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I couldn’t decide whether to write about Dungeons of Dredmor or Torchlight 2 (I’ve been loving both games in different ways), so I asked Twitter. Twitter wants Torchlight 2 first!

There are plenty of reviews of Torchlight 2 on the Internet already, but the point of Games Bears Play isn’t necessarily to review brand spankin’ new games. It’s about the point of view. So! Let’s get on with it…

BEARS PLAY TORCHLIGHT 2!

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Let’s talk about what’s going on here at Precious and Soft. Or, more importantly, what’s NOT going on. I’m not talking about games anymore. Why? Well… that goes back to why I started this in the first place.

I got tired of starting a new game blog every time I felt like the identity of my old game blog wasn’t fitting anymore. It made perfect sense to switch from an in-character roleplay blog to an out-of-character newbie healer blog. But healing didn’t work out so well for me over time. (Of course not! I preferred direct heals and never got the hang of HoTs. *ahem* Sorry.) Pushing myself through group content was getting harder and harder for me. That was a real problem if I was supposed to be a healer. I was making more and more posts that were about other aspects as of the game. It didn’t feel like a healing blog anymore. I was going to try healing in battlegrounds as a resto druid, but it turned out I wasn’t comfortable with any healing other than holy paladin. I kept leveling the druid anyway, but went feral.

Finding my love of being a bear was going to fix everything for the blog! I would change one more time and make it a BEAR BLOG! As long as I loved bear tanking, I’d blog about that. If I went back to being a hunter one day I already knew I enjoyed pet tanking with a bear, so that would fit on a bear blog. Any Pandaren character would fit on a bear blog. Bears were the answer!

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I never got around to explaining my reasons for quitting WoW as completely as I would have liked. Never really explained them as well as I would have liked, either. I think I may have left a lot of people with the impression that it was all, or even mostly, about social interactions. I’m a big bear (okay, no… I’m on the smallish side for an adult bear, but stay with me here). I can choose my social circles and surround myself with people who are not raging asshats. This was not THE problem.

I think the social aspect of things was both a symptom and a by-product of “the real problem”.

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"In the distance of my years I cover myself with time
Like a blanket which enfolds me with the layers of my life.
What can I tell you except that I have gone
nowhere and everywhere?
What can I tell you except that I have not begun
my journey now that it is through?
All that I ever was and am yet to be
lies within me now this way.

There is the Young Boy in me traveling east
With the Eagle which taught me to see far and wide.
The Eagle took his distance and said,
There is a Time for Rising Above
So that you do not think
Your small world too important.
There is a time for turning your vision toward the sky.

There is the Young Girl in me traveling west
With the Bear which taught me to look inside.
The Bear stood by himself and said,
There is a Time for Being Alone
So that you do not take on
The appearance of your friends.
There is a time for being at home with yourself.

There is the Old Man in me traveling north
With the Buffalo which taught me wisdom.
The Buffalo disappeared and said,
There is a Time for Believing Nothing
So that you do not speak
What you have already heard.
There is a Time for Keeping Quiet.

There is the Old Woman in me traveling south
With the Mouse which taught me my limitations.
The Mouse lay close to the ground and said,
There is a Time for Taking Comfort in Small Things
So that you do not feel
Forgotten in the night.
There is a Time for enjoying the Worm.

That is the way it was.
That is the way it shall continue
With the Eagle and the Bear
With the Buffalo and the Mouse
In all directions joined with me
To form the circle of my life.

I am an Eagle.
The small world laughs at my deeds.
But the great sky keeps to itself
My thoughts of immortality.

I am a Bear.
In my solitude I resemble the wind.
I blow the clouds together
So they form images of my friends.

I am a Buffalo.
My voice echoes inside my mouth.
All that I have learned in life
I share with the smoke of my fire.

I am a Mouse.
My life is beneath my nose.
Each time that I journey toward the horizon
I find a hole instead.”

Relevant to where I am in life right now in many ways. But especially the parts about Bear. Imagine that.

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loosewiring:

Just a quick note that I am accepting commissions now.  Full-color, digital pieces like the one above are generally $50.  Smaller sketch commissions (like the drawings I posted earlier) are $10 each.  I can do pretty much everything in-between, too.  Drop me an ask or a DM on Twitter if you’re interested!

I am so very honored to have been gifted with a drawing of my bear, and an actual shadow person painting on a small canvas, both done by Dee. I love to see the work she posts on Twitter, and she has been a real inspiration to me. I know there are quite a few folks out there who like to commission character portraits from time to time. Your money would be well spent with her.

loosewiring:

Just a quick note that I am accepting commissions now.  Full-color, digital pieces like the one above are generally $50.  Smaller sketch commissions (like the drawings I posted earlier) are $10 each.  I can do pretty much everything in-between, too.  Drop me an ask or a DM on Twitter if you’re interested!

I am so very honored to have been gifted with a drawing of my bear, and an actual shadow person painting on a small canvas, both done by Dee. I love to see the work she posts on Twitter, and she has been a real inspiration to me. I know there are quite a few folks out there who like to commission character portraits from time to time. Your money would be well spent with her.

(via mainfloortank-deactivated201301)

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I don’t know what’s better - that he answered my question, or that I got Chris Metzen to tweet “bootypantsbear”!

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Following the success of getting Ulduar done, I thought maybe we could get me the Kiril polearm, after all. This stupid weapon and I do not have a happy history with each other.

First of all, it’s a polearm. Not a staff. A POLEARM. I understand there are many people who are able to enjoy mogging for what it is, and maybe if I didn’t fret over each gold I could have learned to, as well. But it’s definitely not what I expected it to be, and I think even a lot of the hardcore moggers would agree there are things about it that just make you ask, “But… WHY???” And since I wouldn’t be able to mog Kiril to look like the Ursol’s Claw staff, I really have my doubts on how this is the best weapon for me as a bear.

