It’s been a year since I joined my first guild and started raiding. It morphed from a terrifying experience to an exhilarating adventure which plateaued out into a comforting hobby that then went a little stale. I grew both bored and frustrated. I loved Naxxramas and even signed up for alt raids with my main because I couldn’t get enough of the place. When I wasn’t playing, I read up and I knew almost every detail from the lore to the math. I didn’t mind OS unless it was Sarth+3 in 200/213 gear, I hated EoE which gave me seizures and ruined my wrists, but at least it was over quickly. Early Wrath raiding was something I really had a passion for. Ulduar held both the terrifying and exhilarating. When it went well, it was awesome; when it went badly, it was truly horrifying. I struggled with the vehicles, struggled through flashy graphics which induced migraine headaches and sometimes seizures and I’ve rarely cried as much as I have whilst learning Kologarn’s mechanics. Dislocating the same joint more than a dozen times in one night is very much uncool. As a result, I ended up raiding Ulduar looking only at the floor, feet and grid.
ToC was a welcome addition. I thought I’d be bored being in one room all night, but I never was. It was an improvement over floor and feet and being able to look at most of the fights were rather refreshing. But I never did quite get the hang of heroic mode. My reaction time doesn’t change and so it takes all my concentration to not die in fires or from AoE poison. I cannot kite adds ton Anub to save my life, literally and dread wiping the raid because I didn’t hit the ice patch at just the right angle. ToC became the tedious/terrifying seesaw. Normal mode bored me so much that I lost all focus and when msn takes up a bigger chunk of your screen than grid and your music is louder than vent, your heart isn’t in it. Heroic was impossibly difficult and after the initial normal run, other players are warmed up and I’m tired and my reflexes are even slower. It hurts, it’s unforgiving and when we die because people, including me, stand in stuff, it’s demoralizing. As we move from mostly 226 gear to 245+ gear it’s winning me back over, but I still have a level 213 badge cloak, so I’m determined to kill Icehowl as many times as it takes until I receive the Drape of Refreshing winds, whether it’s an upgrade or a downgrade.
I was disinterested in Icecrown before I set foot inside. It had nothing to do with the raid instance and everything to do with not really being geared for it. I never got the trophies I wanted for Tiered gear, I never got an upgrade for my Ulduar staff or aforementioned Naxx-level cloak. I was on vent with a friend that live in the US the night before UK patchday whilst he was running the three new dungeons and it sounded fun until they entered Halls of Reflections and hit the spirit waves. It was 3am for me at the time, so I left him to it and went to bed less enthusiastic about that part, but pretty excited about the lore. I ran all three new dungeons on patch day and by the time we reached the spirit waves, it was less than thirty minutes to ICC 25 raid start and we wiped. And wiped again. And again. I felt like an awful healer and I’m sure nobody else found it much fun either. We finished the instance after invites had already gone out and entering Icecrown after spending three hours playing already was very bad planning on my part. It hurt quite a bit and I was in an opiate haze. I thought the first boss was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in WoW, but it didn’t matter. I didn’t feel like raiding much anymore.
I pay casually and that’s fine as I raid in a casual guild and so I took more and more time out. I wasn’t really raiding even when I was and when I could avoid it, I did. I played Brutal Legend instead. Or Batman: Arkham Asylum. It’s January and I signed up this week because it’s time to get back into the swing of things. We downed all four bosses in ten man and it wasn’t until we were wiped at 20% on Anub hc on our first try that I realized how much fun I was having. I wasn’t worried about seizures, I’ve gained enough experience that even though I did dislocate my wrist badly toward the end of the night, I know why it happened and that it’s not inevitable. I’m still not really geared for it and I still sometimes stand in stuff, but it doesn’t matter. I had fun and so did everybody else. I was both laughing and crying when I logged out and left vent, my wrist really was murder, but it was a pleasant and unexpected surprise to sign out looking forward to the next raid.
I’m not sure I’ll ever be passionate about the things other players are passionate about. I’ve very much lost interest in alts, I don’t put stock in achievements at all and I don’t care about pets or mounts. I thought I had to find all of WoW entertaining to keep playing, but I don’t think I do. I can play casually. I can spend my time dabbling with macro’s and reworking my UI, which is something I am passionate about and I can raid once or twice a week. I’m tanking heroics now and that’s moving from the terrifying/exhilarating curve to just a little scary but mostly comfortable experience. It’s nice to realize that as games go, World of Warcraft is flexible enough to endure my every whim, well maybe not my every, but quite a few. And that there’s nothing wrong with also playing other things, doing other things and if, like today, I’d rather sit quietly and watch the snow fall than immerse myself in Argent Tournament dailies, that’s okay too. I still spend a large chunk of my free time enjoying WoW, just not quite in the way I thought I would be a year ago when I started raiding, but starting to do it my way definitely has rekindled the passion I used to have.