I don't think this fact has truly set in for me yet. Raiding for me has been that thing I've always done, it's what has been the consumer of the bulk of my in-game time since I began playing "seriously" back in the Burning Crusade. While I do enjoy a good reputation grind, the hunt for those elusive rares, and playing dress up with my latest alt, raiding has always been where I've sent the vast majority of my energy. Why on Azeroth would I remove myself from something I love so wholeheartedly, even temporarily?
The answer to this question is rather complex, but the TL; DR version is simply: Burnout.
I've been raiding full tilt for a bit over a year now, much longer if you add in my prior years of raiding. I came back into the raiding scene shortly after the initial nerf to Firelands after a lengthy forced break and haven't had a whole lot of down time since. Mists of Pandaria, while fantastic on so many levels, has proven to be an incredibly overwhelming experience for me. Between the rush to level 90 - which was great fun and one rush that I'm unlikely to repeat - and the reputation grinds and the mad hurry to get geared up, get through this raid, loot dramas, fight this boss, show up every night, oh crap we need to recruit, do up the videos, write some posts, run this, organize that, solo all the things, raid raid raidsmashfaceonkeyboardginger shamanistic raaaaaage...it has kind of all piled up on me.
Don't get me wrong, I'm well aware that I'm somewhat masochistic when it comes to this game and all of my projects. I'm everywhere at once, and I have a tendency to take everything upon myself. Is it necessary that I be the keeper of combat logs, maker of pixelated kill videos, manager of the guild's website, and the one who is first to jump up and say "I'll do it!" whenever the guild needs recruitment forum posts? Absolutely not, but I've always enjoyed doing all that because some of those things need to be done anyways, and I like to make it so that my guild may have nice things. There's also absolutely no reason why I should be the only person to have a hand in the Twitterland Raiding site, but I have that terrible habit of taking it all on by myself. Making guides on this blog or videos for Youtube isn't mandatory for enjoyable game play, but I do it anyways because I know that there are a few select folks who enjoy seeing that sort of thing. The things mentioned in this paragraph are all things I highly enjoy. I do not believe that my issues lay within all of my projects, but rather in one aspect of my favorite pastime.
For the past several months, logging on to raid has felt like more of a chore than something I looked forward to. Instead of thinking to myself "Yes! It's raid night!" my thought processes were more along the lines of "Fuck, I have to raid tonight." This shift in the way I thought about my evening activities were brought on by a number of things, things I shan't go into detail at this point in time, but let's just say I'm not very happy with this change.
Needless to say, my negative way of thinking has impacted me on several levels. Where I was hyper aware of what was going on in the raid, I tend to find myself on auto-pilot, even on new encounters where such a thing can be incredibly hazardous to a boss kill. Where I was once able to easily joke and bullshit with my raid mates, I'm finding myself to be grumpy and resentful. Where I was once relaxed, I'm finding myself feeling anxious and often end up with stomach aches and massive tension headaches. Raiding, for as much as I love the thrill of seeing a new boss fall, love pushing myself to perform on the next level, love getting that new weapon upgrade...it just, it doesn't feel right anymore. It feels bad. I don't enjoy having something that I adore so much feel so wrong.
Change is absolutely needed, so it is with a heavy heart and an "aw crap, this sucks" look on my face, I am removing myself from the raiding scene for now. I'm unsure if this will be a permanent change, but it is most certainly one that shall remain for the time being. Whether I'll return with a renewed vengeance in a few weeks, a few months, a few tiers, or a few years, you can bet your butt that I'll come out swinging harder than ever.
So, what now? Why am I bothering to write this post at all? Well for starters, this post is me working through a massive knot that's been building in my belly for quite some time. My thoughts about stepping down have stricken me with quite a bit of internal conflict, and in a way I just needed to get it down in writing. Like most bloggers, I have that need to just get crap off my chest, and I prefer to do it in my own little realm of the internet. This post is also in part to inform my readers that, despite me removing myself from one of my main activities, I do plan on remaining quite active in the game. Saz will not be laying down her weapons anytime soon, but she will definitely be taking a bit of time to hit up the spa and relax her weary muscles.
What can you expect of me in the future? A lot, I hope. It is my deepest wish to get back into the loop with the lovely blogging community, as it feels like I have been neglecting you all for ages. I also hope to start doing more content videos, be it guides, soloing, or random crap I happen to be doing. I have plans that will hopefully breathe new life into the Twitterland Raiding project, and goals for both in game and out of game growth on a personal and social level. As per usual, I plan to take on a crapload of projects. Without raiding on the schedule though, I hope to bring these projects to you all, and the greater WoW community, both more efficiently and with better quality.
As you can see, I have a lot of hopes, a lot of plans. In this apparently post-apocalyptic world I shall be making a point to begin anew. Perhaps not so much anew as bringing about a massive turning point that should hopefully bring about more happiness for at least myself, if not those around me as well. That's the ultimate goal: to create something(s) that not only make me happier, but to also bring some happiness to my fellow internet friends. After all, happiness breeds happiness, and negativity is always sure to be a continuous downward spiral.
Let's all keep on swingin'. Here's to new leaves being turned over, new projects, new horizons, and a soon to be new year.