Thursday, May 14, 2009

Overcoming cowardness

Have you ever caught yourself acting like a coward? I have.

The insight struck me the other day when I looked at my talent sheet. My main spec is still the one I raided with in Naxx: arcane with a little bit of frost for icy veins. I haven’t yet been totally convinced that I should ditch for deep fire with focus magic. Maybe I will eventually.

A little while ago I felt that I wanted to spoil Larísa a bit, so I bought her the luxury of a dual spec. Somewhere in my back head I also thought that this might inspire me to be a bit more flexible about my specs. I’ve always hated the process of respeccing, putting all the points at the right places, changing the action bars accordingly. I imagined that I would feel much less reluctant to do it if I just could put it up once and then switch between them.

Ashamed of myself
Looking at my dual spec now I felt ashamed over myself. Did I grab the opportunity to try something completely different? Did I for instance go for a frost-aoe spec to try out some of the awesomeness that Krizzlybear keeps talking about? Or did I pick a specialized PvP spec that could have made the BG:s I endured on the hunt for my Childrens Week title quite a bit more fun?

No. I didn’t. My secondary spec is the fire spec that I may or may not switch to. It’s a cookie-cutter spec, but it definitely isn’t something new and challenging. I’m just playing safe, staying well within my comfort zone. Been there, done that. NOT exploring new worlds.

Sigh. "Shame on you. You can do better than this, Larísa!"

The cowardness annoys me, because it's not the kind of person I want to be. I think part of it isn’t about the lack of courage, it’s about being lazy. If I pick a frost spec I actually have to do a bit of research to find out how to glyph it and what spell rotations I should do. And I’ll have to arrange macros and action bars over again. But seriously, how long could it take me? Two hours perhaps? It wouldn’t be impossible to bring that up. I could just postpone my need for a new silly pet, cutting down on jousting and daily questing (which already is on a very low level, but I could leave it entirely for a while). I surely could get the time to do it, provided that I really went for it.

But there also is some built in fear of the unknown, fear of doing things I haven’t done before. “What if I screw up?”, says my childish, tiny, whining inner voice.
“Yeah, what if you do?” I tell her back, quite harshly. “What’s the worst thing that can happen? A few gold in repairs, a few wasted glyphs and possibly some people having a laugh if they see your failure. It could be worse!”

A story of horse riding
I come to think of something that my horse riding instructor said. This is the story: I had taken up riding as a hobby as a grown up, just as I did with WoW playing. It was quite frightening to begin with – I assure you that real mounts are quite much harder to handle than their virtual counterparts.

When you take the step to start jumping –which you have to do galloping in order to make it – it feels like you’re going to fall off any second. The problem is that whatever you do you can’t display your fear so that the horse will notice it. You see, your fear is contagious. It will make your horse so scared that it completely will refuse to take the jump.

And this is what my riding instructor always told me: “Toss your heart over first. Then you can come after”.

That picture really helped me, and I’ve used when I’ve prepared myself mentally for other challenges in life. I toss my heart first. And then the rest of me can follow.

That’s what I should do the next time an opportunity is opened to me to do something I’ve never done in the game before, be it to play around with a frost spec or maybe to do some mage tanking, if future instances will offer that.

So listen carefully now:

“Larísa, you shall not hesitate anymore!
Toss your heart over and then jump.”

Your inner instructor has spoken.


Scitty said...

Personally I'm all for trying new specs out, of course your dps wont be "up there" at the start, while you learn a new rotation and/or learn new positions of all your abilities on the action bar...
But as its a spec you can change with just a 10 second cast, why not do the new spec for the easier bosses we one shot every time and therefore a little lower dps/more mistakes from one person wont matter all that much, then on the actual progress encounters, switch to arcane that you're more familiar with ?

Scotty said...

Meh, typo'd my own name....the last post was me of course !

Cathy said...

Well for me I haven't set up a dual spec. I like arcane although I was raised on frost and did try frost/fire for a bit. However, I am a creature of habit and as long as arcane gets the job done I don't really have a need to respec.

That being said I haven't been to Ulduar yet where perhaps fire or frost are more advantageous for certain fights. I dont like the idea of duel spec for me because I'm comfortable with what I have but would step outside of that comfort zone if it helped my guildes for sure:)

Fitz said...

