I should have seen the warning signs – except there weren’t any. Just a request email on Monday night from an old client, one who pays his invoices on time, which makes him something of a star in my book. And suddenly I’m going to be translating somewhere around 25,000 words this week – means nothing to most people, but it’s a lot.
I don’t have a boss, but I’m sure Sod was out there looking after me.
This \/ is me this week.
If you’re playing TSW or GW2, I hate you.
I have a feeling WoW life is about to get rather expensive.
Yesterday I sprang for Cold Weather Flying, which will let me flap about Northrend, and that was a snip at a mere 450 gold. Later on I get to spend amounts I’d rather not think about, which may not be relevant for a while if my levelling pace tapers off anyway. People are throwing around numbers like 4500 gold — forty-five HUNDRED gold?! Wataf? Eloise has made the princely sum of not-quite 2000g in her entire career, and currently has about 20% of that in her pocket. Aieeee! And that’s not even counting the price of the mounts. Or the rep grind before some smug NPC bastard even lets you buy one of his precious beasties.
Will dance for moneh.
Okay, maybe not.
Am a little quested-out, a little Outlanded-0ut, and generally a little burned-out (already!) on frenetically doing whatever silly thing any passing NPC feels like asking me to do. Some days you save the world, some days you poke through Clefthoof poop – I guess it evens out. But it’s all questing, and there are 18 million and three quests in the Outlands, and that way lies madness if it’s all I ever do.
So I think Eloise is going to hang up her questing hat for a few days and maybe go fishing or something. Hang out with friends, even if it’s only on Vent and not in v-person. Have a RL drink (or three). My guildies, it turns out, are a bunch of lushes — oh yes you are and you know who you are, even if you’re not reading this — and they are leading me down that terrible path of *gasp* occasionally having a drink (or three) while I play.
It’s not actually something I do very often – drink that is, not play. I don’t drink much these days to begin with, for several reasons. First, I have nothing to prove. Second, alcohol severs the brake between brain and mouth and that is not always a good thing, especially if someone’s taking screenshots and especially if you don’t remember it later. Third, the hangovers really aren’t worth it. It’s like all the hangovers I didn’t get in my college days and my 20s have finally figured out where I live and have decided to gang up on me if I so much as give a bottle of spirits a sideways glance.
On the bright side, I still have never woken up with a brand-new tattoo. So that’s a plus.
Yea, in all things I shall be moderate. It is, after all, the Holiday season as we so PCly put it these days. I think I can have a drink, evade the Hangover Beast, avoid making too great a tit of myself in v-public, not quest like a manic questing thing, and generally have a good time.
Here’s lookin’ at you, fellow players.
I wasn’t here. You didn’t see me. This way I have deniability.
It just occurred to me that if I managed to post a whole month — with caveats and weekends and obscure Papua-New Guinean holidays — I can probably post a whole month without said getout clauses. Some bloggers do it all the time.
So. Every day. Every – single – lousy – day in September, I shall grace you sorry lot with my presence. Yes, even on weekends, since apparently people do read blogs on weekends, and you’re all very weird for doing it. (Don’t even start on how much weirder it is to be posting.)
Time-zones can be a bitch, but they can also be quite useful for inspiration. See, by the time I get up my little British (and Euro) chums have already done their morning posts and, as I peruse them over coffee, I can get all sorts of ideas I probably wouldn’t have had otherwise.
This one is Spinks’ fault, again. The post itself is on MMO burnout and how to avoid it — a feat I’m not sure is actually possible — but a passing comment in the text was what drew me to comment and then, shock-horror, made me have a thought of my own.
Here’s the catalyst:
The first thing that strikes me is that many players (probably the majority) don’t ever go through the mastery and burnout phases. They hop straight from ramping up to casual, possibly even skipping the ramping up phase if the game offers that option.
As I mentioned last week, I made a Sims 3 hippie. After playing Herb, whose ambition and perfectionism are fulfilling but also very time-consuming (job, garden, a little fishing on the side; friends? who needs em!), I wanted to see if I could make a character who would never work.
Enter Sunbeam Moonlight, who was developing a backstory before I was even done with the outfit-creation screen. Her grandmother left her a cute but dilapidated old house in Sunset Valley… and not much else. I picked that pretty beach-front lot we also picked for Herb, which isn’t cheap, put a smallish, older-looking house on there, and spent a fair bit of the remaining money on trees and other lot decoration. By the time I was done, Sunbeam was left with about $1000 to represent Grandma’s small cash bequest — probably stuffed under the mattress.
I left the house empty not because I actually wanted it empty, but in an attempt to symbolise Grandma Moon’s tatty, mostly useless old furniture. Problem is, if it’s there your Sims can use it or benefit from it, and I wanted a large part of the house to be useless for a while, so… empty. The only things in there were a bed and a tatty old sofa — no bathtub, no toilet, no kitchen, in an attempt to represent that stuff was there, just not in any state to be used; if Sunbeam wanted the modern comforts of home, she’d have to renovate the house one bit at a time.
Fortunately, Sunbeam couldn’t have cared less. She’s a lucky, outdoorsy, artistic flower child who loves fishing (of course she releases them!) and doesn’t love committment — the latter included not only because I couldn’t see Sunbeam ever wanting to settle down with anyone, but also because it supposedly makes it hard to hold a steady job, and ideally I didn’t want her holding any job at all.
