20 May

“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.


34 Responses to “Lucky”

  1. Tomaj May 20, 2011 at 8:03 am #

    On the whole, I definitely agree with your post here. I may not be a top-end raider, and likely never will be. And I’m okay with that. I try to inspire my guildmates to greater heights (and for the most part, have achieved that) because I know a lot of us share the same goals, and have to manage it in a greatly limited timeframe.

    There’s a post in the dungeons and raid forums regarding the dungeon journal to be implemented with patch 4.2, and this is a great example of how people can be snide, rude or otherwise blatantly disrespectful of other people and their choices to play the game as they choose. And it comes from both sides of the spectrum, too. Coming from a mid-level player, it’s actually harder to find your place, so to speak, in the general rankings of the them vs. us mentality, but on the other hand, you tend to get a broader perspective of how everyone sees things.

    Now, does that mean I wouldn’t like to see end-bosses or hardmodes? Absolutely not. I suppose I fit into the “casual” model by virtue of not raiding hardmodes and/or only raiding 6 hours a week. But it isn’t actually feasible for me to get into those hardmodes right now. And personally, my “burnout” comes from raiding too much or too often. During Wrath, for example, I was at one point raiding 5 nights a week, and that was just overload for me.

    I also get lumped into our group of our best healers – and that’s by no means my own declaration. There were points where people in my own guild would tell me I was the best healer (though I personally would have to say that at this time that would be our resto shaman). To that end, I know I’m good at what I do, but I also know that I tend to screw up a lot, too (though it’s usually only me that notices it, hindsight being 20/20 and all).

    To that end, that’s why I like reading your posts. You’re a realist, and I admire that. /endramble.

    • Oestrus May 20, 2011 at 8:18 am #

      Thank you very much for the compliment, Tomaj.

      I think the fuss over the Encounter Journal (or whatever it’s called) is really blown out of proportion. I think that just because someone has the information or the strategy for how to do something doesn’t mean they’re going to know how to implement it or do it correctly. No matter what guild you’re in, no matter how much research you ask your raiders to put into a certain encounter, someone is going to biff it up and that someone may be you. It’s one thing to read something and it’s another to actually experience it and see it for yourself.

      People already know what strategies are in advance (thanks to WoWHead or TankSpot) and not everyone is 13/13 HM because of it. I don’t feel that’s something that leads directly to success or downing more bosses. Player skill and understanding plays a huge part in it and I think people are missing that, in favor of being mad about the Journal or things not even closely related to it. It’s really strange to me.

      It’s interesting that you mentioned time frames of how often you or others raid, because I don’t think there’s a link to that and how progressed a guild is, either. I’ve been in guilds that raided 4 or 5 days a week and who were lagging behind guilds that only raided 2 days a week. The guild I’m in now only raids two days a week, three hours a night and we’re 6/13 in HM right now. If you make the most out of the time you have and plot your course the right way, you very well could see a lot of content in a short amount of time. It’s totally possible.

      See, now you got me rambling, too.


      • Tomaj May 20, 2011 at 8:28 am #

        Yes, the Encyclopedic Compendium of Baddie Abilities™ (as I have begun to call it) thread is blown out of proportion, which is unfortunate. But, there’s also a lot of value in the thread, too, if you manage to slog through all the mess and the nitpicking.

        In terms of time constraints equating to how progressed you are, absolutely not related, no. However, we did get a late start in relative terms. We’re 9/12 normals, and we’ve been making some progress on Al’akir (if not a kill), and up to 35 attempts at the moment. I’m still confident we can get a kill soon, so we can start working on Cho’gall. 😉

        Lastly, rambling aside, I meant what I said. 🙂 I do respect you not for your class, not for your position as a raider, or your progression, but how you act as a person. The same would be true of anyone else. People like you and Derevka and Ava are what help me think that I can make a stance in the blogosphere and the WoW world.

        • Oestrus May 20, 2011 at 8:37 am #

          Well thank you, again. That’s insanely kind of you! Now you have me blushing at the office. What’s wrong with you, sir?

