… or ‘Know Thyself’
Wait wait wait, this is not a philosophical blog. What am I doing using this as a platform for soul-searching? Well, bear with my incoherent ramblings and you may just glean a bit of truth and insight into how this seemingly innocuous saying makes WoWing lives a lot easier.
There is currently a discussion happening on the <Unemployed> forums about raid preparedness, progression, focus, and carrot-vs-stick methods of enforcing this.
One of our raid leaders posted a link to this discussion on the official WoW forums and asked us to discuss. I recommend reading all the responses, there’s a good blue response in there as well.
Now, I’m not going to talk about raid focus, progression, preparedness, and the lack there-of per-sé.
When doing anything, and specifically when taking part in raiding 25-man progression, it’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses and not only how they relate to your class, but how they relate to your performance as a raider. Now, because this is my blog and my little place to indulge my inevitably generous dose of egocentricity, I’ll use myself as an example.
- Primarily a follower. I like to have someone telling me what to do
- Paranoid. This is a throw-back from my gradeschool days. If a group of people were talking in hushed tones… well then of course they were talking about me. A group across the room suddenly bursts into laughter… of course they’re laughing about me. I apply to a raiding guild and can see lots of new posts on the forums but neither their title nor their content then… of course they’re all talking about me.
- A sponge for praise. I cannot get enough of it. A little goes both a long way and not nearly long enough for me. Every tiny bit is kept and cherished while I’m still desperately hungering for more.
- Devoted. If I make a promise or a commitment I will stick to it to the best of my ability. I also expect everybody else in my life to do the same.
- While not exactly comfortable with taking lead, I will do so if it’s necessary and I feel myself equal to the task.
- Honest. If I make a mistake, I will own up to it, and if you see me make a mistake I want you to tell me.
- Easily frightened. I don’t take harsh criticism well. I withdraw into a small, terrified shell and any inclination I might have had to lead is now gone up in smoke.
Now, some of these traits are virtues, some of them are, while not a vice, certainly a hindrance. This is why it’s important to know yourself. My first point states that I don’t like to lead, I’m not comfortable in that position and I get nervous easily. However, I play a tank. Tanks are supposed to be natural leaders. If they don’t act in a raid leading capacity they are at least expected to know when it’s time to pull and help keep things moving forward. To this end I’ve discovered that if I’ve seen an encounter enough and am knowledgeable enough, I feel capable of taking the lead.
Is this a kind of dichotomy? Absolutely. The trick to making it work is knowing under what conditions I find myself feeling capable of leading, and doing my best to re-create these conditions.
I mentioned I am paranoid. It’s true when they say acknowleging you have a problem is the first step to overcoming it. I have a very active imagination that tends to jump to the worst-case scenario. Since I know that’s what my mind will do, whenever I start feeling that way I make it a point to step back and think of other options. Every time I’ve managed to come up with a solution that, while it may not be correct, has nothing to do with me and makes a lot more sense than thinking everyone is out to get me.
I like praise, I’m dependable, I’m honest. I know these are my virtues so I strive to make them shine. If you know I don’t enjoy leading, but I say I will lead, then you are damn sure that I’ll give it my all, won’t flake out, and will do everything in my power to troubleshoot. I point the finger at myself first and make absolutely sure there’s nothing I could have done differently before looking to others for the source of the problem.
As for being easily frightened, I simply strive to not place myself in a situation where that will happen. My last guild I got screamed at where a quiet /w of ‘Hey, I know this is a new spec for you but it doesn’t look like your gear is quite up to par. I’d like you to run a few instances and heroics before we take you back into kara’. Instead there was an angry growl of ‘Lowest DPS leaves!’ then damage meters were posted and there I was, leagues below anyone else. Suffice to say, I never raided with that guild again and I quickly found myself another guild.
Know what kind of a situation you are willing to tolerate, and what kind of a situation will make you break. I’m a casual gamer. I enjoy raiding and I enjoy progression, I take it seriously, but at the same time I want to have fun. Being prepared and ready both physically and mentally is just considerate for your fellow raiders. It’s a ‘Do Unto Others’ kind of thing. It is possible to be relaxed and ready at the same time, to be serious when you’re in a raid and have fun. Trust me, it is, I’ve done it!
Knowing yourself is the first step in helping you find what kind of an atmosphere you would do best in. Remember, not everyone is going to hold your hand and not every guild is going to be a good fit. It’s your job as a responsible raider to know where you will fit well and to be able to identify a good or bad situation when you see it, and react accordingly.