Looking Back on 2020 In WoW, FFXIV, Gaming Technology, My Site, and In General

Despite what we all might be saying now and for the immediate future, 2020 as a year is still one worth remembering. In gaming, I’ll talk about some cool stuff that did happen, and in the world, as a case study for a lot of our darker impulses and selfishness.

But let’s start with games!

2020 in both World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV saw these games in holding patterns for large chunks of the year – both primarily due to the impact of COVID-19, but WoW also impacted by the effect work from home switchover had at a particularly crucial time in the product development cycle – as the Shadowlands alpha was ready to ship, causing delayed responses to bug reports and feedback and leading to the longest alpha/beta cycle for a WoW expansion ever.

But in spite of that, both games ended 2020 on relatively sure footing, Final Fantasy XIV barreling headlong towards an expansion with only one major patch left in the Shadowbringers canon, while WoW is cresting on a wave with the relative success of Shadowlands in the wake of the iffy run of Battle for Azeroth.

WoW

WoW started the year with Shadowlands announced and all of us eagerly anticipating the final major content patch of BfA in 8.3, with a new raid tier, the Black Empire Assaults, Horrific Visions, and the story conclusion to BfA that would see us forward into Shadowlands, sort of. And well…8.3 was, at first at least, a pretty good patch. Some elements had mixed responses, but there was less of the middle-ground that much of BfA was met with, and more people positively receiving things like HVs and the Ny’alotha raid tier. Alt-catchup was less robust than that of 8.2 and the Benthic gear, but it was pretty easy to get alts into the mid-400 item levels easily and to slowly scratch away at the Horrific Visions, assaults, and work ever closer to the Old God menace of N’Zoth.

Over time, however, some of the sheen wore off the patch content. It isn’t that it was always bad or anything, but that a lot of the content had clearly been built assuming a much sunnier outlook on the launch date of Shadowlands than actually happened. Horrific Visions reached a saturation point for many players I know in the spring, myself included. The raid tier, while exciting for quite some time, ultimately failed to hold interest all the way through to the much-later Shadowlands launch. My speculation is this – in a COVID-less world, I can imagine seeing Shadowlands launching in August 2020. All businesses took a hit from work from home transitions (well, those that did it) and something as deeply collaborative as game design and development certainly took a larger hit. This happening at a point in the development of Shadowlands where features were largely ready for testing but needed further iteration and smoothing out meant large delays as teams got set up at home, got back up to productive capacity, and figured out how to replace in-person meetings, standups, and scrum sessions with webconferences and the like.

Shadowlands alpha launch was a big deal, and the team was rolling out new content at a fairly rapid clip, but they hit a wall where it was clear that they had more work to do for content in the pipeline. Shadowlands beta felt more like a rolled out late-alpha build at first, as it was mostly what had been in alpha but with first iterations of the endgame Maw experience added in. Beta with a public test base is always a challenge, but now you have a volume of reports coming in with all kinds of experiential feedback and no in-person environment to share and brainstorm on it.

All of this to say that 8.3 dragged on for too long, because it clearly wasn’t made to be a 10-month standalone content structure. That will make the next thing I say feel contradictory, but I’ll make it work – 9.01 launched too early. The Shadowlands pre-patch launched at a point where major balancing changes were still being made, and without a date for the pre-launch event or even an actual release date for the expansion it belonged to! This was a problem for a myriad of reasons – there wasn’t much of a new reason to log in, the tuning changes assuming Covenant design and Shadowlands interplay of classes and specs brought some havoc to the gameplay on live servers (although not as bad as WoD in 7.0 or even Legion in 8.0), and it was still the same content base we had all been playing since January, 10 months prior.

Luckily, Shadowlands launched without much incident, and while there are some parts of the experience that aren’t exactly amazing (gearing your first character can feel like a slog, the leveling the first time is very on-rails, the very divided nature of the zones makes me question what flying is going to even look like once we can do it ourselves, and some issues remain with Covenant balance both at a player level with class skills and soulbinds but also at a game level with things like adventure board imbalances), but the game as shipped represents a tremendous step forward for WoW out of the shadow of Battle for Azeroth. In fact, many bloggers I follow haven’t been writing much because they are playing the game and enjoying it, which is a definite change from the mini-exodus my blogroll had at the start of BfA.

