2014 Year in Review: The Year Everything Changed

It’s been a long year.

I used to always do these for my deviantArt page, where I’d go over my various works and accomplishments. And in the last few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about this year. Thinking about how different a place I’m in now.

Most of you know that I’m a diehard fan of Babylon 5. People would ask “Star Trek” or “Star Wars” and my answer was always “Babylon 5.” Best damn science fiction series ever done. And yes, even better than Firefly. (Shun me if you must, but it’s true)

Season 4 was probably the best season of Babylon 5. You had the Earth Civil War and the end of the Shadow War. So much happened in that one year of storytelling. But what really stood out to me was the opening titles.

Babylon 5: Season 4

It was the year of fire… the year of destruction… the year we took back what was ours… It was the year of rebirth… the year of great sadness… the year of pain… and the year of joy. It was a new age. It was the end of history. It was the year everything changed. The year is 2261. The place: Babylon 5.” 

That…is a very effective description of the last year. You know, save for the whole 2261 and Babylon 5 bit.

A Year of Fire, a Year of Destruction, The Year We Took Back What Was Ours…

2014 started with me on short-term disability from severe panic attacks in relation to…conflicts…with the Apple Store I was with at the time. Though I returned to work shortly after my birthday, the panic attacks resumed within two weeks. It was then when I realized that Apple–or at least that Apple Store–wasn’t the place for me anymore.

As I searched elsewhere for an escape from the madness and depression, things became apparent to me. That there were those who sought to see me gone from my position I had fought so hard to earn. I saw the “writing on the wall” as it where.

It was during a conversation where I saw these motions in play when I received a voicemail that changed everything.

You see, a week or so before, I had interviewed for a position with Blizzard Entertainment. That was within a few weeks of me applying. This was after several phone interviews, all of which I simply called out of work for.

Even in the midst of pain, fear and mental agony, everything changed. And a week later, I went outside to take a phone call on my last break of the day. During that phone call, I was offered the chance at a dream. A chance I never thought would actually happen. A chance to work for Blizzard Entertainment.

It was that day when I put in my two-week notice at Apple. It was the end of my history with Apple. After a fashion. I was sad to leave my friends. I was not sad to leave that store. I still hope for the people who remain…but even before my departure, many long-time employees had fled that store. I still have friends at that store…but they are few and far between.

I have no intention of ever walking in there again. Because the suffering my family endured at the hands of that Apple Store wasn’t over.

However, at the beginning of June, I got to walk onto Blizzard Campus for the second time. The first time was for my in-person interview. The second time…it was as an employee of Blizzard Entertainment. The things I’ve seen there…they still take my breath away. Even six months later (can you believe it’s already been that long?), I still make sure to drive by Building 1, with the huge “Blizzard Entertainment” logo in blue letters stand proudly at the top of the third floor.

I found a purpose there. I found people who respected my knowledge and my experience. A place where I can truly be myself. Where my crazy ideas aren’t shot down because “that’s not how we do things” or “that’s not the direction Corporate wants us to go.” Instead, I’m told “go for it.”

I did.

And I’m happy to say that in my time at Blizzard, I have completely rewritten the book on how they handle–ironically–Mac computers. I’ve said many times that I’m no Apple-head. I don’t think everything Apple does is perfect. I’ve endured too much to have any such illusions. But what I’ve accomplished there in six months has had a bigger impact than my entire time at Apple Retail.

Sadly, the suffering wasn’t over. In the months after my departure, my wife was subjected to cruelty, cowardice and mistreatment. They refused to accept her new schedule since I now had a job with regular hours. Instead of simply saying goodbye, they strung her along for six weeks before suddenly, one Saturday, terminating her for “attendance violation” because they forced her into a position where she would be required to call out, despite her constantly trying to get her shifts covered and notifying them well in advance.

That was a hard blow to us.

Thankfully, through multiple miracles, we were granted unemployment despite Apple’s “claims” on how Laura had left the company. And so, God gave us enough to survive even with my new pay at Blizzard.

And I prospered at Blizzard. Laura herself has said many times that though it is a little harder on us with me there, she’s far more happy that am happy. That’s what really matters. While things haven’t always been easy, I have to say…I do truly love my new job. And as I go into the new year, things look even brighter.

