Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Doldrums of Winter

The Everquesting1 goes on steadily. I'm mostly playing it in the mornings as a way to wake myself up to the usual horrors of the day. The slow, casual pace meshes well with checking emails and sipping coffee. For as many hours as I put into EQ2 I think I like it best when it's not my "main" game. An hour or two in the mornings, maybe a few more on the weekends, or the occasional binge, it's role in my life right now is to give me a consistent breather during the lower energy parts of the day.

But that can be a bit dangerous for me. EQ2 is very much also a comfort game, which is another way for me to say lazy game. If I'm not careful, EQ2 is less of a way to relax my mind and more of an excuse to will away an entire day without accomplishing anything I've set out to do.  I've intentionally set myself a limit on how much I'm allowing myself to play everyday.

And boy do I need it right now. My current day job's project is kicking my butt in a way that hasn't happened in a good long while. Nothing about this project is unusual from what I normally do, but I've also been stuck inside during a very long Minnesota winter and my chances to go out and socialize have been mostly limited to visiting family during Christmas. I really ought to get more exercise than I do, but my current options for that right now are really just the treadmill in the basement. The monotony of running towards the same wall for months at a time is a bit wearisome.

I'm not sure how the locals do it. I originally come from Ohio which has a cold but modest winter. Getting outside is a hassle of undercoats, coats, hats, gloves, etc. I'm also in a small town that has considerably less to do in it than my own previous big city. I'm quite used to going on several mile walks to shake off the doldrums of working from home. But in my new town I'm barely a mile away from the city limits no matter which direction I walk towards. The closest big town is 30 minutes away and is mostly just congregation of retail spaces. The closest city that I find genuinely interesting to explore is an hour and a half away. I'm a wanderer by nature and I feel I've been stuck in my nest.

Since I'm not in the best headspace right now, it's not really a surprise that my non-EQ2 gaming hasn't been particularly rewarding either. I've shuffled through Kakarot, Wargroove, Jump Force, Division 2, and Gran Turismo Sport but nothing is really sticking with me. These are all quality games. (Maybe not Jump Force.) But my mind is really just having difficulty dealing with learning new gameplay systems or the concentration needed to compete in Gran Turismo Sport. It's likely I have a bit of depression kicking in right now. And when that happens my cognitive abilities take a hit. It's not unusual for me to get like this during this time of year and I've went through some fairly huge changes in my life in the past two years that I haven't properly reckoned with.

I'm enlisting the aid of a therapist. Hopefully it goes well, there isn't a terribly huge selection of practices to pick from in this part of the world. I've done therapy before and it was just okay. It mostly just became someone to vent to and feel validated from, which is nice but I have people in my life I can already do that to. I'm hoping to get into a situation that can focus meaningfully on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) practices. I have both an extremely pessimistic world view and line of thinking and having some structure to catch myself in those thoughts and rerouting towards something more constructive has long been a goal of mine.

Unfortunately, this one wasn't much of a gaming post. I'm finishing up The Thundering Steppes and am still probably a couple weeks away from being satisfied with the content in the base game. I did make a number of purchases on eBay recently. I bought the Everquest 2 Collector's Edition to display in the game room. I think I may take some pictures and make a blog post of it, there are some interesting items included in it. I also purchased both the Everquest 2 and it's first expansion's strategy guides. I love collecting guides for MMOs. They act as time capsules for games that tend to change itself many times over or just flat out go offline.

I may also experiment with more non-gaming related blog posts. My interests in gaming can tend to ebb and flow. When I'm not being a miserable shut-in I'm usually easily excited by a great many things. Be that auto racing, cooking, pictures of my dog, etc. I think it would be nice to capture some of that here.

1. So I've been titling my Everquest-related blogs 'Everquesting' for a couple months now. I just realized the other day that MassivelyOP has been calling their weekly column on Everquest the same for a good long while. I have been reading Massively since it launched in 2007. I may have been a bit too lazy on my naming scheme there.

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