I have been formulating some kind of response for some time since I read Vidyala’s post on her blog. At the time of reading, there were no comments posted yet, and now there are thirty-three (soon to be thirty-four). I got something out of it that other commentators in her blog dialogue didn’t seem to touch on, so this is purely, squarely, my opinion: I believe what she was writing about is a bigger issue than recruitment or guild rankings, but like most things in life, how we view ourselves in terms of being successful, or failures, and how it affects us. My tendency is to start quoting Joan Didion’s essay On Self Respect, but for the love of Pete, will give it a rest.
It’s no secret to my friends and guildies that I am pretty hard on myself a lot of the time. Each time we slipped down a rank or failed to achieve a kill, it felt like a personal failure of mine. Why was I unable to keep those guildies from losing interest in the game? Why couldn’t I retain these members who’d been with us since ICC? Why didn’t we get that kill? Why didn’t we achieve this within a “reasonable time frame” (as measured by other guilds’ accomplishments?)
The big problem for me personally is a saturation of information. Twitter and blogs allow us to be connected to fellow players more than ever before. Heck, I have Twitter on all day long and when I’m not home I have it on my phone. Thus I’m in a position to see messages come rolling in like, “Just killed x boss,” or “Finished the entire raid!” and anything less than that feels like a personal failure. I actually think the raiding community is a lot smaller than we think it is. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of “coincidences” in the form of raiders joining our guild who used to raid together, or people leaving to join another guild that someone else is in who I am personally acquainted with. I think it’s more than just coincidence, it’s the fact that our pond is actually a lot smaller than we think it is. Which is part of the “too much information” syndrome.
It is absolutely true we are inundated with media and information: there is nothing to be done for it now, except for one thing, (one thing which has always been true), and that is to define our personal successes for ourselves. There is so much happiness and joy in her post about her memories of her time with her guildmates and playing, and that is truly, (not to be maudlin or cliche), what it’s about. The young druid I know may have accomplished all that Firelands Heroic mode had to offer, yet left the guild that was controlling, unfriendly, and anxious. Teasing out accomplishments versus personal satisfaction is not easy, and often the two are intertwined inextricably. Bands break up. (Say what you will, but John Lennon seemed pretty happy with Yoko.) Guild rosters change. People move, friendships fade. We all have touchstones, crossroads, where we have to redefine who we are and what we want. Filtering out the overload of other’s choices, successes, and pathways is important.
It read to me that Vid was in the process of mourning those changes, and just needed time to do so. Vid–be gentle on yourself. Keep your standards and expectations, for sure. I know a woman in her 50s who keeps a list on her refridgerator with the most important qualities she wants in a mate. On this list are words like “kindness, responsible, and she wants to talk to them as much as they want to talk to her.” Big, vague concepts, but I know she’ll know it when she sees it. (I wish her luck, by the way.) But those moments do happen, and you will find and create a new way of play that suits you to a “T,” and I don’t even think you need luck. Keep us posted on your journey, because for me, that is what I like about you most of all–your ideas and insights. If there was a guild ranking for that, you’d be top of the list.