New Adventures and Inevitable Ends.   17 comments

It’s been pretty quiet here the last month or so, and I’m not entirely sure what to say about the silence. The truth is that when I created this blog, it was supposed to be a venue for me to express my thoughts, frustrations and cleanse my mind. Unfortunately, as more people started reading my blog, I stopped using it as much to do something that was very healthy for me, due to adverse reactions from some people in my guild and people getting upset. Which is unfortunate, because it was a wonderful venue to think through things that were challenging and frustrating me and I needed to work through – and I want, no need, to return it to that. Over the past six months my blog became a lot less personal, and as a result my internal thoughts a lot more crowded.

So, in the interest of getting back to my roots (pun intended!), this post is going to be personal.

This past Monday Brade and I disbanded the raid team in Monolith. It was not without hurt feelings and controversy – and I will not be surprised if someone childishly (and most likely cowardly) posts hurtful things in the comments to this post (which I reserve the right to monitor and remove). But the truth is that it was long past time. Back at the end of Cataclysm Brade and I discussed at length, over the course of several months, shutting down the raid team. Ultimately, after much back and forth, we made the decision to continue for one more expansion. We thought Mists had promise – and many of the things that were weighing on our minds, and most personal conflicts, seemed resolved. So it was with enthusiasm that we pushed forward.

Unfortunately, once we got into the expansion it became clear that those resolutions were not permanent, and many of the things that made us question continuing on into the expansion resurfaced, and seemingly multiplied. It was disappointing, but because we are stubborn and committed we put our heads down and continued to push on. We don’t quit simply because things are hard – we have over eight years of success to back that statement up.

But then, on January 2nd, as I was driving into work, this happened:

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I was driving my normal route, moving with the flow of traffic, when my car hit an ice patch on an elevated part of highway and I lost control of the vehicle. It did one of those scary spin around things before hitting a car entering from an entrance ramp and getting hit by the car that was travelling in the lane next to me. Fortunately for me I drive into work early in the morning, before rush hour traffic is in full force. And that the bus behind me had time to react and stop before plowing into me as well. And that I purchased a car with a very high safety rating, and a bajillion airbags.

I walked away with a minor concussion (a bump on my head about the size of an orange), pretty beat up (they took xrays of my knee to make sure it wasn’t broken) and extremely shaken. Driving to work today, with the weather in the same conditions as it was the day of the accident, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I drove like a grandma, and just about every other car on the highway passed me, but I made it to work in one piece and imagine I will be a little less scared next time.

Anyhow, the accident had a profound effect on my thoughts. It’s strange how one, very scary, thing can make you see things more clearly. Things I had been struggling with, were now crystal. The fact was that Monolith’s environment had morphed into something completely unrecognizable, and completely unenjoyable for a lot of people – including myself. I realized this was no longer the guild that Brade and I had decided to fight to hold onto, and we no longer wanted to see it continue to degrade. Attrition was high – for any number of reasons – mostly real life. And community was almost non-existent. After a blow out on Sunday night, Brade and I spent a lot of time discussing this, and after Brade fell asleep I stayed awake with my thoughts.

The truth is, life is simply too short to do things where the enjoyment doesn’t outweigh the stress, and to surround yourself with people who make you feel bad about yourself and miserable. My car accident was a trigger to make me finally acknowledge this. I realized that I want to write my history in more than pixels, and I want more than regrets on the pages. And letting Monolith’s community degrade to the point that it was a shadow of what we had worked so hard to create was a regret I didn’t want.

Upon announcing that we were disbanding the raid team, many cruel things were said to me. I was told I was selfish – despite the fact that I had given over eight years of my life putting everyone else’s happiness in front of my own. I was told I was mentally unstable and needed to seek professional help – despite the fact that this is the best decision for everyone involved, even though it probably doesn’t feel like it at the time. I was told that the guild deserved to die under my leadership – despite the fact that it didn’t die, we killed the raid team and all the toxic vitriol that came with trying to maintain it, but in the process saved the community and the guild.

And while I would be lying if I said these things didn’t bother me a little, I can honestly say that I’m not upset about them. I am 100% comfortable with the decision we made, and I know it was the right one. But for every nasty comment I received, I got two from those who understood and supported our decision – those who agreed with our assessment of the situation and valued the importance of community. And for the first time in months I logged in and enjoyed guild chat again. There was laughter and fun. People were in high spirits and joking around. It was almost like playing an entirely new game, and I was reminded why we valued certain things over others.

