Anxiety, WoW, and Me

Hi, I’m Pike.

(Hi, Pike)

And I’m scared of dungeons.

[record scratch]

Wait, that Pike?

That Pike who threw herself into any dungeon or raid PUG that came her way during TBC?

That Pike who leveled a druid to max almost entirely through dungeons, mostly before Dungeon Finder even existed?

That Pike who would happily spend three hours in ToC on her hunter and then another three hours healing Ulduar with her druid immediately afterward?

Yes.  That Pike.

I think it started with Cataclysm.  Blizzard did two major things that affected the game for me: They made substantial changes to the way hunters work, and they also decided to make dungeons “hard”.  I think that I probably could have dealt with either of these on their own, but when they were together, it planted a little worm of doubt into my brain.

What if I’m not good at hunters or dungeons anymore?  What if I let everyone down?


I did ultimately do some dungeons, but that little thought didn’t go away, so because endgame was now scary (and also because I wasn’t keen on Cataclysm), I unsubbed.

I gave it all another try for Mists of Pandaria.  After greatly enjoying the leveling process, I told myself that this time I’m going to do it.  I’m going to get back into endgame.  And I’m going to love it, just like before.

Unfortunately a couple of bad groups and douchecanoes had me convinced I was terrible at hunters and at dungeons, and because the only other real thing that MoP had to offer at the time was an endless stream of dailies I quietly left the game.  Again.


And so here we are.  In WoD.  The itch, of course, is back, like it always is.  Oh, how I secretly long to spend the day in LFG doing endless heroics, or spend hours butting heads against a tough boss in a (real live!) raid.  But instead, I’m tip-toeing into normals maybe once a week when I summon up the courage, despite being overgeared and having a Gold in Proving Grounds and all that stuff.

“Why don’t you find nice people to play with, Pike?  A really nice guild or something?” I’m sure you’re asking.  And, you know, I’ve thought about it.  But because of my work schedule I’m tucking myself into bed right about when the rest of the United States is getting home from work and logging in.  I don’t think it would be impossible to find a nice guild that raids at 1:00pm.  But it might be a bit of a serious hunt.

So now what?

weird-al-yankovic-my-little-pony-friendship-is-magicWell, right now I’m determined not to let this beat me three expacs in a row.  How?  Well, uh, I’m not sure yet.  You see, there will be people involved.  And the possibility of failure.  And instances that I haven’t done before.  This is all very scary to me.  But you’ve gotta confront your fears head on, right?

Sorry for the break in pony pics.
Sorry for the break in pony pics.

So yeah.  That’s my confession for the day.  Embarrassing?  Maybe a little.  I’ve struggled with anxiety most of my life, and seeing it creep into video games – my favorite hobby – is never fun for me.  But maybe this post can help others who feel similarly – at least to know that they’re not alone!

14 thoughts on “Anxiety, WoW, and Me”

  1. I totally know where you’re coming from. I never liked pugging in the first place, but LFD and now LFR seem to have upped the nastiness to a point where, once done with leveling, I’m done with the game until the next xpac.

    Sure, I’m playing my AH minigame still, but I’m willing to let that go, too.

    Something that rubs my nerves the wrong way isn’t worth paying 15 clams a month for.

  2. If you ever want to run a dungeon and be sure to have at least one awesome person in the group, I can give you my real ID. My paladin Korolun (who actually ended up looking like Maraad with his transmog) smashes faces with his hammer like no one’s business.

  3. I need to get on leveling my Horde hunter, because I would totally group with you. However she’s only level 93 at the moment. But maybe after i get my rogue to 100!

  4. Agreed. Ever since the change to focus from mana the hunter class has feltless fluid, less rewarding and just plane clunky. Current for me the the most fluid natural feeling and rewarding spec is Survival, with Thrill of the hunt, Barrage and particularly Focus Shot as our L100 talent.
    Downside youcant use it while mioving, upside is you spend 50% less time standing around casting crappy slow, low dps steady shots!

