Too Much, I Think

Once an out-of-town friend was visiting and staying with us. Our friend loves sushi, and we love sushi, so naturally we took her to our favourite sushi restaurant. I tend to think that we have an approach to sushi mirrored by all of our friends but not necessarily ideally suited to sushi. To be frank, we eat the heck out of sushi. We don’t go out for it often, so when we do, we eat a lot of it. Mostly because I end up going, “Oh look, this roll has the vegetables with the other thing, and this roll has this other stuff in it, we must try them all!”

And so it went, with the three of us poring over the menu and marking off various rolls. Many, many rolls, enough that when the waitress came to take the order, I think she was a bit staggered.

“All of this?” she said.

Embarrassed, we traded looks. I said, “How much did we order, anyway?” looking around at my companions.

“Too much, I think,” the waitress blurted. It was her turn to be embarrassed, because she hadn’t meant to be quite that honest but it was all over her face. These people are being pigs with the sushi! They are going to explode.

We crossed off one roll and gave the menu back to her.

Yes, I went home feeling sushi sick that day, and it wasn’t the first time. But I can actually say truthfully that it was the last. More or less. The last time I remember having sushi I marked down all the rolls that sounded exciting. Then we got rid of at least a third of them. They were delightful, and I was full, but not stuffed. I like to think I’m learning.

I feel that way about WoW sometimes. At the end of May, I’ll have been playing WoW for two years. No, I wasn’t a “Classic” person. I didn’t raid BQL or Molten Core or AQ or any of those places. I did play this game a great deal, especially in the first year. We basically came in at the very tail end of the Burning Crusade expansion; my first character to level 70 dinged in August, before Wrath came out in November. It’s no secret that it’s something very easy to lose yourself in. Being the not-always-proud owner of six level eighty characters, I can attest that there have been times when I played the game to excess.

Two years later, I think I have a healthier balance. I don’t log in during the day except possibly for a quick heroic over lunch (I work from home). We try to keep the raiding to about three nights at a maximum. But being guild leader/officer/whatever of an active and healthy raiding guild requires some time commitment. There are days when I look at how much time and energy WoW takes and say to myself, “Too much, I think.”

Everyone’s talking about burn out these days. I’ve read good things about how to help your guild survive the pre-expansion slump. But here I’m writing about how to help yourself survive the pre-expansion slump. Here’s what I’m planning to do.

  • Delegate, delegate, delegate. It’s not essential that I do every single thing for the guild myself. Ever since work has been keeping me busier our guild’s officers have been awesome about stepping up to take over guild responsibilities. One maintains the technical website stuff, one does raid sign-ups, another maintains the administrative stuff we keep track of (tier tokens, achievement tracking, etc.) It’s awesome. I’m still trying not to feel guilty about not “doing enough.” Hopefully if people ever feel I’m not pulling my weight they’ll let me know. Anyway, the point is we all share the responsibilities, and it helps to keep it fun knowing that if I don’t do something it doesn’t mean it won’t ever get done.
  • Cut back. With summer looming and much of our work accomplished in ICC (we’re 11/12 hard-modes now, and we’ve got seven people their Glory of the Icecrown Raider drakes) we’re scaling back our raid days from four to three with an optional day on Sunday. Sunday will be for alt runs, old content and the like. It’ll probably mean that people might run a bit less, but I think we’re all going to be okay with that. We have heroic Arthas looking at us (or we’re looking at him?) so he’s going to be our focus, but even heroic mode stuff takes two raid days or less at this point to clear straight to Arthas. It’s not very sustainable.
  • Let go of achievements. Sometimes I think the achievement system was both the most brilliant marketing thing that Blizzard ever did, and also the epitome of evil. As someone who has changed mains multiple times, I just can’t care about achievements as much as someone who knows that they love ONE class and will probably not ever change. I’ve done so many ridiculous things on multiple characters. I have three characters with max level fishing, three or four with max level cooking. I’ve done things like the pet and mount achievements, but never on the same character. I’ve resolved to only care about an achievement if it is especially relevant to a character. For example, my moonkin druid often wears the Starcaller title (naturally!) Even if I start doing more things with Vid – I’d never make a special effort to get that title. It doesn’t matter to her. I will, however, finish my Argent reps so she can be Crusader, because that’s pretty cool. I’ll have to monitor this though, because I like earning the fancy points and it can be difficult to restrain myself.
  • All things in good time. Do I really have to speed-run ten heroics to get Vidyala another piece of off-spec Triumph emblem gear? I probably don’t. She’ll get the emblems eventually just from running heroics on a regular basis. Does it matter if I don’t have time one day to do a frost emblem run? It probably doesn’t. It’s pretty silly to think “I need to do this or that,” and even put a timeline on it. This is especially applicable to alts – they’ll get there when they get there. There’s no rush to gear up for new and exciting content (yet), and even when there’s new content there won’t be the same kind of rush. I don’t know about you, but I often tend to over gear content anyway by going overboard with crafted gear or heroic drops. By the time I reach a tier, the gear there is obsolete for me.
  • If it stops being fun, stop. Although I don’t advocate unexpectedly disappearing without a word (I’ve had too many people do this to me, and I hate it) – it’s okay to play a bit less than you once did. I wouldn’t shirk my raid or guild responsibilities; always let people know you’ll be AFK and for how long you expect to be so – but if it’s what you really need to get excited about the game again, then do it. You’ll be better off for it. Personally I just intend to moderate my playtime a bit more and cut back on things I might otherwise do such as leveling alts or excessive fishing. I find that playing WoW a lot always makes me appreciate a walk outside more, and sometimes likewise. A day spent doing something far away from computers means it actually feels like a game when I get an opportunity to log in and run a heroic with friends. I don’t want the only sunsets I see to be the ones over Dalaran.
  • Finally, keep in touch. For me the best part of WoW is the social aspect – talking to guildies, joking around on the forums, reading and commenting on blogs, and twitter. Even if I’m not in-game as much, I can still keep up with people in these other ways. It can be a nice way to talk about my favourite hobby without getting tired of it.

