Monday, October 26, 2009

One of those epic moments - followed by another fail

A few hundred posts back, in June 2008, I made a list of my 10 top moments in WoW. I think it's still pretty much valid. During the time that has passed since I made that list, I've had a few more experiences that could deserve a spot on that 10-in top list.

One was when I was promoted from a trialist to a regular member of my guild last year. I still remember that first frightening jump into the comparatively serious raiding environment, where I suddenly found myself in Black Temple, trying to catch up with strategies, very unsecure and not quite sure if I really belonged there. But they decided I did . I was as proud as I was shocked.

Another moment was downing Archimonde the same autumn after hundreds of wipes. The pressure on each individual was huge, but I made it, I didn't wipe the raid and I was standing on my feet as he passed into the final, triumphant easymode at the last few percent.

Sarth+3d early this spring would definitely compete for a spot on the list. Now, as we're overgeared, we're heading there when we have some time over just to give more players a fancy mount. But when we did it the first time it was totally different. It was a sweet victory that came after a huge effort from everyone.

This weekend I had another one of those epic moments. And I bet nine out of ten of you who are reading this won't quite understand what was so epic about it. But if you've made the kind of journey through Azeroth as I have over the last years, you'll understand what I mean, so I'll share it with you.

It wasn't a moment of the kind that gives you achievement points. It isn't recorded anywhere at all, except for in my memory. No one noticed and no one but me will care. And still it was so shiny and purple that it gave me tears in my eyes and a huge smile on my face that wouldn't quite wear off for the whole evening.

The story of a pug
So what was it that had happened? As simple as that: I was asked if I wanted to join a heroic ToC 10 man handpicked pug.

The story begins earlier the same day, as I pugged the normal 10 man ToC. This turned out to be one of those good runs. We only had one wipe, when a couple of miserable players missclicked or something and managed to get smashed by Icehowl. A few annoyed comments followed, but then we shaped up and oneshotted everything properly after that, as smoothly as if it had been a guild run.

I wasn't one of the wipe causers. For once I managed to do everything right. I was quick on the snobolds, I mangaged the poison and fire debuffs correctly, I spellstole every single buff I could, I switched shields and targets exactly when I should and I moved around properly when chased by the giant bug, while happily taking out the adds. And I topped the dps as well as the damage list! I have no idea how this happened. Probably all the stars stood in the right constellation or some Azerothian godess had decided to give me her blessing for an afternoon. But it did happen, even if it probably was this one and only time.

And when I logged in again later the same evening, I got this whisper from one of the participants. He was putting together a team for the Grand Crusader 10 man the next day and since I had done so well in the normal version he wanted me to join.

Tears filled my eyes as I whispered him my "thank you".

It turned out that the run would be scheduled at a time that just didn't work with my real life obligations, so I had to turn him down. But that didn't matter much. Just to get the question - based on my performance in a pug - was definitely one of the my best moments in the game. Ever.

Never being asked
If you're a healer or tank you probably have no idea what I'm talking about. On the contrary. You're used to and a bit annoyed of being constantly approached by people who want you to come and heal or tank a certain instance for you.

If you're an veteran player with a huge in-game network, maybe even some real life friends playing and a solid reputation on your server, you're probably also used to get those whispers.

But I'm neither. I'm Larísa with endless learning curve, Larísa who always has to struggle a little bit longer than other players to master the gimmicks - moving out of fire, moving into beams, clicking a shield quickly or whatever it is. Larísa who has learned a stupid moving pattern with keybindings in the wrong places and now is fighting like mad to get it right. I'm Larísa who always was picked last at school during the athlete classes. I'm Larísa, the leftover, the reserve that you have to put up with when the best ones can't turn up. The one that is never asked.

And here I was, invited, not because I was in the LFG-channel and they had to take the chance on someone. I was invited personally because this group wanted ME to tag along. Can you imagine?

I cried. And I smiled. The disappointment that I had to turn him down didn't diminish my joy.

The next day I dinged exalted with the Wintersaber trainers and bought my beloved mount. It's just as shiny and beautiful as I had imagined and I'm glad I made the effort to get it. It was well worth every kill - and the process to get it was much more social and fun than I ever could have imagined.

