Is Neverwinter Pay to Win?

Well, yes and no.

I’ve been playing steadily on the Xbox version for a year and a half or so and I still don’t have a definitive answer. I don’t PvP, but I’ve been assured that it is very much P2W in that realm, as the best gear is an absolute necessity.

But in PvE things are more mixed. Up to a certain point things are “pay to progress faster,” as defenders of the business model like to say. But at a certain point upgrades to things like enchantments, companions, and mounts become so expensive that keeping up with the endgame becomes downright painful if you aren’t throwing money at the game. I got stuck, unable to further upgrade my character without taking so much time about it that my guildmates had moved on to play other games until the next expansion, whilst I’m sitting there at an item level that would have gotten me into endgame content 3 months ago but is hopelessly low now.

I may need to find a better guild, but that is only part of the problem.

P2W (or pay to keep up, as the case may be) is a business model that is flooding the industry right now and it’s not all for the better. No matter how you word it, being unable to run endgame content without sinking money into the game reads very much like P2W to me. In Neverwinter you can convert in-game currency into cash shop currency, but earning that in-game currency is one bottleneck, while being able to convert it is another. On PC there is a several week wait for the conversion, and while I understand that it is easier to earn the in-game currency than it currently is on Xbox, it’s not realistic to expect a F2P player to wait to buy an item that gives you a chance at upgrading an enchantment. Much more efficient to just buy what you need.

I quit playing when I hit the wall where I felt like I couldn’t progress without spending money on the game. For me, the game is now P2W. I’m planning to pop back in and give the next module a chance, since they’ve made some changes to the economy. I don’t expect that anything will significantly change my position as the perpetual striver who never quite makes it. I’ll certainly update if that changes. For right now, though, I’m closing my wallet and playing something else.

Reiki: or, why not to feel bad if it isn’t for you.

I started my experience with Reiki several years ago now on the suggestion of my therapist at the time, who had begun to move toward more alternative modalities. I found it very useful to begin with, and with time took both the first and second level classes so that I would have access to it myself. The second went rather poorly for me, as it was a style of class I was not well suited for. Nonetheless, it is a tool I have in my overstuffed bipolar toolbag, and it has sometimes been useful for me.

There are a couple of difficulties with it though, the first being the cost. If you’ve managed to maintain your income while on your path through mental illness, this might not be a problem for you. I suspect the cost is highly localized as well. Here the cost has not yet standardized, and sessions the last time I checked were anywhere between 60 and 80 USD an hour. This is not even faintly within my budget on any kind of regular basis, which is why I took the classes. I still find a lot of value in receiving Reiki from another practitioner, and each time it is mentioned to me I feel shame at my inability to afford it.

Not everyone has the same reaction to it, either. Whether it dredges up old traumas or you’re just uncomfortable being touched by a stranger, it may not be a positive for you either in the moment or in the longer term. The idea of a calming, healing touch is not exclusive to Reiki. You may find something else more useful, or choose to avoid alternative methods altogether.

The biggest problem I’ve found, however, is that even if you find it useful it will likely be of little worth at the times you need it the most. When I’m manic, it’s who needs that shit? and when I’m depressed it’s why bother, it won’t help. Alternative methods of handling episodes have not been useful for me at all. In the increasingly narrow gaps between them, Reiki can give me a sense of calmness and connection that I haven’t found in any other remedy. It’s unfortunate that being ill in the first place leaves me in a position where I cannot take full advantage of it.

One last point before I leave the subject for the time being: in this area, Reiki has become something of a fad, and there are a lot of very inexperienced people hanging their shingles out. Based on what I’ve seen around me, I’d highly recommend that you do your homework and make efforts to avoid them. The energy itself never causes harm, but an inexpertly handled session surely can.

Destiny and the Little Red Caboose

Ever read The Little Red Caboose? It started something like this:

“First came the big black engine, puffing and chuffing.
Then came the boxcars,
Then the oil cars,
Then the coal cars,
Then the flat cars.

Sometimes they were switched around in different ways,
But the little red caboose always came last.”

So I was replaying the campaign in D2, since I’d never made a hunter, and was watching the waves of enemies coming at me in the same way they always have in Destiny, and this occurred to me:

First came the big spiny War Dogs, biting and spitting.
Then came the Legionaries,
Then the Phalanxes,
Then the Gladiators,
Then the Centurions.

Sometimes they were switched around in different ways,
But the Big Fucking Valus always came last.

His life’s on the line with anxiety now

So there’s a reason that my business went under, my patterns were made free, and I no longer support them, and it has to do with the role that mental illness has come to play in my life. I’ve never been open about it; I can count on two hands with fingers left over the number of people who are not medical professionals who are aware of it. Lately, though, it’s struck me that maybe it’s far past time to open up a bit and share for both the benefit of those who might stumble across it and for the benefit of the me myself, as Whitman so aptly put it.

So Green Day lyrics aside, this is my situation. 9 years ago, I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 disorder during a hospitalization for what turned out to be an acute manic episode. For a while I was able to keep things going as if nothing had changed, but my attempts at trucking along as though nothing had happened and things were not continuing to happen slowly fell apart over time. This heightened severity of an illness that–looking back–I had been living with as long as I can remember, did not fully recede with medication. There were good times between episodes sometimes, even good times long enough that I thought I might get fully back on my feet. I tried to keep everything going during these, and succeeded for a while. But with a dark inevitably, the bad times would return, and the balls I was juggling would fall out of the air.

Eventually the business and all of the things surrounding it had to be laid down. I just couldn’t tend to it properly while trying to keep my job and care for my family. I cried the day I let it go, but it turned out to be the best thing in the end. The illness wasn’t done with me–not by a long shot. It still isn’t.

Free Patterns

It’s been an interesting six months on my end, and I came to a place where I had to make a decision about what to do with my patterns. I’m not in a position at this point to run a business; however, I wanted the patterns to remain available. So I went with the only logical solution: I made them all free.

Some of them are written out on the site, and some are downloadable from Ravelry. All of them are available at no cost, but I do ask that you please refrain from distributing them yourself without contacting me first.

I’m expecting that you will see more content here, so I hope very much you’ll visit again and see what’s new!

Deb

Changes.

I’ve had to shut the shops down for the time being because I cannot tend to them due to health problems. I apologize for the patterns being unavailable, and I hope very much to be back soon.

Thanks so much,
Deb

This. So much this.

The Obligatory Post About Money.

Funny that I was just telling the husband last week that I knew that with things uncertain right now, I needed to stop buying lunch at work, but that it was hard because being able to just grab lunch like that made me feel like a person.

This whole piece just resonated so much with me. We’re in a much different situation than the author, but the truth of the way that having been poor affects your life is something my family experiences every day.

I love #4…

on this list. It is the honest truth and I’m terrible about remembering it!

Not much crafting this week in the crazy heat. I have one little bag to photograph and show you, but it’s waiting for me to summon the energy. We’re in the fourth day of a heat wave and no relief in sight.

I really miss central air.

Our 4th of July was lovely. We got to the fireworks far too early again…the town said “sometime after dusk” and that turned out to be about 10:15, a good half-hour after the kids started whining. I was enjoying being out in the fresher, cooler air, myself, but I’m a mom so I don’t know anything. 🙂 The show was spectacular once it got going, and well worth the wait. It always surprises me what great fireworks we have in such a little town.

A few errands to run today, and then I have plans to sit around and try to keep cool!