It is amazing how a certain game is capable of causing such seismic epiphanies in my personal perception, but sometimes you need the benefit of distance to be able to see yourself for what you really are. Last night, I grasped why I don’t talk in Guild chat any more: I don’t have anything to say. All those things are recorded on the Other Blog, pretty much daily, and once they’re done? I’m just with a bunch of people to do stuff. Except I have little or nothing in common with any of these people any more, they’re all vastly more committed to progression and gear than I will ever want to be, because I just feel… well… because I choose not to play nearly as much and write more, am not fussed my gear is the best… yet because of the way this game is constructed that makes me become somehow… less worthy.
I feel this because that’s what I told people for years was the way things were.
As a GM (Guild Master) it was my job to prep people for play, how they needed to work hard and makes sure their gear was good as it could be and after years of this, I got angry. In the end it was because people didn’t care as much as I did, and many of them still don’t. All that mattered to this minority was being themselves, and doing what they decided was most important, and last night I had a WTF moment the like of which I’ve not experienced for many, MANY years. Nobody else in this group of people realises that’s what I now am, happy just to be myself. They still assume I’m the same person I was and they don’t grasp how much has altered in the last year, because none of them read my work online. My husband will only do so if promoted, on any given day, and it is a horrendous irony that the people I thought were friends no less about me than those who only know me through the Internet.
The people who are supposed to be my ‘family’ are pretty much strangers, because I can’t communicate with them on equal terms.
That’s quite a significant moment of truth, I grasp. For those who don’t use the same platforms as me to communicate, I’m the problem. I’m the person who is communicated with via my husband, and never directly. In fact, with the exception of the two people (GM and notable Harpy lover) who exist and who I know read here I don’t think anyone from my Guild has whispered me for years. Our only communication is via Guild chat. I suppose, that’s probably my fault too in the end, that had I stayed GM things would have been different, but I suppose I will never know. I don’t have the money to transfer all my characters anywhere else, and I wouldn’t want to because the major reason I play is that I get time with my husband to just kick back and enjoy myself. I do, too, it’s hugely relaxing to be with someone who you know will tell you to your face if you’re shit, will offer ways to improve, and is supportive of what you do, even if he doesn’t read it. I know he cares. That’s all that matters.
In the end I suppose I grasped last night that if I won’t play a game a certain way, I’m always going to be ‘different’ and people choose to accept that, or they don’t. Beating myself up about these choices ultimately, is not helpful long term, but what it does is allows me to write about the World in a way I don’t see anyone else willing to do. You can be critical of something you love, in both constructive and a self effacing manner, and make a difference, yet so many people feel the answer in criticism is to make it all about ‘look at me, I’m right and you designers are arsewipes.’ Understanding your culpability in the equation, accepting individual perception is as significant as a bug or a failure in design does not seem to be the way this World works. Unless you’re selling yourself and are a personality? Good luck.
I don’t want to stop playing Warcraft. I can’t make people like me, and I don’t want to affect any kind of change in what happens in my Guild. I’ve just said all this out loud because after several years, I feel better for doing so. I am as much to blame in non-communication as the people I know don’t, and in the end it takes two to have a relationship. I am comfortable with how things are now I’ve admitted as much to myself. You can’t expect people to care if you don’t do the work, but if you realise that the only reason some people were nice to you to begin with was because you were in charge? It should come as no real surprise. If it matters to both sides, you find a way.
That’s the biggest lesson I take from this going forward.