    As for LFD/LFR tards, use the impignore mod with macro. Soon as someone starts acting up, iggy time with an automated group message “Mr X has been ignored for being a tard”.
    Makes life much more pleasant. Also works for tradechat. 🙂

    And if you are doing stuff you havnt done before, bring a friend 🙂

  5. I have a Hunter, it was my first ever character on my oen account thanks to your example, but I’ve never been “good” at the class. I levelled my hunter through quests all the way from the Valley of Trials to Pandaria but LFG was my chosen way to level every alt I’ve created since, even the Death Knights who technically had a head-start. As I work my way into WoD after a year away from the game I find the same worries that you describe. The moron quotient in regular play has got much worse but, like you I do odt of my playing during the day and manage to avoid the worst of that. Only time will tell if any of us stay in play or take another WoW sabbatical.

  6. I remember in wrath being petrified of tanking a dungeon on my paladin and then ending up tanking most of ICC on him in alt runs.
    I had a big break after Wrath and haven’t really played much since. I came back at the end of Mists to play with my friends (my WoW family) and that kept me in the game.
    I hate doing random dungeons, I am always anxious of being called out for not knowing encounters etc and have generally avoided them.
    LFR is much easier, partly due to the number of people and the fact that it is tuned much more forgiving. I have done pretty much all the LFR content in WoD so far and its (generally) pretty fun.
    I still haven’t done many heroic dungeons even though I hugely outgear them now, just to avoid the douchcanoes. I need to run some with my guildmates to get some quests completed but that can be done as and when the opportunity arises.

    Basically, you are not alone in this. I actually don’t mind focus for hunters but I do mind the people in any game that are not prepared to take a little time to help others with content they may not know.

  7. I’m back to a hunter main, for the first time since Vanilla. You will remember I made a decent go at being a healing blogger. I stopped healing for exactly the same reasons – they made massive changes to healing, and they made dungeons hard. Which meant that healing SUCKED. So I went back to casually playing, tried out melee DPS, and steadily kept leveling my hunter. But I don’t do LFD anymore, and I try to only do LFR with friends, because I don’t need nastiness in my life. I raid casually, on Saturday afternoons, because – like you – I am going to bed right about when everyone on my server is gearing up to get started. (I go to bed around 8:30pm Central, and play on a Pacific server.)

    That said, I totally get the anxiety. I used to be damn good at this game. And I’m not anymore. I’m adequate? But that’s about it. And I have major performance anxiety (har har) because of it. I totally get it. ((I’m told healing doesn’t suck anymore, but I don’t know if I believe them. Or if, after several years, I even have the reflexes for it anymore. ))

  8. @Snowy

    “I hate doing random dungeons, I am always anxious of being called out for not knowing encounters etc and have generally avoided them.”

    Man same here, I love dungeons in principle, but I’m far too worked up about screwing up to actually do them much. It’s not as bad on my current Mage main because she’s just DPS, but I used to main warriors, and that meant tanking. I was good at it, but that didn’t help me feel any less worried!

  9. I’m so surprised by all these comments. Thank you for sharing your stories with me, guys! None of you are alone! <3

  10. You know, you are not the only one in wow suffering from anxiety. You really should find a guild which fits you better imo.

    You mention your schedule being off the one in US – ever considered playing on a EU server?`

    I can recommend Serenity Now on Argent Dawn EU server – a roleplaying server, but while many in the guild RP, they are not a RP guild as such. I was in the guild for years, but while still talking to them, and having an absent alt in their guild, I’ve moved on to a RP guild.

    Several of their members have had issues with anxiety, depression, pstd and more. They are a mature welcoming bunch, and do a bit of this and that – raiding, dungeons and achievement hunting.

    If you don’t feel like an EU guild – I’m sure there’s guilds on US servers too, where you can find people with experiences in mentally illness.

    We are many like you out there – and I’m certain you can conquer the anxiety in time 🙂

  11. In all honesty for a safe PUGing environment I thought Open Raid had a lot to offer. – particularly with the way you can sign on for runs with people who have a ‘community review and reputation’ and then you can give feedback after the run about the leader and your fellow players. I direct all my guildies who have trouble PUGing that way because it has somewhat less social pressure (you don’t have to troll general chat) and it semi-gate-keeps, in that if people are jerks they can be rated lowly and can have a note about their jerk behaviour added to the rating, so you can research your raid leaders. Then you can start out on old fun(!) content and work your bravery up to current raids. Least that was how I did it last xpac.

    <3 ~ Bytes

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