This is a post that’s needed writing for a long time, and with me offering it up to many people recently, like Tauren Think Tank, and Convert to Raid, it’s time for me to finally start putting off this difficult to write post, and get on with it. The issue is I’m not sure that I’m good enough to do the topic justice, I usually try to be passionate but lighthearted about things like this, to be optimistic, and to say ‘this will get better.’ I can’t do that as well with this, it doesn’t ‘get better’ you learn to cope and deal, and to try not to hurt when it does affect you. You grow into understanding your limitations and sometimes you can’t make things better.
I’m agoraphobic, to those who don’t know what that is, it applies to almost two entirely separate phobias in my head, but that I can understand what links them, the fear of open or particularly public spaces. I have a lot of issues handling more than 3 or 4 people at once, and even things like trying to stay involved in guild chat can cause panic spikes, uncomfortableness and pain. Vent and mumble are also rough, and while I -know- it’s stupid, and psychological, and the panic is entirely irrational, I can’t stop it, or my mind literally shutting down from it at times.
It’s rough, and even my own situation I feel is unique, talking to others it’s hit or miss at whether they get triggered by online stuff, particularly text chats. It really comes down to the perception I think, in my head chat rooms have always been a group of real people in my head, I picture them chatting to me from the same room. Anybody that’s met me in real life from online comments that I’m exactly the same person because I see people as people no matter where they are or the medium we’re meeting in. To those that are affected in the same way I am, I understand and some people just can’t get it.
I primarily limit myself to whispers and limited exposure to guild chat, I started a running joke about the GM putting me back in my cage because letting me out for long times is a bad idea. While she’s never responded to the joke, I hope she knows how grateful I am she lets me do it to kind of have an out when the nervousness overwhelms me. Skolnick from Warcraft Less Traveled and Darkmoon Herald has been flooded quite recently by me of things I’ve discovered out in Pandaria, primarily trying to occupy myself and find some alone time away from daily hubs and the crowds. I’ve always tried to make the best of what I have and focus my fear into while not a good thing, at least find enjoyment when I do have to step away from the crowd, less I suffer a panic attack and alienate them.
There’s one person I really have to give a special shoutout for in Reckoning, and that’s my friend Rhysa. When I whispered her a few weeks back to really try to start my networking in the guild, she was very kind and patient, and she’s been happily willing to work with me. We primarily talked in party and whispers and quested together, and we started voicing in mumble originally, but people randomly popping in, or large crowds forming very close to us would affect my comfort level and enjoyment of the game, particularly for longer tasks like dailies, it was do-able, but uncomfortable, like a bad pair of heels, or twisting boxers, as a metaphor for females and males respectively. We finally worked out to talking over a slightly more private medium where people couldn’t join in unless invited, and that was Skype.
I’ve not found a way to make my fear less real, or less troubling. I’ve not found a way to really cure the ‘always watching the party’ feeling you get because being in the crowd will irrationally terrify you, make you nervous, make your stomache churn and bubble and hurt and if you’re really unlucky, get out of control. Cause a scene, and struggle to regain control as you shudder and shake and cry and hurt. Lonely but unable to ever to join a group hug, is how I heard someone said it once. But I have found things to help combat it, and make it more tolerable, at least in context of World of Warcraft though many of these tips could easily apply to other games.
- Make sure the people ‘in authority’ know your illness and issues. Things like guild officers or raid leaders need to know, particularly if you feel it could ever be an issue.
- Don’t be afraid to apologize and explain your situation if it gets overwhelming. Anybody worth the time will be understanding that you need a break from the Golden Lotus hub for a few, than force you to suffer through an anxiety attack just to quest with them.
- Don’t be afraid to go exploring by yourself to clear your mind and lower your panic levels. I’ve found many neat things in Pandaria doing this, listen to Warcraft Less Traveled and visit some of those spots! It can be a lot of fun to just fly around if you let it.
- On a day you know you’re going to have to be with lots of people like guild events or raiding, do your best to make the day as quiet and easy as possible, maybe skip dailies that day, or just turn off guild chat or don’t even play the game till raid time.
- Have some life lines, some people you trust you can send messages to privately in some way (realid, twitter, instant messenger phone, etc. . . ) that if you do have a panic attack and have to just shut down the game, that they can explain what’s going on and find some filler.