So, what are your plans for weathering the pre-Cataclysm doldrums? Are you going to take a little break? Level an alt? Go on vacation? Eat way more sushi than any one person ought to eat? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments, I’m sure there are plenty of things I haven’t thought of.

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22 responses to “Too Much, I Think

  1. I’m surviving the pre-Cata burnout by taking a long break. I’ve been playing other games and even trying out Age of Conan and Warhammer, which both turned out to be MUCH better than advertised.

    I did the same after BC and into WotLK…a nice 3-months or so away from the game makes coming back that much more exciting…

  2. I realize it’s so not your point, but now I’m craving sushi, I’ll have you know.

    I’m on a break from WoW at the moment that is not of my own design or desire and it makes me itch to play. I was in the same boat before WotLK came out, and so I haven’t really experienced the same pre-expansion doldrums that I’ve heard others mention.

    For me, these things are always about goals, and if I have no goals, I probably won’t play much anyway. Due to my current circumstances (which I hope end soon), my goals (and therefore plans) for the pre-Cataclysm break have been tapered down: I want to earn enough badges to buy a set of heirlooms for my Worgen-to-be. That’s it.

    Should I be surprised by an ability to play more before release than I expect, then I’ll add in finishing Loremaster. (I have the Old World done.) I’ve dedicated one character to achievement chasing just so I don’t have the new-main problems mentioned. It’s worked for me so far.

    • I’m forever doomed to the main-switching thing. I’ve come to accept it. I hope you get an opportunity to play before Cataclysm! And even if you hardly do, the Worgen heirlooms should be easily achievable. :D

  3. If you ever visit Vancouver, there is a great all-you-can-eat Sushi place by Metrotown called Fish on Rice that is absolutely amazing. :D

    I’m feeling the burnout a bit too – over the last week I’ve only logged in to do a JC/inscription daily here or there, do some fishing to replace my feasts which were running low, and get some gear crafted for next (this) week’s raid. Really it’s only the raiding which is sparking new interest for me, since we are finally taking on Putricide/Valithria/Blood Council/Blood Queen. I actually missed our first kill of Putricide last week (I sat because we had too many people, first time ever) and it really killed any WoW motivation I had for the week.

    Of course, being completely obsessed with Monster Hunter 3 has a lot to do with my reduced WoW time, too. ;)

    • When I was last in Vancouver some friends there took me to a little place called Ajisai in Kerrisdale. OMG Vancouver sushi = so good.

      I’m sorry to hear that you missed the Pitricide first kill. :( But hopefully you’ll be there for the first Valithria/BC/BPC kills?

      And yeah, I figured Monster Hunter was a factor, haha.

  4. I think a key to staying engaged in WoW is to do something other than just raiding. If I came on just two-three nights a week to run ICC, I’d die of boredom. What keeps the game fun for me is doing some offbeat things, like classic raids, or intoxicated achievement runs, or leveling an alt. Anything to shake things up and prevent falling into a monotonous routine.

    • Intoxicated achievement runs? I’m intrigued. Maybe we should make our Sunday run “drunken alt night.”

      • You would be surprised how being completely tanked can make even the most mundane (farm) raid the funnest thing ever. Set up some drinking rules, hit up some place you can wipe up in three hours, and have a blast!

  5. The past few weeks I’ve cut back on my playing a lot, and much of the guild has done the same. With the the release date of Cataclysm still unknown, its hard to be motivated “prepare”. I log in to raid twice a week, and on occasion to talk to people, and level a priest on the other faction.

