Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dealing with the fear of falling behind

Levelling in Northrend reminds me of participating in on of those huge sporting events for joggers. They always have a common start, but soon enough the crowd will split up and the best and most competitive runners will disappear in the far horizon. At the point when they’ve reached the end of the run, I’ll find myself with at least 2/3 of the distance left. It has become painfully clear that I’m stuck in the “fun run class” where no one will clock you unless you do it yourself.

If this really WAS a jogging run, I wouldn’t have any problems ending up in the tail. I know my strengths and limits too well to measure myself against younger, better trained runners. Their success won’t diminish the value of my own achievements. I would focus on reaching my personal goals and be very happy about it. But for some reason I find it harder to cope with the same situation in WoW.

Left behind
As long as I don’t know the player, I’m perfectly fine with others levelling much quicker. The frequent messages the first few days about the first priest or shaman or gnome to reach 80 didn’t affect me. They play their game and I play mine.

But seeing friends in the guild dinging 80, while I’m still doing the first few levels in Howling Fjord and Borean Tundra, is different. They will no doubt be ready to start raiding and gearing up in Naxx, while I’m still stuck at killing mammoths. I already see them entering instances where I don’t have access, at the same time as they have no reason whatsoever to run the ones I need to do.

I can’t free myself from the feeling of being left behind, which is extremely childish, and of course I feel ashamed about even having those feelings. It’s way below my dignity.

No hurry
There’s no reason for me to panic when I think about it. The first official raid of the guild isn’t scheduled until the beginning of January. Even though I have a lot of real life obligations this time of year, limiting my gaming time, I should be able to ding 80 in due time for the raid if nothing unexpected happens. Maybe I haven’t yet capped my professions and maybe I haven’t geared up in heroics properly, but I should be OK since the first raid instance is supposed to be pretty easy.

The early runners probably will be better geared than me at the raid premier night, but so what? I’m in the raiding team and I guess I have the same chances to get a raid spot as anyone else.

But try to explain this to my inner child, who keeps whining no matter what I tell her. I think she somehow recalls times of loneliness in the school yard, watching other kids playing a game where she wasn’t qualified to participate. What I THINK about being left behind is one thing, what I FEEL about it is something different.

Behave like an adult
So what do I do? I try to see the next fem months as a trial of the level of my maturity and independence. I don’t want to get my levelling process spoiled by the constant stress and feeling that I need to speed up to catch up as soon as possible. It’s about time I start behaving as the adult I am.

Stay calm.
Stay confident.

People ended up raiding for two years in TBC and I can hardly believe that the speed that people levelled up to 70 affected their possibilities to raid at any greater extent. When April comes, who will care or remember if I dinged 80 in the middle of November or two months later? Nobody. And levelling won’t be any lonelier than I make it. Northrend is crowded with people to group with for quests and pugging isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

As you can see I keep fighting my inner demons and I’m afraid it’s just as in the Leotheras fight: there’s no one around who can beat them but myself. Wish me good luck.


David said...

I'm in the exact same boat. My copy of LK arrived on the 17th, AND I just got super busy at work so I've only played maybe a total of 5 hours of LK, half of it for the death knight starting area. So I am about 75% to level 71 on one of my 4 70's while my guildies are at level 75 or so. Sure, I'll pick up the pace this weekend but I'll be dinging 71 the same time they hit 80. But I'm fine with that.

For me, progressing in WOW is the fun part - seeing your character get stronger and gain new abilities and gear. That' why I keep rerolling, and why I have 4 70s and more on the way. So this part of the game is great for me, and I intend to do properly at my own leisure.

Just think of all those lulls between raid lockouts in BC near the end, that's what your level 80 guildmates get as an early present for leveling super quick. Your level 80 mates will be hanging out in Dalaran or farming or doing dailies (repeating content) while you're still leveling and experiencing new content. Take your time and enjoy it, cuz you can only do it once per character.

Gevlon said...

And don't forget that your guild killed Illidan. Only 5% of the players did that. So if you are left behind by the very best, it still don't make you a loser.

I'm 74, far from 80. I don't have a raiding guild with raid spot and I will spend serious amount of my game time by the AH or my blog runs out of information. So I'm in a much worse situation as you.

