My Job Away From My Job

I used to tease some of my guildies that I only had 8 more hours of playing WoW at work before I could go home and play WoW. Sometimes I forget that everyone in the World of Warcraft is not like me, that is to say, someone focused primarily on raiding in a top1000 guild. Not too very long ago I was in a guild above 10,000. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with a simple server transfer. Because it has not been very long since I’ve moved, the casual, sometimes defeatist culture of my old guild is still with me in my new situation. Last night we stepped into ICC25 intent on some hard modes. We surprised ourselves a little bit by effortlessly one-shotting Marrowgar and welcoming our first heroic Brynn’Troll to the guild. After one attempt of Lady Deathwhisper in which adds got a little out of control, we elected to do her on normal so that we could spend the bulk of our night on Saurfang, Rotface, Festergut, and anyone who we’d have time for after the fact. Heroic lootship was just that, and I walked away with a 277 DPS ring for off-spec because apparently everyone thought it was crap. And then we were on to the fun of the only boss that drops tier tokens without an attempts counter. I must say, I didn’t really respect the fight before going in because it was usually handled effortlessly in regular, and even in 10H we didn’t have much difficulty, only spending a few attempts before downing him. Well, we spent 3 hours wiping.

Marks go out very, very fast in 25H, almost once per blood beasts spawn (probably closer to 2 marks every 3 spawns). I’m not especially interested in placing any kind of blame, but facts were facts, more often than “never” some people were killed by taking a melee hit from the blood beasts, and we always seemed to have at least one mark die under 30% and Saurfang would be beyond kill-range because of the 20% heal. Whether this was because of tunnel-vision on the part of DPS, the 80% movement speed slow the adds apply, not enough people switching to the remaining adds once their kill target was dead, or a mark+blood boil at sub-30% spelling doom on the person because of Saurfang’s increased swing timer. We typically got 5 marks out and then one would die in the burn phase. Our best attempt was 13%. And honestly, I don’t care. It did not bother me in the slightest wiping for 3 hours to things which are avoidable. Part of this is because none of the wipes were directly the result of something I did, and we have a very screamy raid leader GM who makes raiding very unpleasant sometimes, so if I’m not getting screamed at in public, the failures of others just don’t seem to affect me anymore. It’s not quite Onyxia Wipe Animation, but it is unpleasant nonetheless. It has really made me wonder if a guild can be successful without someone like this leading it.

There has been ALOT of member turnover since I’ve been here, apps coming in, getting declined, or accepted then getting removed because they didn’t pull 9k DPS or got hit with slime spray or tunnel visioned too much or some other similarly “underperforming” action. In my old guild, there was 0 turnover. It was a casual guild that raided, to be sure, but no one was ever removed for underperforming, no one was ever dressed down in vent after a wipe, and our server was very small so it wasn’t like we had a lot of people waiting for raid spots even if they did remove people. Maybe that’s why they are a 10,000 guild. Wrathy might have it better than me, maybe no one gets too bent out of shape over at his place. Maybe no one has to because everyone is just that much better. I get the feeling guilds get much more screamy and less tolerant the higher up you go not just out of competitive necessity because the difference between 1st and 10th is literally a matter of hours sometimes, but because of the personality type that is attracted to these situations. So now that I’m in a situation like this, it has made me reevaluate playing this game.

Being in a 10,000 guild, you’re not exactly on the cutting edge of content, and sometimes you never get to see it all. I don’t believe, to this day, my old guild has killed Yogg on 25. There are guilds out there selling 1-light kills for Ironbound drakes, and some people have not yet killed him on normal mode in 264 gear. I used to wonder how high up of a guild I could still be competitive, or at the worst, contributory, in. Here in the high sub-1000s it kind of feels like my peak. For some reason I seem to be playing worse and worse lately, making more mental mistakes than ever before. I’m not sure if it’s me folding under pressure, trying to do too much at once in an effort to overcome some subconscious inferiority complex, or just being flat-out incapable. In a casual guild where the raid goes into progression boss fights optimistic, but ultimately only hopeful of clearing the encounter is very different from being in a guild pushing hard modes where they go in expecting to clear it in short order. I’m not sure if my coming from a culture accustomed to limited success is helping or hurting me at the moment. On the one hand, I’m very desensitized to failure as a guild. If we wipe 50 times on a hard mode encounter, I feel right at home. Others in the guild are obviously more upset about it than I am. On the other hand, having been in the guild for a few months now I have also become accustomed to clearing most encounters in minimal attempts so it is certainly disappointing when we spend longer on specific encounters. I think the only reason I care, though, is because of screamy-GM.

