I began this blog, back in 2009, to remind myself I wasn’t alone.

It was a joke, that I felt so exposed and isolated. The Guild was the busiest and most productive it had ever been. We ran weekly raids, did Arenas, spent hours in Guild chat but still, I felt wrong. It had taken this long to accept there were issues, and now I had begun to deal with them. The first step was to reach out to people who didn’t know me and try and get them to understand and empathise. For weeks, I’d write and it would feel like I was just shouting into a void. It became a convenient metaphor for my minds’ darkness.

Northrend was the best it had ever been in terms of keeping me engaged and interested: a story line that was vast and sprawling, pursuits that tested both mental strength and physical ability. This however was when the disparity between what I wanted and what was written first truly manifested. Jaina Proudmoore was Arthas’ girlfriend. She was blonde and statuesque and her armour was a joke. I looked for Dwarven heroines and found very few. Moira Bronzebeard’s entire modus operandi appears to have simply been as a plot device.

Warcraft activated an indignation I’d not experienced before. I remember fixating on the female Alliance soldier in the Wrathgate cinematic and wishing that someone would do a whole video just based on her. Once the disparity was obvious I couldn’t look away, but nobody else cared because this is only a game and it’s more important to have your Gear Score maxxed than to worry about diversity. In that regard, I suppose, absolutely nothing has changed since 2009.

In lieu of heroines, I became one myself. The Battle of the Undercity event really helped, because that made me feel as if I had some actual worth. Interestingly, the Legion Invasion scenarios have awoken feelings of similar prowess within me in the last few weeks, so they’re clearly doing something right. I spent a LOT of time grinding, doing PuG groups whenever possible, just to feel as if I had a value outside being the person who hassled everybody else to prep for raids.

Slowly, this game helped me heal, and I forgot the faults.

Every time I see a female cosplayer as Arthas, I wonder if perhaps I am the one who is at fault with my mindset. Maybe expecting things to be a certain way is a fault in programming, or to hope that people can accommodate a difference is simply a fanciful notion that means I should just be quiet and carry on. As I have gotten older, that sense of indignation has, I realise gotten more strident. Back in 2009, came the first sparks of true indignation, that I could have an opinion on these things and that was okay. Without the blog, I would have never found that voice.

The flight to Wyrmrest was one of my favourites and wherever possible, even now, I use scheduled transport. It gives me time to think, plan and organise. I love looking at the game, because I think that’s always been one of the overriding strengths of the MMO to begin with, especially when tied to the music. Also, the Northern Lights in that screenshot are beautiful, very reminiscent of the Outland skies I still love so much. When you break it down, what I enjoy becomes very simple indeed.

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