Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Call from The Grey Havens

Sometimes I feel like crying. Doesn’t everyone? It’s like breathing, sleeping, eating, drinking and getting a physical hug once in a while. A basic human need, I suppose.

We all have our methods to release our gathered tears. I have one that never fails me, namely to read the final chapter of The Return of the King, you know the one with the final breakup and departure, where Frodo heads off with the ships from the Grey Havens and Sam goes back to his family.

That chapter is pure sadness to me and any happy family awaiting Sam can't change that. I’m not joking, even when I merely think about the scene as I write this post, I get goose skin and tears well up in my eyes. I’ve read it tenths of times, but the words never fade away. They are keys that give me access to areas of my mind that I normally keep safely sealed.

Sometimes I feel like crying. Today is one of those days. You're wondering why? Because they’re going to the ships. They’re sailing away and there's nothing I can do about it.

The Balrog strikes again
Earlier this week I wrote about my furious fight against the Time-To-Quit-WoW Balrog. It turned out that he was a worthy opponent, tougher than I could have imagined and my struggles were futile. You see: now he has snatched our beloved guild master and raid leader.

Yesterday the ugly bald gnome (currently disguised as a night elf just so to make him easier to spot in the raid, but we all know where he's true identity is) declared that he's leaving the game within a couple of weeks, and so is our deputy GM. As for so many other players there are two simple reasons for this; the game doesn't hold its grip on them anymore and they need to put more time and effort into progressing in their real lives.

I know what you think and I hear what you say. Those things happen. All the time, to every guild, it’s more a matter of “when” than “if”. And by the way it’s “just a game”, right? Smart goblins don’t allow themselves to be attached to anything but gold, because everything else will vanish sooner or later – epic gear as well as people. Getting emo about the people in your guild is a bad investment. Don't trust anyone but yourself.

But I’m not a goblin. I’m a gnome and my skin is soft and thin and my heart is warm and throbbing and I can't stand to see them embark on that journey. So I cry.

The scary bold gnome
If you've followed my writings over the last couple of years, you've probably guessed that I've been privileged; I've raided under the command of a guild master with extraordinary qualities. Stumps.

To be honest he scared the hell out of me to begin with, having a slightly harsh, strict appearance at vent. He was demanding and disciplined and this was pretty shocking to someone with such a short raiding record as me. But he took a chance on me, and he never gave up about my potential to make better, even though I suspect that there was times when he tore his hair, wondering if Larísa ever would learn to move out of fire or cast while moving. After doing some 115 encounters under his leadership I don't fear him anymore, just admire and love him.

You see, Stumps had that sweet balance that it takes to lead a successful raiding team. He was the guy who took the unpleasant man-to-man talks that comes with the position and never hesitated to kick a player from the guild even mid raid if it was necessary. But under the rough surface he had a warm heart and fantastic sense of humour, which he generously showed through some bad wipe nights. I suspect that was what kept him sane while holding a position equivalent of fighting Yogg-Saron, as Tamarind put it.

For being such a youngster - somewhere in his mid 20s - he remarkably good, probably out of talent, for he didn't have any formal leadership training. And why am I talking about Stumps as if he was dead by the way?

I suppose he will be soon. Sort of. “Friend removed because the character no longer exists. Player not found.” He’ll be gone with the ships.

Now what?
So now what? What will happen to Adrenaline? Being who they are, Stumps and Sylvara wouldn’t desert us without working out a solid plan and making sure that they'll turning over the guild in good hands. The remaining four officers will now take the charge and run the guild as a team. And I'm sure they'll do just fine.

Following the plan presented to us, I think we've got a chance to keep the guild going quite strong, until Cataclysm arrives, although we may not do as many 25 man raids as we used to. I just hope there will be enough of them for our Shadowmourne wearer to finish his weapon. He has yet some 35 frost shards to collect before he can complete it with an LK kill.