 

It was the year of rebirth… the year of great sadness… the year of pain…and the year of joy.

Yes, while the information above can very easily be handled by those words, other things did happen. Such as during December, both of my daughters had seizures within a few days of each other. We did three separate ER visits. Two overnight stays in the hospital. One fully battery of neurological exams including CTs and MRIs. I ended up watching each girl by myself for at least a day and a half each. And it happened the week before Christmas. It was also the week when Blizzard had all their special Christmas events, save for the actual company Christmas party. I remember when I called out on Wednesday because Caitlyn now had had a seizure…thinking that this was the most ridiculous excuse ever. Like calling for your sixth “grandmother’s funeral” in Discworld terms (If you’ve reach the City Watch books, you’ll get it).

In addition, the panic attacks haven’t really stopped. I thought changing jobs would help. And while that has helped, I’ve found that there is much more happening behind the scenes. I don’t pretend to understand it at all. At the moment, I’m just struggling through.

On rebirth though…I usually don’t like another year passing. It’s a reminder of everything I want to do but haven’t yet. Did you know that I had planned to have two novels published by now? Why didn’t this happen? Blizzard. And that’s okay. Blizzard changed everything for me. In fact, I’m going into my next birthday happy…looking forward to what the years ahead have in store for me at Blizzard.

It was a new age. It was the end of history. 

My writing? Well, I managed to knock out another NaNoWriMo, making this my fifth year running for winning the 50K race. This time it was a close one. And I finally rewrote Stormhaven, a project I’ve been meaning to do for years. I’m fairly happy with the outcome too.

In addition, I’ve published my second short story: “Beyond the Waterfall.” You should go check it out. Like right now. And if you could leave a review, it’d make my day. I published that back in September, though it was ready in July or so. There’s a process you have to go through when publishing fictional works now that I work for Blizzard. Oh well, it’s a small price to pay for working there.

I’ve recently started writing again. I took most of December off, as I’ll admit I was swept up into World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. Makes sense since my name is in the freaking credits now!

WoW:WoD Credits

 

My name should also be in the credits for the “Goblins vs. Gnomes” Hearthstone Expansion, but I haven’t actually looked that one up yet. But I have to say…seeing my name in the credits for World of Warcraft is a mind-blowing experience, especially since our subscriber base went from 7 million to 10 million within about a week of the launch. People like it. A lot. In other words, WoW isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Anyway, a little obsessive about that game. Heh. And that’s my “new age.” An age where I can finally be doing something that’s going to affect millions of players across the world. I’ve found bugs in places no one’s thought to look. Remember those Panderan Phoenix mounts you got from the Silver Challenge Mode Dungeons in Mists? Well, during August or so, I discovered a rather surprising bug that they weren’t going account-wide as was initially posted in a blog post. It was just something someone overlooked and that stuff happens. Let’s be honest…within a few minutes of people logging into WoD for the first time, people would have noticed. But I stopped that from happening. I got it in and even got some praise by the Dev saying “Good catch.” (I’m not revealing anything here. It’s actually buried in the patch notes somewhere).

That was awesome. Now that’s long past and I’ve found plenty of other things. I’m even happy to say that some of the hotfixes in the game have been from me, especially some of the ones involving legacy raids involving the whole stat squish thing. For all you legacy raiders out there, you’re welcome. 🙂

It’s totally awesome to see your work in the classic “Blue Text” of patch notes.

The funny thing is that’s not actually my job! It’s not my job to find bugs in the game itself. I’m supposed to handle the hardware side. But since I play this game every day the same way I’ve played it for years even after starting at Blizzard, I’m coming in with a unique perspective. I read the quests. I explore the details. I look around. There’s a lot of players who just hit “accept” the moment the quest pops up. I don’t. I’m emotionally attached to the characters. (And let’s just say that when I finally get in Creative Development, the Alliance is going to have their day (okay, I’m totally kidding, it would be years before I could do anything like that, but it’s a fun fantasy)). I play. And that’s gotten me a lot of cool things.

