GW2: These Goals Are Not My Own – How to Have Fun Again

Readers may have detected a touch of ennui and frustration in my last post.

A little thinking helped to narrow down the cause.

It is a basic case of: These goals are not my own.

The past week has been spent in very “reactive” mode. See new update, respond to new update. See achievement to be gotten, rush to get check box completion. See enemy zerg report, rush to defend against enemy zerg.

That is not to say that new content is not welcome, or achievements are no good. It is a question of degrees.

A two-week update period gives me very little time for anything else. The first week is spent !00% focused on the new content and achievements, leaving the second week as emergency back up and farm/grind of content I like that will be disappearing. I’ve maintained a three week schedule would be less hectic (see comments) and failing which, I would be fine with the four week Flame and Frost style stuff too (but I know this sentiment is not shared by a good many Reddit and GW2 forum frequenters.)

As for achievements, they have their place and purpose. Achievements can provide direction and guidance. Achievements can focus player attention and crowds in the places where ArenaNet feels would be more fun with more active players.

But let me ask you, taking a recent specific example, why 2,500 points in Southsun Survival? Why not 1,000?

A thousand points would still serve the same purpose of having players hang around playing the minigame. “Proper” play generally yields 30-50, with a 50 point bonus if you win. “Point” play yields 50-100. That’s anywhere from 10-20+ games played still.

The Aspect Arena achievements felt more attainable. 2,500 points just feels grindy as all get out. It ends up making what is intrinsically fun a chore and an obligation.

Obligations lead to burnout.

An interesting quote from the researcher mentioned in the article above is “It may be that, in the absence of an emotional bond with the organization, commitment based on obligation is experienced as a kind of indebtedness — a loss of autonomy that is emotionally draining over time.”

The phrase I’d like to key in on, in our particular context, is loss of autonomy.

These goals are not -my- own.

I feel obliged to do them because I have chosen the higher level goal of being a completionist with seasonal achievements (for which, one might say there is also some external reward prompting with the new Achievement Reward system) but it does not mean that I’m actually enjoying the in-between steps if they get too insane.

It reminds me of WoW raiders complaints about feeling obliged to do a ton of dailies just to keep up with what is expected of them in a raid. They like to raid. They don’t exactly like to do 48 repetitive things in order to just merely qualify. Again, this is a matter of degree. 10 things? No problem. 20 things may be pushing it. 48? Hahaha. How much free time do you devs think we players have anyway?

It is the same with WvW. For me, I hasten to add. (There are plenty of Tarnished Coasters super-duper hardcore about WvW or just feeling a lot more like WvWing than I do at the moment, and they’re keeping the fight going. The benefits of playing on a full server.)

My tendency tends to be, log on, check guild and friend list, see a bulk of them in WvW and go, “Gee, I guess I should join them. I’m sure it’s aggravating for them to see other people online and not WvWing when the whole place evidently needs as much help as it could get. They probably could use more support and hands on deck.” Before you know it, the feeling of social obligation has overtaken my whole night and 4-5 hours are spent reacting to a commander’s orders/movement and engaged in generally outnumbered defence.

Some days I -want- to fight. I’m itching for a scrap, log into Mumble, find a commander I like to follow, and willingly blend into the zerg and have a great time. But regular schedules get to me and I have guildies and commanders that spend every single night (and possibly some mornings too) in WvW. That wears me down after a while. I just don’t have the personality for that sort of orderly routine.

The cure for this, is both simple in theory and hard to execute.

Start addressing your own goals.

Having been Skinner-Box conditioned to follow achievements as quests, when I posed myself this question, I sat around stumped for quite a while.

What -did- I want to do in GW2?

Ever so slowly, like drawing blood from a rock, came tentative answers from a hitherto ignored portion of me.