Then there’s the problem with where it comes from. The people I can work with for a raid are spread across several severs, so LFR is my only hope. However, LFR is only 25 man. I’ve been through ups and dows of believing I can do this and believing it’s never going to happen. For quite a while now, I’ve believed the biggest thing standing in my way has been not being able to get the gear to get my ilevel up enough for LFR. Now that I know from Ulduar that I do have people on other servers I’m okay for grouping with, that doesn’t seem so impossible. It’s not that there’s no one on my home server… just that there’s frequently not enough for a whole group. That’s not really an obstacle, after all. We could do the dungeons and get me the gear.

But we don’t have 25 people I think I can work with. And here’s the part I really need folks to understand… just because I can’t work with you doesn’t mean I don’t like you, and just because I like you doesn’t mean I can work with you.

That’s a huge part of my problem in WoW right there. That’s why “group with friends” is not a simple solution to my problems in the game.

My anxiety in social situation isn’t true “social anxiety”. It’s anxiety that comes from too much going on at one time. Too many people present. Too much moving around. Too many things to consider. Too many voices speaking. Too much, too many, too often. The larger the group gets, the more I need to be able to control everything that’s happening. And then I get upset because I do NOT want that kind of responsibility and/or authority! If I had to assign an alignment to my meatspace self, I’m chaotic good. Now think about that… to handle all the stimuli, I need to be able to control all of it. But a lot of the stimuli is people. So, someone who is chaotic good having to have full control over a bunch of people… you see how this becomes a big ball of anxiety ripping through my guts and bursting out of my chest?

I do appreciate every offer of help I get from each and every person. I just can’t always take you up on it. And I certainly can’t anyone up on an offer that boils down to “just stay in the back and we’ll take care of it”. I will not be carried. More importantly, I will not be robbed of my chance to tank. I truly enjoy tanking and find peace in doing it. Getting a piece of gear I really, really want is a momento that goes in the bank when it’s replaced with an upgrade. I don’t want that to be replaced with “I just stood there while everybody else got it for me”.

I think Ulduar really was my last thing to do. That’s very fitting. I came full circle. Kiril isn’t that important. Bigger isn’t always better.

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Monday Minipost: A very special Algalon kill

blamerades:

Last Thursday, I got called in to help finish up the last few bosses in Ulduar. Not a big deal…one of the great perks of Real ID and cross-realm raiding is being able to help out your friends. So I hopped on my Alliance hunter and headed in.

However, I should point out that this was a very remarkable, noteworthy occasion. The person I was helping was my good friend Rosaa (of Heavy Wool Bandage, and @rosaamarilla on Twitter). She’d always wanted to finish Ulduar, but had never been able to, due to some really paralyzing social anxiety issues (I don’t say that lightly). Running group content has always been a struggle for her, and raiding, of course, was even more intimidating. She’s written about this in more detail in this post.

(Click here to read the rest of this post)

I’ve read Rades’s telling of the tale four or five times now, and I get teary every time. My main was a hunter, as was his, when I first started following him on Twitter, and I was full of fangirl awe. “OMG! The guy who writes Orcish Army Knife is on Twitter!” Knowing that we’ve come from me being too scared to tweet to him all the way to him writing a post about helping with this, calling me his friend, and saying he’s proud of me… I have no words for that. <3

Source: blamerades
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vidyala:

I decided recently that I wanted to start sketching more (especially useful as a “warm-up” to start the day). This is the first day I am doing it and as I looked around the office for something to draw, my eyes fell on this guy.

When V’s dad was first diagnosed with cancer, I had the idea that we should go to Build-A-Bear and make him a bear. He and his wife had been talking about their lady bear and they obviously got a kick out of her. They enthusiastically told us about her likes and dislikes, and how she traveled with them to Switzerland.

At Build-A-Bear we carefully picked out this fellow’s components - a hypo-allergenic fur, and of course, a Jedi outfit. We had him stuffed after I started his heart in a procedure I never expected to perform for a stuffed animal. Instructed to fill out his birth certificate, I panicked. What would we name him? I decided on Maurice, in honour of Maurice “The Rocket” Richard. Plus, it seemed he needed a French name.

As we’d hoped, my father-in-law and his wife were thrilled with Maurice. They took photos of him with their other bear, told us how he was doing (apparently Almagel, his companion bear, was teaching him French). Even when he was in the hospital, his wife would play the sound of the bear through the phone for him every night.

After my father-in-law died, his wife thought that Maurice would be better off returning home to us. We received the box with him inside along with a surprise: the stethoscope that had served V’s father for his entire career. Not expecting this addition, the sight of it hit us like a physical pain. It was so much his.

Now, Maurice occupies a place of honour on our shelf. It’s still hard for me to look at him because in a way he has come to personify my father-in-law himself. He sits a quiet vigil next to a photo of the actual man, reminding me every day that you don’t have to win every battle to be a big damn hero.

Source: vidyala
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How many times have I told the Ulduar story now? I talked a bit here about why it mattered so much to me. I included some pictures from failed two-man attemtps here. Short re-cap: I started WoW the day Ulduar came out. I wanted to go! Time passed, and it became clear that some of my health issues would keep me from being able to full participate in game content, as well as some social anxiety issues that stem from those health issues. But I also wanted to Ulduar more than ever as I became more familiar with the lore. My one big regret about leaving WoW this year was going to be never getting to turn in the reply code.

I finally accepted that I could at least finally see the place, even if I didn’t get to turn in the code (though that’s what I wanted more than anything!) if I’d ask a friend to help. I would get my friend Takk, who is one of my best dudes, to go through with my husband (my bestest dude) and me. He agreed, and we were off to Ulduar!

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