Warcraft Wednesday: Finding Azeroth

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World of Warcraft is a behemoth. The massively popular MMORPG celebrated its 10th birthday this year, and with millions of players worldwide it shows no signs of slowing down in its age.

I initially avoided the MMO scene altogether until I was well out of college, and I was admittedly turned off by WoW’s comically negative reputation (here’s looking at you, South Park). Still, I couldn’t help but wonder what the big to-do was over this quirky-looking gaming experience.

When a free trial got dumped in my lap, I decided to go questing—literally—for the answers. Color me surprised when I discovered how charming the game actually was. This was years ago, and WoW has changed a bit since then, but I could certainly see what all the hullabaloo was about.

I’d started out as a Human Mage for the Alliance–one of the game’s two opposing factions. I plugged along for fifty-some levels until I realized that something was…missing. My gameplay until that point was a mad dash through the content with friends who wanted to get to the end-game as quickly as possible. Interactions with belligerent power-gamers weren’t helping the game’s image and discouraged me from wanting to adventure with others. I was missing out on all of the rich story and well-crafted lore that was rumored to make Warcraft’s world of Azeroth such a compelling and beloved setting.

Worst of all, it was starting to feel like a chore.

I wanted to slow down and explore the setting. I wanted to know what made that game so beloved to the point of cultural phenomenon. I wanted to get to know the playerbase and take part in more than just mindless dungeon run after mindless dungeon run.

A flicker of hope came when I’d heard about the thriving roleplaying community within WoW’s other faction. Packing up my Mage’s bags, I decided to create a Blood Elf Hunter for the Horde.

What a much-needed change that was. I tackled the game’s content with a greater focus on exploration. I discovered and engaged in a more open and creative side of the playerbase. I found the adventurers and the storytellers who took what the game provided and crafted it into something even more dynamic and exciting. That was how I wanted to enjoy Warcraft, I realized.

Sadly, real-world obligations took over just as that realization hit, and I was forced to give up the game. My account was subsequently taken over by hackers while I was attempting to get it canceled, and I let it go thinking that I’d never need it again anyway. To this day, my corpse is probably still being used to spell out advertisements on the streets of Stormwind.

There are fates worst than death.  Image courtesy of salomesays.com

There are fates worst than death. Image courtesy of salomesays.com

Not so long ago, my fiancé suggested that I try to get back into the game. He’d been playing WoW since its beta days and was convinced that the game’s changes since my hiatus would be worth a look. I gave a million reasons why I couldn’t play, but they all sounded a little hollow. After all, I was having fun before I had to leave the first time, wasn’t I?

With my previous characters lost to a gold-farming enterprise somewhere, I decided to start from scratch with a fresh account, and a fresh approach on how I would tackle World of Warcraft. This time around, I wouldn’t have to deal with negative peer-pressure and the expectation of treating the game like a job. I could focus on the world, the roleplaying, and a discovery of what makes WoW such a dearly loved pastime to millions of people across the globe.

So, pack up your purples and kindly ask a Mage to conjure up some food, because we’re going on an adventure, friends.

Let’s go find Azeroth.


Want to follow my adventures in Azeroth?  Be sure to check out my new Warcraft-centric character blog over on Tumblr!

Home Sweet Home

Goodness gracious, it’s been about two months since my last post! I will confess, though, that the absence was totally necessary.

As I’d mentioned last time, Cameron and I found ourselves an awesome little apartment, and these last few months have been a whirlwind of packing, unpacking, furniture-hunting, and adjustment as we settle into our new home.

Coming Home

I’ve gotta say: the chaos has been completely worth it. Sure, there’s a sadness that crops up when I remember that our family is three hours north. And yeah, there have been times when I’ve felt overwhelmed by how quickly our lives have changed.

