You may have noticed that in the past few weeks my posting has dropped down significantly. That’s not by design, and I do intend to keep my general posting schedule, but you see, I’ve been very busy with work and was traveling for almost two weeks. But that’s not even all of it. I’ve been a little bit burned out and I’m trying to un-burn a bit, so bear with me while I ramble through my thoughts here.
With WoW the past month or so, I’ve been, for lack of a better term, stressed. This stress has lead to frustration on my part, and honestly, that frustration has led a little bit to a lack of desire to play…and that in itself is frustrating. Let’s step back a little bit and see where it all starts, shall we?
Attendance and commitment. I think this is the crux of where my frustration began. When we recruit, we go over our expectations with our recruits as far as attendance is concerned. Everyone, of course, says “oh, sure, that will be no problem!”. What else would they say, eh? Of course, then we get to summer months, and the end of an expansion, and we have raid nights where of our active roster of 35 raiders, we have 22 online. While we can raid a good bit of our farmed content down a few people, we can’t work on progression content. And that is frustrating…because even though we don’t push progression to the point of burn out, we are still a progression focused guild.
I think what is even more frustrating than that, is that the majority of those people who are absent (and with a few exceptions…it’s never the same folks), follow our rules and post that they aren’t going to be able to make a raid on a given night. Ok, cool. I really am happy that people are advising us, and letting us know “don’t count on me tonight”. But what really frustrates me is when we get the person that posts 5 minutes before the raid starts that they can’t make it. Now, I understand that sometimes things come up last minute and it can’t be helped. Ok, fine. I get that people get called into work, or aren’t feeling well. But when you make a habit of doing this, it makes me start to wonder what’s going on, and it makes me question your commitment to raiding. Equally as frustrating are the people that see that we are already going to be short handed based on the number of people that post, and then post absent because “I need to wash my hair”. Ok, they don’t really post that, but at times it’s how it reads to me. What makes it even more frustrating is when I see you online all day on an alt, even an unguilded one, and then something “comes up” when it’s time to raid. If you find that there are better things to do than raid, then perhaps it’s time to give up your raid spot, no?
(Also, as a side note, do you realize that when you spend all your time outside of raiding on an unguilded alt and only log in to raid on your guilded character, those people that don’t know about those alts think that you only log in for raids and nothing else, and that bothers them? I mean, sure, it’s your prerogative to do so, and we don’t have a requirement that you guild all of your alts, and I get needing to just have a bit of a breather, really, I do. But it also means that if you ask for help, or even offer advice, with something from a community that you voluntarily opt not to take part in, people are a whole lot less likely to offer help or accept your advice? Not only that…but people just flat out don’t get to know you, and I think that affects the way people view you as part of the team. Just some food for thought for those of you out there with a lot of “secret” alts).
We are a team. And it takes a minimum of 25 members of that team to partake in our activities. We rely on the members of our team to be able to succeed. There is nothing like doing that trust test where you fall backwards thinking you will be caught, only to end up on your backside on the floor with a bump on your head.
I am 100% committed to my guild. I don’t expect everyone to be me, but sometimes I’d like to see more commitment from some people. For almost the past two weeks, I’ve been traveling for work. It’s exhausting, and by the time I got “home” each night I just want a hot bath and to curl up with a good book, yet I logged in and raided every single night. I suffered through terrible frame rates, and lag from hotel internet (it’s time for a new laptop…I’ve been shopping around), through a horribly uncomfortable hotel desk chair, but I was there every night. And while I don’t expect that exact level of commitment from others, it would be nice to see a little more from certain people sometimes. It’s frustrating to have that level of commitment and log in to see that we are short people to raid. Which means that we are short people to progress, which means that we drag behind a bit, which means I stress. And I am sure I’m not the only person frustrated by this…which causes me additional stress, because I have the additional concern of member retention, which means keeping people happy.
I sometimes wonder if we are too lenient with our attendance policies. Part of what people love about our guild is our flexibility, but sometimes I think we are too flexible, and it’s an overall detriment.
Between the traveling and the burn out, I’ve also become somewhat less tolerant as a whole and I’m not really sure how I feel about that. There was a night last week where I was trying to deal with someone to work through an issue, and just couldn’t do it anymore. Surprise, surprise, it was dealing with an attendance issue and they weren’t being cooperative or forthcoming with information, such as “how long do you think this is going to affect your raiding?”. Add to that the fact I’d previously bent over backwards on any number of occasions to try and help this person, and was trying to work with them now and they were giving me nothing to work with, I just snapped. I finally just told them “I’m done, I can’t deal with this. Work out whatever it is with Brade”, and I logged. (Brade was already part of the conversation). It’s certainly not the best way to deal with things, but to an extent, I’m weary of bending over backwards trying to keep people happy, to accommodate everyone. I’m weary of being nice, and saying “sure, no problem, it’s fine”, when really, no it’s not fine. I’m weary of worrying over if so-and-so is going to have a snit because they were asked why a mistake was made. Or if someone else is going to have a fit because we didn’t come down hard enough on the person making the same mistake over and over again.
And I’m going to be honest here. There is only so much you can take before you becoming brittle enough to break when you snap, and having the break become irreversible, unmendable. I’ve only truly snapped once before, during Ulduar. And at the risk of feeding the female stereotypes, I broke down and cried in vent. I don’t want to do that again. Ever. But, folks, I’m close. I’m so close. When I logged in last Thursday, short people to work HM PP, I wanted to log off, give the computer the middle finger, and walk away. Here I was, logged in from a hotel, down DPS and healers…with a 4% wipe the previous week. Frustration doesn’t even begin to cover how I felt. Beat up, used and exhausted might better sum it up.
