That's what they taught me when I studied to become a journalist, and God knows I've happily ignored this advice many a time here at the inn, including in this post. That's the freedom of blogging as a non-professional. You can just not give a crap about how it "should" be done and do it your way, and there's no one that will hold anything against you for doing it. Your blog. Your kingdom. Your call.
But I won't keep you hanging any longer because it doesn't change anything. I see that you've all got a pint of our finest draught, the one I saved for this very occasion. So here we go, it's time to pop the news.
This is the final post at The Pink Pigtail Inn. My days as a WoW blogger have come to an end.
So, I said it.
I didn't hesitate about the decision; it came way easier to me than I imagined it would. However I hesitated on how to put it. Somehow it didn't feel right to write: "I'm closing the inn". Because how could you ever close an imaginary place? Regardless of what happens in the future to the blog, it will always remain open in my mind, as a spot and a hideout where I can recover when the world out there feels dark and lonely and threatening. A fire to warm my feet, an armchair where I can snuggle. The mumble of friendly voices in the background. Stories are shared, songs are sung, food is enjoyed. This doesn't change. The inn remains open for me. It's just that I'm not blogging anymore.
You may wonder about the reasons for this change of mind. Why did I stop blogging now and not a year ago or a year into the future? And I honestly can't come up with one particular. I just woke up one morning and knew that this was it, that the day had come. It was over. I had said what I had to say about WoW.
I blogged for over three years. This is quite long in comparison to most other WoW centric blogs. Over the years there have been about 700 posts published at the PPI, of which I've written the vast majority. So I guess it's no wonder that I eventually feel that I'm done with it. To be honest I would have expected it way earlier. I could never ever imagine what PPI would become and how long it would last when I started to blog once upon a time.
I have no idea how many hours I've put into this blog. It must be thousands, and I'm not exaggerating. But exactly as in the case of the game itself, I don't regret a single one of them. Sure, it took a lot of effort, but there was also so much in it that I enjoyed.
I enjoyed stretching my writing muscles, taking up the challenge to write in English, seeing how it became easier over time after the initial struggles. I enjoyed the perspectives blogging gave me on WoW. All those thoughts, all those insights that were brought to me - from my own writing process as well as from commenters and from the discussions with other members of the blogosphere - have helped me to understand and experience the game in a way I wouldn't have otherwise.
If you're a blogger you notice things and it adds depth and meaning to everything you do. You associate to blog posts you've read or you get inspiration to new posts of your own. With the mindset of a blogger, even such a trivial thing as killing ten rats, can be turned into something interesting.
And this is the point when I should give away the big thanks. But to be honest, I've never been a big fan of acknowledgement chapters in books. It's normally just endless lists of names that mean nothing to the reader, where the only variation is if they have put the credits to the supporting wife first or last. I won't make a list of names, not only because it would become too long, but also because I'd be terrified to miss to include someone that was important to me.
But you know who you are - readers, commenters and other bloggers. You cheered me up when I needed it desperately, you gave me solid advice when I was clueless, you believed in me when I just couldn't. You gave me giggles, resistance and food for thought. Without your support, your love and your inspiration, this place wouldn't exist. You made this happen.
So, what's next? Well, as far as it comes to the blog, I'll keep it up for now. I pay a little fee for the rights to the domain name, but it doesn't cost me much, so there's no rush about anything. Once I see that there are absolutely none visitors whatsoever, I'll silently close it, but at that point it doesn't really matter to anyone.
And Larísa? What will happen to the pink pigtailed gnome when she has left the bar disk and walked out of that door?
For now being I'm still playing and raiding as usual (even though I'm honestly playing very little outside of the raids these days - like so many others). I haven't left WoW and I still don't know for sure when it will happen. But I know one thing: it will be a lot easier to do it, now that I'm not blogging about it anymore.
I can already give you a glimpse from how it will end. It's all planned. After giving away my gold I'll take Larísa to a green meadow in Elwynn Forest. Her feet will be bare and she'll wear nothing but a simple cloth robe, just like she did when she entered the world four years ago. Closing the circle.
And what will happen to me then, the player, that middle-aged woman who stumbled upon WoW more or less by accident and unexpectedly turned into a die-hard raider? Will I keep playing games, will I keep playing MMOs, will I start blogging again, under a different name?
I'm pretty sure I'll play other games. It took me very long, but eventually I realized that my visit in Azeroth was more than a tourist trip. Like it or not, I've become a gamer myself.
However I doubt that I'll ever go this deep into an MMO again. It becomes very time consuming ever so easily. And while I - as I've said before - don't regret the time I've spent on WoW, life isn't unlimited and there are other things I want to do with it, apart from exploring virtual worlds. I would think twice before committing myself to a game again the way I have with WoW. Been there, done that.
When it comes to blogging, I definitely want to keep writing for pleasure rather than for work, but I'm not so sure I'll do it in this form. I might try to find a different outlet for my creativity.
The final toast
I see that you're close to finishing your pints and the fire has turned into a faint glow. It's time to let go. Normally I'd probably find a suitable quote from LOTR as so many times before, but Tamarind beat me to it as he let Bilbo have the last word as Righteous Orbs closed down a while ago.
Instead I'm going to finish this final post at the PPI with the words of Richard Adams, from the ending of Watership Down.
He expresses my thoughts and emotions way better than I could myself. I'm leaving now because it was time for me to do so. But life goes on in the blogosphere and you'll be just fine.
I bid you all farewell. This is the final toast at The Pink Pigtail Inn.
"One chilly, blustery morning in March, I cannot tell exactly how many springs later, Hazel was dozing and waking in his burrow. He had spent a good deal of time there lately, for he felt the cold and could not seem to smell or run so well as in days gone by. He had been dreaming in a confused way -- something about rain and elder bloom -- when he woke to realize that there was a rabbit lying quietly beside him -- no doubt some young buck who had come to ask his advice. The sentry in the run outside should not really have let him in without asking first. Never mind, thought Hazel. He raised his head and said, "Do you want to talk to me?"
"Yes, that's what I've come for", replied the other. "You know me, don't you?".
"Yes, of course," said Hazel, hoping he would be able to remember his name in a moment. Then he saw that in the darkness of the burrow the stranger's ears were shining with a faint silver light.
"Yes, my lord," he said. "Yes, I know you".
"You've been feeling tired," said the stranger, "but I can do something about that. I've come to ask whether you'd care to join my Owsla. We shall be glad to have you and you'll enjoy it. If you're ready, we might go along now".
They went out past the young sentry, who paid the visitor no attention. The sun was shining and in spite of the cold there were a few bucks and does at silflay, keeping out of the wind as they nibbled the shoots of spring grass. It seemed to Hazel that he would not be needing his body any more, so he left it lying on the edge of the ditch, but stopped for a moment to watch his rabbits and to try to get used to the extraordinary feeling that strength and speed were flowing inexhaustibly out of him into their sleek young bodies and healthy senses.
"You needn't worry about them," said his companion. "They'll be all right-and thousands like them. If you'll come along, I'll show you what I mean."
He reached the top of the bank in a single, powerful leap. Hazel followed; and together they slipped away, running easily down through the wood, where the first primroses were beginning to bloom. "