I have occasionally mentioned both here and elsewhere the anxiety problems that have plagued me throughout my life. For the most part I managed to get this under control thanks to the amazing modern wonder that is medication, but sometimes it just sneaks up you anyway. These last few days have been like that.
It’s been difficult to focus on, well, pretty much anything. Logging into WoW is followed by logging out 15 minutes later, not because I don’t want to play or don’t have anything to do, but because I feel like too much of a basket case to do anything. I did manage to play some Warcraft 3 the other day. I think that game works nicely as a distraction because, as an RTS, it forces you to pay attention to it and only it. So that was helpful, at least.
There’s no real point of this post other than to say that I’m still here, just having “technical difficulties”. Hopefully it all passes soon, because I just want to play video games!
Fortunately I think it’s beginning to (slowly) subside, so hopefully there will be some more gaming time today. 🙂
Is being scared of Heroics silly? Probably? Yeah, probably. I’m not scared of Raids but I am scared of Heroics. I imagine it’s because a Heroic is smaller so there’s a greater sense of personal responsibility. Who knows, though, really?
Anyways, I decided it was time to CONQUER MY FEAR so I queued up for a Heroic this morning. It was Upper Blackrock Spire, which I haven’t done since, oh, about ten million years ago when it certainly wasn’t re-tuned for level 100 yet. Unfortunately Blizzard decided to throw a bunch of “Instance Not Found!” errors in my face and not let me zone in so I had to drop group.
Later I tried again and this time got Grimrail Depot. I breathed a sigh of relief because I’ve done this one about fifty times on normal. It went smoothly, except for one bit where I almost died for no reason (still not sure what that was about) and yeah. It was nice and smooth and I got my Heroic achievement. All’s well that ends well.
I have talked before about fighting the Anxiety Raid Boss, which is something I’m working on slowly overcoming. Now 6.2 is still a ways off, so this might be an early call, but I can see at least three things in it that are shaping up to potentially be good news for those of us who continue to struggle with gaming anxiety in WoW. Here’s what I’m seeing:
1. More Solo and/or Small Group Stuff: This is coming in two flavors: garrisons and Tanaan Jungle. First, garrisons. I realize that opinions on garrisons have been somewhat divided, mostly over the “it takes you away from the world” point. Frankly, though, and I don’t know about you guys, but I like having a sort of “quiet zone” available in game where I can do solo things by my lonesome every so often. Garrisons are perfect for that!
Next: Tanaan Jungle. An all new ZONE to solo! Or duo! I love duo’ing stuff with Mister Pike.
2. Timewalking Is Hugely Comforting: Scared of trying heroics because you’ve never done them before? Don’t worry – here are some “heroics” that you HAVE done before! The idea of doing a dungeon that I already know very well and am familiar with – and possibly getting gear upgrades from! – is really soothing to my anxiety riddled mind. Some people have been knocking this for being “recycled content”, but some for some of us these are actually going to be a huge enhancement to our WoW experience, whether because of anxiety, nostalgia, or both.
3. Mythic Dungeons, For Those Who Like Smaller Groups: If it’s not the heroics that set your anxiety off, but the raids instead, then Mythic Dungeons are looking to be a great alternative. Go in with four friends for a smaller and more personal environment that still provides upgrades.
So yeah. It’s still early, of course, but good things are on the horizon!
Pike vs. the Anxiety Raid Boss chronicles my quest to beat a bad case of “gaming anxiety” that crept up on me a few years back. Exciting! (Or not!)
Let me tell you, briefly, about my raiding history.
My raiding history involves raiding during Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. It required lots and lots of tactical discussion on voice chat. It required lots and lots of commitment. It often required spending hours on one boss.
So hopefully you can’t blame me when the idea of pugging a raid kept me far away from LFR for a long time. I was convinced it was all a big train wreck waiting to happen.
Boy, was I wrong.
LFR is a glorious – and glorified – loot pinata.
It really felt quite weird. More than feeling like a raid, LFR felt like stumbling across some world boss, pulling together a hodgepodge group of random people, and then jumping right in. Oh, there are some gimmicks here and there, of course – you know, the one’s you’ve seen before if you’ve done any dungeon boss at all ever (Stay Out of The Bad, Move Away From/Towards The MacGuffin, Move Away From/Towards The Raid). But there was never really any sense of danger or urgency. Possibly because this raid has already been out for months. Or possibly because LFR really is that easy. Maybe it’s a mix of both? I’m not really sure yet.
The veteran cane-waving side of Pike who did hard modes back in the day found it all kind of underwhelming and perhaps just a bit silly, but the gaming-anxiety-riddled side of Pike was ecstatic. This was fun, easy, straight-forward, and dumped purples on me. And as silly as it sounds, it did wonders to boost my WoW self-esteem, and now I’m looking forward to more raiding adventures.
TLDR: If you have similar anxieties, I recommend jumping into one of the lower level raids in LFR. I promise it’s not nearly as scary as it sounds. 😀
Wow! I got a fantastic response on my last post. All sorts of people came out of the woodwork to comment on the post or talk to me on Twitter about their own gaming anxieties. Some people even went through it all at the same time or with the same expacs I did.
Frankly, I had no idea that something like this was so widespread. Oh, I figured a couple of people here and there would know what I was talking about, but the lot of you? It really took me by surprise.
Since this seems to be a fairly common problem I think I’m going to do more writing about it. I also think I’ll blog about my efforts to get over my own gaming anxieties. I know some people are happy with playing solo, and if that’s the case then that’s awesome and keep on doing that. As for myself, though… I want to tackle the big bad boss at the end of the anxiety raid. So I think that’s what I’m going to try to do, and anyone else who is trying to do likewise can come commiserate and maybe learn with me!
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?
Well, 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?
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!