On Raiding, Friends, and finding the meaning of your own standards.

January 11, 2013

After a brief Hiatus – by which I mean I forgot about this blog in the holiday fervor -I return; let’s leap headfirst to the deep end of online gaming.

In this time, my guild’s made some astounding progress against some pretty stiff odds; we’re not clearing all the content in one lockout like DREAM-Paragon or something else, but we’ve essentially cleared Mogu’Shan Vaults and the entry bosses in Heart of Fear while seven-manning the raids with mouth-breathers from Trade Chat. Thankfully that has mostly fixed itself, our second tank Escorducarla has finally moved into her new apartment, complete with it’s own space and 10-megabit internet connection, and is raiding with us again, issue free. We’re still down a man, our newest hunter convert appears to be fighting off the damned Andromeda Virus down in his place in Australia, and I wish him all the best.

It’s been in this time, of the guild having to really throw together and put up 110% effort constantly to cover for weak spots in comp, or just weaknesses in raiders in general, that I’ve really had a chance to look at the standards I hold myself to.

In no uncertain terms: I believe myself to be among the best Death Knights on the server, if not the game. I’m not of this assumption because of any delusions, but because of my consistent performance in the last several raid tiers. I’ve routinely out-DPS’d classes that statistically should mop the floor with my numbers, and brought a level of clutch utility and sheer burst murder that’s time and again put me in the 95% percentile of logs on WOL, and I’ve ranked several times during early-tier raiding. Am I the best DK in the world? Probably not, there’s probably someone else who’s got a better setup, a more instinctual knowledge of his keyboard, cooldowns and macros that can execute my best better then I can – but I haven’t met him.

Recently, I’ve gotten a chance to really get down to why being this guy is important to me, and my happiness on the game. Do I want to be better then someone? Well… honestly, yes. Everyone wants to feel superior to someone else, it’s a pretty hard-coded part of human psychology, so the fact that I’ve proven my superiority time and again is gratifying is a moot point for the most part. The key is is that just ALL it is? I’ve really been focused on upping my damage and time-on target so much that during some of the guild efforts, I really was stopped to really sit back and think about it last night by a friend’s words.

“We can all see you on the meter, we know you’re awesome. You don’t have to tell us.”

I know, it seems pretty simple and obvious right? But it hit me pretty soundly.

I’ve spent all this time raiding with a group of people who were my friends before I’d ever beat an enrage timer for them, or pulled out a clutch battle-res or Anti-magic zone that saved the raid – and I’ve spent this entire time trying to prove myself to them.

I’ve had to do it before in nearly every guild I’ve been in, playing  a Melee DPS, and on top of that the much-maligned Death Knight class: it’s usually pretty clear that the guilds I’m in are waiting for the first excuse or solid recruit to replace me with another Mage or Warlock, or whichever ranged spec is braindead OP this patch. I’ve gone into raiding having to punch above my weight to keep my spot over these statistically superior classes and their players who rolled them for just that reason. I’ve spent my time in Melee DPS Hell, dodging cleaves and AOEs and still hammering the Weak Point for Massive Damage well and truly above others who should be pound for pound more damage then me. Each raid was to be an a reaffirmation of “I am Murdos, and this is MY raid slot.”

Except… I don’t need to do that anymore. Like my friend told me, they know who I am, what I can do, and what I will do to be that guy. I don’t have to prove myself over and over again like some young buck starting fresh for a pro-sports team, or a untested knight at the Lists. I’m no Hedge Knight here with a immaculate set of armor and a newly-sharpened Runeblade playing pretend – I’m Murdos the Undying, Slayer of Digital Dragons and Electronic Undead, tenacious and true.

And that’s why my guild brings me along. Because they know that guy, and he’s pretty awesome.

In that, we’ve actually proceeded further then we expected. Banding together to welcome back our long-missed Bear-Butt Tank, we rung in her first raid back with us by dropping two new bosses on our first night in the cage again. It’s that sense of camaraderie that I’ve missed, I don’t leave a raid feeling sour and unhappy that my performance was unnoticed and my efforts were for an empty slot they needed to fill.

Now, I strive to be the best because that’s what my guild deserves.


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