Otherwise, we now have two kids. That was the same as last year, but Tali’s now yammering away in her own speech, though she can say Mama, Dada and Yay. I love this. She danced to the Opening Intro of My Little Pony. Heh. Caitlyn was raised on Mass Effect and Tali’s going to be raised on My Little Pony. I’m okay with this.

But that brings about another change. I’ve said a dozen times that one of the reasons I threw myself into the Brony fandom is not only because of the amazing community, but because I realized I was afraid of what people might think if I decided to like this show. And that ticked me off.

Well, I’ve taken it to a whole new level at Blizzard. I’m actually leading the Blizzard Bronies. When I first arrived, I searched for the group, as there are Pony references littered throughout their games. (My favorite example is from Diablo 3. There’s an achievement named [Magical Mystery Couture] which just means you equip a wand, a source, and a wizard hat on your wizard at the same time. That’s a direct reference to the Season 3 finale “Magical Mystery Cure,” the musical episode where Twilight Sparkles ascends to alicorn and princess.)

Anyway, I was utterly shocked to find that there wasn’t one! After some internal debate, I decided “Screw it! I’ll start one!” For months, I was the only one in the group, because I had no way to advertise. Then someone in HR decided to do the old Summer Rush idea (you know, when all the college clubs would come out and have booths so people could sign up?). Well, I knew I would be the only one there, but I did it. I had my Build-a-Bear plushies, along with my vinyls, PMVs playing on my laptop and a signup sheet and a raffle with prizes I purchased myself. And I got eleven people.

Since then, my desk has become a tourist attraction for anybody who likes Ponies. (I have about a bajillion of them decorating my desk, screensaver and walls) A lot of the people are parents like me who got into it because of their daughters. Some of them are original Bronies, who just checked it out probably because the internet was flooded with them. But no matter what, it’s a good group now. There’s still some misunderstanding about the Brony sensation, but I’ve made it my mission to make sure people get it. They don’t have to like the show, but I want them to understand the purpose behind this culture and that it’s not weird or creepy.

I’m never going to convince everyone, but who knows? Maybe I can get a full “Elements of Harmony” quest line into the next WoW expansion. Heh. That would be awesome.

It was the year everything changed.

I think 2014 is the year of the greatest changes for us as a family. I know the addition of the kids are enormous changes to handle…but…well, remember those websites that list the events that cause the highest levels of stress? I just decided to pull one up at random. Now I know this isn’t purely scientific or anything, but here’s the events. (It’s based off of the The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, apparently)

#6 – Personal injury or illness – 53

#11 – Change in health of family member – 44

#15 – Business readjustment – 39

#16 – Change in financial state – 38

#22 – Change in responsibilities at work  – 29

#25 – Outstanding personal achievement – 28

#26 – Spouse begins or stops work – 26

#30 – Trouble with boss – 23

#31 – Change in work hours or conditions – 20

#38 – Change in sleeping habits – 16

#42 – Christmas – 12

My total is 364, which (according to the website) means I’m way above the normal line of stress. Heh. I could have told you that. Anyway, it’s just a random website I pulled up. But a lot of these events were one time events. The key is that we survived.

Laura and I have been through more than you can possibly believe. Things that I will not be sharing with you all, but know that since we managed to survive them before we had kids, it made us all the stronger. While we will probably always have the occasional fight, miscommunication, broken expectation or issue, both of us know that neither of us is walking.

Everything has changed. But instead of changing for the worse…or seeing the slow decline of my life into mediocrity, boredom and self-doubt, I can actually see a bright future ahead for the first time in a very long time.

The war with Apple is over. Laura and I are both done. We passed through it, battered, cracked and scarred, but we passed through it alive. And now, we have a whole new life to look forward to.

I think it’s only fitting that in the last few days, I’ve started a new story. You see, I’ve had trouble sleeping this last week (I got Christmas Eve-New Years Day as paid vacation) because of intense dreams. And I remembered something…that happens when I haven’t written.

