Mirror, Mirror

16 Mar

I woke up this morning to find an application on my guild’s forums from a holy priest who stated that she reads my blog and several others on my blogroll as a point of reference.  Her application looked great.  She was geared to the teeth, had a lot of experience under her belt, a winning personality and seemed to know her stuff.  Needless to say, her application generated a lot of interest from everyone and people were excited about scooping her up and adding her to our roster.  While I was happy that a holy priest was inspiring such excitement and demand from my guildies, I also found myself confronting some bad habits that I have been dealing with for quite some time and never really got over.

It all started with a druid named Reach.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (well, a realm called Khaz Modan) I was in a guild called Retribution.  I was one of two resto druids already on the roster and we got along pretty well, for the most part.  We mostly kept to ourselves and would swap places on the meters, neither one being terribly far behind the other.  We were just about to break into Trial of the Grand Crusader when she started taking some time off to deal with things in her personal life.  A short time later, we recruited a moonkin with resto tendencies (or was it the other way around) named Reach.

Reach was everything that I wasn’t.  He was shiny, happy, optimistic, bouncy.  He dropped fish feasts.  As far as the guild was concerned, he could do no wrong.  His app generated pages of interest and praise.  His personality won people over instantly and he outhealed me within 2 weeks of joining.

This infuriated me.

There was a time when I was Reach.  I was new and fun, someone that everyone in the guild wanted to get to know and be seen with.  I was the one receiving heaps of praise for keeping up with the best healers the guild had to offer.  I was the one people would go to for a fresh druid insight.  Not anymore.  I became the relic, the veteran.  It was Reach’s turn in the spotlight and I was determined to not let him enjoy a second of it.  I pulled out every demoralizing stunt in the book.

I consistently berated him because of his performance and how he didn’t deserve to be showing higher on the meters to me and he had to be overhealing or doing something else to pad his performance.  I called him out on Vent, much to the ire of the officers in my guild and my fellow raiders.  I became consumed with taking back what was I thought was rightfully mine and in the process I made myself look worse than Reach could have ever made me look on his own.

It was like self-fulfilling prophecy.  Reach was in the guild to make me look bad, alright.  Except I was the one who did it to myself.

We ended up spending weeks banging our heads against Heroic Anub’arak and it just wasn’t coming together.  Icecrown Citadel still felt very far away and Reach was experiencing a bad case of burnout.  He had started a blog, which went from having entries talking about how thrilled he was to be raiding with a guild of our caliber to musing about whether he was meant to stay raiding with us when Icecrown Citadel comes out.  The entries seemed to get more spaced out and more depressing.  It was pretty clear he wasn’t going to be with us for much longer.

Sure enough, Reach disappeared and eventually quit the game.  Rumors spread and were mixed as to the real reasons.  Some openly blamed me.  Some agreed that burnout took its toll and maybe some things in his personal life played a part in it, too.  I was so wrapped up in my own burnout at the time and didn’t pay any of this much thought, what with trying to prepare for Icecrown and dealing with my imploding relationship with our healing lead (who I mistakenly started to date around this time).  But when all was said and done and I really thought about it I felt terrible.  What the hell did I just do?

I still struggle with my competitive nature, this insecurity to this day.  I need to realize that just because my guild is looking for people that play the same class or spec that I do does not mean that I’m one foot out the door.  Just because the person who posts an application is better geared than I am or heals for more than I do does not automatically mean that I am less of a healer or that I can’t keep up.  Just because people may like this person more than me does not necessarily mean that my raid spot is in jeopardy.  Sometimes I need to have these pep talks to keep myself in check and remind myself where I’m at with things.  I have gotten a lot better than I was back then, but it’s still tough.  It’s hard not to look at the bigger picture and see what you want to see or what you expect to see.

The applicant’s Mumble interview is one hour from now.  I have a brief list of non-invasive questions to ask and I will be supportive and excited to have her on board.  I quelled my nerves with Chinese takeout and an episode of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”  I’m ready to go.  I genuinely hope she makes the cut.  Two Lightwells in the raid would be awesome.