  • How about, go explore bits of the open world again, find cool stuff, and level a class you haven’t played yet.
  • Collect all the ranger pets!
  • Maybe tweak your charrdian’s build again, give up spirit weapons and see just how much damage you can put out as a berserk army of one.
  • You wanted an asura thief, and maybe a charr thief at some point.
  • Hell, make that one of every class for asura and charr eventually. Cos they’re just too awesome.
  • There’s an experience scroll to level 20 that is unused in your bank. And an empty character slot that was intended for Black Lion Key farming.
  • Your guild bank is sitting on a pile of unconsumed celestial crafting recipes. Because they’re level 80 and your weaponsmith/jeweller is not yet 80.
  • You need gold, like always.
  • You had the urge once to watch a few PvP videos and learn how to sPvP properly, and read up on builds and such. Oh, there’s a PvP monthly you might also try to finish for points…
  • Just how long can you sit at 199/200 fractals done in your achievement summary and not do anything about it anyway?
  • Speaking of which, you always wanted to learn the other paths of dungeons you haven’t done and work on obtaining the Dungeon Master title.
  • Your human storyline is not yet done. It’s the last one. Your human mesmer is rotting somewhere.
  • Your elementalist needs attention. It feels complex, yes, but I bet it is capable of doing some crazy things once mastered.
  • Perhaps peek back in on GW1 someday and see if more progress can be made on the HoM.

And on and on. All stuff I’ve been sitting on because other more urgent things were prioritized first.

Burnout recovery self-time.

I addressed the immersion problem first of all, trying to reconnect back to the GW2 -world-, rather than obsess about the game, meta or otherwise.

Graphics settings back up to crash-a-holic, prepared to memory error per zone.

Went invisible so as not to bother with anyone or anything in my friends or guild lists and switched into personal bank guild.

Logged on runty asura ranger. Went out into the world.

Metrica Province, by the way, is a really excellent place for losing oneself (as long as you tune out the fire elemental calls.) So are most of the Maguuma jungle zone areas. They’re just not traversed very often by many players.

Maybe they don't find the swamp pretty. I think it has its moments. And the yellow fireflies are good xp.
Maybe they don’t find the swamp pretty. I think it has its moments. And the yellow fireflies, like most untouched mobs, are good xp.

Found a giant asura champion that I had never seen before.

The only good asura is a small one.
The only good asura is a small one.

Kited him in circles in an epic battle of level 12 ranger dodging and healing spring-ing, with plenty of inquest respawns getting in the way. Pulled out a blue Mighty Chain Leggings from the Inquest Chest at the end of the herculean fight. I think I need a T-shirt that says, “I can’t wait for the next update and better champion loot.”

Talked to nearly every NPC I could see. There are some crazy asura conversations in Rata Sum. Metrica and Brisban also have some classics too.

Hidden message to someone, perhaps?
Hidden message to someone, perhaps?
Boredom loves company. Also overheard daring each other to stick a finger in a socket.
Boredom loves company. Also overheard daring each other to stick a finger in a socket.
This chap has interior redecoration on the brain.
This chap has interior redecoration on the brain. It’s just a tent!

Somewhere in between, I discovered a Wintersday gift box in my ranger’s inventory. I could have sworn it wasn’t there before when I first started. Maybe a back log in the full inventory queue or something. Opening it yielded 250 mystical cogs, a toymaker’s bag and a bunch of skins. Talk about a belated gift. I’d missed this freebie before, but hadn’t been sweating it due to being fast enough to loot the chest to begin with.

This naturally called for buying some stuffing and glue off the TP (it’s amazing how inflation makes one barely blink an eye at spending 1 gold for a stack of stuffing and 2 gold for a stack of glue months later) and crafting the toy golem. Which makes all the minis I would want from that. (I still think the princess doll is fugly and don’t want it.)

Seeing the current price of stuffing and glue also led to another modest attempt at the endless plush griffon tonic. Five tries later, I was three more gold poorer, endless tonic-less, a mystic forge daily done, and with some spare normal griffon tonics to hand.

A plushie a day makes the blues go away.
A plushie a day makes the blues go away.

It is amazing how one immediately cheers up running around as a cute stuffed animal.

(Southsun, by the way, is nice and peaceful and deserted once more. It’s another of my favorite hangout locales with a TP, bank and merchant nearby, as long as one ignores the settlement of crazed karka just next to you. Just missing a guild bank. Maybe I should look into the price of those guild transport thingmajigs.)

