Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Musings from the sideline

It's been a little over 3 months since I started my break from WoW. I didn't really want to take this break; I have always had some kind of weird pride in "been playing since august 2007 and never even took a break", but now I couldn't justify keeping at it any longer. This break should have happened at the end of Wrath and Cata as well, but it didn't. I think that even though I had run out of stuff to do, I was kind of worried that if I allowed myself to take a break, it could lead to me not coming back at all after kicking the habit. That is, I knew that my playing habits were unhealthy.

Two different kinds of unhealthy actually.

One, I am guilty of turning down real life invites/events because of WoW. I've ignored phone calls and text messages because of WoW. I've pushed my cats away from my keyboard and desk because of WoW (gasp!). I've stayed logged in despite not having anything to do. I've ended nights with the thought "I've played way too much today, tomorrow I won't play at all" to then log in the second I wake up the next morning. I've checked WoW-news, theorycrafting and transmogging at work, beyond what I would think of as a reasonable amount of time. I've prioritzed WoW over pretty much everyone and everything in real life at times...

Two, I have a bad back. The thing with my back started before I started to play WoW, so I'm not gonna put the blame on WoW. I think it was a combination of too much stress at work, and too much relaxing after work (cause of the being dead-tired and beaten) that started the whole thing. The last 1,5 years it's been escalating though, and I've been through countless hours of physical therapy without really getting any better. I've had a nagging feeling that sitting in my computer chair at work and at home has at least slowed my progress to get better, and perhaps even worked against it. So when I decided to take my break in April, I also viewed it as an experiment, "will time away from all computer chairs make me better?". Of course, the experiment is already flawed, as I have changed up some other routines as well. I do 3 strength workouts per week, I go to physical therapy 2 times a week, and I go for walks every day. I've avoided my computer, and have instead been surfing on my phone, playing games on my PS3 and phone, and I have watched a hell of a lot of Netflix. And although I am better now than what I was 6 months ago, I'm not better than what I was one year ago, so I'm not really sure what to conclude in this regard.

The first month away from the game was kind of nice! I managed to avoid Twitter, WoW Insider and other blogs, just as I had meant to. And that was actually far worse than not playing any longer! But then I started checking Twitter and Feedly again. And this last month... I've wanted to play again so badly! I eventually made a list over what kind of things that would be good reasons to resubscribe, just to keep myself on track:

  • New content, which would be the pre-launch event.
  • My server connected with another server, so I can make alts with purpose and a future.
  • Some goals. Something I want to do. Hanging out in Shrine is out of the question!

And what do you know... My server IS getting connected! Probably next week. :) With Bronzebeard, a server I don't really know anything about, but I'm thrilled nonetheless!
As for the goals... Yeah, I have to keep thinking about that one for a bit. I could level some new alts. (Priest maybe? Or perhaps a warrior as something other than prot? A paladin? Ooh, ooh, a shaman!) And I have that 5th monk, Zenja, that is only level 85. I could probably do some pvp... And some Ulduar-runs for shards for my Val'anyr. Challenge modes on another character? (My paladin would be great, I love that set! Too bad I can't pally very well.)

On to the final thing I want to cover in this post. With the knowledge of my own unhealthy relationship to WoW, I feel like I shouldn't jump back into this blindly. While I've played other games, watched tv shows and read comics during this break, and in much the same way that I would normally play WoW, all these other things had pause buttons. And I didn't lock myself away from the world completely. There's gonna have to be some ground rules. Preferably realistic ones, so I won't break them straight away.

Physical rules:
  • 3 strength workouts every week
  • Physical therapy as needed
  • A 30 min walk every day
  • Getting up from the chair at least every 30 minutes to stretch legs/back (everyone should do this!)
  • New chair/screen/desk-setup (I'm testing with reclainer instead of office chair now)
Playtime rules (I might set up Parental Control for myself, as I tend to get a bit caught up in the moment):
  • No playing between 0:00 and 7:00 am
  • Max amount of hours per day: ___ (undecided)
  • Max amount of hours per week: ___ (undecided)
  • Respond to all calls/texts: Immediately if urgent. Same day if non-urgent.
  • No WoW-stuff at work!
  • Respond to real life-invites according to if I want to do them, not according to "it crashes with what I want to do with my Garrison every day"
  • No freaking hanging around in cities for more than 10 minutes. Either play or log off!
Other ideas to promote healthy play:
  • Don't choose the 6 month-subscription I normally have, even if it's cheaper overall. If I go for 1 month sub or gamecards I could take smaller breaks more often!

Any thoughts on these subjects would be much appreciated!