Honestly, I have no idea.
Why am I doing these things?
I haven’t made a raid soloing video since 2016. A small part of this is sloppiness on my part (I tend to forget to record my new boss solos), but there’s a larger issue as well. Legion hurt warrior soloing a LOT when it removed most of our sources of self-healing, making fights that contain big unavoidable attacks or nasty ticking DoTs nearly impossible to deal with. Combine that with all of the instant-reset unsoloable bosses and stagnant gear (since I can’t raid), and I’m not exactly pushing the soloing envelope. I made soloing videos to help/entertain people, and right now I don’t think I’m capable of doing either of these things.
This is a BIG “why bother” for me. Every streamer knows that interacting with their audience is the best part of the experience, and frankly I have no audience (my viewer list varies widely between zero and one viewer on any given stream). I have nobody but myself to blame for this, as I simply don’t have any compelling content to offer. People want to see exciting PvP or sweet raid progression in their streams, and I can’t provide either of these things. “I’m gonna go watch Matt solo Highmaul for the 47th time!”, said no one ever.
This is the big one, and I have many conflicting thoughts and feelings here. I seem to have some sort of mental defect that prevents me from getting much enjoyment out of creating things for myself, so I instead strive to make art for others to enjoy. Unfortunately, it is slowly becoming apparent that the type of art I want to make for others (WoW stuff) is not something that people are interested in having. I’m not entirely sure why, but it seems likely that it’s a combination of style and quality (I seem to be lacking both). My Patreon has an infestation of tumbleweeds, commissions are scarce, and even my giveaways get little response (so it’s definitely NOT just a matter of peeps not having cash for stuff). Make no mistake, I love my Patrons and appreciate every commission I get, but you guys are an endangered species (throws many hugs your way). My work does sometimes get positive feedback (i.e. Faves) on Twitter, but any attempt at actual self-promotion falls flat. It’s hard to see this and not imagine people thinking “well, I DO like his art, but I don’t want to be seen actually endorsing it”. I ran weekly art giveaways back in 2016, but I stopped doing those when most respondees became bots and I couldn’t help feeling like I was coming across as desperate for attention. In a rare fit of overconfidence I decided to open myself for BlizzCon 2017 badge commissions, but I’m fairly certain that this was a mistake and will be correcting it shortly (I won’t even get into the whole pricing discussion, as that’s another can of worms and something I truly struggle with). Mind you, this little pity party is all referencing my WoW-based art. I’ve started dabbling in entomological paintings (insects), and the response seems pretty damn positive. Painting insects comes easy for me, and the results seem fairly good, but here’s the problem: I don’t WANT to just be known as a “bug artist”. For one thing, it feels more like work than art. For another, the scientific illustration community makes the World First raiding community look like a bunch of filthy casuals, and I don’t need THAT kind of stress in my art (there ARE right and wrong ways to represent insects, it seems, and there is no room for artistic freedom). So, the conflict is this: continue creating WoW-based art knowing it’s not that good and peeps don’t care for it (despite my intense drive to create it FOR people), or focus instead on insect art, which peeps seem to agree that I’m better at (but I REALLY don’t want to be pigeon-holed). I’m torn, and it hurts. I know the mantra is “create for yourself FIRST, don’t worry about what others think”, but I can’t do this. If I were to sit down and think “what should I paint myself tonight”, I’d stare at the screen until I fell asleep. If someone says “ooooo, I love dwarf hunters, paint one of those”, I’d jump right in. I don’t know. It’s like, I love the WoW art community and strive to be a part of it, but it feels like everything I contribute to it is the equivalent of a shitpost.
WTF am I even doing? Beats the hell outta me. I just figured I’d do a brain dump here in the hopes it helps me feel a bit better. We’ll see.