But in epicness it can never compete with the moment when I was invited to the Grand Crusader 10 man raid because someone had thought that I did a good job.

Back to Earth
And so came Sunday night and our guild went to do Vezaxx on hardmode. I ate a ton of shadow crashes and to be honest: I sucked badly, so badly that I logged off in a low spirit, embarrassed, once again cursing myself because of my stupidity and incompetence.

I'm back to Earth again, facing the next steep climb on the learning curve. On the other hand - isn't that the very reason why we keep playing? WoW wouldn't be much fun if there wasn't another hill waiting behind the corner.


Anonymous said...

Gz my friend!! You have now stepped upon the hallowed halls of pugginess !!

Seriously, its good to hear our fumble fingered pint sized power house is getting it together !! Been practicing have we ?

/hugs and kisses from the ever watchful....


Naithin said...

Thanks for sharing that, Larisa. I've only ever played tank and healer, and you're right, I hadn't really had to experience or even think about it from the DPS side.

I can see why it would be such a big deal for you to be hand picked as DPS for such a thing, here's to hoping you get the call again from the person putting that group together you had to miss, and can go!

As for failing things on hardmodes.. Try not to let them get your spirits down too low. Be pleased you're able to get in there and try them out, and secure in the knowledge that you will eventually get it! :)

Take care,

Tyben said...

Those moments are the best, and keep us going through the nights when our fingers fumble with normally easy commands.

Spinks said...


I'm at the opposite side of this because some of my friends formed a heroic 10 man group and didn't invite me. From a RL perspective, you do need a mage for heroic totc so it doesn't surprise me at all that someone would be looking out for a good one!

Morighan13 said...

Those great PuGs are few and far between and great PuGs where the leader thinks of inviting you back are even better! Definitely worth celebrating.

Tessy said...

I am so happy for you!

Being appreciated when you have done something well always feels good, and praise like this when you didn't expect any feels even better.

And if you have struggled before the joy and thrill when you get it right feels simply amazing.

Like you, you are definitely no leftover, you are Larísa the simply amazing and you well deserve this. :-)

Kromus said...

I'm not going to lie, Larisa- You're DPS is insane...

A few months back you were good DPS, but you had troubles with FPS and such, so you always stayed an "average" dps- which you would proberly of described yourself at the time, but now your DPS is amazing....

which proves that given the equal resources your skill > everything.

Glad to see you get some awesomecore reconigition from randomers, hope it goes well :D

It is a shame about the hardmodes atm but it should come with time, just had a lot of new members recently going to take a while for everybody to gel into one entity.

Carra said...

Ah, not being picked in athlete class. I always sucked at sport and I just knew I was going to be picked last. It never really bothered me that much though as I'm just not good at sport.

In WoW however my self esteem is pretty much on the other extreme. I know I'll be doing some great DPS and leave the other DPS in my dust.

There's quite a few posts on your blog which point to a low self esteem. Makes me want to scream out "you've got talent, Larissa!". You're a great writer for one.

I am glad to see you can still be thrilled by the game in a positive way. I kind of lost that in the last few months that I was playing. As long as you have those fun moments everything is fine :)

Shintar said...

Ah, I remember the days... when my priest was shadow I also always felt great when someone asked me specifically to come along to a heroic or a raid. After all dpsers are a dime a dozen, so I was obviously special for getting priority.

Nowadays I mostly heal and tank and get asked to group a lot more, but it just feels annoying. Nobody cares about my skill, they just want someone, ANYONE, who's willing to watch those health bars.

Anonymous said...

That is a fantastic story Larisa, and I'm glad you shared it! I love hearing about personal moments that people experience in WoW. It is thing like this that make the game =)

Shamrockgirl said...

that is really great that you were thought of by someone above other DPSers. You are right that as a healer i do not find as much joy in being asked. it is still nice, but i imagine that it is much more meaningful when someone is impressed by your performance above so many others that can fill your role.

bloodlustnao said...


A long time ago, I was struggling myself to gain recognition from my raider friends, especially as I hadn't raided much (only started raiding in BC).

Now I'm in a guild clearing hardmodes. ^^!! Alas, it's still a battle every week, as we all prove (and re-prove) what we're worth to the guild.

Good luck and here's to seeing you downing more bosses!