    I’m not really sure what I’m filling my free time with – certainly nothing productive. I do know that the lull will pass and I will be sucked back into the game when things start happening.

    • I know just what you mean, Kaelynn. We still don’t even have a Cataclysm date and content is getting pretty thin. I’m trying not to stress out about it though – even if people take a break from the game, I hope they’ll still come back whenever it does come out!

  6. I guess I’m ahead of most of the pack, since I probably won’t hit the WoW doldrums for a long while yet. Compared to a lot of people posting about the upcoming doldrums, I’m still a WoW noob with only one 80 and three true alts in the teens-twenties. I’ve not seen all the questing content, and I’ll be lucky if I can get halfway through the Alliance side Loremaster before Cataclysm drops and the old quests are gone for good. But the Horde side will be mine, MINE I SAY! ::evil laugh:: (Sorry, long day jousting with corporate bureaucracies haven given me a snarky attitude this afternoon. Maybe I should warn the kids.)

    One other thing I’ve noticed is that most of the postings about WoW doldrums are from people who are into the raiding scene and are either trying to clear out the rest of the raid content or have zapped Arthas and are now watching people fade away into the night. This makes me wonder if the ICC buff was too much too soon, and whether the upcoming Ruby Sanctum raid is enough of a fix for the raid habit to keep those people from splitting.

    However, focusing on one aspect of WoW to the exclusion of all else is not a healthy thing either. Look at your own project, Vid. You raided with your other characters, yet you had Vid to work with and try out something new. That diversity served you well, and it certainly kept the blog fresh and interesting.

    I’m well aware that I’m setting myself up for a big fall once I complete my primary goals, so I’m trying to tinker around with other things, like fishing and cooking, to keep my interests fresh. The alts I have I’ve deliberately selected new skills to learn, so that I get the chance to try out all sorts of different things. Once Cataclysm drops, I’m almost certain I’ll be all over that new Archaeology skill. And who knows? Maybe I’ll find some time gets freed up for the occasional raid.

    Even if I start doing more things with Vid – I’d never make a special effort to get that title. It doesn’t matter to her. I will, however, finish my Argent reps so she can be Crusader, because that’s pretty cool.

    I’ve found that I don’t get burned out if I keep my grinding toward Crusader down to 2 dailies a day: the sword one and one of the others. Sure, with only three tokens a day it’ll take longer to get to Crusader, but I’ve found that I don’t get bored with the dailies quite so easily.

    And really, the coolness factor of having Crusader Quintalan is worth the grind.

    My one beef with the Tourney quests: you’d think that Kul would have either been expelled from the Crusade or have gotten himself killed by now. He’s the Gilligan of the Argent Crusade.

  7. Pingback: Scaling up, scaling back | Righteous Defense

  8. Hey, now, who taught you to read my mind? :)

    Like you, I’m also feeling that sense of fin de siècle that comes with the waning days of an expansion. When I first started playing, it was Burning Crusade that was winding down, and at the time, I found myself stymied by a general malaise among players who felt like it’d all been done and there’s nothing left but the grind. To me, though, it was all still new and exciting! Level 70, woo! I wanted to try some heroics, and learn how to raid, and all that wonderful jazz; but alas, not too many folks were so very interested in helping a freshly-70 nublette learn the ropes. I managed to tailcoat my way into Karazhan and Zul’Aman with my best friend and her guildies once or twice, but I found there wasn’t much patience for helping a new girl play catch-up.

    With no achievements to measure by, questing in the Old World didn’t seem too appealing, so I made my fun with silly projects like levelling alts, trying to learn every cooking recipe in the game, and making lots of gold selling herbs on the Auction House. Enjoyable, but I really wanted more — and I was determined that when Wrath came out, things would be better!

    Happily, they were better! I was lucky enough to find groups who helped me learn my way around a raid instance, and it wasn’t too long before I was finding empty spaces in pugs for Naxx and Sarth. Though I didn’t do all the crazy achivements, at least I got to see all of the encounters! More importantly, I had a lot of fun doing it, and met some really great people along the way. And, when the pickup raid groups ran a little thin, nice crafted gear together with a couple badges a day from Normal instances and tabard-based reputation has made alt-fiddling an enjoyable and productive pastime.

    Still, in all, it isn’t too surprising that I’m running out of steam now that the Lich King is dead. Even freshly-minted Level 80s can parade around in shiny purple armor that makes Kel-Thuzad’s and Yogg-Saron’s finest rewards seem laughable. When the end of the workday comes and I ask myself, “Hmm, would I like to run some heroics for Emblems of Frost?” the answer is, more and more, “Not really.” It’s not that I couldn’t; but reading a book and petting the cat seems more appealing than spending fifteen minutes rushing grim-faced through a random dungeon with four strangers in stony silence.

