Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Like Riding a Bike, If It Involved Wholesale Slaughter

I was commenting on a post by Shintar about how I've been strangely optimistic about WoW the past week or so, and I think it has something to do with a couple of factors.

Well, there's this for starters:

Yes indeed.

I think my questing buddy was stunned when I told her I joined a Horde guild.

Now, before anybody says the word "raiding", Catalyst is a leveling and social guild. It's been quite a while since I was in an active leveling guild --I think Retail Orphans kind of qualified, but they fizzled out far quicker than this guild has-- and logging in to see about 20-25 people of all sorts of levels just doing things is refreshing. When you're in a (hardcore) raiding guild, leveling toons are few and far between. Or if you find some, they don't stay that way for long as they rocket up quickly so they can be used for raiding alts or to support your main raiding toon. Just lazily leveling along is quite the exception.

To be fair, I realize that my stay in Catalyst might not be very long. Leveling guilds tend to have a pretty decent amount of churn as toons reach max level and then move on to other guilds for raiding or other endgame content. But at the same time, having a guild that isn't constantly fretting over parses or following the meta* or arguing over various aspects of raiding is quite nice. 

Some people will tell you that my current raiding guild is relaxed and social, and to that I raise my eyebrows in disbelief.

If this is relaxed and social, I hate to find out what other hardcore raiding guilds are like. 

No no, scratch that. I once had an extended conversation with someone who was on the (at the time) #2 raiding guild on Myzrael, and he was telling me that he had to come up with about 1800 gold a week to cover all the potions and whatnot they needed for raiding multiple days a week.

"1800?" I was stunned. "Are you sure you had two zeroes there?"

"Oh yes. More than once I was tempted to just buy gold to keep up."

The irony is that I do know people who (at least in Classic) bought gold just to keep up with the demand, and their raid teams were nowhere near the top of the charts. 

But still, the stress of trying to be the best would have driven me bonkers. And my somewhat feeble attempts to keep up in TBC Classic --because I was a raid lead and had to at least set a decent example if I was going to ask others to do what they could to be ready for raids-- were frequently sabotaged by my desire to zag when everybody else zigs.

Like right now in the Isle of Quel'danas.

***

Someone asked me last Friday before Karazhan what I thought of the Isle of Quel'danas quests and Magister's Terrace, and I told him that I hadn't been there. "There's no real reason for me to go, since I'm not progression raiding, and I figure I'll wait until the crowd has moved on in a couple of months and then I'll go up there."**

"But right now if you get into a group for MgT with a decently geared team it's really easy."

"Oh, I've no doubt, but my experience in Magister's Terrace was when my Mage leveled through there. Imagine doing MgT on quest greens instead of raid gear."

"Oh... shit."

"Yeah."

For me, it's exactly like trying to tell someone who is kitted out with Phase 3 raiding gear (Hyjal / Black Temple) that the Zul'Aman bear run is hard to do, when your raid team is frequently a mix of Phase 2 and 3 geared toons and toons with a decent portion of quest greens or some Phase 1 gear. If they haven't walked a mile in your shoes, they won't understand it.

Or like my questing buddy telling me that I'm pretty much hiding from the guild these days, to which I'll agree completely. 

After all, being a non-raider in a hardcore raiding guild is like being a second class citizen. 

Things that you want to do for fun are shelved because there's not enough people to do them, but if it's progression raid related in some way people will show up for it. I have never forgotten being booted out of an instance run because I was just coming to help out but someone else who showed up right before the run needed something for the raid from the dungeon. The organizer felt that person's need --even though they logged in at the last second-- was more important than me volunteering to just help out and actually heading out to the dungeon entrance before getting the boot. 

There was a secondary reason, of course. I wasn't part of the guild at the time. And for me, even though I'd been raiding with them for months, I suspected that the dungeon run organizer hoped to give me enough of a kick in the pants to join the guild or something. But I don't work like that. I'm not a conformist just to do things so I can hang out with the cool people. I want to enjoy myself and do things that matter, because that's what friends do. Friends don't dump one another for others who login at the last moment.***

***

So, I'm in a Horde guild that is very casual, and it has reinvigorated my enjoyment in just hanging around and doing things. I don't have any pressure to be doing what's expected, or what my gear set is, or anything of that sort. Some people are more driven to level quickly than others, like one person who just joined because their uncle is hoping to get them into raiding, but I realize that person isn't going to be in the guild very long. So I'm not worried or anything. 