FFXIV

Final Fantasy XIV is in the middle of what is probably its best-ever run, with the second year of Shadowbringers content firmly underway and the game continuing to hold player interest despite a reduced-content structure from the past, where patches would alternate two new dungeons and one new dungeon alongside the same quantity of raid content, MSQ storylines, and varying world content like Beast Tribes and other things of the sort.

Shadowbringers too was hit by COVID, but for a mid-expansion patch that was, luckily, quite strong. Patch 5.2 launched in mid-February and was not replaced until mid-August, marking a 6-month run on the content, one of the longest patch cycles in the game’s history. Coming into 2020, FFXIV was probably the strongest-seeming MMO overall, with an enthusiastic playerbase, mentions of it becoming vastly more frequent in gaming publications all over, a fresh Alliance Raid built on a foundation from the incredibly successful NieR: Automata, and players eagerly anticipating what would come next as the story of the First worked towards resolution.

The aforementioned patch 5.2 brought a new 8-player raid series in Eden’s Verse, a new dungeon, high speed crafting and gathering leveling via the continued Ishgardian Restoration, and the story continuation of Shadowbringers that put us on the path to the conclusion to the arc of the expansion in patch 5.3.

So then, patch 5.3, launching in August 2020, was a welcome sight when it finally arrived, and boy, it arrived with force. A great new dungeon, new Alliance Raid tier, but most importantly, a setpiece MSQ storyline that served to conclude the Shadowbringers story and bring us forward to the setup arc for 6.0, whatever that may end up being (Forspoken?). The MSQ for all of Shadowbringers has been golden, but I felt a lot of raw emotion in two spots in particular – the finale to 5.0 where Emet-Selch becomes clearly the best kind of villian – heart in the right place but doing the wrong things, and the end of the 5.3 trial, where it is made quite clear that Elidibus’ scheming was all out of hurt and he never really advanced out of that childlike phase. What has been great about all of the main Shadowbringers arc is that most of the villians are doing their best to reach a good outcome or something that seems just, but have lost the plot and are acting poorly. Emet-Selch’s pain can be felt and is something deeply relatable, almost traumatic. Elidibus is a child almost literally among the Unsundered and his sometimes unrestrained action defeats his more carefully laid plans.

Patch 5.4 (which I have been working on a draft post about for a while now!) was great to me too, because it does something very well which I think WoW lacks. Patch 5.4 for Shadowbringers is about peace and tells that story very well – how you react when there is no conflict, what actions people take in the gaps left by not needing to bolster defenses or attack enemies. At the same time, however, it establishes some pretty clear hooks that we’ll be working on through to patch 5.5 and will ultimately push us towards what feels increasingly like the final resolution of the conflict with the Empire in the next expansion.

And it wouldn’t be a post on my blog in the last year and change without discussing gaming technology, so let’s do that!

Gaming Tech in 2020

Boy, where do we even start?

2020 was a buckwild year for technology in general. For the first time in a long time, it felt like a real step forward on multiple fronts. The CPU market is more competitive than ever, with AMD now in the performance leadership spot for the first time in a long, long time, while Intel remains reeling from the missteps of their foundry business leading to delays in 10nm desktop and server parts which are just starting to see the light of day, while their future 7nm process is further delayed past that, while TSMC serves up a winning 7nm process (more akin to Intel’s 10nm, because nothing can be simple in this hellworld) and is on-track with 5nm products already shipping in volume from Apple.

Meanwhile, AMD delivered a hell of an effort in the high-end GPU space, with their Radeon RX 6800 series becoming very competitive with Nvidia’s top end, one of many statements you could make to me in January 2020 that would elicit a laugh and confusion. Nvidia, likewise, delivered a reasonable generational uplift with the Ampere architecture at the heart of the Geforce RTX 3000 series, offering a 30% or so uplift over the RTX 2080 Ti in the 3080 at a lower starting price.

Then there are the consoles. With how disappointing the gen-on-gen improvement was moving from the PS3 and Xbox 360 to their successors, it was easy at first to be dismissive of the PS5 and Xbox Series consoles. However, both manufacturers delivered hefty performance jumps, made possible thanks to the newfound fire at AMD, with both systems, much like last generation, built on the same basic CPU and GPU architecture, with differences boiling down to configurations of those parts in terms of CUs, clock speeds, and supporting features, and the differences in custom silicon and additional components (cache coherency, SSD tech and interface, audio, etc). Both consoles today support strong 4k gaming performance with clear uplifts over last generation, which is apparent even when looking at a title that isn’t out on next-gen yet (Cyberpunk 2077).

