A Drama of Personal Angst

Somehow, despite never ever having actually lived in the fifties, I managed to get one of the core values drilled rather permanently into my skull:

You don’t air the family’s dirty laundry.

Somehow that has come to encompass everything from honest to God family matters, to friends secrets and more recently guild stories. I try not to talk about my guilds in anything but a positive light because, well, they’re family. Talking about the bad seems like airing the dirty laundry for the neighborhood to see, and that’s BAD!

However, like many other of my guild posts, this isn’t really about my guild, it’s about ME. About my behavior, my needs in-game, and frankly, whether or not other people have had similar situations and whether or not the solutions they found worked for THEM.

[Cue curtains]

Recently my guild has been working on HM Alysrazor. We’d had ~35 attempts at the flaming bitch bird, and with our regular track record, we expected to be seeing a kill on Thursday.

Thursday also saw my personal, absolute worst performance ever on the fight. If there was a tornado I was standing in it. Over and over and over again. I’d love to say that I was just one of those people who always sucked at tornadoes and Thursday was no different. However, I knew that just wasn’t the case. A fight that I loved turned into a nightmare, and likely cost us a kill even with 3 hours worth of attempts.

To say I was having a bad night would be an understatement.

When you’re in a guild like mine, it doesn’t really matter if you’re having a suck night. There are no subs. If you suck, you make the entire night miserable for everyone because there is no relief in sight. Their only hope is that you’ll somehow manage to get your head out of the fire, and actually remember how to execute the fight. I was embarrassed. I was keeping my team from getting a kill and moving on with their lives. It was horrid.

My guildmates I’m sure were ready to strangle me. Most of them kept it to themselves. Some tried the loving approach which I personally find suffocating and even more embarrassing, but I appreciated that they were doing it out of love.

And then we had one guy. One guy who told us how easy the tornadoes were after every attempt. Who told us how much he wanted to kill himself that we were playing so badly. That our performance was an embarrassment to him. (And yes, it was directed at the raid team and not me personally. Apparently no one was supposed to know who was the “bad” in a little ol’ 10-man team.)

That night I didn’t walk away sad or frustrated or even self-pitying. I walked away from my game, and I was angry. 

[The Flashback]

Once upon a time, I spent many a raid night walking away from the game angry, furious even. I raided with a guy who was exceptionally good at his particular role, but failed to care about anyone else other than their ability to do whatever they did to make the fight function. Every wipe brought about a diatribe about the fail of every single member of the team but himself.

Invariably at the end of the night, I would spend the evening doing damage control and trying to keep everyone on an even keel. Even when he was right, his rants never improved a single player’s performance since there was never  a single word that helped a player actually know how to improve their performance. Even players who had performed well previously and were having a bad night invariably got the same treatment as those players who were consistently not as good.

Nerd fucking rage.

My husband soaked up a lot of that rage. It had to go somewhere so that I could arrive at the gates for another night. So that I could provide comfort and direction to another group of players. So that I could perform myself and not spend the night fretting about which way the volcano would blow this time.

My husband finally had enough. Before I joined another progression oriented raiding guild, my husband had conditions. For his sanity, I was not to take a leadership position. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a guild where I wasn’t  an officer of some kind. I’ve surely never been in a guild where I haven’t been at least a confidante of one or more members of the leadership. I don’t intend these things to happen, it’s just the kind of person I am.

The other, and perhaps more serious, is that I would not become an angry raider. The emotional roller-coaster of my previous raiding experience was a strain for us, and we had a lot more “couple” time then. Now we’re lucky to see each other a couple hours a day unless he’s off, and frankly, angry Anne is a scary thing.

Of course I agreed. The requests weren’t unreasonable. Surely I could manage to maintain an even keel. He didn’t say I couldn’t be frustrated he just didn’t want a return of the anger monster 3 nights a week. And even if my little organizational heart wants to volunteer, I manage to curb myself for the most part, and pretend that, no I really can’t do that.

