I’m knackered at the moment, right down into my bloody marrow. My new job is physically demanding and I’m pathetically weak, quite simply.
I did expect to be tired, but not in this way. When I was worn out by academic work or the teaching I was doing during my work experience placement, I got much more into beating the snot out of internet
dragons incarnations of inner strife in my downtime. Now that it’s physical exhaustion I have to deal with, eh. My reaction times are down and my attention span is shot.
Not that it was ever that great, but, you know.
I’m still excited about Nyxrinne and about Mists, not to mention the new patch (which I’ve yet to explore at all, if that gives any concrete evidence of this exhaustion business). I’m just not firing on all cylinders, which makes LFD and LFR lacklustre to me: I play both to see how far I can push my gear this week. If I can’t do a good job of that, I don't enjoy the instance.
So, well, I’ve been checking out the aspect of Mists I’d ignored in favour of levelling.
Here follows an exhaustion-zombie pet ramble of questionable value. (Needs more brains. Not enough brains.)
AN EXHAUSTION-ZOMBIE PET RAMBLE
I've always been a pet collector. Not especially hardcore-committed, just a slow motion completionist who side-eyes extravagant expense (of gold or time) right hard, before surrendering to the inevitable and getting stuck in. I did the grinds for two of the whelplings way back when, azure and emerald, and I quite enjoyed them.
I suppose I like a sense of effort. Grinding for a rare pet drop may not actually provide the great sense of progression that is supposed to be the best motivator in an MMO, because there's no evidence that you're getting any closer to the damn thing, but it does involve patience and perseverance and personal goals you're committed to not because a little green bar is filling up, but because you really want something from it, even if that something is just as unlikely on the thousandth kill as it was on the first.
You really have to be focused on that one thing. I'm too scatter-brained most of the time, so I value the necessity of that level of attention and commitment. I get a tremendous sense of accomplishment when I succeed in such an endeavour. So I enjoy slow grinds.
Pet collecting has not always gone well for me.
As it happens, I also enjoy slow games. The turn-based advancement of pet battles is perfect for someone who has to stop to wail piteously about her aches and pains every now and again, and who occasionally dozes off. It's also useful when I'm roleplaying in another window, writing up plot points for the novel, or filling out applications for jobs that won't cause me physical pain.
Maybe it's odd to praise something for allowing me to alt-tab and forget about it while I write this blog post, but it's just the old appreciation of games that don't enforce a strict pace. I've had my whole team staring down a lone frog for ten minutes at a time, and I'm not sorry.
There's the nostalgia element, too. I know there have been endless comparisons with Pokémon, but it's true: there are similarities all over the place, more than enough to keep me amused as the (ostensibly) grown-up version of a Gameboy-toting nineties kid.
I haven't quite gone so far as to try and name anything in block capitals, but some of my critters bear the names of their Pokémon lookalikes. The more obscure Pokémon names feel a bit like an in-joke with anyone else who played.
The thing is, though, when I'm pet battling I think more of Final Fantasy than Pokémon. Turn-based, again, for some of them, and then there's the look of the thing: the clear battlefield with allies and enemies in ranks on either side. Pet battles look a lot more like that than they look like Pokémon Yellow.
This might not blend too well with the overall aesthetic.
Anyway, I've been running with it. My pet team includes Nobuo Uematsu sitting on the bench, buffing us with rad tunes. I have a whole playlist on youtube of Final Fantasy battle scores that I have playing most of the time. It's strange how relaxing it is, sitting back with a cup of tea and music from my childhood, beating the stuffing out of hapless critters.
I never finished Final Fantasy VIII. I reached Ultimecia's castle, but wouldn't fight the final boss until I'd drawn Eden from Tiamat, because completionism. Then I got bored.
Naming, meanwhile, has gone down a Tolkien-based route for reasons I don't quite grasp. My dark phoenix hatchling is called Adûnaphel, the unofficial name of one of the Nazgûl. A lot of the others sport splices of elvish words. My restless shadeling is Ascadel, meaning 'rushing horror'. Lost of Lordaeron is Astar, 'royal dust'.
I have some sillier references too. My amethyst and topaz shale hatchlings are Amaya and Prince respectively; one of my bug pets is called Malone; I have a rabbit called Miffy; and my feline familiar and Gilnaen raven are Maleficent and Diablo.
I don't know, as a fairly dedicated roleplayer I haven't played around with names too much in WoW. All my characters are characters in the fiction sense; their names need to be fairly serious. My one joke-name toon, a hunter called Muldoon with a raptor pet CleverGirl, made it to level fifteen and mouldered there until I deleted him. Feeling free to be silly with pet names is several shades of brilliant. Seven years of puns and references are all coming out at once. It's fun.
All of it's fun, actually. I'm still racing for level twenty-five at the moment, and catching everything I meet on the way, but I foresee it becoming a sort of casual pursuit once I've reached that cap, something I can do as and when I like, as opposed to every day or else I'm missing out. (No, I cannot shut up about dailies and their ability to loom.)
At the moment I'm searching for a rare clefthoof runt, which I'm madly excited about because clefthoofs have been my favourite mobs for a long time. I've only just levelled high enough to battle them successfully. Most battles are moving slowly, as I'm busy being gleeful. Aren't you a beautiful little hearthrug, yes you are, now why the hell won't you spawn RARE.
Eventually I will catch the lot of them, and subsequently die in a critter stampede. A fine time indeed.