Friday, May 8, 2009

The challenge of un-preparing myself

Tuesday night was supposed to be one of those nights that you won’t forget in the first place. I was looking to three and a half raiding hours filled with tries and hopefully a first kill of Hodir. Maybe we’d have a few shots at some other raid boss as well.

It was a couple of minutes to raid start and almost every player in the raid was already at spot, ready to pull. The table had been served. In the mage channel we had settled the focus magic buff order for the evening. Any minute now the officer would finish their pre-meeting and join the rest of the crew in the raid room at vent. I was sitting by my cozy fire, hugging my chosen companion pet for the night, Chuck the crocodile.

Then I heard it: the disturbing little melody that tells me that I’ve been cut off from the vent server. I was just about to ask in the raid chat if someone else had been tossed out when I was disconnected from the WoW server as well. My Internet connection apparently had decided to go down, at the worst possible moment.

Growing frustration
First of all I called a friend in the raid on the phone, so he could inform the others what was going on. Then I immediately took action: restarted the router, restarted the cable modem. No result. The lack of shining lamps at the modem was disturbing, and when I tried to call my internet provider and was completely unable to get through I was even more worried. Apparently there was some major issue going on. (Later it turned on there had been a major power shutdown in the Stockholm area, making hundreds of thousands of people go offline for three hours.)

As the minutes passed I went more and more unsettled and frustrated. The raid would probably wait for me through some trash pulls, but if I didn’t turn up to the boss encounter I would no doubt be replaced.

Eventually I knew my chance was gone. One of my two raid nights this week wouldn’t happen. I just had to accept the fact.

Dealing with it
Things happen in real life as well as in Azeroth. I guess part of being a grown up is that we more easily can accept it, cope with it and move on. Smashing things around, cursing and screaming won’t change anything at all.

I must admit though, that I don’t find it entirely easy to deal with un-expected cancelled raid nights. It’s not that I don’t understand that a lost raid night isn’t a big deal. There will be more of them. Even after this night there would surely be more first kills to enjoy in Ulduar, not to talk about the other raid instance that Blizzard will present us in the future. The loss wasn’t more than spot in a fun raid and a few dkp.

So what’s troubling me? It’s the process of un-preparing. When I’m about to start a difficult raid, I’m like a high strung blow string. I’ve been preparing for days. Of course I’ve done the standard things that all raiders do. I’ve seen to that I’m repaired, got my agents, flasks, potions and buff food in order and that I’m on spot long before raid start. I’ve done my out-of-game homework, checking that my essential addons are updated and looking up strategies for the bosses we’re likely to do, written as well as movies. But most of all, I’ve prepared myself mentally, like any sportsman thinking about an upcoming competition. I’ve already gone through the fight in my thoughts, picturing all that’s going to happen, mentally focusing on that it’s going to be a successful night, when I’m going give my very best, everything that I’m capable and a little bit more.

I’m like one of the 100 meter sprinters in an Olympic game, standing on the start line, waiting for the gun shot to send them off.

How to wind down
It’s not easy to wind down from the level I’ve been on, to go from “prepared for a 3 hour non-stop adrenaline intense rush” to a quiet evening in front of the TV with my kids. There’s a part of my brain that refuses to adjust to the new situation as quickly as I want it to. And it surely doesn’t go easier since I’ve just had a couple of big cups of coffee to make sure that I stay alert even if the night will be long.

So how did I finally spend my night? Well, at first I continued to do some tries to get in contact with my IP provider, even though I knew that my raid spot was lost. Then I watched an episode of House with my family, which helped me relax a little. And finally I wrote this blog post, to get it off my heart. It helped a bit, but not entirely. Probably it would have been a better idea to do something physical – jogging or going to the gym – to get out the tension I had built up.

I wonder how other players deal with it. How do they get their mental preparation out of their system, how do they “un-prepare” themselves? Do they take a drink? Go playing some non-online video game? Or maybe they’re just better at turning off their brains from the raid mod than I am?

And yeah, they did get Hodir down this night, but Thorim didn’t fall this time. Next week he will. And I’ll be there. Prepared!


Arthak said...

If I get a disconnect from my internet provider and am not able to get back into the game for our raid, there´s (usualy) only one thing I do:
I still raid... my brother´s PlayStation 3. There is nothing better to rock Guitar Hero for some time to get un-prepared ;).