[Spotlight of Shame]

So, when Thursday ended on the stunning high note that it did, when I walked away from my computer to assess how I felt in my shriveled little heart and realized I was riding the wave of fury, I was disturbed. This was not supposed to happen. I was not supposed to be angry. And here’s the part I’m having a hard time with:

I went to private forum, notified my GM that I wanted the recruitment thread to be updated to include a healer replacement. I would, of course, continue to raid until they found one, but I thought perhaps I was in the wrong place after all.

Let me just tell you, that was the hardest damn thing I’ve done in a long time. And to add salt to the wounds, the GM took one look at it and give me an “things will work out” response.

There’s a lot of muddled thoughts and feelings around the whole thing. The first is that I’ve never, ever quit a guild over a single incident. Hell, I’ve only quit one guild in all the years I’ve been playing. I honestly felt like a drama queen when I wrote that post, and even more so when I got the reply. Dude, I was serious. I wouldn’t post something like that for …. sympathy? I’m not even quite sure what people who threaten to quit and then don’t expect to get out of the deal.

I seriously thought, in light of my promise to my husband, that maybe I couldn’t manage to raid without the fury buff. However, I was also very, heavily upset that I would be leaving one of the best guilds I’ve ever played with. I love this guild. I like the people (yes, even the guy who was giving me/us such a hard time). I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I left.

Currently I’m in a semi holding pattern. I want to be serious about my commitment to not be angry. Frustrated, a little zany, but definitely not rabid when I leave the game for the evening. On the other hand, I just want everything to work out. I want to chalk this one incident up to a fluke, and make it all go away. However, I worry that I’ll let it happen again and again if I don’t nip the whole experience in the bud and just let it go. I mean, I really love raiding. I’m willing to lose a lot of precious sleep to be able to pursue this activity, and I love sleep right after my hubby and cat.

On the other hand, I feel like I acted rather rashly. I mean, you just don’t quit on your family. You hang in there until you just know it’s never going to get better. While there have been some other annoying, semi-irritating and pre-rage moments before, I managed to keep the lid on full blown anger. What in the hell was I thinking saying “I quit.”

[Curtain Down]

I’m not really happy about how I’ve chosen to handle this. I’m not really happy that my GM thinks I was speaking solely from frustration. As the kids like to say “It’s complicated.”

Post-note: As a courtesy, I chose to share this post with my GM before publishing. While I sincerely planned on bowing out from the Production Company team (because, as I hope this post reflects, of me not them) as I feared when I posted my notice, I think I acted rashly. I fully intend to remain committed to my team, and hope that this event will be an isolated incidence: that I can continue to keep my promise to raid and keep my cool. Only time will tell, of course, but I’m sincerely grateful that my frustrations were met with understanding, and my decision accepted with respect.


16 thoughts on “A Drama of Personal Angst

  1. Can you take a break for a couple of weeks, chill out on alts, or don’t log in at all. Just don’t raid. Then see how you feel about things.

    My experience is that if you find you are happier not logging in (or not raiding) then it’s time to leave when you can still do it on an even keel, before you really do turn into that person.

    • Unfortunately, that option would likely stall our team. We’ve had some people called away with family emergencies and the like the last couple of weeks, and had some issues filling the gaps depending on the night. While I’m not against taking some me-time to figure things out, I did make a commitment when I joined, and would hate to leave them in a lurch during a particularly rough patch.

      That’s actually a wonderful suggestion, however, and I wish I’d had the sense to think of it before 🙂

  2. Like I already told you, it was clear to anyone listening to you over vent that you were already beating yourself enough up over the whole thing more than any of us could if we'd tried.

    I'm sorry you had such a rotten night but I have complete faith that you'll be able to shake it off and come back even more prepared.

    If you ever decided to look for a different group, we would miss you in our raids. However, that would also be a viable path to "everything working itself out" (just not the one I'd prefer personally of course)

    We regularly talk to incoming recruits/applicants about the need for them to really understand what its like to be part of a progression raid group. Its not easy, especially in a 10man group with a relatively limited roster, when someone in the group has a bad night.

