Tyranny of Blank Page
I’ve been going through a bit of a spell the last several mornings where I get upstairs, sit down, and stare into the abyss that is a blank screen not really knowing quite what to fill it with. So this is a post to tell all of the people that read me, that seem to think I have this limitless font of material… that sometimes it runs dry. In part it feels like I am just not doing all that much of any interest in the games I am playing. Due to various issues at work my in game time has been very distracted. Often times I might be at the screen but I am doing a generally poor job of paying attention to the people around me. Even last night while sitting on Voice Chat, it was like it was filtered and muffled in the background of my mind, taking a few minutes to pull my focus forward and actually understand what someone just said. Suffice to say it is me, not the games I am currently playing that is causing the problem and in an attempt to make things better I went to bed pretty early last night.
The last few days have just been odd to exist in my skin. I had a very interrupted weekend, where I did not accomplish much in the way of gaming. Then each morning my routine is thrown off because my wife is on spring break, and while in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t change my schedule that much… something feels fundamentally off. It has been nice having her home during the day because it means I don’t have to figure out something for dinner that can be reheated easily. Last night she made this amazing batch of Chicken and Dumplings, and from the sound of it the recipe was super easy. Largely just dump a bunch of stuff in the crock pot and give it an appropriate amount of time. The thing that frustrates me the most about my current “out of it” state, is that I feel like at any given moment I am letting down five people because I am not doing whatever they need me to do. Between MMOGames, the fledgling AggroChat site, the insanely growing free company in Final Fantasy XIV, the guild in World of Warcraft and various sundry other side projects I feel pulled in so many places. When I am “myself” and in my right mind, with the appropriate frame of reference… it all seems to work. When I am in this current stupor nothing seems to function and I am failing in equal parts at all of it.
One of the more interesting side effects of my current mission to cap poetics every single week, is the fact that I seem to be absolutely rolling in Tomestones of Soldiery. As a result I have been using it to bolster all of my other classes, and most recently I have been pouring it into my White Mage. The ultimate irony is that I am sitting at 104 gear score, but have yet to heal anything at level 50. I have to say I am looking pretty badass though in my daystar gear set. Overall I am a huge fan of all of the soldiery gear, though I feel like I should probably be spending the points on my Bard instead. My bard actually gets use anytime we need a ranged dps for something and not a tank. This doesn’t happen extremely often, but far more often than I would ever consider swapping to heal something. I have to admit that healing in Final Fantasy XIV was really fun up through Brayflox… and then it is like things got too real for me. I had too many flashbacks to my early days as a healer, and it stopped being nearly as much fun.
I know I have covered this numerous times but I started my MMO career as a Cleric in Everquest. For years I had played Clerics in Dungeons and Dragons and managed to turn them into these awesome holy warriors. Picking the right deity here, and the right spells there… could turn what is usually a support class into an amazing front line battle priest. Unfortunately this design went against everything that was Everquest, and I spent a lot of my time soloing using the good ole Root and Nuke combination. Then when it came to raiding… I had to learn about the frustration that is the Complete Heal Rotation, where every 2 to 3 seconds the main tank is getting a full heal, so you have to time the 12 second cast so that someone is always starting up the next one. All of this makes me really reluctant to heal anything, because I never want to get back into a mode of operation where that style of game play is the normal. So I guess I have a bit of a mental block towards actually putting myself out there as a viable healer. I would gladly do it for anyone in the free company, but I just haven’t really made it widely known that it was an option.
Instead I am far more comfortable taking up the mantle of a guild tank. In my current daze I have probably missed a half dozen opportunities to tank for guildies. Last night I managed to catch one of these as Solaria and her daughter Isalenne needed to run Haukke Manor. I would have tanked anything for them, but it so happens that Haukke is probably one of my favorite dungeons in the entire game. I love the whole Castlevania feel to the place, and while leveling my healer I seemed to get that place almost every single time I popped into the low level roulette. As a result I have pretty much every pull memorized, and Isa commented on just how relaxing the run was compared to the average duty finder one. I actually got into a discussion on twitter yesterday about DPS queues and class balance and I realize that I am 100% part of the problem. I will happily don the mantle of the serious tank when it comes to my friends… but when I solo queue for the duty finder… I do so as a DPS. I’ve never really learned how to turn off that part of me that takes total responsibility for the success or failure for the group when I am tanking. As such I am willing to take that burden for my friends, but cannot bring myself to do it for strangers.
The problem is I know deep down in my bones how generally awesome the Final Fantasy XIV community is. I know that I have tanked for random strangers before while leveling… and actually enjoyed it. The problem is I have this mental wall that I struggle to get around. Since the introduction of the Ninja, the DPS queues in Final Fantasy XIV have been completely out of control. If you do a low level duty finder you can be sitting in that queue for over thirty minutes as dps, and if you are a ninja… it trends extremely close to infinity as the game seems to try to stick a ranged and a melee in a group if at all possible. The end result is a lot of frustration for newer players that just need to get dungeons running. As such I try my damnedest to intercept people needing dungeons and make them happen among free company members. The problem is… not all of my friends are on Cactuar, and not all of them are in our Free Company. I really should be a better person and do more “charity queues”, which is a term we came up with shortly after release when everyone seemed to need Ifrit but no one could get a group. Various members of our free company would queue for Ifrit and help a bunch of people through that obstacle. I remember one Black Mage had been sitting in that queue for three hours, so really I need to step up to the plate and do more random tanking. Knowing this however is slightly different from doing this… but I am going to try and force myself out there.