I keep writing these posts in my head but promise myself I’ll post them once I post all the other things I want to write about. Then I go do something like valor cap. By then I’m out of time.
It’s been, what, six weeks now since I joined Cadenza? Two of those weeks (which happened to be the two first weeks of patch 5.2 – worst timing ever but beggars can’t be choosers) I couldn’t raid due to visiting family, and since I hadn’t seen family in almost two years, putting family first was the obvious choice.
On a tangent, having families, especially moms, around is both awesome and exhausting! She kept doing my dishes, laughed at all my jokes and helped me cook. Having another person in the house, though, was a lot harder on me than I expected. I have no idea how some (most?) people live their entire LIVES with other people! By the end of the visit, I was falling asleep everywhere and couldn’t talk coherently. Took me two 13-hour sleeps to recover!
But anyway, this platform is more for WoW talk than for analyzing my sleeping habits.
So I joined Cadenza six weeks ago. The way it happened was kind of surreal. I was on Twitter QQing about how I wasn’t getting enough raid time with Conquest and how I was mockingly looking for a guild that lets me raid. (My actual plans were to wait until after my mom’s visit, reassess the situation with Conquest and shop for a new home if it hadn’t improved.) And, well, sometimes complaining is an effective way to a solve a problem. I got a DM from Theck (yes, Theck) who let me know that his guild had recently lost of couple of healers to real life.
Now I knew of Cadenza. After Occasional Excellence disintegrated, I really wanted to find another (alliance) progressive 25 guild with a two nights/week schedule. So I had checked out the guilds of that demographic. All, like, 4 of them.
During my post-OE searching, I didn’t think I could make Cadenza’s schedule (they raid Fri-Sat – Saturdays are ok, we close early that day, but I didn’t think I could take Friday nights off work). Plus, I figured the break I was forced to take from raiding (due vacation then to all hell breaking loose at work) would have set me too far back on progression (which was probably true). And (because scheduling and being behind on progression aren’t enough), they were a step up from OE, and while I performed ok in OE, I was far from being one of their stars.
Then flash forward to the DM from Theck. By then, work had settled down. I could think of a way to tweek the schedule to give me Friday nights off. I was decently progressed. I wasn’t sure if I had the talent to make the cut, but you know what? If you spend your life limiting yourself by saying “I can’t do this“, “I’m not good enough for this“, “My health/natural abilities/etc aren’t up to par” without even trying, you end up becoming on of those sad middle aged people who amount to nothing and pass their slow, agonizing days posting tacky “motivational” messages on Facebook.
I wanted to raid, I wanted to play with this guild and I really don’t want to post cheesey crap on Facebook for the rest of my life. So I took a deep breath and transferred to Tichondrius.
Six weeks later, I haven’t passed my trial but they haven’t told me to leave and never come back either.
And the raids?
The raids, they are freaking amazing.
I was expecting a guild similar to OE. After all, similar schedule, similar progressiveness, similar demographic of players.
But no. Not similar to OE at all. I like both (as long as I’m treated fairly and the raids are good, I’m usually happy, I guess), but while OE was extremely structured, disciplined and followed every decent guild-leading advice in the book, Cadenza’s raiding environment goes against anything you’d expect from a guild with so much progression in so little time. There are no forums to discuss in, the loot system is “whisper the raid leader if you want anything” (extremely efficient, only downside, really, is that often people try to out-generous each other and all the excess passing wastes time), there are no dedicated breaks (if you need time, you just ask and go) and because we raid weekends, raid end time is just a suggestion. They don’t even have a tabard! (I suppose they never stooped so low as to spam “we have guild bank and tabard!” in trade/general to recruit back in the day.)
But it works.
I was curious as to how a high stress all the time ultra perfectionist freak like me would react to that kind of environment. So far, it’s been almost therapeutic. Since I work a fast-paced, intense job where every detail matters, the simplicity of the guild structure is a breath of fresh air.
Oh and we killed so many bosses! So many bosses! It was so exciting.
It’s funny how it happens. Right when I had decided I was satisfied with Conquest-level middle of road progression, I suddenly get to the opportunity to raid at an even higher level. It’s not what I expected to happen, but I’ll take it. I’ll definitely take it!
And the Insecure Nervewreck?
In case you are wondering, I’m still uber shy. I thought I had gotten over it – after all when I went back to Conquest, I felt at home almost immediately. Apparently it was just the familiarity of Conquest.
My first few raids with Cadenza, I took a lot of deep breaths and fought the urge to run away. I missed Conquest (as much as I had complained about the healing environment!), I missed OE (which, of course, doesn’t exist anymore so there’s no going back there), I questioned my whole raider identity. Who was I, I thought to myself, to believe that I had what it takes to join a group of strangers who play better than me? Silly, silly pretentious girl, I mocked myself.
The team was kind to me. I was briefed on raid strats, on how to ask for loot and on raid customs. I was offered food and flasks. Anything I would logically need, they gave to me right away. Yet, what I was more urgently stressing about was not something I was willing admit. What was eating a big nasty hole in my belly… was…well…heh… It was not knowing what to say when I entered healer chat. Should I say hi? Should I say thank you? Should I just say nothing? Yes, people. That is how my pathetic mind works.
If you think that’s bad, you should have heard the discussion in my head when I had to remind my raid leader that I would be taking two weeks off. There’s no signout forum. Should I just whisper him? Which of his toons should I whisper him on? What if he’s busy? Should I say something on Vent instead? It took me about a week to decide to just send him an in-game mail on his main raiding character.
Yep. I may have grown as a person and has a player, but the insecure nervewreck from nearly four years ago has not grown at all.
I mentioned earlier that I haven’t passed my trial yet. My fears that I would make more mistakes and learn slower than every one else? They ended up being founded. I think I keep up healing-wise, but on actual execution I’m clearly behind the curve.
All those slow people I’ve ever rolled my eyes at or lost patience with? Karma came around and suddenly I feel like I’m one of those people.
I haven’t been kicked yet though, and until they kick me, I’ll keep showing up for raid.
I hear the word “awareness” a lot. It’s rarely awareness (in the early raids, it was sometimes – at first I physically and mentally couldn’t handle 4-6 hours of concentrating after a tough day at work, but practice makes perfect and last raid I managed almost 6 hours before reaching the end of my focus). If only it were so easy to fix as turning off the TV or music, or not getting drunk during raids. (I raid in complete silence because I know concentration is a problem for me. And while I love to drink during raids, I’ve avoided fueling my raids with alcohol since joining Cadenza.) No, it’s not usually awareness. Usually, I know I’m getting hit. I also almost always know how I died. (I always use my combat log.) It’s the reaction time and dexterity that I’m lacking. Which I suppose I could improve by doing a lot of BGs. Yet the only way I could really find time for BGs is either to ignore VP (bad) or quit my job (badder).
I’m at peace though. At this point, I’ve become attached to my guildies. I really enjoy the raids. Every now and again, I even type something in /raid or /g! I had a long chat with the other holy paladin in the guild and got all excited about making a friend. Even more, Logan, Conquest bro and of Leetsauced fame, joined me around my third week, which really helped me relax during raids. It’s been wonderful having a friend going through the trenches with me, someone to exchange triumphs/frustrations/remarks with.
If they do eventually tell me that I’m just not on par, I’ll be sad to leave, but I’ll be grateful for the experience. While OE’s raids taught me to wring out all the healing my paladin can handle, Cadenza’s raids are teaching me focus and precise execution. And I’m sure having a lot of fun, which, in video games, is really what matters.