Good Game

1 Oct

I had always imagined that the first time that I cried around my boyfriend would be because of a particularly sad scene in a movie that we were watching or maybe because of a truly heartwarming gift that he would buy me for my birthday or for Christmas.

I never dreamt that the first time that I cried around my boyfriend would be because of World of Warcraft.

It happened last night, after I called to rant about how much I was frustrated with the leveling process, how I felt like my guild had backpedaled on their initial expectations on when they wanted us to be raid ready, how I hated the prospect of having to do a seemingly overwhelming amount of dailies to get ahead, how I felt like leveling had turned into a competition to see who could hit level 90 in the most unhealthy way possible, and how I felt like Blizzard was being hypocritical by saying that they wanted to make raiding more accessible to people, while still creating even more hoops for people to jump through in order to prove just that.

Once I got all of that out of my system, I grew quiet and stared up at the ceiling.  He waited patiently on the other end of the phone, thinking that I still had more to say.  My eyes began to dart around the room, making sure that I didn’t focus on one spot for too long, because I knew what would happen if I did.  I could feel my chin quivering and the emotional dam inside my head starting to break.  Don’t cry. Don’t cry.

“I don’t love raiding anymore,” I said through tears.

I know it sounds silly to cry over a computer game and I told the boyfriend as much.  But raiding is something that I have truly loved to do for a long time.  I have compared my relationship to World of Warcraft and more specifically raiding to being in a relationship with an actual person and having to say that I no longer loved the one thing that keeps me going and the one thing that keeps me playing hurt about as much as realizing that the person you have spent years of your life with you no longer love anymore. 

If I loved raiding, I would gladly take time off of work to be raid ready.  If I loved to raid, I wouldn’t mind using my last vacation day of the year to spend it leveling and doing dailies.  I wouldn’t mind losing sleep, or temporarily putting off plans, because I would be doing those things for something that I love to do.  But I don’t love the idea of it anymore, so those things are turning into an imposition and they are turning into things that I’m starting to resent having to do.

I think another reason that I broke down at the fact that I didn’t enjoy raiding anymore is because for a long time I have felt like raiding was the one thing that I was good at.  Especially now, since I came back to Magic.  I’m not that good at Magic yet.  When I don’t do well at a Magic tournament, I can at least walk away from it knowing that I’m a Savior of Azeroth or that my guild finished in the top 300 of the United States, or that I am a competent priest that people turn to for advice.  If I didn’t have my raiding anymore, then I would have nothing to console myself with.  I would be just another player who performed poorly at a Magic event.  I would have nothing that I could turn to and say “Well, I’m not very good at this, but at least I am good at this.”

At least that’s what I thought, anyway.  As I dried my tears, the Boyfriend began reminding me about all the things that I am good at and that I could be good at anything I put my mind to.  I could turn all of the passion that I had for World of Warcraft and for raiding and put it towards something else and most likely see the same results.  He told me how smart I am and how I don’t need raiding to feel good about myself or to feel competent and that if he thought that I was that type of person, he never would have started dating me to begin with. 

That made me feel a little bit better.  I know he’s right, too.  So with that said, I think I’m going to tell my guild that I’m not going to raid anymore and take the demotion down to the social rank in the guild, provided they let me stick around at all.  And if they don’t, I am sure I can find someone on Twitter or in the community with a guild that will take me in as a casual member.  I can see myself doing some PVP in the future or maybe a fun raid with friends who just need a warm body to fill a spot.  But I think it is safe to say that my time as a serious, progression minded raider is over. 

It’s funny.  I had a conversation with a couple of people on Twitter yesterday about a custom in Magic the Gathering where your opponent tries to shake your hand after the round is over and says “Good game.”  I had mentioned how I felt that the practice was sort of condescending, mostly because it always seems like the winner is the person who puts out their hand first and that of course they are going to think it was a good game because they won. 

Then a friend pointed out to me that “Good game” is not to be taken literally and that often times the person feels that you genuinely put up a good fight or played well and that it deserves to be said and complimented on.   I didn’t even think of it that way. 

So in the future, when I think back on my time spent raiding and that I walked away from it all, I won’t be afraid to pat myself on the back and say “Good game.”

And it was.

Related Posts

  • Times Up (8)
    I had originally intended to make what Im about to say in this post a topic for conversation on the next episode of my new podcast, but I felt like it might feel better to get these words and thoug...
  • Pressure (14)
    I feel like if I were a boy I would be less worried about my performance in a game than if I were a girl.Let me explain.I feel like when a woman puts herself out there, wherever it may be in the ga...
  • Moving On (4)
    One of the things I have learned in all of my years of being single is that it is much easier for me to get over someone or to move on from them when I can hate them.I remember when I broke up with...

20 Responses to “Good Game”

  1. Iji #

    Wow. Sounds like blogging is your therapy.