I can just do whatever, comment on things people bring up in guild chat, and once in a while get into a dungeon run. I've been on more TBC dungeon runs on Neve in the past 1.5 weeks than I've been on in Linnawyn total. Part of that is the lack of ability to get pugs together at this state of the game, but also that I'm trying to keep Linna on the down low for the time being. 

***

That does lead me to the other reason why I feel more upbeat about WoW lately.

See all those pink bars?
Paladins for everybody!!

I've gotten back into running Battlegrounds.

My Classic Battlegrounds adventures petered out when I began progression raiding, and truth be told I was tired of all the losing in Alterac Valley.  So when my questing buddy began prodding me to go capture fortifications in Hellfire Peninsula or capturing Spirit Towers in Terrokk Forest for PvP Honor****, I finally relented because she needed gear for an alt of hers and one way of getting it was through PvP. 

I went and did it, and dammit, the bug bit me. 

So I did it on both Brig and Linna. And then on Neve.

And then after another friend showing me what gear he was able to get just doing this sort of Honor farming while leveling, I realized that Linna could finally get a weapon that was at least within 50 miles of being close to what her Retribution Paladin BiS would be. Lugging around a quest green weapon into Karazhan was my nightmare, that I'd essentially have to be carried the entire run and not pull my own weight, and here was a chance of at least not looking so pathetic that all I did was engender sympathy. 

I had no idea that this was actually a remake.
This was the version I knew, but Lyn Roman
did a version in 1973.

So I steeled myself and queued up for Alterac Valley. And we won.

And again.

The next time we lost, but the speed runs that had replaced the terrible grinding losses were addictive.

And dammit, I could do this, even with my crappy gear.

So I kept running AV on Saturday night, one after another, until I looked up and it was 5 AM on Sunday morning.

Uh oh.

I went and lay down, but I couldn't sleep. I was too hyped up on this; I could run AV and get some positive direction on gear, and I could do it without running around and begging people for help. 

My honor goal toward getting Linna a weapon grew closer and closer throughout Sunday, in between yard work and eating and some other odds and ends. Having everybody else in the house out for the day had its advantages, since there are 4 drivers in the house and only 3 cars. So.... Oh darn, I can't go anywhere. I guess I'll just, oh, run another Alterac Valley.

I finally had to force myself to confess what I'd been up to with my questing buddy, and she gave me the "you need to not do this so singlemindedly and relax" bit that I typically give others.*****

"Yeah," I replied, "but I say that because I have those tendencies too, so I know what it's like."

And here I was violating all of that in pursuit of that high that had proven so elusive in Battlegrounds in Classic, and was also a big reason why I stopped playing Retail WoW. When all you feel is losing, it infects your mindset, so having an equal chance at winning is just so damn addictive. 

I did get enough Honor to get Linna her weapon --it took 25 hours, by the way-- and I took a deep breath and backed off a bit. I'm still running Battlegrounds, but not at the insane breakneck pace I did last weekend. If nothing else, I need to show I can master my emotions so I can be a good example to others. And if I can't, I need to tell people that so I can get some help.

***

Okay, so yes, I feel like things are moving forward after being stuck in neutral since, well, December.

And that's not even covering the changes to the code of conduct that Blizz is bringing to WoW soon. 

Thank goodness.



*Which, right now, involves running the Magister's Terrace dungeon and doing dailies out at the Isle of Quel'Danas for reputation. For... what exactly, I'm not sure of. Most of the people doing this stuff are doing it likely to get certain enchants and other items for their raiding gear, given that most people out there have Mount Hyjal / Black Temple raid gear which are much better than any reward from that area.

**There's another reason, of course. I feel that I'm, well, incomplete. My raiding career was cut short at the end of Phase 2, and I never got to even finish Tempest Keep before my last raid, so in my mind I don't get to skip straight to the end and go up there. I didn't earn the right to go to the Isle of Quel'Dans. I needed to be in the trenches, finishing Tempest Keep, and fighting my way through both Mount Hyjal and Black Temple with the rest, before I can say that "Yes, I deserve to be at Quel'Danas". Anything less would be dishonorable toward the Monday raid team, who earned the right to be there because they fought the hard fight. It doesn't matter that they've not yet finished Hyjal or Black Temple, that will come soon, I know, but I don't deserve to reap the rewards that they earned. I will not be the child of privilege who comes along after they did all the hard work and skip ahead straight to the end. So while I'd love to go there, I just can't. 