But it wouldn’t have been 2020 without a hitch, and one of the biggest hitches in all of gaming remains how damn near impossible it remains to secure any of the new hardware. Intel’s Core i9-10900k was sold out for most of the year, leading Intel to launch the slightly cut-down i9-10850k. AMD launched a fantastic quad-core Zen 2 CPU in the summer with the Ryzen 3 3300X, a part which is so hard to find that I can’t even be sure it actually exists. The Nvidia graphics cards that launched in 2020, all of them, remain on a tier of difficulty to purchase that feels like it belongs in Dark Souls. Securing my RTX 3080 took months of watching stock tracking Discords and Telegram alerts, being ready to strike with one-click buy options at Amazon, correct details stored at NewEgg and Best Buy, and being available at all hours to click a link just to see if the cards even remained in stock seconds after an alert.

The same also applied to the new Radeon cards, which remain in short supply as well. I documented my hilarious and awful attempt at securing a Radeon RX 6900 XT, an effort which took 3 hours of adding to cart, attempting to check out, and failing, before placing an order with NewEgg which was voided for stock, before attempting some more purchases at AMD only to fail and have wasted that 3 hours of my life on nothing as the sun rose over my apartment. Meanwhile, my patience with the RTX 3080 paid off, as just two weeks ago today, I placed the successful backorder that led to me getting my RTX 3080 in a stupidly simple manner by comparison to the suffering I endured weeks earlier for a Radeon.

AMD’s newest Ryzen 5000 CPUs remain supply constrained. While there are signs that they are starting to normalize (being the most economical of the products listed on total silicon area for manufacturing), they remain a hot ticket item that sells out rapidly when restocks occur.

All of this also leads to other problems – the game consoles are just as bad as everything else in terms of supply, coupled with even more difficulties as they are mainstream items with millions of others fighting to purchase them. AMD, as the silicon manufacturing partner of both Sony and Microsoft, has to strike a difficult balance due to their own decisions. With the console SoCs included, AMD has launched 4 new silicon designs in November 2020 alone, and has to allocate their 7nm wafer supply with TSMC between all of them, meeting contractual obligations with Sony and Microsoft while also being able to sell their own products to the enthusiast PC gaming space in order to maintain their growing marketshare there. And actually, outside of gaming, with the Arcturus core design in the new Instinct accelerator cards, they have 5 designs sharing manufacturing time, with the console SoCs and both GPU/accelerator designs being behemoths in terms of total die area.

Exacerbating all of this is COVID and work from home as caused by it. COVID hit supply chains very hard, leading to throttled global manufacturing and slow restarts, increasing lead times and leading to short supply of components at all levels. GDDR6 memory chips? Plenty of them made in theory, but AMD and Nvidia have launched 5 new GPU models this year that all use them, and all of the next gen consoles use them too, and a lot of them. There are 8-10 chips of GDDR6 in each of the products mentioned. Capacitors? Supply constrained. Substrates for mounting silicon dies to sockets or solder pads? Constrained. PCBs? They’re backed up too! On top of that, with millions of people pushed worldwide to working from home, a lot of new technology was purchased, leading to short supply of everything. Webcams are still really hard to get, as are quality monitors, PC power supplies, various models of peripherals, and what remains in supply often ends up marked up or less available via sales and discounts, increasing the effective price.

So gaming technology in 2020 was really awesome, offset by the fact that buying anything fucking sucked and continues to suck, and will likely still continue to suck for several months.

Personal/The Site

This blog has grown far, far more than I ever expected it would when I first launched in February 2017. My first year was marked by a single viral post on the MMO-Champion forums and NeoGAF and barely pulled in views, netting just around 2,500. In 2018, I got more consistent with writing, and with a WoW expansion to talk about, I got close to doubling my views. When I sat down a year ago to write a post like this, I had thought, despite my talk of increasing views over 2019, that I wouldn’t be able to. 2019 was a seemingly anomalous 3x increase over 2018, brought about by even more regular posting, the growing popularity of WoW Classic, my forays into discussion of FFXIV, and some increasingly more frequent conversations about controversies like the Blitzchung incident.

For 2020, I ended up amassing…58,338, an increase of…408% year over year.

I remain stunned, inspired, thankful, and always surprised that my content finds such a broad base of support, and I can find few words to adequately express how grateful I am for the reading, conversations, and support I find through my readers.

My top 5 posts for the year were….

