For those who don’t want the burden of reading what is likely to become a long and rambling post, I’ll put the “too long; didn’t read” summary up front:

Comic Water is better than Purified Draenic Water, I cancelled my WoW account this morning and have begun the process of reassembling what life I had before mid-June.

For a bit of introspection on two months of lost time and a look ahead at the future of this site and its operator, feel free to read on:

The first thing I need to say is that I don’t regret spending the past two months in Azeroth. The game is one of the most wildly entertaining things I’ve ever done, but more importantly it was the break I needed from work on HD and a lifestyle that was feeling increasingly pointless and self-limiting.

HD had gotten to the point by June of this year that I found myself in a vicious cycle of consumerism and content generation, where one justified the other – I had to buy “x” so I could review it, which would drive sales to affiliates and generate revenue that could then be used to buy “y”, again for review purposes. I found myself buying much more than I could review in the free time I had, to the extent that I was trapped under an ever-growing pile of mail orders with no expendable cash to get out and do anything else – the only avenue I saw to fix things was to review more, review faster, generate more site content and attract more visitors. I couldn’t really enjoy the stuff I was getting because it was always on to the next thing.

So, I ran away. It wasn’t deliberate, though the timing was perfect; I was wasting time on another game when a friend offered me codes from an extra copy of WoW he had laying around. I accepted, with a pretty good knowledge of the implications; I’d been avoiding WoW because I knew if I started it would instantly consume my life. I didn’t start playing to deliberately abandon all other responsibilities, but subconsciously I’m sure the knowledge of the awaiting drug coma played a part in the decision.

As I said, I don’t regret stepping back from the world for the past two months. I realize there have already been consequences from this and there will continue to be for some time, especially in terms of site readership. I can accept that. HD two months ago wasn’t something that was ultimately sustainable anyway, so something like this was bound to happen sooner or later; honestly I needed the break from the high-stakes pressure of event coverage of Wonder Festival and Comiket this time around.

That said, attending Comiket yesterday had the effect it always has – it gave me a serious jolt of desire to get back into the thick of things, and that’s good. The WoW account is dropped, and I doubt I’ll be going back to it. I’m still left with some fundamental questions about the future of this site however, questions that persist from last June; how can I continue in a way that feels honest to me, and doesn’t cannibalize my life as a fan?

As regular updates resume I’ll be tackling this question and others, so if things change a bit around here that’ll be why. If you’ve attempted to communicate with me over the past two months and I haven’t responded I’ll be doing my best to do so in the next few days, but it may be quicker (if you haven’t abandoned me as a lost cause) to send that email or post that comment again.

Finally, though I started with the claim that I didn’t regret my time in Azeroth, I do regret my time away from the people who have come to rely on HD for information or who have tried to contact me for whatever reason. I profoundly apologize to you for my absence; I have betrayed your confidence in my ability to treat your time with the respect it deserves, and I’ll do what I can to make things right.

Now I know how Satou felt playing FF11…

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Shingo had a level 70 retribution spec paladin in full epic gear by the time he quit WoW. That has to count for something… no, wait – it doesn’t. He has rediscovered the novel invention known as e-mail and if you write to him at the above address he will try to respond.