|Better in a Group?|
Today, I would like to talk to you about sadness.
Writing for me, the last couple of weeks, has been the equivalent of wading through treacle. NOTHING is going right, I have two pieces of fiction screaming at me from the hard drive, a novel I've not touched for weeks, and the very real understanding that for the first time in many, many months I am struggling with a serious case of writer's block. The two GIF posts yesterday were blessed relief because I could just turn my brain off and let my emotions guide the flow. This is, I realise, at least part of my problem. That post I wrote last weekend, the one so many of you were so kind enough to look at, has opened a psychological floodgate that I wasn't previously aware was wedged shut, and an awful lot of dirty water has flowed out. I'm still working out what needs cleanup even now.
Which brings me to the understanding that my gaming experience has changed far more than I realised in the last Expansion.
I have a friend who I am playing with at present who is a regular reader of this Blog, who has a problem with LFR. It is a very real and understandable one, and an issue with which I very much associate, especially on days like today when I wake up feeling like there's someone hovering behind my eyeline and that I'm about to burst into tears at any moment. There are days when you are the measure of a random group experience, when you can meet it on equal terms with a confident gait. Then there are those days when you're not. This may be hard to grasp for those of you who never have a problem with anything (Mr Alt is a perfect example of this) and for whom LFR is just that, Looking for a Group so you can max your points and move on to making millions via farming. However, going into LFR for me today has the potential for disaster.
Except today I am going to do it regardless.
There comes a point where you have a choice: your experience is suboptimal or it isn't, but the decision is yours. You can choose to push through the issues you carry as baggage and simply focus on the fact that the task in hand will yield you a reward you want, and that alone is worth any of the hassle. You can concentrate simply on doing your best, keeping your head down, and ignoring the chat. This may not make you feel hugely confident or the experience particularly satisfying, but the fact remains that if you want to upgrade gear, it is easier to find 25 people than 5 right now, and you are allowed a larger margin of error if you are not as confident. Yes, look, I said it. 90 Valor for the same time it normally takes to do a 5 man random and AT LEAST SOME CHANCE at upgrades dropping is a better average, over time. It may not be as attractive, not as much 'fun' as it would be just with a group of mates, but the long-term benefits are far greater.
Queues for LFR atm are short, especially the earlier versions, with many people actively working towards capping Valor for 5.4. Frankly there is no better time to be in the grinder than now, with the understanding that once the job is done you're set for another week and you can go back to pottering on your own, safe in the knowledge you're improving your character. The issue in my head, and this is entirely subjective, that if you screw up you'll get punished, is entirely understandable considering some of the horrendous screwups I have made over the years. The fact remains however, that I'm the only one making those judgements in my mind, everyone else is just looking at the next upgrade, and once I grasp that it makes life considerably easier to rationalise. It also helps me to stop obsessing about every mistake I make and to simply focus on doing my job: even if that's just putting down a refreshment table and hitting Time Warp at the optimal moment to maximise DPS for everyone else.
I get sad at how people behave in LFR, of course I do. Yesterday I got a torrent of abuse from someone when I asked for a rez after I'd gone afk for a bio. It doesn't take much sometimes to set people off and once the person was reported, the silence was glorious. As a wise butler once said, some people just want to watch the world burn: I just want to get my points and move on, and try and get through my bad days without them making me wish the entire LFAnything community unspeakable hatreds. The basics remain: most people are just there to get a job done, and move on. If the experience is pleasant, then so much the better, maybe people learn stuff along the way. In the end, it is just a game, and remembering that as your first mantra to repeat is worth doing, especially during the difficult times.
I always find that understanding that if I'm having a bad day, then someone else will be too, is a good secondary mantra to take with you. However, you don't let that bad day control you, you are its mistress, and when you can turn those situations around, things inevitably develop a brighter hue. Just as I have with this post, you can be the person who holds the key, the direction to the outcome you want. It may take 25 people to run an LFR but it only takes one to turn the attitude towards it around, and that's your task. Make the difference personally, and you may be genuinely surprised at the results. If all else fails, it might help you change your outlook on a wider range of stuff.
You never know until you try.