Tag Archives: the social aspect

Two for the Price of One

Jaedia over at The Lazy Sniper just celebrated her one-year blogaversary! It’s a big milestone. To celebrate, she was offering blog prompts for anyone who asked. I asked for one, and this is what she gave me!

I’d like to know, what’s the nicest thing anybody has ever done for you? Something that has stood in your memory, perhaps it’s a gift, or a tip that changed your game, maybe somebody waiting for you to get home before they started a raid, anything that might have given you the warm fuzzies.

Needless to say, this was a fun topic to contemplate, especially coming on the heels of my admonition to give players a helping hand if you’re able to – it was enjoyable to think of the incredibly nice things people have done for me during my time playing.

Sight-seeing with a friend. This is relevant because it was one of the few screenshots I had of him. Maybe he's camera shy!

An inheritance

When I was still relatively new to the game – had been playing for less than six months, I had a friend who made the abrupt decision to leave the server. Not only that – he actually deleted his character. He and I had chatted a lot and were good buddies, so needless to say that first “Friend removed because character no longer exists” message was a shock. The mail awaiting me at my mailbox was an even bigger shock.

It basically said, “I’m leaving, thanks for being a good friend,” and had enclosed a variety of herbs, flasks, and other things he’d amassed in his travels –  as well as nine hundred gold.

You have to understand that to me, at the time, NINE HUNDRED gold was a fortune. It allowed me to train epic riding. I hadn’t figured out the auction house. I’d scrimped and saved just to get a regular mount at forty, and it was a big deal. That money – a paltry sum by today’s standards – enabled me to invest a few things in the auction house. But let me come back around to that.

When I actually received the letter, I was stunned and upset. It was nice of him to give me the gold, but I didn’t want the gold, I wanted my friend to be playing the game with me. This character was the character he used for slumming it with us Alliance folks – I knew his character’s name and server, Hordeside.

I knew what I had to do. I immediately rolled a low-level Tauren (it would have been easier to get the cash with another race but if you knew how much my friend loves Tauren you’d know that it was appropriate). I began to do quests and kill mobs with that Tauren, and then I slowly loped my way to a mailbox in Bloodhoof Village so I could send him a series of mails telling him that the money he’d sent had made me cry, but no amount of gold was worth him having deleted his character.

He was so surprised and touched that his leaving had upset me that much – that he contacted Blizzard and had them restore the deleted character. He made me keep the money. The irony is that later I went on to become a big auction house person and would routinely make money – while my friend, an avid RPer and all-around nice guy, preferred to spend his time talking to people and fishing. I hope he feels that I was able to repay his kindness and generosity once I had the means. You can’t put a price on friendship, in or out of game!

The first time I went to Kara, and my coordinating pink BC gear. I didn't care if my staff was a bit gaudy. It was MINE by gosh. I still have it!

And a wealth of knowledge

This next kindness is a little bittersweet, because the friend disappeared without a trace over a year ago. I assume he just stopped playing WoW or had to leave or what-have-you, but before he did I owe so much of the quality of my WoW-playing experience to him.

It all started with an innocent mage in The Underbog. I remember that day clearly, because it was the day I had learned about Recount. I downloaded it, I installed it. As a few folks have said since… there is no going back once you have some kind of damage meter. You could uninstall it, or close it, but you will always know that it exists and your entire mentaliy changes. Before that, I was blithely content with whatever paltry damage I was doing. I was casting spells, wasn’t I? That’s what a mage does, isn’t it? I’m pretty sure I had no idea what a rotation was, and was just happily casting whatever spells struck my fancy.

We were running with another recent friend, an ex-raid vet who’d re-rolled on an RP server for whatever reason. I’ll call him Otto. I pretty much fail at pseudonyms because… well, that was his name. Anyway, I don’t know why he’d rolled on our server, but he had – he was playing a hunter. And his hunter was out-DPSing my mage by a significant margin. I whispered him to ask him, basically, “How are you doing so much more DPS than I am?”

“Well, for starters,” he whispered back, “How often do you use your trinkets?”

(The answer was hardly ever, when I remembered. At least they were on a button, a button I no doubt clicked.)

“You need to macro them to an ability,” he explained. “I will show you how.”