This story isn’t actually new per-se. It’s a massive revision of a story I began in 2010 called “Rain.” It was a story I didn’t really know what I was doing with. Then I had this cool idea called “The Last Dreamer” about a future where humanity has done away with sleep after an unexplained plague of nightmares prevents the entire human race from sleeping properly. They’ve replaced eight hours of sleep with this wondrous technology that requires them to enter stasis for three hours a day. That was after most of the population of the solar system went half-mad…or worse. So about a hundred years later…we have someone who can dream…someone without a name, without an identity…

Someone who isn’t affected by the nightmares. And what this individual has the ability to do will change the entire course of human history…and human society.

Cool, eh?

Anyway, this has been my year in review.

So there’s only one thing to do so I can end it properly.

That’s right…it’s PMV time.

I’ve done two major events for the Blizzard Bronies. A Double Feature starring “Double Rainboom” and “A Brony Tale” and Hearth’s Warming Eve with “Snowdrop,” “Children of the Night” and a couple other things. And I’ve found the perfect finale that I’ll be using for every Blizzard Bronies Featured Event.

“House of Ponies” by Racercarghost.

 

And then I just realized something. It’s actually not New Year’s Eve. It’s New Year’s Day. So I can’t “end” this. I need to “start” this. So there’s only one thing for it.

This is the introduction PMV I play to every one of my Blizzard Bronies events: “Together” by TheAcelps:

Here’s looking forward to a New Year for the first time in a long time. May it be filled with fun, friends, games and a hell of a lot of writing. 😉

-rks

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Dreams + Reality = Epic

Well, it’s hard to believe I’ve already been at Blizzard for over a week now. It’s still not even real. I got to have lunch with Laura and the girls there with a few friends, to take tours, to know some actual stuff that others don’t know and to meet my entire team. Hell, the second day was a pancake breakfast for my team. Seriously. This place is freaking amazing. Even had to chance to score some cool Blizzard swag. It’s funny how long time employees complain (good-naturedly) about having too much, but I’m just starting out, so I’m thrilled.

But the best part? The people I’m working with are my kind of people. I mean that by saying they are gamers, techies, nerds and geeks. But not only that…they are also parents of small children around my age.

You see, at Apple, I always felt I was surrounded by jocks and party kids. People I had little to nothing in common with. But now? I feel totally at ease with these people, aside from my stupid natural shyness which is rearing its head something fierce.

This place is unbelievable. I wish I could tell you all the reasons why…but it truly is. I know this is where I’m meant to be. And I’m so thankful to God for pulling off this insane impossible miracle. It’s still not real…and it won’t be for a long time, I suspect.

As for my writing, things are actually going well. Last week, even with my new schedule, I managed to do some work on Stormhaven. This week, I’ll be focusing on getting Waterfall done. There’s also been some development on that whole anthology thing…aside from enormous amounts of drama. I’ll let you know as that develops.

Other than that, there’s not much to report. I’m behind on my critiques for this week, so I need to tackle that tonight. Not sure what I’ll do later, but that needs to be done today!

And just to celebrate the Blizzard thing (and no one even blinked twice about the Pony thing), here’s the 20th Anniversary Special Video!


Good luck and have fun!

-rks

Adventure to Azeroth: A Retrospective, Part II

Part 2: Apple and Azeroth Adventures

Continuing my retrospective I started last week, we left off with me moving down to Southern California without a job to help my mother.

 

southcoastplaza_hero

The Apple Store at South Coast Plaza

A Delayed Reaction from Apple

We moved in with my mother in a two-bedroom condo, moving some of our stuff into our new room and putting the rest in storage. I remember I made a “deal” with God. I told him that if he got us down to Southern California, I would start attending Saddleback Church again. And though an amazing donation from my grandparents, that was possible. I made good on my promise. And our arrival really helped stabilize my mother…though she decided to move into her new apartment the day after we arrived in Orange County. So I actually moved two houses in three days. Some of mom’s friends helped…but I was always the second person for all the heavy lifting. Still, despite that, it was good for everyone involved.

Shortly after arriving, I applied to Apple again, this time only to Mission and Irvine. I realized that South Coast Plaza was a bit farther than I wanted to commute. Laura looked for work on her own, eventually ending up at a Petco about 15-20 minutes away from our new home.

