Bad Concierge


Yesterday I failed miserably at making any sort of a post.  In truth by the time I had realized I had not logged in and created a blog post it was mid afternoon…  and figured I might as well just call it a day off.  First off this morning I feel like I probably need to update considering my Monday post.  I saw a Doctor Monday afternoon but good or bad the pain had subsided by that point.  The pain in whole lasted roughly 3 1/2 to 4 hours and without it being “acute” the only way they really had to diagnose things was some scans.  Their advice to me is that if the pain comes back at all…  go to the Emergency Room immediately.  Based on my description they thought it might have been either a kidney stone or my appendix…  since I still have one of those so in both cases something dangerous if I allow it to go unchecked.  While I was there however they also told me I had a pretty significant sinus infection and prescribed a round of antibiotics to help clear that up.  I had been coughing up a storm the last few weeks and apparently I actually had an infection to back that up.  The doctor suggested that I not return to work until Wednesday, to keep down the odds of me infecting someone else…  which I guess makes sense given this is a sort of work based free clinic thing that I went to.  So for the bulk of yesterday I chilled out while something cooked in the crockpot and piddled around in World of Warcraft while consuming Netflix/Amazon shows.


One of my favorite things about ElvUi is the AFK screen thing.  Not sure why it makes me happy to see it pop up and I have a directory littered with screenshots of my character sitting down while dancing on the side.  At this point I am level 52 on my newish Tauren Hunter and spending time in the greater Gadgetzan area.  In truth last night before logging for the evening I got the precursor quest to take me to Ungoro crater, so I will likely be heading there shortly.  Being fully decked out in Heirlooms makes the leveling experience really odd given that things rarely last long enough for my pet to even reach the target, let alone need any form of “tanking”.  This means that I am largely running a pet for the flavor of it rather than for the functionality.  Traditionally when I need a pet to be a barrier between me and the target I tend to favor bears…  however for the moment I am running around with a golden brown Owl I picked up somewhere in Feralas that I named Bubo.  The hunter is ridiculously relaxing which has been exactly the sort of thing I have been looking for lately.  One of the things I enjoy about hanging out in Facepull on the Horde side is that I can be a fly on the wall mostly, that interacts every so often but also has the room to simply not interact at all if the spirit doesn’t move me to communication.


I ended up going off on a twitter tear yesterday talking about guild leadership and being the person in the background that makes sure things are happening.  When I first started leading guilds…  I was very young and lacked any sort of responsibility apart from just showing up at work and making sure I was getting my tasks accomplished.  In fact when House Stalwart hit its stride about a year into the release of the game…  I was in quite possibly the worst job I have ever been in.  I had a horrible boss and felt like I had no control over my work environment, and as a result having a smooth running community to come home to and spend my evenings with was almost refreshing.  During this time my home life was in a bit of a disarray due to the large number of deaths that were occurring in the family, and Stalwart wound up being my stability that I so desperately needed.  As we entered Wrath of the Lich King I changed jobs and wound up in a much better place where I had a support structure and actually started taking on more responsibilities.  As such I found myself starting to back away from the same sort of things that I did during Vanilla and Burning Crusade and begin placing myself in more of a distant advisory role.  By the time Cataclysm launched I had moved up to being a Team Lead, and was responsible with juggling planning and task assignment, and similarly I found myself completely checking out of the guild leadership role and even going so far as to quit World of Warcraft when Rift released.  During that time I have shifted from Team Lead, to assumed supervisor, to actual supervisor… to now interim manager of three groups.  While I have kept trying to be the social glue for guilds…  by the time I get home I just have no social capital left to make things happen.

The truth is that every guild you have ever been in that felt active…  had one or more people behind the scenes making sure that things were going smoothly.  I used to have a motto among our officers that I wanted our actions felt but not necessarily seen, and so long as I had the focus it worked smoothly.  From Cataclysm on Stalwart has changed hands numerous times and as a result has kept going forward without me.  While now it takes a more raiding focus, it is still functional and still doing things.  However if you take away the people who are actively moving the ball forward… you end up with 30 people sitting in guild chat and nothing happening.  That has been the problem with so many of these guilds that I have formed as new games come out..  I don’t have the drive to be the cruise director anymore…  and while I gather up the people I don’t have the strength to actually do things with other people.  This was extremely noticed in the recent foray into Destiny 2 where I spent 99.9% of my time soloing, all the while people around me were trying to make things happen.  Guilds work when they have a concierge making sure needs are being met and I just cannot fill that position anymore.  I have transitioned to being one of the players that just wants to log in and have a good evening escaping whatever stresses piled up during the day.  The key difference for me at least is that I do most of this through solo play and am completely happy to piddle along with alts.  There are times that I miss big group activities…  like I wish we had beat Calus in Destiny 2, or I wish we had made a bigger push into Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood.  Then I sit back and think about the frustrations of having to remember to log in on time with all of the materials needed for raiding on a specific night of the week… and I question if I could ever go back to that.  So yes…  I play tons of MMOs as single player games and am mostly okay with that, and yes I realize I am doing it wrong.  I do like knowing people are out there in spite of me not being capable of actually interacting some evenings, so I will always seek out potential communities because someday…  maybe…  I might shift back out of whatever turtle mode I have been in for the last year.

Honeymoon Over

Old Familiar Beast

Wow-64 2014-11-30 17-23-06-55It 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.

Honeymoon Over

Wow-64 2014-11-29 00-11-32-89 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

Wow-64 2014-11-30 11-57-22-15 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.