No, I am not trying to I am not trying to bring back Nancy Reagan, mullets or acid washed jeans. What I am trying to advocate is something that I, personally, really suck at: making sure that you know how, and when, to take some time to yourself.
Everyone plays WoW in different moderations and for varying reasons. I happen to play wow a lot. No, really. You know that log in tip that pops up and says “everything should be taken in moderation, even WoW”? Yea…blizzard wrote that tip for people like me :P
We run a bi-costal guild on an east coast server. For me, that means that I am hauling ass to get home every night (I live on the west coast) so that I can walk the dog, change out of my work clothes, check the forums for anything I need to be aware of and then log in to start the raid (and deal with any issues I get slammed with as I log in). I do this 4 nights of the work week, if we do our 10 man on Friday. Not only do I raid, but I lead raids 5-6 nights a week. This means that in addition to having myself prepared, I have to figure out how to run that raid when I have 4 of my healers off that night, or tank x is going to be absent, and dps xy and z are out of town. It tends to be fairly stressful.
Even when I’m not playing WoW, I am spending a good deal of time “with” wow. Including, but not limited to, researching strategies for our raids, upcoming changes to my class, upcoming changes to the content, combing through our raid parses…I think you get the picture. So a huge portion of my free time is WoW driven, which I usually don’t mind so much.
But then come those off-nights, when we don’t have a scheduled raid. I cherish those few nights. I don’t have to log in if I don’t want to (but I usually do, because well, I’m an addict :P). I can log in for just an hour or I can play an alt and just hang out if I want. It is time that I need to unwind and decompress. Well…theoretically, that is how it is supposed to work.
Enter the “off-night raid”. Or the raid that so and so’s alt/main whatever want to put together on an off night. The current flavor of this raid is Naxx 25. But in the past it has been ZA/MC/ZG/AQ20/etc. While I do have fun raiding with alts, I do not always want to do a raid on my off-night. No big deal, right?
I suck at telling people “no”. And sadly there are some people that know this fact, and take advantage of it, knowing that if they just push a little harder there is a 90% chance that I will cave in. “Just need a healer for x instance” (knowing I am the only healer online) or tells of “C’mon Beru, you know that you want to come!”. There are even people who will directly, or indirectly, express their displeasure that I opted not to join them in something on an off-night (this is the worst :(). News Flash! I already do a TON of work fo the guild…I should not be made to feel that I don’t contribute because I don’t join you on something in the miniscule amount of free time that I do have.
As of late though, I really do need my off nights to be off nights where I have no responsibilities or commitments what-so-ever. I need nights where I don’t have people trying to push instances/raids on me like it’s a dime bag of cocaine; the pusher knowing the addict needs their fix and if they lean on them hard enough the addicts resolution will falter. I am starting to find myself worn very thin and I am concerned with making sure that I don’t burn myself out to the point that I don’t want to play anymore…and I fear that I am teetering closer and closer to that line.
Just say no, Beru! I hear you all thinking it! Well…if only it were that easy, everyone would do it! Unfortunately, I am one of those people who feel incredibly guilty if I tell someone “no”. Even if I know that I will be 100%, completely miserable if I go do whatever it is they want me to do, or I had other plans for the night, I still feel guilty for declining. However, I also recognize that, for my own well being, I must take some time to myself.
So, if you suck at “no”, like me, here are some tips on making sure that you get what you need during your free time:
- Don’t log into the game– Of course, this is the simplest solution. I know that it’s easier said than done, especially if you are a wow addict, but if you are feeling bogged down by the game, take a night off! Go watch some telly, take a walk, go out to the movies, wash your hair…whatever! Just don’t log in. It is amazing how revitalized you can feel by just staying out of the game for 24 hours!
- Strategically plan your time online– What I mean by this is that if you know someone is organizing a raid on an off-night, and you know (like me) that you will be suckered in, just make sure that you aren’t online at that time. For example, if they are planning on going to the zone at 8:30, stay logged out from 8 – 9. Take care of some chores, catch up on that missed episode of House, anything! Just remove yourself from the “pressure window”, as I think of it. Of course, you will still run the risk of “just lost a healer, anyone want to come?”. But it’s a lot easier to say “no” once the raid is already underway.
- DND– I have done this a few times, to varying degrees of effectiveness. The problem with the DND tag, is that it’s not openly apparent to everyone, unless they are looking for it, or you are talking in guild chat. Usually if I DND I put a message with it, and I don’t speak unless directly spoken to in a tell. For example: /DND I’ve had a shit day and my mood is at defcon 5. Unless it’s REALLY important, you may want to reconsider sending another tell. You have been warned!
- Turn off Guild Chat– While this is not a viable option for me, as part of the leadership, it certainly is an option for those that just want to hang out online in a completely non-social way. You can toggle your guild chat options off in your chat tab by right clicking on it, and then un-checking the “guild” box. It is a very effective way of just tuning everything out (largely because you can’t see anything!), but you run the risk of someone talking to you in guild chat and thinking that they are being ignored. If you do this, remember to turn guild chat back on before you log out for the night, so that you don’t forget that it’s off the next time you log in.
- Create a “Top Secret” alt– This is always an option if you want to play, and want a little bit of peace and quiet. My problem is that if I’m online, I get curious as to what is going on, and I always end up guilding my “top secret” alts. However, if you have a bit more will power than me, this is a good option to get your fix in, without being pressured into things you don’t want to do.
- Create an opposite faction alt– I personally enjoy this option. I don’t have the same “what am I missing” compulsion because it’s not an option for me to check up on my guild. I also have a lot of peace and quiet, my alliance alts are in a small guild of old alliance friends and more often than not, I’m the only one online. This is nice. It also gives you the opportunity to see the quests from the “other” side. While some of them are the same, there are many differences, and a fair few of the alliance towns are quite beautiful. (I mean…wtf? Why are all horde towns ugly? Thrall doesn’t enjoy fine architecture?).
- Create an alt on another server – While this isn’t something that I’ve ever done with any seriousness, a lot of people do this and really enjoy their play. This is also another fine way to get your wow fix without having to deal with guild issues/the pressure to raid on an off night.
It is really important to have some “me” time in the game, especially if you are in a leadership capacity, even if everyone doesn’t understand that. Just because you are online, you don’t have to participate in 100% of the activities that are happening. While I am not generally an advocate of selfishness…sometimes it is OK to put your needs first, and there is nothing wrong with that! :)
And remember…it is okay to Just Say No!