Last night we killed Sinestra. This did a several things for us – for the first time in our history as a guild, we can definitively call ourselves a “server first” guild, having snagged all three server first end boss kills. Additionally, depending on which set of arbitrary rankings you look at, we are debatably a top 100 US guild…for now (if you’ve been reading here for any length of time you already know how I feel about progress rankings). But in the aftermath of Sinestra dying, instead of being overjoyed I found myself asking “at what cost?”.
All, I am about to share with you things that I’ve not really shared to anyone, save privately to Brade.
Aside from the fact that this content tier has been excruciatingly long – I can honestly tell you that in my six years of being in guild management in this game I’ve never worked harder or felt more unappreciated and disrespected as I have for the past few months. And I find myself asking if it was worth it. Were all the hours I spent researching, reaching out to anyone and everyone I could for help when I found us struggling and crying myself to sleep at night because I was worried about if I was missing something or handled something poorly, worth it?
I don’t expect people to shower me in accolades, but every now and again a simple recognition for the work I put in or a thank you would go such a long way. You don’t even know. To be fair, a few people do occasionally thank me or say very nice things to me – usually when I need it the most and it shows I need it. And I’m grateful, because what they probably don’t realize is that they were the person that kept me going, that picked me back up when I was certain I wouldn’t be able to stand up again.
Last night after our kill instead of someone saying “man Beru, those tips you dug up these past few days were great!” – I was advised that I wasn’t the top healer for our kill. I’m sure it wasn’t meant maliciously, and I know that wasn’t this person’s intent, but I was pretty hurt by the comment nonetheless. I mean how do I even respond to that? “Sure, but I had 1mm more healing done to the tank than the other raid healers and was more of a team player?”. “Ok – but there was less than 500k healing difference and I still ranked on the fight?”. “Sorry, I’ll do better next time?”. I mean, seriously, what the fuck do I even say to that? Ultimately I opted to respond with (what I felt) was a gracious response: “It’s good for other people to outheal me, I shouldn’t always be at the top, plus it keeps my ego in check!”. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, that is. Because I’m going to admit to you, I was pretty upset by the comment. That after all of the work I put into the encounter, the only thing anyone said to me was essentially “you weren’t the best on our kill pull”.
I can’t help but feeling a little bit like this expansion and tier of content has changed my guild – and while it is for the better in some ways (progression), I’m not entirely sure it’s for the better in others (community). Perhaps I’m just being cathartic about it, I don’t know.
Recruiting this tier has been brutal, and it has taken a lot out of me. We’ve had more turn over in our raid roster the first few months of this expansion than we had in all of WotLK combined. And while I’m fairly certain we aren’t alone in that, it has been difficult to juggle that on top of everything else. I will also be honest – we have some personalities right now that don’t mesh well, and it’s been extremely taxing to keep them in check every raid. There’s been more than once that I’ve felt the need to actually ask “do I need to turn this car around”? Which is tough, because we built our guild on the foundations of respect – and to have people shitting on that pretty much just pisses me off. I’ve had to have more individual talks with people this expansion than I have….ever.
There are a couple of people right now that seem to come into the raid some nights with a giant chip on their shoulder – and I don’t have a clue as to why. Frequently these are the same people that get immediately defensive at the suggestion that they have room to improve or that they made a mistake. And to be honest with you, it’s not healthy for the raid – and it’s certainly not healthy for me. Their attitude is obvious, it does not go un-noticed by myself or others and it’s poisonous. It’s vital that I contain it and do not let it spread, or it will overwhelm what I am able to control. I’m trying to be patient. I’m trying to be understanding. I’m trying to be the bigger (responsible) person. But deep down inside I really just want to get up in their face and scream at them drill sergeant style asking “what the fuck is your problem?”.
Maybe I’ve also changed.
Please don’t get me wrong, I love my guild. I am amazed and grateful at what we’ve been able to accomplish this expansion. I’ve poured so much into the guild, more than probably most people realize. It’s hard to watch something you put so much of yourself into grow, evolve and change. Everyone that takes their leave has left a footprint on the guild – and on me (ps I miss you so much, Chris, you have no idea). Just as everyone that comes into the fold creates a new footprint. Some will create bigger footprints than those that preceded them – and some won’t quite fill those that were previously left. But those footprints will be created and will remain, nonetheless.
I’m worried. No “server first” guild on our server has lasted the entirety of an expansion. They’ve all fallen down and broken apart. It was Rapture back in Vanilla. Pinnacle in The Burning Crusade. Anguish in Wrath of the Lich King. We’ve always acknowledged that the candle that burns twice as bright often only burns half as long. Monolith has always been the slow and steady turtle in the race – maybe we didn’t get server firsts but we always saw content and survived into the next expansion. So that leaves me to ask, is this Monolith’s flash of light? Are we going to burn bright and then fade giving someone else the opportunity to rise and shine? I’d like to think that after six years, we’ve got some stamina and can survive the curse of the “server first” guild – but it’s not going to be easy, and it’s going to take true dedication. Which is something I’m not convinced 100% of our raiders have, and I have no doubts that there will be a need to recruit again as we continue through this expansion.
The truth is, I love the progression. I thrive on it. But the question I’m left with is: what cost am I willing to pay to have it?