I don’t expect to see a huge exodus, but it might happen that a couple of players decide to move on to one of the more progressed guilds on the server. Everyone is recruiting these days. Other guild members will probably take a longer summer break to reload their appetite for raiding. Under normal circumstances, you couldn't expect to have a raid spot waiting for you if you go on a long break and want to pick up raiding later on. But in the current situation, they've decided that anyone who wants to can stop raiding now and yet come back for Cataclysm. And I think this is a wise call. We're in this for the long run.

Everyone in the guild has been asked to think about the changes and then inform the officers about our intentions. In case the raid squad will shrink too badly, we'll switch over to 10 man hardmode raiding. And to me that’s actually just fine. Even if I love the bigger format, I can enjoy the smaller raids for what they are. As long as we keep raiding in an Adrenaline manner, which means a serious and focused approach and a sense of team work, I will remain a happy raider.

The rise of the phoenix
Every guild has a life cycle. These are days of turbulence, but we'll get through them and once we're on the other side we can start to build the new Adrenaline.

It will be a bit different, since the bold gnome won’t be there to tell us off when we need it or give us a pat on the shoulder when that’s what we lack. But on the other hand, this will give room for our new leaders to step out from the shadows and show what they're capable of.

As one of my guild friends remarked, as we tried to grasp the situation – it will be like the phoenix reborn from the ashes. A new start. I think Cataclysm will be a cataclysm for us in a double sense.

But all of that is in the future. Right now, as I see our friends heading for the Grey Havens, I have to cry a little bit.

I couldn’t wish for a better place to let my tears fall then here at the inn. The soft light from the fire shields me from anything that can lure in the darkness outside. I'm surrounded by the murmuring voices from blogging and reading friends from all over the world.

Thank you all for hanging around here, listening to the sad rants of a very sentimental little pink pigtailed gnome! In case there won't be any Friday post, you know the reason. I'm just lingering a bit here in my armchair, contemplating the state of the guild as well as WoW in general.
"Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil".
Don't mistake my tears for despair. When I'm done crying I'll pull myself together and start looking forward to whatever adventures that may await Adrenaline 2.0.


Gronthe said...

Gandalf is a wise old wizard. No, not all tears are an evil. That's tough to lose leaders like that, but as any great leader does they have planned appropriately and not just deserted you. That's a great sign of maturity and thoughtfulness.

/patonback - Let it all out - /patonback.

nowiamtree said...

I don't think I can say anything more than that, except that I hope whatever the future brings for Adrenaline it will be fine and shiny.
/more hugs and hands the Innkeeper a glass of something strong and good.

Fitz said...

Here's a drink to Stumps. Congrats on leading such a compelling guild to watch through the eyes of Larisa for all this time, and well wishes in your future endeavors.

Also, my cry zone is watching two scenes from geeky movies (is that sad?). The first is the opening scene of the newest Star Trek where Kirk's father sacrifices himself as his son is born in the newest ST. the second is Cedric Diggory's father crying over his son's dead body at the end of Harry Potter 4. Those moments bring out the tears like no other.

Pumpkin_King said...

Dammit. ;_;

Redbeard said...

Cycles like this happen all the time: at work, within family, and among friends.

It's okay to be upset. Having a friend and mentor leave is a hard thing, but good mentors know when it is time to move on. One such told me once that "when you think that you're too important and things won't go on without you, it is then that it's time to leave."

If it makes you feel better, I'm sure that the Old Gnome is proud of the success you've accomplished, and he'll happy for your achievements in the future.

Keeva said...

I've been there three times now, and it never gets easier (harder, it seems, actually).

Be thankful that you have leaders who gave you notice and will help with a transition. All three times I've had the rug ripped out from under me - I wish I'd had leaders/co-leaders like yours.

Good luck!

Angelya said...

That part of LotR gets me too... but worse was when I bought the soundtrack to the recent movies - the final track "Into the West (vocal)" is a beautiful song, but leaves me a complete wreck every time I hear it :'(


Masith said...

Whilst its always sad when things like this happen I thought this might help you to maintain hope.

When ICC came out my guild lost its GM and 2 of its officer team. Thanks to good planning by the officer team and a couple of members who stepped up to become officers we went from strength to strength and we are now working on Lich king Hardmode

You often say how adrenaline is the best run guild you have ever been in. The best thing you can do is try to make sure everyone maintains faith in your officers.

