Balance. It’s one of my goals. Balance in tackling my home. Balance in hobbies. Yep. Yep yep yep. So let me admit where I have been lacking balance lately. It’s gaming. I know you saw it coming, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating to have to admit. Specifically, I’ve fallen in love with Guild Wars 2. And I’m barely doing any housework or other hobbies because I’d rather be playing. Balance fail. Balance fail!!

Let me gush about GW2 and the fun I’ve been having before I try to talk myself back down to a reasonable level of involvement. I’d started on a European world (server) to join a specific guild, but I eventually transferred to a North American world so I could join in guild-related events without skipping work. I joined a WvW guild that had just started branching into PvE content. I knew I’d picked the right one when they held a silly social event days after I joined that culminated in a costume contest (which I won, thank you very much).

Since the expansions I bought each came with a lvl 80 boost for one character, I boosted a gigantic female Norn guardian to 80 to unlock the raptor mount. This enables the mount for all of my other characters, too, so running around on my lower levels is less painful. This week I finally got my main to level 80. She’s the “me” character. I based her features off of my own and gave her the class I would gravitate to in the Guild Wars universe… elementalist. I’ve always loved element-related magic. It wasn’t intentional, but the “based on me” character turned out to be the one I enjoyed playing the most. Not that I don’t absolutely adore my enormous kitty cat charr, as well. Also, I may have to change my elementalist’s hair… it’s just too boring. And it’s based on my own so… le sigh.

This week, I focused on freeing up a character slot (goodbye, my little mesmer!) so I could level a character to 10, run them through the first chapter of their personal story, and get a Black Lion chest key as the reward. This lets me open one of the BL chests I’ve stashed in my bank. It’s GW2’s version of a loot box. You can only get a key in this way, as a reward for completing the first chapter, once per week. I was doing the key run (start a new char and get them through their first chapter) regularly for a few weeks, but then I filled all my char slots and didn’t want to delete anyone.

It took a couple weeks to decide who I was willing to part with. I thought my necromancer was going to get the axe (scythe?), but after temporarily boosting her to lvl 80, it turned out I enjoyed playing her at max level. I’m actually relieved since she’s the first char I ever made. I’m a little sentimental about her. I need to investigate necromancer some more to see what builds don’t involve pets or juggling conditions on my own char. I get the feeling that even though I’m willing to let her keep her space, she won’t be hitting 80 any time soon.

My next goals are to get enough hero points (used for unlocking abilities and traits) to unlock an elite specialization on my main. I think I’m going to go for tempest first. It sort of lets her supercharge her current element. The other elite spec, weaver, lets her activate two different elements at the same time and dedicates one of her abilities to merging these elements together. Sounds pretty impressive, but I’m not confident in my ability to juggle multiple elements right now. I’m fairly good at switching between them during a fight now, but I still forget which ability does what every now and then. Particularly when in water spec since I usually only switch to it when I need to heal.

I run dagger/dagger elementalist, which is focused on damage, damage, and more damage. At first glance, it seems to stray far from my normal WoW-rogue stabby stabstab “I don’t stealth, I evade and then stab you in the face” kind of character since elementalist sounds more like a mage equivalent. But no, oh no, the principles are the same. It’s a melee build (I know, melee mage!!!) that focuses on high burst damage with some debilitating effects to make the damage hurt more. It’s very much a “burn them down before they squish you” build. Which is just right up my alley. I adore it. I may have to adjust a little bit for my lvl 80 build, since I think it uses a warhorn in the off hand, but the basics are the same.

So… I was supposed to say something about how I’m going to bring my gaming back into balance. More balanced, hopefully, than a post in which six out of nine paragraphs are about GW2. When I first get excited about a new activity or idea, I tend to throw myself into it to the exclusion of everything else. It’s very obsessive. My therapist says this is a classic symptom of ADHD. A lot of the time, this results in burnout and causes me to abruptly drop the obsession. It’s as frustrating for me to experience as it is for others to observe. But this time my partner noticed when it was happening and said something to bring it to my attention. And since I was really enjoying being interested in an mmorpg again, I didn’t want to burn out.

During February, I’ve been working on playing less. Still a lot, though! I don’t want to feel like I’m not getting to play enough and then resentfully block everything else out. I try to get my log in bonus every day, but I don’t worry about getting the dailies done. And if my partner wants to watch something together, then we do. The only time I’ll insist on playing is if there’s a guild event I’d like to join. Since my partner raids two or three nights a week, I think that’s fair. And since I’m not neglecting him or the dogs to play during every single minute of free time in the evening, I’ve found that he’s a lot more relaxed and accepting about the times that I do want to play. He’ll even suggest it when we finish watching something. As I get better at this, I need to start picking back up on the housework. Because right now, let me tell you, we’re just skating along on the bare minimum of dish washing! Noo! But this last week has been better, so I have hope that I’m finally bringing things back into balance. Fingers crossed.

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