Mages, ten-man raiding, and other things that are awesome.

Life as a Casual Raider

I was listening to the Double O podcast today (Episode 15: “Breakup to Makeup.”) This is relevant because while there are no guests, O2 does spend some time talking about a trend in the blogosphere for people to leave the game, switch to another game, or in our case, just take a step back. I can’t really respond to Ophelie’s statement that Voss and I were anything other than regular raiders. (i.e. quintessential raiders or something, her words, certainly not mine). I mean, I’m flustered to think that anybody “looks up” to me. But that sense of obligation was a part of what kept me going for so long, because I find it hard to let anybody down.

Something that Oestrus said hit me even more, though. She remarked that a tendency when responding to goodbye/I’m leaving or changing type posts is for people to be sad or regretful. And it IS natural to feel sad about it, but at the same time she made a great point: That you also have to be happy for the person, because clearly this is something they need, and she’s absolutely right. When I wrote my last post, I was still somewhat reeling from the events that had happened. It’s true, the straw that tipped it for me was not big. It was pretty miniscule, but the cumulative effect of carrying the straws was what broke me. It wasn’t a feather’s weight, it was that feather on top of everything else. Now that it’s been a few weeks of casual raiding, let me tell you about it.

I am drunk on the sensation of free time. I really am. I have an underlying health condition that I haven’t written about because it’s not relevant to a WoW blog, and my health is closely tied to my diet and exercise. It always felt like a huge struggle before. I’d try to cook healthy meals (I love cooking) but I’d have to start them really early so we could walk the dog as soon as Voss came home and even then we’d have to eat our food really quickly and bolt. That was on a good day. On a bad day, it was more like both of us were too tired to cook so we’d end up ordering in or picking something up, eating that and not walking the dog at all. That was before. Now, a delirious array of possibilities has opened up before me. I’ve cooked so many awesome meals. If I’m missing an ingredient, Voss swings by the store on his way home and then I cook it. We walk the dog a bit later (during what would have formerly been a raid time). There’ve been Former Raid Nights where I went downstairs and worked out while watching a movie at my leisure, then laid back and read a book, or worked on From Draenor With Love, or whatever. After just a few weeks of raiding casually (only once a week) I’ve lost six pounds and gained energy I didn’t even know I had. I feel amazing. I can’t believe I put this off for so long, but I can say absolutely and unequivocally that it was the right decision for Voss and I.

I’ve experienced slight pangs of guilt (like when a guildie tells me they’d still wish to raid every night) and that’s hard, but for me to have kept on the way we were going would have been wrong. Voss and I started playing Warcraft because we’re that annoying couple that is inseparable. We are best friends and we do everything together. The raiding situation was putting a strain on us we didn’t even realize. He didn’t want to do it, I felt obligated to do it, he was doing it grudgingly to keep the peace – it was just bad. I told him, “If you tell me that this [game] is affecting our relationship, it’s over, without a second thought. You are 100% my priority.” But he never felt right asking that of me, so it had to come from me, but I see now how it WAS affecting our relationship negatively. Now, he can stay at work late if he needs to without worrying. He doesn’t always have to rush home. We have more time to go on date night whenever, not only on Tuesdays. I’m rediscovering what it’s like to play because and when I want to, and I hadn’t realized how far I’d strayed from that.

That is the key here, for anyone in any situation. Hardcore raider, partcore raider, 5 nights a week, one night a week. If it’s what you want to be doing then it doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing! A number of people have linked to my post or commented that it made them evaluate their own relationship with WoW. (To borrow from Double O again, it IS like a relationship). We don’t all have the same experience, drives or motivations. For me, I knew that I was neglecting my health in favour of the game, and so I can’t be apologetic about my decision. I’ve had a few people tell me they’ve had so much fun with our raids since we “went casual.” I think last week they cleared DS in about two hours and then ended early. My only concern is that it can’t last because some people will get bored of the limited schedule and seek something more intense – but I can’t and wouldn’t change what they want to suit what I want, so that’s something we’ll have to face when we get there. I’m not going to worry about it prematurely or borrow trouble. Everyone has to do what makes them happy and will be best for them.

