Sunday, July 26, 2009

Scaling Back, or "Advantages of the Casual Mindset"

Two weeks ago, I emailed my family with this note:
I was thinking we might, after we have all the heroic achievements and gear we want, start farming mounts. I know T___ is going for the 100 Mount Achievement and I'm not indifferent to a little collecting (I've given up on phoenix unless someone else wants to spearhead TK runs -- I'm just NOT pushy enough). And others in the guild would go with us to ZG and we could leave Ravenlord last so I could just switch to Plum.

So. Help T___ hit 100 mounts GO?
The next day, a few hours before our traditional Sunday family run, my sister-in-law emailed me a 6-man Kael'thas strat. According to my husband, everyone but me was in on the surprise.

I've been elated ever since, though we still don't know if the 6-man works. Half the guild showed up when they saw where we were, though T___ warned "If the phoenix drops, I'm master looting it to Beth. If you still want to come, pst for invite." And everyone who expressed initial interest still came -- which is not surprising, because some still needed to finish the place for the achievement and some love the boss fight and most also wanted to help me out.

The irony here is that while I still want the phoenix more than anything else in the game, I've stopped feeling like I'm going to die if I don't get it. A year ago, I hyperventilated over the possibility someone might ninja it from me if it dropped. Eight months ago, I thought if I wanted it enough, if I went to enough raids and got enough gear, somehow I'd get it. I obsessed over it so much, everyone in my guild started calling it "Beth's mount" just like I did in my head (it would be crass to say it out loud).

Christmas was my turning point. Maybe it was realizing I can do non-WoW things with my brother and sister-in-law and still have as much (if not more) fun. Maybe it was the looming joy in moving closer to them (right in the middle of Brewfest -- whose dumb idea was that? Oh, yeah, mine) or the wacky antics of my parents and my mom's siblings, or just getting to know my adorable (and well-mannered) teenage cousins better.

Honestly? I think it was sitting around in the evening, laughing too hard to breathe.

I don't know exactly what changed, but when I got home I found I was much less intense about the game. And, somehow, that made it more fun.

I think I've fallen into a casual mindset, if not a casual playstyle. The game is now a hobby to me, the way it was always supposed to be. Even the drama of fellow guild members matters less to me -- I'm not going to lose sleep about mistakes that I know could have been prevented by taking the game a little less seriously or having a little more humility. Either people will come back to reconcile or they won't. If not, I hope they find a nice situation where they can be happy.

My husband had a similar epiphany after losing a week of RL work in a server crash. He spent all last week catching back up and hasn't logged on since last Sunday. Now, he's decided to scale back his arena teams and look to activities with less pressure and more immediate satisfaction.

I think we'll still spend about as much time in-game as we did (and you see that I still find things to blog about). I spend a few hours every day working on dailies because it's relaxing (and because I have writer's block), and I even raid more than I used to. But I have less stress overall. And that's what this change has brought me -- inner peace.

And now that I have inner peace... it seems I'm getting everything else I ever wanted, too.

^_^; Yay.


  1. "I don't know exactly what changed, but when I got home I found I was much less intense about the game. And, somehow, that made it more fun."

    That rings incredibly true for me. I do know what happened (an unfortunate incident involving our GM (a RL friend) choosing raid progression over friendships, which has made me question our whole drive to excel in end-game pve), but deciding not to raid for now, and playing less overall, has not just made me like the game more (I'm leveling 4 alts XD - I know, I'm nuts) but also my life in general, not stressing about my son not wanting to go to sleep before raid start, whatever it was... If that makes sense.
    I'm glad to hear that remembering that it's a game we're playing has made you enjoy it more. If only more people could learn that lesson. :o)

  2. Yeah, I understand.

    Basically, when all I was doing was logging in to do my dailies and to raid, I sat back and said, "What the hell? This is more like a job."

    I more or less tooled around on some alts until some friends were like, "Hey, let's go play on an RP server."

    Granted, we don't actually RP, but it's still a lot more fun than logging onto my Mage and doing dailies for a couple hours and then becoming bored.

    Plus, I'm learning how to tank as a Paladin. It's actually really fun.

  3. I'm really glad to hear this. All of it. In particular the part about 1) being pleased that we arranged to do Kael'thas and 2) not freaking out when we missed last week. I was a wee bit worried that you were going to start foaming at the mouth again when we brought it up... like taking a recovering alcoholic to Oktoberfest. The wife and I have been feeling very much the same way since the end of The Burning Crusade. Strangely enough, we raid more now than we ever did before. We're cutting back at the moment to straighten some stuff out, but I expect to be back at it once the new raid instance debuts and there's progress to be made.

  4. One thing I love about our fam group -- if it's possible, we get it done. And it definitely looks possible. So no stress. :)

  5. I just want to say that I am sorry for missing the run yesterday. I totally forgot about it and watched 5 episodes of True Blood as soon as I got out of work. x/

  6. <3 Looking forward to having you guys closer! Also glad that we're all learning to take the game less seriously. I am also looking to spend a little more time on my "for fun" casual alts on the RP server. My lovely warrior has like... 7 outfits now. I think I spend more time looking for clothes than I do leveling. O.o

  7. I'm thinking of maybe making a twink "just for fun." Sad thing is that I'd want it to be a Human so I'd have the 2 minute PVP trinket effect, but I can't get heirloom items on Alliance side. Dilemmas dilemmas.

  8. Hit. 80. On. Dwarf.



  9. Oh yea. I forgot. Jon and Nevari, I am mad at you for stealing my friends! You're making my state falter in having the most members of IVV reside in it. x/ lol


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