So here I am, in a top1000 guild seeing progression, but not exactly having fun. People who I talk to keep telling me that above all this is a game and “fun” needs to be your top priority, otherwise you’re just working a second job where people are allowed to scream at you, because it’s a game and not office culture where you can report them to HR or the Better Business Bureau. Progression is nice, don’t get me wrong; everyone likes gear and achievements. I’ve seen top guilds in the world cry out for “a challenge,” and I thought that’s what I wanted too. Now I’m not so sure anymore. I know I didn’t start playing this “game” for the challenge of it; I started playing cause it looked like a cool place to be. I guess it just comes back to the idea of “can you face challenges in a higher-up guild while still maintaining some form of member loyalty and tact/civility when dealing with underperforming players, or is the mandatory elitist harangue the gut-reaction right before the kick and recruitment thread spam?” I don’t question the need to replace the 5k DPS warlock with a 9k DPS one. I don’t question the need to replace the one healer who the 5 other healers in the raid feel is underperforming. I don’t have a problem with people who have made a mistake which causes a wipe be told to “you made a mistake there, please be a little more careful next time” but maybe my faith in humanity and gamers is just too high and I shouldn’t expect any better than the “What the fuck man!? Pay attention! You just wiped us there, congratulations! What the fuck is wrong with you!?” that I’m currently getting. And god help the repeat offenders. I probably sound like some tissue-paper baby to people with thicker skin in higher-end guilds, and maybe that’s fine, it’s not like I write this to impress any of them and they certainly don’t see me putting in an app cause I don’t want to be places where that is acceptable. Or maybe I’m wrong and they’re all happy in their circumstances and they’re always having fun because their guild is different.

The more I play here, the more I feel like the “Game” is more stressful and nerve-wracking than my job. I’m starting to feel like my job is the time I’m fortunate enough to have away from spending time with my guild. It’s making me want to cancel my account, turn my computer off and push back from my keyboard so I don’t have to dread raid nights where I have the potential of being yelled at. You don’t go 9/12 in 10m hard modes in your first week of attempts without having some good players (who are comically overgeared), but great players don’t always come with a great environment. So, right now, the fee I’m paying to spend time with great players is putting up with an unpleasant environment. I stay for the fact that 277 tier tokens are not far away, I stay for the possibility of an eventual “Light of Dawn” title (even if it might take a 30% buff, who knows), I stay for the 10 and 25man drakes, and I stay for my friend, who came with me, who is having none of the problems that I’m having and who could probably get himself into a top50 guild if he really wanted to. I remember, months ago, I told him after a particularly unpleasant Nax25 pug we did, that I was never going to sacrifice progression for the joy of playing the game. Well, here I am doing it. Though, in my defense, I didn’t know it was going to be like this here when we applied. I guess when you have people in your guild who used to be in Premonition, Edge, Rush, and Forced Entry, having them get bent out of shape wiping on things can at least be understood, though not exactly more tolerable. WoW is a much more mercenary game at the upper levels than I gave it credit for.

3 Responses to “My Job Away From My Job”

  1. First off, I apologize in advance for how long this is going to be, but you have answered my hopes that I could vent somewhere other than my blog, seeing as my entire guild reads my blog.

    Hopefully I can address some of your concerns, and questions regarding guilds at our level. Where to begin…. The leadership style of top 1000 guilds definitely does not have to be the way that you describe it, and for the most successful guilds it is far from that. Great leaders beget great guilds. The patient and competent leaders inspire their players to be better. With that being said, I told our raid leader to shut up and give me lead last night because he was of the mind set which your raid leader is. He was yelling at people on the trash before Marrowgar. This is the responsibility of all of your officers, and shows a deficiency in their leadership.

    Is WoW a Job?

    For a progression raider, in a top 1000 guild, it should be. While it should be “fun” it is still work. As an officer in my guild i probably put as much time into wow and running the guild and the raids and my toons development, gearing and understanding as i do at my real job. For me, I find the “fun” in those kills. When you kill DBS, you will feel what progression fun is like. It is a relief, and a sense of accomplishment.

    “Wrathy might have it better than me, maybe no one gets too bent out of shape over at his place. Maybe no one has to because everyone is just that much better. ”

    This is my favorite. and now for my opportunity to vent a bit. I don’t have it any better than you. We spent three hours wiping on DBS on tuesday and had the same result, a few sub 10% opportunities that ended in mark deaths. We had disappointing dps, yelling in vent and over all a painful experience. If it makes you feel any better, to top that off, we went back in last night (after killing DBS on normal and the first mark going out at 32%!!!), and wiped on festergut for 5, FIVE, hours. These hard modes are not as “easy” as some of the top 50 guilds make them out to be. They are challenging and require 25 stellar players to clear quickly.

    Our guild is very lenient when it comes to kicking people, sitting them, etc. We have maintained sub par rogues for all of LK because they are good friends and loyal guildies. We have sub par healers. They do not theory craft, go against the grain when it comes to main stream healing theory, and refuse to do certain things. We are a guild of 10-15 very high quality players and 10 middle of the road players. Progression is hard, it is suppose to be.

    When we are in the instance, there is yelling, we have raiders who THINK they are better than everyone else and laugh at peoples mistakes, only to turn around and make one of their own, all the time blaming someone else. Discipline is part of the hard core raiding environment, and is something that has to be employed, however not at the expense of morale.