28 Responses to “Mirror, Mirror”

  1. Kurn March 16, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

    Not to get too specific about the guild and us, but I did want to say that you’re doing the right thing in remembering that your raid spot is not in jeopardy. We are recruiting this individual for a versatile priest slot, to essentially let one disc priest remain disc for the most part and to have you remain holy, while filling the hole that will be left by the departure of our other disc priest.

    Same number of priests on the roster! Same number of healers on the roster! 🙂

    I do appreciate your support of the new app and I’d hope that my own management style will help remind you of the key place you (and all the healers we currently have) hold on our roster. Filling the disc priest’s shoes will be a tough job, but that’s what the app is gonna be there to do, as well as make us a more fluidly versatile healing team. She’s not going to be there to usurp your position. 🙂

    • Oestrus March 16, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

      I appreciate you going the extra mile to re-assure me of that. Regardless of how much reinforcement you provide, it’s still an issue that I have and that I do struggle with. It’s not nearly as resounding or persistent as it was. But it’s still there and I would like to think I’m dealing with it better than I have in the past.

      And for the times that I can’t deal with it by myself, a little bit of support from your guild or the management goes a long way towards helping out. I really and truly thank you for that.


  2. Kuri March 16, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

    When you’re seeing your own raid spot in jeopardy (same class or otherwise), it’s important to balance out those feelings of competitiveness with that of support.

    We all worry about our raid spot. The only people immune from this are guild Officers, but they get enough work loaded onto them that they deserve a guaranteed spot if they can perform. For the rest of us, we need to earn that spot. But then our evil side can rear its ugly head.

    It’s right to analyze new recruits and point out their mistakes. But it’s also important to mention their successes and strengths so they don’t feel it’s a constant beat-down whenever they log in. You can probably imagine that someone feeling their healing team has it out for them isn’t going to be as cooperative, happy, or social when the second they do anything they’re picked apart. Contrast this with a team that mixes in support and praise, and it’s a very different picture.

    It’s human (and expected) to be self-absorbed and protective about something you care about. But it’s important to qualm the “knee-jerk reaction” you so you don’t end up losing everything (including your cherished raid spot).

    • Oestrus March 16, 2011 at 10:50 pm #

      Hey there!

      I think you said it best in your last statement or two. It was me being entirely self-absorbed and worrying too much about my status and what was going to happen to me without even considering what that guy was going through and how I was taking it out on him. I handled it very poorly and I realized that I could have shared those feelings with people I confided in and kept it internal rather than putting it on blast and involving everyone else in it.

      I also agree that it’s human to do that. I doubt that I’m the only person to feel that way at the sight of someone knew coming into a guild and that’s why I wrote the post. I may have handled it a bit excessively, but I think more people have been there than folks realize. Hopefully they can relate and realize they weren’t alone.

      I’m glad you stopped by, sir.

      • Kuri March 16, 2011 at 11:59 pm #

        It’s an awesome story. And glad I popped in too. The title made me think you were going all Mage on us suddenly. 😛

        I have my own fair share of tactless interactions in my repertoire. Whether I share them or not… depends on whether I can find a moral in any of my stories.

        • Oestrus March 17, 2011 at 12:13 am #

          I do have an 80 mage hanging around on another realm. But I could never bring myself to be anything but frost on her and we all know that spec isn’t really seen as viable, unfortunately.

  3. Guinnyn Nightshade March 16, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

    I understand your point. Being competitive myself, I had issues within my guild because of that, until I learned how to better direct this competitive drive.

    During the Icecrown phase of the game, we were still stuck on the first part when one of the BiS Druid belts dropped. But it was a cloth piece, and we had not only the other main healer of the guild on the run, Superhawk, a priest, but a mage who could too use that belt. And I rolled on it, and won the roll fair and square. At the time, all I cared for was to have our guild make progress, and to be top healer for the runs. I totally forgot I was raiding with FRIENDS, not ‘guildmates’.