I would be lying if I said I haven’t had pangs. Every time I see a heroic kill announcement, a part of me inside has a pang. When I realize that I won’t get the achievements for heroic kills – another pang. I thought about seeing if anybody would be willing to go back into Firelands with me to try to keep building a Dragonwrath, and then I thought – you know what, I don’t want to spend the time it would take to do that, when I could spend that time on something in my real life. So I’m able to login for one raid a week, the overhead is very low – one roster, one schedule, one night, it takes about twenty minutes – and otherwise I login if I really feel like playing and hanging out. When I’m done, I logout again. This game has been part of my life too long (four years!) to just say “I’m done with it,” but I have definitely eased off the throttle. It feels great. I am doing great. Can I say “great” again? Except for the fact that the fire mage nerf landed today. That is somewhat less great. In fact, the opposite of great.

Let’s all have a moment of silence for the burning that was. We’ll still be singeing our enemies, just about 6% less. Every good thing has its time, right?

Comments on: "Life as a Casual Raider" (16)

  1. I’ve been a long time fan of your site, long before I became a WoW blogger myself ^.^

    I can echo the same sentiments as you are, since stepping down a bit in WoW too. I still write about it, and raid 3x a week except it isn’t just Dragon Soul. We’ve just started trying to down Sinestra and clearing t11 heroics, something I never got to do on my druid because she started raiding seriously later on in cata before firelands came out. I always raided end game content but never got to go back to older tiers on hardmode, so now that’s my plan for filling up my WoW time, three times a week, DS or not.

    When I’m done raiding for the night, I log off for good until the next time I raid again. I used to play everyday but I don’t anymore, because I usually cap for the week with the occasional dungeon here and there after a raid. I do other things like play SW:TOR for a bit, or work on a project, or go visit a friend. I’ve been feeling MUCH better too, and it’s because I’m doing other things than play WoW everyday.

    I still feel guilty too when I know other people are getting achieves, and I’m not. Because that used to be me, but I remind myself that I’m doing things that are good for my life. I’m still a competent player who knows my classes and keep my mains up to date, I’m prepared with flasks and with strats in mind for raids. Nobody has complained that I’m not around everyday, because when I am around, I’m a reliable and fun player.

    I’m glad to know you’re doing good with your extra free time, Vid!

  2. “I am drunk on the sensation of free time”

    So, does that mean you’ll have time for Gen Con? It’s only August 16th-19th… πŸ˜‰

    Hmm, you know, the only part about feeling sad that I have been lately are seeing acquaintances leave and move on. Considering for the most part I only know them in-game (or via a blog), it’s kind of hard to shoot the breeze with them in other media. But things change, and people do come and go.

  3. Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on here. You go downstairs and might WATCH A MOVIE or READ A BOOK instead of working on From Draenor With Love? I am shocked and disappointed. Clearly your newfound free time should be spent ARTING. This simply will not do.

    /retracts taskmaster whip from bullying Ayms, aims in Vid’s direction

    (But seriously, I’m glad. It definitely sounds like it was the right decision mentally and physically for you! πŸ˜€ )

  4. Your favorite color wouldn’t happen to be purple (was just surfing the Draenor site)?

    Very glad to hear you’re enjoying gaming at your own pace once again. It can sometimes turn into an unbreakable habit where we aren’t playing because we *want*, but because we feel obligated. Just blogging can sometimes put that pressure on you, if you blog about games. Sometimes we just feel compelled to play in order to write …or maybe it’s just me with that odd obsession!

    Anyway, great work on the comic site. I didn’t know about it until now …dunno how I missed that.

  5. I’m glad to hear that its really working out well for you. I’ve done some changing myself lately, easing off on my play time and focusing more on the things I want to do in game instead of what I felt I should be doing. (In my case dinking around on low level alts as opposed to gearing a character for a raid he would likely never attend)

    It’s truly and amazing feeling.

  6. My guild killed Deathwing Normal two days ago. I checked with status tells as DBM reported back to me each time whether he was close to being killed each time.

    When they finally killed him, I felt pride but also a pang for not being there. Being casual has its advantages, but when you read comments like “After 70+ tries, we got him, I am sitting here with the biggest smile on my face”, you realize that you might be missing out on something great.

  7. Stepping back from the game is a tough thing to do, but it can be liberating and it does not mean you stop playing or enjoying the game. Sometimes a very lean raid schedule still gives great results… specially with the raids seeming shorter. I know we can kill the first 4 pretty quickly if everything goes well, I don’t think it is too optimistic to expect full clears in a single raid night.