    Its not easy for the rest of the group as they try and exercise as much patience as possible waiting for everyone to sort things out for themselves (and for the record, you weren't even close to the only one consistently making mistakes during the raid in question)

    It is even more difficult though to be the one screwing things up. To understand exactly what you're supposed to be doing and then just have your fingers fail to execute it properly. Most of us have been there at one point or another though. Sometimes shit just happens though.

  3. I think you’re letting the anger take over you. Heroic raiding puts everyone in the spotlight, and it’s hard for everybody to hit a point of contention: each time you make a mistake, you feel more pressure on you to be successful.

    Someone called you out for missing the tornadoes. It happens, and you know what? He might have his own trouble in a fight or had trouble in a previous fight.

    I was in a 10 man guild that was second on progression for the server (1st was a 25 man guild) and we had very difficult moments. We spent over 120+ times wiping on Heroic Conclave, which is a challenging fight, but by far not the most difficult. We had people that kept failing on tornadoes over and over again. It was frustrating of course. Some people got pissed on vent.

    Give yourself a break, yeah it sucks, but you shouldn’t be “removing yourself” from a guild because you fucked up on 1 night. I’m sure that there would be a lot of empty guilds out there if everytime 1 person fucked up on a night, they would have to leave or be gkicked.

    Dyalad, Ysera

  4. @Gaia
    I think I just need to get over it and hope it doesn’t become a regular thing. I don’t think the hubby is going to permanently ban me from raiding for one incident, I just really felt like I had crossed a line there. I honestly don’t think I could find another group that I liked as well as this one in terms of the whole package. 😉

    I fully expect to be called out for my errors. This wasn’t the first time, and I’m sure will not be the last. I was angry because the “call-out” was not specific to me and provided no valuable information. When a player notifies the group that he’s embarrassed to be a part of it, it crosses a line for me.

    I definitely agree that I let my anger get the better of me; however, it was over the statements made, not my personal performance. I can DEFINITELY improve the latter, and it’s up to my raid team to evaluate whether I’m meeting their expectations, not mine to “bow out” for self-criticism (I tend to be my worst critic, and don’t I know it!)

  5. Only you know of course, but unless you have a history of failing and/or don’t feel comfortable in your raid team anymore, I really do think you should consider it a rash decision or at least something you need to ponder a little more. Everyone has bad nights, everyone has evenings when they just don’t want to do it anymore. It’s best to take a step back and evaluate those feelins. Get back in and see if they resurface – if yes, then take action.

  6. I hope you don’t have a repeat of the rage monster – but if you do, then I think you have your priorities right. Your relationship with your husband is way more important than raiding, no matter how fun raiding is.

    I know my husband and I have had arguments over raiding. They embarrass me; I feel like it’s the stupidest thing in the world to argue over, but sometimes when we’re both in the drama it’s hard to pull out. If it was something we had a history of, or was getting worse? We’d reassess whether raiding was right for us any more.

    That said… if you can get your groove back and not take the rage debuff, stay with your team. Sounds like you do like them too 🙂

  7. I think you’re in the right place – family before gaming, for sure! – but at the same time, it may have been a hasty (albeit understandable) decision. Try not to let it bother you, but definitely keep it in mind moving forward. I mean, if any aspect of your regular game style – whether it be wiping, having an off night, or even raiding – is angering you IRL or stressing you out, it’s probably a good idea to step back and realize what you can adjust to reduce this RL stress, or consider if the game’s adverse effects are outweighing the enjoyment.

    That being said, chin up, I’m sure it was just a bad night. 🙂 Next raid night relax and you’ll knock it out of the park and relieve all those worries!

  8. You took a bad raiding night personal and you should not have, even if you were the one making the mistakes.

    When we were first working on the blind dragon (yes I know his name but that is what I call him), one of our loved hunters kept on just standing there and just taking it.

    No matter what we said, he was just an immovable object. He is one of our most consistent raiders and a dear friend of mine. We are casual, so I am sure progression raiding plays under different rules.

    It looked like it was going to be the raid that was going to end the raiding for the tier altogether. Everyone saw what was happening, everything thought the same thing, and then the hunter also knew he was wrong for probably thinking more of his DPS than the actual mechanic in the fight.