    So, the day after, our ex-GM called me on Vent and really ripped a new one on me, for taking a cloth piece out of the hands of people who could only wear cloth. She was totally right, but at the time, I couldn’t see it. Funny part was, the one thing that drove all my competitive energy to a new direction was one offhand comment she made. “Super still does 4k HPS even with less gear than you, and you can barely do 3k. Beat that.”

    I didn’t have to be an asshole or top the healing meters to be liked – I was liked plenty from everyone, as I’ve always been the “guy who was there when they needed me”. I didn’t have to have the best in slot gear, or to top the meters to have my spot, for people to choose me over other ones in the roster. I was good at team playing, I was good at keeping people’s asses alive and killing bosses, I was good at firing up people to get that fight right and done, I was good at coming with options and strats when the ones we tried didn’t work. I was also good at yelling at people for doing stupid stuff and for doing stupid stuff myself, but that’s beside the point. I had already a spot not only on the guild’s raids, but on their hearts. So… I was actually not competing with Super, or anyone else. I was competing with myself.

    Next week of raiding, I beat that 4k HPS mark. The following? We got everything up to Putricide down – thus making Saurfang, Rotface, Festergut a 3-Guild-First streak! – and I basically solo-healed Saurfang from 70% to 0% life, beating the 6k healing mark. Since I started pushing the drive to compete not with other, but with myself – to always do better than I did, to improve the raid and the guild as a whole – we pushed forward more and more. In the following weeks, all that was left to do was to beat LK himself. And I stopped caring if I was top heals or not. If we got out of a fight with at least one person alive and the boss dead, it was a success (that also always reminds me of when we downed Mimiron for the first time, with only 3 people left – my druid, Super (two healers) and Meechie (our GM’s tank). It was frantic, stressful, but hell we had so much fun there! But I digress). 🙂

    So, after ALL this talk, I wanted to say is: I really have no idea of how much people of your guild like you or not, but from what I saw and read, you’re liked not only for your raid performance, but for being who you are. If you need to compete with someone, compete with yourself, strive to do better than you did before, for yourself and for your guild. You’ll feel better for your successes (and, I admit, might end up blaming yourself harder for the failures more than needed, but that’s something else we need to deal with), and you’ll find that all that energy will be pointed toward a better, greater end. 🙂

    And sorry for the humongous comment, this was almost as big as a blog post… u_u But when I got to say something, I do end up saying a LOT… 🙂

    • Oestrus March 16, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

      I agree – put that energy to constructive use and not destructive use.

      That’s a great way to look at it!

  4. Fabio March 17, 2011 at 11:43 am #


    I was gonna tell you a long story, but decided to keep it short. I’m currently in pre-raid gear and haven’t been able to raid for some RL issues. One of these days, I logged on and was immediately invited to the raid group with my guildmates, since the other holy priest had to leave. I was the worst geared healer, and ended up in 3rd on the meters (it was a 10-man raid). We killed the boss and I went to talk to our GM (a holy pally, which is not only my best in-game friend but also in RL) and told him I was sorry for healing a lot less than he did (he healed twice as much as I did).
    As he replied: “It’s ok. Although I healed a lot more, I didn’t have to heal like crazy as I’m used to, because I know YOU were there. You didn’t heal that much, but I knew things would be fine. You’re my best healing partner ever.”

    So, what I mean is: it’s not about meters, it’s about who you are, and how much people trust in you. And honestly, hearing that from him made all the difference to me. And the same goes for you, no matter how much you heal, people will always know they can count on you, no matter what.


    • Oestrus March 17, 2011 at 11:56 am #

      Hey there, stranger!

      I’m glad to hear that you were able to squeeze in some raiding, with your busy schedule and all. It seems like you were definitely missed and that’s great to hear. Do you think your schedule may allow you to come back more often for raids?

      I appreciate the advice, too. It definitely hit home.

  5. alacranmex March 17, 2011 at 5:43 pm #

    You’re a great storyteller. This is very readable and enjoyable.