Then a short time later, I got a phone call from Apple. They wanted me to come in for a group hiring event for Holiday of 2007. Only one strange thing…it was South Coast Plaza who had called me, not Mission or Irvine. Translation: They were responding to the application I had sent in six months earlier when I was still in Reno!

During that group interview event, I even asked about transferring to Mission, which probably wasn’t smart. Now in all honesty, I didn’t even own a Mac. I had an iPod Shuffle and a Nano, both of which I had won in contests working for CompUSA. I barely had any Mac experience…though I do remember the Tiger launch…and how we had rented a full tiger fur suit and rolled around someone in that suit throughout the day and even did tiger face painting. What I knew was basic sales in the Mac department, but I knew computer sales.

Despite that, my merchandising knowledge and retail experience was enough that they wanted me in for a part-time sales position. I remember jumping up and down and shouting in joy after getting off the phone with one of the managers, Rodney.

Rodney, ironically, was the only manager at the store that played WoW…though sadly he played Horde. Nobody’s perfect.

Two weeks after I started (My first day at Apple was the day after SCP opened after their remodel and 10.5 launched), I made a passing comment to a manager about an adjustment to the planogram while organizing the games on the software wall. That comment was enough to land me a full-time Back of House position. I remained there for something like six months. I wasn’t especially happy though, since in truth it was only a stocking position. I’m not the most physically fit of individuals and it was not exactly mentally engaging. My managers knew it too and though I tried to make a go of accepting the position, I failed. I remember my store manager, Rodney and the Visuals Manager (the manager I originally made the comment to) bringing me up, telling me they knew I wasn’t really happy, and offering me a change of pace: helping to run visuals in the store. That meant I was in charge of setting up the demo computers on the sales floor, executing the setup of new windows, maintenance of security systems and networks, among a dozen or so other random things.

That was much more my speed.

 

 

Back to WoW in 2008

I came back to WoW shortly before the launch of Wrath of the Lich King. I remember fighting in those enormous battles in Stormwind Harbor and throughout Azeroth to gather the various items. I still have most of them on my main, who was renamed Makkus by this time. (I kept getting teased for the Dayshaun name since it sounded like the quissential Black Guy name for some reason).

But when Laura and I talked about coming back, we swore we’d never play on a PVP server again. And we didn’t. We moved to Alleria, a nice PVE server, though of course I didn’t pay attention and it was an East Coast server. That wasn’t a problem until the end of Wrath where I decided I wanted to take down the Lich King

I attended the official Blizzard launch event at Fry’s in Anaheim on November 18, 2008. Stood in line with one of my friends from CompUSA, Johnny Linnert, who also attended Blizzcon 2008 with me. I remember standing in that snaking line for what felt like a lifetime (and thinking that there were way too many Horde around). And when I finally got all the signatures from the devs, well after midnight…Fry’s sales system crashed nationwide for two hours, trapping us there until something like 4 AM. The next day I went to the DMV and got my picture taken for my new license. Heh. I loved that picture because my hair was obviously barely combed. Good memories.

I was thrilled to go to Blizzcon 2008. That was also the same year I went to my first Comic-Con. I had a ton of fun at Blizzcon, as we went with several friends from Apple who also played WoW. But the highlight was definitely seeing Video Games Live in concert again when Jack Wall was still the conductor (they were also at Comic-Con ’08). It was magical and beautiful…even if the sound was a little off. It was my first time doing anything like that. I got to play D3 in it’s beta stage…all the way to the rainbow end level where meteors crashed down until you died.

Rawr.

Rawr.

The Apple Blizzcon 2008 Crew

So Laura and I went to go fight the forces of the Lich King in Northrend. That was awesome. Since I enjoyed these titles so much and they were making a huge deal about Diablo 3, I even tried Diablo 2…but this was shortly after playing Oblivion…and the graphical differences between the two games are ENORMOUS. I couldn’t bring myself to play it. ^^;

And during July 2009, I decided to make my first attempt at working at Blizzard Entertainment with the position of Quest Designer for the WoW team. Sadly, I was form-letter rejected.

 

Fast Forward to 2010: The Baby Stalkers

So I went through Wrath enjoying the changes immensely. But something much more important happened in 2010: Laura and I became pregnant after our five-year anniversary cruise, a seven-day excursion to the Mexican Riviera.

