Potluck

I awoke with a fire in my chest
A journey from East to West
A journey from West to East
Renewed, a directive towards pleasure

I saw the mountains and I longed for them
I saw the mountains and I desired them
I had you with no longing
I had you with no desire

A dangerous attraction
A tiny menagerie of crystalline dreams, wishes
Smashed under your gravity, melted and reforged
Cracks filled in. Destruction made useful.

“Let me entertain them, let me teach them”
I am a spear and a shield
I am the clay upon the potter’s wheel
I am thread to be woven
Complete independence is a foolish fiction
That is what we’ve come to know

BlizzCon 2014 (Alt Title: Video Game Cons can be enlightening)

During the days of November 6th to November 11th I was in Anaheim, California with my partner for BlizzCon 2014. The two days that it occurred (November 7th and 8th) were the most fun I’ve had in a very long time.10806191_10205251172778502_2720432978706784672_n

Firstly, the opening ceremony was really freaking awesome. When the countdown started the crowd became absolutely electric. Then the co-founder of Blizzard, Mike Morhaime took the stage. After making a few introductory statements and announcements he did something that took me off guard, publicly spoke out about Gamergate and in case that leaves you any doubt, here is another link with Mr. Morhaime confirming that he was referencing Gamergate. At this statement my partner shouted “DOWN WITH GAMERGATE” louder than I knew he could shout. Needless to say I was thrilled.

After that there were a ton of panels, an expansion pack for Hearthstone titled “Goblins vs Gnomes” was announced, Blizzard announced “Legacy of the Void” for Starcraft II and teased us a bit more with WoD. They also announced a TF2 style game called “Overwatch”. The crowd went wild for the last one/

The art section was also really cool. When we first went to it my partner and I saw a completely blank wall and said to each other “I bet that is for the upcoming Hearthstone expansion”. Nope, it was for Overwatch. The character designs were phenomenal but instead of bombarding you with info, I’ll just show you my favorite.

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There are a ton of really neat character designs though (including what appears to be a cyborg who has achieved moksha) and a lot of very interesting concepts in their combat styles. This game has a lot of potential and goes into closed beta pretty dang soon, so keep your eyes open if you want to play it.

I also got a lot of really cutesy plushies and FUNKO POP! figurines when I went, and some really cute pins. A few were free and some of them Josh bought for me (without me asking, he just thought I’d like them). I also got to see some amazing cosplaying and fanart while I was there. Some of the costumes were ridiculously elaborate and well crafted and just in general creative. One of my favorites was the women I have dubbed “Orc Mama” she was really nice and let me take a picture of her.

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The Con when taken as a whole was organized by a particular business to promote their products, yeah I get that. However, (and not to sound cheesy) it is a thing that is pretty well driven by the fans. The fans were what made it great, between the costumes, the friendliness, the chatting, and the cheering, without my fellow WoW, Starcraft, Heroes, Hearthstone, and Diablo players this convention would not have been as fun as it was. Without their enthusiasm none of us there would have felt a sense of belonging. Yeah, it boils down to us playing video games, but for those two days I belonged. I felt like I was part of a community of folks who shared one thing in common, a love of Blizzard games.

This got me thinking of course. If something as simple as a few games can bring people from hundreds, and in the case of the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean players thousands, of miles and get them pumped up, surely there is hope for Pagans to build communities. This idea has renewed me, reinvigorated me, made me a bit more. . .optimistic. Of course it means that we all have to put in work. Some players put in months of work on costumes and the art they submitted and really enriched the feeling of the con through no guarantee of fame or glory. The game developers provided platforms and topics for the players to gather around and discuss and engage with each other in. Some of us (myself included) merely added to the atmosphere and were voices in the crowd, there to experience and engage but not necessarily provide the means for discussion or step into the limelight. Every single person who attended had a part in making this con great, and really I think the same thing can be said for the Pagan and Polytheistic communities. We have our writers, poets, artists, priests, diviners, laity, journalists, and discussion facilitators. I think we can band together and build things, organizations, communities that can truly last. Folks just have to be willing to put in the effort and resources to make it happen. Being solitary is fine, but it isn’t where the lasting stuff is going to happen. Communities build, individuals participate.

BlizzCon happened because a group of people made it happen. BlizzCon happened because of video games.

Pagans and Polytheists have a duty to make things happen. We will make things happen because of devotion to the Gods, I know we can do it.

And it doesn’t have to all be serious, painful, or a struggle. Not everyone needs to do the nitty gritty work. Some of us will participate and be content. Add electricity to the air, so to speak and there is nothing wrong with that.

It is okay to be like the majority of folks at BlizzCon. Happy to participate, experience, engage, and most importantly support.

I was just happy to be there.

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