Monday, June 14, 2010

When Making an Easy Choice Becomes Hard

Life is an experience throughout which we make a series of choices that alter and shape present and future experiences. Yeah, I know, not the best description of life, but it'll do for today.

Blizzard recently announced some changes they're making for Cataclysm, Wowhead had a nice writeup on it here. I've seen various opinions on the changes, especially those related to Path of the Titans and the Guild changes. Frankly, I don't care what they do with guilds, it won't really affect how or why I play the game or what my in game activities will be. I'll still pretty much do whatever I want, and if it helps the guild then fine and if not then fine. Yep, I'm not a controversial wanker regarding any guild changes in Cataclysm. I don't say crap just to get a rise out of people no matter the motive. I speak my mind and am truthful about my perspectives.

The changes to Path of the Titans doesn't surprise me, namely the removal of it. I was wary of this feature from the beginning as I felt that there is no real way for a class to venture from the "best spec for X" because there will always be the theorycrafters telling us what gems to use and what glyphs to insert and what spell rotation is the ONLY rotation for maxing out DPS. For as much as I respect and appreciate these incredibly smart people, for they are the ones that I turned to when wanting to learn how to optimize my performance, I feel that my behavior has only fed the theorycrafting machine.

I think I was ignorant of the long-term effects of my reliance on these min/maxing experts. I didn't realize that when I started searching the web for help on weapon enchants or talents that there were guild and raid leaders ready to use this knowledge as a benchmark for admittance into their organization/party. I didn't know when I started searching out the theorycrafting knowledge that it would mean that I wouldn't have a choice to apply my talents as I wanted if I wanted to be among the raiding class. Sure, if I really did "whatever I wanted" and didn't care about competitive raiding or pvp just solo work nobody would care what talents I have. But thanks to people a lot smarter than myself, we all have to concern ourselves with the "best" of this or that.

My fear was that Path of the Titans would further that dependence on theorycrafting, as certainly those elite mathmaticians would devise the "best path" for me and my chosen main spec. Blizzard, I feel, had the right intention of wanting to provide people with a way to be different while sharing the same class and spec as your next door neighbor. In theory it was a good idea, but in practice I think it would have deepened our dependency on the theorycrafter. So I'm glad it's out, it wasn't what draws me to Cataclysm anyway.

I don't know if these were difficult choices for Blizzard. My guess is they weren't necessarily easy. But we're all faced with choices as Cataclysm approaches. To burn from 80-85 and start raiding by the first weekend or to level one ore more new alts and see the new world? To join a guild and stay with them or to experiment with being guildless as the maverick you are? To be a serious raider or a casual player who does this and that but has no one end-game focus? To keep playing or to stop, since what's the point now that Arthas is dead?

I myself am faced with a difficult choice of something that is easy to decide as well. I've talked before here about my disability, I'm not afraid to say I have a bad back. Not bad as in "yeah, my back hurts sometimes, it can really bother me. No, mine is bad as in "I can barely hold down a job because of the pain" bad. My guild has been growing lately, and we've started to do more stuff. We can now fill a weekly 25 man and we have 3 10 man groups, working on a 4th.

I was in the original guild when all of this started, so I've been here from only having 6-7 people in the guild to a full raiding guild. I've worked very hard to become an outstanding Restoration Shaman, even though my first and true love is with Enhancement. I've sacrificed in the best interest of the group and it's paid off, my 10-man group is progressed farther than any in the guild and it feels good.


You know when a group of people get together and say "Hey, let's do X", but you don't want to? It's not because you don't have time or don't like the people, but there are other circumstances that you just don't feel comfortable sharing in front of everyone like "Can't tonight, guys, I've got syphilis tonight boys, can't play with ya'lls." That's both uncomfortable and private, right?

The peer pressure can be great in a guild, especially when there are 25 people online, 24 are in ICC and asking the one that isn't "Why can you be online but not with us? What's the difference?" Could you be able to stand firm in the face of such pressure? Surely your guild-mates will be talking about you in vent and about how you don't want to help the guild progress. Or maybe they don't say anything overt, but are passive aggressive towards you and your situation.

Simply put, my pain cannot allow me to raid more than twice a week...AT MOST...yet my guild is wanting me to committ to 4 nights a week. Do I need to quit the guild now because the terms of being a part of the guild are different than from when I joined? And since those terms are terms I never agreed to am I stuck with the new rules regardless, which necessitates my departure?

There's a lot more to it, and I won't take much more of your time today. But I know I have to speak up tonight and am terrified to do it. I want to be in a guild, but I can't fulfill the new "unwritten" rules. It'll hurt the guild too because I am one of the best three healers AND dps in our entire guild (yes I get to DPS sometimes). But is the choice of whether I stay or go not mine to make but the GM? Yes, I know I can choose to leave at any time, but I don't want to. I also don't want to raid 4 nights a week, it's just too much.

PotT out = not all that bad
Guild changes = whatever
Back pain = bad
Stay in guild = no idea
Explain my situation and not have it gossiped about behind my back = impossible
What Should be an Easy choice (health comes first) = Hard


LarĂ­sa said...

Good luck on the conversation you're about to have with your GM. You know you have to do it and I really hope and believe it will go well. You're grown-up enough to handle this. The question is if he/she is. If they can't understand and respect your wishes to raid not more then 2 times a week, they're just not the guild for you and it's time that your ways will part. Since you're obviously good at what you're doing, I'm convinced that you'll be able to find a guild with a lighter raiding schedule (which not necessarily equals with a "bad guild", mind you! The blogger Too many Annas recently downed LK and they only raid one night a week!).

hugs and support from your innkeeper (and a toast as you come back after mission completed)

Eaten by a Grue said...

I honestly cannot see why you are even having the slightest trepidation over this. You want to raid twice per week only. More than that is not an option. Explain this. What are they going to do, kick you out of the guild?

Also, you dramatically overestimate how much other people will discuss this. Pretty much nobody cares too much about what other people do, unless there are broken promises and such involved. As long as you are honest about how many days a week you are committing for, it is highly unlikely anyone else will even mention it. As far as filling raid spots, that is their problem, not yours. If they want progression, they have to figure out the logistics. Filling spots has been an issue from day 1, and that is part of a guild's job. If they want to raid that day, they will have to figure it out.

Assert yourself and don't get pushed around. They need you more than you need them. There are lots of guilds in need of healers.

Gronthe said...

@ Larisa: I'm sure the conversation will go fine, mainly because I know what I need both in life and in-game. I am good at what I do, that being the case I'm sure the guild will fit me in to where I am able to go.

@ Eaten: The reason behind the trepidation is this; it's difficult to describe how my particular disability and pain affect not only what I can do but WHO I AM. I'm just not the person I used to be. I was an all-state athlete, supremely confident and talented. A singer and an actor who loved the spotlight. My life is changed, and I have changed, I worry about things more because I just have more time to overthink them. I won't say you don't understand, I'd rather say it's extremely difficult to explain how much my condition changes who I am.

That said, I know you are 100% right, I shouldn't worry. And you know what? I won't. I had more time to consider the situation since posting this and I feel much more confident about the situation. I appreciate what you said, though, so thanks!