From The Incredibles.

***Sorry, I'm not saying who it was who did it. I don't need any more drama in my life, and I've pretty much cut him out of it anyway.

****One of the bosses in Mount Hyjal requires everybody to have a "get out of a stun free card", which for the raid team meant getting a PvP trinket that you can pop and get out of any stun once every couple of minutes. So, everybody had to farm PvP activities for the trinket. And when I mentioned that there's no way I'm going to get back into progression raiding right now because I'd have to study the fights and do PvP and get other gear, my questing buddy said "Oh it's easy, you just sit at the towers or the fortifications a couple of times, turn in the daily quests a few times, and you've got the honor you need!"

*****Okay, I should clarify this a bit. She tolerated my explanation, giving me the "yeah, gear is good" and a few other tidbits, before she said something akin to "I suppose I should say 'be careful and don't overdo it' that you usually say to others but you already know that," which I totally admit I earned. In a way, I'm glad she handled it the nonchalant way she did, because it snapped me back to reality much more quickly than I'd have expected. Must be a mom thing, because if you're used to whatever drama of the day your kids bring to you, my foibles are like small potatoes by comparison.


EtA: Corrected a couple of grammatical mistakes.

EtA: Clarified a part by adding "*****".

Saturday, May 14, 2022

End of an MMO: TERA

Well, TERA is shutting down.


 

The game, which is an acronym for The Exiled Realm of Arborea, is one of those MMO titles that can bring out strong opinions among fans of the MMO genre. Yes, it has exciting action combat. Yes, the graphics are well done. 

But.

Almost from Day One, TERA developed a reputation for what I'm politely calling "fanservice". If you thought my cheeky (!) commentary by Neve about the Stitched Trousers was something, imagine if she got a hold of the outfits I discovered in TERA.


This was one of the milder ones I encountered.

And this wasn't bringing in the so-called running form the Castanic females have:


Apparently running, bent over, with your panties out is a thing in Korean MMOs.

But the thing is, even if all that went away, TERA would have the reputation it does because of one thing only: the Elin.

I won't dignify a link to it, but the Elin are supposedly an ancient spirit race who just so happen to look like prepubescent girls. ALL OF THEM.

And then to top it off, TERA dresses the Elin up in sexualized outfits. BECAUSE OF COURSE THEY DO.

The kicker is that the US release of TERA actually has the Elin's outfits toned down; the Korean release shows them even skimpier. If that isn't a call to a dark corner of the internet that "boy, have we got a game for you!" I don't know what does.

I can't simply justify TERA's behavior in this manner, because they had to know that the Elin would attract a certain crowd, but there it is. And because of it, I'm not sorry to see it go the way of the dodo.

***

While I'd like to spend more time musing about TERA, I think Josh Strife Hayes did a great job on the game with his Wost MMO Ever series when he took on TERA:


I think there's a good story somewhere in the game, but it's not engaging enough to overcome all the ridiculous outfits and the lolli creeper vibe I get from TERA. I mean, the graphics are great, the combat is fine, and the music is good. Why oh why did Bluehole make these design decisions?

If you'd have asked me which game would have died first, TERA or ArcheAge, I'd have picked ArcheAge. The rapid decline in server population coupled with missing pieces to the story from the get go usually would be the death knell of a game. I mean, both games share obvious fanservice elements, such as obvious boob physics and overly revealing costumes* and there's parts of the storyline in both games that make me feel like I'm in an anime. So there's a ton of similarities here. The biggest difference here is that TERA has the Elin, and ArcheAge doesn't. Full stop.

So I guess I can look at TERA and think "What if?" and shake my head.



*And let's be honest, more than just that. The walking and running motions of female toons, the exaggerated bustlines, and the tendency to wear high heels all the time are all hallmarks of Korean MMOs. Both games happen to have these in spades. 

But I think it needs to be said: I'm not a prude. If things such as the outfit options had a wide variety of available selections and you could choose what you liked to wear, whether sexy and revealing or more realistic armor, then I'd be fine with it. After all, everybody is different and has their own opinions on what to wear. It's the lack of choice that annoys me the most.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Missives to Silvermoon

Dearest Brother--

Salutations from Outland! I am presently ensconced in a Sindorei outpost here, Falcon Watch, after having arrived a few weeks ago. 