Now you might ask how in the world this has anything to do with me working for Blizzard now. Well, you might be surprised.

I think it was during early summer or late spring, but we were going through Babies R Us in Foothill Ranch checking out something…I think making a registry. I was wearing my Blizzcon 2008 shirt and we ran into another couple. And the guy was wearing a Blizzcon 2009 shirt. We struck up a conversation with the couple, named Jason and Amanda, who were expecting a few weeks before Laura and I.  I come to find out that Jason actually worked at Blizzard. Very cool. And after a fifteen or twenty minute conversation, we parted ways with a smile.

But it didn’t stop there. When we went to Mission Hospital for the “tour” of their maternity services, guess who we ran into? Yup. Jason and Amanda again. Again we chatted a bit more. Found out that Jason worked Blizzard’s mobile app department. And since I used the Armory app, it was a good conversation topic.

The final stroke was when we came into the La Maz class…and ran into them again. At this point, I just laughed and after the class, I said that we should just spend some time together and go get lunch. They agreed and we had a great time at the local Chili’s, talking about how they moved from Pennsylvania to here to work with Blizzard since several of his former coworkers landed positions inside Blizzard’s still somewhat new mobile department.

And then I got to expand my knowledge of Blizzard with Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty. Jason was kind enough to offer me a copy for a discounted price. I was more than happy to take him up on the offer, though it took me forever to actually finish the game. I always spent way too much time in WoW. In fact, I didn’t actually finish it until probably eight months later.

During this time, I prepared another application for Blizzard, this time for the position of Associate Technical Writer, but the position closed before I could get the application in.

This was also the year where I tried my hand at the Blizzard Global Writing Contest with “At The End of All Things.” Ironically, it was the critique from a friend of mine that drove me to start doing a daily journal. It was a totally devastating critique and I was angry and very annoyed, because I hadn’t developed much of a thick skin at this point about my writing. The only way I could think of to deal with my emotions was to write them out. It turned out to be a very good thing…as I still keep it to this day. I’ve written close to 2 million words since that August. Despite concerns about the story, I submitted it anyway. Nothing happened with it, but it was a good learning experience for me.

I even ran into Jason and Amanda at Blizzcon 2010, which I was attending with a few of my Apple friends again. I was sitting waiting for one of the panels and they just happened to walk up with Amanda quite pregnant at that point.

So we get to getting together every so often. In fact, we had dinner together at a great Chinese restaurant called New Shanghai in Foothill Ranch and all had the mongolian beef, which everyone loved. However, apparently there was something in that mongolian beef, because when Laura and I woke up the next morning, I find a picture on my phone of Amanda and their new little boy, Malaki.

 

Bring It.

Bring It.

Blizzcon 2010 and the Fall of the Lich King

Blizzcon 2010 was awesome, though I remember being vaguely annoyed that Blizzard had decided to release the Cataclysm trailer for a football game the previous Sunday instead of during Blizzcon. Oh well, their marketing team knows a hell of a lot more about that stuff than I do. But even better? I got to see Johnny Linnert again, who had since left Apple and moved to Japan. I really missed the guy. In fact, I ended up hanging with him and his friend Derek most of the time.

But the biggest highlight for me was Day Two. I got to actually meet Christine Golden, who I knew long before she started writing WoW novels. I knew her from her work on the Voyager novels. She was rather impressed that I knew her that well. I managed to get her to sign my copy of “The Shattering” which ironically was used constantly when I did “Ashes over Stormwind.” I learned something great during my brief conversation with her. It was about writing.

From my journal:

I told Christine that I knew her from her Star Trek work. Told me she’d done 39 novels in 20 years. MAJORLY IMPRESSIVE!!! I asked her about how many rejections she got at the beginning. She never sold her first novel, but a great story is that she’d been publishing and submitting some short stories. She’d submitted to a small horror magazine paying only a 1/4 cent a word. They wrote back on HER cover letter (didn’t even bother to have one of their own) telling her it was a waste of their time and her time. Wow! MEAN! Within a month, she had published her first novel AND…that magazine is no longer around today. HA! Take that! It was a great story and I thanked her. I was a lot calmer than I was with Peter David at Comic-Con 08.

