Strong Transitions, Strong Emotions, Strong Memories, and MMO Content

About two weeks ago, I walked away from a pair of Guild Wars 2 guilds, and very possibly the game itself, over what may feel like some to be a trivial matter.  But after waiting it out over this time, I’ve come to realize its something I actually should have done sooner.

This bears some explanation and background, so I start with the primary method I learn and remember things:  I learn best by doing the task – no amount of guides will help in the long-run – and I remember an experience best (to the point of it being nearly photographic) when it happens around strong emotions.  ANY strong emotions.  And the memories are so strong because the emotion binds it to similar experiences with that feeling – events going all the way back three decades, perhaps even four.  Including things I promised I would never reveal – and still haven’t – from discussions in various group therapies over the years.

And there lies the problem – when I’m allowed to self-learn, or working with a patient and kind instructor/leader, I do well and I advance well.  In fact, I sometimes do best with a group who does not overly care, and I ‘lead’ at work in a very ‘shamanistic’ fashion.  But, if things get heated, and tempers flare, then I start to stumble and make ever increasing mistakes – to the point where it becomes a horrific spiral that puts me into almost a depression.  Sometimes – like on 9/11 – it causes a much worse reaction; I had a lot of repressed hate over the years after that day, and did things that I’m very ashamed of now.  It took nearly a decade with the Uru community to get the last major bits of that out of me.

So how do I normally resolve stuff like this?  Leave – its the healthiest thing to do in that sort of situation, and its why I survived Eve Online with such a decent track record – I saw the events coming and quietly bailed.  In fact, if it was not for what was left of their RP community at the time, I would have probably only been there two years, instead of three.  And with Eve, in theory, I had planned to leave online gaming for good.

But as I was leaving, the timing came up whereby I saw some potential in Guild Wars 2.  The Uru community had been constantly praising GW1, and some had been looking forward to this iteration; that is a very strong endorsement to me, so I tried it.  Unfortunately, what I found was a terribly buggy mess that had a lot of quirky mechanics (other than the underwater stuff, which worked a lot like Eve), and had more than once considered dropping it.

Then I ran into LAW, and they saved my interest in the game with the one thing I was truly seeking – a group that was somewhat hardcore, but also didn’t entirely care how you went about doing it:

It was a good run – about 2.5 years, with everyone chatting on voice nearly every day, even if not entirely on the game.  Both the long interregnum before the first expansion, and the slew of competitor MMOs pulled various regulars out and back again for a long time; Eventually the main leadership decamped to Black Desert, after which I never heard from them again.  Looking back now, I realize I may not be able to capture that again – the game has moved on from what it was at launch.

But, I tried anyway, which is how I ended up on the other two guilds.  It worked out at first, but only because I only logged in once or twice a week for nearly two years.  But eventually things started to chafe with me, I was craving for more social interaction with the guild – the forum was mostly bare, even Discord’s actual GW2 section was petering out, and all that was being talked about it seemed was the content I disliked the most – Raids – because it was the final straw that killed LAW.  So I decided to gird up and try them – and the other ‘higher level’ content – anyway, just so I had more voice contact with the guild.

I now realize I should have left instead (and seek a proper Social oriented guild), and consider this to be one of the larger mistakes within Gaming I’ve ever made in my life.  But I trusted some of the officers involved to keep things civil – and as a former Eve player, Trust is something I don’t give lightly.  Which made what happen two weeks ago even more poignant.


With that out of the way, the Event AAR:

Content:  Tier 3 Fractals

Participants:  Myself, two Officers from the Guild I was repping at the time (and who were singly responsible for coaxing me back to this content after a year off), a third Officer from a sister Guild (the Target of this report), and a person interested in the content but had virtually no protection against it.  I barely had any protection myself, and consider myself pretty decent for a casual player…

What happened:  The Officer in question pulled up the fractal, and despite my protests, convinced us it would be fine.  That is despite the fact that the previous run of this event (just the day before) I complained about being unable to track everything, and one of the two other Officers (who was in Voice at the time) knows my limitations from running often enough to have considered Vetoing the run.