  1. Raiding Difficulty – A Re-Evaluation of the Endgame Differences of WoW and Final Fantasy XIV

    This post floors me at how consistently popular it has remained throughout the year, as it has had some amount of traffic nearly every day it has been up since March 16, 2020 when it was posted. It was nearly 10% of my total traffic for the year, at 5,239 views, and was the first post I received an email about. If I had to summarize why it was so popular, I could sum it up thusly – a lot of the dick-waving contests between the FFXIV and WoW fanbases center on difficult metrics to quantify, like player engagement or enthusiasm, and my attempt at comparing the different approaches to raid difficulty in both games found an audience. I think it even made its way into the seedy underbelly of the FFXIV side, as I got a comment complaining that you can’t possibly compare the two games because they are just too different (spoiler alert – no, you definitely can compare them, and a fairly large group of people who aren’t my usual readers found the post and seemed to enjoy it!)

2. Classic Beyond Classic – How Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King Will Be Difficult to Implement

This one is easy to grasp conceptually – it was popular because it explores what will, in my assumptions, soon become a very pressing concern for the WoW Classic community. Despite being posted on August 22, 2019, the post blew up in 2020 because of the rumblings and datamining discovering little hints to a TBC Classic and the WoW fanbase, myself included, remain sort of distantly curious about how classic experiments in games like Everquest have handled such a transition. My assumption is that this will see a surge of traffic in February around Blizzconline, but I’m just guessing! Total views in 2020: 3,157.

3. Sidenote: Potential System Upgrades You Could Use for WoW: Shadowlands

My first Sidenote post to make it to my top list, oh boy! Stretching to discuss gaming technology and tech in general is something that makes me really happy, even if my normal readership has a more arms-length relationship with the platforms they use to play and these posts often don’t get the kind of engagement I typically see. While I had some engagement when I initially posted this on April 20, 2020 (heh), it really took off when the finalized system requirements were posted for Shadowlands and Blizzard had recommended an SSD at minimum to reduce loading times. While to me as a techie, this was fundamentally fine, this was certainly not fine to a large number of people in the WoW fanbase, and there was a lot of discussion about that topic until Blizzard reverted the storage device requirement to the BfA standard, with an extra 30 GB needed tacked on. The recommended system builds I put together remained pretty popular too, getting a lot of clicks according to Jetpack, which is cool, although at this point, those systems fall short of what I would recommend now. However, you probably can’t buy those systems or what I would recommend now, so hey! This one clocked in at 3,056 views for the year.

4. The Shadowlands Spoiler Review From Datamining – Featuring Lots of Spoilers!

This post was popular because it was early in datamining, and that worked out well for view counts at 2,387. Like a lot of my speculation posts, I took what was popping out of datamining of alpha and attempted to weave together the narrative and pose some questions. These kind of posts are explosive in a way – they are immediately vastly popular as everyone is hungry for new content, but future builds and changes made via those builds invalidate or address those questions and so there just isn’t value in a repeat reading of the content. For example, I thought the Winter Queen would be pivotal to the whole lore of the expansion, while so far, she remains mostly an Ardenweald figure, while the early iterations of the Bastion lore seemed to focus much more on Mawsworn rather than the Forsworn, which became the focus of the story in the end. You win some, you lose some.

5. I Spent 10 Hours Doing Botany in Final Fantasy XIV, and Now I Understand the Main Reason I Hate WoW Professions

A 2019 hit originally posted on July 31, 2019, in the wake of the big Shadowbringers launch, this post racked up 2,209 views in 2020. It was popular, I think, because it was a post that hit on a few buttons for both communities. WoW fans have loathed profession design for several expansions now, and there’s always that bit of “grass is greener on the other side” to it. FFXIV fans love their crafting and gathering, mostly, and so it draws people who want to see how a “WoW refugee” would react to it. A lot of my comparative posts of XIV and WoW blew up in 2020, as we discussed in the top spot, so I think it found a lot of organic engagement through people finding one of my other comparison posts and then clicking one of the WordPress recommends at the bottom and moving between them. The number 7 spot for the year is my followup piece to this one, so there were enough of these things to observe a trend forming for 2020.