You have only actually lost 2 raiders albeit important ones. As long as it doesnt cause an exodus then as ever the show will go on!!

Shintar said...

Poor Larísa, like the other commenters I can understand your pain. My own guild has changed leadership twice during the three years that I've been in it, and both times it was very chaotic and I was very worried about the guild disbanding. I can only assume that even with an organised takeover there's a little bit of fear that things will change for the worse, especially if your old leader was such a charismatic person. I remember when my guild's first leader stopped playing I was saddened quite deeply regardless of the state of the guild because he was just an awesome guy.

Larísa said...

@Gronthe: yeah, it’s very well thought over, the opposite of ninja quitting over night. You should see the walls of text in our forums! If those leaders ran WoW blogs they would probably be a ton worse than mine in text length.

: thank you! /hug

@Fitz: Oh, I loved that opening scene of ST as well. I haven’t thought about it like that, but as you remind me of it, yeah, it brings tears to my eyes. I haven’t quite taken the Harry Potter movies to my heart the same way, but it might have to do with that I’ve seen them with my children, which gives a slightly different perspective to when you’re on your own and can dive into your geeky tears.


@Pumpkin King: Manly tears, yeah, I suppose they kind of are. Thanks for the link!

: That’s actually wise words from that mentor. Nevertheless it hurts. And I think this kind of breakups sort of link into each other. You’re reminded of other losses in your life, which makes it more painful.

@Keeva: I think this is the second time I’m going through something upsetting. The first time was a guild split back in TBC. But I had “only” been in that guild for half a year or so wasn’t as attached to it as I’ve become to Adrenaline.

@Angelya: oh, the music. Yeah, it certainly triggers something. But sometimes it’s OK to be a wreck, if you get what I mean.

@Masith: Yeah, you’re right. It sure makes it a bit worse that it’s a damned good tank and a damned good healer we’ve lost as well (which has a way huger impact on your guild than if it had been dps:ers, face it). But provided that we can keep a decently big roaster for Cataclysm, they may get replaced. By recruiting, by switching characters etc. Our toons aren’t the most important asset. It’s all about the people. And we’ve still got some damned good persons and players in the guild.

@Shintar: It’s easy to get stuck in the worrying part. I think I’ll shred a few tears now but then I’ll try to ridden myself from my catastrophic thinking and move on. The takeover is well organized, so we’re much better off than many a guild in the situation of losing their leaders.

Sephrenia said...

It's early morning and I'm crying already. First feeder read of the day - I almpost don't dare look at the rest now!

I listen to music if I need to cry. Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkle does it for me. I will listen to it today and send positive, calming vibes your way.

If I'm angry, I listen to Mars from The Planets Suite, which riles me up big time, but then calms me back down again by the end.

I really, really hope it all works out for you and Adrenaline. Please remember one of my emails to you long ago if you wish (or ask and I'll send it again :P)

All the very best. Hugs. Come sit by the fire and gaze a while and let the music wash over you...

Gevlon said...

I know you will be mad at me, but my job is not to give /hug but to give rational answers:

While you can hope and work for the survival of your guild, you'd better start writing a post, just in case containing:
"Enthusiast 25 man raider with moderate movement skills but endless efforts to become better and zero loot hunger looking for a progression raiding guild that raids late night"

I'm sure that you'll have new mail in your box soon. I also know that you don't want to write it. But life is evil and doesn't care about pinkish visions.

Copra said...

Life happens. It just does.

In this case, no one died, got injured nor lost a kidney. Like Doctor Who shouts in the climatic end of "Doctor Dances", "Everybody lives!"

It will pass and in Cataclysm no one asks how you coped with the LK.


C out

tufva said...

That is a huge change for the guild, but it does sound like they are doing an amazing job of making sure the guild goes on.

And it is always sad to see a friend of many years go, because like any friends you make via a shared hobby you know that you will likely lose touch with them completely once they stop hobby-ing with you.

Have a cry - it is well-deserved and it does usually help.

