Please welcome Oestrus, who writes about all things holy priest at The Stories of O.
To me, running random Heroics is a lot like having a one night stand.
People decide they want one for a number of reasons. Maybe you have a genuine need for something or you just have a lot of free time on your hands. Maybe you weren’t in the right frame of mind when you decided it was a good idea. Perhaps you were lonely or desperate, even intoxicated.
You may decide to go it alone or you may recruit some of your friends to tag along. It’s probably better if you take more people you know with you, because if you go alone that gives others the impression there could be something wrong with you if you’re willing to just put yourself out there like that. It also helps to have some friends with you, just in case the people you do meet end up being losers and they can give you that vote of confidence to get rid of them and replace them with someone potentially better.
Once you have your group assembled or if you’re bold enough to go it alone, you throw yourself in the queue and wait for someone to choose you. Your time in the queue is dependent on whether you’re going by yourself, if you brought anyone with you and what kind of role you (and/or they) are hoping to fill in the encounter. As usual, the people in need of healing the most usually have the shortest queue times. If you find that you have a lot of healing to give, you may get lucky and not have to wait very long yourself. If you would describe yourself as a backstabber, someone who delights in trapping people, a soul sucking leech or a downright filthy beast you can expect your time in the queue to be a bit longer than most. After all, who wants to deal with someone like that?
Then you get started. The stars may align and you find that you have an incredibly smooth time, where they know just how you like it and do exactly what they need to get the job done. Or it may be a more bumpy ride, where you have to constantly explain how things should go and tell them what to do. You spend so much time planning the whole thing and doing all the delegating that you can’t find time to enjoy yourself. It’s usually a good idea to really inspect those you plan on running with beforehand, so that way you are sort of prepared for any surprises that may come up. Try to see if they put much thought into their appearance and if they have any talents that you find appealing or that may seem out of place.
You may decide to get to know these people or you may decide to keep it distant. Obviously, this kind of thing can cause people to put up their defenses – either from being burned in the past or from inexperience and not knowing what to expect. Regardless of your approach, it’s usually a good idea to stick around until everyone is done and to resist the urge to leave in the middle of it. It’s much harder to find a replacement once you have started than it is to find one before you get going. You will find that you get more out of the experience if you see it all the way through, rather than leaving early or because things may not immediately be going your way.
Then just like that – it’s over. Everyone will have gotten what they came for and are either prepared to write the experience off as something they would do or would never do again. It’s usually followed by a sense of relief that it’s over, maybe even a sense of accomplishment. Just as quickly as you were brought together, you disperse. It’s safe to say that you will never see these people again. You will all go your separate ways, potentially meeting other strangers and finding yourself in a situation such as this one. They may stand out in your mind, as they may stand out in yours and someday you may wonder whatever happened to them. You might wonder if it was all just a fluke, an accident that things went as well as they did or if there is something you could have done differently to make it all go better. You will take everything you learned from this experience and move on to the next, just as they will. And so the cycle begins again.
In the end, this way of life is not for everyone and that’s OK if it isn’t. It doesn’t make you greater than or less than, it just means that you know who you are and what you want. Not everyone is cut out to place their chance at a good time firmly in the hands of a stranger. It’s probably better than you recognize this, sooner than later, rather than beat yourself up over it as its happening or even after all is said and done. Just remember, if worse comes to worse, you always have your friends. Friends who are always excited to do things with you, no matter what role you play or whether its your first time or your fifteenth time. You can’t go wrong with that.