While I understand that many of our brethren look down upon our fellow members of The Horde, I must say that I have grown fond of them over our time together in Azeroth. The behavior of several of our fellow Sindorei in the face of the reality of Outland can be disheartening at times.

Consider those who have come on a pilgrimage to Outland, hoping to find the Promised Land. 


Many of our fellows are ill-equipped and ill-suited for the rigors of this arid land, as I have found pilgrims in poor condition and suffering from all sorts of maladies here at Falcon Watch, and all the while more and more arrive daily. 


Would that I could provide aid, but the best a Magistrix can do is try to make the passage to Falcon Watch easier by clearing the road of some of these native inhabitants.

I hate to say it, given our precarious position in Eversong, but many people are better off not coming to this place. Given the choice between demons and undead, the undead are a far more manageable problem.

What I am mostly disappointed in is that our abandonment by the Alliance is coloring our thinking.

The roads are fairly clear, save for this monstrous infernal machine called the Fel Reaver roaming the area, but because we do not trust the Alliance we do not use that road, much to the danger of our people. 

 

Instead, the path to Falcon Watch is paved through territory claimed by so-called Fel Orcs. These Orcs, unlike our fellows in The Horde, are totally in thrall to the demons. The Frostwolves in charge of the primary Horde outpost, Thrallmar, have been dismayed by these Fel Orcs who have not thrown off their yoke from their oppressors. Even more worrisome is that when I was sent into the ramparts of their main outpost, Hellfire Citadel, I discovered that they swear their allegiance to Illidan, not the Burning Legion. If they have thrown their lot in with Illidan, and they are infused with demonic power, what does that say about our own Kael'thas Sunstrider? I find it difficult to ascertain our Prince's designs here, because consorting with the same beings our ancestors fought in the War of the Ancients would be unthinkable, but here we are.

And nobody at Falcon Watch seems to want to confront the disturbing implications of this. 

I have been performing my duty as a Dawnweaver, following in the steps of our ancestors, and engaging the demons at every opportunity. As they refused to bow to them, neither shall I. 


 

However, I have been less than thrilled by the gear handed out to the personnel here at Falcon Watch and at Thrallmar.

There is a goblin at Thrallmar who seems to take a particular delight in tormenting me. This creature provided me with some replacement pants, which he assured me were stitched trousers, after my own were burned setting fire to some Fel Orc cannons. 

THEY WERE NOT STITCHED TROUSERS.

 


Oh, I am absolutely certain you would find them quite fetching on that innkeeper you are "chatting up", but out here they are a total embarrassment. Me, a Dawnweaver, wearing clothing meant for a boudoir, fighting the Burning Legion!


 

I assure you that I would fight the Scourge naked and to my last breath if I had to, but this is an unthinkable breach in protocol. 

I was totally embarrassed when I presented
myself to the Ranger Captain of Falcon Watch.
I'll get that goblin if it's the last thing I do.
 

I do have the honor of bearing important news from the front. 

I was sent forth to engage a Fel Orc assassin camping out on the road to Falcon Watch, lying in wait to ambush our people, but when I arrived I found him already dead with an axe buried in his back. The design was quite primitive, but also quite effective. When I returned to Commander Nazgrel with the axe, he became all excited, exclaiming "Have we found them?" He then sent me forth to a shaman, who provided me with a totem to use at the site of the assassin's demise. The totem called forth an ancestral wolf spirit, who led me up into the hills.


There, I found Orcs.

Not Fel Orcs, or even Frostwolves, but Orcs who followed the ancient ways. Uncorrupted by the Legion.


The only reason I survived this encounter was due to the presence of the wolf spirit. Here, my knowledge of the Orcish language came to the forefront, as these Mag'har, as they call themselves, were extremely distrustful at my story. They knew of the Warchief's father, yet found it hard to believe that the clans who followed Thrall had thrown off their demonic yoke and lived peacefully in Azeroth. They provided me a missive to send back to Orgrimmar, and when I returned to Thrallmar with the letter, Nazgrel selected me for the honor of presenting it to the Warchief. 

Our parents would have been so proud if they were alive today to see it.


And our Warchief was overcome by the news that some of his people had survived without succumbing to the Burning Legion.






