It is — finally — a picture-perfect morning in my little corner of Virginia. After nearly a solid month of rain, today the sun is out, it is warm and calm, and I can believe that summer is about to arrive at last. It is so idyllic that I have decided to take the day off from work and just enjoy it. (I work for myself, so that is not such a big deal, the boss is usually quite understanding when I ask for a personal day….) So I am sitting on the deck, coffee in hand, listening to the birds and enjoying the woods we live in. Life is good. I expect the freaking blue bird of happiness to alight on my shoulder any minute now.
As you can tell, I am in a contemplative mood. More so because today one of my favorite bloggers, Marathal over at Rambling Thoughts About WoW, is calling it quits. He will still play the game, but he is not going to be writing about it any more. I don’t know Mara personally, but anyone who has ever read his blog knows that he is a decent, thoughtful person, and his departure from commentary is a loss. I will miss him.
Another of my favorite bloggers, the Grumpy Elf, has been MIA for close to three months now. He did not announce any plans to stop writing, so he may yet be back, but he, too, is someone whose insights I miss.
Daily, or near-daily, writing can be a grind, and it takes a high degree of commitment (some would say “stubbornness”) to keep at it, especially for years at a time. A blog is not Great Literature, and a niche game blog will never be something that influences or even touches many people. So why do we do it? Different reasons for different writers, I am sure, but for me it comes down to a love for the game and a desire to place it in a larger life context. I do this for myself, but I am always delighted as well as astounded when my efforts gain traction — positive or negative — with others.
I am acutely aware that computer games, especially MMOs, are a first world leisure activity, and any of us that play them have won life’s biggest lottery by being in a situation that permits us to pursue them. Every time I go on one of my rants in this blog, I step back and laugh at myself, because in the big scheme of things the words I have just spent a couple of hours hammering away at mean less than zero. They do not advance any worthwhile cause — they do not promote world peace or bring food to hungry children or give hope to the hopeless or even help to save endangered tree frogs. My tiny glimmer of hope is that by writing daily (mostly), no matter that the subject is a game, helps me to grow as a writer, enhancing my skills for some of the real writing I do, writing that has at least a chance of bettering the world in a small way.
Side comment: I am not a religious person, but I like to think that if there is a rule-giving god of creation, such a being would command humans to be happy and to pursue whatever it is that has meaning for us. For many, that means a life of working hard to provide for a family, doing what we can to improve our world and to help others, creating beauty in our own way, and maybe also taking delight in a game.
The departure of two WoW bloggers is by no means a trend, nor does it necessarily portend the End of WoW As We Know It. People change and move on, and we should be happy for them and grateful for the time our paths converged, knowing that we are better for their companionship. Still, I wonder if maybe we are in the midst of a changing of the guard in the game, one that started with Blizz’s new team at the start of WoD, one in which there are significant changes to design philosophy (started in WoD and to be continued in Legion), one that might certainly see a big change in the player base, one that will be forced to morph to keep up with mobile technology and tastes for spectator gaming, one that may soon bring in a new “generation” of bloggers. I am not sure I believe the conventional line that MMOs as a genre are dying, but they are certainly changing, and it remains to be seen whether or not WoW will be flexible enough to keep up.
Meanwhile, I have some sunshine to enjoy.