First Table and A First Dinner With Friends

But then? Then I remember that those changes have been the most positive thing I could have asked for. That I’m overwhelmed—but overwhelmingly happy. And that, even if our family and many others are now a long drive away, having two good friends show up with a crock-pot of freaking awesome stew to celebrate our obtaining a dining room table is one of those moments that makes me say:

“Yeah, we’re good.”

And hey! We have this duck.

I love this freakin' Duck.

The Adventure Continues!

For the last year, Cameron and I have been living as nomads; never really staying in one place long enough get settled, and making our way on the generosity of others (and the availability of their basements).  While we fancy the idea of taking our time to find “the place where we’ll settle down one day”, it’s been difficult not having somewhere to call our own.

Last week, we got the call that an apartment we’d been looking at was all ours!  You know, once the paperwork was done.  A beautiful, spacious second-floor flat with an awesome view was suddenly right there at my fingertips.  And I was terrified.  I guess I still am.

This will be the third time we’ve moved in a year, not counting various shufflings-around.  Even before then, neither of us had a place that was truly ours, whether it was a town home or something with a mortgage.  The realization that we’ll be staying in one place for a long time–that we’ll be making ourselves a home–is hard for me to digest and still more than a little unreal.  We, as the future Mr. and Mrs. Hunting, are going to be paying our own real utilities, getting mail delivered to our own mailbox, and coming home to a door that leads to our own place.

This may not be our “forever-home”, and instead only act as another stepping-stone in the grand scheme of things, but as Cameron put it to me last night: “It’s the next quest on our real-life adventure.”

Now I just need to conquer Cardboard Box Castle, and avoided the dreaded junk-monsters that are waiting to eat me while I pack supplies for this here journey.  I KNEW there was a reason I should be scared!

Bee In a Box

Living the Dream

This week, I made a big ol’ Life Decision.

When I was younger, getting ready for college, and trying to determine the first crucial steps in what would become my adult life, I wanted to pursue my dream of working in the art industry.

I wanted to create something beautiful every day.  I wanted to do something that, at its core, I loved very much, and that made other people smile.  Or cry.  Or think.  You know, because art evokes emotion like that.

I was told that it was an impractical choice; told that I could never have a future in art, and that it couldn’t pay the bills.  The delivery came with an incredulous undertone.  I’ll never forget the way the words had sounded.

Later, the condemnation of what I wanted hadn’t lessened.  It only shifted focus.  As I switched gears from working as a computer technician to exploring the world of business, I was treated like some kind of eldritch abomination.

I mean, I guess being an eldritch abomination in a corporate setting can be okay?

I mean, I guess being an eldritch abomination in a corporate setting can be okay?

“You should make do with what you have”, I was told.  Never mind that my work environment was putting me in a poor place, both physically and mentally.

“You should be settling down with a house and family by now,” I was told.  Never mind that I was trying to intelligently weigh my options and ensure that I would have the stability to one day start that family.

“You won’t succeed.  You don’t know how to survive in the real world.  You’re safer without change.”

The discussions that followed were some of the most hurtful, impossibly ridiculous moments that I could have imagined.  I was branded as an awful person because I had the audacity to want something more for the future; both my future and that of my children.

So, maybe I should be settled down by now.  But why does “settling down” always sound like you have to settle?

You sure as Hell don’t have to.

I’ll be going back to school for graphic design and business administration; a choice that will serve to burnish my current career path and allow me to move forward with what I’ve always wanted to achieve.  Is it practical?  I think so.  Will everyone agree?  Probably not.  In fact, I know I’m going to stumble, and I know that I’ll face hardship, but that’s a part of life.  I happen to have an awesomely supportive future husband, friends, and family to keep me on my feet.  And you know what?  I’m not going to settle just because it’s “safe”.  I’m going to keep pushing myself and evolving so that one day I can tell my children in earnest that I’m proud of who I am, what I do, and what I’ve accomplished.

After all, building a “Me” that I love is the first step to building a family that I love even more, and I’m already on the road to doing just that.

And I get to be freaking Cthulhu.