    Don’t worry. I think you’ve done enough self-reflection here in your “Mirror” that you won’t repeat the same mistake again. There’s a good lesson to be learned here and thanks for sharing it with us.

    There is definitely not enough chinese food here in Pineapple land, Mexico.

    • Oestrus March 17, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

      Pineapple land, Mexico.

      Where exactly on a map would one find Pineapple land?

      I have to say that I was very excited to see a blogger hailing from Mexico. I know we have a lot of European bloggers who contribute and certainly our fair share of friends from Australia, Canada and the United States. But I’m not aware of many (or any) from your side of the globe. I think that’s terrific!

      Thank you for the praise and for stopping by! I look forward to exchanging more page views and comments with you in the future.


      • Fabio March 18, 2011 at 9:12 am #

        Well, then I think you’d be glad to know that I’m from Brazil 😉

        • Oestrus March 18, 2011 at 9:48 am #

          I knew that! Like I said, I think it’s great that we’re seeing more bloggers from parts of the world we don’t often hear things from in the blogosphere.

          • Fabio March 18, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

            Yeah, thought you’d have guessed it by now 🙂

            I bet it’s a really nice feeling to know you have readers from all over the world. Your words are heard, it’s not just threw to the wind.

            If you want another friend, you’ve got it alredy 😉

  6. Slice213 March 18, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    Nice read as usual!

    I agree as well, things will work out well with the new app and you. 🙂

    And I agree everyone one deals with insecurity and competition issues, its human nature.

    Maybe I should throw an app in… 🙂 Miss healing with Madrana.

    • Oestrus March 18, 2011 at 3:56 pm #


      Thank you for the compliment and for swinging over to my page for a quick read.

      You miss healing with who? I don’t know a “Madrana,” but I do know a “Kurnmogh.” I think they run in similar circles, maybe.

      Hm. Not sure…

      • Slice213 March 18, 2011 at 4:55 pm #

        o.o I thought Madrana is GM for Apotheosis?

        • Oestrus March 18, 2011 at 6:04 pm #


          They are one in the same. But Kurn tends to respond poorly to being addressed as “Mad” or “Madrana,” so we only refer to her in the way that she has stated she prefers.


          • Kurn March 19, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

            After two years of being called “Mad”, I am strictly enforcing the guildies calling me “Kurn”. 😉

  7. ithilyn March 18, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    Great story, thank you for sharing something so personal. I think many of us can relate to some degree. I agree with a commenter’s sentiment above that ultimately it’s a competition against yourself; however it takes another person outperforming you (in area X, where X is something that matters to you, be it topping the meters, or being liked, or respected, or whatever) to really push you to do better. I’ve had this in Cata and it’s been the best thing that’s happened to me. Good luck to you and I hope it all works out.

    I love the fonts on your site.

    • Oestrus March 19, 2011 at 1:49 am #

      Thanks! They did come with the general layout that I chose and I didn’t do anything to really personalize them. It just came out of the box that way.

      I am actually in the midst of re-designing my website and I have a very talented web designer working hard on that. The samples I’ve shown people on Twitter and such have been received quite favorably. Hopefully you’ll stop by once it’s all finished and give me your feedback on that, too.

  8. Beveline April 2, 2011 at 9:59 am #


    I didn’t know you had a blog and I was excited to see this was who I was hoping it would be! I was in Ret with you for those frustrating ToC heroic runs (it feels so long ago now!). Just wanted to say hi and hope all is well with you!


    • Oestrus April 2, 2011 at 10:38 am #

      Wow, talk about a blast from the past!

      I have to say, I don’t remember your toon’s name on the Ret roster. Granted, that was a long time ago. Did you go by another name or something?

      Refresh my memory, because I would love to recall knowing you and that would make me very happy.