For those of you wondering if the current state of druids played into my decision – I would be lying if I said no. Was it a main factor? No. Was it a top 10 factor? Yes, but towards the bottom of the list. I truly feel that Blizzard needs to do a better job of balancing classes if equality is their goal. I continue to feel they should abandon the idea that 10s and 25s are equal, because they never will. Hating my class was certainly a factor in my decision, and certainly had an impact on my ability to enjoy the game. For right or wrong, I struggled with coming to terms with how poorly resto druids scaled in 25s, and got to the point that I almost didn’t even want to try because it didn’t matter. And, in all honesty, I don’t feel the “new” mushrooms, in their current iteration, are going to improve our situation any – but that is likely a topic for another time.

New Adventures

So many of you are probably thinking “what now, Beru”.

Well, I’m not really sure. Something I haven’t been hugely open about is that Brade and I have decided to start a family, and have started trying to conceive. Because I want to bifurcate my gaming blog with this effort, I did start a new blog, Wind Blown Tree Tops to chronicle my adventures. Right now, it’s simply a completely generic, blank blog as it has been since I created it in September. But I imagine in time I will have a lot of things to say there and will nitpick both the style and the content until I’m happy with it. You are all welcome to follow me through this adventure if you’d like, although I don’t know how exciting it will be :)

Will I keep blogging here and about druids? Well, I don’t know. I’d like to, but I also don’t know what I’ll have to say. I suspect only time will tell. Will I keep playing WoW? Brade and I have decided to play very casually at this time. We are finally getting around to challenge modes (which are immensely fun!). In time, we will probably do a 1 night a week ten man with friends to see what the new content is all about. I will continue to enjoy the addiction that is pet battling. But I don’t know if I will ever raid seriously again. I find that as time goes on I am less inclined to have my gaming environment constrict my time. I want to be able to take the aquasize class that meets two nights a week. I want to be able to come home from work and relax, game if I want or watch TV if I want. And I strongly suspect that as I continue to have less of an obligation to be online, the value of no longer having a raid schedule (and all the things that come with it – like dailys) will outweigh any desire to be competitive again.

And, I am content with that. For the first time in years I feel a freedom that I had forgotten about. Will I miss raiding? Yes, absolutely. And I will continue to cheer on and support those of you who are still pushing through it. I have many happy memories brought to me from raiding and I think it is a fantastic group effort that can teach valuable life lessons. I don’t have any regrets about the time I spent in WoW – it was well worth it and got me through some of the most difficult times of my life. It is my hope that I can still continue to enjoy it, just on my terms now.

And, well, if things go as planned, I have some big changes on the horizon :)

17 responses to “New Adventures and Inevitable Ends.

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  1. Wow! Been following this blog for a long time (since ~Wrath), in spite of not raiding since the start of Cata. (In fact, it inspired me to start my own short-lived blog: http://gkick.wordpress.com/). It’s strange how profound of an effect WoW raiding can have on you. I STILL miss the “good old days” of raiding with the guild that I started back in late BC, so I can only imagine how much nostalgia you’ll feel in a year or two. But I think you’ll find it just won’t be the same, as most of the players you enjoyed raiding with will also move on. Of the 25-30 players I became really close with, only about 5 are still playing, none of them still in the same guild. Learn to look back fondly on the experience, but don’t dwell too much. Having ~10-20 hours a week back to spend doing other things is so valuable.

    Also, don’t sweat the negative comments from your raiders… Especially if they’re new members that you don’t know very well. I know from my own experience, that stepping away from ~30 people that have some kind of dependency on you is a very difficult thing to do, and not something that is done unless absolutely necessary. It can just be hard for others to see things that way. We’re all the center of our own universe, after all.

    That’s very scary about your accident. I also live in Seattle nowadays; this past week has been some of the coldest weather I’ve seen in a while. Hope you can push past reliving the accident every morning – maybe take a different route to work!

  2. Congratulations on your newfound freedom! Sorry to hear about your accident though. I’m glad you’re relatively unscathed.

    It is so strange to read this when I have only just finished coming to all the same conclusions you have about taking back my spare time and enjoying myself. For me, the eye opener came from being stunned by an out of the blue nasty letter from GMs of the guild I was in. Ater pondering what to do for a day I came to the conclusion that the guild and the GMs were contributing absolutely nothing to my happiness and welbeing. I was putting a lot of time and effort into something that was no longer just sucking up all my spare time and contributing to poor health habits, now it was actively making me unhappy! So I left without a backward glance.

