Way back in the day, maybe at the end of TBC, the cats were raiding 12 hours a week. It seemed pretty easy to pull off at the time. Early on in WotLK we decided that the content was easier and less time was needed, so we dropped to 9 hours a week. Near the end of WotLK, as people lost interest in WoW, we dropped a day and went down to 6 hours a week. That dropped again in SWTOR. The content was casual, and so were we, at a robust 4 hours a week over two days. I usually attended at least one of those days.
And yet I find myself now coming up with excuses to avoid group content. Is my life actually so action packed that I can’t spare a couple of hours? Of course not. So what’s the deal?
I’ve written before about how the year-long doldrums at the end of WoW’s WotLK expansion and my own hyper-sensitivity combined to change Liore from overly protective guild leader to angry attendance rage monster. Even though I haven’t really managed a raid group in 18 months (dear Gab and Corr, I don’t know if you read this but you are both the bestest) the mere hint of having to do so brings on the sense of an impending panic attack. While I enjoy doing the group content itself, I seriously cannot mentally handle anything that even vaguely looks like responsibility for the group.
Yes, in my ideal world I would log on whenever I want and have a selection of awesome people online to do group content with if I felt like it, with no other expectations. Oh, and they would also be good players who like a challenge! Unfortunately as someone who was once very involved in creating exactly this scenario, I know that it is damn unlikely to happen coincidentally. It takes quite a bit of effort to recruit said awesome people, to find ways to peaceably and politely identify the best players in the bunch, to create a community that encourages people to log on outside of scheduled events.
Seriously, just writing that paragraph made me almost break out into hives. My dilemma is this: knowing intimately how much thought and effort is required to run a good guild, how can I expect someone else to take on all that work while I just log in when the mood strikes me and soak up all the benefits? I don’t begrudge others taking that advantage, but somehow as someone who I know CAN organize such a volunteer group it seems selfish for me to not do it. And yet.. I don’t want to do it.
No one wants to run the Cats like a serious guild anyway, I don’t think. I could check out another guild for a game while still being part of the Cats’ social scene, which would be perfectly reasonable, but again is it fair to expect someone else to do all the work to make my playtime more fun? Isn’t that abdicating my own responsibility, even if I don’t really want it?
When I sit down to play SWTOR I think about how raid attendance has been dropping off and I really should do some team-building and cheerleading but I just don’t like the game as much as others do and I’m sorry. When I sit down to play RIFT or WoW I feel guilty for not playing SWTOR, and I’m sorry. I have this group of smart, awesome players who right now are sort of aimless but I could probably sort and recruit them into a reliable group with more of a focus on group content and events but then I don’t and people wander off and I’m sorry. Lately after work I seem to just endlessly surf social networks and cat gifs until bedtime, hiding from my virtual life.
The other day in IRC a guildie made a joke about how control of the Cats would have to be pried from my cold, dead hands, and although he meant well I felt pretty stung. I don’t want it! Take it. Take it. Take it and build something amazing that we can all enjoy so I’ll stop berating myself for not wanting to do it.