I swear I have like, 10 posts in draft that I can post, but whenever I go to retrieve one of them, I wind up with something new to write. Something is wrong here.
This is the first week in a long time that we didn't raid. Enough folks are missing that we just couldn't fill the holes. And I was kind of glad. On the one hand, I really want to kill Deathwing and be done with it. I think we just need one solid night on him to finish it all, but even just farming the rest of the raid would be a fun experience. I really enjoy smashing the first half and working hard on the second half. The raid is well paced, and well designed. I need at least my tier gloves and chest still, not to mention the shield and sword, and maybe a trinket and a ring.
But still, when we called it last night, before even entering the raid, I was glad. A few of us queued up for LFR and cleared the first half, and I called it a night an hour and a half early. It was odd, and nice, to just walk away rather than struggling to find people, messaging every I know and flailing like mad to make a raid happen. I just shrugged and said, "Okay." I wouldn't have done that even a month ago. I would have fought to raid.
I don't know if it's the Holiday that I'm willing to be more laid back about it, I don't know if it's the fact that our server has so many relatively hardcore raiding guilds that we're really just a tiny fish in a big lake, or the fact that maybe when I'm not raiding or doing Arenas, I really don't have much to do in the game. I keep trying to level my rogue, or get the rest of my alts up to 85 who're parked somewhere between 80 and 82, or gear up my DK Horde-side, but I just manage an hour or two of any of those activities and loose interest.
The one character I don't loose interest in, is my Paladin.
Whenever I look at her, I want to improve her gear, improve my understanding of her as a character, improve the way I play, push her achievement points into the five digits, get her all the pets and mounts I can, and make her perfect. Which, of course, is impossible.
The MMO by definition is a game that never ends, and goes on forever, where we just grind for gear, and achievements, and drops, and there is always just one more thing that we could use. I remember when TBC ended, I had been doing a bit of T5 and had some of that gear, but what I really wanted was the T4 helm from Prince. After killing him for months and months, he dropped it the last time we ever raided Karazhan at level, the week before Wrath came out.
I remember changing mains on the first day of Wrath to my Paladin (and never will I change again), and we were in ICC for a year and yet I was still hunting for one more drop or one more kill. Today, I look at my character and I know even after we kill Deathwing, we'll be raiding, wrapping up the T11/T12 heroics, grinding out Sinestra and Heroic Ragnaros, eventually even trying our luck with Heroic Deathwing.
But when Pandas come, it'll reset everything, won't it?
Maybe some part of me remembers what it was like to grind ICC. Two years ago, now, we started on that raid, and man, it was a brutal time. I remember how close I came to burnout, almost burned all my bridges, left the wreckage of two guilds in my wake before we formed the current guild and stabilized ourselves. And maybe that part of me doesn't want to slip into the desperate end-of-the-expansion must-finish-everything panic.
Sure, we've got months and months to go, but when I look at Innana without her title, without her mount, without her shield and sword, that part of me cringes, wants to post on the realm forums right now and get a PUG together so I can at least have a shot at some of that gear.
And another part of me says, "Relax. It's okay. If not this week, next week. The gear and the raid are here to stay. The only person you're playing against is yourself."
If that seems obvious, and normal, I assure you, it's a bit of an epiphany for me. Maybe it's a sign that I'm finally starting to let go of some of that hardcore edge I've always wanted.
To be in a group that was devoted to pushing through content, to grinding night after night, early in the tier, to be one of the first with the titles, the kills, the glory. To make Innana a Hero in her own right. The best gear. The highest gear rank. Because that way, I can get her as close to finished as I can - and rest, till the game paints more track further up the field.