          Good luck on Cho’gall, by the way.

          • Tomaj May 20, 2011 at 8:50 am #

            It’s also truth. 😛 And what’s wrong with me? Plenty, but that’s neither here nor there. 😉

            And let’s not get hasty now! We’ve got to kill the big bad Elemental Lord of Air first!

  2. Derevka May 20, 2011 at 8:22 am #

    This is one of the best posts I’ve read in a while. Well done, O, well done.

    Me, I am “lucky” enough to be 13/13 25’s HCs– does that define me? No of course not. However, I agree whole-heartedly with the whole “I truly believe that you can have just about anything you want, if you set your mind to it. ” statement.

    In BC I was in a Guild that was probably on the “above average” scale– through a series of events, I improved my play (by decision) and pushed myself. I wound up in WOTLK to be in a guild that was getting Server Firsts. Since then, though other events, I am now in a very competitive Guild with Top 30-50 US Kills for a number of Bosses, and are now biding our time until Firelands.

    Can anyone do it? Yes. I believe that wholeheartedly. Does it take research/work/effort and more importantly CONVICTION to do it? You’re damn right.

    Remember we all play a Game together– and we all enjoy it. (or should! LOL). If you are pleased with what you have done or are doing– GREAT! That’s the point now, isnt it? If you want to celebrate your successes on a blog, forum, Tweet… do it!

    This is not to diminish the victories ‘hardcore’ guilds have succeeded in attaining. Encounters are hard, and takes a good deal of work, effort, and strategy to complete. Lets not devalue their successes either.

    Yes, there are assholes out there that will look down upon you from their “hardcore” ivory tower and laugh. But does that affect your celebration? It shouldn’t.(I know I, for one, celebrate victories of my friends who are pushing through Normals- good for them!)

    If you’re pleased with what you’ve succeeded at getting done– great! Be it finally getting your First HM Kill, Downing Heroic Al’akir, or downing Magmaw on Normal. Revel in it.

    • Oestrus May 20, 2011 at 8:42 am #

      Thank you very much for the compliment, dear. That is huge coming from you!

      I think the key word in what you said was to “celebrate” your successes. You can be doing big things and be happy about them, but it’s how you (you in general, not you as a person) choose to express it is what I think can turn people off. It’s one thing to Tweet “ZOMG, Heroic Cho’gall down!” It’s another to be like “Oh, you’re on regular Cho’gall? God, that must be painful!” One is positive and celebratory and the other is using that positive moment to separate others from yourself. If that makes any sense.

      When I first saw the discussion on Twitter, I couldn’t help but feel like some of what I was reading was personal insecurity and that those feelings would probably be there, regardless of what any of us did or said. I don’t feel as firmly about that as I did before, but I do think it takes two to make a person feel that way and we (not being said person) can only do so much.

    • Tomaj May 20, 2011 at 8:49 am #

      “Revel in it.”

      QFT. Like I said above, you guys are an inspiration of a different variety to me. Stay that way. 🙂

  3. Ophelie May 20, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    I remember that conversation and I think you misunderstood it. What Apple and Rhii were referring to was a social game ( where someone who excels in a field claims not to, as an excuse to display their achievements. Think of that girl in high school whining about how she *only* got a 90 on her last test. She was never genuinely upset about the 90, she was just looking for an excuse to tell people about the 90. The behaviour is annoying, not only because it’s bragging, but it’s an underhand, childish gimmick.

    There’s a world of difference between playing a childish social game and being realistic/genuinely modest about where you are in progression. And there’s nothing wrong about being proud of where you are in progression either.

    Can just *anyone* be a progressive raider? No.

    Some people are just physically unable, whereas other have priorities that can’t be changed. You can want to be a progression raider with all your heart, but if you’re a single mom working 60 hours a week so you don’t get your child taken for you, you can’t raid seriously.