As I’ve seen previously from this Officer (many times), after going in with a lax attitude to the content, he got overly serious and began snapping at people regarding being unable to follow the mechanics.  While I’ve endured this before from him, the final straw was his yelling at the new guy, who happened to be running the same class as he was.  This was despite pulling him in with practically NO protection AT ALL against the core Mechanic of fractals – Agony Resistance.  As I said, I barely had enough myself, but probably could have managed if things were explained more calmly and everyone kept their cool.  But this particular person would have none of that, yet again.

Enough was enough; in order to protect the new guy from any more abuse (and I honestly had enough with all three Officers by that point too), I left the voice chat, Discord, the Guilds, and very possibly the Game itself.  I am certainly taking a vacation from it for awhile, take stock in what I really care about, and probably go look for a true Social guild.  I may even go hook up with one of the Christian guilds that I know exist there.

But, there is no way at all that I could come back to either of the other two guilds with the level of Taint that this has caused me.  I am certainly done with any content like that again – not without someone who can calmly take the lead.  I am even concerned if I can even join a Guild that hosts Raids or Fractals, however small that group may be.  Its that scarring for me now.


So what’s next for me?  Lots actually.  During the time away so far, I got a lot of fun and useful stuff done at work (probably because I’m actually relaxing instead of stressing, as high end content does to me).  And I have a new idea for a long-term project in Minecraft as well – reviving an old project from my Second Life days.  More on that later.  :-)

Another Year, Another Post

Well, 2012 was interesting to say the least.

The biggest thing?  A late storm named Sandy was a real head-cracker over here, unfortunately – a visit to Hoboken today showed that some places are still rebuilding.

The second biggest?  I got to shut down a 65 TB disk array that I helped bring online 6.5 years ago.  Somewhat bittersweet actually, but its work so that’s all I’m saying.

In the ‘fun’ list is a new game – Guild Wars 2, an MMO.  While I had promised myself that I’d never go back to online gaming after Eve, overall I’m glad that I poked my nose into this one; It’s certainly casual friendly – with the right friends anyway.  The only problem I’m having now is not directly game related – Certain class play styles are not very good for my damaged wrists, so I’m experimenting with most of them to see what will work safely.  At the moment I’ve found two, which is good.

My next personal project will be the next PC.  Stats will go up once I’ve got it stable, but I already have the parts here.  Hopefully I’ll have things working this week.

Update – Fall 2012

So, It’s just over a year since last major update, where Irene was about to visit.  Well, I ended up sleeping through it.  *chuckle*  The only major aftermath was a couple of mice that decided to snoop around my PC down here in the basement, but I did not know about that until I came back from a Labor Day vacation.  Argh.

Anyway, the rest of 2011 was reasonable, but ‘Snowtober’ (a major snowfall around Halloween) was interesting, to say the least.  I was on-call during that too, and ended up on two different conference calls from home.  Thankfully (and despite so many trees around the house) the Internet link has stayed up.

This year has been an interesting one so far, mostly around work.  I’ve been extremely busy, and yet I’m also very happy about it (due to some of the projects I’m finally able to take care of).  There’s been some down moments, as always, but I promised not to make this site about work, and that’s all I’ll say about it for now.

Of course, it is also a few days to 9/11 again.  I’m beginning to detect the tension that happens around this time, but it’s not nearly as bad as last year.  And someone, earlier this year, gave me some suggestions about how to cope with that – suggestions that really have helped.

Overall, an interesting year.  And I’ve not even mentioned Eve Online yet (in short? – I finally left it).  Probably in a later post…


Painless, Pt 2

Well, deciding to move the wordpress site back to my web ‘root’ (where it should have been in the first place) has been a bit of a pain after all. Despite making all kinds of redirect setups, MystBlogs does not seem to syndicate the site anymore. And of course I’m finding a lot of external and internal linking that needs correcting (as the fresh import has changed the post URL structure). Not a big deal yet, I’m working through all that.

One nice thing so far is how few plugins I need now, in comparison to what I used to have. This new ‘Jetpack’ thing that WP included in the install has served a number of my needs, though I’ve disabled about half the features anyway. :p Three ‘quickie’ plugins used to modify comment/trackback etc behavior ended up in Core. So at minimum I’ve only needed to add in Bad Behavior so far (Akismet spam protection also came installed).