Crossing the Streams 2014: A wonderfully crazy, multi-author book giveaway

Now we know what actually happens when you cross the streams.

It rains books.

It rains a lot of books.

Nearly twenty authors of speculative fiction–ranging from science-fiction and fantasy novels to short stories and comics–have joined together to create one of the coolest giveaways I’ve come across.

Each author is currently holding their own individual contest with its own unique rules for entry.  The basics of the game are the same for everyone, though.  Every author, no matter how different their rules are, will be picking two winners from among the entries for their site’s contest.  Those two winners will receive a signed book of their choice from that author.  Awesome, right?

That’s not even the best part.

Once all of the individual giveaways are over, there’s going to be one “super winner” chosen from among all of the authors’ collective entrants.  That lucky person is going to awarded with a signed book from every single one of the participating authors.  It’s a reader’s dream!

There’s still time for my fellow bookworms to enter the contest since it’s running until March 19th, 2014.  Go ahead and check out the rules for each author and try to score some free books,  since even if you don’t win, you may just find something new and exciting to take home from the library!

In the meantime, I’m going to start clearing out some shelf space.  You know, just in case.

Crossing the Streams 2014 Participants

Below are the names of ever author involved in the giveaway, along with links to their contest pages.  Don’t just stop at the contest, though! Stay a while, give their literature a look-see, and come away with something worth reading.

  • Scott Lynch (Link coming soon!)

A Right Proper Introduction

Coffee and books about the geography of fictional countries tend to make my mornings shiny.Welcome to State of Beeing: An artistic lifestyle blog with geeky sensibilities and a penchant for adventure.  Be prepared for thoughts on LARP and roleplaying games, culinary escapades, the chronicles of adult life, and a whole slew of doodles.

And me?  I’m Bee!  I’ve been labeled as a princess-turned-adventurer with an affection for the whimsical, attempting to make my way in the world while scribbling in the margins.  I am fueled by a love of coffee, cake, robots, and fairy tales that is surpassed only by my passion for roleplaying games.  I was raised on books and 1980s science-fiction, can’t get enough Dungeons & Dragons, and sometimes talk to animals.  The animals have a harder time talking back, of course, but hey.

The idea behind State of Beeing was to “get connected”.  Whether it’s for getting in touch with myself, with my art, or with the people around me (and around the world), I wanted to make blogging my outlet.  Blogging, itself, is something that I’ve always wanted to try, but never had the courage to actually do.

Now that I’ve finally embarked on that particular journey, I’m looking forward to sharing the rest of my adventures; fictional or otherwise.  Until then, have a look-see at some random things I’ve found just in case you’re having a bad day!

A Little Pick Me Up

Starting the day can be tough, especially when it’s cold outside, the bed is warm, and that vacation you had (thanks to three feet of snow) is ending.  Boo.

And then you spill coffee on your favorite sweater, are reminded of the gigantic work-load waiting at the office, and can’t find any socks.  Double boo.  I mean, seriously, where do all of those socks go?

Despite the attempts of sock-goblins and coffee-spillage, I always find my morning salvaged by the weirdest, tiniest things.  For me, they’re usually random visual occurrences that turn all of my frustrated sighs into a fit of giggles–the things that turn my day around.

You know, like when you’re feeling more than a little stressed out, but the latte in your hand tells you “it’s going to be okay”.

CoffeeMessage

Or when you spot The Tiniest Gorilla embarking on a big adventure.

GorillaAdventurer

There was that one time when my grill was astonished to discover coffee.

Astonished Grill

And this other time when some fried chicken found itself…puzzled. (I never promised good puns.)

PuzzlingChicken

I’ve encountered some prehistoric monsters confronted by a modern Monster.

MonsterVsMonsters

And then, one of my favorites, this amazingly pleasant bathroom-stall graffiti!

OhHelloBathroom

Have you ever had your bad mood salvaged by something silly in the world around you?  Even if you haven’t, I hope that my wandering gorillas and stall-scribbles made you smile today!