Out of sheer mischievous fun, I made the run south past scary reef drakes and annoying reef riders to the Consortium resort and did the easy jumping puzzle as a plushie griffon.

I believe I can fly!
I believe I can fly!

No one found me before the tonic wore off, but I had a blast just camping out and being cute regardless.

I really wanted someone to come upon this sight. Next time, I shall bring more tonics to wait it out.
I really wanted someone to come upon this sight. I shall bring more tonics next time.

I also did other stuff from that long list of mine (keyword: mine) but I’ll save that for another post.

If you’re feeling the burn, go and do what’s fun for you until you feel better.

GW2: There Goes the Neighborhood

Let’s be playfully controversial today.

Breaking news of the last few hours is that two of the core three Aussie guilds that laid big foundations for the Isle of Janthir server, Southern Cross (SC) and The Kelly Gang (TKG) have transferred off the server and moved on to Jade Quarry.

While I’m a little disappointed that a core bit of the server community will no longer be there, and the logical thinker in me understands perfectly, the cynic in me is chortling.

Say whatever pretty things you like about “commitment,” it appears that there are many different types of commitment after all.

There’s commitment to the server and its community (aka server loyalty,) there’s commitment to one’s guild and personal friends (aka guild loyalty) and there’s also, horror of horrors, commitment to having fun (and all the varieties thereof.)

And it turns out, some are prioritized over others.

It is clear that for SC and TKG, that lately, the Isle of Janthir has not been giving them the level of professional hardcore WvW action that these guilds, regular 7 days a week, rain or shine participants, have been seeking. The Oceanic timezone in particular seems to be a morass of casual leaderless zergs pitted against some huge, well-led, tactically minded teams. Uphill fighting against stupidity is always hideously morale draining.

(Personally, I’ve flipped my hours some on the weekends and been playing more in the NA timeslot which seems to have better tactics and use of siege, so yeah…)

And after, we presume, a carefully considered decision, they’ve decided to prioritize the enjoyment of their guild members and their fun by moving on to a decidedly more WvW-focused T1 server, where the fights will no doubt be a lot more exciting and constant and competitive and at the level which they prefer.

I rest my case.

Fun über alles.

Chase the fun, for whatever definitions you find fun, because anything else leads to burnout.

Chortling aside, it makes me start to wonder if this guild moving phenomenon we’re seeing has been considered by the designers when they made WvW.

Are we seeing something that will ultimately be healthy for WvW, in that these periodic guild shifts provide change and novelty to servers who are moving towards stagnancy in their tiers based on ELO rating?

Some people claim they’re getting sick of seeing the same faces in WvW, the same guilds and the same tactics for the past, oh… 2-3 weeks now. More and more, it’s looking like players -don’t- have long term patience after all and a one week matchup is about as long as ArenaNet can push it. The hoped-for two weeks? I suspect a rebellion would be had and 75% of WvW players will turn up in Orr and in dungeons instead.

Guild movements shake those things up, with a little drama spice on the side. Especially if it’s a big guild shifting territory. Titan Alliance and RUIN in particular have sent Henge of Denravi and Eredon Terrace on a freefall towards the bottom rankings, causing a mad jostling of servers as they inherited pieces of TA.

Alas, all the excitement is to be had on the corpses of two servers.

Personally, if something that drastic happened to IoJ, I would transfer out too. (My own criteria is a crowded server, enough to PUG dungeons with at the timezones I play, enough to accomplish DEs in Orr, and to a lesser extent, enough WvW action going on.)

Or is it unhealthy, in the sense that these multi-game-spanning guilds are more focused on their own communities and less about fostering -server- communities?

One of the constant complaints from players of oldschool MMOs is that these newfangled MMOs simply don’t feel like home anymore, no one recognizes each other, there’s no familiarity and certainly, no such thing as server loyalty.

For a while there, I harbored a little idealistic hope that perhaps we would see something different in Guild Wars 2, that as more level 80s migrated to the WvW endgame, trust and respect would be engendered and there would be more server togetherness.