It’s unfortunate in a way, but it seems almost too easy to keep one’s sims happy in Sims 3. Step 1, be careful what negative traits you pick; step 2, watch that mood bar. Hell, even at work you can “take it easy” which apparently counts as having fun, which to me seems almost too much and I’m someone who doesn’t like too much of a challenge when it comes to keeping my Sims happy.
So, even without a useable kitchen or bathroom, Sunbeam had very few problems. Being outdoors most of the time makes her happy anyway (mood bonnus), and I figured her for a gregarious sort; so I took her to the park a lot where she not only met fellow Sunset Valley residents and even a few other ardent anglers, but also found that getting fed isn’t all that tricky and doesn’t cost a dime if you’re not too picky what and whose food you eat.
As Jen mentioned in her new Sims experiment, there are things just lying around in the Sims that you can use for income if you don’t work or are otherwise strapped for cash. Harvesting the apple and lime trees at the park provided a little income and had the added benefit of ensuring Sunbeam always had a fruit in her pocket to snack on — again, not particularly satisfying fare when the best foods can lift your mood for hours, but enough to keep the wolf from the door in the middle of the night. Then there are seeds… which I should never have touched with Sunbeam, especially knowing how gigantic and time-consuming Herb’s garden became (currently at 36 plants, but at one point he was up to 47); my only explanation there is that Grandma Moon almost certainly had a little vegetable garden and that Sunbeam is channelling her Gran without knowing it. Anyway, she took a few seeds home to plant and before she knew it, one of them had turned into… a money tree!
It’s tough to stay broke when even the vegetation is throwing money at you. Looking back, I might have given Sunbeam the “good” trait, which would have allowed her to donate a large portion of her money to charity anytime she pleased, thus staying away from the lure of empty materialsm. That said, the “renovations” are costing a fair bit and so far Sunbeam has managed to refurbish part of the bathroom (toilet and bathtub — the cheap kind) and most of the kitchen. The work was funded by winning a hot-dog eating contest (I have a feeling being “lucky” has a huge effect on these events) and by a couple of opportunities that came her way that didn’t seem too much like caving in to the Man. I can’t recall exactly what they were — one was to grow lettuce, and I think another was to catch a particular kind of fish.
Even without working, Sunbeam’s days are pretty full. Having tatty cheap furniture or using public facilities tends to mean that one’s mood isn’t as good, activities such as getting clean or getting a good night’s rest take longer, and so on. Besides which, there’s always plenty of fish to be caught and fellow residents to be chatted with. Sunny already has an address book that includes over 30 people, almost a dozen of which are friends — usually, making and maintaining friends takes time, but when you’re not working it’s amazing how much more casual socialisation you can get done on your way to harvesting or fishing at the park, or getting clean at the gym.
One of the other things Sunbeam was finally able to afford was that guitar she was dreaming of (in game terms, I got a short-term wish to learn the Guitar skill, and it occurred to me that no flower-child should be without some kind of musical instrument). She immediately took it with her into town to practice — none of this retiring, practice-on-your-own stuff for her. If your heart is good, your music will be too! (Eventually.)
Paying the bills has been difficult at times, especially since the little bastards sometimes seem to come twice a week, but maybe it just seems that way because she’s broke. As an unemployed slacker, Sunbeam is a nice contrast to Herb, though I have to watch myself and make sure I don’t get tempted to do stuff that’ll make money, like get a part-time job. Making money off her gardening side-line, off particularly prize fish, or off collections (she found some nice rocks, which she sold, and some lovely butterflies, which she released after keeping them in the house with her for a while) seems okay to me, but working would be a capitulation.
The thing is, as Flash of Steel so cogently pointed out, Sims 3 is pretty much set up for people to be good little rat-race rodents, wanting better jobs and bigger and better items bought with their wage-slave salaries. Sure, you can be an artist or a writer or a homeless bum, but most of the short-term wishes push you towards consumerism and upward mobility — which one is of course free to ignore, and one could argue that most games have to have some sort of progression goals or the achiever-players won’t feel like they’re doing anything useful. Even the less achievement-oriented among us like to have milestones, I suspect. For now I’m just choosing to see those “wishes” as the image of normalcy Sunset Valley (and Sims 3) society is trying to impose on Sunbeam, who simply refuses to play along. I ignore all the “get a career in X profession” prods and all the “buy furniture worth more than $Y” hints; I also ignore all the talk-to, make-friends, social-type wishes because Sunbeam will socialise in her own time and on her own terms — and is, as I mentioned earler, very gregarious; she just won’t let society tell her whom to see and when she should want to see them.
Sure, it’s futile in terms of actual protest and it’s nowhere near as profound as Alice & Kev — but it’s fun to play someone who can do exactly as she chooses from waking up in the morning to going to bed at night… provided she leaves enough time for a bath and a bladder-stop here and there.
I guess the tank didn’t do their job properly, because I’ve caught a deadly amount of work aggro this week. I therefore figured I’d see if there’s any particular topic folks visiting this blog would like to kick around and/or read about. Not traditional, I know, as these things are usually done over the weekend (as with Tobold’s Open Sunday threads), but needs must. I haven’t got the time to write a proper entry today, but I can at least apologise for it and put the rest of you to work. ;)
I’m headed back to the translation salt mines. Speak up, I can’t hear ya from down there!
EDIT — Yikes, something horrible has happened to my theme when I view the site. If it’s happening for you too, a) it was like that when I found it and b) I hope it’s fixed soon!