I am a 25-year-old human female with a big problem. Just a few years ago, I met who I thought was the love of my life. He lived across the fields, and his family and mine had a long-standing feud. That didn’t stop us from being together, though: we enlisted the help of the townspeople and other gallant strangers to help us convince our families we belonged together. Well, be careful what you wish for is all I can say now, because somehow we have been transported back in time, and not only are we married, but we live IN A BARN WITH NO PRIVACY WITH HIS PARENTS! He and his father spend their days pissing in the well, trapping animals, and making crude jokes about ‘animal husbandry.’ I can’t take it. My mother-in-law is awful, too: I don’t know if she’s been in the sherry (she says she’s “cooking”) or what her deal is, but she constantly criticizes me: my cooking, my clothes, the way I handle a pitchfork. She badgers me night and day about when I’m going to give her grandchildren. I’m not some brood mare! The only relief I have is when I sneak out and talk to other people in the compound. T.J., my husband, is getting suspicious. I want out, Matty. Help!
I wish I could help you: since you can get out of the barn once in awhile, make the best of it. Try to get to know some of the other females around the place, and make some supportive friends. Remember, there was a time you must have loved him, and he may be feeling the same frustrations you are (living with mom and dad at age 25 can’t be fun). Maybe it’s time you two took a vacation: I hear Elwynn Forest is lovely this time of year. In the meantime, maybe we can tweet the Devs and see if they can fix your situation. It strikes me as SUPER weird the four of you live in a barn: selfishly it takes me out of the narrative, and it was always all about me.
The patch everyone has been waiting for before the grand WoD expansion hits happens tomorrow. Everyone seems to excited. Everyone seems so curious. But I am feeling depressed — really depressed. Before Cataclysm launched I felt excited, and before Mists, too, and otherwise new patches also made me curious and anticipatory. Now I’m just really, really sad. It’s not that I don’t want to play in Draenor: I’ve played in the Beta and it is breathtaking. What the hell is wrong with me? So many things are disappearing, so many achievements are being washed away, and I feel like an abject failure. Please ease my heart.
Underachiever in Undercity
Sweet, sweet friend — I receive many letters but yours hit me hard. I was sitting here reading some of my friends’ posts, and feeling so forlorn and sad, too. Did anyone accomplish all of the achievement points that are disappearing with this patch? Perhaps someone did. It breaks my heart, and I too, feel silly for even caring about achievement points that are being burned to ash with the patch. My friend Navi was writing about it, and she wrote about things I wasn’t even aware of. WoW Insider wrote about it, calling it the “night before” but to me, it doesn’t feel like Christmas, but more like Nightmare Before Christmas when Jack the Pumpkin King gives you snakes that eat your tress and bullet-ridden ducks. (Not nice, Jack, though you mean well.)
I feel like once again I wasted time, hit my head against a player’s wall, and got nothing done or worth showing. None of what i accomplished will count for anything tomorrow morning.
I know I shouldn’t respond when I’m feeling this way, that you are looking for someone to cheer you one, not just be a miserable commiserating partner. I will say this: I think about friends who have had to take long breaks in play, and when things change or they have time, they come right back to Azeroth and start kicking ass and taking names, and damn the torpedoes and achievement points.
Maybe we need to take page from Jack’s playbook: we are who we are. We are the Pumpkin Kings, and we rule over the worlds we create.
I am so very fortunate to be in a raid group comprised of amazing players and players found through Open Raid – it’s been a regular thing, and many of us still need heirlooms and of course, the Ahead of the Curve wolf pony. Unfortunately, my ranged character, who normally does an amazing job when flying solo, gets so bogged down in a 25-man, and does shamefully. I would say that I was distracted by the Eastern-block accent player who sounded like he was eating his microphone and crackers at the same time, he was so difficult to understand. But I can’t be shaken so easily that I reach to turn down his mic every time he comes on Vent that I miss the Desecrated Weapon or the Wolf Rider takes my cookies, can I? I think I just get so nervous when something is important to everyone that I choke. I can hear it subtly in the leaders’ voices (including Mr. Moscow Muncher) that they are frustrated that some of us less experienced players are not pulling the damage we need to, not moving fast enough, and making stupid errors. I don’t want to be “that guy,” so what should I do?
Damaged Driveshaft Deeps…
Oh, I completely understand. The other evening I brought in my warlock who’s got the gear, the tier, and the ‘tude, and all “she” brought was…nada. I reviewed one small fight, and she was way down the list:
Here is one clear truth I’ve learned ‘academically’ over the years of playing: you need to at least understand the mechanics–whether or not you ignore them, can ignore them, or not, is very much affected by the group dynamics, gear, and other attributable factors. But it’s been said so many times: know your class. Know the fights. I heard this story yesterday about a teenage boy from another country who came to buy a car–he was trading in his year-old BMW (full of trash) for a Shelby GT500. (His father was buying it for him.) He traded in his luxury car for this super fast muscle car, and he asked if he could drive it around the parking lot for awhile. You know why? It had a manual transmission, and he didn’t know how to drive it. I feel that way about Kellda sometimes: very powerful, but I don’t know how to fill up the gas tank.