    Initially, I considered applying to some guilds with similar progression and all that usual stuff, but I just couldn’t bring myself to give up 16 hours of my week again. Fortunately providence intervened and a very polite person asked if I wouldn’t mind filling a spot in their 10 man guild that raids only 9 hours a week. I agreed, and I have had more fun with them in the first week than I remember having in the last two years of raiding. They don’t have awesome progression, but they have very friendly members and raid at perfect times for me. After less than a week I already feel included and valued, and people made an effort to get to know me – not just my skill level – a far cry from the people in the guild I had been giving all my time and effort to before. I was able to try out challenge dungeons with them and I’m even doing pet battles, which I hadn’t had time for before.

    I am so happy for you that you’ve also decided to experience playing purely for fun again and not as a second job. I hope it works out for you as well as it has for me, and I’m sure it will :)

    PS congratulations also on the family decision :) Sounds like you’re going to be very busy soon :D

  3. I retired from raiding just before MoP came out, because there were too much to do that I wanted to do instead of playing WoW. It also wasn’t an easy decision for me, after being a die-hard raider for so many years. When I made the decision to finally retire, I felt like I let my raid team down because they lost their main healer, and wasn’t able to find a suitable replacement for the progression they wanted to do in Dragon Soul. As a result, my raid team disbanded over the summer and things looked pretty dismal starting up again in MoP.

    Luckily though, my raid team was very understanding that I needed to step down and concentrate on my life. I was only being overly criticizing of myself, that I let people down, that it was somehow a failure on my part. But at the end of the day, my happiness needs to come first and since then, I’ve been doing very well outside of WoW. I wouldn’t take negative comments too personally, after all, you were the one who were doing all the work in keeping the raid/guild together, not them. I wish you and Brade best of luck in the aftermath of WoW that is called Life :)

  4. Very sorry to hear of your accident but glad you are ok. I only started following your blog in early cata when I got back into raiding after sitting out all of wrath for real life stuff. However in that relatively short time I began to find myself checking almost daily to see if there was anything new posted, and not just for your opinions of druids. I an only a casual raider at 6 hours a week more for social than progression. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to try to keep and lead a more extensive and progression orientated raid team. I’m sure the negative comments you received were mostly out of frustration and I am sorry you were on the receiving end of it.

    I just want to thank you for all the time you devoted to maintaining this blog and all the knowledge I have gained from it in case you decide to no longer maintain it. I have thoroughly enjoyed your insight on the game as well as real life.

    Best of luck to you and Brade in your future endeavors and once again thank you.

  5. I barely have time for WoW now, being a mum takes up so much of my time, and as always I am a raider at heart and find it hard to do anything in WoW if there’s no real reason to develop my character. I level to max and then feel like there’s no point getting gear or rep… so I’ve mostly been collecting pets and halfheartedly messing around on lowbies. I miss blogging a lot; I have my own personal blog but I find that it’s hard to even give that 5 minutes here and there.

    Anyway, I’m sure you know that I can relate to a lot of what you went through with your guild/team. It sucks to walk away, but yeah – it sucks even more when it degrades to a point that your community is unrecognisable.

    Good luck in your TTC adventures and beyond!

    Big druid love <3

  6. I’m sad people attacked you over ending the raid team but I’m so glad you are at peace with the decision!

    Good luck your post-raiding life and everything that comes with it :)

  7. Good luck in your new adventures! I’m sure you’ll find much to enjoy. :)

  8. As always your heart and your thoughts are plain for all to see Beru, in your post. I am wondering – does this mean more pictures of holidays and cool RL stuff that you pepper your blog with? What happens to your blog? LOL, whatever it brings, though I originally came here for your druid wisdom, I now read it because … well it’s not exactly voyeuring your thoughts (is that even a word) and hearing what you think. Whatever comes, I will be following, whatever you write.

    Gawd, it might become falling tanks and spanks or something ><

  9. I wish you luck as you move onto new endeavors! Starting a family is *very* exciting, and playing with a small group can really revitalize the fun factor (in my experience). Keep us posted! :)

  10. I am extremely relieved and happy you walked away from that accident.

    Holy shit.