    “In a casual guild where the raid goes into progression boss fights optimistic, but ultimately only hopeful of clearing the encounter is very different from being in a guild pushing hard modes where they go in expecting to clear it in short order. I’m not sure if my coming from a culture accustomed to limited success is helping or hurting me at the moment.”

    I personally went into this week prepared for the worst but hoping for the best. I had 40 armor pots, 40 agi food, flasks and all the encounter research and understanding. I laid out a game plan for hard modes for the week which would have put us at 7 or 8/12, and a top 200 guild. After 2/3 of our raiding for the week is complete, we are 2/12 and i am borderline embarrassed at our performance. Expectations are high in guilds of our caliber, and when you fall short, it is hard to find the silver lining.

    What you have to see is that your culture is a benefit to your guild and you should help them with their perspective. Sometimes the tensions create poor play from fear of failure. It is ok to fail, as long as you learn from it and your fellow raiders learn from it.

    I’ll stop at this, its gotten too long as it is, but hope the perspective helps, If you are making it in your guild, and you did not cause a wipe or make errors in these fights, you are good enough to be top 50 guild, dont let anyone tell you otherwise.

    • Now It’s my turn to apologize for being long 🙂
      I guess I should have qualified my use of the term “job” with a little more context. I don’t mean “job” in the sense of requiring a time commitment or a responsibility, but as “something unpleasant.” You’ve probably heard the saying, “Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” So when I said “job” I meant it in the Chris Rock Jobs-vs-Careers sense from his Kill the Messenger Show (which, if you aren’t familiar with it, can probably easily be found on youtube). I have no problem spending time improving, learning, and accepting responsibility that someone in a guild that demands these things in order to be successful has to; it’s all about how you feel while doing it. Are you (non-specific pronoun) in a position where you think to yourself, “man, how else can I improve so we can be successful,” or in a position where you say “shit, it’s only 10:30, I wish it was 12:00 so raid would be over.” I have actually found myself saying that to myself the past few raids. That is a feeling I have not had since my last “job” 4 years ago, and it has no place in World of Warcraft as far as I’m concerned. That I’ve had times where I was more concerned with raids being over by any means necessary rather than bosses being downed by any means necessary is a really sobering and depressing realization for me.
      I don’t want to say “I’m relieved” that other people or guilds may be in a similar situation as I am with screamy-GM, as that sounds callous and mean, but it doesn’t exactly provide comfort that they are either. I, of course, meant no offense in suggesting the possibility that you may have things better than me; as I was referring to lifestyle as opposed to progression ability. I may be in a top1000 progression guild, but racing for “firsts” is not what keeps me motivated. Obviously, the sooner the better, but I’ve stopped getting bent out of shape that there are guilds better than one I am in. It’s fun, in it’s own way, to be ranked 3rd on a high pop server, and know that, somehow, there are more than 10,000 guilds (250,000+ active raiding players) in the world who have not yet done what we have, but it feels like a hollow victory to have done it at the expense of being under some outside pressure. I’m proud of what we have been able to accomplish, but not because we did it before someone else (though I can’t say that doesn’t also somehow factor into the enjoyment), just because we have been able to do it. If I were still in my old guild, even with full 277 gear and a 30% buff, if we were able to kill a limited encounter boss on 25H, I’d still be proud of us if it was the day before Cataclysm.
      Maybe it is because I am not an officer, a position I desperately wanted to get away from after leaving my former guild; I don’t think I have ever felt “embarrassed” by the play of my guild as a whole, or really by any other individual member of a raid besides myself. It’s really easy for me to embarrass myself, all I have to do is screw up once. Part of the reason I’ve maintained the anonymity of my blog is so that I do have a place to vent. It’s fine to vent to my friends, but there seems to be something a little more cathartic about shouting my achievements, observations, and grievances to the world while simultaneously to no one at all. Though, I do find myself occasionally attempting to doctor content knowing that you or meloree may poke your head in. I’ve usually been able to keep content uncensored, but I do notice myself thinking about it from time to time. I’m still going to “tough things out” as long as I reasonably can, for the sake of my friend, and some perhaps ultimately meaningless achievements and pixels. I suppose it’s best to describe it as a beaten little orphan boy, armed with only hope that a kind and stable family must be out there, for someone, even if not for him, even though he can’t even imagine how nice it must be like; and that thought is all that makes the days bearable. Over-dramatic, no doubt, and I’m not waiting for someone to come and claim me, by any means, but as someone who is not particularly mercenary and has not been in many guilds during their WoW life, and even fewer high-progression ones at that, I simply lack the breadth of experience and context of fact; so only hope and some slim understanding of infinitesimal-but-somehow-statistical-certainty that a guild like that must exist, to imagine what greener grass looks like.

  2. A bit off topic but yes I have seen Kill the Messenger, and I LOVE the part about the job versus the career. Funny enough i have a career but still spend some days in the crapper, and I have the blog to keep me from “Scraping shrimp and then looking at my watch”

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