Ah, how the social chains of obligation can weave and warp to make you feel locked in place. I made some mistakes this past weekend, I did, dear reader, and now I’m wondering how to get out of them.
I had a very positive WoW weekend overall; I stepped into my first two heroics and was successful without a wipe in both of them. My wife and I hooked back up with our two friends in Germany; we were playing in the early afternoon and them late at night, but we decided we’d give a dungeon a try. At first, my wife and I suggested we do a normal; we’d only done one dungeon at all in Pandaria – a normal Shado-Pan Monastery – and that without any metrics or research. We just weren’t sure we were ready.
However, since I’m not tanking for now, we needed a tank. The queue wasn’t even showing a potential wait time, either, so we asked in guild. One of the fellows mentioned he was a tank, but asked, “Why are you doing a normal instead of a heroic?” We explained our inexperience with this expansion, and he assured us that in the gear we were in, we could do it. I was skeptical of my dps and my wife’s capability to heal a heroic right out of the gate – she’d dps’d the normal dungeon – but the tank convinced us to give it a try.
We did Heroic Brewery, and it went okay. I was about 10k beneath the next dps, which didn’t make me happy (as that seems to be my perennial pattern of mediocrity), but we had no deaths that were my wife’s fault (in that the dps stood in stuff and died) and no wipes. Additionally, we didn’t kill the adds on the final boss during the add phase – which was partially my fault but also somewhat the fault of ignorance – I didn’t know I was supposed to, really- but my wife was able to keep us all up for us to finally down him afterwards; in other words, she basically healed the final boss fight twice back to back.
Now, our tank was phenomenal. He was a DK (what a surprise, right?) who was able to do a ton of self-healing, but still, we got through it. I privately asked him for suggestions, since my friends are friendly and won’t tell me if I’m sucking, and he was frank and direct about what I needed to do to improve. And that’s when I made my mistake. The fellow started to offer my wife and I free gear, and she accepted. I checked the AH first, and based on the prices my friend was telling me for equivalent leather gear, the mail gear was WILDLY overpriced (by 300-500%). So then I, too, started accepting gifts from this non-friend 3rd party.
Here’s the thing. I’ve been on the giving side of this equation many times before. You get a promising new recruit, take them through some heroics to make sure they’re actually decent, then begin to use personal and guild capital to gear them and improve them right away. I know in the past when I’ve done that it’s felt more like an investment than a gift. Officers in several guilds who’ve helped recruits alongside me have felt the same way. It looks like a gift, but really it’s a buyout. It’s a commitment that your future play will be for the betterment of the guild.
Because, you see, dear reader, I don’t want to stay in this guild. The guild has plenty of acceptable players, but there are just so many fundamental flaws that I want out. I had no intention of raiding with the guild at all! Now, though, I’ve accrued social debt. Sure, I could just shrug it off like the next jackanape and say, “It was a gift.” Yes, it’s all electronic economics or loyalty and guilt. It really should amount to nothing.
But it shouldn’t. You really shouldn’t treat people who help you that way. As a teacher, I’m all too familiar with people who take advantage, abuse, or show no gratitude for the help they receive; they’re called students. That’s not right-thinking behavior.
It wasn’t that much help. I’d guess its monetary value was less than 10k gold between the two of us. I could just send an mail with that amount, sure – and I may in fact do that – but right now I feel stuck. I’ve had people get geared and bail plenty in the past; I’ve had people use the guilds I was in as stepping-stones to “better” guilds. It’s not a good feeling, and I wouldn’t wish it on people – especially people who went out of their way to help.
Back to the second heroic. My dps came up about 10k, putting me at just below the mostly-LFR-geared boomkin and a few k below the similarly geared rogue. Also, during AoE phases and trash, I was obliterating them. Elemental shamans are made for AoE, it seems.
So I’m sitting at just under 450 ilevel and at about 35k maintained (dungeon-wide) with different fights running 60k (AoE) to 30k (single target with a lot of switching and moving around a la Taran Zu) dps. How do those numbers seem? I’ve only done 2 heroics, so my rotation is pretty rusty, but I’m practicing and getting better. My CD usage is about the same; I only blew my fire elemental once in the first heroic but at every boss in the second. Same thing with Ascension. Anyone who knows, I’d appreciate whatever feedback you have.
Stubborn (and rising)