I think you just talked me into changing my long-held Holy spec to include the Body and Soul talent. I've been in too many situations where cleansing poison would be helpful but a priest could not do it before 3.1, and now only with this talent. I know I can find some points that are not absolutely necessary, and I've got enough gold so that respeccing doesn't matter. Cheers to being brave!

Klepsacovic said...

How to overcome cowardice:
1) Get naked and jump off cliffs repeatedly.
2) Charge the zerg in AV.
3) Hug Thrall.
4) Go solo low level instances for a few hours and then feel totally badass and ready to go solo a heroic and then get utterly destroyed and have your confidence shattered.

5) Make a paladin, routinely solo group quests, cease being afraid of anything. A DK works as well.

Andrew said...

I recently picked up Dual spec and grabbed a pvp spec. I'm main spec Raiding Arcane and I love the pure utility of Arcane so I made a totally different Arcane build for pvp (lots more utility, less mitigation). I haven't gotten much time to try it out (or Arena yet) but I ignored the boards and put together something I hope will fail early and try again. Thats what its all about, read what others have tried, put something together and most of all have fun with it. Cookie cutter builds are fun, but isn't it more gratifying to find a build that works the way you want to play?

Misneach said...

It's so easy to get locked into something and not want to change it for fear of failure. I'm totally like that.

When I picked up dual-specs, though, I took the opportunity to completely change my action bar setup on my primary spec. It forced me to really pay attention to what I had been doing and how I can do something as simple as change some buttons around to do it better. Took a little getting used to, but it's paid off.

Best of luck to you, Larisa. Go ahead and jump.

David said...

Your only limits are time and to an extent, gold (which equals time in WoW). On my main, I was respeccing once a week while narrowing down what worked best for me. On my other characters, a new spec provides a new perspective and enhances my enjoyment of the game. I recently switched my shaman from elemental to enhancement, and am enjoying the entirely different playstyle.

While a mage arguably changes less between respecs, for example try frost and get your frost elemental! Glyph it and spec it so it is up more often than not. Try to use it in your questing and raiding and pvp and see how much your playstyle changes.

You'll get a real taste of the dynamics of teaming up with the elemental to freeze at a distance, then nuking/deep freezing your target into oblivion!

All it costs is less than 75g for respec and new glyphs, and 30 minutes of your time to set talents, reglyph and set your action bars (which shouldn't be so traumatic if you have dual spec anyways, you can always go back to familiar spec/glyphs/bars with the click of a button.) So don't go scared-y on us - get out and do it!

Eaten by a Grue said...

It's "cowardice." But I forgive you, because I know you are a tall blond Swedish lady. said...

Coward! :-P

Yeah.. I'm a bit the same as you (but I use time constraints as my excuse).

I have been meaning to spec Frost for PvP for ages, and even dabble in arcane for Heroics..

Then I read the Arcane Brilliance column the other day and I think... why change from Fire?

Actually... I'm no Coward... I was a Fire mage... Now I am a Frost(yuck)Fire Mage... You wont believe how long that took me to convince myself.... OK, it was instant, but I stewed over it for weeks before Frostfire became available.

Isn't your guild a good one though?
Wouldn't they be supportive if you had a 500dps drop for a week or two while you worked things out?

Eaten by a Grue said...

One other thing, shifting from one recommended mage spec to another is not exactly brave.

I was a feral druid back in early vanilla, like when 25% off shifting was the 31 point talent. Luckily this was not an issue, as no feral druid could possibly reach level 40.

Gevlon said...

Want something crazy (I mean something that might even work, like the holy pala talent for me)?

Back then when I was playing mage, I was thinking about a TANKing talent:

You could buy some fire resist gear and with improved mage armor stomp on the land mines of Mimiron before the melee does, tank the fire bombs of XT and Razorscale. Or switch to frozen armor and arcane explosion down the pets of the Crazy Cat Lady from the middle.

Actually I planned this talent for Sarth10+3 tanking flame adds, but never had the chance to try it out. Maybe you'll be more lucky. (and if you are coward, you can spec for 2/2 arcane subtlety.

Crucifer said...

Self-deprecation is a curse that I have developed to an art form. No matter how congratulatory other people are to me or the stupidity of other players not able to even comprehend instructions such as "move out of the fire or you will die", I still look down upon myself.

Its not cowardice or laziness, just indecision.

Woe is me.

And yet, after this post I will try out something new, because there's no better cure to resolve indecision than to hear that others are not only in the same boat, but in the same MMO.

Carra said...

