Monday, June 15, 2015

World of Identity Crisis

It's been a little under three months since my guild dissolved. We had been struggling since WoD's release, a veritable rollercoaster of events with an initial huge influx of new members, the splitting off of one of our best healers, followed by a full split of the entire guild where both our most casual and most hardcore people left the guild for different perceived reasons. Our GM quit and we tried to merge with another guild, which failed tremendously. We had just enough good people to hold on while we tried to rebuild, but recruiting was impossible. Of the about six good people that were holding us together, three of them left to greener pastures due to our stagnation. We were done.

We never made it to a level of progression and success that I was used to, and I've been struggling with Warlords as an expansion on its own since December of last year. Without a guild, a raiding schedule, or any interesting content, I haven't had much reason to play the game. I keep logging in, though, and I want to play. I don't know if I should look for a new guild or not. I feel completely conflicted about what I think I should do right now.

I've always been a serious progression raider. There were people more serious than me, but I was always striving to show off my best performance every raid, with the drive and patience to spend the time and gold necessary to advance to the next boss.

The last time I was genuinely in an actual high end, serious progression environment was TBC - I was in that guild until Cataclysm, but the quality and performance of that guild as a whole had dwindled over time after WoTLK had been released. We didn't downsize to a 10 man guild until Cata, and we finally died out during Firelands.

wistful sigh

I've gone on and on about this before, but the end result of this tale is that I never really got back into the serious swing of things. I kind of always felt like I was pulling a bit more than my own weight since my hay days of TBC.

Now that I've just flat out not been in a guild for coming close to three months, along with accepting that I will probably not clear BRF while it's still current, I've been seriously emotionally conflicted about my relationship with the game.

It was suddenly bizarre and complicated for me to realize that I've been thinking about the direction I want to take with the game, how serious I want to be, and whether I want to make that serious high end progression guild commitment.

I mean... pardon my French, but, it's just a game.

how can you say that?!

That phrase in some contexts has always been a particular irritant for me. I think, in this case, it's entirely warranted. Now, now - trust me - the game means a lot to me. I know it means a lot to a lot of people. I also know that serious progression raiding means a lot to a lot of people - it meant a lot to me. We build up parts of our very identities with our attachment to the game, our success within it, and the relationships we build in it.

I think it's an important bridge for me to cross now where I'm realizing, not that I shouldn't have such complex emotions and struggles due to a video game, but that I don't have to.

I can, if I so choose, completely disregard it. It's entirely optional.

Whether this means I do choose to completely ignore the game or not is still up in the air. The main problem I'm having is that I view the issue as "I'll never be happy if I'm not a progression raider," rather than "I can be happy whether I play the game or not, regardless of how or when."

Even with all these realizations, I can't truthfully say I've "gotten over" it. At this moment, even having cognitively made myself aware of these truths, my emotional attachment is so great that it still causes me to feel anxious. Should I apply to a progression raiding guild? Maybe I should just join a casual guild, just to try and make some friends? Should I try to avoid playing entirely, force myself to take a break? Should I cut off ties with guilds completely and just be a loner, pugging and leveling alts, doing pet battles and goofing off?

I should be happy just winging it, but WoW still seems so important. These decisions seem to me like they are serious and important things I need to figure out before I can even be happy. It makes me wonder about how much of a hold on my life the game really has.

It's rather odd.

No comments:

Post a Comment