So what? I will raid up to the very endgame. I know it without doubt!

Anonymous said...

i am about to post a blog and it is pretty much along the same lines as yours haha great minds and all of that stuff.

Anonymous said...

Just back to work from my wow-devoted holidays, I have "only" dinged 77 (flying again!) partly by my own choice, trying to avoid the masses on first days I leveled my own DK to 70 before even put a foot in Northend.

As I read in another of your posts you are liking leveling too , there are losts of original, interesting ans funny quests to do so take your time and have fun, I would do the same from now on.

Captain The First said...

This is great reading while I play my now level 42 mage but I am not entirely sure I understand the concept of 'falling behind' anyway.

What are you really worried about... a gear gap?

It's not like they can keep going and going and going and go so far out of reach that you'll never catch up... no in fact you'll probably catch up in a month or two when you hit 80 yourself.

They'll see the instances sooner, get some gear sooner and the only thing it results in is that you'll be running with people that know the place and don't roll on your loot.

If you're worried... make a plan of stuff you want to get and see if you can pick up some resources towards that final goal while you're levelling... which puts you that much further ahead.

Play normally till newyear and you'll be looking at this post again wondering what you were so worried about.

Anonymous said...

I know the feeling - I feel miffed a little that they have had the time to play more then me - but then i have had differnt priorities, which in the long run will be benifical to me - so after they ding 80 asked them to try and work out their played hours since wotlk release and then work out what they missed out on to do that,

Anonymous said...

Part of me is secretly competing with another Holy Pally to be the first to 80, but at the same time I don't think either of us is too worried about it. Heck I maxed out fishing on Monday because I spent 3 hours/day fishing the Dalaran pool for coins instead of questing!

My guild had two level 80s as of last night, a tank and a mage. There were two more tanks and another mage at 79. Ironically, there's no healers anywhere close... The other pally and I were at 75 last night and we're the closest.

So just remember that as long as you are keeping with the healers you wont' be left behind. If there's only a couple of level 80 healers, then they aren't getting in 25 mans any time soon, so you'll be just fine.

And if there's a ton of people ahead of you, well...they're still not going far without you!

Anonymous said...

After all of my excitement about Wrath coming out, I still haven't dinged 71. But you know what? I don't care. I'll get to 80 on my own time table. I'm not in a raiding guild and I have no idea how I'll make my way into one when I reach 80, but I don't honestly care.

For me, leveling to 80 is a journey, not a destination. I missed a lot of Outlands rushing to 70. I won't make the same mistake twice. Your guildies will be there for you when you ding 80. And when you're all decked out in purples again, you'l look back on this post and giggle at yourself for worrying. =)

Unknown said...

I totally understand how you feel =)

My rush from 1-80 was mainly due for the challenge of getting a good xp/hour rate thru quest not by grinding mobs or instances so I get to enjoy what Blizz has to offer. Second reason was I wanted to raid asap and experience raid content with my current guild. So it worked out pretty well.

If your guild is not running any 25mans till January then you'll be fine. Enjoy the zones and do some 5mans so you'll have an idea on how to do them on Heroics.

Anonymous said...

Oh, all those nice and warming greetings... it's like mental hugs, exactly what I needed.

@David: The thing is that I don't mind endgame, I enjoy it. OK, farming/grinding isn't exactly fun, but I won't mind running heroics, collecting badges and gearing up. Now I don't know when I'll get time for it. But you are right, of course. I wrote about it the other day myself - there's no need to swallow the roast beef in one piece.

@Gevlon: You're so right, of course. I DID end up killing Illidan - even though I was in a guild that started doing Kara about six months after TBC was released. There's no reason to think I'd end up raidless, unless real life will force me to.

@Esdras: it's nice to know I'm not alone. Quite a few bloggers have written about dinging 80 now, I wanted to share another perspective of it - the one from us who are far behind.

@Eishen: I really like the questing much more than I had expected. I just wish I could get those stupid feelings out of my head. Hopefully writing about it will help.