    I *can’t* raid progressively right now. Heck, I barely raid casually right now. I *want* to raid progressively. I miss it a lot. My casual guild is lovely, but the pace during the raids has me in tears most nights. But serious raiding just not realistic, not with the last semester of clerkship, not with the most important exams of my life coming up, not with a cross-country move on the horizon.

    But, at the same time, there’s no reason to be upset with those who raid progressively. I could have chosen to work a 9-5 and hate my life so I could raid, but instead I decided to get a further education. The single mom choose to become a mom over having free time to raid. In the end, we all have elements of our lives that we want to put first – no one can have their cake and eat it too.

    • Oestrus May 20, 2011 at 9:35 am #

      Bloggers and raiders did eventually make their way into the conversation. It may not have started out that way, but when I picked up on the conversation and joined in on it things did go in that direction. Again, they weren’t saying *I* was doing any of these things and I didn’t feel those two were saying anything wrong or offensive. I picked up on tidbits of something and took the initiative to share my thoughts on this, which may or may not have been directly stated in the initial conversation. It was the inspiration for this post, if you will.

      • Ophelie May 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

        I know, I just wanted to clarify the conversion since I had the impression that you didn’t understand what they were referring to.

        To me, its pretty obvious when someone has got a secret message hidden in their words and when they’re genuinely excited/frustrated.

        But it is true that intentions are harder to tell across the internet: I remember Lissanna being criticized for “bragging” about her phD once. I was surprised because I never thought of it as bragging, but rather her being passionate about the project she spend most of her waking hours on. Same goes for my studies. I probably annoy the crap out of everyone with my pharmacy school lingo (though I haven’t received complaints about it yet!) too. I talk about it because it takes up about 90% of my life.

        I think progression raiding is kind of the same way. It’s exciting, it’s involving and it’s understandable that those who do it want to talk about it.

        I’ll admit that I frequently turn off Twitter because I can’t stand reading about boss kills or raid situations that I don’t have access to. But unless the person is clearly being a jerk about it (which has never happened, to my memory), I don’t hold it against them. It’s not THEIR fault that I choose to focus on my studies and my career for now.

        I think that would be my advice to those who are upset at the fact that they can’t raid the way they like: to remember WHY they sacrificed raiding. And if there is no reason for them to sacrifice raiding, then they should get out there and, like you, DO the raiding they want to do.

        • Oestrus May 20, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

          Remember me when you can write prescriptions, kthx.


    • Derevka May 20, 2011 at 9:42 am #

      Interesting point; but at the same time… lets say that 90% is wiping 5 times to Heroic Sinestra, instead of 1 shotting her– being upset that you didn’t 1 shot it, and being able to do it; I dont see that as something that is unfair of a statement.

      My guild is capable of 1 shotting it… but we wiped a few times this week. Being irritated at ‘stupid mistakes’ and not getting that 1 shot is perfectly valid.

      What your goals are and what you deem as a ‘success’ is a personal definition, what is a challenge to YOU— it is subjective. To use that 90% example… If i were to get a 90% on a French Exam I’d be super excited. (mainly b/c im HORRIBLE at speaking french)… but if someone who was a native French Speaker got a 90% they wouldnt be.

      • Oestrus May 20, 2011 at 9:57 am #

        Right. It can be tough to determine who is genuinely upset at their score and who is doing it for attention and compliments.

        We have the same thing here at work. Some people are fine getting a 90% quality score or assessment and others will dispute it and fight for every percent above that they can get. It doesn’t make them *wrong* for wanting to be better and strive for that additional percentage (especially because you can possibly get more of a bonus if your scores are higher).

        I guess things like this are better off being looked at as a case by case basis, rather than a blanket assumption that someone is out for compliments or things like that.

      • Ophelie May 20, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

        I dunno, to me it’s obvious when someone is trying to make themselves look better by putting others down, and someone who’s sincere

        Being frustrated at wipe, regardless of what the content is, is only human. Now, if you claimed that your guild is below average, or that they’re casual because they wipe on Sinestra (which was the topic of the original conversation – someone claiming that any guild less than 6/13 HM was a shitty guild), in a not-so-secret attempt to brag is game playing.

