Posted tagged ‘guilds’

Almost a Decade: Reminiscing and Reflecting

July 5, 2014

For the Quest is achieved, and now all is over. I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.”
- Frodo (JRR Tolkien, The Return of the King)

Obviously, it’s not the end of all things. It’s not even really the end of WoW or raiding for me yet. But since the second my last raid ends, I’ll be unplugging my computer, putting it into a box and putting the box in my car to be driven to my storage unit, I’m getting my cheesy writing (or emotional exhibitionism, if you look at it like that) out of the way.

I do think of myself as mainly retired from raiding. I got my Herroic Garrosh kill. Even though it’s only on 10s (not that there’s anything wrong with 10s – I’m just a 25s raider), asking for anything more would just be greedy. Cadenza has resumed 25s raiding and there is a small chance we might get the 25s kill before I leave, but I try not to get my hopes up. Right now I’m just concentrating on enjoying my last month of modern conveniences and, as you’d have it, the last few weeks with the guild (and with Ben, Arielle and Ed – our incomplete yet still wonderful Challenge Mode team) have been some of the happiest in my WoW life.

On Twitter every now and again, you get the haters who whine about long winded people leaving the game. “Just shut and leave already!” They tweet and retweet over and over.

But you know what? This has been almost 10 years of my life. This has been almost one third of my life. And it’s my blog and I can do what I want on my blog. So I’m going to write and write about my last days of WoW and THERES NOTHING THE HATERS CAN DO ABOUT IT.

Where I was when I got sorta serious about WoW

I don’t remember that I’ve ever really written about it before, because it’s something that I don’t really like to write about (I’m goofy, happy writer not a sad, sad, sad one) but just before I got serious about WoW, I was struggling with an unexpected and totally disproportionate case of Reverse Culture Shock (or Return/Re-Entry/Own-Culture Shock – I don’t think it’s an official condition so it doesn’t have an official name or definition).

I had done a semester abroad at Humboldt State University, which is a hippy-ish school in the middle of California’s redwood forest. You wouldn’t think that California would be a huge culture shift for a French Canadian, but because the school was so isolated, some very tight knit communities formed within it and, for the first time of my life, I was part of one. There were about 30 of us who became family for a few months. We spent all our free time together, supported each other and became a very communal group of people. For someone who’s generally happiest alone, in a small room, with the door closed, discovering the joys of communal living and discovering that I actually liked it, were a huge revelation.

When I got back home to my small room, alone with the door closed, I couldn’t readjust. I hate self pity so I’ll spare you most of the gory details (most of them are pretty humiliating anyway) and insist on the parts that tie into WoW. The first was that the grief from losing my foreign student family made the reverse culture shock all that much harder. I usually handle loss pretty well (I am, after all, the girl who moves across the continent every few years) but that one, I couldn’t accept. The second was that for about two years, I fumbled around blindly, trying to find that feeling of community again.

I found scraps of it at the autism camp I started working at (just saying – when you’re lost and scared, there’s no better therapy than working at an autism camp), I found scraps of it with the new friends I made at my new university, I found scraps of it when I got accepted to pharmacy school. But I found a huge, freaking chunk of it with my first committed WoW guild, Whitefalcons.

The Whitefalcons/Red Tear Years

It’s funny how what you’re looking for tends to be found in the most unexpected places.

I was desperately trying to find that communal feeling at school since the first place I had experienced it was in a school setting. I was frustrated and discouraged that my forceful “WE ALL NEED TO BE FAMILY RIGHT NOW” wasn’t working. During my failures, however, I did meet a guy that I dated for a few months and I convinced him to start playing WoW.

Since that guy was far more outgoing than me, he found a guild that seemed like a happy place. I was mainly guildless (I did go through a few levelling guilds that I had zero attachments to – I can’t even remember their names) so I asked if I could join. They said yes and, to my greatest surprise, I really liked them.

I didn’t make the connection to my searching for community at the time, in fact, I didn’t even make the connection until I was writing this post in my head yesterday. Back then, I was dead set on finding a physical community, but in retrospect, my WoW guilds filled that gaping hole in my life, which kinda explains the extreme attachment I’ve had to certain guilds as well as my embarrassingly explosive reactions when things didn’t go the way I wanted.

Anyway, Whitefalcons was composed of a handful of guys (Vector, Scout, Webby, Amar, Bone, Noldor, Stony where those who were around most), most of whom were considerably older than me. Whitefalcons raided with another, larger guild, Red Tear, with whom they eventually merged. Since most of Red Tear was also about 15 years older than me and I was pretty young at the time, I cheerfully gained a lot of uncles. (And the few members who were close to me in age became dear friends.)

My very first raid was Gruuls and I’ve been hooked ever since. I was absolutely awful when I started. You know that healer in heroic 5s who shows up with mismatched healing and dps gear, some of which isn’t even intended for their class? That was me. I didn’t know anything about addons, stats (better gear just has more armor, right?) or rotations. I cringe so bad when I think of it.

They were patient with me. Jojo, the other holy pally, gently nudged me in the right direction. Scar-my-favorite-priesty-forever, whom I swear was a living WoW encyclopedia, patiently explained WoW truth after WoW truth to me. It was also Scar who educated me when I decided to explore tanking (exploration that did not lead to a very fruitful discovery). The rest of the guild humoured me as a I went from clueless n00b to super annoying know-it-all (“I READ IT ON A BLOG SO IT MUST BE TRUE AND ITS THE ONLY WAY TO DO THINGS OF COURSE” Yep. My shame haunts me to this day.)

Eventually I outgrew Red Tear’s patient raiding ways. I became so annoying that I started getting excluded from non-official raid activities (Me! The most dedicated and obsessive of all players! Why would they do such a thing, I don’t even!) and I realized that it was time to move on.

And here is the juicy story I’ve only ever hinted at on the blog (at least to my memory). The night I left, my supposed-to-be last official raid, I lost it. I mean, I really, really lost it.

I was hoping we’d do a fun 25s run, but a lot of people didn’t want to raid so we ended up downsizing to 10s. Now I know I can be dramatic. I was especially dramatic back then. But what happened shocked even me.

I just totally lost my shit. Freaked out. Panicked. Whispered people, begging them to… dammit, I don’t even remember what I was begging for. I /gquit and spent the rest of the night in some sobbing hazy mess.