- Try to get to know people in whispers, small questing groups, etc. . . of people you’re likely to spend time with like the raid team. While even 9 trusted/liked people is extremely overwhelming at times, it’s leagues better than 2 trusted and 7 aquaintances/mostly strangers. Try to find a time when they’re questing and maybe looking for a distraction (dungeoning/raiding time is a bad time to whisper.) Try to find things to do together, like pug while on skype/vent/mumble.
Those are just a few of the tips I have, and while some may seem like common sense I’m putting them all up here for people that may be confused, or unsure about what’s acceptable. The best advice is to be honest, and surround yourself with people who -do- understand and that you can trust. I’m extremely grateful to my guild on Wyrmrest Accord for being so understanding, and working with me. I’m grateful to my lifelines, and my friends, new and old, and upcoming.
In many ways, my podcasts, videos, and this blog are in some ways therapy for this as well. I can talk to nobody, talk at a readership I can see as a nameless faceless blob. An audience that is a singular entity that I don’t have to think about and in a way, talk to nobody while talking to everybody. To share my thoughts and feelings and knowledge with the world. To be part of a community, a party, a group of people, and not worry about anxiety attacks. I’m grateful to everyone who enjoys what I do, because it’s my way of being with you.
Happy travels everyone, I hope to return to posting regularly, because this place -is- therapy for me, and you guys are all extremely valuable to me. Thank you for not giving up on me.
While this is a more specific WoW occurance I’ll be talking about, I think it’s a pretty universal truth across any sort of multiplayer competitive team game. Recently Precious and Soft left World of Warcraft for what were a mix of health issues (a brain tumor like disease) and social issues (caused by learning a little slow in a now fast paced game.) I have to admit I’ve never known this person, didn’t follow them, didn’t read them. I was pointed there by the mightiest of bear butts. What I can say is that the post is very heartfelt and well written. The one important bit though is she says it was essentially PuG asshats that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I’ve always believed that making mistakes and learning the fight is okay, explanations, attempts, etc. . . And the one thing that’s always been true in any game I’ve played, I’m not afraid to wipe or fail. In fact, when there isn’t a failure state for a long time, I get contented, I get bored, I start trying to add in my own challenge. Why do I suddenly take 8 groups at once? Because I want a real fear of failure, I want to challenge myself and my party, and occasionally, I want to lose. This is a really common occurence in PvP, and nobody -seems- to complain about their third or fourth death in Alterac Valley. Perhaps they see other players as a truly worthy adversary, whereas a boss never can be, especially a psh, -heroic- boss. I’m not sure, but more and more often I run across one wipe losers.
What’s a one wipe loser? Well it’s that person that either immediately jumps the healer or tank, says it’s obviously their fault because they’re not geared enough or ‘just bad’. It’s the person that either leaves right after they die, or starts a vote kick on the person they feel is responsible for a loss, without ever giving the chance for an explanation or to make it right.
There are new people, there are people who have never had a fight explained to them. Occasionally even I run into mechanics I didn’t know were at play and I’ve defeated Yogg+0. Sometimes things fall through the cracks when you’re not trying to stay completely up to date with all the content or you even take a break from the game. I’m always willing to stay, and go more attempts, as long as the person is learning and getting better.
I think this mentality of runs should be painless really came about the same time as gearscore and incentivizing dungeons with raid gear/points came into play. So early Wrath. When the more progressives and ‘elitists’ had to run random dungeons to get optimum gear as fast as possible. When the average joe felt he had to do daily or weekly questing and wanted to knock it out as fast as possible, and when dungeon difficulty took a nose dive. It’s occasionaly reared it’s ugly head, and generally harder dungeons are just immediately dropped by one wipe losers. Occulus was a great example. And when dungeon runs were fairly difficult (the troll ZA/ZG runs) groups were painful at best, particularly just the player attitudes inside them.
When did dying and running back become a phobia or a sign of terrible play and not just learning or a bad attempt? Why did blizzard make kicking rules akin to your typical corporate legal contract? There have always been one wipe losers, but I think the generally mismatch of risk/reward, the idea of an expontentially declining difficulty curve in dungeons and raids has caused the odd phenomena of these sort of players, the players in a rush to get nowhere, to be the vocal -majority- of runs. As players get gear, dungeons get easier, as blizzard nerfs dungeons they get easier. The raid’s are now at I believe 30% nerf, with another 5% datamined. When players are outgearing the content -and- the content is geting easier, people grinding their points, for points sake get impatient that their run isn’t fast, flawless, and clean.