And no, I’m not talking about how much of an idiot I acted like when I met Peter David.

Random story about Blizzcon. My guild at the time (Project Mayhem Inc) hadn’t been able to down the Lich King yet (we were fairly new into the raiding scene). And since they were playing the cinematic for the Lich King’s defeat on the screens above the play areas, I had to crank the music and stare at the screen so I wouldn’t get spoiled. I promised myself I wouldn’t let myself see the cut scene until I either defeated the Lich King or Cataclysm hit.

We beat him a few weeks later. I let out a shout of triumph so loud that Laura was worried somebody might call the cops.

I wrote up a good little part in my journal about this.

Laura made tacos and set me to play. It took some time to get everything situated with the raid. We started pushing 3rd phase consistently. We got in there once with half of our people down and knocked him down to 12% before he nailed them, much to the groaning of everyone in the raid. But we were excited because we were so close…and then…

 

This eve, the warlock Lyssina combined forces with nine other brave souls upon the peak of Icecrown Citadel. Comrades from Project Mayhem Inc and with new allies from across Azeroth stood at the Frozen Throne alongside Highlord Tirion Fordring. Together, they challenged the might of the fallen prince of Lorderon, Arthas the Lich King.

For hours they struggled, fighting with every tool at their disposal. And they approached victory many times before the terrible might of the Lich King forced them to retreat.

Then, halfway through the eighth hour of the evening, the calls of victory raised over Icecrown Citadel as the final blows upon the Lich King’s dark armor rained from all sides. In a final act of vengeance, Arthas slew the intruders with one might crash of the runeblade Frostmourne. Locked by the power of Arthas, fear trembled in their hearts as the Lich King began to channel the necromantic power of his blade.

Fordring, encased in a block of enchanted ice at the beginning of the battle, beseeched the Light for one final boon and a chance to stop this atrocity. With an explosion of blinding white fire, the ice shattered and the paladin lord crashed down upon Arthas, the legendary blade Ashbringer shattering the runeblade Frostmourne.

Free of Frostmourne’s hunger, the souls stolen by Arthas rose up to vanquish the fallen prince. Arthas, his weapon destroyed, was swept into a swirling maelstrom high above the Frozen Throne. His father, King Terenas, appeared as Fordring resurrected Lyssina and her allies.

With one massive burst of sword and magic, they brought Arthas the Lich King to his end. And in the arms of the ghost of his father, Arthas, once a noble prince of Lordaeron, breathed his last.

The heroes of the Alliance and the heroes of the world of Azeroth let loose their cries to let all know that they now proudly wore the title of “Kingslayer,” that none may question their dedication to the protection of all that is good and right.

All hail Lyssina the Kingslayer and her allies!

 

Kingslayer. I got it. I GOT KINGSLAYER! I prayed and prayed…and somehow I knew that I had really given it to God tonight. Laura helped pray for me in this. God gave it to me. I gave it to him and he gave it back to me.

I saw the cutscene. EPIC. SO EPIC. So amazing to see Bolvar take up the Lich King’s crown, sacrificing himself to save all of Azeroth as Tirion watched. And…Lyssina was there.

I took like 500 screenshots. ^^;;;

Celebrated with Laura and partied with the guild. I’m going to slow down, but I’ll still raid occasionally, probably on Tuesdays. But I want to make it clear that this won’t be a normal thing for me from now on. I have to focus on Laura, though it’s a bit of an excuse. We’ll see what happens.

Anyway, Laura went to bed after we watched some shows and she showed me some baby clothes for the birth. I feel like I can concentrate on that now too. And now I’m doing some fun stuff with Lyssina in celebration of her achievement.

You might think it’s funny to pray about beating a boss in WoW, but after MONTHS of beating my head against the wall, I was willing to do freaking anything for that damn achievement.



Cataclysm and Caitlyn

So Cataclysm launched on December 7, 2010 and our due date for our daughter Caitlyn was December 9. Because it was so close, I didn’t dare go to the launch event. Didn’t want to get stuck and not be able to get out. But I do remember that shortly before we headed to the hospital, we were playing our new little Worgens through Gilneas. Really enjoyed that.