It took like 6 years for me to make the connection, but my guess was that it triggered those Reverse Culture Shock and that huge grief feelings. I had found that communal feeling I had been aching for, and now that I had finally become more stable in my non-WoW life, I was putting myself through it all over again.

I’ve had very little contact with Red Tear since. There are a few people I’m still occasionally in touch with (I talked to Lala for a bit awhile ago, I participated in a set of group emails with a few people, I’m friends with some on Facebook, I had lunch with Vector last time I was in his city, Nunu stopped by the blog once to say hi and I’ve hung out with Scar a few times <33333 Scar.), but mostly I'm still too embarrassed about my meltdown to even consider having an alt in the guild. Even if, you know, I had time to have alts in guilds.

The Conquest Brohood (Where girls can be bros too)

After Red Tear, I moved to Conquest. They were a few steps up in terms of raiding seriousness and I was overjoyed at finally getting put in my place. I was learning all over again and, to my greatest joy (or maybe it was just relief), found that communal feeling again.

I feel that I don’t need to write too much about my time in Conquest since I’ve already pretty much written a collection of short stories on the topic. It’s called The Bossy Pally blog.

But like with Red Tear, I eventually moved in a different direction than the guild. Like with Red Tear, I tried to cling to the ripping seams holding me in. I got annoying again. Some of the more vocal guildies were, um, you know, vocal about my annoyness.

Because I was happy with the progression, I didn’t want to leave. But I was frustrated with the weakening leadership at the time. Not a slight against Matt, of course. I’ve been totally unfair to Matt over the years, for which I’m sincerely sorry. There were a lot of changes and a lot of sorting things out within the guild and I craved a tighter leash. I expressed it in all the wrong ways (again, embarrassing details which I will spare myself of telling).

So again, I left my communal family (which, by then, was not my communal family anymore), with slightly more dignity than I left Red Tear. And while I wasn’t as noisy as when leaving Red Tear, it was just as rough, if not more. With Red Tear, I lost my uncles, with Conquest, I lost my brothers. For months, when I’d think about my last few weeks in Conquest, rage would bubble up. It took every strand of my self control to not write explicit blog posts about it. (And if you’re wondering, I’m very happy now that I left most of it off the blog. When I eventually made peace, I was glad those bridges were still cross-able.)

The Team Sport Year

Around the time I left Conquest, I was at a pretty intense part of pharmacy school. I couldn’t handle the 2 am bedtimes 3 times a week so I figured I’d tone down the raiding. Thespius, who was a friend of Matt’s, heard about this and asked if I wanted to raid with his 10s guild.

The funny thing about Team Sport was that they were exactly the community I’d been looking for, but their raiding style was so different from mine that I never really got that attached. They were excellent people and really, really good friends with each other (with the exception of one guy who was super weird…his heart was in the right place, I think, but he was impossible to raid with), but they were mainly friends who also raided instead of raiders who had bonded over raiding. They did want to make the transition, but I don’t think they were in the right place in their lives (with families and other commitments) for it to work.

I learned two things about myself in Team Sport:

1- I’m a 25s raider through and through. Being as shy as I am, 10s are a huge treat for me. But that’s what they are – a treat. My main course has to be 25s, or I’m still hungry.
2- I can’t stand to “raid casually”. I tried it and it didn’t work. I need more pressure and more mental stimulation. And that’s why I can’t see myself really coming back to WoW after the Epic Journey. I might level and explore the game a bit, but there are other things I want to do with my life (like, you know, have kids or take evening lessons) and casual raiding just ain’t gonna happen.

Either because I wasn’t fully recovered from leaving Conquest or because I didn’t bond as deeply with my Team Sport guildies (although I still think they’re awesome people and I have 100% respect for them), leaving them for Occasional Excellence was, you know, pretty smooth by my standards.

The Occasional Excellence… 9 months?

Occasional Excellence crashed and burned, which is a shame because I had a lot of fun with them. I finally got the tight leash I wanted, I had lots of opportunities to get involved and the progression was fantastic.

It’s hard to say if I would have gotten in the same place of despair I was in when leaving Red Tear or Conquest. The guild fell apart as I was just starting to bond with my guildies. By then, though, I was in a way different place in my life. I’d accumulated a lot more losses, which had hardened me up. I had (finally) readjusted to being on my own all the time and didn’t feel a huge need for an internet family.

The rest I’ve written plenty about recently. I went to Conquest for a little bit. Planned on being a non-raider but hated non-raiding. Didn’t like the healing lead (and again, was a little frustrated with the leadership as whole. I’m far too masochistic for Conquest, I think.) so I looked elsewhere and found Cadenza.

The Last Year and Half

I always kinda write the same thing about Cadenza: that the progression is great, that the guild structure is completely different from anything I’ve ever experienced (or even heard about), that I didn’t form overly deep bonds with anyone (other than Ed, of course) and that the lack of emotional roller coasters was relaxing.

I’ve honestly tried to write more in depth (as can be seen by the huge pile of half written posts in my draft box), but I keep feeling like it’s not my story to tell. So I try to write as an observer (after all, if you’re unusually fascinated by small group dynamics or the study of microcultures like I am, Cadenza is a super interesting topic) but then I worry that I’ll say something disrespectful (Conquest was pretty much fair game since Matt was super public about a lot of things, including guild stuff. Kith, on the other hand, is probably the most private person I’ve ever met.) or that I’ll interpret an element totally wrong (I’m more worried about being ridiculous than offending anyone, but I’m nonetheless worried). And, you know, I still want to play with these people for a few more weeks!

I don’t know how I’ll react when I finally pull the plug. I mean, I know I won’t have a meltdown because I’ve learned to savor the present instead of aiming for stupid symbolic one-time moments. I know there I won’t be feeling any deep rooted resentment because, well, I’m not angry about anything and anger takes me a lot longer than 3 weeks to cultivate. I know I won’t be lost because I have really exciting things coming up (Epic Journey, yay!!).

I will be sad, for sure. I’ve come to really enjoy the company of a number of my guildies and I feel those slow grown friendships have a lot of potential. I’ll be hopeful that some of them will keep in touch. Then I’ll be thoughtful about how far I’ve come in 10 years from that clueless little girl who lost her exchange student friends.

And then I’ll probably be distracted (and stressed) by the mountains and mountains of work I’ll still have to do before tackling the Trans-Canada Highway.