Remember there is a wealth of information out there, and much of it is entertaining and engaging. I love when I’m in my car running errands and the Tappet Brothers on Car Talk. I heard they’re retiring this fall, and I’m going to really miss them. They are car geniuses, and I don’t use that word lightly. When I read Navimie might do live streaming to help out her guilds, I thought what a great idea!
But know too, there is nothing that replaces consistency and practice. And consistent practice. Just get in there, have fun, and do your best. Even the superstars lose sometime.
That is why I think we friends in the OLRG get along so well — we have the right mix of personalities to make it work. The Socializer (me), Explorer, Achiever, and Killer/Conqueror. We all have something positive to contribute, and it takes the mix to make it run well. When you get a chance, post your results – I’d love to know!
PS: There are many players who also “cheese” the meters. Before you get discouraged, look at their targets: if they are only on boss when they should be on adds, etc. they’re cheating cheeser-eaters.
This sounds so high school and petty, but the other month I learned that some of my Azerothian friends were talking about me, and not in very kind ways. Now I know how they really feel, and I’m left with the tough choice of losing out on everything we’ve been working toward: if we don’t get through Garrosh, I won’t get the wolf mount, and now new information has come out that the heirlooms are going away, too. Do I suck it up, keep my mouth shut, and stick with them though I know their opinions of me are negative? I thought they were cool, that they understood children, spouses, jobs, and other things come first. I know this is just a ‘game,’ but since it requires hours, communication, and dedication, I feel terrible. Matty, what should I do?
Distressed in Darnassus
Oh my dear, I totally understand. Your letter brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes I laugh to myself instead of a “days played” counter, we should have a ‘tears cried’ counter. As always, all I can do is share a personal story, and then you are free to choose your own path:
A few years ago, one of my closest friends told me what my new boss thought about me, that her first (and lasting to this day) impression is that I am “over-confident.” I have never confronted my boss about this directly, because I don’t want to betray my friend’s confidence. Some would think that it would have been better not to know what my boss thinks about me, but ultimately, it’s been my best defense. Even in a meeting this past week, her body language told me everything: she put both hands, palms down on the table, arms akimbo, and pushed her face forward and said, “Is there anything you think you CAN’T do right?” when I said one area on my evaluation was misjudged, and I brought mounds of evidence to support it. But I was not given the chance. Instead, I got teary and said, “Yes, there are many things I can’t do well, and many areas where I have seen I need to grow and learn.” Now, to be fair and full disclosure: I have said this many, many times. It goes unheard. I was an ART MAJOR for goodness sakes! One of my greatest skills, ironically, is knowing when something can be better, looking at things through a critical eye, and reflecting upon strengths and weaknesses. When I told this story to my book club friends this week, they immediately said, “Get out of there.” When someone is incapable of understanding you, your gifts, your contributions, and yes, weaknesses, and devalue you, it’s a terrible, intractable situation. Fortunately, I have many allies who do see me and my contributions for their worth, and my loyalties and focus are for them.
Of course–this over-thinking brings me back to her opinion. What is so bad about being “over-confident” anyway? Well, over-confidence means hubris, a blind eye to faults and mistakes. This is laughably not who I am. But it does bring up a subtext that is crazy: underlying sexism. I guarantee if I was male, that never would have been her assessment of me. But that is a battle for another day.
Ultimately, am I glad my friend told me what my boss thought about me? Yes–because without the truth, I would not find my resolve to continue to do the things well that I do, and work on the things I need to work on because they are the RIGHT THINGS TO DO. And I mean morally right, not “right” in that I never make mistakes, right from wrong. My boss is by her nature one of the most competitive persons I know, so much so this fixed personality trait has blinded her and made her sometimes an ineffectual leader. But there are others who have taken up that banner; that is not my fight. Am I honest with her? Yes. After I dry my tears. My kryptonite is confrontational people, but I’d rather deal with something head-on than being bitten by a snake in the grass.
You will have to decide: when you are victorious with the current group you’re with, and you look back on that victory tainted with the hurt and sadness, will it feel worthy? Or do you want to spend your time with good people who truly have your back, and are very open about when you need to work harder, or when you’ve done something right, and in both situations, cheer you on? Honesty is a double-edge sword though: if you want honesty from others, you must be honest, too. They will show their true colors when you take that risk, communicate, and try to resolve conflicts.