Thrall's advisor, Eitrigg, talked our Warchief out of abandoning his post for Outland, counseling caution as our enemies would take advantage of his absence. Eitrigg and Saurfang both have a good head on their shoulders, and they temper Thrall's enthusiasm with wisdom. 

Still, it was wonderful day to represent our people in this manner, Quintalan. 


 

When I returned to the Mag'har with Thrall's response, they provided me a fine reward, fitting for a Magistrix.


Be well, and I await your reply. Please make with all haste to join me here, as our people are desperately in need of a guiding light that you can provide.

Your loving sister, 

Nevelanthana


Friday, May 6, 2022

Is That the End of the Tunnel or...

You know you've been out of the loop when you find out a day late that Phase 5 of TBC Classic will drop next week.

My first thought was.... Really? Really?

I think I should have known Blizz would do something like this, but I'm still quite surprised that they're pushing this hard for TBC Classic to be over so quickly. 

The original length between TBC's release and Wrath's release was 22 months. If my belief that Wrath will drop in August is true, that means the Classic version between releases is 15 months, and the vast majority of that time was spent in Phase 1 and Phase 2. 

Losing 7 months because the "meta slaves", as one of my fellow Monday raiders put it, were able to stomp the previous content isn't a good way of managing the Classic environment. And Classic's problems aren't encapsulated by Blizz releasing things too slowly, but rather failing to handle balance issues between the huge population servers and the small population servers.

Myzrael-US is down 50% from the high point of September/October 2021, according to Ironforge's Classic WoW Population website, and while there's potentially a lot of causes to that, I know quite a few raiding guilds left for the larger population servers, shrinking the pool of available raiders*. Several people I know on Myz faded away from raiding and/or playing in general, and those I was able to keep in contact with did not say "gee, we're just spinning our wheels with the same raid on farm" as a reason for leaving. Far and away the largest reason for leaving TBC Classic was burnout from trying to chase the Meta as fast as possible, particularly when there's real life going on. 

It's as if Blizz and the proponents of the Meta are expecting everybody to chase a server World First all the time, and there's real life saying "Hey, remember me? Those bills won't pay themselves, and the family is expecting you to be around for things."

Perhaps that's the biggest mistake that the big players surrounding Classic have made: the expectation that people will be in a pandemic oriented and shut down world indefinitely, which did not happen.

I personally think this rush rush rush mode will blow up in the Classic team's faces, because people will get discouraged and stop raiding if they feel there's no chance of completing Sunwell before Wrath drops. When you throw that lighted match into the tinder of the arguments over the automated LFD tool, I think that the Classic team had better cool their jets and make sure they know what it is they're doing before they bow to the "rush rush rush + I'm bored" crowd. 

***

Well, there's certainly no reason for me to try to catch up now, even if I was able to miraculously get into a current raid and get every single drop in my favor --not damn likely given DKP and random rolls and whatever-- I'd still be behind on gear if Sunwell is available on next Thursday. So I'm just going to focus on doing whatever I want to do, and I guess that sometime in June or early July Karazhan will close up shop as the Meta crowd start prepping for what to do in Wrath.

I do know the Monday raid team isn't ready for Sunwell. They haven't cleared Hyjal and Black Temple, because they've been trying to catch up on gear just to get to the point of clearing both raids, and I have to believe they won't be the only team saying "Yeah, we're gonna take a pass on Sunwell for some weeks, Blizz. Nice try."



*And bodies for things such as Classic instance runs that are actual runs, not boosts.


Thursday, May 5, 2022

Don't Mess with the Magistrix

"I have nothing to declare except my genius."
--Oscar Wilde at the New York Custom House

 

In the middle of all of my internal drama, I missed one semi-important event.

Stylish gear courtesy of seventyupgrades.

I knew that once Neve made it to L60 I wanted to take her across the Dark Portal, but I also bowed to reality and that she was simply not going to get into a Classic instance even remotely close to her actual level.* That meant that I was going to have to use quest and/or crafted gear to get her ready for Outland, and so I spent considerably more time than I typically do to get Neve ready by leveling her Tailoring.

Thankfully, I knew which Runecloth crafted gear to make by having done this back in the day, but it was nice to have it confirmed courtesy of seventyupgrades.com. There's plenty of Fire and Frost centric Cloth gear I could craft, and in Neve's case I went strictly Frost. 

As ready as she'll ever be.