A Last Unexpected Step

June 5, 2014

Exactly 3 weeks after I wrote my last post, this happened:

garroshkill

It was the guild’s 3rd kill. I didn’t participate in the 200ish learning wipes. It was a 10s raid…

I didn’t expect much of an impact at the end, but, because the game (or is it life?) never ceases to surprise me, I was hit in the face by a huge wave of feels when those achievements made my screen shiny.

As I happily watched the achievements fade, my guildies asked if I was going to write a blog post about it.

I said yes.

So here is a blog post.

Pandaria and the Road to Heroic Garrosh

Looking back, the way to Heroic Garrosh felt like…like a journey. (I think I may have journeys on the brain these days.) The first tier of the expansion was annoying. My first guild, Occasional Excellence, fell apart (or was blown up by it’s leaders – however you want to look at it) and I ran back to my on-again-off-again love, Conquest. I didn’t click with the healing lead they had at the time (understatement of the century) so I was both elated and terrified when I got a chance to trial for Cadenza.

I was lucky that holy pallies looked pretty good on logs at the time. I died a lot. I mean, a lot. Heart of Fear was full of those twitchy movement fights that make me panic and run into no-nos. But, to my greatest relief, they let me stay. So I played with Cadenza for the rest of the expansion – almost a year and a half.

A year and a half! I’ve spent more time in Cadenza now then I have in any guild, save for Red Tear (my very, very first raiding guild). Where did the time go?

You Want Stories?

My time in Cadenza was relatively uneventful too, when you compare it to my past experiences. But…

If you want funny stories, I had a little bit of drama with a resto druid who went out of her way to top meters. And I mean out of her way. From chasing me around to murder me on Ji-Kun and, to a lesser extend, Twin Consorts (to this day, I get this icky sick feeling in my stomach when I get close to Ji-Kun), to flirting with the guild leader to get loot/LFR runs/other privileges (I didn’t pay enough attention to see how well that worked out for her), to making us wait while she hearthed out to gem/reforge EVERY piece of gear she won, to life gripping melee who bothered her away from bosses. After the Ji-Kun thing, I got my revenge by dispelling her on Primordius when she’d steal puddles from the DPS. I got in trouble for it (because she was deranged enough to complain even though she was breaking the rules) and was super embarrassed at how I’d sunk to such childish levels. In retrospect, and now that I’m more comfortable in the guild, I find the whole thing pretty amusing and love telling the story.

If you want sappy stories, my copally and I started talking about pally stuff one night. Which led to conversations about Final Fantasy, Dragon Age, Mass Effect and other games. Which led to us to attempting challenge modes together with some other guildies. Which led to him inviting me to group on one of his PvE-server alts to phase me whenever I logged in (Tichondrius is a horrible, horrible place when you can’t defend yourself). Which eventually led to us thinking “where have you been all my life?” We’ve been officially together for almost a year now and still going strong. He’s even coming with me for the South East Asia portion of the Epic Journey. Past experiences had made me think that I couldn’t handle long distance relationships, but it’s been surprisingly easy. I guess what they say is true- it’s all about meeting the right person.

If you want meeting-guildies IRL stories – I did meet quite a few of my Cadenza guildies. I’d already met Logan, of course, from our Conquest days. But at Blizzcon, I got to hang out with him, Kith, Theck, Arg, Finwe, Kerrine (and ALL of them AT THE SAME TIME). Given how quiet and not friendly I am in guild, I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had with them. They all felt like people I’d be friends with if I were around them IRL, even if we didn’t all play the same video game. In April, the boy (we can call him Ed now) and I made another trip to California to meet Loriey and Twilightfang, then Cup and Chuggy, two other guild couples. Just like us, both couples had one American partner and one international partner so it was fun to share meeting stories and getting stuck at customs stories (poor Cup). (For a guild that rarely has girls – I was the only raiding girl in the guild for a big portion of my time there – we sure have a lot of couples.) We also got to hang out with Arg, Finwe and Corv throughout the week and, again, I felt like we’d been offline friends all our lives. When Ed and I went back to New Jersey, we hung out with Kith and Sang (though not both of them at the same), and again, super good times that ended way too soon. (Sang, however, probably had little idea who I was, having quit the game a few weeks after I joined but I’d heard so much about him that I begged Ed to introduce me.)

Back to Heroic Garrosh

When a lot of our team gave up and we resized to 10s, I figured my time was over. (My raid leader would probably scold me for having “no faith”.) But eventually, the main team killed it and I was offered a chance at my title.

I hadn’t played my pally in weeks. My keybinding were so far in my mind that during our re-clear, I once Bopped our tank instead of Saccing him (you know, old skool Rykga style). That whole re-clear was painful and scary. We spend hours trying to kill Spoils. I felt like it was all my fault since they did fine in past weeks when I wasn’t there. Some wipes were obviously my fault, like when I didn’t notice Seal of Insight wasn’t up, or when my power went out mid-fight, or when I made a wrong turn and ran right into bombs. I attributed the other wipes to my bad luck aura.

Eventually, late into our second night, we reached Heroic Garrosh. I think the last time I was that nervous before a fight was early in my Cadenza trial. My raid leader had gone over the strat (we use a 1 healer, 1 tank strat) and my cooldown timing with me earlier. I chose a Selfless Healer style (which, by the way, worked out really good for most of the fight), which I’m less comfortable with (WTF is judgement?) but that I eased into as the night went on.

Then it was classic Cadenza “push until your brain shuts down and then just keep going until your hands know the fight”. (It’s embarrassing to explain sometimes – at one point around 1 am, my raid leader called for a Devo Aura in a couple of seconds. As soon as I heard “Rykga” and “Devo Aura”, my finger just landed on the button. When I got scolded afterward, I was thinking “how do I explain the accident happened due to a post-brainshutdown response?)

I’d had a pretty long day (a pretty long week, actually), didn’t have a chance to eat between work and raid, and, unlike the rest of the guild, I didn’t have 200+ wipes under my belt. So I made mistakes. Most of the mistakes were execution (the actual healing and cooldown use was easier than you’d expect) although not having Selfless Healer quite mastered caused a few not-so-fun moments. The raid seemed to play good-cop-bad-cop with me – I’d get scolded by the raid leader and the rest of the raid would whisper me encouragements (this is how awesome my guildies are – my eyes get all prickly when think about it). And because I’m always a big nervewreck, and my level of nervewreckness skyrockets when I’m tired and hungry, my self talk was along the lines of “all these people are here to help you get this kill and you’re letting them down. If we don’t kill Garrosh, it’s ALL YOUR FAULT AND THEY WILL ALL HATE YOU FOREVER

When I finally crawled into bed after raid, I bawled like a baby for hours.