So it began. Otto was the best DPS I’d run with, and I’m confident he’d be among the best even now that I’ve met many more awesome DPS. He showed me the ropes of DPSing, everything from server lag and speccing to aggro management. When my DPS was flagging in late BC, he suggested I try out Frost, and then took me to do dailies while I got used to the spec. He taught me about kiting. When I dinged 70, it was in a whirlwind rush of quests he’d helped me obliterate and the screenshot has him cheering in it. He took me to the Isle of Quel’Danas (henceforth known as the Isle of WTF) to initiate me into the mysteries of Being 70 and Doing Daily Quests.

When Wrath came out, he and I got into a VoA together with his newly-leveled Death Knight and my Mage, naturally. Two pieces dropped from Archavon: DPS DK Tier 7, and Mage Tier 7. We both won the rolls for the pieces. We were on Vent screaming and yelling our glee at each other. Even though he stopped playing, I still think of him often because I learned so much from him.

I can be Auctioning, and I hear in my head, “Pro tip: post them for as short a time as you can manage checking up on them, especially if you’re undercutting or being undercut.”

I think of him sometimes when I pop Invisibility and heave an exasperated sigh at my monitor and mutter, “I’ve been threat-capped this entire time!” (Naturally, not when any of my guild’s tanks are tanking, but sometimes in pugs).

When I spent two solid weeks in Alterac Valley PvPing to get enough honour to buy my fancy pink magestaff (better than anything from Kara), he was right there with me for a lot of it. He said, “I’ve never seen someone with 5K hp f*** so many people up.” I loved Alterac Valley.

He taught me to look at the game in unconventional ways, to push myself, and to always give as much as I can.

The other day we killed Patchwerk for the weekly raid quest, and I had to smile as I remembered him saying, “Let me test my DPS on your perfect environment standing-still target dummy boss, with raid buffs? Yes, please.” That one was for you, Otto.

He was an elusive fellow, so I don't have many screenshots, but this was one from (duh) a Winter Veil party. The best parties are ones where people turn into reindeer spontaneously.

Finally, I think this is too nice a topic to be isolated – I’d love to read about the nice things people have done for you, either in comments or posts if the spirit moves you!

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Knowing When It’s Time To Let Go

It'll make sense in a minute, I promise.

It was my brother’s 25th birthday party, over seven years ago. We had only a stay-at-home affair planned – my Mom had baked a cake and we’d had supper in. It was just myself, Mom, and my brother’s (current, this is important, trust me) girlfriend, and my brother. We hadn’t yet actually had the food, or the cake, when the doorbell rang.

The girl at the door was his ex girlfriend. She arrived without having phoned beforehand. With her, she brought three things:

  • a birthday card
  • a framed photograph of her and my brother
  • and a gigantic cookie she had baked for him.

Needless to say, the following hour was not a comfortable one. It was so uncomfortable, in fact, that my Mom likes to remind  me that I phoned up a friend on the sly and said, “Hey, want to go for coffee?” and then pretended that I’d planned to go out all along as I sped out the door with a breezy, “See you later!”

I remember leaving them all sitting at the kitchen table, current and ex girlfriend on either side, and my brother in the middle.

Say it with me now:

Awkwaaaard.

I don’t bring this up now because I’m the world’s meanest person, or I want to reflect on the feelings that would drive someone to come across as so, well, let’s face it…desperate. She knew my brother had a new girlfriend. They’d broken up over a year before, but she chose to drop by, hoping to…win him back? Remind him how awesome she was? I’m not sure. But I can relate to the feeling of clinging to something that’s probably run its course. In fact, when it comes to WoW it can be all too easy to do.

Friends

Very strong ties can be forged online, I think (I hope) we’ve all experienced how great it can be to play a game you enjoy with people you’ve met. But as Voss is constantly reminding me, the internet is a nebulous thing. In the two years that I’ve played WoW, I’ve had good friends, and they’ve gone on to do other things. Sometimes it’s harder when you don’t get any closure – someone just goes offline, or server transfers without a word. It’s not like there was a huge blow-up or fight, but they’ve clearly moved on. My unofficial rule is one point of contact, and then it’s over.

