It seems only fitting I should talk about WoW, on this the day of the Blizzcon opening ceremonies, right? Right! (Even if I suspect, along with the rest of the world, the big announcement will be about a new Diablo expansion, and maybe two smaller announcements about Sombra and a new Warcraft movie)(please jesus let it be about the Scourge)
In Flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says: “What each person seeks is to actualize her potential, and this task is made easier when others force us to do our best.” There are two reasons I started playing World of Warcraft back in ought five: first, someone showed me the Leeroy Jenkins video, which I argued on Wednesday makes a good satire of what happens when one person isn’t seeking to actualize their potential, whether PALS 4 LIFE meant to satirize flow or not. secondly, someone posted a video of their guild beating C’thun, a 40-person end boss in Ahn’Qiraj. Watching forty people effortlessly move together around eye beams, tentacles, getting swallowed, getting spit back out again and – most importantly – NOT get devoured by thousands of small dragons really made me sit up and say “I want to do that someday.”
Of course, it was a long time from that initial desire to actually accomplishing anything like a C’thun kill – a road studded with elite yetis (seriously – FUCK that yeti in Dun Morogh), failed guilds, new guilds, new failed guilds. Finally, towards the end of Wrath of the Lich King, I achieved a heroic Lich King kill with the raid alliance I was a backup for. It wasn’t without hiccups of its own – as a back up, I didn’t have a lot of opportunities to run the fights compared to the others, so I caused a fair share of raid-wide deaths, prompting more than one “Does this mage even know how to play?” comments.
But when it clicked – it was magic. When the turtle shell kicker dies unexpectedly, and you jump in to kick a turtle shell and save the day – that’s flow. That’s being in the e-zone, as e-sports players say, presumably. When you brag about your pinch-kicking a turtle shell and someone knows exactly what you mean – it feels great. When you counterspell a move half a second before it murders everyone you know? Flow. But it relies on other people also being their best, to bring you up to your own best. And frankly, humans are fallible. They’re not always – not even often – at their best.
Maybe that’s what makes it so magical when it clicks.
I’m back from Blizzcon and in true con fashion, I came home with a tiny attached guest – the common cold. So I’m sitting in my alliance hoodie with a box of tissue soul-bound to my hand. In spite of the backlog of work emails sitting in my inbox, I’m actually glad for the respite and rest, even if it does involve nails in the back of my throat.
Blizzcon was a whirlwind of 17 hours days, goggling at gorgeous cosplay, being Canadian in an American’s world (“It’s in the bowl over there.” “Bull?” “Bowl.” “Bull??” “No, the bowl. BOWL.”) and awesome panels. But.
(Trigger warning for suicide after the jump.)
Things that are coming up way too fast for my tastes:
In both cases, I feel, in the words of Illidan, NOT PREPARED. Having to renew my passport in an emergency rush when I found out I was going to Blizzcon after all at the end of August made things feel like I had time, and all of the sudden Thanksgiving is over and it’s less than two weeks away. Not to mention I was distracted by a certain global story…. writing… contest.
If you’re going to be there, look for the girl with the shiny silver gnomish engineer goggles on the top of her head and say hey! I hope to be live-tweeting news from the following panels, so be sure to click my twitter button if you’ve a hankering for news on:
– Opening Ceremony
– WoW general preview
– Class Talent System (WoW)
– Blizzard Publishing
– Diablo III Lore
– Classes/Items/Professions Q&A (WoW)
– Open Q&A (WoW)
– Lore and Story Q&A (WoW)
– Closing Ceremony
And a discussion: are you excited about Nanowrimo’s new website? Are you participating this year? Let’s chat about your ideas!