Honorable Mention: A Guide To Soloing Torghast, Tower of the Damned

I posted this one 18 days ago. Eighteen days ago. It accumulated a ridiculous number of views (1,751) in that short period, reaching number 6 for the year, and I can say exactly why. Torghast remains contentious as fuck for Shadowlands players. Some hate it, some merely loathe it, and I love it (am I weird?). My contention with this post was simple – if you reach a moderate item level and play your class skillfully, Torghast could be reasonably soloed regardless of most other factors – save perhaps a pitiful Anima power loadout or a particularly bad boss (I hate Maw of the Maw). However, two days after this post, Blizzard launched layers 7 and 8, and their initial tuning came for me specifically like…

On layer 7/8 day, the post exploded with views, and thankfully only one comment asking gently about my experiences with the then-tuning of those layers, which…uh, was not great! Blizzard then nerfed the absolute hell out of Torghast overall, and while views remained very high for the rest of the year, they definitely tapered off post-nerf. I watched those views with interest, though, because I didn’t expect it to rocket off so quickly, and then once I tried 7/8 on their launch day myself, I could see why that Tuesday was bringing so much traffic in, because holy shit that tuning was awful!

But that post at least let me pop in with an all-time great screenshot!

Look at that buff owl…man…thing. He’s got red eyes!

2020 for the site overall was a fun adventure. I posted a lot more stuff of personal interest and found a pretty good audience for that stuff (save for maybe my pro wresting posts, which still remain my least trafficked, but I enjoy writing them so it’ll keep happening!), and with Shadowlands developments, new content in FFXIV, and the various other issues of 2020, I was able to find a fair amount of inspiration, writing 181 new posts, or about one post every two days. These weren’t short posts either, as I wrote 364,404 words total, with an average of 2,013 per post. This actually ties my 2019 post count, but I wrote 56,633 more words in 2020.

And that leaves me with personal stuff, which I don’t often delve into here, but do enough that I find it worthwhile. 2020 was a difficult year, which it was for many, and my experiences weren’t necessarily unique on that front. I lost my job, struggled with the awful unemployment system in the United States (a process that took 161 days, most of which was simply waiting without an answer), and found a lot of uncertainty and doubt everywhere I looked. As I watched, I saw the worst elements of society poking out – selfish, careless people endangering others for their own benefit, people being pushed to work under difficult circumstances under threat of losing their means to live, and a lot of human suffering and misery that was absolutely preventable with competent response and action. One of my guildies is a proud anti-masker (which, first of all, fuck you very much, but secondly, he’s an unholy DK who dies to avoidable damage a lot and the irony of both of those things in relation to being anti-mask is not lost on me), so generally, I wouldn’t say it was a pleasant year.

But that would also be downplaying the very good things that did happen for me in the year. While it was delayed, I did get married, and that has been one of the better decisions I’ve made in my life. My wife was very supportive during the hang time I spent waiting for a state response on my unemployment claim, and I am so grateful to her for all that she did for me during that time. I’ve got a chance now to work on writing as a career, and I am taking it and trying to push on being self-employed so that I have more control over my own destiny. I’ve been remarkably lucky (which has been the story of my life in microcosm) that while things have sometimes been bad, I’ve made enough smart decisions and been lucky enough when I haven’t that even the worst case scenarios that unfolded for me this year were fairly easy to weather and I’ve come out the other side with a focus on what I want to see in my future and the means to achieve it.

I got to enjoy a lot of time in my favorite virtual worlds, played through some other games, and have started in on some new ones despite not getting a winter WoW lull this year, and in 2021 I plan on documenting much of that. My family is healthy and doing well overall, both my wife and I, but also my parents, her parents, my sister and her whole family including my 4.3 nephews (a very nerdy way to say my sister is pregnant haha), my wife’s siblings and extended family, and pretty much everyone related. My friendships are a little weaker from having deleted my Facebook to start the year, but doing that helped my mental health tremendously and I will never look at that as a mistake. It feels a lot like the world is exhaling after a series of setbacks, and while I think that many dramatically overstate the scope of possible improvements in the coming months, it does feel like there is hope for a better 2021.

I find the practice of New Year’s sort of an odd one that I also participate in, all told. Today isn’t really that different from yesterday, despite the numbers involved in the date, and many of the concerns we all had throughout 2020 are still here today and will remain with us for a while. However, the new year serves as an important marker and opportunity to look back and reflect, and for whatever we all will say about 2020 in 3 years, 5 years, or further beyond, it was full of many of the same things that mark any other year of our lives, with one very large thing that impacted pretty much all of us in some way. For me, I have taken this milestone as the means to reflect on how lucky I am – how much worse things could have been, and how glad I am that I have the people I do in my immediate vicinity and how fortunate I am that enough people care about reading my writing for me to spend the first four hours of the new year writing what is, presently, 4,668 words about 2020 and how I felt about it.

