Where it all started for me
I’ve been playing this game off and on since late vanilla, but I started on the road to pro-ness sometime mid TBC, sat in someone else’s student house around a big dining table covered in computers, being indoctrinated with theory crafting about combat tables and aggro mechanics. At one point a whiteboard was used. It was about this point that I moved from doing to understanding, with the aid of Glorim and Akai. Between them they showed me how to tank, helped me gear up and we felled heroic after heroic with increasing efficiency until we moved on to doing the same for raids. At some point I stopped being a warrior and started being a bear, but I continued learning. I still feel an urge to pull the next pack when a ProM lands on my character.
Where it led
At the beginning of Wrath, after some shenanigans, various people moving away and my housemate finally caving in and getting the game and on the back of some generic guild based drama I found myself in an RP guild on and RP server with a lot of people I knew from outside WoW. Having been a reasonably serious raider and being fairly up to speed with how the game works, this was something of a culture shock to me but it was a nice place to be quietly leveling a character. However, change is a universal constant and when Glorim and Ellasyn migrated server to join me they were informed that they wouldn’t be able to join the guild I was in as they weren’t known personally to the other members, so I did what any me would do in the circumstance: I left and made my own guild with my own rules. Take that authority.
It turned out to be a good move. Over the next two years I took a guild with three of us in and turned it into a friendly, approachable raiding machine. We were, and are, awesome. I feel confident in saying that we had a lot of fun and killed a lot of stuff.
Why I stopped
Three nights a week, from Naxx to Nefarian, constantly shoring up a small friendly raid team made of real people with a range of other commitments slowly took it’s toll. Maintaining a 10 man team is effort, you want maybe 16 people and have to take account of a whole range of facts that I wasn’t aware of two years ago. Did you know that people are statistically less likely to have other commitments on farm night? Did you know that bringing in a group of three or more people to your raid team who already know each other is a bad idea if your MO is to show people the advantages of being Pro so that they’ll shape up? Did you know that it’s possible to be Def capped without pants? I have learned the answers to these and many other previously unasked questions.
No individual thing toppled me, but I eventually hit a point where I felt that I’d been working slightly too long at a task that I wasn’t going to complete, and I decided that it was time to step down, and put the game down for a bit.
Why I came back
It’s basically J’s fault. I saw him and Aldrac (who is in addition to being the finest tank never to wear pants, my housemate) doing arena on a number of occasions, and after a month or two I resubbed so that I could potter round and do some PvP. But while that’s the specific, the general is that I don’t enjoy the game, I enjoy the company of the people within it. I didn’t come back to WoW, I came back to the people in my guild. I blew some people up, pushed another character from 80 to 85 and giggled at the seemingly bottomless well if innuendo that Rioriel draws his powers from. Someone mentioned raiding again. I had a long think. I decided that I could probably stand to blow some stuff up again, but that I was well clear of this being in charge thing and wanted that to continue to be the case. More than that though, I was in a position to help the person who’d stepped up to take charge of raiding, Glorim foolish priest that he is.
We’re now beginning to head back into raiding again, we had our first one in a long while a few days ago, and it was the first in a very long time that I wasn’t in charge of. I find myself happily back where I started, Glorim is once more assembling groups and patiently explaining what’s going on, we’re all a little bit wiser and a lot more experienced than we were when we started out but it bears a comforting familiarity. I’m no longer a warrior or a bear, but I’m happy to be figuratively waiting again for the ProM on my nose to let me know that it’s all about to kick off, and while it’ll be a challenge the odds are stacked in our favour.