Today I thought I would write a little about the single biggest pit I had ever fell into. It seems to me that falling is something that scares most people. That is only natural when a falling from a standing position has the ability to cause considerable damage to a person and falling from a greater height can increase those effects many fold. But when you consider that there are some people that seek out that feeling, when they know the chances of being hurt have been mitigated or even removed from the equation. Sky divers, bungee jumping, skiing, snowboarding, and when we were kids sledding down a hill. The thrill that can come from something dangerous is like crack to some people, and an indulgence to others on occasion. So what is it that makes us seek out these pits in the first place?
I was a World of Warcraft addict! It might be proper to some say “I am” addicted, but I believe there are some addictions that can be overcome so much that someone needs not think in that mind frame again. Overcoming that addiction was key to keeping me out of depression. Because it is a gain that can easily take you down that hole for years if you have the mindset ready to allow it. That was me, for years living in my fantasy world of Azeroth.
Somewhere in 2005 I began to play World of Warcraft or WOW to those in the know. At the time I did not believe I could like the game, at least not as much as I eventually came to like it. I had tried other MMO’s in the past that touched on fantasy sword and sorcery type games, such as Everquest; and found them not to my liking. But WOW was much different than those, and I quickly fell into its embrace.
In the basic edition of the game, I became a passionate pvp’er (player vs. player) and started my progression through the ranks. I had eventually obtained the status of Grand Marshal of the Alliance on my paladin and I did it before many changes made it easier to accomplish. In those days, I was second in charge of a large guild that had no real drive. Though looking back, the guild masters was barely there. So you could say that I ran the guild for most of its time. The members for the most part were casual players that were just enjoying the game with friends. But I had become pretty hardcore, you had to be to get the rank of Grand Marshal. When that was over, I still needed to be “hardcore”! Deflating from that state of mind was not a possibility at the in those days. But my guild did not want to raid, or I should say not enough of them wanted to raid. So I stuck with my pvping.
Another problem arose with a moral code that I had stood by through the game. I had decided early on that I would be loyal to my guild. Guild jumpers had become almost a swear to some people. Imagine relying upon someone, helping them and gearing them up, just so that they would leave for another guild. I for one did not want to be associated with that title. So I held firm for some reason, and did not allow myself to recall the simple face: that it was a game. That was quite a hard task, because when you push something like Grand Marshal, you become friendly with other hardcore minded people. The same people that ran in the major raiding guilds for instance. I had offers to join every major guild on the server; numerous times. But I could not remember it was a game, so most of them let me become an alternate for their raids and I was OK with that.
The first expansion in World of Warcraft was The Burning Crusades. It was highly anticipated and opened up an entire new world to explore within the game. My guild went into it with a passion, and I had a good crew of people that had vowed to me that they wanted to raid. So my excitement for the expansion increased. After we reached the new level cap of 70 on the game, we quickly geared out; readying ourselves for raiding. But as in the past, many things fell through. Karazhan was the first 10 man raid in the expansion, and by all accounts it was fun and relatively easy once you learned the tricks. The players I took in there, could not pay attention enough to defeat even the first half of bosses and some one that could only defeat the first time. It was frustrating to say the least and I was reaching my limit in patience.
It was right around then when a good friend of mine who had in the past gotten me into raids and pvp with his guild came to me with an idea. He wanted to form a raiding guild out of the remaining members of one of the strongest guilds on the server in the past for raiding. And he also wanted some select people that he knew would do their jobs as well. It was his goal to become a top raiding guild, not only on the server; but in the US or even world. Let us say I jumped at the chance, and left my guild on good terms that very day. That guild beat the expansion, and was one of the top 100 guilds in the world (or perhaps just in the states).
I can truly say that those were good times, and I enjoyed them. But with recollection comes more things to consider then you might had thought while they were happening. I explained that I gained Grand Marshal of the Alliance during my times pvping in WOW. That came at the expense of countless hours a week for months and months. It was a slow grind and in the end, when I was so close to reaching that goal it became more of an obsession. For the first time in my life this A type personality came out of me, and I ruled my pvp groups with an iron fist. I had a waiting list to join my group that was normally over 30 people long; and if someone made even the smallest mistake in my eyes they would be out of the group for a time. The last two weeks of my ranking push, I played well over 126 hours per week. I slept, gamed, ordered take out for all my meals and nothing else. That was my vacation for the year, for one goal that existed only in a fantasy world… just a game!
While that was bad, at least I can say that raiding was not nearly that consuming. It was like working a part time job. We raiding hard core for at least 4 to 5 days a week, and you were expected to be there ready with your consumable. The goal of a raider is always to be perfect in a team situation. You move when you should, you use the abilities you have to the maximum performance you can; and you always pay attention! If you cannot do those things, then you can’t raid at that level, because that is what it takes and more. And I did those things for the entirety of the Burning Crusades, and into the next expansion the Wrath of the Lich King. I healed my ass of for years, working that job, while working full time. I was good and I suffered greatly in my personal life for that commitment.
That addiction happened during a time in my life, when gaming online was preferable to going out with friends or even family. I had been in depression for years, and had slowly closed much of my social life off. On top of that, I was morbidly obese and what comes with that disease is much of the same as depression. You close down to others, hide, and see interacting with the outside world as a nightmare. Perhaps that is not how others feel, but it was for me then. While I am still morbidly obese, my mind has changed a great deal since then and just maybe that was one of the reasons I left the game for good. I have gone back to it from time to time, when new expansions have been released, or when I had been offered free trials. But I know fully that I have no passion for such things anymore. I believe I accomplished everything in the game, and seek other things to take my time away from me.