    Hope you can still have fun in WoW despite your dislike of raiding. There’s plenty of other stuff to do. Especially now.

  2. Oestrus #

    Absolutely!

    It’s funny because in the past I would play solely to raid and to do what I needed to do to be able to raid. Now I’m having fun doing everything but! I’m really enjoying leveling to 90 and I would like to level a monk, if I could just decide on what race I want to make it.

    I’m still playing the game, just for very different reasons now.

  3. Jen #

    As long as you’re happy, it’s the right decision :) I got burnt out at the end of Cataclysm and it took me a while to realize that, even though server #2 guild and finally killing an end boss on heroic are nice to have… I’d rather have my free evenings. I forced myself to raid for 2 months after we killed Madness and I hated it; it was a relief to stop it and, even though getting demoted hurt a bit, I was still happier out of game. I’ve done casual raiding, I’ve done semi-hardcore, maybe it’s time for something new. (Pet battles? Challenge modes? Guild Wars 2? Knitting? Who knows!)

  4. Oestrus #

    I agree with what you said about having your evenings free again. Without sounding like I’m taking any parting shots at people who do raid, I was really disturbed by some of the people that were really killing themselves to hit 90 and now are killing themselves to be ready in what I feel is an unreasonable amount of time. I don’t think gaming for 20 hours straight without sleep or living off beef jerky and prayer is anything be proud of. That’s just not my scene anymore.

    I would love to be 90 and be raid ready in a couple of months or so, meaning that I could hold my own in a raid, if I had to. But I’m done killing myself over it and I’m done feeling bad about certain aspects of it. That’s fine for certain people and God bless ‘em, but not for me.

    Challenge Modes really interest me, but I need to find out if they’re cross server or not. If they’re not, I would need to find a realm with people on it that I could do them with.

  5. Lilitharien #

    Girl, you know you’re always welcome in my neck of the woods. Maybe it’s time for you to stick a toe into RPing! ;)

  6. Oestrus #

    Oh, my. You know I used to LARP, right? It wouldn’t be that much of a stretch. I would just need to figure out what race or class I could see myself role-playing. I think I would be a badass plate wearer of some type. Maybe a DK or warrior. I could pull that off, no?

  7. Andy #

    Your boyfriend is definitely right – the skills you’ve learned from top-tier raiding most likely are transferrable in many ways, some probably quite unexpected. You can be that successful in other areas, for sure.

    As to not wanting to kill yourself over raiding any more, I see strong parallels with how a lot of people grow up from 18 to 30: early on, it’s great to be out til 4am partying etc. but as you get older you find it takes its toll, that you have other things (career, relationship, family) needing your time and energy, until eventually you just don’t want to do it any more.

  8. Oestrus #

    Hi Andy,

    I can definitely see myself getting better at Magic by putting all the time and passion that I did into World of Warcraft into that. In fact, that’s probably where I’m going to choose to focus my energy next. Maybe that’s the reason that I was starting to plateau in Magic and that I wasn’t getting over that hump between casual and competitive play – I was too busy trying to juggle two hobbies, one of which I didn’t enjoy anymore.

    In terms of what you said about growing up and having different priorities, I can relate a lot to that. The problem is that I don’t want to sound like I’m saying that you can’t have all of those things (e.g. a relationship, a career) and still put all of the time in that’s necessary to raid and to be prepared to raid. There are some people that can do all of those things and do them well. I just didn’t feel like I was one of them and I also didn’t want to do them anymore, which mattered the most.

    You’re right, though, I’m definitely different at 29 than I was when I was raiding in Vanilla. I think everyone is.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  9. caerphoto #

    I guess above all it’s a question of balancing the time/effort investment against the reward, and it seems that for you, the reward of being in a top raiding guild and potentially getting world/server firsts is no longer enough. One thing I have been wondering is ‘why?’ – why don’t you love it as much as you used to?

    Personally I’ve never been in a top raiding guild (not even close!) and I started playing the game too late in life to want to devote the required time to it, but I find pleasure in ‘slower’ things like photography and hiking – things I can take my time with and pretty much spend the rest of my life getting better at :D

  10. Oestrus #

    Well, I was never in a world first guild, and I never wanted to be. My guild closed out Cataclysm in the top 300 of the United States and I was very happy with that. No complaints, whatsoever.

    In terms of why I don’t love raiding anymore, it’s hard to put my finger on the exact reason or reasons, but it really boils down to loving what you do and having passion for it.

    I don’t.

    I don’t want it bad enough. I don’t feel the time invested in it gives me the same reward or the same feeling of accomplishment. I don’t look at it and think “God, I love to do this.” I don’t miss it. I don’t think about it all the time. Those are signs that I’m doing something I love to do and they’re not there anymore. I can’t really give you any more than that.

  11. Slim #

    It’s interesting to me that (or at least it seems to me that) you feel like raiding has to be a hardcore, progression minded thing, or else super-casual fill-in as a warm body every once in a rare while.