The Final Go

We were back again the next day. I pulled our healing lead aside for some pointers and pep talk before raid (he’d healed all the previous kills, so he knows.)

This time I was slightly better rested and slightly less hungry (I never seem to have time to eat and sleep these days. My clothes are getting baggy – there’s nothing like the “being worked to death” diet for one’s figure.) All the brainless wipes had also reinforced muscle memory. (Actually, one thing I discovered while raiding with Cadenza is that if you keep going when you’re exhausted and can’t handle it anymore, you might not perform well, but you learn. You learn very, very well.)

I was ready.

It still took awhile to get the kill, but most of the wipes had little, if anything, to do with me. I was determined and confident.

We started off the night wiping in the first phase. Then we wiped in Jade Temple. Then we wiped during the Whirl phase. Then we wiped during Empowered phase. Then, FINALLY, we made it to the last phase.

And then Heroic Garrosh died and I had one of those moments.

I spent the rest of the night celebrating with the guild in Vent. It was one the best evenings I’d spend with them. Usually raid ends late and I have to work the next day so I can’t stay and socialize. With the exception of those who I’ve met IRL, I barely knew my guildies at all. It was such a good time – they seemed genuinely happy for me and I was riding the high from the kill.

It felt more like a beginning than an end. Which is heartbreaking since the Epic Journey starts in August. I’m also not sure how much raiding I’ll get to do with them in July (we ARE started 25s again on June 27. I’m not sure if there are spots open but anyone who’s still reading and are thinking they might be interested in joining Cadenza, check with Agwyne, our guild and raid leader, on Tichondrius) since I work during a portion of raid time. But, for an ending, it’s certainly a happy one and I’ll think back on the past year and a half (and the last, what, 8? years of raiding) whenever I need some positive thoughts.

My mom and my non-gaming friends always ask me if I think I’d ever regret all the hours I spent on WoW.

The answer is “never“.

Rykga, Hellscream's Downfall says hi

Rykga, Hellscream’s Downfall says hi

On Epicness: A Personal Take

July 29, 2013

Every week, A Paladin’s Tale does a Monday Morning Breakfast Topic. I really enjoyed their latest topic: “Why ‘epic’ no longer means epic, & what the WoW Dev team could do to resolve the issue to bring back some meaning to gear.

I find this general fixation on loot/gear to be a fascinating phenomenon, mainly because it kinda goes over my practical, practical head. Kurn also recently wrote about how loot has lost its value (and when someone who doesn’t even play the game is writing long dissertations on a topic, you know it’s a good a topic), which triggered a reaction from me.

Here is my confused interpretation of our conversation:

Me: But gear matters! It took my guild months to get our first heroic Horridon kill! Now that we have gear, he just falls over. Gear still makes a difference.
Kurn: It does matter for killing things, but with upgrades and resets every patch, gear in itself doesn’t matter.
Me: THAT MAKES NO SENSE!

What is “Epic”?

I vaguely remember in Vanilla, I’d sometimes find myself in trouble and some level 60 would stop and help me. Sometimes they would have purples. I would draw the following conclusions:

- They have a lot of time to play the game (it took me over a year to reach max level the first time).
- They have a lot of friends.
- They got lucky with the RNG.

Then I would thank them, be on my way and totally forget about the encounter.

Apparently that is the wrong reaction. The correct reaction should have supposedly been awe. But I don’t understand why I should be awed by someone who plays a lot of video games, has friends and is lucky.

I am awed by people sometimes. People with strong personalities. People who are much smarter than me. People who work hard and don’t give up. But I can’t draw any connections between those traits and having fancy WoW gear.

A Paladin’s Tale argues that LFR and crafting (and even normal mode raiding) should reward rare/blue gear instead of epic/purple (a side note on crafting, though, I find the higher level craftable gear a gazillion times harder to make than merely killing a heroic raid boss). Me, I really don’t care either way. Blue, purple, they’re just colours. What matters are the stats on them, how well those stats are used and how much those stats will assist me with a boss kill.

So, what is epic to me?

Facets of the game art, maybe. I mean, some gear pieces do look badass. (This is coming from someone who’s never transmogged anything in her WoW life, ha!) But the only things in game that feel really “epic” to me have very little, if nothing, to do with players: huge mysterious dungeons, creative bad guys (and gals), brave heroes, and beautiful details that you only notice when you stop and look around (check out Katherinne’s blog to see some of WoW’s cool details spotlighted)

In my mind, then, those worthy of my awe were never the best geared players, but rather WoW’s art, story and encounter design teams.

Motivation beyond gear

Conversation, circa the end of Dragon Soul, with a few interpretive liberties:

Healing lead: Do you need anything off Dragonwing?
Me: I thought we already killed the last boss this expansion.
Healing lead: Yeah, but do you still need anything off it?
Me: Why would I need anything? We already killed the boss.
Healing lead: You don’t make sense.
Me: YOU DON’T MAKE SENSE.

An argument that A Paladin Tale brings up, and that comes up fairly often in other discussions around the topic, is that WoW centers around making your character as strong as possible and loot is kinda the only motivation toward that.

I suppose it shouldn’t have, but the idea of the game being strong-character centric actually surprised me. I’d never thought about it in that way before.

Originally, WoW for me was just an escape from reality and thinking. Tired of writing stupid papers for school? Go kill 10 wolves. With some music playing in the background. In my early raiding days, playing the game became a fun learning experience (I love learning. It’s one of my favorite hobbies. My goal in life to learn EVERYTHING.) and an activity to do with cool people. When I got more serious about raiding, the game became about teamwork and perfecting my WoW gaming skills.

If I make my character stronger, my end goal is never her strength. I want her strong so she can keep up with the team, I want her strong as a result of me discovering how to be a better player, I want her strong so we can see content faster. Without a team, without a kill and without learning experience, her strength is worthless. WORTHLESS.

While a lot of gamers cling to the outdated notion of “people are motivated by epic gear“, I personally think that Blizzard is frontward thinking by moving away from archaically using player hierarchy as the ultimate motivator. Concentrating on making the game intrinsically fun to play and investing in potential teamwork situations (also known as “fun things to do with friends and maybe strangers who aren’t annoying“) will make the game far more adapted to the kind of gamer we want to be around in MMOs.

Me and my gear

The other day, I was in a heroic. You know, just Denouncing my way to easy VP, when the hunter whispered me.

