Today is Sunday, November 3rd, 2019.
It is the day after Blizzcon 2019, my tenth such event, and my twentieth day away from home on a whirlwind vacation that saw me visit 3 countries (4 counting layovers) and get engaged to my girlfriend of three years before returning to the United States for said Blizzcon.
The past few years have seen me have a weird depressive funk after Blizzcon, but doubly so after this trip. I return to work tomorrow for the first time since October 12th, 2019. I’ll sleep in my own bed tonight for the first time in 20 days. I can actually play my games!
Yet, the past few years have seen that funk, and this one is no different. Throughout the year, my life moves normally – comfortably. Like many of my generation, the ever-accursed millenial, I have many of the same afflictions. My life isn’t bad – it’s comfortable, with a decent roof over my head, enough income to pursue hobbies, and a sense of certainty that my life will travel forward just fine. However, I have no sense of permanence to any of it – I dont own my home and the prospect of ever doing so seems far away and ethereal and there’s a broad sense of alienation that permeates my life – between the constant peer competition of capitalist society and the distancing from others that this and technology allows for. I have a job that I find okay that pays me well enough to feel like I should stay but just low enough that it always feels a hit like I’m missing out on the value I produce (that’s probably the closest I’ll ever let this blog towards my real politics).
Blizzcon is, to some, a home – and I wouldn’t fault one for feeling that way. The alienated and distant existences we all live online close all of their gaps in an instant for a few days, and create this comfortable space of shared passions and common bonds. We are all united in what helps us get through life, and in crowded convention lines and overly noisy hotel lobbies we share that bond, until Sunday comes and people slowly fade out of existence like the ending of Avengers: Inifinty War.
For me, I don’t know that I’d call Blizzcon home in a pure sense. It is certainly a place in which I feel more comfortable and willing to share of myself more. It’s easier to start a conversation with strangers there than at work or the DMV. I’ve had great moments at Blizzcon (talking to drunk Chris Metzen, meeting a ton of different people, my Blizzard tour) but every year, on Saturday around 8 PM, with two hours left to go, a sort of sadness sets in.
Blizzcon is, to me, a reminder of wasted potential for myself.
The end of Blizzcon always makes me think really hard about where my life is, especially these last few years. This year was no different. Longtime readers might remember my 2017 post-Blizzcon, where I pledged to stream and create video content for YouTube, which I did for around 2 weeks, maybe. Last year I came back with a burning desire to work at Blizzard after my campus tour, signed up for an online college, and promised to redouble efforts to post here. I followed through on one of those- hello, this blog! – and failed to do the others.
My life isn’t bad, and I don’t want the introduction here to lead anyone to think I’m having a pity party. However, Blizzcon has always given me some degree of motivation to do better for myself, to find a path forward that pushes me closer to the things I enjoy and further from a safe, comfortable existence in someone else’s workspace enriching someone else.
This year, I’d argue I did something about it that I didn’t talk about much publicly. I applied to write in paid roles with both Wowhead and Blizzard Watch, and enough time has passed that I can construe a lack of response as my response. Neither would have been a core income source, mind – but the ability to point to either site as a part of my CV as a writer would have been incredibly uplifting.
I’d be lying if I said it didn’t weigh on my mind – I’ve had far and away my most successful year writing here, and I feel like the rejection has been a bit of a bother to me as I’ve roamed Blizzcon this year. Like when I didn’t get a WoW community manager role back in 2013, it does stink of failure to me.
At the same time, however, I think about that CM opening and realize that I likely would have been laid off this year had I gotten that role. Likewise, writing for someone else carries some pitfalls I’m not sure I would be thrilled with. Part of what I like about managing this blog is that it is distinctly mine, and I can take indulgences – I can write about wrestling, or even a piece like this, which vaguely ties into WoW or gaming but is largely a device for cathartic relief. I appreciate that I have an audience that allows those indulgences and doesn’t unfollow en masse!
So what am I going to do about this listlessness and desire for more I’m left with after Blizzcon 2019? Well, I see a few broad things coming to these (virtual) pages:
-Continued Higher Posting Volume: Not Blaugust-high, but I think besides the launch of WoW Classic and Blaugust as an event, my general desire to write more this year has led to more posts worth reading. I’m well aware my hit rate isn’t 100%, but when I offer 4-6 posts a week, I generally have more hits than misses. I think I want this to take the shape of more features – when I was doing hype train Tuesday posts, those did well – and other bloggers I follow like Wilhelm Arcturus and Leto do summary posts like weekly and monthly summaries that are enjoyable reads and a bit lighter.
-More Variety: I enjoy writing about WoW, and there will be plenty of that core content, but as my time in Final Fantasy XIV has increased, I’ve had more to say there, and my top performing post this year is about Shadowbringers. I do think I’ll fold in a few posts about other games on a regular basis and also take the liberty of doing more purely personal posts – maybe once a week or so. These may be about other hobbies (I have so much to say about wrestling with the full TV launch of AEW and the recent WWE talent held hostage in Saudi Arabia) but also about me as a person (I’ll try to keep them light-ish).
-Another Attempt at Video Content: It has been too long without making a real attempt at video content creation, especially given that I spent a decent chunk of change on that 12 core CPU in July under the illusion I would use it for that (it helps that it is faster for gaming)! I struggle with both because I’m trying to find my voice in both mediums, and my last real experience with it was being drowned out, interrupted, and overlooked by people I’m not sure why they get to be called friends. Just like with writing, I think some effort and reps put in would help find that a lot faster than thinking about it!
The thing that both sucks but is uplifting about this post-Blizzcon funk I get is that it always feels hopeful, in a way. I do think that I’ve failed to get myself to a more meaningful existence with better ability to immerse myself in the hobbies I love. But, at the same time, I’ve been writing here for nearly 3 years, and what started as the means to apply a skill I think I have (writing and communicating) to a topic I truly enjoy (WoW and gaming) has grown and sharpened into something I enjoy a lot more than I thought I might. The fact that it seems to bring anyone else even a bit of entertainment is enough for me to be fully excited and want to push harder- so thank you!
Now, for the better stuff – what comes next? Well, I’ve read all the coverage i could find on Shadowlands, I attended a ton of panels, and I played the demo at Blizzcon 3 times, so I have a lot of posts in the pipeline for that. I played Diablo IV twice and after I get a chance to watch some panels on that, I’ll write up what excites me about that title! I’ll probably write a more general Blizzcon post, because this year’s has some interesting peculiarities worth discussing. There’s also my trip, my visit to Eorzea Cafe, and when I can play it, some impressions of FFXIV patch 5.1.
It’ll be a content-heavy week, so I hope that’s alright!