I also knew that her gear would get replaced fairly quickly, so I wanted to have a set that wouldn't take me a great amount of effort to create. Frostweave and Runecloth pieces came to the rescue, giving me the extra damage that I needed out of merely green gear to keep Neve alive for those first few quests.

When I crossed over to Outland, I caught myself heading to the Alliance side and sighed. Old habits and all that.

Walking like a boss, because Sindorei.

"Neve Dawnweaver reporting in, Sir."


Having dealt with the shenanigans that Garrosh and his ilk dumped on the Horde from a post-Wrathgate and post-Cataclysm Azeroth, it was nice to work with Horde who understood the value of hanging together against a common foe. And heading north instead of south along Hellfire Peninsula was a refreshing change of pace, too.

Not a dragonhawk, but they'll do.

Still, it was good to get Neve to Thrallmar and report in to Nazgrel. When "Advisor to Thrall" was a real thing. Nazgrel needs to lay off the Winterfall Firewater, however.

It feels good to be back.

While I wasn't planning on a Letters from Outland for Neve, I may yet do something along those lines.

Like my other toons, Neve has her own mind. And boy, does she have her opinions. Lots of opinions. My toons are gonna get me committed to an asylum if they keep it up.



*Sorry, I was NOT going to boost her. The cost involved for a brand new toon on a new faction was too high for me to even consider it, even though I have philosophical issues about doing that myself.


Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Remember How I Said 'It's not you, it's me?' Well...

I guess it says something about me that I get motivated to do something in an MMO when somebody else needs an assist. If it were purely a thing for me, such as working on Cardwyn toward L68 by not leaving Azeroth, I'd not be very diligent about it.* Likewise, just doing a daily here and there on Brig for a couple of gold has pretty much evaporated about a week after I settle into it, because... Well...

Pick One:

  • It doesn't hold my interest.
  • There's no relevant goal to strive for.
  • I did it already back in the day in Retail, so why do it again?
  • There's no directive from leadership saying I have to do something specific. (In which case I'll bitch and moan but still eventually do it.)

The most famous example I could give was that I was the only Mage on the AQ40 and Naxxramas raids that didn't have the Briarwood Reed trinket --although it was eventually superceded by Neltharion's Tear when the damn thing finally began to drop in Blackwing Lair-- and after a near brush with obtaining it once** I just kind of shrugged and said "if it drops, it drops". 

I was in a group run for something or another --maybe it was an UBRS run, maybe it was a BWL or Naxx run-- but the subject of the Briarwood Reed came up. Over the course of the conversation, I admitted I never got it. 

"Card," one of the other Mages replied incredulously, "You never got it?"

"Nope."

"Why not?"

"I just never spent any time hunting for it."

"Well, we need to fix that, and we'll get some runs together so you can get your Reed."

Since I really didn't care about whether I got the Reed or not I never personally followed up on that suggestion. And to be fair I think the other Mages forgot as well, so I conveniently let the matter drop.

But that's pretty much how it's gone for me; I might have some interest in doing some self improvement, but unless there's an external motivation involved, I'm not really concerned about this sort of thing long term.

Contrast this with my questing buddy, who I swear must spend a lot of her waking hours plotting out what her gear needs are going to be a Phase or two in advance. For example, when she found out that our Mage lead was going to respec to Fire she was positively giddy, because that meant she could go back to respeccing her Warlock to Fire Destro as well. 

***

I can stick with a goal if I bring an external motivation to bear on something, whether or not it was the smartest thing in the world to do. And once I get started on something with that external motivation, well, I kind of develop tunnel vision.

For example, my current interest in leveling Blacksmithing on Linna is solely driven by needing some gear so that I can bring her to what I'm informally calling Pallyzhan, which is a follow up to Bearazhan from two weeks ago,*** we're going to get an all-Paladin Karazhan run together. I told one of the Mages from the Classic team that if she brought her Pally, I'd bring mine.**** Using Blacksmithing to gear up kind of sucks as far as getting to max skill level is concerned, but at least I can get some okay-ish blue gear made so I won't suck too bad in instances.

But when I got together on the weekend with my questing buddy, she knew I had to get Linna geared up if I was going to make Pallyzhan. 

"So," she began [paraphrasing], "what do you need to get geared? We can run instances and get [one of our Monday raid tanks] to tank for us."