Hunter: Sick gear!
Me (very awkward): Thank you….
Hunter: Have you been raiding long?
Me (still very awkward): Kinda. I love to raid.

I love to raid. I wanted to insist on that. Love it, love it, love it. I find working on raid days very difficult because I’m so excited to get home and raid. The hours just crawl by. The gear… The gear is nothing. I don’t want people to look at my character and be all”OMG she has fancy ilvls!“. I’d far, far rather people look at me and say “Wow, she sure loves what she does.

Some nights are rough. Raids have me in tears pretty often (one of the many reasons I’ll never stream!) and I don’t mind. In the end, I think getting through those tough moments just makes the experience more rewarding.

I love feeling us learn a new fight, I love that satisfaction when we finally “get it right” but above all, I love the teamwork. Discovering who my teammates are as people, adapting to more…difficult personalities and, most of all, sharing ups and the downs with fellow gamers from all walks of life. It’s like magic.

And there’s no loot colour in the world that could be more epic to me than that.

Introducing *Paranoid*’s US Sister Guild, *Swords for Everyone*

April 19, 2012

Some of you may remember a post from awhile back, about a guild named Paranoid.

Originally written by D­öra

Paranoid is a guild for the socially awkward, the shy, the people who’d like to raid, but get a headache just thinking about all the things they could screw up. The people who type a message to someone who’s LFM in trade, then backspace, then type, backspace, type, stare at what they’ve written, backspace again and go quest on their own. And if they do press enter, they’re relieved if they get the reply: “Sorry, full.”

It’s been about a year, and I hear that Paranoid is still going strong, which makes me very happy.

I was also very happy to receive an email Paranoid’s GM, Mer, who had fantastic news for those of us socially anxious (and fabulous!) WoW players who live on the US side of the big pond: someone had taken the initiative to start an equivalent guild, on a US server!

Swords For Everyone was founded last week by Cantafrond on Wyrmrest Accord-US. In his words (taken from his recruitment post on MMO-Champion):

Anyone who has social anxiety (or a similar social disorder) who wants an understanding community to play WoW with. If you’re someone who:

– is terrified of public chat channels, including Vent (Mumble, Teamspeak, etc.)
– starts hyperventilating when a dungeon or BG queue pops
– has avoided large chunks of game content because of other players
– immediately logs off for the rest of the day (or week) after a wipe because you fear that it was your fault
– is nervous and sweaty just thinking about applying to this guild
– experiences any other irrational (but entirely understandable) anxiety because of interactions with other players

then you’re probably a perfect fit. There are no specific requirements to join, aside from a completed application.

I don’t play WoW much these days – with my real life, the rest of my gaming and my crazy work schedule, I barely manage my 7 hours of raiding a week, but I am really tempted to level an alt with them, if they’ll let me, if only for a little while.

Best wishes to Cantafrond and the rest of the crew at Swords for Everyone! It’s a wonderful to have a haven like that in our community, where everyone understands what it’s like. And from the enthusiastic chatter in the WoW forums recruitment thread, it seems like SfE is off to a great start!

If you’d like to join, you can post an application on the guild website or contact Cantafrond in game on Wyrmrest Accord.

If you live in the EU and would like to join Paranoid, you can do so via their guild website.

Hope to see many of you there!

And the Wheel Keeps Turning (Guild recruiters, please scroll to the bottom)

December 22, 2011

A year minus a couple of days ago I wrote a disgruntled-but-still-hoping post about my guild at the time and a few weeks later I gave up and left.

I joined Team Sport as a temporary fill-in between progression raiding guilds. They were aware of this and accepted it. But as I was starting to consider moving on, I decided I kinda liked these people. After I wrote “The 5 Traits I Want in a Leader“, I realized I described Team Sport’s leadership. And when several of my guildies decided they wanted to raid more progressively, I was excited about the project and jumped on board.

So now, nearly a year after I joined, I think we’ve made good progress as a raid team. Raids start on time, or very close to on time. Our pace is much faster (though not completely to my liking). Raid discussions occasionally interrupt the tumbleweed on the forums. And we have a few players who’ve discovered a love of raiding within themselves.

But a bit over a week ago, I realized that we’d gotten as good as we’re going to get. We have a team of good players, as in players who show up and do a good job. Their characters are gemmed and enchanted and we rarely have deaths due to standing in the fire. But for most of them, raiding isn’t a passion.

When I raid, I turn off my phone (unless I’m waiting for an important call, in which case I warn the team ahead of time). I tell friends/guys I’m dating/etc that I’m not available during raid hours. I want 100% of my focus to be on what I’m doing. Then after raids, I review logs and I want to talk about the night.

On Tuesday night, as we were waiting on some afkers in between wipes on Ozz’nozz, I wiped away my tears of frustration and gave my raid leader my two weeks notice.

It’s not about “good” style or “bad” style, it’s about “different” styles

Talking about our guild situation with black-and-white thinkers can be quite amusing. Going afk mid raid? That’s “bad”. Oh, but baby aggro involved? Then that’s “good”. Spouse aggro? Some say “good”, some say “bad”.

Me, I say I don’t have a spouse and I don’t have kids. I totally understand those who have to put their spouses and their kids before the raid. If I had a spouse and/or kids, I’d put them before my raid too. In fact, I would judge someone negatively if they were jerks to their families while playing a video game.

But I don’t have a spouse or kids. I‘m not ready to put other people in front of myself, thus I choose to be single and childless at this point in my life. It’s all about the social contract and I find myself wanting a social contract for other single and childless people.

It’s All About Soul

I love raiding. I had to put up a big fight at my job and negotiate to have raid nights off.

I look forward to my raids all day. I can’t wait to jump on the computer and get ready to go. I eagerly await my raid invite and let everybody know if I find it doesn’t come fast enough.

During raids, any interruption is a tragedy and, while necessary, breaks kind of annoy me. I pee before the raid, why doesn’t everyone else?

After a raid, I want to talk about it. I want to comb through the logs and find all the nitty gritties that’ll help me perform better next time.

If you suspect that I become impatient with those who don’t share my enthusiasm, you would be correct.

Now, that passion does waver. It’s usually dependent on what’s going on in my real life. When my real life was overloaded, I was so grateful to have a team who understood irregular schedules. I loved having a team that wouldn’t notice if I didn’t have time to study the boss fights before the raid. It was a relief to have frequent breaks to take care of real life stuff mid raid.