        It’s the like 90, you *can* be disappointed with a 90. But acting as if your 90 was something to be ashamed of in the face of the person who *was* proud of their hard earned 70 until you came along is a jackass move.

        There is a bit of a difference between the two examples, of course, since the traditional school system is based on people with better grades being “better” than those with lower grades. WoW isn’t exactly like that since not everyone plays WoW to kill raid bosses. (My guildies think I’M the wierdo because I don’t want to small talk between pulls.)

        But what Apple and Rhii were talking about was the attitude of “I’m at this level (which is above average) and this level is bad”, implying that anything below that level is bad. Which is dishonest, game playing and annoying.

        • Derevka May 23, 2011 at 7:49 am #

          Ok… in that context. Yeah, I’d side with you on that one. Its one thing to bemoan your ‘failures’. Its another to piss on others in the process.

  4. Jaedia May 20, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    This is the best post I have ever seen regarding raiding and the way people see themselves. There is absolutely nothing wrong with admitting you’re good at what you do so long as you accept that nobody can be perfect.

    • Oestrus May 20, 2011 at 10:32 am #

      Hi Jaedia,

      Thank you for stopping by and for the lovely words!

  5. Darista May 20, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    You already know I enjoyed reading this post, but I definitely think that the last paragraph sums it up quite well. It’s a good “moral of the story is …” conclusion and wraps it up nicely 🙂

    • Oestrus May 20, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

      I know you proofread it, but I didn’t know you enjoyed reading it! I didn’t want to just assume and all.


      • Darista May 20, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

        Oh goodness, I’m sorry for not stating that! I definitely did 🙂 And good thing for not assuming … you know what THAT does ….

        • Oestrus May 21, 2011 at 8:15 am #

          Something about ass. I like ass.

  6. Apple May 20, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    I have two things to say:

    One is that this is a fantastic post and I highly agree with everything in it. If I had the time and attention span to put in the effort, and had the experience you have, I have no doubt I could easily be at the level you’re at.

    I ALSO would like to say that everything Ophelie said is correct, at least from my side of the conversation. I hadn’t thought of that, but it IS like the girl who’s bemoaning only getting a 90 or a 95 on an exam, not because she’s actually upset or frustrated but because she wants everyone to know how well she did. And the way that she says it implies, of course, that anyone who got a lower grade than her 90 is hopelessly dumb.

    It’s not ALWAYS clear if it’s actual frustration or not, but you can generally tell. You might be frustrated over wiping to some boss 30 times before downing him (for example), when my guild has wiped to it twice as many and are no closer to our kill. But I know you, and I know that when you express frustration over that it’s not disguised gloating, you’re honestly frustrated. But not everyone is like that, and I’m sure there are at least a couple people out there in the blogosphere that I’ve encountered who WOULD be gloating.

    …and anyway, that’s all. ^^;; Lovely post, again!

  7. Amerence May 20, 2011 at 11:53 pm #

    Great post O, Love to read things about raiding and what other players love to do, if that’s what they want its there choice. If that what makes them happy sure why not? I totally agree what you said in the last paragraph…

    “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.”

    Thanks again for sharing a great post! ❤

    • Oestrus May 21, 2011 at 8:17 am #

      You’re welcome and thanks for stopping by!

  8. Echo May 23, 2011 at 5:07 am #

    Oestrus – It’s not that that annoys me personally. I’m happy for the folks that are downing anything. I was semi hardcore for a while and while I met get a jealous “i wish i could see sinestra” pang its nothing more than that.

    What annoys me are the people who post massive guides on guild leadership or raiding strategy and try and shoehorn some kind of high minded philosophy into their posts about raiding. Then you check their progress and they’re like 5/12 normal. It’s just pompous in my opinion.

    But then again what do I know I’m a casual.


    (not aimed at anyone in particular)

    • Oestrus May 23, 2011 at 7:33 am #

      Hi Echo,

      I kind of disagree with a little of what you’re saying, because certain people who are widely respected and are vastly considered to be authorities in their class and spec may not be seeing as much content as you might think. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they haven’t done the number crunching or the theorycrafting and that they don’t know what they’re talking about.