    Sounds to me like taking your time to level and gear is a good thing, and while you’re doing that and your old raid team is off slaying dragons, contemplate whether you miss it. If I were to guess, I’d bet that you miss the camaraderie that comes with being part of a raid team, but not the constant pressure, as though raiding is your job. Raiding (as all things in WoW, and any game in general) should be fun, you know? That’s why we’re here after all.

    I work in a high pressure, high stress industry (commercial construction), and I don’t have room in my life to add more stress. What mature adult does? But I raid with a group of nine other people, all of us ranging in age between early 20s to late 30s. We have fun with it, down the bosses we can, work on the ones we can’t, never point fingers. Generally our only arguments over loot are, “Oh, it’s good for me, but it’s a bigger upgrade for you. You take it.” “Oh, but I got something off the last boss, you take it.” Our raid leader calls us Loot Martyrs. We raid two nights a week during progression, for three hours each.

    I greatly look forward to those nights.

    With the start of Mists, our Raid team agreed we’d start raiding “when we’re ready.” There is no hard and fast deadline. We’ll give everyone two weeks’ notice when the first raid night will start.

    If you’re good at raiding and you derive satisfaction from that… why give it up? Just find a group of people that will let you enjoy it more on your terms. I can well imagine there are plenty of groups out there that would love to have a competent healer added to the mix. And my sense is that you’d probably be a blast to raid with. I’d give you a raid spot just to hear you talk in vent :)

    So, long story short – absolutely you need to do what’s best for you. Glad you’ve figured it out. Now, it’s just a matter of figuring out what “what’s best” actually is.

  12. Slim #

    Aaaand – I just realized in clicking through links I thought you were someone else. So some of those statements at the very end (implying that I knew you – since I don’t) might be wonky. The overall message, though, remains the same. :)

  13. Oestrus #

    I guess now I have to ask the obvious question of “Who did you think I was?”

  14. Slim #

    Heh – since I clicked through a link in an email from a twitter update from Olivia Grace (one of the few twitter-y people I follow), I assumed you were she. The name of the blog did nothing to disabuse me of the notion.

    Turns out, she re-tweeted the link to this blog.

    I’m not very good with the twitters, it turns out.

  15. Oestrus #

    Ha! There’s only one “O.”

    I guess I should be flattered. There are worse people I could be mistaken for and Lord knows I have been.

  16. Bravetank #

    You definitely don’t need raiding to feel good about yourself – from everything I read about you you have so much you are good at you’re rather intimidating (but in a nice way!). Your boyfriend sounds very wise too :) People on Twitter would love to have you in their guild I’m sure. And I really should stay away from your blog- every time I’m here & you mention Magic The Gathering I get all excited & think I want to give it a go. Sounds so so good. But I can’t- I mustn’t- I have no time for yet another thing I will become obsessed over . But the temptation remains!

    Good luck in getting the perfect WoW balance so that it is everything you want it to be and demands nothing more of you than you are willing to give.

  17. Madwand #

    I loved raiding as well. Played the game only because of it actually…so when Cataclysm ruined the raiding game for me, I quit. I know it’s only a game, but it was a very hard decision. It’s nice that you managed to find something else to keep you interested and entertained. I’m quite envious. :)

    Good luck!

  18. Jeromai #

    Your boyfriend is a wise man. Your story resonates with me quite a bit. I too once stuck my ego to my accomplishments in an online game, and it was really hard to tear myself away from the super-competent self-image I had created around the avatar and “humble” myself once more. It was the right thing to do though, I had grown to hate the game and some of the people and was logging on out of sheer habit.

    Sometimes things you once enjoyed can turn into a chore and obligation. Maybe over-familiarity. Maybe something changed. Maybe it just happened and there’s no real explanation.

    There is no shame or regret in putting it down and saying, “Not right now” and changing focus to something else that is more interesting or enjoyable. You can always go back to it again if the passion reignites. (Funnily enough, you may not want to after you’ve moved on. But it’s a helpful thing for me to think in order to. :) )

  19. Trevor Murdock #

    I’ve stopped being bothered when someone wins and says good game when I was flooded or something. I can’t bring myself to agree, but I find that if I simply say “thanks for the games” and shake the hand I’m much better off.

    I also like to use “thanks for the games” instead of “good game” when the tables are turned and I win because of a harsh mulligan or top-deck or something.

    I agree with you that “good game” should be reserved for actual games that were fun and seemed like they could have gone either way, but letting it bother you (and especially trying to convince your opponent to share that opinion) is only going to tilt you.

  20. KarenL (@Aleveria) #

    Gawd do I understand this. I almost broke my pinky when I fell into a ballista and had to use my hearthstone. (hitting the keyboard). I’ve cried too – the most recent is when I finished the questline in Krarasang Wilds with Sunwalker Dezco & his pregnant wife.

    *sob*

Leave a Reply