Old Familiar Beast
It feels very much like the honeymoon is now over as far as my return to World of Warcraft. Each time I have come back there has been something that ultimately drove me back away. When I came back before the launch of Pandaria, it was the “failed state” feel of the guild and how the once shared guild ethics seemed to have vanished. When I left last April, it was in part due to the fact that two factions of the guild quite literally hated each other, and it caused this giant rift right down the middle. Last night it felt like a brand new yet very familiar Maelstrom was opening, and I essentially supported it. One of the ideological things I have fought for years was the creation of a “Raider” rank in the guild, that granted special access to the guild banks. I hate the concept of a rank that can in any way be used to say that “this person” is better than “that person”. The problem is as a former raid leader myself I can see that it is entirely logistically needed.
Last night I helped to set one of these ranks up, and immediately after doing it I started to question my sanity. This only served to be reinforced later as a new acquisition to the guild started asking questions about how to get into the raid. This is going to be something that comes up over and over, especially now that there is a very noticeable raid rank. The problem is don’t have any good answers to give them. There is no path to follow to get into raiding, because House Stalwart is not a raid guild. Maybe it is moot at this point but I keep saying that over and over. I never wanted it to become “just another raid guild” because it used to be more than just a group of folks who mutually benefited from one another. It used to be this awesome extended family, and while pockets of that still exist… it feels like that era is just gone.
All of this was compounded by the fact that at the very same time there was an incident that happened over voice chat, about someone potentially being muted that reminded me all too clearly of why I have left in the past. I have always despised the concept of the haves and have nots. I’ve always been someone who cared more about attitude and personality than skill, but by the same token this is what has held me back in my own raiding endeavors. If you want to be successful you do have to erect some barriers saying you have to be this tall to ride this ride. I just can’t bring myself to be the person to do that. I’ve never been able to decide that this group of friends is more important to our success than this group of friends. I just want everyone to get along and treat each other with some basic human dignity, but that always seems to be impossible. So last night underscored for me with a big bold line that if House Stalwart is going to be successful moving forward, I need to make sure I never permanently take back the crown. If I do I will started trying to make the guild a much more egalitarian place again, and tie a boat anchor around what was successful last expansion.
That said things are not as dire as I might make them out to be. The same raiders that need to be super serious to break the raid, are the ones that were grabbing anyone and their brother trying to make sure they got heirloom weapons for leveling. So while the bar has to be set pretty high to make sure things are successful, I have a feeling that once the current tier of raid content gets on farm status… those same barriers will start to break down as we have folks that can carry the others to victory. I just know that the guild was more successful than it has probably ever been during Pandaria as far as raid content clearing, and I need to stay out of the way of whatever mojo is required to return us to that status. I know that is going to involve a lot of things that fundamentally make me uncomfortable as a human being. I do however have faith that the raid core knows what it is doing, but I also feel like our fearless raid leader is stressed beyond boundaries. We have some fundamental problems… like too many melee and tanks… and far too few ranged and healers… but I feel like that will all be sorted as things move forward.
Sit Down, Shut Up, Enjoy the Ride
If I am going to stay in World of Warcraft for this expansion I am going to have to make some fundamental changes in who I am as a player. Right now I feel too much responsibility for the happiness of others in the House Stalwart World of Warcraft guild. It has been my baby for years, and I have nurtured it as such during all of that time… constantly trying to keep an influx of new and awesome people flowing through its doors. The thing is… before the launch of Warlords of Draenor I freely gave up the crown, as I have done multiple times since Cataclysm. I need to realize this means I am no longer in charge, and also by the same token no longer responsible for whatever happens in guild. Last night Rylacus passed the crown to me, but also gave me a speech that he really thinks it is best if I give it right back. Ry doesn’t care a bout the power, he just wants to keep me in game and happy as long as he can, because he knows each time I start taking responsibility for the happenings of all of these people… I burn out and run away screaming into the night. I need to also allow myself to be absolved of the guilt that comes from giving up that crown.
There is a thing I do really well, and that thing is acting as the guild cheerleader and chief recruiter. I am always going to be trying to find awesome and interesting people to draft into my family, because ultimately that is precisely what a guild is to me… a big extended and sometimes contorted family. It is joked that I have a white panel van full of candy, and drive around abducting people into our guilds… and more or less that is precisely what I do. I have always done it for World of Warcraft, and I currently do it for Final Fantasy XIV… for a guild there that I have NEVER been the leader of. I feel like I never much cared about actually directing the people once I got them, my focus has always been on the acquisition of more of them… hoping that the rest would sort itself out in the meantime. The problem is… just because I am friends with two people… doesn’t mean that they will be friends. Basically at this point if I am going to be happy in World of Warcraft, I need to be the friendly voice in guild chat and let other people worry about the minutiae. I hope that House Stalwart can remain mostly the same place it has been since launch, but I expect we are going to go through some rough times until folks realize fully… that this is not a raid guild, and raid membership is not guaranteed.