one is creating purely for one's own pleasure and consumption, I think there is always that underlying hope for someone else to see and appreciate what one has created.

Still, creating remains fun, and if the only use of all the worldbuilding I do is for it to be easier for me to think of where the story goes next, I think that's a worthwhile cause as well—and it does mean the players will inevitably encounter it as well, maybe in a more exciting and interesting format as well.

Back to thinking about the history of the world then...

Royal Court

After my initial infatuation with Crusader Kings 3 there was something of a low period in my interest probably due to simply having almost burned out on the game from playing it so much—along with feeling a bit lost since I didn't really have any goals anymore. That, however, has changed—at least a bit—once more, with the release of the Royal Court DLC. It adds quite a few more things for me to go after, and a reasonable enough excuse for me to start a new game which of course means new goals to pursue.

This time, I went for the somewhat more boring option of starting in Europe—to be fair, the game kind of feels made for this, but considering I come from here it just feels so boring and plain in a sense—and decided to focus a bit more on culture and religion this time around rather than pure expansion and dynasty. Now, I am still trying to do a decent bit of dynasty expansion as the traits acquired through that are very helpful towards completing whatever else one may be attempting, but it is an activity which doesn't preclude me from also simultaneously pursuing other things—and I do have to admit it feels kind of good seeing the multi-generation takeover plans of foreign realms bear fruit after having set them in motion early on in the game, where the amount of members and rules in the dynasty just keeps on going upwards.

I also started making a bit more use of the different hostile schemes in the game, having so far mostly gone for the diplomatic or friend building route rather than murders and the like, and I do feel it has its own charm as well. I should probably do even a complete playthrough more focused on the intrigue part of the game, though I guess that is partially coming up since my next heir looks to be—somewhat accidentally as I simply hadn't had my eye sufficiently far down the succession path—focused on intrigue. It will be interesting to see what he ends up achieving when the time comes.

Oh, now that I mention it, that is indeed another change I ended up doing: this time around I didn't enable the equal game rule and instead chose to develop it myself by reforming a faith. I'm still running on just plain equal instead of female-preference, so there have been the occasional male ruler along the way, but it has proven not to be quite as annoying as feared. Maybe the knowledge that it is my choice rather than something that has been foisted on me contributes to this increased acceptance of the state of things, I'm not quite sure, but there is also just a certain satisfaction in having gone and actually changed history a bit and enabled a more equal realm rather than merely having flipped a switch and made history a better place that way around.

I'm not yet sure how long this high will last, as I'm already rather more familiar with the game and it's limitations than I was when starting and as such will probably run into walls or disinterest faster now than before, but I'm still happy to have once more found some joy in the game and new interesting things to explore. Now then, back to the game...