But, as soon as my real life stabilized, I found myself being deeply jealous of guild working hard modes. And of 25 man guilds. That’s when the cravings for something more took over.

I’ll miss the people

I’m so afraid that my guildies will read this post the wrong way. I really hope they don’t, because this is the first time I decide to move on from a guild with zero hard feelings towards anyone.

They were (are?) fantastic to be around. I couldn’t even say how often I’ve spit beer all over my keyboard from laughing too hard. The sports talk (and the subsequent discussions of the appropriateness of sports talk during raids), the serenades on vent, the guild cheers… I don’t think I’ll ever find a guild that comes close in term of atmosphere.

You can tell they really enjoy each others company, and care about each other as people. I remember one night, one of our players was having a really rough go. He asked to be sat, but the team refused. They wanted to be there for him and cheer him up, even if it meant wiping all night. It was terrible for progression, but so heartwarming that even I was moved.

Another memory… At Blizzcon I got cornered by The Feminists. (I describe myself as a feminist but I’m not well versed in the more scientific side of the movement and The Privilege still confuses me.) We got into a talk about guilds, they were telling me about how they had to reform their guilds to be more respectful toward women. I so proud to be able to tell them that my guild was already great when I joined and totally didn’t need any reforming. So proud.

All joking aside, I did really appreciate being treated as “one of the team”. Despite being the only girl in the guild at the time (over the course of the year, there have been a couple of wives/girlfriends and another girl who’ve logged in a few times and maybe did one raid with us; and Valithria who comments here sometimes logs in and says hi as well, but I’m the only regular, and the only raider), I’ve always been treated with respect. There’s even never been issues with hatespeach, and girlfriend-ranting has been kept to a minimum without any input from me.

It’s actually pretty cute that the rare times I say/do anything remotely girly or sexual, my teammates get all confused, as in “it…it can do that?”.

I had left my previous guild for a myriad of reasons, but the one that cut the deepest and still hurts today was gender discrimination-related. So being valued as a player and as a member of the raid team, without gender interfering, has become something that I don’t take for granted.

Toward the future (or If you are a guild recruiter…)

When I announced I was leaving, everyone was super nice and supportive. A few people even asked to come with me (this is how great the team is, it’s hard to keep us apart!).

Of those who wanted to come along, one, I think, has pretty much the same goals I do. So here, it is, Holy Pally and Mage/Warlock (he says he’ll play either character, but I think he secretly prefers to be a warlock) looking for guild!

Demographics: I have a strong preference for 25 man Alliance (I prefer 25s, and I don’t want to loose my achievement points…), my friend doesn’t have a preference as long as the raiding and the people are good.

Schedule: I’m West Coast and often work evenings so schedule is usually the limiting factor for me. I can raid after 9pm PACIFIC any night, and after 6 pm PACIFIC on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Sundays. I believe my friend is available after 5pm pacific any day, and would prefer a team that doesn’t raid too late. 2 or 3 raids/week seems to be ideal to both of us.

Progression: As two people coming from a 5/8 normal Dragon Soul, 1/7H Firelands guild, we’re obviously not the most geared people in the game. But we’re both fast learners and dedicated players. We run the LFR, cap out our valor points and read our boss fights. We’re disciplined during raids, communicate well and drink up constructive criticism like it’s lifewater.

Environment: We’re coming from a very tight knit guild, so we’d both feel happiest in a guild where the teammates are also friends. Both of us being about 30, we’d like to play with people about our age and maturity level.

Ideally, we’d like to find a home together, but if our dream guilds end up being separate, that’s ok too. Bonus: a guild who takes both of us, may also get a kickass resto shammy bench-warmer.

This Post is Brought to You by My Internet Connection

July 13, 2011

It took almost two weeks from the time I ordered my internet to the time those fateful lights on my modem lit up, but I am back, again, with The Internet.

The first thing I did was log onto Twitter. It took me about two minutes to remember that I find Twitter very irritating. So the second thing I did was shut down Twitter.

I accomplished my second move of the month (one month exactly between moves), this one a major cross-country, 2 timezones move. My parents decided to sell the house (actually that’s old news, but it didn’t sink in until I was packing) so I had to move everything, everything, everything. And I’ll tell you over the course of 20 years of schooling, a person sure accumulates a lot of papers and textbooks. I tossed as much as I could into the recycle bin.

And thats only about half of it.

And I still ended up with about 30 boxes. Boxes that won’t come for another 2 weeks or so, but it’s ok, I’m having a pretty cool time. Camping in the living room FTW.

That photo was taken shortly before the second night. The first night looked more like this.

As you may conclude from the pictures, my internetless time was probably the period of my life were I drank the most. I also played tons of Civilisation V, and when I couldn’t handle Civ V anymore, I finally got around to watching Season 1 of House, which I had downloaded months ago. The first few episodes were difficult: I kept yelling out that “HOSPITALS DONT WORK THAT WAY!!!!“. But once I got over how unrealistic the show is, I was completely captivated by “Will Cameron get House into her bed?

I also, while going through internet withdrawl, starting writing a story about The Internet. I suspect that the next time I touch it will be the next time I’m internetless.

Then one day a technician came to my house and magically lit up my modem.

Because I Have To Include WoW In This Post

I got to play WoW a bit over the past 2 days. I live across the street from my job which frees up an incredible amount of time. So I FINALLY got to check out 4.2. I did some Mark of the World Tree dailies, I polished up my tanking set (don’t tell my guild) and I ventured into Firelands. We haven’t killed anything yet, partly because I spent the first hour and a half wiping the raid, (I hope I’m just rusty and not losing my touch) but we made good progress on Shannox.

No, I’m not excited to be playing WoW again. I assume it’s just the usual: whenever I’m away for a long time, I don’t feel like getting back into it.

Silly how I’ve been spending the past 6 months talking about what I want in my Perfect West Coast Guild and now I’m wondering if I should keep playing WoW at all.

Thing is- I love my job. Yeah, it’s just the honeymoon phase, but the hours are a lot more flexible than I expected, the store needs quite a bit of organizing (my specialty!) and I have plenty of opportunity to travel around and do relief work all over Northern Alberta. Suddenly raiding doesn’t seem so exciting. Everything raiding (and being in a guild) gave me, I can get from my job.

Plus I’m sorta liking this having money thingy.

Of Guilds and Guild Searching

Those who speak to me on a regular basis (all two of you) are probably very excited for me to find a new home. Mostly because that means I’ll stop talking about finding a new home.