      On the flip side, you also have people who are considered to be progressed and still don’t have the finer points of their class or spec figured out. I don’t think experience can necessarily be tied to what a person knows or how well they understand their class. It’s tempting to think it would be that simple to piece together, but it’s usually not.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • Echo May 24, 2011 at 3:40 am #

        I’d agree that there’s some people not bleeding edge hardcore who I hold in some regard. People like Frostheim of WHU come to mind. He’s entirely as you mention – lots of number crunching and evidence for the conclusions he draws.

        I was more meaning more the wooly kind of philosophy posts about raid culture etc or guild leadership. I guess it maybe gives sets my teeth on edge because I see a lot of the same sort of thing at work.

        In any case, the topic was a good read and I had a little chuckle as your opening quote reminded me of my nerdier days taping buffy on VHS so I could watch it at the weekend 😀

        • Oestrus May 24, 2011 at 7:27 am #

          The Buffy DVD sets have gone down in price through the years and I own every season, just as Netflix decided to put them all on Netflix Streaming, so you can watch them anytime you want.

          Perfect timing!

          I just remember that quote always sticking in my head or that conversation and it reminded me of how people see progression. Some feel that it comes down to a little bit of luck and others feel that real skill factors in there somewhere.

          • Apple May 24, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

            Related to nothing other than that quote, my girlfriend had me read it (and a couple other) Anya quotes aloud before I’d even seen Anya. She recorded them.

            Played them back to me after we’d powered through the show, and it was almost exact, inflection for inflection. VERY creepy.

            /random storytime

  9. Windsoar May 25, 2011 at 3:25 am #

    Enjoyed the post. I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum in a way — with guilds that didn’t clear anything to the one I’m in currently that feels somewhat progressed. However, if anyone asked, I would gripe and moan a bit about our current progress because it COULD BE BETTER! Do I realize some teams might never be where we are, sure! But that’s their team and this one is mine, and the expectations and goals can be entirely different.

    I’d also make a short reply to @Echo that current guild progression has nothing whatsoever to do with total experience in OR out of the game. Management of a 2/12 guild is going to be extremely similar to an 8/13 guild in term of people management. I’d argue that a 2/12 guild is more likely to require MORE roster and interpersonal management (from my experience) since the goals of the raiders tend to be LESS congruent and more flexible.

    I personally wrote most of my own guild management style posts while I was raiding with the least-progressed guild I’d ever been involved in. However, I’d still stand behind those posts (and they did get me into a more progression-oriented guild when I was hunting for one ^^)

    • Oestrus May 25, 2011 at 7:12 am #

      Hi Windsoar!

      I’m really glad that you stopped by and thanks for the comments.

      I feel the same way. Good is good, but could be better. I know I’m feeling the same with my current guild, especially because the issues that we’re having on certain fights are issues that are not healing related and I feel really helpless to do anything about it. If it were an issue with my performance or the healers, I would feel like I could have some hand in turning things around. But I can’t fix interrupts and I can’t fix DPS. It’s a crummy feeling.

      I agree with everything you said about guild management, experience and how qualified it makes someone to write posts about the subject. I would also argue that I would like to see *more* posts from people that aren’t in seriously progressed guilds. I think I mentioned it on the Twisted Nether episode I was on. I feel like the blogosphere could stand to have more bloggers, who come from more “casual” or less progressed backgrounds so there is more variety and more voices that people can choose to relate to.


  1. Authority: Who Has It? | Jaded Alt - May 28, 2011

    […] you might have read a lively and interesting post by Oestrus a couple of weeks ago entitled “Lucky.” I found it myself a few days after the original posting, and I thought, what a great […]

  2. Authority: Who Has It? « Jaded Alt - July 31, 2011

    […] you might have read a lively and interesting post by Oestrus a couple of weeks ago entitled “Lucky.” I found it myself a few days after the original posting, and I thought, what a great […]

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