Looking forward, my goals for this year are pretty straightforward.

  1. Work for myself/get a job in the industry – I’m actually working on this one right now, but I’m also not jinxing it, so that’s all I’ll say on the latter part of that point. The former, well, I have some books dropping in January that I’ll be promoting lightly (very lightly!) here and I’ll be rolling out some options for donations/subscriptions to help me focus on writing with support from readers later this year. I want to be mindful of when and how I do this and be sure that I can commit to a quality and quantity of content that justifies doing so.
  2. Finish my new PC – as of this writing, I just need my new CPU and the new rig is ready to run, as I have the watercooling hardware, the graphics card, the storage, everything else. I’m resisting the urge to socket my existing Ryzen 9 3900x and run with it in the new system, since I already dropped my RTX 3080 into my current system and have used it ever since. I’ll hold firm there, though, because there is still work to be done (drilling a passthrough hole for a fillport, some additional angled fittings to smooth out tubing runs, test fitment and system flush, and then getting a new Windows license for the system and setting up my software how I want, including copying over nearly six terabytes of downloaded games. (!)
  3. Break 200 posts this year – easy enough, just write more. Dovetails nicely with the first goal, but worth stating a number.
  4. Break 100,000 views for the year – I’m so thrilled with how well my blog performed over 2020, but I want to continue an upward trajectory into the future. I’m not going to say I should see another 408% YOY increase, but a little less than 2x feels about right, especially with a higher posting volume and a lot of content that will surely be worth discussing this year!
  5. More Sidenote posts – I love writing them and while my regular audience doesn’t always grok with them, I find other readers that discover them and enjoy them. Talking about gaming technology is genuinely fun and interesting, and I think the coming year will be more fascinating in that it will have the mainstream iterations of the new stuff launched late this year that will be really worth getting and more people will be interested in.
  6. Streaming again – I was streaming pretty regularly during the fall, but fell off after a system reformat and due to waiting for a call from the state, but once I got that call, I never went back to streaming, telling myself when I got my new system I would. Well, I don’t have it fully yet, but there is still value in streaming prior to that, and I think I will return sooner rather than later.
  7. YouTube content – I love doing more video content, and YouTube has a more monologue-y flow that works well with how I like to present. Twitch is fine (I actually got enough chat going to work on dialogue and discussion with a live audience!) but I really love smelling my own farts and the sound of my own voice (one of those is a lie) and so me just talking for 20-60 minutes is very on-brand.
  8. Personal fitness goals – The years since 2017 have been rough physically, and I am nowhere near the ring shape I was in back in 2016 when I was training in pro wrestling. I’d like to get back to that point as soon as possible, and I have a plan to do so, which will involve making some smart, disciplined choices. All of this I know I am capable of, but I just need to do it.
  9. Play more games – I’ve been so boxed in on playing WoW and FFXIV because I genuinely love both games and find a lot of joy in them, but my backlog has grown and with a new system, there are no excuses for not playing higher-end titles. For the early part of 2021, my list is going to start modestly with 4 titles I have not played to completion ever, and why I say that will become apparent quickly – Yakuza: Like a Dragon (playing it now, it is fucking great!), Control (gorgeous game with maxed out settings and raytracing on, intriguing plot and concept, frustrating first boss), Undertale (the first oh that’s what he meant with not played to completion ever) and Final Fantasy VII (now THIS is the one I expect people to be genuinely shocked with).
  10. Travel (once possible) – my wife and I found a blog of a couple that did a two-week roadtrip of the Alps, and man, that is one hell of an awesome looking trip. Our international trip/Blizzcon/engagement in 2019 was incredible and I know that we both wanted more out of 2020 (had to settle for a weekend roadtrip to Sacramento for a live show of my favorite podcast, which was…decidedly less glamorous) but ultimately, we did what was wise in 2020 and hopefully 2021 will bring news that we can do more.
  11. Boundless optimism – I spent a lot of 2020 very depressed and in a rut, and I let that get in the way of a lot of chances I had to do more in the back half of the year. I tend towards being a realist, but I know that I am cynical to a point of concern a lot of the time, and I would very much like to improve that by dulling my cynicism when it is warranted. When I say “boundless optimism” what I’m getting at is being less of a jerk and being more present in the moment and able to acknowledge when things are good.

Well, it is now 4:07 AM on 1/1/2021, and with 5,651 words down, I think I should go to bed.

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