My "oh shit" fight or flight response kicked on in my body. I did not want to be the focus of attention, particularly when I saw people chain run instances for hours to get gear drops, and I was not about to drag anybody along just because I needed help gearing. I had a plan --okay, a very very poor plan-- but it was something I didn't have to ask people to drop what they were doing and help me when they'd rather do something else.

"Uh," I finally responded, "how about we just quest for one of your toons? There's enough overlap there that I'm sure it'll help me out."

I could almost hear her exasperation in the "Okay, fine" response she typed out.

We then went out questing --with me assisting her-- but throughout the evening I was restless. I felt like I'd let her down, and that my cancellation of Zul'Aman earlier that evening didn't exactly help matters any. But a big part of me wanted to tell the truth to her. That it was not about her or my refusal to accept help because I was "manning up" or something macho like that, or that I had to cancel Zul'Aman that night and I was upset with letting people down. Or even that it was even some misplaced pride on my part that I just had to do everything myself. 

It was that I feel like a fraud when the spotlight is on me, and that I hate hate hate it when I am the center of attention for any reason at all.***** If this was to help Linna get geared up, the spotlight would totally be on me, and my lack of gear and polish in playing a Ret Pally for the first time since roughly 2011 would be a total embarrassment to me and my friends.

***

I almost never talk about my job for good reason, but in an informal chat with my boss yesterday she heard my response to a question she posed and cut me off, saying that I have Imposter Syndrome.

"Oh," I replied. 

And then I looked up what she meant.

"Oh. Well... shit."

There is no formal diagnosis for Imposter Syndrome, because it's not officially recognized as a mental disorder, but it is loosely defined as "an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud. Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon do not believe they deserve their success or luck."#

Boy, did that sound familiar.

Do I think I have it? Well, let's just say when I first read it I thought so, but my mental gears instead switched to "that's a cop out for my real issues, which are not being very good at what I do."

And then I thought Waitaminute.

Yeah, like that.
From giphy.com.

I suppose it's nice to know that it's common enough a phenomenon that my boss --of all people-- pointed it out to me, but that doesn't make things easier for me. I began reading the "how to deal with it" on websites today and I had to keep telling myself to stop trying to talk myself out of even just reading about it.

If there was a truer way of understanding what is going on in my head, it's that.

***

So, what to do?

I owe my questing buddy a big apology for copping out on her like that on Saturday night, because I do need help. But I don't know how to ask for it --and, more importantly, accept it-- without wanting to crawl away and hide.

The more I've read on this, the more I realize just how screwed up this has impacted my life. Things that I've suspected suddenly came into crystal focus, and I can't believe I missed out on admitting it for so long. But if you'll notice, I kind of beat around the bush, even after editing this post a couple of times, because I still can't just come right out and just say it. 

And some things I likely will never mention to some people in my private life, because I've already gotten the impression that they don't really care or really understand.##

But... To borrow a line oft repeated in What About Bob?: 

Baby steps.



*For the record, Card is sitting at L65, about 1/5 of the way to L66, and grinding away at the Wintersaber Trainers reputation. She might make it to Exalted before she hits L66, but I'm not sure. I only get on her about 2-3 times a week, if that, so there's no guarantee for her to make it to L68 before Wrath drops if Wrath Classic drops before September.

**That was a very infamous UBRS run, when I wasn't paying attention to the drops while drinking and rebuffing and yes, the Reed actually dropped. This was back when I didn't look at BiS lists or anything of that sort, so I kind of eyeballed it and decided that it wasn't that much better than what I was carrying at the time, so I passed. The player who put the UBRS together went absolutely bananas and was constantly hounding me, whispering me "How could you pass on a BiS piece like that?" 

I was totally honest about it and that I told him I wasn't paying that close attention and just passed on it. 

"How could you not know what your BiS items are?"

When you don't play to acquire BiS items, I thought, but I didn't say in reply. I just repeated what I said and said that I wasn't paying attention, which was also true.

But nooo... The person wouldn't let it go, and pretty much told me I was a terrible player for not even doing the basics, and it was likely never going to drop for me again. 

Whatever. At least he got that last part right.


***Bearazhan was glorious. We got nine Druids together for the run with the sole "honorary Druid" being our Rogue, Lostinsleep. We nicknamed the group "Goldie Lost and the Nine Bears", and it certainly took some effort for the team to complete Karazhan, but with nine battle rezzes available it's amazing how unorthodox strategies work out. For the record: I watched a Twitch livestream of the raid, and listened in on Discord. I loved every minute of it.