More and more, it’s looking like this optimism is getting brutally shot in the face. For one thing, WvW is not the only endgame. It does look like a hefty helping of PvE players would never be caught dead (or alive) in a PvP zone, as sanitized and un-trash-talky as WvW is. When I take some time out to farm stuff in Orr, I see a whole bunch of new different faces that I’ve never seen in WvW before.

Trust, respect and server togetherness? Hahaha. Since the week of IoJ’s tier 1 foray, where I think a shit ton of people pushed themselves over and above the limits of human endurance and monetary expenditure, the WvW maps have gotten somewhat worse in terms of armchair commanders, less communication and scouting calls, and an increase in tactical bickering that has led to a minor server implosion. I suspect SC and TKG are not the only guilds to move out, I haven’t seen certain other tags lately either.

I’m only relieved that it’s so far, been a minor implosion. Other servers have had it worse in terms of how much drama surrounded their “tactical disagreements.”

It’s looking more like what’s happening is that there is a WvW community forming, rather than separate server communities. Like professional athletes, some of the more hardcore WvW guilds look to be cycling from team to team, wearing whatever colors suit them at the moment, pitting themselves against the challenges they prefer. Screw the server, they’re all just pretty names, ultimately it’s the guild tags they wanna fight.

And I do have to wonder what this means in the long term for WvW.

PvP is an inherently competitive dog-eat-dog format. What we often see in FFA open world PvP scenarios is a few large guilds clambering on top of everyone else, destroying the will of the majority to even enter the fight. The sheep wander off somewhere else to have fun. The wolves run out of sheep and start preying on each other. And then even the weakest wolves quit and the remaining few look up and start whining that there’s no one left to beat on. Cue the end of that short-lived open world PvP MMO.

WvW is obviously not as bad or as accelerated a death spiral as that. But word is that even the biggest servers are finding WvW participation dropping off, that the outmanned buff has been seen at various timezones and the queues are shortening (except on reset days and weekends.)

Do we read into these guild movements a sign of server consolidation, a circling of the wagons, PvPers seeking out their own kind, a hope that they can achieve the holy grail of three servers fighting 24/7 indefinitely (perhaps six servers was too optimistic, given the forces of entropy acting on a three-month old MMO?)

It’s really hard to say, because a month ago, a lot more guilds dispersed out the other direction to attempt to fill 5-6 servers.

But I really wonder, in the long term, if we’ll see these guilds closing ranks again as attrition takes its toll.

What’s the cause of the attrition? I’m not sure. It could be a combination of many factors. People get tired of the MMO and stop playing, period. Tons of new games to hold their attention with. Or people getting tired of the lack of, ahem, external reward in WvW. PvPers live for the battle, but there isn’t enough of them to fill all the maps, and I suspect PvE folks are discovering that other GW2 activities are a lot more profitable in terms of virtual monetary gain.

I can run a dungeon three times a day and get 75 silver easily in just end-of-dungeon reward, not to mention the spare coins from the items in the chests and the mobs which may drop 5-15 silver.

I put on a magic find suit, and go to town spamming staff 1 in certain Orr DEs – I still hate Plinx, it’s over-farmed, but I’m quite fond of the Gates of Arah and Grenth chains – and it’s like a loot pinata of blues, greens, crafting materials and the occasional yellow. (Only still in the 90-100% magic find range. It might get even better with higher.)

I spent an hour flashing blade teleporting into various air elemental sparks, killing them meditatively to music, and I even met two guys in my timezone to party with, and all three of us popped 4, 3 and 2 charged lodestones respectively. You know how much that goes for on the TP? 2 gold each! (I’m still debating on whether I should be hoarding my measly two in an effort to get 250 for a pretty greatsword skin, or if I should just offload the darned things now.)

If we run the merry go around supply camp karma train in WvW, maaaybe we might get an insanely good karma rate and decent gold return, but frankly, it isn’t tactically sound at all. No, instead, most of the tactically sound options are goldsinks. It’s draining, in every sense of the word.

