It’s Sunday night and I’m not raiding
I love raiding. To quote myself (I have a bad habit of doing that): “I live for raiding.” But tonight I’m not raiding because I decided that I needed to take a break, to get that feeling back. Too much of a good thing spoils you and, trust me, when it comes to raiding, I’m as spoiled as it gets. Just ask my raid leader how often he gets emails containing my kindergardenish temper tantrums. (I bet he’s lost count.)
My very first raid? It was Gruul’s Lair. The small family guild I was part of (even though I totally wasn’t family at that time – I was the random weirdo member) raided with a larger guild. (The larger guild ended up more or less absorbing the little one and thats how I ended up in my current guild in case you were wondering and I’m sure you weren’t.) I had no idea what I was doing. I posted on big guild’s forums letting them know that they’d never heard of me before but that I wanted to go to the raid. Being the uber shy, nervous wreck that I am, I had the entire guild charter memorized before posting and was utterly and thoroughly intimidated. (Funny how things change, now I whine about how it needs to be updated and more stringent.) They were nice people, though, the large guild. They were welcoming and didn’t seem to care that I was a weird stranger and quite possibly the biggest wow n00b they’d ever had in their raids. The raid leader welcomed me personally and made quite an impression. Most. hyper. person. to. post. in. a. thread. EVER.
So raid night comes along. The minutes before the raid are… fuzzy… Nerves, probably. I don’t remember, but I’m sure I was terrified. I lived on campus at the time and VoIP was blocked, so I couldn’t log into vent (actually, it was teamspeak at the time). Everything had to be typed out to me. I was healing, but wasn’t specced for it (I wasn’t specced for anything, really) nor did I know about great things like healbot or downranking. It’s good thing we didn’t record stats back then… *shudder*
We killed King Maulgar. How we did that with me in the raid, I have no clue, but you’d be amazed at how well so-called “casual” guilds are able to work around newer or clumsier raiders. I got my first epic that night, my tier 4 shoulders. The other paladin passed for me. This was quite possibly one of my most exciting WoW moments. It seems so trivial now, but your first epic will always be your first epic.
The guild was still learning Gruul, so the rest of the night was wipe after wipe. At the time, I didn’t care, I was so happy to be in a raid, nothing mattered. I remember the raid leader whispering me, asking me how I was holding up. I told him I was having fun. “Oh yeah, wiping is fun!” he exclaimed. (Out of context there are more than one ways to interpret that, but rest assured, he was really checking that I wasn’t turned off raiding, not blaming me for the wipes.)
So what if we wiped? I was so thrilled at being given the opportunity to see this content and I loved watching 24 people interact happily with each other. The guild had great chemistry and even though I couldn’t hear their voices, their emotes and goofing off in /say were hilarious. I was too shy to jump in, but even from a distance, it was wonderful. I fell in love, both with raiding and with the guild.
Nearly, two years later, I’m still in love with raiding, most of the time, although the magic has changed. Seeing content, playing with people I adore and getting new purples are all things I take for granted. What I love now is playing my class, trying to get the most out of my paladin and focusing on a fight. Most of the time. Sometimes I don’t feel challenged and that’s when I get raid burnout.
I’m still with that guild, a full member now, and was even an officer for about a year and half before stepping down. We’re a bit of an old married couple, the guild and I. Sometimes we bicker and I wonder if I still belong, if I’m even still wanted, other times I couldn’t be happier and prouder to have it’s name under mine. But on nights like this, after I decide not raid for a week or more, I start to think about why I love raiding so much, where that love came from and what my goals are as a raider.
When I resigned as an officer, I stopped doing anything that was remotely connected to guild leading/management. While I still believe that it is the wisest course of action for now, there is one thing I’m realizing I need to do. Not for the guild, but for myself. That thing is to bring my enthusiasm and love of raiding back to our raids, spread the feeling around. While the very details of my first raid are fuzzy in my mind, the warm welcome I received from the team, the concern the raid leader showed for my comfort and the amazing chemistry in the group are deeply etched into my memory. Now I need to share that, in hopes that others discover the awesomeness that is raiding.
If any of you brave readers have made it to the end of this text wall, whether you’re an officer or not, I want your take home message to be this:
1) welcome new raiders warmly
2) take time to feel people’s pulse during raids, especially new or shy people
3) make your fellow raiders laugh
4) show that you’re having a good time
It can have a much larger impact than you think.
Before I get even more sentimental, it’s time for bed. I’m sticking to leveling lowbies for now, in hopes to be back in a week or two with my passion for raiding back in full swing.