Anonymous said...

Hurrah! Congratulations! It's wonderful to hear of good PUGs as well as bad, and it's always wonderful when people recognise your worth in game.


Rem said...

What your readers always knew: you're much better than you (honestly) think you are!

Rhii said...

Congratulations, Larisa!

As I played my first toon to 80 as a mage, I do know how rare it is to be selected for yourself or for your skills rather than just as a warm body picked out of the ranks.

I recently had the exact opposite performance, where someone refused a group because I was a member of it... which was incredibly depressing.

Glad your experience was so much better.

Gevlon said...

I told you that you are great and others will notice it too. I told you!

Can a non-raiding ex-mage give a tip to Vezzax? Not like I did it as mage (had 100+ tries as tree), but I did Void Reaver once upon a time.

I simply Alt-Z-ed out, no interface, just spammed standard rotation from buttons and watched the orb visually. Granted, DPS is lower if you don't watch quartz or whatever but you will hit 0 shadow crashes.

Spicytuna said...


Exalted with Wintersabers isn't epic, but it is a huge huge accomplishment.

I don't know about you, but for me that grind was so boring.

Bristal said...

I totally get it, Larissa. And I'm grateful that you blog about this kind of stuff. Being accepted and respected by peers is just so intoxicating and does wonders for quality of life.

It took me a year just to get the nerve to find and join a guild in this game. When people started asked me to do stuff it was just thrilling. Turns a "video game" into an engaging, interactive medium that can literally influence people all over the planet.

Just one little action by an anonymous person actually made your top ten list of positive experiences in WoW.

It's also amazing to me that Mr. Antisocial himself counts himself as one of your fans. That's high praise indeed.

Larísa said...

@Cacknoob: Thank you! I haven’t seen you around much lately, busy on the horde side? It’s nice to hear that you’re still watching over me. My guardian angel?

@Naithin: Yeah, I’ll get it sooner or later. It’s been like that many times before. But it feels horrible sometimes to keep my guildies waiting for me to “get it”. I wish I was a quicker learner.

@Tyben: yeah, I’ll keep the memory in my mental backpack, to bring out when things feel rough.

@Spinks: Ouch. That must suck. But yeah, I guess it’s partly class bound. Mages haven’t been that much asked for for a while, but I guess we have a couple of tricks that are useful in ToC, such as spellstealing.

@Morighan: Yeah, PuGs are sometimes wine, sometimes water. It’s for the wine that I keep daring to try them. Because when it actually works out, pugging can be quite great.

@Tessy & Kromus: thanks!

@Carra: I guess I’m just a bit competitive, probably more than I want to admit. and that’s also why I’m so hard on myself. I can never live up to the demands I put up. I think this mindset isn’t necessarily only for bad. It can be the key to keep fighting, even through hardships, never giving up. And never letting myself rest, thinking “this is good enough”. Always striving for more. On the other hand you can overdo it too, getting an overdose of self contempt and low self esteem. I tend to do that. Thanks for encouraging me Carra!

@Shintar & Shamrockgirl: yeah, I think ”bring the player not the class” doesn’t quite work fully. It’s more like “bring whatever tank and healer you can get and then pick the cherries among dpsers”.

@Fallingleavesandwings, Tamarind & Rem: thanks!

@bloodlustnao: Thank you and grats to your own climb on the learning curve!

@Rhii: oh, that sounds absolutely horrible.

@Gevlon: You did, and you’ve always been a great support for me. The Alt+z idea is interesting, unconventional, just the kind of things I’d expect from you. However I wonder if it will really work in this case. Will you see when you have mark of the faceless for instance?

@Spicytuna: thank you! To be honest this achievement is far from what it used to be in vanilla – they have increased the amount of rep you get from the quests a lot. I had much more fun doing it than I had imagined. As a matter of fact I met some new people, mostly I found myself in a party and the time I spent on it passed quickly. I had imagined it would be a horribly boring grind which would make me want to quit the game, but it wasn’t at all like that. Strangely enough I’ll almost miss it now that it’s done.

@Bristal: Gevlon is one of the oldest visitors of PPI and in spite of our sometimes deferring perspectives on things, I consider him one of my best friends in the blogosphere. Some people find it hard to understand, but that’s how it is.