I've always liked the toast they use here sometimes:
To Absent Friends
(makes me tear up every time - I have no idea why)

TechDeft said...

"But life is evil and doesn't care about pinkish visions."

That is the best variation of 'Life is hard' I've heard, I think.

Chin up Larisa, your mood has been spiraling(you can see it in your posts) for a little while now. You are succumbing to the sames blues you recently decried!

In RL terms, your favorite boss is moving out of town, with his best supervisor. But you like the rest of your supervisors.

Nothing like a cathartic post and cry though eh?

Anonymous said...

Oh man, Larisa. It´s like you are talking about my former raidleader who left the game a year ago.
I realy miss him and I still thing there will never be a better raidleader then he was.
But I am happy that I can talk to him out of the game from time to time.
I realy know how you must feel. /hug

Cerenia the Tree

p.s: sry about my bad english. I thing I will never learn it for real. It´s the reason why I never wrote a comment before.

Anonymous said...

I think that instead of saying something, I will, with your permission, just move my chair a little closer and listen and share your pain. Take your time, there's no rush - let it out at your pace, I've got plenty of time.


Beruthiel said...

/passes the tissue.

Sometimes a good cry is the best medicine.

If you get dried out on LotR, the end of Where the Red Fern Grows has done it for me since I was a lass.

As my mother tells me everytime catastrophe hits my life, everything always works out in the end...and so I pass my mother's words of wisdom on to you. Everything will work out, one way or the other. And until then, you have an Inn full of friends to help prop you up when you need it most =)

Dwism said...

despite what some people will have you believe, it is quite possible to keep the spirit of a guild going, even without the strong leader. Your officers sound like good guys/gals, and i'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

But it is a tough time, and my heart goes out to you!

Hugmenot said...

You will find out over the course of the next few weeks if you were really attached to the guild or its leaders.

In 11 years playing MMOs, I have been a member of two guilds which are truly guilds in the best interpretation of the word. My experience in such cases is the non-dramatic departure of a few key people will not change the guild.

I have also been a member of a number of guilds where the guild master or the raid leader were the glue that held the guild together. Their departure, for whatever reason, was usually followed by a mass exodus soon after.

I hope Adrenaline is the former and I hope members will give the new leaders a chance by giving them their unconditional support over the next few weeks. I believe the support is especially important in such cases if the new leaders believe they have huge shoes to fill and are not entirely sure they are up to the task.


I am not sure why but I have this nagging feeling you should be watching "Everything is Illuminated" this weekend.

Beauty will arise.

Saga said...

It's always sad when you lose people that you've played with a long time. The bright spot is that they're not abandoning you but making plans for the guild to live on. There are plenty of people out there who would have just "killed" the guild as they left.

I'm sure you can all get through this - even if it feels tough at the moment.

I will send you a /hug if I see those pink pig-tails in game :)

Larísa said...

: Music really helps and yeah, Simon & Garfunkle is perfect for melancholy. Many of their songs are sad, but in a very hopeful way if you get what I mean. I hope you've listened to their reunion live concert in NY Central Park? Pure magic... Like when they say that they wanted to have fire works but that the authorities wouldn't allow them to, so let's make our own fireworks... followed by Sounds of Silence...

Thanks for stopping by and reminding me of those things. And yeah... I remember. Not going anywhere at all right now though. But it's good to know there are friends out there.

@Gevlon: Silly old goblin! Of course I won't get mad at you. This is your way of hugging. In one sense I suppose you're right, but you knew from the beginning I wouldn't follow that advice, didn't you?
Right now I'm not going anywhere. Adrenaline is my home and where I want to be. If the worst would come to the worst and we somehow wouldn't succeed to survive or go casual, I would have to make a choice. I might quit the game altogether. I might put up a post about "looking for a new home". But all of that is just futile speculations. I hope for the best and a brightening future for Adrenaline. I AM pinkish like that.

@Copra: yeah. I should know that at my age, shouldn't I? But knowing is one thing and embracing and accepting is another.