    As a raid leader I called it an off night, I cannot remember if we finished the fight or not, but what I do remember is that I told those that lingered that no matter what, our guild and relationships came first… eventually you will laugh at those firetornadoes that seemed glued to you… sometimes as a healer is all about a groove… spell spell, move, spell, move… you know.

    Don’t let one night, or one person being who they always are get to know. Use the anger to improve your game, not just destroy the fun. its hard to find a raid team you like… and there are always going to be loud mouths that can point out ever single mistake.

  9. Before I forget, another thing that applies about that ubber player that seems to know it all.

    The one that I have encountered before acted the way he did because of the pressure he put on himself to perform. I think that type of person should not raid but play single player games where they can affect the outcome of every single situation. Most of the time those people are beating themselves up as much or more as they are beating others with their words. (linked my wow blog with this comment too 🙂 )

    Great site btw, been reading it via RSS

  10. “And then we had one guy. One guy who told us how easy the tornadoes were after every attempt. Who told us how much he wanted to kill himself that we were playing so badly. That our performance was an embarrassment to him.”

    That doesn’t sound like a very helpful person. I have a guess who it was, ’cause I’ve seen them use that word before.

    It’s not like you’re the only person messing up on H-Alys (not by a long shot). I don’t know how well you can speak WoL, but I speak it better than anyone and you’re not some leadweight in a group of otherwise stellar players. The errors aren’t all on one person.

    We’re casual guilds (at least mine is, I guess), you guys should be more chill about things imo. 62 wipes on H-Alys isn’t some exceptional number, surely your guild had more than that on a bunch of bosses on your way to finishing tier 11 at 9/13. We ended H-Alys at 37 wipes, but we were also US-11th and that’s our highest ranking ever. We were quite thrilled with that. I’m pretty sure we ended up with over 200 attempts on pre-nerf H-Nefarian, we were still thrilled when we got H-Nef. We’re currently at about 35 on heroic Rag and we’ve only just scratched the surface.

  11. @Zinn
    Thanks for the level-headed assessment. I agree that I acted rashly, and I’m gonna be sucking it up and getting back in tonight. I definitely should have said “I don’t like this” before “I quit” especially since there’s not an emerging pattern of frustration.

    It definitely does seem silly sometimes that a background activity becomes a marital issue, but when you’re dealing with groups of people beyond yourself (and there’s money involved!) it can definitely happen. While we consider ourselves before the people we play with, we’re definitely conscience of the interpersonal aspect of MMOs.

    I’ve been giving myself the train pep-talk all day “I think I can, I think I can!” 😛

    I definitely agree. I definitely consider myself a “vinegar” when it comes to raiding: I absolutely don’t react well when people praise me all the time and I know that about myself. However, even I have limits when it comes to the negatives! I think part of the reason I appreciate this particular group so much is that it is expected that you can figure out what you’re doing wrong, and that you’ll fix it! Thanks for the blog ❤ too 🙂

    Well I try my best to keep my raid mates anonymous in discussions. Just because I have a blog doesn't mean they should suffer "public" consequences! I'm actually not much of a "counter" when it comes to figuring out how many attempts we have before a kill, because it's honestly not that important to me. Every team has its foibles and quirks, and I'm *definitely* not taking full responsibility for our entire range of attempts 😉

  12. Hi Windsoar, this posts sounds exactly like stuff I would have written, my husband told me after quitting one guild (and consquently the game)that I was to never hold a leadership position again either because I dedicated so much of my time (anger) to the game and the people in the guild. LIke you I was given conditions when I did return later.

    I understand your anger – being an angry monster (I am now dealing with that anger) however what I have found helpful – when you start sensing the anger or frustration building – ask for a break and get a drink, toilet, coffee, snack – something that gets you up from the desk and thinking about something other than that even if only for a few minutes. Do some push ups, star jumps anything to get it out. Take a few deep breaths then sit back down ready to rumble. I always find I come back calmer and in a better frame of mind to focus on the job at hand.

