Sunday, June 6, 2021

On The Outside

It comes as no surprise that I've been busy these past seven days.

I finished all of the work surrounding graduations and moving on Sunday, and instead of logging onto Classic I promptly zonked out for about 13 hours. Waking up on early Monday, I said "oh crap" and resolved to start work immediately on leveling Briganaa.

So if you're looking for a report on how things were when the Dark Portal opened, you're in the wrong place. I've not set foot in Outland on any toon, but instead had a steady diet of leveling a Shaman. When the Dark Portal opened, I was in Hillsbrad, grinding gnolls and naga.

However, I was not unaware of things, because Guild Chat was all about the Dark Portal and what lay beyond. And about five minutes after the portal opened, I saw people in the /who in guild in Hellfire Ramparts. And then Blood Furnace.

And other instances.

I also saw the numerous requests for groups, and tons of "grats!" on leveling.

And I was still in an empty world, slogging away.

Yeah, it probably doesn't help that I was on
a 90s kick. And if you think Cake was
appropriate, you can guess what's coming later.


I will not lie. The FOMO --the Fear of Missing Out-- is very real.

And for those of us left behind, leveling Shamans, it remains real. 

It is hard to watch, so I decided to ignore the Guild Chat tab as much as I could from Monday onward. 

Every "Ding!", every gear drop post, every "Look at all the levels!", every "Isn't it great we're all leveling together!", all it served was to remind me that I was not there, where I wanted to be.

I even dropped Mage Chat, because it became too much.

All of it is unintentional, but it is also completely tone deaf.

And I am not the only one left behind who thinks that way.

I've chatted with a few of the others left behind, and they all have agreed that it is hard to watch, that the FOMO is real for them. And the occasional "gratz" thrown our way does absolutely nothing to ease the raw deal that we're under. 

 If you guessed Beck, you were correct.


The guild does have Shamans in Outland, by the way. 

Those who had a free couple of weeks were able to grind (or instance boost) their way to being Outland ready, and they're out with the rest, having fun.

But those of us who had real life, such as graduations, vacations, and whatnot, didn't have that luxury. 


That past week has taught me a few things about empathy.

First, that I'm glad that I was not greedy.

If I were a bit greedier about wanting to play Card, someone else would be in my place. And I sure as hell would not want that at all. It's bad enough to be here, but if I knew I sentenced someone else to doing this.... I would have a hard time dealing with the guilt.

Second, that you learn who your friends are.

I've had a few people reach out to me, checking in to see if I'm doing okay, and I'm grateful for that.* Those interactions mean a helluva lot more to me than every occasional "gratz" I got after a level. And I won't lie, in those 'Dark Night of the Soul' moments, they kept me going. 

I can't possibly begin to count how many times I've thought about quitting this past week; quitting the grind, quitting the lead position, quitting the guild, and either faction changing or quitting the game entirely. But at each critical juncture, there has been one person who reached out at exactly the right time to check in on me with more than just a "hey, gratz" but a "Hey, are you doing okay? You've been quiet and I wanted to check on you."

For those people, you kept me sane and kept me going. And for that I'm eternally grateful. And words can't express that enough.

Third, that if you feel like you've been left to your fate, reach out to the rest in the same situation and form your own bonds. Shared experience forges friendships and camaraderies like no other, and I've reached out to the rest of the leveling Shamans to keep everybody's spirits up, to keep people going. And the others have responded in kind. All of this has made me resolve that I am not going to leave anybody behind when I get to 60.


I suppose I ought to get this out now: I am NOT going to Outland at L58.

Back in 2009 I did that and bought the t-shirt. It did not end well; as even as a (then Holy) Paladin I was far too squishy for those first quests. And Hellfire Ramparts? Don't make me laugh. The only thing that saved me from double digit deaths was that the tank --the person who got me into WoW in the first place-- was already roughly 67-68 at the time (I think) and could easily handle all sorts of aggro. I'll be heading to Outland in meh --at best-- green gear with the occasional blue thrown in, and I'll need al the BC Clown Gear drops I can get.

And it goes without saying that if people start asking me to join Ramparts runs at L57, saying they'll port me over, no thanks. I'm doing this the right way, and that means L60 onward.

Furthermore, I'm not going to go the "spam instances until Honored and then go questing" route. I am going to do things my way in Outland, and that means questing until I need to go to an instance. Then I'll do the instance. I'll have gotten to L60 doing things my way, and I'm not going to change that.

Which reminds me, I ought to train riding. With the Ghost Wolf form, I haven't needed to train riding at all. Sure, it's only a 40% mount, but it's just enough to keep me from spending the gold on riding. And believe me, I need all the gold I can get. 


