Friday, March 4, 2011

A Wall of Text for Larisa

This is a story to Larisa of The Pink Pigtail Inn blog. She writes a lot of personal stuff about her adventures (drama?) in The World of Warcraft and recently she posted about some guild issues that seriously affected her pleasure in the game. Chances are that I don't have many readers (if any) and the few I might have probably read her blog already. But, I felt the need to write this for her. I think she would appreciate it.

Dear Larisa,

Living in an online world has proven...interesting for me. I kept a safe distance from online games for a long time, mostly because I grew up with pen and paper games and then solo box games. Mostly, I couldn't fathom paying a subscription every month of a single game when I was buying several a year for upwards of fifty bucks each. And not only paying every month, but also for the online connections? I thought these people were insane.

One day I began working with someone who was playing World of Warcraft and it was all he could talk about. We had computer access at work and every chance he had he was showing me the wiki pages for the lore in the game and screenshots. After a few months I finally broke down and accepted a guest pass from him and bought the game.

It changed my life.

All of my other hobbies were forgotten. I stopped buying other games. Soon enough I had deleted all of my current games from my computer. I even built a computer from scratch (with little knowledge of what I was doing) so that I could play the game on max settings.

I began playing a few weeks or so before Naxxramas first appeared in the game and shortly after The Burning Crusade was released I was raiding. It was small guild that was built from veteran players who were trying to go from Karazhan to 25-mans so they made two groups of ten, hoping to merge them and pug the rest if they needed to. The guild broke within weeks of me joining but my group (Group Two) formed a new guild. We rarely did a 25-man run, but we learned to really love Karazhan. We had a lot of fun in the Gnome Pawn Cartel. Got to know each other really well.

But we had some issues. We wanted to do those 25-mans regularly. I wasn't confident of my abilities as the off-tank but rarely had the opportunity to really challenge myself as a main tank. My lack of confidence was noticed and other people were brought in when our maintank wanted to do dps instead. I did well enough, but I never felt I was as good as I could be.

Eventually this guild also disbanded. Many of the members either quit the game or changed servers.

I had raided with them for over a year and suddenly felt like something had been wrenched from inside of me. They were faceless friends but they were the only friends I had besides my own family.

And now I was alone. Guildless and friendless.

I soloed for a few weeks then joined another guild. This one actually put me through a test of sorts and I passed. Suddenly I felt good about my skills. I was upping my game because I was trying to impress strangers who had something I wanted, not just playing with friends. I was still off-tanking, but more than once I saved the raid from a wipe and it felt great.

Then they merged with another guild and no longer needed me.

Alone again.

I soloed Wrath of the Lich King.

I was lonely and took a lot of long breaks. Facerolled a few heorics towards the end of the expansion.

I finally joined another guild a few months before Cataclysm was released but I didn't raid with them. I just wanted to see some friendly chatter in my chat box.

I'm still playing a solo game, but I'm slowly getting to know some people in the guild...sort of. I've done some heroics but my confidence in group settings is low. I'm taking another break now.

See, that first raiding guild was special. We connected with each other. It felt like a second family. It may be my fault that I haven't invested emotionally in this new guild in all this time, but it takes a lot of energy. They have a core raid group and their own little group clicks and I don't want to force my way into those little circles. I especially don't want to hear anyone tell me I'm not good. I'm not ready to invest enough energy into the game to be good again, to get to know my character intimately again (Dear, Blizzard, stop making my toon a stranger to me, please).

The point of this wall of text?

To say that I am really greatful that you were able stay with your guild. You seem to be a sensitive and emotional person, like myself, and it hurts to have to start over. WoW may be fore friendly to solo players these days, but it still has a long way to go if it really wants to go in that direction. If you don't have friends to group with on a regular basis, it is a lonely game.

Good for you.

Thanks for sharing.