    Of course it depends on your raid situation etc and environment, but if you are not already doing it – try it next time. Also I found once I stopped raiding and I felt angry (so I didn’t take it to the husband) – i would log onto an alt and do some banking etc or I would take my mage through Stockades and do some mass killing real fast – yes – it makes me feel better to know I can clear level 2 mobs….LOL

    I am sorry you had a shocker of a night, but please know you are not the only one and you are certainly not going to be the last 🙂 We are human and some nights our brains are just not watching everything. Apologise to the guild for your stuff ups and move on – it should not be a reason to quit, unless you are doing it every single night for months (assuming of course they haven’t kicked you first :p ).

    Hugs! I hope you get it happening next time!


  13. I think you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. And I’m not referring to your raiding performance.

    While your husband was understandably concerned about your emotional stability and stressed out having to deal with thrice-weekly rages, neither he nor you should expect you to hold to a standard of “never getting angry.” When you deal with people, you’re going to get angry once in a while. People clash, by nature. As long as it is once in a while, it shouldn’t be a concern…for you or for him.

    Considering you like your raid team and love raiding, you shouldn’t worry overmuch about one night where anger overwhelmed you. Just focus on enjoying the game the next night and continue to work on soothing potential anger. The occasional flare-up is reasonable and even healthy. Constant anger isn’t. But it doesn’t sound like that’s a problem for you these days!

  14. I’m surprised that no one has pointed out that your fellow raider’s repeated belittling comments were very inappropriate, and probably put you further off-balance as you became more and more self-conscious. I’ve been in raiding groups with people who behave like that and seen it happen to whomever they are picking on as “bad” for the night, and even had it happen to me.

    If you call them on their behavior, they usually tell you that “someone” had to say it etc. (not true, and not in that manner), and claim that they were just saying what “everyone else” is thinking (again, not true).

    They act like there’s nothing wrong with what they were doing, but that kind of behavior is bullying, belittling, and is the opposite of team-building, good leadership etc. Comments like the ones your fellow raider made never help fix the situation when someone’s having a bad night, and I don’t honestly think the person making them intends them to. They are making those comments as a passive-aggressive (and marginally socially acceptable) way to vent their frustration that you’re keeping them from their goals for the night.

    You were frustrated enough about your performance without being “called out”, (even if he never said your name, he was clearly singling you out), embarrassed further, and basically bullied over the course of the evening.

    If the person making those comments was not the raid lead/an officer, then IMO the raid lead/officer should have whispered him to knock it off and let him know that his behavior was not helping, and was inappropriate. Hopefully your raid lead/officers know enough about leadership that they wouldn’t engage in this kind of behavior themselves, but clearly they don’t know enough to realize that this kind of behavior can have very negative effects on their team.

    You may not have gotten to the point where you felt like resigning that night if this person hadn’t bullied you and made you feel even more embarrassed and stressed. You mentioned other people trying to be supportive and kind, but one jerk can easily ruin the fun/atmosphere of a 10-man if no one calls him on his behavior (privately, of course:P).

  15. I haven’t done serious raiding for a while, but I do understand. In fact in BC there was a raid leader who used to chew me out in Kara. I was very new to the place and the role I was filling so I messed up. Lots. But every chewing had lessons in ‘how-not-to-fail’. I learned about shackle macros and how to use decursive and healbot. Downranking and enchanting were tuned and I learned and had so much more fun than I ever had. Then people convinced him to be nice and everything went to heck without our personal drill sarge barking orders.

    I don’t know if I can really say much else that hasn’t been said by the other wonderful people but I’ll try. Talk to the person involved. Try and work it out. Anti-social behavior isn’t affecting just you. When I was raiding ICC and the raid member spent five minutes screaming at someone Onyxia-wipe style I just wanted to log out. It can be hard especially when its your friend to try and gently change someone – but its needed. Maybie tell him he is limited to one comment per wipe? Heck everyone needs to blow of a little steam.

    My advice is to not give up. It sounds like you have a pretty spiffy crew, one I wish I could be in on.

Comments are closed.