Wednesday, March 30, 2011

[4.0.6] "Retiring"

So, two weeks ago, I "retired" in my guild.  We have a rank structure that includes "Reservist", a rank that has no expectations and no privileges, beyond guild membership.  It was hard to take the plunge, but it is something I should have done a long time ago.

4.5 years ago, my wife, myself, and a third person founded the Grim Legion.  I founded the Tank corp of the guild and, in fact, was the entire Tank corp for the first eight or so months of the guild's existence.  I have interviewed, trained, and geared many hundreds of people in that time (turnover was fantastically higher when we were a younger guild).

For a very long time, around 2 years, I have been pretty unhappy with the raiding commitment.  When I look back, I am still shocked that I stomached the dual-raiding nightmare of WotLK where we raided both the 10-player and 25-player versions of the content, leading to weeks of raiding the same content 4-5 days a week.

Way back when we founded the guild, the commitment was simply "to see all of the content".  Of the three founders, I was the least interested in raiding and I made no secret of it.  I raided, and I enjoyed in small amounts, but it was my least favorite activity.  In fact, we founded the Grim Legion after leaving a raiding guild because we felt the commitment to raiding was too onerous in that it took priority over everything.

As our guild membership grew, we started to dip our toe into raiding with good old Karazhan.  As our numbers grew further and we started reaching close to 25 raiders, we added more days to our schedule for raiding.  However, it's critical to note that we did that because we could virtually never field a full raid each night.  In practice, we would average two nights of raiding.

Another important thing to consider is that we would stop trying to down a boss after a handful of attempts, as opposed to wiping on him until the end of the night.  I.E., we would end the night early and work on increasing our knowledge of the fight for the next time via the forums.

Also, if we felt the assembled raid group was not clicking, we would also call it.

So, even on weeks where our schedule might have shown 4 nights of raiding, we almost never raided that often.  And, when we did raid, there was an expectation that we would not keep smashing our head against a wall for tiny incremental improvements.

Fast forward to today.  Thanks to years of hard work, for well over a year, we have consistently fielded 25-player raids, even when other guilds fell off the radar due to ennui.  For well over a year, if you were an active raider in our guild and showed up regularly, you raided at least three nights a week and at least 3 hours each of those nights.

Ending the night early was incredibly rare.  Ending late so we could do "just one more try" was incredibly common.  And if you were a Tank, sitting out was highly unlikely because our Tank corp struggled to maintain three people, let alone extras.

And that was just too much for me and, I would argue, too much for anyone; it's just too hard to maintain that kind of schedule 52 weeks per year without skewing real life.  I also felt that we could achieve great progression with less raiding time and I fought for it, but I was outnumbered greatly; it's an unfortunate consequence that when you recruit dedicated players to become officers, you tend to end up with the most hardcore players in the guild.  So, naturally, my arguments for a reduction in raiding commitment were more tolerated than considered as serious propositions.

I had hoped that less responsibility would help.  My wife and I stepped down from leadership ranks when Cataclysm came out, and we worked hard to insure there was a good transition.  I worried about stepping down, though, as it seemed I was the only person willing to stand at the "casual" end of the spectrum and fight to keep the pendulum in the middle of casual and hardcore.

After three months of being a regular member, it was still too much of a commitment.  My responsibilities at work were growing and maintaining the guild's raiding commitment was becoming a source of pure stress.  So I moved to the Reservist rank.

It was very hard. It took a very high level of frustration and stress to push me to take the plunge.  I helped found this guild.  My wife and I have been the only constants in the guild. Everyone else in the guild either took long hiatuses or have been there for significantly less time.  I have been there for all of the hard lessons we learned from our mistakes.  I wrote virtually all of our policies.  I rebuilt all of our guild infrastructure (web site, forums, Ventrilo, etc.) after the third founder left and decided to burn it all down.  I am invested in the guild.  The fact that my wife is in the same boat and has been there with me through it all magnifies it greatly.

But the raiding commitment was finally just too much.

That means no more raiding for me unless I find PUG runs, alt raids, or another guild.  Sure, there may be an occasional dip in attendance in the regular raids that might create an opening with no one else to fill it, but for the most part, that change closes the door on raiding for me.

The punchline is that I do like raiding, I just can't tolerate WoW as a second job anymore.  It's a disservice to everyone around me and myself.

It was a great decision.  I am thankful that real life created enough pressure to force this choice, because I would have soldiered on purely out of a sense of commitment and obligation.  That is admirable when serving your country, supporting your family, earning a degree, feeding the hungry, etc., but not so much when it's just playing a computer game.

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