When we “split” with our former server and transferred to raid on another, not all of our friends were too happy about it. I hoped we could stay friends, but some reactions were pretty unpleasant. I did send an e-mail or two, before I realized that it was pointless to pursue something that really had no future. The biggest thing we had in common was the game – why belabor something that had run its course? It was better to just let it go. Even now I occasionally miss some of those people, and I think about e-mailing or dropping by their server to say “hi,” but I always stop myself. The friendship can’t exist the way that it did, and so it’s better for all of us to just not go there.

This isn’t to say you can’t stay friends with people if your server, guild or even faction affiliation changes. Sometimes you can, and sometimes it’s better if you just don’t. The trick is to learn to discern the difference between the two.

Guilds

This is somewhat related to the previous point, because naturally you often become good friends with the people in your guild. But the guild exists separately from the friendships, an entity unto itself. Whatever the guild’s focus is – PvP, PvE and raiding, or roleplay – people change, and so do their goals and wishes within the game. The casual, friendly guild you joined to level up when you first started playing may no longer fit your burning desire to raid end-game with like-minded people. It doesn’t mean you suddenly hate everyone in the other guild, but you may have to make a choice to change in order to do what you want to do.

It’s not an easy decision to make, but in the long run both you and your former guild mates will probably be happier for it. If you’re staying in a guild out of a sense of obligation or inertia, people around you can sense it. If you leave before things start to sour, there’s still a chance you can retain the friendships you value.

Activities

Maybe it’s that arena team you agreed to join, or the raiding you were really gung-ho about, and unfortunately you found out that you don’t enjoy it the way you thought you would. I don’t advocate leaving people in the lurch – if you’ve made a commitment, you should honour it. But your first priority should be yourself – if it’s not fun any more, set an end-date for it, or talk to the people your decision will affect, and try to come up with a compromise. Don’t keep making yourself do something you don’t want to do. It’s a game, and you should be having fun.

Naturally this can intersect with either of the previous topics; you joined a raiding guild, so you can’t really get too bent out of shape to realize that… it requires raiding commitments. But if it’s not working for you any more, most raiding guilds have some provisions in place for social members. You can always step down from the active roster but remain in the guild.

Blogs

Most people who write blogs are usually avid blog-readers. I’ve definitely heard an ongoing complaint from other bloggers about their massive, unwieldy blogrolls. What I have to say might sound a bit callous, but I’m going to say it anyway: cut that thing down to size! Feel no guilt. I think the problem is that we tend to associate a blog more with a person than content. So taking them off the blogroll might feel a bit like, “I don’t like you any more.” It isn’t, though.

I don’t know about you guys, but my work and other commitments can severely limit the amount of time I have available to read blogs in a given day. I have to be pretty ruthless about what I take the time to read, and it was an adjustment for me. When work wasn’t busy, I had all the time in the world, I could read any blog I liked. Nowadays, I’m pretty judicious about new blogs I add, and I do sometimes regretfully remove (usually inactive blogs) or blogs that aren’t speaking to me any more.

It’s cliche, but “It’s not you, it’s me,” really applies here. It could be a blog about a class I don’t play as avidly. Speaking from my own point of view, I’d rather someone not read my blog than feel they have to read it but it’s kind of boring to them. I get that you don’t hate me. It’s okay.

Even when I don’t actually remove a blog – I’ll admit, I use “Mark all as read” liberally. Some blogs update more often than I can keep up. I might skim to see if a topic really interests me and then read more in-depth and comment. I know everyone loves comments. But when there’s no time for that… there’s always Twitter, right? (140 characters is just right for small procrastination breaks).

No, Really

So whatever it is… if you feel you might be clinging to something that’s just over (or should be), take steps to rectify or change the situation so that you can have fun again. It might be something I didn’t cover here, I don’t know, but I suspect you will.

In the situation I described before I left a bad situation on my old server, the stress and drama was making me physically ill. I had recurring, painful migraines and bouts of inexplicable nausea. Yes, I know, it’s “just a game,” but it can have a way of making itself pervasive. We can all take this game pretty seriously sometimes. But your subconscious often knows what’s best  for you, and it’s telling you somehow or other. Don’t be a “quitter,” but don’t jeopardize your own health and well-being either.

And don’t drop by to visit any ex-girl or boyfriends. You’ll thank me later.

I'm so over you. But you don't know what you're missing!