Gevlon said...

Get a single-player FPS for such nights. They can ease the hunger for blood! :-)

Anonymous said...

Its like a bad dream isnt it? when you suddenly wake up and are nervous, sweaty etc. Bad caffeine withdrawal, the come-down of a red bull+vodka binge. Or is this just me? :P

I fully understand what you went through...but on the upside you watch house!!! and spent time with the family!!1


Dechion said...

Well, lets see.

Last night instead of raiding I popped in the movie "Ghost Rider" and watched it with my kids.

Was actually a lot of fun, but then again I wasn't revved up and ready to go. I had turned down the invite to spend time with them.

Exeter said...

Hey Larisa, this is Belghast from the Aggronaut. Thanks for the comment :)

There have been a few times this has happened to me. After the fact you always think of all the things you COULD have been doing while forcibly disconnected... however in my case I always seem to pace the floor watching my modem until it re-syncs again. Once I had to force myself to leave the house in order to calm down again and quit watching the non-blinking lights.

Anonymous said...

Oh, it's always disappointing when you were excited about anything and it gets cancelled at the last minute. ISP issues are always miserable, I feel lost without the internet even when I'm not online :)

I actually had the opposite issue last night. I hadn't thought I was going to be around but plans changed, so I let my raid know I'd be available as a reserve and went off to chill out with some dailies. They don't need reserves very often.

So when I got a whisper asking if I could hotfoot it to Ulduar with my fury gear because some dps had lag issues, it caught me wrong footed. The raid was fine, we did good, I like playing fury to keep my hand in. But I just wasn't really in the mood.

I never really felt that I psyched up for raids but I could tell the difference last night when I hadn't.

Larísa said...

@Arthak: hm... Playstation... Think my kids got PS2 collecting dust somewhere. There was a game with some dragon thing... could it be Spyro? I was clueless about it. Guess I should check it out.

@Gevlon: actually I think I SHOULD try fps at some point. It would definitely help me becoming better at moving around.

@Cack: yeah, House is great! And spending time with my family too. The problem is probably chemical. Maybe a little bit frightening when you think about it.

@Dechion: it's very different when you chose for yourself or when your IP does it for you.

@Exeter: yeah, the challenge is to just let go of it and focus fully on what the evening has to offer in place of the raid.

@Spinksville: involontary raiding out of duty rather than lust... I can figure it isn't fun at all. Think it happens more often to healers and tanks than to dps though. We're SO replaceable, for good and for bad.

Logtar said...

Lately I been having sporadic disconnects... I should probably investigate further before they become a raid kill thing in the middle of a pull.

Goshon said...

Similar situation happened to me last Friday. I was initially frustrated, I'm the guild's main tank, so getting disconnected doesn't just affect my fun, or my DKP, it affects the entire guild's.

I tried to get back online, and would connect long enough to pull something, and then I'd be disconnected. It frustrated me because I was slowing down the raid, we were wiping on easy content because I was a liability. After the third time I let them know that I was going to go do something else for a while, and check back later.

I simply got up, went and watched a movie with my wife, and when the movie ended I got back into the raid. Its just something I couldn't really get upset about, shit happened, and it was dealt with. The frustration was gone by the time I got to the couch.

I guess I'm at the point where I'm not going to get nutso and worry about things I can't control.

Clifdog said...

I can understand the frustration at being disconnected, but being that strung out before a raid just can't be good. Sure I get tense on boss fights. Even a little irritated when things don't go right at times. My guild is not uber-leet but its pretty damned good and I just have a hard time getting my mind around that kind of frustration level.

Fitz said...

ISP or electricity issues happen, and the suggestions on here for alternative things to do while "amped up" are not too bad. I'm a guitar hero player myself, so banging on the drums is a great way to ease frustration in a constructive and fun way.

However, I haven't been "amped up" about raiding with my guild since my first time in Kara on my main. I keep all my characters on one server because (1) I have no desire or time to make more than the 10 allowed, and (2) if the servers are down, I do something else. Doesn't matter if it is raid night or just dinking around with dailies...there's always spouse and kids rep to earn. If you get to watch House doing it, so much the better :-)

Sprink said...

Un-preparing is a terrible feeling at first. However, I'm a master at distracting myself, so I can usually get into something else pretty quickly. But heaven forbid if I happen to have a stray thought about what I was previously prepared for. ^_^

HolyGhost said...

