Server: The Ebon Hawk
Guild: The Seventh Virtue (ally, casual)
Primary Character: Culurien, consular sage healer / dps
Highest Probable Play Times: Friday night / Saturday morning (EST)
Activities: PVE, limited RP, SW fan fiction writing, connections to The Legion and old friends, as time allows
Official Gaming Update, in Short
DETAILS: History, Game Mentors, Leaving and Return
Shinoa, my first mentor: We loved doing PVE / ops, as we came from WoW originally – Zyrath introduced me to MMOs there and I fell in love with raiding. At the time, I was beast master hunter dps. Our RL guild didn’t do ops much – my first leg up in that direction came from Shinoa – who I will never forget. He was a gregarious, kind and awesome person who ran public ops for The Ebon Hawk – RPed with me – said, hey, let’s get you some gear! And proceeded to run me through my first HMs / ops, teach me the ropes, neat tricks, and introduced me to other sage healers who could mentor me. TOR was my first time as a healer. We ran stuff with him for a good while – it was the best! He ran the best PUG ops – it was amazing. He left the game eventually – we tried to follow him – but couldn’t keep up. I don’t know what became of him. And I still miss him.
Finding The Legion: When he left, Zyrath and I continued his tradition of leading public ops. I thought Shinoa’s goal of gearing the community was so noble and awesome! We met Connor and Keela that way. When our guild became memberless, due to them all leaving for other games or RL, we joined them in The Legion. It was in The Legion that I got my first taste of what it was like to be involved in an epic RP storyline and I had a blast – Connor, Keela and Zato really mentored me in RP and showed me how it was done. I had great times writing stories with them! One of my favorite things about The Legion was how Connor would lead / run public RP events and grab people from all over and anyone who wandered in. It felt so organic, and reminded me of Shinoa’s leading public ops, except on the RP side. Zyrath and I started up ops for the guild, I wrote stories, etc.
Shift to just me, and then shift out of TOR to RL: Zyrath eventually got burnt out leading / doing ops – it was too much with everything going on at work and he couldn’t relax. Unfortunately, I also took on too much responsibility, as is my usual thing to do even now in RL things – and got stressed out. This situation might have been rectified; however, RL happened! I got my dream come true when I joined Emory University’s chemistry grad school program and ran serendipitously into the perfect lab and a professor with all the characteristics I prayed for in a boss for four years. As an undergrad, I had had a very stressful and demanding boss – though I love him anyway – it was stressful to work for him. It’s been two years – and my opinion of my lab and new boss hasn’t changed – it’s so much more wonderful than I deserve.
Grad life: Learning how to balance things in grad school took a while. Science is one of my deepest passions and research was a dream since 6th grade, so I wanted to pour my all into it. As a result, I left TOR. I also wanted to make sure that I passed the second year report – essentially – a qualifying exam which passing means I become an “official” PhD candidate. Failure meant leaving the program with a Masters. Not acceptable. I passed last October (2014) – the most stressful experience of my life so far. After that, I banged my head against a wall attempting to incorporate my committee’s advice and startup new experiments that utterly failed. Nothing moved or worked for 6 months – incredibly stressful. Finally, about two weeks ago, I got the huge breakthrough I needed and never expected – and now I am banging my head against a wall *productively* versus not productively! I finally felt as if I was at the place where I could game a little and not “lose my train of thought” for where I was in grad school.
Missed the game: Even though I may not have connected, I never forgot about any of you and missed you all! I have a long memory. If I go away, my connections with online friends seem to get frozen in carbonite.
SWTOR Return: I talked to Zato recently – and he encouraged me to check out the TOR webs. Something just clicked. Zyrath and I recently finished playing Dragon Age III and didn’t have an outlet for relaxing together. With things going well in RL and being less stressful, it seemed the time was right to come back to TOR. To give return the greatest chance for success, we needed to make sure we could have a place to do things together that we enjoy, which is PVE content. I enjoy RP, but I didn’t want Zyrath to be left out. He’s not against RP, but it takes him a lot more work / stress to engage in it – which is something we want to avoid for the moment. The only way we can come back more stably is if we can spend time together in-game! Thus, we decided to make the switch to TSV and see how things go. This change is only practical, and has nothing to do with The Legion – which we still both love. I love Connor and company, will continue to champion The Legion, and will be maintaining all the contacts, as it were. Connor is my game mentor. The first thing I did was to inform him and Zato of our intentions, to hear his concerns. However, he was very gracious and gave us his support. I am very grateful. I could not enjoy playing while at the same time offending my good friends.
Why Vivek and TSV – Vivek surprised me: I first knew Vivek from the forums, and I admit that at the time, I did not like him much. He seemed somewhat confrontational to me and / or negative, though he obviously ran a huge RP base. I met him in-game while running ops for The Legion. I was determined not to like him at first – but somehow, we worked out a thing where we could run joint ops with TSV and The Legion to do 16-mans, and help The Legion learn and get into new ops we had not yet done. It worked out really well. I was amazed to discover that Vivek seemed in-game a completely different person than on forums – he was a total gentleman toward us at all times, fun and positive. He also lead ops like a pro, and was extremely kind and generous in how he treated The Legion. He keeps a running and active Mumble chats with lots of participants from a wide variety of places – which I quite love. After that, Vivek became a friend and someone with whom I genuinely enjoyed hanging out. Anyone who treats my friends with such kindness deserves my friendship. To my amazement, he’s still here after all this time. Connor has come back to the game. Zato plays. A lot of my old friends are still here. Vivek and his guild are some of the only other people I knew well from another Republic guild while I played TOR, and he still runs a lot of PVE / PVP as well as RP. Therefore, we are going to try to make our return with him. Vivek added me as a TSV ally today and was giving me a rapid break down on new additions since I’ve been away, before he went to work. We hope to add Zyrath tomorrow when he settles on which character he wants to play. Wish us luck.
Currently: I have a huge addiction to healing, and am looking forward to making this return happen. I have plans to write up some stories with Zato. I got some stuff sent in to Connor today about a possible Culu storyline. I’m going to attempt to find out what’s going on in TSV storyline so I can think about giving Culu an RP connection there. However, I don’t want to overdo it just yet. I need to slowly reintroduce myself to the game. I wanted to binge level today – but there’s a lot more than leveling to do – writing this intro post, a Culu story, looking at healy talents – thinking. I also have a presentation to put together for Tuesday – and as I’ve discovered in grad school – slow and steady wins the race! My goal is to slowly reintegrate myself so that it is a more stable / organic connection. Even if I have to leave again for some reason, I hope to do a better job maintaining contact, at least on enjin.
FIN: That is the full story! Sorry for the length. If anyone has questions, I wanted the answer to be here in this giant post somewhere. Today, I hope to go jogging, write an intro story for Culu and then put together the beginnings of my presentation. Our current most likely days to be online in TOR are Fri / Sat. This Saturday is a lot more busy for me than usual. Most are better and this summer is looking promising. Sundays, Zyrath and I are currently involved in a board gaming campaign with some friends (Shadows of Brimstone). That may or may not change in the summer. I usually plan out next week's work on Sunday nights, though I could be in game, and may visit Mumble. This month, I will be busy for a time preparing for The Atlanta Science Festival coming up March 28th as well. That's our current timeline. I hope all my gaming friends are loving life and their gaming! See you in the game / forums / around the galaxy. Love you all. <3