Year End Wall of Text

Over the last few days I have been doing a number of posts to review the year that is ending, and with today being the last day of 2018…  I thought I would probably do another one. This time however it is probably going to downshift considerably and get into personal territory.  It was an odd year for me specifically and quite frankly… not an amazing one. My world had been fairly hectic and as a result it has trickled down to effecting how I view this blog and the games I end up playing.

This was the year that I took over as Manager of my section at work being comprised of three different subject areas.  That means that on any given day I am responsible for roughly fifteen other lives, not to mention a handful of individuals that may not actually report to me but regularly seek advisement.  Now this is something I have steadily moved towards over the last decade, but even with that… I am not sure I was quite prepared for the stress level increase.

I am now accountable not only for the actions of myself, or previously the actions of the handful of application developers…  but also the actions of a whole bunch of people that I am significantly less integrated with. So this year has been in large part about me getting accustomed to this role and learning everything I can about the roles of everyone that was not a traditional developer before the transition.

We also had a pretty significant shake up position wise and saw me having to go on a hiring spree in which I filled several positions.  As is the case with hiring there is a certain trickle effect where… someone higher up leaves, and you promote someone into that position…  which leaves another vacancy and so on. This meant for what felt like six months I was doing interviews… which is weirdly more tiring than you might think.  The positive is that I got to promote a lot of great people who were waiting in the wings… and also hire several more awesome people in the process.

It is weird how much leading guilds in MMORPGs prepared me for this role, and in truth I wish we lived in a world where that was more recognizable as valid experience.  Had I not lead guilds and raids there is no way I would have had the people skills required to make the transition work at all. If you can convince 20-40 strangers to do something…  then you can convince 10-15 people you can actually sit in the same room with to make the changes needed that have actual tangible benefits to their lives.

On the gaming front however 2018 was a pretty lonely year for me, and I found myself withdrawing further and further away from anything resembling organized play.  I think part of this comes from the fact that by the time I got home… I was “over socialized” from having to be responsible for so many other people. Another part of this comes from the fact that things that happened in 2016 and 2017 were starting to really affect me in 2018.

For years I had been in the habit of hanging out every night on voice chat with the various members of the AggroChat community, be it either the other five members of the podcast or the various folks that surrounded it.  When the podcast started it was made up of 4 members that lived in the EST timezone and myself and another that lived in CST. That meant at worst we were an hour apart and pretty drift compatible as it comes to gaming together.

For years I was used to getting up at 5:30 in the morning and going to bed around midnight.  However with the way my life has changed that is just no longer sustainable. Now as the night wears on I start to wind down around 9-9:30 and play for thirty minutes or so on my phone before falling asleep around 10ish.  So that alone has greatly lowered my window of viability from having about five hours each night to do things in… to a much shorter three hour window.

Starting in 2015 a change happened…  slowly at first but it built over time.  It began with the migration westward of Tamrielo to Seattle, and before long Kodra had accepted what seemed to be his dream job and joined him.  A little bit after that Ashgar migrated as well because he had the functionality to work remotely from pretty much anywhere. Before I even really grasped the ramifications, half of our show was located on the West Coast and as such two hours behind me.

What this meant in practice is all too often they were showing up to play games…  at roughly the same time I was trying to disengage for the night. For a long while this was okayish, because I still had Thalen and Grace to hang out with, but I found myself spending less and less time in voice chat, because there was nothing more depressing than an empty server… or in our case a server with a ghost of Kodra on it because he never logs out of anything.  

Grace and I did more and more together because we seemed to usually be playing the same games.  However this year Thalen and Grace both had life changing events alter their play schedules and as such I am sort of now the odd man out as it were.  So I am left with this decision… do I just accept that I am a single player gamer or do I invest the social capitol that it takes to branch out and find new groups of people to play with?  Because of the draining nature of my work changes… the answer has generally been that I just sit alone and figure out things to do that don’t actually require other people to do them.

This is not a cry for help mind you, because there are a constant string of awesome people who keep inviting me to do things with them.  Squirrel and Waren are always offering assistance on the Destiny 2 front, and I have a list of people that I could be doing stuff with in Monster Hunter World as well.  Similarly the Final Fantasy XIV free company is super active and all it would take is for me to show up on the right nights to get back engaged with doing lots of things with them.  The problem is… all of these things take a number of “spoons” that I generally do not have in my drawer.

Two Thousand and Eighteen was a year when I felt completely out of sync with everything going on around me.  I am hoping that Two Thousand and Nineteen can see me finding ways to remedy that. Since tomorrow is New Years I am likely going to call it a holiday and not make post, but Wednesday I will return with a post about some of the ways I am hoping to change my current situation.  The last few years have been rough, and I am hoping in this next year some things start to turn around. Sorry for ending the year on a bit of a bummer post… but I sorta had to write what was in my mind.  As not to end the post on a complete downturn…  this year was also the year I got back into contact with a good friend of mine from High School so that was definitely in the wins column.

