“But you didn’t earn it. You didn’t work for it. You’ve never had anybody come up to you and say you deserve these things more than anyone else. They were just handed to you. So that doesn’t make you better than us. It makes you luckier than us.”
– Anya. Buffy the Vampire Slayer – “Empty Places.”
I stumbled onto a Twitter conversation the other day involving Apple and Phil and how they were discussing certain bloggers or other high end raiders who tend to put on this air of false modesty, with regards to their performance and just how good they have it. They made it abundantly clear that I was not anyone they were referring to, but I still felt inclined to talk about this and I felt like what they were saying could stand to be discussed further.
One thing that the two of them brought up in their conversation was that it can seem condescending when successful raiders make it seem like what they do is something that any WoW player can do. I tend to disagree with this. For most of my career, I have been a raider. I admit that I don’t know what it’s like to be casual and to play the game as such. I have always played the game and other games solely for the raiding experience. That’s why I do what I do. I think if there was ever a time where I knew I couldn’t do that or that I felt a game couldn’t provide me that experience that it would be time to wrap things up and seek my fun elsewhere.
Throughout my adventures and the things that I have been fortunate enough to experience, I have never once felt like I was doing something that couldn’t be done by someone else and couldn’t be done better. Quite the opposite, in fact. I know for a fact that there are better priests out there, better healers out there and better players than me. I don’t delude myself to that fact. One thing about life that bears repeating is that someone always has it better or worse than you do. You’re never really at the top of your game and when you do find yourself at that point, there is only way to go and that’s down. I spent most of my career chasing that pinnacle of progression and realizing that I was never going to have that and to just be happy with what I have. When you spend your whole life chasing the highest high, you stop enjoying what you have already achieved, because you’re too busy thinking of the next big thing. It can be really self-destructive, if you’re not careful.
The game comes with a lot of elements, regarding choice. I truly believe that you can have just about anything you want, if you set your mind to it. If you want to be a raider, you can choose to spend your time honing your craft in Heroics and gearing yourself up, making yourself familiar with strategies and finding a guild that can make that happen. You can choose to advertise yourself on the Guild Recruitment boards or your realm forums. You can choose to seek out guilds that need what you have to offer. You can farm the mats you need for gear to make you more raid ready. If your guild is stalling and you don’t feel like they want what you want, you can go elsewhere. I really believe that you’re only limited by what you feel is possible and what you allow yourself to strive for or believe you can do.
I am where I am because I choose to be. I made up my mind, regarding how I wanted to spend my time in this game and where I wanted to go and I made it happen. I don’t feel this is something that’s unique to me. I think anyone with that same drive and motivation and focus can make the same thing happen. There are others like me that felt the same way. We all wanted something bad enough that we made it happen. You won’t find too many people out there that stumbled into their raiding careers or had them kind of fall into their laps. These people made a conscious decision to take themselves and their characters in that direction and that’s why it went the way that it did.
There was also something brought up about boasting or admitting that you’re good at something and how it can seem like a slap in the face when a progressed raider tries to make it seem like they’re just “average.” I think this partially goes hand in hand with what I discussed previously. One reason why people may not boast about their exploits is because they truly believe that what they’re doing is not anything novel or something that only they can do. They know that they don’t have some magic powers or advantages that the “average” player doesn’t have. They’re just people doing what they love to do and they happen to be doing it at a skill level that not everyone else is playing at right now. That type of person doesn’t buy into the fact that they are something special or someone to be looked up to, because it doesn’t phase them. They don’t look at the game and success in those terms. I know that’s how I feel or how I look at things.
I also think that being proud of what you do or admitting that you do have a certain amount of skill can end badly, if you don’t handle it well. It’s kind of a double edged sword. If you are aware of the fact that you could be good at what you do and you make light of that or bring it up too often, you’re seen as cocky or boastful or full of yourself. But if you don’t do it enough or don’t make it that obvious, then you’re seen as being phony or naive or even condescending. You can’t win. I don’t know what the balance would be, regarding how someone should handle that.
At the end of the day, I think it’s best that we don’t embrace an “us versus them” mentality, regarding success in the game. I think everyone can be successful in their own way and it doesn’t need to be defined by what other people are doing. It’s really tempting to let what others have define us and drive us to seek new and better things, but the only people we really need to answer to is ourselves. As long as you’re happy with where you’re at and where you’re going, I think that’s enough.