I have on more than 1 occasion thought I was being sneaky and go ambush some other player or 2 (its amazing how the element of suprise can sometimes throw people off so much they completely forget how to pvp and lose a 2 on 1) just to give them some corpse run exercise.

Only to disconnect right in the begining of my ambush. Then I'm frantically try to get wow back up and logged in only find myself dead.

That is frustrating.

Azryu said...

We raid at night-
and around here,
The Daily Show or
The Colbert Report
is usually on.

I love those shows :)
South Park too,
crude humor is an A+ in my book

Larísa said...

@Goshon: I imagine it's more frustrating when you're a tank... a dps mage is much more easy to replace and we generally have a couple of reserves, so there's no worry really for the sake of the raid.

@Cliffdog: Well I guess it's very individual how you prepare for a raid. I guess that very experienced, slightly bored gamers can afford to have a more relaxed approach. I have to be on my toes every second or I'll fail miserably.

@Fitz: I'm all with you. And it's a good thing to spend another night with my family. It's just that I have to land in it wholeheartedly. It takes me a while to reorient.

@HolyGhost: yeah, I imagine disconnects can come at very bad times for a PvPer as well. It's a bit different though to dc for a couple of minutes or to be off the whole night when you had prepared for a 3.5 hour playing session.

Freyal said...

Hmmm. I'm not sure how to say this .. but your reactions and thoughts about raiding seem ... kind of in a danger zone.

I use to raid pretty hardcore. I use to be THAT PREPARED .. the problem with that level of preparedness and adreniline tension / focus is that when you find yourself unable to 'shift gears' as you say and fully seem to enjoy another activity without considerable effort.

That's a red flag that your addiction levels to this game are effecting you on a profound level.

You're not the same as me. But I found myself once several months back in a similiar situation and realized that, that much attention to detail signaled at least for me some other area of my life which wasn't getting focus and attention it deserved.

My complete panic/fustration about not being able to play made me realize that I maybe needed to reevaluate how i played and how often.

Just food for thought.

Kromus said...

Oh god- Illidan wouldn't be very happy with you, not being prepared and all....

-- sorry, i had to say it. Lmfao.

Well, i tell you something, i am FULL of patience, it comes out my eyeballs. However, if something happens that i can't do anything about, i go nuts. So, if we do lose internet, your not given a set duration of loss, tehrefore, i am not patient, and I become wolverine.

So you ask, how do we as an audience cope? I don't. If it was because i canceled the internet, fine. I can wait a week. If it happens unexpectedly,

you'd better be soulstoned.

Anonymous said...


I hit the sack, maybe curl up with my wife for a while first... but unless there is some WoW-oriented stuff I can do offline, then it's a sweet early night for me.

Sure I wont get another opportunity to play for another 7 days... but no use crying over gained sleep

Dw-redux said...

Had the same issue, the other day. Mrs Redux saw it as a clear sign that I had become addicted to the game. You see, im not as big a person as you Lar, I cursed, I swore, I tried to find our internet providers phone number so I could yell at them.
Of course this isnt about addiction (as proven by pulling the plug on her DVD so she couldnt see her movie!), its a matter of not beeing in charge of how you spend your free time. Its the same emotions that come into play when people are rotated. Im off work, i want to play.. But I cant. I cant decide how i want to spend my free time? Damn it all to hell!

At least thats how it makes me feel :)

Larísa said...

@Freyal: thank's for your concern. Yeah, I know that I as well as anyone else hooked on WoW should look out for warning signals and try to take things with some consideration, as they say in the tooltip. Still in this case I actually would be just the same if I for instance had prepared for playing an important football match. It's about turning on the "winner head". A way of thinking and focusing that you can have in any kind of activitiy, not just in WoW.

@Kromus: yeah I think the helplessness, that you can't do anything about it is worst to cope with.

@Gnomeaggeddon: ahhh keeping the game at a sound distance I hear! Kudos to you.

@Dw-redux: well, at an intellectual level we know pretty well that we should be cooler about it. The world isn't really breaking down if you miss a raid. But it's about dealing with emotions... that's another issue, really.

Crucifer said...

When I cannot play...

...I spend time with my wife - watching TV, reading or just go for a drive down to the beach...