In fact, when we came home with Baby Caitlyn, one of the first things I did to unwind was to simply relax and play WoW for a bit, enjoying some of the newer content…though I avoided playing the new 80-85 section because I knew it would be insane. I remember several mornings where I would get up before Laura, bring Caitlyn in the little bassinet and put her right next to me while I played. That was a wonderful time.

But I did enjoy it. I really did. However, it did change my playstyle. And when I came back in Cataclysm, I changed my main warlock character to the now-current Lyssinna and moved to an RP server called Wyrmrest Accord. I found a great new RP guild and joined up with them. However, they had a bad habit of trying to light me on fire by creating campfires on my head.

*Shrug*

 

Tenacity

In March 2011, I found that the Quest Designer position was up again. It was perfect for someone with my creative writing background, since I remember writing novels on a flash drive on computers in the early morning at CompUSA. So with the help of Jason, I applied once more. Sadly, rejected again.

In August 2011, I applied again, this time for the position of Desktop Support Technician, trying to go in through the IT route. I was rejected for that position as well…though I was left in limbo for months until Jason actually inquired about it.

 

However, in 2011 something else happened that changed everything for me. And it was getting Honorable Mention for “Ashes Over Stormwind.” That moment changed my life and the way I looked at my writing forever.

But you’ll have to wait next time for that!

 

Part III will be coming later this week!

My intention is to get this entire thing published before I start with Blizzard on June 9. Not only that, but I hope to actually get “Waterfall” published by the end of the week as well. I just need to edit it. 🙂

Until then, good luck and have fun!

-rks

 

Waiting on a Dream

Yup. Still waiting. The Endgame went well, I think. And now it’s just waiting for the yes or no. I have almost everything in place. The emails, the contact information, even a 6,000 word retrospective of everything that led me to where I am right now.

The waiting is seriously killing me though. Minor panic attacks have been hitting me since Thursday. I’m just tired of keeping the secret. I’m tired of only being able to talk to a select few about this and only in private settings. I want to explode with the news…but I want it to be true first.

So I’m stuck. I’m struggling to have patience and faith that God will handle it. It’s probably among the hardest thing I’ve ever done…but it’s also the only thing I can do.

I’ve done my absolute best.

And now it’s up to God to provide the miracle.

Stormhaven

Yay! I managed to find my cast photo for Stormhaven! Super excited about this. I’ve needed it for reference in my rewrite of the Stormhaven novella. And I’m enjoying that, despite being in a slow part. I don’t know if I’ll work on it today…I’m so tired. I’ve been exhausted since Thursday.

But I’m happy with this story…and it’s going to be my current project until I finish it. I just have to stay ahead of the OC Inklings and have 3,000 words edited every week. Eep. That’s huge. But I have plenty of room to maneuver.

Gaming

I’ve been in Diablo 3 most of the time. I tried the Witch Doctor and ended up hating it…but the Barbarian is far more fun, aside from the high level runs with my Wizard or Crusader. And I’ve been doing a lot of Hearthstone, but sadly, my original iPad Mini doesn’t run it well. I’m getting constant low memory errors. It’s annoying, but workable at the moment. *Sigh* I do enjoy the game though. It’s great to play on break at work.

Ponies

As some of you might know, the Season 4 finale of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic premiered yesterday. And holy crap. This was so freaking awesome. I don’t want to spoil anything for people who haven’t seen it (and have any interest). But it is simply EPIC. DHX really shows off progress with art and effects…considering the combat at the end is mind-blowing.

It’s a great ending to probably the best season ever. Seriously. I freaking love this show.

Finale

Tali’s dedication this last Saturday went well, where we made a public declaration to raise her to follow Christ. And it turned into an impromptu Mother’s Day lunch too. That was good. My grandparents were there, my mother and of course us and the kids. It was a good time.

Other than that, I’m just waiting.

I don’t like waiting.

But I’ll wait.

And pray.

Special PMV this week…it’s the finale to Season 4.

It’ll probably be pulled in a few days, so enjoy it while you can. 🙂

Good luck and have fun!

-rks