    Relationships and health are more important than the game. This post is inspiring! πŸ™‚

    Great post.

  8. Yay! I’m so glad to hear that you’re happier now than you were.

    Since I stopped raiding 3 days a week and now only go to the Thursday night “alt” run (and then not every single week), I’ve been rejoicing in more free time, too, and enjoying it for many of the same reasons you are. πŸ˜€

  9. I’m so happy for you and totally feel you on the “self-care” aspect of having free time outside of raiding. Plus, I’m totally digging that you can be all healthified and stuff too πŸ˜‰

    And serious offer, if you EVER need any help with fitness stuff or nutrition, let me know! I’m always a tweet away!

  10. \o/

    That is all.

  11. Hey Vid! I am glad you are enjoying the more casual style raiding. I have to agree with you on several points as I am now just doing the casual raiding thing myself after changing to the mage from the paladin and leaving Business Time. I think a huge appeal to the casual raiding is that there is no real pressure on you when playing, you just log in, have a couple hours of fun, enjoy the social atmosphere of the raid, then log off.

    When you are heroic raiding there is a lot of pressure. You have to perform perfectly on every pull and downing a single boss could take weeks. That can become rather frustrating, stressful, and can detract away from a lot of the social enjoyment of the game. I also believe that not being competitive when heroic raiding hurts as well. By that I mean finishing the content each tier and doing it at the right pace relative to other quality heroic clearing guilds. Falling behind really creates a lot of stress on you and your raid team because you feel like your failing.

    To many guilds now a days are heroic raiding when they shouldn’t to be honest. The reason for that could easily take up a whole blog post and more. From my experience in several progression guilds and more “casual raiding guilds” I have found two systems really work. You either need to be in a guild that is simply set on doing normal modes, our “casual” raiding team or you need to be a top 200 US progression guild. Nothing in the in between.

    Issue with the in between guilds are they typically are to skilled for the current normal mode but yet really not good enough for heroic raiding. That is where that pressure and frustration comes in. I think if you avoid these types of raiding situations you can have a lot more fun.

    I do think there is a lot to be said for simply just being happy doing normal modes every week then maybe some pvp or old raids on off nights. Almost can enjoy what an MMORPG is all about, the social interaction with people over the internet. It is amazing how much you can enjoy raiding when you aren’t concerned with your ranking.

    Please continue to enjoy your new raiding situation, I really think it was a great choice. I think you will find you start to enjoy the game again, have flexibility when you play, and when new content hits you will have a progression period from normals but isn’t so pressure pack so that you are top on the server.

  12. What a “great!” post! The SO and I also recently switched to a 2 night/week raid group within our guild and we love it! It gives me more free time to work on other addictive hobbies, him for homework (his last semester woo!), and also for other ingame activities. WoW is a great tool for us to spend time together because we live a few hours apart atm, so although we have cut back a bit on
    playtime, we still spend a good bit of time online. But it’s unscheduled time, where we don’t HAVE to be there, and we’re doing what we want. And then at the end of his school we can cut back even more in favor of RL activities.

    I’m glad you guys are happy, wish you the best!

  13. You’re right Vid, happiness is best! The oodles of love and smoosh from your post between you and Voss always makes me all awwwwwww inside (coz you know how I get reading stuff that is emotional). So I love this
    “Voss and I started playing Warcraft because we’re that annoying couple that is inseparable. We are best friends and we do everything together.”
    and I’m so glad that stepping back a little to find that balance again has made you happy.

  14. I know exactly how you feel, though it took me a while to convince my other half that him raiding and getting in a bad mood over it was a problem. It also took me a while to get over the pangs (I still get them sometimes). But it’s so so worth it and I don’t think I could go back. Sitting down for 4 hours is a big commitment. It’s huge. You don’t show up, you let people down. You get bored halfway through, you have to put up with it and keep going. It builds and builds and it’s not good. When you finally get the free time back it’s fantastic and this is why I love LFR so so much! I can raid, casually, do what I like to do but without any of the commitment. You made the right choice. πŸ™‚

  15. Hi Manalicious,

    Two-thumbs up for the flying turtle and a LOL for the nerfed fire mage. I’ve found that people go through cycles, which reminds me of the qoute I like:

    “The only constant is change”


  16. […] Production Company over into the previous guild category. I look at Vid’s transition to a weekly raider with hope, and try to rest the nagging worries that accompany such […]

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