@Captain The First: Oh yes, I hope I'll look back at this post and laugh at being so silly. Deep inside I know I am, already. Doing Naxx 10 man with people who have already completed it many times won't be the same thing as if I'd been in the team that took down the bosses for the first time. But I guess there will be other first-kills in 25 man too look forward to, so I shouldn't worry so much.

@Pugnacious Priest: it's one those occasions that you really see a huge difference depending on the different real life situations we're in. If we've got family, job, other obligations or not. Normally raiding two times a week you don't notice it in the same way. People have been pvp-ing, levelling alts and so on. Now the difference becomes so obvious.

@Kyrilean: well, due to a constant lack of tanks I've more or less given up hoping to get instance groups within the guild - I try to pug it instead and it's been ok or even great a couple of times. It's much better to ajust to the circumstances instead of getting frustrated because the few tanks there are already are occupied.

@Devv: This is the first time I'm experiencing this rush. When I did Outlands in june 2007 I was more or less on my own and didn't have any clear intention to start raiding (I doubt I even knew what raiding was about). Now I've got a deadline and a guild waiting for me and I guess that's what puts some pressure on me.

On the other hand I wouldn't want to be without it - the raiding stuff. I'm not a solo player at heart, not in the long run.

@Herc: grats to 80! I must admit that all of those lvl 80 bloggers add a bit to my stress... But I try not to worry. And gosh, I enjoy the instances. I think I've done five so far and they've been absolutely wonderful - though a bit too easy. I'm SO looking forward to see them in heroic mode.

Anonymous said...

You know, my main hasn't even dinged 71 yet. My alt, on the other hand, is almost 72, after entering Northrend at 68!

Just play the way you enjoy. There will be a raid spot for the people who are good at what they do, and enjoyable to be around. Whether you ding 80 in November or February, you'll get a chance to raid. So enjoy the journey!

krizzlybear said...

Bashertin is already 80. And it's a bit difficult to deal with, since most of the guild is in the mid-70's at the moment. In the meantime, I have been working on wimzig, so being too far ahead isn't as bad as being too far behind, but there's still that awkwadness of having to wait around.

Sure I could pug it out with other people, but that's how I become so far advanced from the rest of the guild that it just goes to my head and I come off as some cocky person (which I feel I already have to an extent, being the first 80 in my guild)

Fish said...

I stopped enjoying the game when it became a source of stress. When "I have to accomplish X, Y, and Z, in the allotted time, how can I do this?!?!?" becomes more important than just escaping the boringness of day to day life, there is a problem.

When I come back (I almost re-activated my account last night, probably will this weekend), I'm going to do things the right way. You don't need to start the endgame of the expansion a month after it launches.

Personally, I'm going to do what I do, level alts, craft things, kill mobs and relax.

Kinzlayer said...

For those who are FEELING that they are being left behind, I would suggest doing one thing that may or may not help. I would suggest setting little short goals.

I'm not the fastest leveler but at the same time I'm some what competitive with my guildmates, it's part of the fun for me and them. So what I have done is set up little goals for myself, half a level a day or 1 level a day or 3 dungeons a day, etc... The fun really just started, the leveling aspect of the game is only the door, the rest of the room is there to explore.

Anonymous said...

@Isisxotic: it's comforting to hear there are other bloggers who are interested in raiding and yet can't make it to 80 in a rush. Reading all those hit-80-stories on the blogs adds to the stress.

@Krizzlybear: I understand that it may be a bit lonely at the 80-end of the scale as well, but sorry, currently I find it hard to feel sorry for you... I guess I'm too occupied feeling sorry for myself... :)

@Fish: well if you're not in a rading guild you're free to relax and chill and take things easy. But I want to be where my friends are. I don't enjoy playing on my own the same way I did when I levelled to 70. At that point I didn't know about anything else.

@Kinzlayer: my problem isn't really to motivate myself and put up goals... it's rather that I haven't got enough time available for gaming, which makes me fall behind the ones who are unemployed, have been able to take a week off from work or haven't got any family which will complain if you spend all evenings playing wow...

But I guess I'll catch up eventually, when they've grown tired of gearing their main and started levelling alts.. Right now if feels a bit hopeless though, but I hope it's temporary.