  11. Glad to hear you’re safe, sorry to hear your troubles with the raid team. Congratulations on a long run regardless.

  12. I literally read that portion about the car crash with my hand over my mouth in shock and awe. That’s one of the reasons I’m afraid to learn how to drive. I keep having these terrible visions of me making ONE mistake and suddenly I’m flying off an overpass to my death. I just can’t do it.

    I think you did the right thing, with regards to disbanding your raid team. If that were me, I would have more respect for someone who admits that it just isn’t working, rather than forcing everyone to press on when they know it isn’t good and they’re just riding it until the wheels fall off. If anyone is angry right now, I don’t think it has anything to do with you or Brade. They’re probably upset about the shakeup to their own routine and what this means for them. Maybe they’re having to confront their own feelings of unhappiness regarding the game for the first time. I wouldn’t let that bother you too much.

    You’re going to enjoy not having a firm raid schedule. I just know it. It really is quite freeing and can feel like such a relief at times. Even if you don’t necessarily have anything to fill it up with, it’s nice to have the OPTION to do so. That’s something I think I missed the most in six years of playing World of Warcraft – having the choice to log in or not. I really don’t know how I ever got along with it.

    I’m glad you’re safe and that you’re on the road to being happy again. Please take care.

  13. IRL > Game
    Something that is much overlooked, mostly by youngsters, and sometimes discovered through painful and mostly unnecessary experiences.

    I wish you all the best, and may your future bring everything you hoped and wished for. One thing i can tell you through personal experience is that having your own little bundle of joy makes you discover a whole new world, one which will win over any virtual one!

  14. Good luck to you and Brade for whatever is next! I will always fondly remember my time raiding in monolith with you guys. I’ll catch you guys online when the next SC2 Xpac comes out in a few months. Until then, take care!

  15. Beru its been a long time and I’m sorry that the first post of yours I’ve read in nearly 2 years was so dramatic! If it makes you feel better since being pregnant/having a baby I don’t really miss raiding at all, yes I get the nostalgia for it occassionally and I still hop on and level and do some dungeons but I don’t miss it nearly as much as I thought. I’ll keep an eye on your personal blog – I’m actually pregnant at the moment with my 2nd baby and having to rethink how I am going to manage my blook blog, I think I’m going to merge it into a personal parenting blog + gaming and books I just couldn’t keep up hotsdots.com and books and do a personal one last time! All the best for you both ingame and out xoxoxox Lath

  16. On the fence about talents Level 90 talents are fun alternatives if you feel the need to switch roles in mid-combat. Maybe a tank died, or maybe you’re about to hit an enrage timer. Heart of the Wild and Dream of Cenarius will help with this. … Oh, who am I kidding — I am still way on the fence with those level 90 talents. All things being equal, how often would you use those talents? That’s assuming that things are going well and that DPS and healing is steadily being applied with no surprises or whatever. Even then, I’m not sure how many boss kills off-role druids can steal with these sets of talents. I’m not sold on the concept just yet, but I’m willing to give them a chance. Time to wait until level 90. One thing that puzzles me about that druid talent tree is that there appear to be two talent tiers dedicated to some form of crowd control. At level 45, there are talents that can root, slow, or knock back enemy targets. At level 75, you have the ability to disorient, slow, and stun. Does there really need to be two sets of talents for controlling the movements of enemies? I’m not a regular druid player, so maybe some of you guys can help me out with that and explain why you feel that is or isn’t necessary. If you’re a raiding druid just coming back to the game, you’re going to have some new and fun toys to play with. You’ll find that the druid class continues to rely heavily on HoT spells to create a stable raid. You’re still going to be using assorted combinations of Rejuvenation, Regrowth , Lifebloom , Nourish , and so forth. Playstyles won’t be changing significantly. If you’ve been out of the loop for a while, several aspects of it will feel the same to you.

  17. I’ve never been in a serious car crash but I do know what it’s like to run a guild for a long time and eventually get run down by the weight of it. You lasted one expansion longer than I did and I now raid with someone else. Going from being a GM of a competitive 25m guild to being a normal raider was such a godsend to me because I do still like to raid – even if my spec sucks! It is also possible to raid limited hours and still see all the content if you’re good enough. Case in point – look at Temerity, they raid 10.5 hours a week and are top 20.

    As for 5.2 I’m cautiously optimistic. I hate that we’ve sucked for the last 2 tiers but we are getting a lot of buffs and other healers are getting nerfed. In any event, I wish you the best of luck in your quest for children and all of your future endeavors.

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