I’m a little worried about losing yet another month of boss kills, but I think I will keep with the casual route until my schedule gets sorted out. I don’t want to make a commitment I can’t keep.

What I miss the most about having a guild- a real guild that feels like home- is being dedicated to something. Remember that post I made about relationships with guilds? Well I quit lying to myself. For better or for worse, I have a relationship with my guilds that compares to romantic relationships. Maybe because I’m so uninterested in relationships with actual people. Err. Anyway. I like having a project to commit to, to be constantly thinking about improvements, about pretty trinkets I can buy it, about lovely conversations I can have with it. I miss that. With my current guild (or guilds, though I’ve probably been kicked for inactivity from my Horde guild by now) I’ve kept my distances. I didn’t want to get attached (plus they tend to like status quo, I’m not sure my enthusiasm for evolution would be warmly welcomed).

And even though I get hurt when things eventually don’t work out, I don’t really care. I look for somewhere else to focus my energy. I think work might fill that gap now, but if you asked me what I miss the most from WoW, the answer would be “being actively involved in a guild“.

Anyway, I should catch up on my 4.2 holy paladin reading. Rohan and Adgamorix have both written some interesting stuff that I (and some of you) might want to brush up on.

PS. I promise I’ll update my blogroll. You know who you are.

Introducing *Paranoid*

June 29, 2011

A couple of days ago, I was pointed to a post by Döra about social anxiety, and about her guild Paranoid.

Paranoid is a guild for the socially awkward, the shy, the people who’d like to raid, but get a headache just thinking about all the things they could screw up. The people who type a message to someone who’s LFM in trade, then backspace, then type, backspace, type, stare at what they’ve written, backspace again and go quest on their own. And if they do press enter, they’re relieved if they get the reply: “Sorry, full.”

Can I tell how much I wish I’d found a guild like this when I first started playing WoW? Maybe it wouldn’t have taken me a year to reach max level. Maybe I would have gotten to experience end-game dungeons and Vanilla raiding. Heck, maybe it wouldn’t have taken me two years to get over my “never going to play with others” mentality!

This was me

I know I have a couple of readers who’ve mentioned they’d like to be part of a guild that understood shyness. So if you play on the EU side of the pond and you’d give group play a try if it weren’t for those blasted butterflies/stomach knots/icky sweating, there’s a guild out there for you, where you can meet quite a few fellow players who totally get you.

I also got the opportunity to exchange briefly with Döra/Thriftee and Mershelle (an officer and the GM of Paranoid, respectively) and both are lovely ladies whom I’m positive would make for fantastic guildies.

To find them, look up Paranoid on Emerald Dream EU, or drop by their webpage.

Going off on a tangent, I noticed a link on my stats page from a thread on the official forums. “Uh oh” I thought! But it turned out that one of my early posts was linked in the thread that spawned Paranoid. Can I tell you how excited I was? (Except for the fact that it was an early post and my writing back then was atrocious! I cringed so many times rereading that post!)

Being a blogger, I think of myself as a bit of an artist. Like maybe a part time artist. I attempt to turn elements of myself into something somewhat creative in order to share them. Whether or not I succeed is up to the reader to decide. But when a piece I’ve written contributes, however minimally, to something greater, the feeling is incredible. It’s at times like these that I feel like I’ve succeed as a part-time bit-of-an-artist. When I feel like I’ve had a part, though tiny, in making a difference.

Anyway, props to Mershelle, Döra and the rest of the crew behind Paranoid! As you guys (and many of us too) know, WoW is a refuge to a lot of socially anxious or socially isolated (or both!) persons, but quite often we find ourselves just as cut off in the virtual world as we do in the real one. You guys have build a network, a support system, and maybe even a stepping stone for a lot of people. And, to me, that’s beautiful.

Guilds Paying for Server Transfers… Good News or Bad News?

May 10, 2011

On Twitter the other night, Vidyala mentioned noticing a guild shopper requesting that the guild recruiting him pay for his server transfer.

Ouch.

Now, guilds paying for server transfers are pretty common. In case you haven’t been hanging around the recruitment forums lately, I took a screenshot for you. If you want to see for yourself, go to the forums, type in “pay for server transfer” in the search bar and that’s what you’ll get. Note from the dates on the results (I didn’t sort them by date) that this phenomenon didn’t start last week either.

What worried Vidyala, and would worry me too if I were a guild recruiter, was players coming to expect prospective guilds paying for their transfers.

Kurn then thought of the question of, well, should guilds pay for players’ transfers back if they fail their trial period?

Me, the Future Guild Shopper

I’m moving across the country in July, from Middle-of-the-Atlantic-Ocean to Alberta. We’re talking 4 timezones, or 3.5 hours difference. And if that wasn’t enough, I’m going from having to get up early in the morning to will be working until 9pm Mountain Time some nights.

I left my last serious raiding guild in early January, two raids before their Cho’gall kill. As a result, not only will I need a late-but-not-too-late raiding guild, but I need a guild who’ll accept me in my stalled at 9/12 for the past 4 months state.

I miss serious and 25 man raiding a lot. My current guilds (I divide my time between two guilds now!) are both lovely, but I’m aching for hard modes. I’m aching for being able to yell at people who screw up, I’m aching for being yelled at for screwing up, I’m aching for fast run-backs after wipes, I’m aching for long strategy discussions on guild forums.

I know that most guilds don’t mind recruiting from lower down, but the kind of raiding I want to get back into is way, way out of my gear and experience’s league. I don’t mind playing the bench and alt runs until I’m deemed capable of the guild’s content (I would rather that than having to guild-hop my way up), but I dare you to convince a guild of that.

Then, if I weren’t demanding enough, I want a guild with a certain level of class. Not too politically correct (I’m too mouthy for politically correct guilds), but I don’t want flashbacks of my elementary schoolbus rides either.

So I’m quite happy to see that guilds are pretty damn desperate these days. Maybe they’ll be desperate enough to take me and accommodate all my specific requirements.

But I wouldn’t want a guild to pay for my transfer.

You read that right.

As much as I complain about money, poor starving student that I am, I don’t want a guild to pay for my server transfer. Nor would I want for them to pay for my transfer away if things don’t work out.