We did what we always do: Punted. We ended up doing a full Ulduar HM clear, save Yogg 1, as Ironbound drakes were on people’s “wish lists”, and we have a priest now short just one fragment for her Val’anyr. (I think we will get it finished for her). We brought in a few friends and family members who offered to come in and help out, and we had a good time (ps Firefighter is still a challenge), but it was frustrating. We even managed to find the time to go back for Yogg 1 and Algalon last night, and people who thought they’d never get a 310 flyer or see one of the coolest fights in the game got those experiences. I’m truly glad for that, but at the same time was hugely disappointed that we weren’t in there finishing out Putricide on Thursday night.
I don’t want to become one of those people that I despise. I don’t want to yell at people, or to throw people away the minute they have an issue that prevents them from raiding. It’s not who I am, and it’s not what our guild is about. We have supported people through weddings, job changes, moving across the country, you name it. But at what point do we draw the line? At what point do we have to look at what is best for the progression team as a whole? We have a paladin that hasn’t been “active” for over three months now, and the future looks equally as bleak if their current “absent” posts are any indication. When is it time to say “it’s not working”, and move someone like that from our active raid roster?
I’m trying very hard to find a balance. I don’t want to burn out. I don’t want to give up on something that I worked so hard to build. I’m trying very hard not to let other people’s attitudes influence my own. Let me tell you, however, that it’s not easy. It’s not easy to soothe someone’s disappointment when you feel it tenfold. It’s not easy to tell someone “I’m sure everything will work out”, when you aren’t 100% sure that you believe that statement. It’s not easy to be constructive when you’ve watched someone make the same mistake every pull for the last 10 pulls.
I guess the question is how do I get my patience and understanding back? How do I stay calm, when my inner dialogue is screaming? How do I build a safety from burning myself out? I many times do I keep standing back up, after being shoved down?
I’m sure I will find those answers. I’ve been finding them for more than five years now. But I won’t lie to you and tell you that, currently, it’s not a struggle. And sadly, some of it is a struggle that I can’t 100% solve on my own. Some of my faith in the game has to be restored by the other 34 people that I rely on to push through with me, one raid at a time. I will do my best to keep my head high, but in a “team” environment, I can only “solo” so much of it on my own.
I will say, however, that if lady RNG could be so kind as to grant me a “ice shard” in my frosty bag of treasure, it might to a long way to perk me up some. *ahem*
Some Light in the Darkness…and Monday Musings. Thank you for letting me trudge through my thoughts.
Raiding – So after all my Thursday frustration, we went in Sunday night and downed Hard Mode Putricide. In like, 3 pulls. I was excited and relieved. We also knocked out “neck deep in vile” in two pulls. I really thought that it would be more challenging for us than it was, but it worked out really well, and we would have done it in our first pull, but we had someone get nicked right at the end. Now to see what Sindragosa has in store for us, I suppose. She’s the last thing standing between us and 25 frostwyrms.
We are also just a handful of fragments short from our second Shadowmourne. I’m really excited about it. I think legendaries for any guild are an accomplishment, and I feel very privileged to have seen two and hopefully a third before we are done. I really feel that every legendary shows the commitment and support of the guild to the player who is granted one.
Alting – Due to my more recent state of burnout, I’ve not really been alting very much, opting to step away from the game a little more to restore myself. My mini-me is 61 and paired up with Brade’s rogue. I still can’t get much into my hunter, sitting at 71. I did join up on a PuG ICC 25 yesterday with my paladin and snag up a new shield, and some bracers, so that’s fun. I also did a pug 10 on my warrior, and got the Putricide trinket.
(btw…the alpha threat plates own. I love how they show how many sunders are on each mob, and how long is left on thunder clap!).
Time Off – I’ve been taking a little more of this, partially forced due to my travels, but partially optional as well. We went and saw Kooza (Cirque du Soliel) the weekend before I left, and I took myself shopping. I don’t really shop often for clothes, but I had wanted to “dress up”. I got a cute little black knit number and some fancy flip flops. I also did something else that I haven’t done in ages (probably not since I moved to Seattle, years ago)…I painted my nails. I know, it seems such a girly thing, but honestly I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed that hour of “me” time. Just me, my nail polish and E! entertainment television.
I have also seen quite a few movies. We’ve seen A-Team (a lot of fun); Get Him to the Greek; Toy Story 3 (surprisingly great); Prince of Persia; Robin Hood; I think there are others, but they just don’t come to mind off the top of my head. When I got back from traveling Friday, Brade took me out for dinner, and we did something else we haven’t done in awhile: stopped at Blockbuster and rented movies.
The time off has been good for me, I think. And with 24 hour maintenance this coming Tuesday, and having finished our raid week early this week, and fourth of July this week causing a short raid week, I have a little more extra time off. I’m hoping that after all this non-WoW time I’ll come back a little fresher than I have been the past few weeks.
Real ID – yea…my thoughts on it don’t really deserve a full post. If you like it, use it. If you don’t, don’t. I do, however, wish that they hadn’t screwed with the chat box positioning while updating the interface. I have a macro to fix it…but my chat box is constantly in the wrong spot when I log in.
Reading – I’m still trucking away at the J.D. Robb books. I’m somewhere around the 20th book of the series, and still really enjoying them.
Blogging – Oh god…just trying to catch up! Hopefully everything will be back to normal here soon enough!