@Tufva: Yeah, I know. I don't say that it doesn't happen that you make friends with people that will remain friends long after everyone has stopped gaming at all. I'm sure those bonds exist. This is different though. Our paths followed the same direction for a while in our lives, we spent some time together (quite a lot tbh, counting the hours), but now our paths will split and take different paths and I'll never quite know what happened to those extraordinary and highly talented people, how their lives turned out, how they got married, made a career, got a family... I can just speculate and hope for the best.

: Am I really turning from pink to blue? I definitely hope not. But yeah, I've had my gloomy periods occasionally over the years. I'll try to cheer up a bit, although it IS kind of hard in the rather depressing community at the time being. Dwism wrote a very cheerful post the other day though. I'll cherish that one and get inspired.

@Cerenia: don't excuse yourself for your English. At least not here at the inn. I don't notice many errors, since I'm a foreigner myself. But I've got over that complex, I keep writing anyway, happily ignoring my shortcomings. So please don't hesitate to comment for that reason. I get what you mean.

: thank you. Let's spend the night here. It really helps.

: Where the Red Fern Grows: I've never heard of it before but I checked it up at wikipedia now that you mentioned it. Got to check that one out.

@Dwism: Thank you. And yeah, they're really good and I have faith in them, even if the challenge is huge with this long summer and a non-determined date for Cataclysm.

: I think you're spot on. The next few weeks will give a good idea about our chances to get through this. And my support is definitely unconditional. It's not hard to give that with such great officers as our new leading team.

And I'll have to check out either that movie or read the novel.

@Saga: /hug! You're on the same server! A shame we haven't whispered. PST!

latusthegoat said...

The Fellowship of the Ring never fails for me. We are then merely at the start, yet time is already tumbling ahead and we are but two books away from having to say farewell again to Middle Earth. The promise of wonders and adventure mixed with the sadness of knowing it has to end... *sniffle* same as with you, just thinking about it gives me goose bumps and chokes me up.

Best of luck with Adrenaline 2.0, my own guild has just gone through the same thing. Very closely knit group that lost a raid leader, guild leader, officer and roughly 10 regular members. We're picked up after 2 months of despair and back where we were when that damned Balrog hit us.

Holly said...

I raid and am part of far too many guilds I think to actually be upset when one moves on, I see the cycles across all of them, and currently raid with 3 different guilds across 3 different realms, but I certainly understand the position.

Good guild leaders are very hard to find, most tend to be either too lax or too strict and successful guilds with these type usually have a co-owner or high ranking officer who tends to be their antithesis, to help balance things out, a balanced guild and raid leader is certainly something to cherish.

But mourn not, for as long as they don't delete their character, reactivating the account is easy enough! Maybe when the wow addiction withdrawals kick in about cataclysm launch they'll return! But in the end, every story must end eventually, and the best writers know that.

When I need to cry, there's a book I pick up, it's a young adult book called 'you don't know me' by david klass. It's the story of a young boy who lives with his overworked mother, and abusive stepfather. Even though the main focus of the book is a kid rying to cope with child abuse, the way he copes his wonderfully unique way of thinking, can make you laugh, then makeyou feel bad you could laugh in a book about child abuse. Having been abused many years myself, this book hits a personal note that sends me into massive fits.

Another tear dam burster for me is the movie 'boys don't cry' ... the worst part is, it's based on a true story, and is almost spot on for every detail but one, which actually made the movie -happier- than real life.

Ph34r my text wall!

Campitor said...

People leaving have always been a part of game play, as in real life. At the beggining of my gaming hobby it left me a bit sad. Now I just realize that its a part of gaming and realize someone leaving is an opportunity to meet new people and encounter new situations.

Raise a toast to your lost friends, remember them fondly, and go out and kill more dragons.

Larísa said...

: oh yeah, the sadness is luring right from the beginning, I agree on that. Glad to hear you got through your struggles. I'm hopeful that we will do that as well.

@Holly: oh dear, that book sounds almost too much for me, even if it's written with hope and humour. Child abuse... it makes me furious to hear about and I'm sad to learn that you've had to endure it.

: I will, I will. Hope will return to this blog again and I was out killing dragons as of yesterday. We rocked!