One new thing I did add is something to manage the Redirect Hell I’m in now.  It’s probably going to end up part of my main plugin list, until things cool down in a year or so.  I’m hoping Google etc will re-scan the site and re-hash everything in the new format soonish.


Well that was painless

Removal/Archive (tarballs) of all non-personal web data – Done.
Export of old site to WXML – Done.
Complete re-install from scratch – Done (including removal of /weblog, with symlink).
Re-import of old post etc data from old site – Done.
Minor copies over – Done.

Still need to get brand new plugins and install them from scratch too. But so far looks good.

Heck of a thing to do, but I honestly cannot trust the old site data after the hack attempt last Dec (that also took out Mysterium at the time).

I still need to sit down and do export/archives of any lingering MySQL databases – there are far too many at this point.

EDIT – Looks like I’ve lost my Links in the import.  Not a huge loss, will work on that later.

EDIT #2 – And now a RewriteRule to remove /weblog altogether (so that MystBlogs et al can see me, I think).  Mostly there, still need to track down a couple plugins.


Hurricane Irene – Landfall

As of about 40 minutes ago (5:30 AM US/EDT), Irene’s ‘eye’ landed in the area. We’ve had serious rain since about 11 PM last night, but compared to other storms this has been just a bunch of rain and wind. Both Gloria and Floyd were severe thunderstorms; we’ve not had that here. Still got power too, which is impressive – seems like this neighborhood will lose power if someone sneezes sometimes (ironic for it being within sight of a major PSE&G power plant).

Hell, just the week before we had some serious thunderstorms, with really impressive lightning. All of it short-duration of course, not this huge thing that’s going to last nearly a day and a half. :P

That’s not to say things are done here; Flash flood warning just popped up, which is normal for the area. Still worried if the car’s been hit by anything (I moved it before things got dark, hopefully that’s helped). And with the storm surge in NYC, I’m also very worried about the storage area I still have in Hoboken (it’s on the 2nd floor of that building).

Also, there’s the fun item about NYC’s mass transit going to be offline until ‘well into monday’ per the Mayor. Going to be interesting for work; Will the NYSE and other markets be open or not?

Still keeping my fingers crossed.


Hurricane Irene – Approach

[Update 4 PM – just checked that I can access the site with a blackberry app, so if power goes out I can still update. Otherwise no change yet, we’re expecting the real stuff to start around 9 PM and continue until next morning. –TSK]

[1:15 PM] The northern edge of Irene has made it here to Ridgefield. So far its just some sporadic rain, but is expected to be worse of course.

At the moment, we’re expecting it to hit our area early on Sunday. If that’s the case I may still be able to make it in to work on time (and, depending on power issues, will probably be tempting regardless).

I do have some supplies, both normal and ’emergency’ (freeze dried meals). My desk and dresser (both directly under one of the windows) have been cleared off. I had planned to move the computer anyway, so I’ve an excuse to dismantle and move the PC now.

The live announcement by NJ’s governor was shown by Fox just now, and since it sounds like things will pick up soon, I’ll probably go out and get one last eat.

So far, have not seen anything worse than normal from wind or rain perspective here. We’re in good shape still.


Upgrade and Site Collapse

Since its been awhile (and I have tonight off), I decided to upgrade my site to latest WP. Though I eventually got it done, it was a bit rocky on the way there – on par with a previous upgrade failure.

The main source of the problem (so far) appears to be an SEO plugin that I installed a while ago; As I wasn’t really doing anything with it, it got tossed. All the main components (including my two main spam preventors) are still there though, so for now I’m happy.

I can’t thank the SimpleScripts installer enough in making rollbacks easy. Probably would have spent the rest of the night getting to this point. ;)

Oh, in the process I’ve dropped the old (blog.txt) theme. The WordPress folks have a pretty decent ‘starter’ theme now, which loaded faster too.

Now the only outstanding issue is to get ZenPhotoPress back in action [Fixed, but slow]. And maybe get a replacement banner pic for the one this theme includes.


Tron Legacy

Good morning!

Sitting in theater waiting for midnight showing to start.

Nice bonus – paid for normal one and was sent to the 3D one. Hope its worth it…