I had a dream last night that we killed Heroic Ragnaros.
In a swimming pool.
Well, more on the deck of the swimming pool. There were only five people alive: myself, our moonkin, our two tanks and another healer (but I can’t for the life of me remember who it was). The tanks kited Rag around the deck of the pool. And myself and the moonkin were on a white mat on the deck. And I screamed at ANYONE who got close to our mat, much like Joe Pa might when it is clear the Ref cashed the other team’s check before the game. DON’T YOU STEP ON THAT MAT AND BLOW US UP! I SWEAR TO CHRIST I WILL KICK YOUR ASS ALL THE WAY TO CANADA IF YOU DO! The tanks ran round and round. The moonkin dps’d. And I…screamed. A lot.
When he died, everyone jumped into the pool in celebration with our moonkin doing a cannonball to put all other cannonballs in history to shame. And then I woke up and remembered that no, he wasn’t dead. Yes, we are some 300 odd pulls into the fight and still haven’t killed him. I wanted to curl back up and find sleep again, in that dream where it was all over.
Let’s analyze the dream, shall we?
Now, I’m generally not into “reading” my dreams. But this particular dream says a lot to me so I thought it was important to listen. Let’s start with the swimming pool. Honestly, I was a little surprised by the venue. I would have thought that a concert stage would have been my “pressure point” in dreams, but I guess I was wrong. When I was growing up, I was a competitive swimmer. When I was in law school, I coached swimming. I have always felt competition and challenge at the pool. Always. I guess when push comes to shove, I was more afraid of failure as a musician than I felt competitive. Music came very naturally to me, so it was rarely stressful. Challenging, yes. But not often stressful.
Swimming, on the other hand, was always about pushing harder, faster, better. It was always about winning or losing. It was always about celebrating wins or coping with disappointment. It was always about pushing yourself harder and finding your limits. As an athlete there were times that I just couldn’t take the pressure. As a coach there were times where you watched others find that point and break down.
So I guess, perhaps, the swimming pool was an appropriate venue. This fight is slowly sucking my soul – and deep down inside I feel like that athlete that’s coming close to that breaking point where they realize they just need to let it all go in that dark, lonely corner of the locker room. I just hope that I remember that I’m not only the athlete, but I’m also the coach that tells you to keep your chin up and reminds you that Babe Ruth struck out all those times – regardless of how many home runs he hit.
Five people. I think this one is also very easy to analyze. Despite the fact we’ve had some of our best efforts on the fight over the past two weeks, we are struggling with attendance. I told the raid last night as I apologized profusely for having to start late as we waited for people to get logged in that this is the worst attendance has been for us since we were working Vaelstraz. And that’s the God’s honest truth. I don’t know if it’s just a dumb stroke of luck, if people are tired of the fight or if people just aren’t as committed to the “hard” fights as they originally thought they were. But it’s so disheartening. More so than all of the stupid deaths on the fight.
Regardless, night after night I stress. We have a night where we have multiple ~33% pulls in phase 4 and start to find the points that we need to work on in the fight: Deluging, Meteor management, WHY THE FUCK DID RAG SPAWN ROOTS ON HIMSELF, etc. Finally, wiping to something new. Finally, a much needed breakthrough in progress. If only we didn’t have to get through nine and a half minutes of the fight to get there. Only to log in the next night and see that we are short to raid this particular fight. People on vacation. People with internet problems. People with exams. People whose grandmother died for the fourth time in just as many weeks. Healers on the roster that I can’t bring because we can only take four (and already have two DPSing). Healers that are playing DPS alts so we can work the fight. I’m at a loss.
We’ve opened blanket recruitment for the first time since…The Burning Crusade.
Our attendance the past two weeks is causing me insurmountable amounts of stress. I’ve told my guild this. I’ve bolstered our roster. I’m looking at applicants, and I’ve told everyone that if they can’t be bothered to be online to raid not to be surprised if they log in one night to find that they have lost their raid spot. This isn’t how we run our guild. Only now it is. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that.
Hell, I had to have a conversation with a guy last night that just got a really great job with DC Comics as an artist that I thought it was fabulous that he got such an amazing job and that there was nothing wrong with exploring and enjoying that. But that since he got the job has been less than reliable as a raider and that if he couldn’t balance the new job and raiding that perhaps it was time to let go of raiding and focus on his career – which is far more important. I told him that it was unfair to hold a raid position that he couldn’t commit to. And frankly, that conversation fucking sucked. Because I am ecstatic for him, but the truth remains that if he can’t balance both he must let one go and that should be his commitment to raiding. At least on our raid schedule. And it’s my job to tell him that.
Anyhow, it seems pretty clear what only five people in my dream represent.
The White Mat. At first glance, I think this easily represents a breadth of frost. But I think it’s deeper than that. I think it truly represents my fear of more mistakes preventing us from getting into phase 4, and finally finishing out the fight. We’re progressing about inline with everyone else on the fight, from what I can tell. We’ve had the same stupid mistakes that are repeated, not always by the same person, but by the raid in general.
Watch out for that lava wave. Stack up. No, really, stack the fuck up. Run. RUN FOREST RUN. Please God, I know we don’t talk a lot, but if you might watch over us as we navigate these engulfing flames, I’d be forever grateful. OH GOD WHY DID YOU RUN THE METEOR THAT WAY. We didn’t start the fire, it was always burning since the worlds been turning. (Hey fuck you, it’s my dream and I LIKE Billy Joel).
So, you see, same shit…different guild. The problem with the fight, I think, is that it’s too damn long. And there are too many things that can go wrong. Right now, we are having inexplicable complications with our second sons transitions. It baffles me because up until the last two nights, sons have never really been a problem for us. Maybe it’s just because we are seeing more sons phases? Maybe it’s because Billy Joel hates me for using his song in the paragraph above? I don’t know.
Our “progress” now lies in phase four. Which means we must get through approximately nine minutes of the fight before we can start the next learning curve. And unfortunately, a lot of shit can happen in those nine minutes. No matter how amazing you are. And it’s draining on everyone to stay keyed up for nine plus minutes a pull so that you can start working on the next phase – just to do it all over again when you wipe as you are learning.
As such, I think the white mat is symbolic of my fear of the plethora of mistakes that are in those first nine minutes or so of the fight that will prevent us from working the next part of the encounter which is needed for finally getting the kill.
The Screaming. This one is the hardest for me to figure out. On the one hand, I absolutely believe that it’s my inner frustration letting go. It’s what I don’t do in raids, but really want to – only I know that nothing productive would come of it. But that seems too…easy. Is it more than that? I mean, is it telling me that I’m two steps from being locked into a padded room? Am I cracking?
I don’t think so.
I think a little bit it’s representative of me feeling helpless. I’m trying so hard. To keep things together. To make sure we can raid every night. To make sure we see progress. To keep the guild healthy. To keep the raid team competitive. I don’t know what more I can do, and it’s terrifying. What happens when you are truly giving it all you’ve got and it’s not enough?
I suppose I scream. Apparently like Joe Pa.
All of my stress at attendance, my frustration with the fight, and my feeling of helplessness all balled up into one big “I need to get this the fuck out”, at least in my subconscious. I try really hard to keep my cool. I try really hard not to be “that raid leader”. I try really hard to be an innovative motivator. I try really hard to keep things fun. And I suppose somewhere deep down inside I feel like I’m failing no matter my efforts. And I think that is what the screaming is all about.
So, how would you read that dream? What would you do if that was what was churning in your subconscious? Would you have just stopped at “Why the fuck wouldn’t you just push Rag into the GIANT POOL OF WATER and collect his loot, idiot”?