Not changing specs is partially being lazy yes. But on the other hand, it'll take weeks if not months to get to the same level with the new spec as with the old spec. So a switch better means a serious improvement in the long run.

Dw-redux said...

"So listen carefully now:

“Larísa, you shall not hesitate anymore!
Toss your heart over and then jump.”

Your inner instructor has spoken."

I dont like it when my inner instructor calls me Larísa ;)

I guess its one of the advantages of starting on a completly new class. Noone can tell you they know your class better than you, becasue everyone is starting fresh. I respecced and tested out so many things that once duelspeccing came, my guild joked that i'd need a million-specc. So its not regarding speccs im a coward, it was deff more on going from healer to tank that scared me. Written a post about that a while back... That was scary.

Another blog i like about that (going back to the kungen post of larisas) is the ensidia trialist Implieds blog: -Now that i can imagine would be scary :)

Ixobelle said...

Oh jeez now I gotta mind control an add and tank you, I hate this part...

: /

Larísa said...

@Scotty: yeah, you’re right. Dual spec does the switching much more easy. Still there’s still the challenge to get the rotations right. But that’s probably something I should practice on out of raid…

@Cathy: I think stepping out of the comfort zone will actually increase your enjoyment in the game. I just need to push myself a bit and take the jump.

@Fitz: cheers for being brave! You’re a good example!

: some nice ideas there. I don’t think I’ve ever soloed an instance. And I should, if nothing else to get my achievements. It would be interesting to see how difficult ones I could try – especially if I’m brave and go frost…

@Andrew: that’s on the list really. To make up a spec of my own one day and not mindlessly copy others. To do some error and trial. Would really make me good.

: Thanks! Yeah! I blog about it so people can hold it against me…

@David: Just do it! Yep! I love my companion pets, but I’ve never had a combat one. It would really be fun to try it.

@Eaten by a Grue: ahh too bad you’ve got it all wrong. It’s true that I’m a Swedish lady. But I’m far from tall. I’m admittedly not gnomesized, but well… you know. My hair used to be dark brown, now it’s rather sprinkled with gray. So I’m afraid I don’t fit at all into the cliché about gorgeous Swedish blond beauties…

And I never claimed that speccing into another established spec is a brave thing. Then I must have expressed myself unclear.

: Oh yes, my guild is a very good one and they’re forgiving. The most frightening judge is actually me.

@Gevlon: that’s interesting! Maybe I wouldn’t try it in a raid – there are limits for how brave I want to be. But at least I could bother to try it on my own soloing some instance at an appropriate level…

: a soul mate, yay!

@Carra: yeah: I realize that. Actually I DID give fire a go the other night after I realized I had enough hit gear to give it a go. But I screwed up my spellrotations completely, I just couldn’t make it work. It felt awkward, clumsy. And then I’m even USED to play fire, long way back… Weird.

@Dw-redux: I can imagine that… I have a looong term plan to level a healing druid. (She’s just level 10 currently ). I’ll probably be terrified when it’s time to heal my first instance… Thanks’ for pointing me to the new Ensidia blog post. Great reading! He really did a daring jump into the unknown!

Larísa said...

: yeah, I'm a tough instructor to deal with I may look like an innocent pink haired gnome, but beware of my secret powers :)

krizzlybear said...

It's hard to appreciate your fear of something until you actually experience it. It's one of those cases where you ought to leap before you look.

Sprink said...

Well, considering I'm in that ground between hardcore and casual, I have all kinds of people telling me that my spec is wrong, and that dual speccing my PvE fire build with a PvP fire build is stupid. I am convinced that fire can be a decent PvP spec with the right adjustments...

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I'm terrified that they're right. That trying to dual spec a different version of my spec is stupid. I'm terrified that all the raiders are right that my PvE spec sucks and I'm holding my group back.

But, the only way I know to overcome it is to look them in the eye (well, as look them in the eye as over Vent can be) and tell them "This is my choice, and it works for me." Then I sit in the corner and whimper about it for a while. ^_^ That, and a touch of my adamant fire-ness is that I'm a total RPer at heart, and well, Sprink is a fire mage. Period. ~_^

(Also, still haven't done that dual spec. See? Still coward-y.)

Anonymous said...

By the way, "Cowardness" isn't a word. The word is "Cowardice". I only mention this, because I noticed that commentators linking to this post (from other blogs) are also picking up your word, and I want to point this out to any future commentators.

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