Brig sits at L48 as of this writing, and I've been shooting for 3 levels per day. (I've done 2 so far, so I'm going to login and get that last level soon.) So by the time the week is out, I ought to be at L60.

Catch ya on the flip side.

*I have insisted, however, that I not get any instance boosts. I need to learn to play my class, and that does absolutely nothing for me. Yesterday I was in a true at-level Razorfen Downs group, and a Zul'Farrak group that consisted of all at-level except for the tank, who was a friend of mine who isn't taking this toon to Outland until I reach it. So we were close enough in level that it wasn't a boost so much as an actual instance run with a really good tank; we were able to get a chance to use our abilities and work our way through them as much as we could.


  1. Oh Red... I get the FOMO (it's a thing even if you're in Outland and I just posted my own take on that) and I get using the blog to work through conflicting thoughts, but you sound so damn miserable already! I genuinely worry about you a bit, going from 0 to 100 with this whole guild thing.

    1. I believe your post --as well as a discussion I had with a friend or two the past couple of days-- highlight that FOMO can hit anyone in any way.

      And I will freely acknowledge that I chose this, because I felt that was the price of leading. Obviously not everybody may feel that way, but I do.

      But.... I do have opinions on how aggressive people want to be on raiding, and the raid schedule, and I am grateful that 25 person content on our team starts in late July. It's aggressive, but not Top Guild level aggressive. (I think the top guild on the server, Variance, has already finished Kara.) The other raid team is more so in their timeline, and I have concerns about that. But that's their raid, and I have no input there.

      But like I told Bhagpuss, they're overall a good group. It's the blind spots that miss things like what I'm dealing with. And I get why they're so vocal about it, because they want to be encouraging to people. But from my mind, it only serves to emphasize the rush to get to the end that Blizzard perfected in later expacs.

      It was not easy to write this post. I push myself because... well, I do. It's a fault in my nature. Stubbornness is another big fault of mine. And I've been chatting with an ex-guildie from Retail Orphans, and after I posted this he told me that he's amazed at how fast I've been leveling. "I've never seen anybody leveling as fast as you," he said.

      "I don't know about that, because I constantly feel like I'm behind," I replied.

      "Trust me, you are."

      But that's what FOMO does; it makes you think that no matter what you do, it isn't going well enough. And that's the killer.

    2. And I've been told that I've been around long enough that in spite of me only having officially joined recently, I've been considered an old hand for a while. Which for me, is pretty weird, because I try to keep my nose out of other people's business.

      But we'll see what this week brings. Maybe once everybody goes back to work --and there were a ton of people who went on vacation for this in our guild too-- things will change. There were a lot fewer people logged in this past Sunday than before, and I'd imagine that trend will continue once people begin to get more and more burned out.

    3. It's just that when I read things like "I can't possibly begin to count how many times I've thought about quitting this past week" or you classifying the desire to play your (old) main as "greedy" I can't help but think that nobody should feel that way at the launch of a new expansion, least of all someone in a casual guild on an RP server. Yes, accepting a leadership position includes making some sacrifices, but it shouldn't sound like that.

      How badly do you need that extra shaman anyway? What content currently in the game do you think you'll struggle with if you don't have one? And even if you do come up with a reason for that, why not just recruit someone, seeing how plenty of people are self-evidently enjoying levelling their new shamans? This just feels like a road to resentment and unhappiness...

      I don't really expect to change your mind here (nor do I necessarily want to), but imagine a friend of yours telling you that they're currently in the situation that you're describing for yourself here. What would you tell them?

    4. Yes, you're right, I suppose you should worry. And yeah, nobody should feel that way at the start of an expac. The guild isn't casual, that's for certain. It's not hardcore, either, and I'd say the most hardcore elements have migrated to the other raid. But the thing is, you're right in that even in semi-hardcore guilds people shouldn't feel that way. And while I'm more explicit in my vocalization, courtesy of the blog, I know I'm not alone.

      One of the pieces of feedback the guild got in a post-Classic survey among guild members was that there wasn't enough activities and support outside of the progression raid team. So, I'm not sure if this "rah rah" effort is the solution or not, but I'd hope that it's not.

      The entire leveling process is so incredibly daunting, even with the boost that Blizz gave to leveling from L20 to L60, that it's easy to just say "fuck it" and throw in the towel. To keep myself from getting too discouraged, I've broken my leveling up into bite sized goals. Like 3 levels a day. And I've kept to it, which has helped.