    So, I guess you could say I’m taking a break. I didn’t really mean to, it just kinda happened. I think the turning point came came one day when I signed on to run a random on Annie. I queued up and drew A-N. I entered the dungeon, and as we were buffing up, the warrior said, “are u really gonna tank this in that gear?”

    I said, “Um. Yes, that was my plan.” Because, you know, there are blues, but, they’re nice blues. Plenty for heroics. I even had a couple of nice crafted epics, lovingly gemmed and enchanted. And I’d tanked it before with Vid and Voss, so I knew it would be ok.

    The Holy priest dropped group without a word.

    The hunter said, “lol u dps my pet can tank it”.

    I said, “I’m sorry. If you would rather have someone else, I can go.”

    The warrior said, “ya kk bye.”

    The warlock dropped group without a word.

    So, I left. If people would rather take a thirty-minute deserter debuff rather than have me tank Azjol-Nerub for them, I guess I probably should be doing something else with my time.

    I tried to take refuge in a new alt, but once she got to level 16, I found I couldn’t bring myself to face another LFD group. So, a break it is. :)

    I have high hopes for Cataclysm!

    • Lara, your recent experience with A-N blows chunks.

      Seriously.

      The entire skill vs. gear score shenanigans has gotten way out of hand. I’ve been in HoS runs where if you judged the tank by GS alone they should have breezed through it, but we wiped multiple times due to various tanking mishaps (overpulling, failure to slow down, etc.) And I’ve seen low GS tanks handle the same instance easily.

      The LFD tool is great in some respects, but this sort of behavior drives me nuts.

      Don’t let the bastards win!

  9. Looking for dungeon or Looking for douche-bag? It’s does the job equally well for both categories I think. Sometimes I wish I could reach through the screen punch those little pri… Ahem. Lost myself there, sorry.
    I have found that simply playing on different characters is helping. Creating little projects
    for myself does the job too. Like my new blog series, as intended. Or, I am nutting out a big ol’ list of what classes I’d like to see in the new 40k mmo.
    I love gearing characters, so gearing up a fresh eighty is always nice, but I am currently (unsuccessfully) attempting a one of each class deal.
    Oh, if you are really bored you should try multi boxng, especially with RAF, that’s fun ATM!
    Hrmm. I have also been playing with fraps to beat off the pre-expansion nap. Speaking of which, I could really use some advice in that direction.

  10. For me, I’m struggling some but still enjoying arena. I’m also planning some serious farming/AH time. I want a good pot of gold for when Cat comes out in case there is anything crazy I want to buy.

    Aside from that, it has been quiet, but I like quiet sometimes. Lets me focus on specifics in the game.

  11. Lara’s A-N drop-before-allow-a-tank-in-blues experience is probably more the norm than the deviation (sadly).

    In my own case (as DPS) it’s a long wait in the queue anyway so if it pops I’m always willing to give the tank a go.

    But if that tank can’t hold aggro for the healer leading to healer death and group wipe, even when I’m Tricksing & FoKniving then I too will drop. I’m willing to give any player a chance but if they fail I’m not going to be a masochist.

    ……………………………………………………….

    Back to Vid’s OP:
    Epitome of evil!?
    I’ll have you know that
    achievements = winning at WoW.
    Any night I go to bed with an achievement done I’m happy. Nights without = frustrated.
    (Says Rochmoninoff, the achievingest gnome in Drop Bears of Moonrunner).
    But sadly I’m coming up to a wall.
    The only achievements I’ve got left are either large group things that are hard for me to organize personally, or extremely grindy (e.g. 100 mounts or win AV 100x or grind some obscure faction to get my 35th exalted).
    It’s daunting.

    So….
    I’m playing Warcraft III :)

    • I don’t think anybody could blame you for dropping group if the tank can’t hold threat. I certainly wouldn’t, anyway! Still, I felt like I at least deserved a couple of trash packs to prove myself.

      Apparently, I was wrong. :(

    • Lara’s a very good tank! She was holding her own against Voss’ fury DPS aggro, and he’s pretty annoying. It drives me batty when people won’t even give others a chance, arrgh.

      I know what you mean about the achievements. I’m at the point where I’m so indecisive about the characters I play that it just doesn’t make sense to devote a ridiculous amount of time to any one thing. I envy folks with a clearly defined main! One of our paladins has over 9000 achievement points… and the “over 9000″ designation IS a feat of strength, haha.

  12. A very interesting correlation!

    I’m not very good at knowing when to stop ordering. I just keep eating and eating until suddenly I think, “Oof, don’t feel so good…”

    However maybe I’m getting off the sushi and trying out some Caribbean style cuisine pre-Cataclysm with my Troll shaman. (Har!)

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