Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Guild Pressures

I've been limiting my WoW time quite a bit lately, for a number of reasons. Some of them have to do with wanting to clear out a backlog of other games I've been collecting (just finished Mass Effect 2 over the weekend and OMGSOGOOD!). Some of it is because non-gaming things (skiing, hockey, social events, work) have been taking up a larger portion of my time recently.

But mostly it's because, for the first time in the 4 years I've been playing, WoW's started feeling like a second job for me. And when I sit down and log in, I'm just not finding myself having much fun. I'll hop on in the evening, stick around long enough to see if a raid is going to come together, and then either go on that or log off if it becomes apparent there won't be one.

There's a couple loads that are typically spread out among multiple members in guilds that have fallen almost squarely on my shoulders as of late.

Our guild has 3 raid leaders. However one has involved himself much more in school and his fraternity over the last year than he has in WoW. Really the only time we see him with reliability anymore is during extended school breaks. I'm not faulting him for this. It's a very healthy thing and I'd be more concerned if he was ignoring these parts of his real life. But the simple fact is that it's one less reliable raid lead in our guild.

The other raid leader had work more or less blow up in his face and start consuming a disproportionate amount of his time right around the same time he signed on to help coordinate an entire convention. We haven't so much as seen a "X has logged on" from him in about 6 weeks, I think. Again, not faulting him.

But now I'm the only raid lead left. It's pretty much up to me to figure out what our guild is going to run any given week, whether it's an open invite or selective, and who to invite if it is selective. Then it's up to me to be the one showing up to actually lead said events. Normally I don't mind this. I enjoy leading raids. But I end up feeling guilty when other obligations call me away or when I just want a night off. I shouldn't get that kind of feeling from a game. Plus I end up scheduling our raids around my schedule because I don't want to force any of my fellow officers to fill in when I can't be there. A few have stepped up to help try and fill the gaps, but I know it's not a role any of them particularly want to play.

Then we come to the issue of tanks, particularly progression tanks. There is a reasonable number of well-geared tanks being played by skilled players in our guild. The problem is that most of them are alts of people who play their other roles much better (and have collected much better gear). There are really only two main-toon, main-spec, progression-ready, reliable tanks in our guild. I'm one of them. School/Frat Raid Leader is the other.

So, same thing. Any time we're trying to run anything harder than ToC 10, I feel obligated to be there tanking to give us a reasonable chance at success. I love tanking. It's a ton of fun. More than I honestly ever thought it would be before I took my first baby-bear steps into Kara. Plus it makes leading a raid really, really easy for me. I'm much more distracted when shredding ankles in cat form or bringing my Shaman in for a change of pace. I actually have to pay attention to me more than the raid when I do any of those.

But Cat is still my first love and I'm really, really starting to miss it. I've gotten to go Cat in a few VoA pugs and dungeons in the last month and I've enjoyed the hell out of it. And playing around with the Mangle change on the PTR has made me really want to flex those muscles in a raid environment. Honest to God, if our guild ever got 3 or so tanks that I reasonably trusted and thought were better than (or at least as good as) me, I'd be happy spending 90% of our raids staring at ass-end of everything we met.

But again, our raiding opportunities are limited. We have to make the most of them, especially on 25-man where our less hardcore members have less patience with wipes and such. So a-tanking I go.

I know this whole post sounds like a gripe-fest. I guess, to some extent, it is. But I don't want to get down on this game or my Guild. Both are great. And raiding is still the single most fun thing in the game for me.

I just really want to be able to share the responsibilities of it all again (with people that aren't just grudgingly accepting them).


  1. I totally understand and relate. At times it really is like a job.

    I think that our amazing tree healer was ready and willing to step up and lead more raids. We'll see how that turns out.

    At the very least, you should get a chance to go cat some more. Our two newer pally tanks are ready to step up and main tank some, if not all, current content and take some of the pressure off.

  2. I was kinda in the same situation 10 months ago; the main tanks / RLs of my ex-casual guild had to take a few months' break due to work or RL matters, so a ret pallie officer and I stepped up to RL and tank for progression content (then, Ulduar). It wasn't easy, and us two being the only viable tanks left active at the time weren't so well geared. We enjoyed seeing new content and downing bosses, but it wasn't easy with only 2 tanks; if one of us couldn't make it to the raid it was likely that the entire raid would be canceled for the night.

    After a certain prolonged period, both of us agreed that we really really missed DPSing (our MS) and began to PUG non guild runs to supplement this lack of pewpewing. Since our guild was strict 10-man content only, pugging 25mans wasn't an issue. It seems your guild does raid 25mans, so I might suggest PUGing the 25man raids that your guild does not do every week.

    Our tanks came back after some time so retadin and kitteh went back to DPSing. Though rather oddly, I began to miss tanking after a few weeks (the competitive world of DEEEPEEEZ can get to one sometimes), and would jump at the opportunity to help out as a bear from then on.

    As for sharing the responsibilities: perhaps you can assign a heals raid leader to split the RLing, and possibly assign trusted guild members to call out for fire/posion/debuffs. Also, training more guild tanks may see people switching to tanking full-time if it's their calling. Can never hurt to have more OS tanks around ; )

    Hang in there, fellow kitty!

  3. I can heal any current content that the dynamic paly duo can tank if losing the tree causes an issue. Everyone deserves some time off to make the game more fun


  4. /pats

    If the workload is too much, say something to the guild leader. Maybe there are some promising raiders that would make good leads?

  5. I know some of that feeling. We had a long period where we were hard pressed to get decent healers to our raids. Me being one of the few resulted in me feeling I had to sign for a raid or it would probably not happen. I'm just happy I wasn't our raid leader too.
    I tend to take WoW too seriously. If I were able to be a bit more relaxed about it I might still be playing, and I do miss it every now and then.

    I wish you good luck and hope you can find more raid-leaders and skilled tanks, so you in turn can loose the pressure and start having the fun you go there for.

  6. @Saffron

    My GL was the first to comment. >.<

    We have a tree and a ret pally that have been helping out when I'm not around. Both have been doing a pretty good job from what I've heard.

    I think part of my problem is that I also need to be able to just let go and be okay with other people doing my jobs. Even when I'm stressed out and frustrated, I'm possessive of them. ;-)