      But the thing is, my dismay is not just guild specific. The "You have to do XXX to get attuned properly in Outland" mentality that has pervaded all discussion surrounding TBC Classic on Wowhead and other places has sucked all of the joy out of experiencing something like this for the first time. I look at this and say "what are we playing for, anyway? Is this crap really fun, that you have to do X Y and Z in the right order enough times to get to where you want to go all about fun? Or is it all about just saying you got to the end and said 'WOO I MADE IT!'"

      I mean, Blizzard explicitly designed TBC to give people at level cap something to do while they worked on various raids and storylines. The min-maxing going on does not suddenly become license to say "You're doing it wrong, noob!" (Let me be perfectly clear that has not been done in guild. But I have seen some commentary like that in LFG. And that mentality --you HAVE to run dungeons until Honored and then you go questing or you're doing it wrong-- has poisoned my joy in wanting to experience the expac.

      Think of it this way: I grind to L60, and then I jump across the Dark Portal, and.... then I start grinding again. There is no stopping it. Unlike most everybody else who is already in Outland, they had a break in the grinding. The Left Behind Crew won't have had one.

      Yes, I should have phrased the "greedy" part more politely, but that's how I feel about it. Demanding that I play my way and telling someone else that they have to change comes across as being incredibly self centered from my perspective. Who would want to follow somebody who acted like that?

      As for the extra Shaman.... That's actually part of the problem. I can't speak about everything, since it's part of the raid lead stuff, but we were having major problems getting shamans on our raid. So my switching to Shaman fixed two problems at once: too many Mages and not enough Shamans. If there was a Ret Pally spot I could have filled that. Likewise if there was a Rogue spot. But the only obvious spot was something completely new, and I volunteered to take the challenge on.

      But as for your last question, I'd tell them that they have to take a day off. At least. And talk to someone they trust in leadership. Will I do that? I'm going to take a day or two off once I get to L60. As for the talk to leadership.... I don't know. I've thought about it, but I also don't want to come across as a whiner. And believe me, if presented wrong that can be the case. Even more than that, I've been growing concerned about the FOMO that you've been experiencing is also in our guild, that people will keep going because they're afraid of missing out until they burn out and.... That's that. But all I've got is this feeling, and I can't bring it to someone without concrete data.

  2. Reading posts like this reminds why I was always at best ambivalent about guilds. The entire concept is problematic in so many ways. I hope it works out for you in the end but it seems like a lot to put yourself through just for a video game.

    On abrighter note, I'd completely forgotten that Cake track so thanks for reminding me. And Beck... I know he's written a lot of highly respected tunes since "Loser" but I can't but think of him as one of those somewhat unfortunate people who debuted with the best song they'd ever write.

    1. Okay, before I talk about the rest of the comment, I just had to say that yes, Beck is one of those musicians who had that sort of bad (?) luck. And the Grammy he won a few years ago was simply a make up for the fact that Odelay didn't win back then.

      I was trying to think of who else might qualify for this. Considering their entire output was at a high level, you could make the argument for Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit too.

    2. Guilds are a lot like companies or any other organization. As long as people are involved, they're not gonna be perfect.

      And it takes effort to improve things. You have to have somebody telling people "hey, this works for many, but not all" and to try to make it right. For all the struggle the past week, they're still a good group overall. They just have their blind spots, just like anyone else.

  3. Oh no! I haven't logged into Classic for a while, got kind of bummed by how slow I was going. If I'd thought to login I could have introduced Kit to your Shaman but I just left her in Tanaris at level 46.

    I used to try so hard to find a guild that was a good fit but finally gave up along about the end of Wrath. I just spent my time making potions and stuff for the guild bank and hearing on the weekends about what everyone did all week after I logged out.

    I'm sure there were old lady guilds who played eastern daytime but I gave up looking so I know what you mean about FOMO.


    1. Believe it or not, but I'm not the oldest person in the guild. It's close, but I'm not. So yes, there are guilds out there that have people "our" age out there.

      And yeah, I know what you mean about finding a guild that's a good fit. Well, you already know my history with guilds, so no need to hash over that, but yeah, we both know where we're coming from, Ancient.

      And you'll still have a chance to meet Brig! You know that as well as I that I'll stop by just to say hello!

  4. I definitely know how you feel. I wasn’t (and still am not) even semi hardcore but the first run through TBC back in the day, I rolled a blood elf to play with a friend who was horde and all my characters were alliance. By the time I got to Outland it was pretty old news. This time I said no way, and brought my level 60 (also a mage though).

    With that said, I can at least offer that in the long run it all ends up the same. And you are much further along at this point than I was a week in the first time. Hang in there, it will be worth it.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Archey! And yeah, in the long run we'll all end up in the same place, but the process of getting there is never fun. At least the 5-6 of us have that shared experience to fall back on.