I know I’ve been a lot quieter than usual. The truth is that this post has been sitting in my drafts folder for almost two weeks, and every time that I pull it up to try to put my current thoughts into words I stumble, not quite sure what to say. The truth is that I’m really struggling with WoW right now, a lot. And I’ve been spending a whole lot of time asking myself what I should do – what happens when you start to fall out of love with something that has been a defining aspect of your life for so long?
I think part of the reason that I’ve been putting it off is because I wasn’t sure if my thoughts are directly related to my time in game or if they are being colored by a plethora of other things happening in my life right now – and the truth is that I’m still not sure. While I do think that some of what I’m feeling with regards to WoW right now is my life bleeding in, I also think that it has only highlighted feelings that were already there - not creating new ones.
Where to start? I think I’ve laid out my love affair with WoW previously – so maybe I should talk about the bumps in the road. I suppose since I’m being honest, they feel more like giant mountains right now than bumps. Giant mountains that I’m not entirely sure I am capable of scaling.
I am unhappy with my class. I know that some people say they don’t feel that there are problems with our class and feel they are doing just fine. I am not one of those people. Hard modes, for me, have done nothing but place a giant spotlight on the shortcomings of the resto druid toolbox and many raid nights I spend the night feeling frustrated and ineffective. I have been reduced to screaming at my monitor trying to deal with black phase Zon’ozz on more than one occasion - and sit on pins and needles every week on Morchok hoping that the other healers on my side are able to get off one more heal to make sure someone doesn’t die (some of this is probably bleed over from shit happening outside of the game, which is exacerbating my in game frustrations). It’s also very disheartening to go to EJ and see things like “Druids are the worst class for xyz and you shouldn’t bring any”, or to know that some of my druid friends are being sat or asked to bring in priests/paladins for progression on certain encounters.
I am unhappy with my progression. I’ve never been in a top whatever guild. And usually I’m OK with that. But I also have the expectation of moving through progression content at a moderate pace that makes me feel good about what I’m doing. And right now we aren’t moving through at a pace that satisfies me as a player. We have spent two weeks struggling with Zon’ozz - and still aren’t there yet (although we are close, it’s just a matter of tweaking our DPS, as we are hitting the enrage timer). Some of that has been to adjusting our strategy a few times early on due to what we have available on our raid roster, but some of it has been performance by our raid team as a whole, which I can honestly say disappoints me as both a leader and a player. Perhaps more as an individual player who is busting their ass every night, while feeling that not 100% of the raid is doing the same, I suppose.
This, in turn, has made this tier of content pretty miserable for me to date. Miserable to the point that I’ve spent the better part of this month looking for a silver lining, a reason to continue pushing so hard. It’s been a challenge to bifurcate how much of my frustration is from the game, and how much of it has been other things bleeding in – but the external issues are only highlighting underlying frustrations that for all intents and purposes are already there, I just have less patience and/or desire to deal with them. And I’m not sure if that’s a good thing, a bad thing or just is. What I am sure of is that I’m about one more person being an asshole during a raid from throwing up my hands and saying “you know what, I don’t need this shit”.
I am frustrated with my guild. This one makes me a little sad to put on my list, but I’d be lying to myself if it wasn’t here. It’s hard to tell how much of this is spill over from our progression struggles, how much of it is spill over from Rag burnout, or how much of it is me being unhappy in a home that I spent years building into something I was proud of – and subsequently feeling like I don’t have a place in that home anymore. Like someone is dismantling it brick by brick, until there is nothing left but a pile of rubble on the ground, reducing it to a ruin, a shadow of what it used to be. And no matter how hard I try to add fresh mortar and restack those bricks, it seems like for every one I am able to restore, five more fall down.