 

****Oh crap, did that little statement blow up. On last week's Karazhan, I was checking with another player who was leveling a Paladin as to when she thought she'd be ready for Kara, and I mentioned that I knew we'd get at least 5 Paladins as "I'd talked to Exile and told him that if Raike [his wife] brings her Pally I'll bring mine."

There was dead silence for 5 seconds.

"Cardwyn? When did YOU level a Paladin?"

"Oh, uh, well... Since I wasn't doing much of anything..."

"What's their name?"

"Um... I have one on each faction, but the Horde one is pretty much a glorified bank alt right now, as he spends his time chatting up the Innkeeper in Falcon Watch."

"Okay, fine, don't tell us their name."

I figured if I did, I'd never have any peace as people would just add Linna to their Friends' list, and I'd rather there be a reveal later.

While this whole exchange went on, my questing buddy was enjoying every moment of it. I apparently stunned everybody by having this toon that nobody knew about, just flying under the radar. But once Pallyzhan happens, my cover will be blown and I won't be able to get onto Linna late on Monday raid nights on those days I can't sleep.


*****For raids, being a raid leader doesn't bother me, because I'm not a tank and therefore not in the spotlight.


#From Wikipedia, which did a better job of summarizing it than several other websites. Some of the websites overemphasized the "achievements" portion of the syndrome, which made me feel distictly uncomfortable.


##Which doesn't exactly help much, but there it is.


Monday, May 2, 2022

That Archimedes Moment

Last Saturday I had to cancel my Zul'Aman run due to a lack of a tank and two DPS. 

The Saturday before that we barely filled out a group, but we had two Warriors as the tanks, and one of the Warlocks was filled with green gear. 

Where did the people go?

Well, it seems that another guild that ours partners with on occasion --and some people on the other raid team (the 2x/week one) raid with on their alts-- has a pair of Zul'Aman raids on Sunday. And I discovered tonight while just messing around on Linna that quite a few guildies were in those ZA runs.

Sure, it could just be the Saturday night nature of the runs, but I'm also thinking it's the lure of a quick warbear try that is also pulling people away to those Sunday runs. Which is all the more ironic that if they were on their mains and in the Saturday ZA raid, we'd likely have been able to breeze through and get the warbear timer met.*

Once again, it's a lot about who you bring to the raids that determines success when you're talking about a raid that's not on farm.

So....

I think that my Zul'Aman adventures are going to be coming to an end fairly soon, because if I can't keep a Saturday evening ZA run going I'd rather not go back to the other raid, the Saturday afternoon ZA run, instead. I know my gear is kind of borderline, and I could go and use my accumulation of badges to get some better gear, but then I'd have to gem them and enchant them. And I'd still be stuck with the weapons I have, which aren't very good for Phase 4. As good as they were for Phase 1 raids over the pre-raid gear, they're even farther behind where they should be coming out of Black Temple and Hyjal. And I have no recourse except to run arenas, and.... No thanks. I'm not doing that treadmill. 

***

That leaves the Karazhan raid as the only raid I have. And it's now starting to become harder to get people to sign up for that raid too, as until we got an additional player at the last minute we were going to go with 9 people this past Friday. 

This raid is beginning to fall victim to the 2x/week raid team as well, as one of the people there is switching to a Resto Shaman spec and wanted to run Karazhan weekly to try to get the healing totem that drops off of Maiden. Since Karazhan is on a weekly lockout, he's getting people to show for his "limited scope" raid on Thursdays after their ZA runs, further cutting into the available pool of people. He could have come to my raid and we'd have accommodated his attempt by having him join right before Maiden, but... 

I knew this would eventually come, but my raiding days are about to be numbered. In a bizarre way it's a relief, but it still is annoying that there are these activities and they're being ignored while someone else says "Hey, let's do this!" and people flock to them. My questing buddy tells me that she's sure it's not because of me, but when I realized about the Sunday ZA's tonight, I think it is a matter of cliques and who hangs with who. And despite people saying "hey, we should run together", they don't show for the raids I sponsor; actions speak louder than words. 

Unlike Shintar's guild basically fading away in a death of a thousand paper cuts, this guild continues on. 

And I don't see any real reason to remain in it much longer.



*Yes, their mains are all Hyjal/Black Temple geared.


EtA: Corrected a grammar issue.