I want a guild to take me despite my lack of gear and experience. But I don’t want a guild so desperate that they’re willing to pay 25$ per applicant. See, I’m confident in my healing ability, despite my gear and experience. They have nothing to lose by taking me, except maybe 10 minutes of their time if I wipe the raid. And I’m confident that I’ll blow their minds with what my blue gear pieces can do. If they pay me to come over, then they’re risking far more than 10 minutes of their time. They must be in pretty bad shape to be willing to risk that much. I don’t want a guild in bad shape.

As for paying for the transfer away if things don’t work out, I don’t like that either. When I make the decision to hit “accept” on a guild invite, I want it to be meaningful. I don’t make commitments often (how many years have I been single, now? 4? 5?), but when I do, I Commit with a capital C. Entering a new environment, hearing new voices on vent, seeing unknown names in guild chat, getting used to a new guild culture… It’s hard for me. Not something I want to do often. Same goes for leaving a guild.

So no, I don’t want to join a guild where the message is “it’s ok, if we don’t like each other, we’ll make it cheap for you to leave“.

I want to be sure of myself before I join a new guild and a new server. And I want that guild to be sure of me before I make that step.

I know that for so many players, playing musical chairs with guilds isn’t a big deal. But for me it is. And I find that having my transfers paid for would trivialize my commitment.

How to Keep Shyness from Ruining Your Game

April 7, 2011

I was recently pointed towards a blog post that could have been written by me a couple years ago: an extremely timid player who struggles with the multiplayer aspect of the game. Her struggles being due to her overwhelming shyness sucking the fun out of just about any in-game social interaction. I’ll spare her the link love as being the center of attention isn’t her forte. I know you guys are awesome and stuff, but easing ones way into the blogosphere has to be done at that person’s own pace.

Edit: I got the ok from Glorwynn to link her original post.

Writing about social phobia (I don’t like the term “social anxiety”, sounds too pop psychology. I prefer the direct translation of the French term since “phobia” is a far more accurate description.) was how I made a name for myself as a blogger. I’m still a pretty shy person in game. I won’t talk on voice chat if there are more than 4-5 people in the channel, I won’t initiate conversations unless I know the player well, I have to be in the right state of mind to join random raid PuG and it takes me weeks to months before I’ll type in a new guild or raid chat.

But you know what? That’s totally fine with me. I’ve reached a point where I’m satisfied with my comfort zone and I don’t care to go beyond it right now. I’m not a particularly social person, so I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.

Where social phobia is a problem is when it gets in the way of the things you want to do. When you want to try healing but can’t because you can’t be around other players enough to give it a go. When you’re itching to see content but can’t because guilds (PuG raids are obviously out of the question at this point) are unbearably stressful to you. When loading screens make you nauseous.

If I’ve learned anything from my two years of blogging about WoW (and it has been two years exactly! Today is my second blogoversary!), it’s that people like me, and like the author of the original post, are a lot more common than we’d think. It’s just that quiet people are, well, quiet. You don’t see us, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t there.

So, what’s the advice I’d give new players who aren’t quite comfortable with the social aspects of the game?
(more…)

Looking into my Crystal Ball

March 26, 2011

The past week I’ve had my mind filled with plans and projects. So instead of writing a sophisticated, thoughtful post, I’m going to ramble nervously.

Podcast Hype

Had it just been me, I probably would have kept the Good News a secret until the very last minute (I love giving surprises), but Oestrus has been promoting our little project for some time now and has been getting the Twitterverse pumped at the thought of hearing us talk to each other for an hour.

Well, I guess there is something to it. After all, we’re both fearless (her moreso than me, but I’m easily influenced), in-your-face and no nonsense. And I’d like to think we have a good sense of humour too.

I’m really excited about the project and if all goes according to plan, we should be doing our first recording around this time next week. We’re both super new at this so no live shows yet, but I wouldn’t discount it in the future. Don’t worry, I promise I won’t edit out anything juicy.

I volunteered to take care of the production aspect of the podcast so I spent the past week experimenting with different sound editing software. I was taken by surprise. I wasn’t expecting to have so much fun playing with noises! I felt like I was 13 again, having just spent my saved up babysitting money to buy an electronic keyboard with midi output. Back then, I had big dreams of becoming a sound engineer and I spent a lot of my evenings trying to mix tracks with minimal cacophony. Trying and failing.. Let’s hope I’m better at it 13 years later.

Anyway, if you want to listen to two gutsy girls goof off and talk about WoW, you’ll love the Double O podcast.

Writing about Paladin Stuff

If not for the title, I don’t think any new readers would guess that this is a paladin blog. It’s just that when choosing between writing about a paladin cooldown and the impulse of the moment, the impulse of the moment always wins.

I did promise TopRosters a paladin-related guest post, though, so I do plan on making myself useful some time in the near future.

In-Game Plans

Since moving on from Conquest, I’ve been taking it easy in game so I can get through my clerkship without too much pain. TeamSport has been lovely and welcoming to the little drifter that I am. The culture shock was tough at first – I’m not a 10 man raider and I’m not a casual player, but after nearly two months, I’m finding it easier to relax in raids. I laugh at jokes, I don’t mind if I screw up and I’ve even tanked a couple of times without any kind of shaking, sobbing or hyperventilating! I’m also finding myself getting attached to the team and I have to hold back to not throw myself headfirst into guild life.

At the same time, I’ve got my eyes open for after I move in July. I know it’s a long way off, but the thought of guild shopping again stresses me out. I don’t think I’ll rest easy until it happens. I’d like to stay on the server. Ner’zhul is a great place to be. I want to keep in touch with a number of people from TeamSport and Conquest and keeping transfers as the last resort is the easiest way.

But the list of 25 man progression guilds on Ner’zhul, like most other servers, is pretty short. The top guilds are crossed out on my list. Raiding 20 hours a week really isn’t my thing and, besides, their members are constantly making fools of themselves in Trade and PuGs. I can’t imagine having to put up with them in guild chat!

So that leaves two guilds. One is the guild I already left. Which brings the selection down to one guild. One single guild. I hope we’ll be compatible.

From my own observations and from what O’s reported, when guild searching, healers get pounced on like a piece of fresh meat. I hope that guild will be like a hungry tiger in a couple of months. My lack of gear, end boss kills and hard mode experience makes me somewhat less appealing. I’m less like a piece of fresh meat and more like festering roadkill.

Perhaps, during the two and half months between finishing clerkship and moving to Alberta, I can rent myself out to other raid teams on offnights and get some extra experience.

I know it’ll all work out in the end, but I’m anxious to see where and with whom I’ll be ending up. The suspense is eating up my insides like they’re a delicious rare steak.


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