I’ve put up posts to my guild telling them how I feel. Letting them know what they can do to help. And yet night after night it becomes more clear to me that it doesn’t matter to a good many people. And that’s devastating to me, especially right now when I’m already struggling emotionally. It constantly amazes me how little people think about what might be going on in someone’s life outside of the game, and how even the smallest thing that they may say or do may have a huge, unintentional, impact on someone else, and rather than taking ten seconds to filter what they say or how they say it, they turn off their brain to mouth filter and just pop out the first thing that comes to mind. How completely careless people can be with their thoughts and words in an online environment. And how utterly tired I am of feeling like a playground referee.
There are those who are worried I’m going to crack, can see that I’m close, and who follow up with me to make sure I’m ok. And that means the world to me. But for every one person who gives a shit, there is someone who is equally as selfish, careless and thoughtless in their words and actions. Not just towards me, but anyone. Where I used to feel like part of a unified team, now I just feel like part of a group of people who tolerate each other enough to kill shit in a video game. And that just saddens me. A whole lot. Especially since I feel responsible for that team – and every person on that team, and it’s morphing into something I really dislike but feel impotent to stop.
Where does that leave me? The problem is that the biggest draw in the game for me has always been endgame progression raiding. I’ve always enjoyed it and my place in it. And right now, it’s making me borderline miserable almost every night that we raid. I think I could probably deal better with our lack of progression if I was actually enjoying the time I was spending wiping. But I’m not, and perhaps that is at the root of a lot of what I’m feeling and struggling with.
I’ve loved my druid since spamming Rank 4 healing touch on a tank was the way to heal. I’ve survived all of the bumps along the road – and every change that Blizzard has thrown at me. But right now I do not enjoy healing on my class. It’s frustrating to feel like you are giving it everything you’ve got to offer – only to have it feel insufficient and feel like anything I can do, someone else can do better (yes, that is a musical reference – 10 points for anyone who knows where it’s from). It sucks to feel like you are a liability to your raid team. It sucks to have to say “I can’t do this, and need help” – especially when you were always able to tackle anything previously and make it work, regardless of how challenging it may have been.
I have been through Hell and high water with my guild – and I’ve never felt this disconnected. I’ve never felt this frustrated or lost. I said awhile ago that my guild was one of the three things keeping me going in WoW – and night after night I feel pushed further and further away from something that I spent every last ounce of energy sustaining. Right now I feel like my energy pool is tapping out and failing to recharge. And the truth is that I don’t know what to do about it. How do you admit that you are starting to loathe something you’ve loved for so long? How do you repair it so that you might love it again? How do you know if you are only hanging on out of pride and obligation – or if you really want to rekindle the romance again?
What I’m left with is a lot of questions, and no easy answers. Isn’t that just like life? I’d like to say that I’ve never been a quitter – but that’s not true. I ran away from a music career that I loved because I was afraid of failure, afraid I wouldn’t be good enough or strong enough to endure the struggles that I would have faced as a successful and skilled musician. And I’ve regretted that every day of my adult life. Every day. And I promised myself a long time ago I wouldn’t run away from anything ever again because I was afraid. It’s why my forum signature on most forums reads “What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail”. Because it reminds me that if I don’t try, I’ll never know what I could have accomplished.
But at what point does being stubborn, even if it is making you miserable, outweigh your pride? At what point do you need to step back and ask “what is best for me” when you come to a crossroads and become selfish? At what point do you wave the white flag of surrender?
It seems so easy for some people to answer these questions – so why is it so hard for me?
I don’t expect you to have any answers. How could you, when I don’t have them for myself? And the truth is that I’m really the only person who can find those answers. I just thought it was fair to let you know why it’s been so quiet – and why there may be some periods of quiet moving forward. I have a lot of mixed signals and emotions running through my head - and it’s very hard to write about something when you have so many unanswered questions and conflicting feelings surrounding a topic you’ve been writing about for almost three years. So please forgive me if I’m slow on posting. Please forgive me if guides aren’t timely. Please forgive me if I seem melancholy. Right now I’m just trying to find perspective, and hoping that in doing so I might find that my love affair isn’t quite finished just yet.