So remember to try to explain the fight or pull the next time a mistake is made. Perhaps they were uninformed? Try to understand that the people aren’t undergeared if they’re in there, they’re doing the content at the level it was -designed- for. And for goodness sakes, don’t jump down the healer’s throat if the healer can link the damage taken meter and point out in the breakdown you were standing in fire.
Remember, the slow to dispel priest might not know they should. Remember the mage who misses an interrupt might have a mental health issue. And most of all, remember it’s okay to lose sometimes, as long as the same mistakes aren’t made multiple times.Read More
I like to think I’ve always been a really good beta tester, figuring out interesting bugs, interesting ways to get to locations, and even getting to places I shouldn’t. I figured out Diablo 1′s mana shield bug on my own. I once was able to get inside a wall in the original Planetside and shoot people, while literally being unassailable. I enjoy exploring, testing, breaking, it’s part of who I am, and when I learn about a new easter egg or bug, I usually have to see it.
Last night, my friend Calvin and I were looking up interesting things in WoW, from the Creepy Goldshire Children, to the large Dragonblight skeleton, and we stumbled upon Karazan Crypts and a way into there. That little itch was resparked in me, and I was determined to get there, to see it, particularly since it was supposed to be the creepiest thing -in- World of Warcraft. It’s times like this I think I can really relate to old explorer’s, that need to see what’s there, despite the consequences. Sure others had gone before me, and there was footage and photos to prove it, but it never is the same as -going- there.
I’ve broken the ToS a few times to explore new lands, most of the time unscathed, a few times temp banned. My guild master this time, after seeing Calvin and I disconnect 30 or so times in a row got wind that something suspicious was up, and I was honest, and she was honest, afraid that the guild might suffer for me needing to break the ToS. Citing things like the Paragon issue (thought not by name) as an example of a guild suffering for rulebreaking.
Yet the pull of new, the pull of digging too deep, really gets my dwarven instincts rolling. (Even though I’m Horde at the moment.) So despite her very polite request for me to stop, and a small pang of guilt for worrying her, I soon found myself in Karazhan Crypts, like I had Hyjal and the Emerald Dream long before. And, I enjoyed it, we smiled and laughed, and explored, came up with theories for certain rooms, even looked up theories as to what the crypt was.
Back when you could mountain hop up to Mount Hyjal, an instance there that mirrored Onyxia’s Lair, led many to believe that there’d be a fight with Deathwing up there. Years later, Hyjal releases as part of Cataclysm, and the final boss, Deathwing. Well played players. We didn’t find much about Karazan Crypts. It appears to be more than just Kara though, being part of the village surrounding Kara, and going all the way over into Duskwood.
With Deadwind Passes and Duskwood’s interesting history with the Scythe of Elune, what equate to World of Warcraft’s 4 horsemen of the apocolypse; the dark riders, Raven Hill’s long dead embalming school, issues with undead and black magic rampant, and of course Karazhan and all of the evil done there, the crypts seem like one of the more unholy, powerfully dark parts of World of Warcraft. A literal bridge under two of the oddest, and darkest zones in the game. What horrors could have created this place? And what kind of people mutilated others, chopping off their hands, removing their eyes, and hung them upside down?
(That last part is The Upside-Down Sinners, Pictured here.)
Creepy, yes? But anyway, exploring down there, theorizing which rooms were boss rooms, what kind of bosses might be located there, the strange connections between Kara, Raven Hill, and the Scythe of Elune, really smiling and enjoying the game. Sharing that sort of experience with others is just as good if not more delicious than raiding to me. Visiting the forbidden GM islands, the dev stuff below Westfall/Deadmines, Ice Cream Valley! How many wonders in World of Warcraft would I have missed without being willing to dig too deep?
How many bugs would have gone unpatched, without people discovering them and using them. And how unfair would it be for Blizzard to strike down a group of people completely unrelated to the crime? If they did, that’s a problem with the company, not the player. I’ll take responsibility for what I did, as I have in the past, -I- did this, and I did it because my explorer’s instinct was too strong to resist. And I now have a memory I can treasure, that’s special and rare. Like defeating Yogg+0, or seeing unfinished Hyjal, like finding the Easter Egg in adventure, or the contest room in Link to the Past. Finding those things some people may never know about, is part of the joys of gaming, one of the things an interactive medium can offer much easier than other kinds.
So I’m sorry, sweet Guild Mistress of Reckoning, your words did hold weight, but sometimes a Dwarf just has to dig.