I used to live in Florida, that lasted about 6 months. I moved back to Las Vegas in about 2005. I got a job. Shortly after getting the job we hired a new Controller, who became my new boss. Then something interesting happened, there was a new water cooler in the office. No, not a literal water cooler (although we did have one in the kitchen), but a metaphorical water cooler, a place where people congregated to talk. Business or pleasure, my boss' office became the new place for people to hang out and bash each other's fantasy football teams. It became the place to be if you wanted to be "In the loop" of the business or department's goings on.
Being the shy type of person, I didn't find my way into his office often, but I watched people go in and out all day long. Sometimes I knew it was business and sometimes it was obvious that it was another rundown of last night's The Office episode. I was a bit jealous at first. I guess I had hoped that I had the guts to stop working for 30 minutes and chat with my boss, like other people seemed comfortable doing, but somehow it always felt...weird.
As time passed and I moved my way up the corporate ladder I felt more at home in a manager's office because I became one myself. No longer a complete subordinate but more of an equal I felt comfortable and pleased to be in the loop, it's a place many people naturally enjoy being being. There's a sense of power that comes with greater knowledge, and whether that power is real or perceived is unimportant. One begins to feel important, special, and sometimes believes him/herself to be a better person for being so knowledgeable. I can't explain it all, remember I'm not a trained professional, but that's how it feels to me.
In the WoW Loop
It's hard to stay in the loop when it comes to gaming. I wonder at how people who play many, many games stay in the loop of all the new things for every game they play? I can barely keep on top of the information about one game.
Now there are quite a few people who purposely remove themselves from all the Cataclysm news, and that choice is theirs and I will not begin to throw any criticism their way. There are the other side who tracks changes daily, even intra-day changes and blue posts. Some take it on themselves as a sort of job to keep the masses informed, and others are still part of the masses informing themselves on a regular basis. I know, I was one of those people for a long time.
Recently I've backed off, although I admit that I probably wouldn't if I hadn't lost my job, I would have been able to maintain a routine that I had to inform myself. I must admit that it's weird now feel like I'm not invited into the office anymore. Or rather, I know I'm invited, but my schedule changes in life are so different that one thing has led to another which has led to me falling out of the loop.
Only last night I was watching an intelligent conversation in trade chat about the new battleground changes. I had no idea what they were talking about. It was strange, I felt like, well, a noob again. Blind, stumbling from zone to zone only to find out that I just got walloped by a level 40 dinosaur...oops! I read other blogs still here and there, but that routine is changed for the time being as well. It's maddening, mainly because I enjoyed feeling special, important, knowledgeable. Now I feel like the guy who's not told anything at the office because I'm the one that is going to be laid off. Weird how that's how it always feels when you're about to be laid off or fired. People stop talking to you, you are kept out of the loop.
The difference here, of course, is that my removal from the loop is partially self-imposed. But it feels odd, and leaves me feeling strangely naked as well. Vulnerable. So many things happening to this or that class, to BG's, LDF tool, balance, achievements, strategy, whatever, I just don't know as much and now don't feel like I have any power or influence. True, that power and influence was only perceived and wasn't real to begin with, but the higher people get in the loop the more powerful or influential they feel, whether it's real or not.
The future is hazy, unsure. To what level of being in the loop will I ever reach again I do not yet know. But like a Blood Elf's thirst for magic, I still thirst for information and am beginning to feel the withdrawl symptoms. The question I need to ask myself is 'is it worth it? to be in the loop again?' Does it make me better at what I do? A better player? Perhaps. Knowledge usually doesn't hurt, unless it's the kind of knowledge that shatters your reality, but that sort of thing doesn't happen as much as the opposite. Most of the time knowledge does you good and not harm.
Well whatever happens, it sure can be fun to be in the loop, so if you're there right now I say ENJOY IT WHILE YOU GOT IT! Because circumstances may change and you may find thinking yourself a noob as well.