4 thoughts on “Year End Wall of Text

  1. It’s rather interesting how 2018 has seemed to be the year that has changed people’s gaming atmospheres. I found myself in the situation where I again lost another static/FC in FFXIV and was distancing myself from the guild I’ve been in for ages in WoW. Just too much stress and not enough fun people around.

    I’ve lost a few gaming buddies this year which has made me feel more alone than ever aswell. Luckily for me a few friends are back into World of Warcraft and I have a few buddies in FFXIV. Yet I feel like I lost my gaming home last year and can’t say I’ve recovered yet. It’s made me a rather lonely gamer so I can totally relate to what you’re going through.

    Let’s hope 2019 gets better.

  2. Very interesting post and comments. I’ve thought about this a fair bit, too. In my peak years of social gaming, between around 2000 and 2007, most if not all of my work was back-of-house and a lot of it was either solitary or in the company of just one or two people. That must have contributed strongly to my desire to gabble away non-stop in groups, guilds and chat channels for several hours every night.

    Then various things changed and I moved into a primarily customer-facing role, which these days is often close to 100% conversational. I spend four days a week (I only work four days and I’d work less if I could manage it) talking to literally scores of different people, the huge majority of whom I never see again. I’m required to be, and generally enjoy being, chatty and available to anyone who wants me for seven hours at a stretch and by the time I get home I’m pretty much socialized out. I’m a “balanced” personality type according to the usual tests which means, among other things, that I neither gain nor lose energy from social interaction. I can take it or leave it, inn other words, and after a whole day of it I’m generally as happy to leave as take.

    I do wonder what will happen when i retire, assuming I’m still playing these games then and that the games are still there to play. I can imagine the idea of logging in and chatting away to a bunch of people I know only via guild membership might seem a lot more attractive then than it does now. These things do change along with the other factors in life so I wouldn’t worry too much about it.
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  3. I feel all of this too. Though, in some ways, your 2018 was my 2016-2017. I was thrust into a position leading/managing 25+ people where before I was only leading 6. I was also doing both my job and my manager’s job on top of that. I was worn out, my health suffered, my friendships suffered… everything. Then the middle of last year I got a promotion to my own branch but actually went from 25+ people to 10 people. There were…a lot of issues coming into it but my energy came back some as did my health. I have hired 8 people since starting this position (a lot of issues in my new setting that needed dealing with and have a really good team now.

    Unfortunately, I still haven’t recovered from last year where my friendships are concerned. My real life gaming group has become something of a hit and miss thing that may or may not meet every two weeks. My other gaming group completely fell apart. I am so drained from “socializing” after managing my staff all day that I just don’t have the energy to try and be social when I get home. I do my best with Sarah because I love her and I enjoy spending time with her but even then I am so tired sometimes from…just… TALKING so much during the day.

    I’ve mostly been a solo gamer since I left WOW and FFXIV the first time… and the idea of trying to put the energy into a new guild just exhausts me. I was part of a lone wolf guild in Destiny 2 for awhile and will likely go back to that since… well, 90% of voice chat I hear when I turn it on is terrible and makes me feel dirty even being on the same server as some of those people.

    I need a new gaming group that gets together and actually games. I’m to the point where I’m doing a monthly gaming day at the library just to get a contact buzz. My first one is this upcoming saturday all day. I’ll be doing some lecture/talking/Q&A about gaming around 11-12 and then have open tables for the rest of the day (I’ll be running some zombiecide myself cause it’s easy and fun).

  4. I’ve been ruminating on a post about finding a “tribe” but never quite get it sorted in my head well enough to type it out. My last tight “tribe” was in vanilla WoW where I was in a guild that gathered pretty much every night and chatted and laughed and had great times. It was the kind of guild where you’d say hello to guild members’ kids when they came into the room because you knew what they’d been up to from chatting with their parents. Like parent would have to go AFK for a few and pre-teen kid would put on the headset and chat.

    For me the struggle, aside from the usual introvert issues (and the fact I’m often kind of an asshat), is that I’m a nearly-60 year old console gamer and there aren’t a ton of us! I’ve joined some “Adult Gamer” communities but usually that means 25+ or something. And then they tend to be all-male and fairly misogynist-leaning.

    Fortunately I do have an out-of-game tribe that I get along well with on social media. I’m thinking more and more about getting back into PC gaming just to be able to game with people who are closer to my peers. (Thanks to your Parsec recommendation that could be happening soon!)

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