      • Beveline April 2, 2011 at 11:51 am #

        I was playing as Beveline as an Orc warlock. I think I may have been there near the end of your career there and nothing about me probably really stood out. I was the Demonic Pact Bot for the guild, so it wasn’t like I was really rocking the meter. Being really good friends with Zim made me come over to Ret, but it just wasn’t fun there for me so I wound up doing a faction transfer and played on my lock for another year or so. Now I am in Veritas as a Priest and I have to admit I really just love healing now. It has it’s very own sense of satisfaction, and all I have to worry about now is keeping people alive not doing my rotation perfectly to eke out another 100 dps to beat the next guy. It really brought WoW back for me and I wish I would have done it sooner.

        I remember you as a rockin’ heal druid and I am sure you are an awesome priest as well! I am gonna keep you on my radar and hopefully steal some great ideas from you! 🙂

        • Oestrus April 2, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

          Oh, now I remember YOU! Yes!

          Wow. That’s crazy! I remember Zim, too. He’s still in Ret, I believe.

          I’m glad you’re loving the priest, as I am. It’s a lot of fun and it’s a very good time to be a healing priest. I can’t wait to hear about some of your experiences and such.

          Stop on by anytime and I’ll see if I can’t find something to keep you busy or enlighten you!


  9. joolreachmanion September 9, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    i found your blog via a twitter #ff today. and when I saw the title, my hands immediately got clammy. been reading it off and on all day today to see if this was in fact the o from ret. then i found this post.

    first off, your blog does not represent the image of you i had in my mind up until today. which is good. how we learn makes us people, better people in fact.

    during that time, you were my nemesis, and i for the life of me couldn’t understand why. i hated it. it took a game and made it work. my inner self competition to improve every time already was taking a toll, but having to dodge berating just was the frosting on the burn out cake.

    i didnt like the 4 lockouts for max gear (points), the trophies. i dreaded the first downing of anub25h and how shitty each and every other one after that were going to be because one mess up lost the 278 cloaks. man i still remember their ilvl. lol. i also didnt like the direction the progression raiders were having to take as in perfection based encounters. not room for a single error. every wol i checked, and every thread i read, the bigger boss than the perfection boss was the disconnect boss. i realized blizzard pushed it to the limit with the encounters on the +/- of errors and never realized that a simple dc was going to ruin it anyway.

    icc, if toc taught me anything, it was i didn’t want to raid the way we were raiding in icc.

    so i logged off one night after raid and never looked back. job got more hours. father got better etc etc. felt the urge to return, but never did.

    nath sent me a few fb msg’s but i never took the bait. i did come back around the end of icc for a spell. ret wasn’t the same. casual’d it up until the second week of cata. then lost interest until recently.

    reach just hit 85. ive been leveling toons on several servers, just kinda veggin out. not sure i have any desire to raid progression ever again.

    the good thing that came out of our tangles, i learned quite a bit about myself and what i wanted out of things i do for enjoyment. i also learned how to dodge gracefully. your blog is amazing to say the least. lots of info and im glad to see your still playing wow.

    sorry this was so long, but you already know how long my forum posts were. and i still miss playing with zim.


    • Oestrus September 9, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

      Holy shit.

      Now I’m curious who you know that I know from Twitter. The plot thickens!

      I don’t even have words. I can’t believe we would run into each other, after all those years. Sadly, I don’t play World of Warcraft anymore. I quit about a month ago, for Rift. I may take a peek at new things as they’re added or I may casually try out a new expansion, but I don’t see myself returning to the fold in the way that I used to belong to it.

      Regarding Ret, I still stay in touch with Ackrite, Espertine, & Khyrron from time to time. We’re all FB friends and we shoot the shit. I think someone else from Ret found my blog, but they were a casual warlock that I didn’t encounter too much in my travels there. We knew of each other, but didn’t actually run anything solid together. Talk about a blast from the past.

      Anywho, thank you for checking my page out and for sticking around. I appreciate the very gracious comment and I’m glad to hear that you’re doing well, in all areas of your life. Is World of Warcraft the only game that you’re playing now? Do you have any interest in the new “Star Wars” game or anything like that?

      You’re certainly not the only one who learned something in that time period and I do thank you for it. I’m sorry if I drove you away. I certainly didn’t mean to do that.

      Please keep in touch. I would really like that.


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