And I think, increasingly, people are wondering, what’s the point?

If you’re a T2 or T3 server, there’s a common goal. Wheeee, we wanna get to T1!

When you get there, the brutal truth is that you find out it’s just more of the same. More relentlessly paced.

Which really starts to differentiate those who love the art of killing and live for the ganks, while weeding out those who don’t really find it fun.

Not to mention, for some people, there’s also commitment to real life, to balance out commitment to fun and all the other types of commitment mentioned above.

I used to push 8-10 hours easily on weekends just WvWing, probably 12-16 when it was really ‘important’ with time out only for meals and an afternoon nap. Weekdays, maybe 3-5 hours in the night. Fun in the moment, fun while it lasted, but nothing lasts forever, eh? It’s like riding the launch wave because those crowds only come around once.

Some rethinking of my priorities later, it seems more personally healthy to me to only commit say, 1-3 hours as and when I feel like it, because obligations lead to burnout.

Surely, I’m not the only one.

And slowly, but surely, the WvW population might begin to shrink.

Let us also expect a dramatic crash next week, as the new and novel PvE content rolls out. Depending on how interesting and rewarding and repeatable the upcoming Lost Shores dungeon content is, I wonder how long it might take WvW to recover, and whether it will ever be the same again.

GW2: When Fun Becomes Obligation

Confession time. I’m finding WvW in Guild Wars 2 less fun lately.

This self-revelation was brought to you courtesy of some mulling over Wilhelm Arcturus’ Rambling About Motivation post. It’s chock full of stuff that invites deep thinking. One of the highlights include:

It is like I cannot be trusted to say what is fun and what is not at a conscious level.  But my behavior doesn’t lie.  If I won’t log on to do it, it isn’t fun at some level within me.  But if I do log on to do something, it must fun, even if it is at some deeper level my conscious mind cannot really grasp.

Except I kinda agree and disagree.

I think most people who haven’t thought about it cannot be trusted to say what is fun and what is not at a conscious level, except on a really short-term basis. “Woo! I got a reward!” equates to “Yay, this is fun!” for the couple seconds of hedonic pleasure.

“Argh, I keep dying/losing/beating my head on a brick wall/failing to make progress” becomes “Definitely not fun, hate it, loathe it” during the moment and possibly, some time after that, if they keep brooding on it.

Somehow, whether it’s through their own effort or not at all (aka being carried by others in a group,) if they move past that stuck point, the eventual victory and reward of winning sparks off an adrenaline-fueled triumph, vicarious or otherwise. Add on to that the immediate external reward awarded to them, and suddenly, “Wow. Awesome. Soooo fun. Everyone rocks!”

(I just came off an Ascalonian Catacombs Path 3 explorable run where this happened. We had two low levels with us, and the three 80s were melee, which may have led to poor dps potential on the downing the graveling burrows. It took about 5 tries, with a lot of coaching and cajoling of folks to focus on the burrows, stop obsessing about kiting and focus on AoE damage, strafe and keep moving to keep the melee hitting instead of missing and the contribution of one poor lowbie was questionable because the fellow kept dying the instant he came into contact with the gravelings – which I’m not blaming, since it’s unreasonable to expect a new player with his first character to know how and have money to buy gear off the trading post, keep it upgraded and so on, and have enough toughness/vitality, plus traits, etc. Hell, I don’t find it cost effective to keep my alt thief’s jewelry upgraded, but I know enough to not venture into any dungeons then.

Somehow, incredibly, the fifth try made it, which sent the lowbie into ecstatic paroxysms of joy while I was only feeling a sense of pain relief. Our basis of comparison may have been different, he apparently failed at this spot 4-5 times previously in other groups which broke up, while I’m used to steamrollering past it with exotic gear 80s.

The rest of the dungeon was fortunately fairly uneventful, though seeing 3/5 and 4/5 people almost constantly downed by Colossus Rumblus’ insanely wide front cone – that also whacks people at his sides – despite my prior warning on how wide it was and to stay behind him – was mildly amusing.

Protip: He follows a set attack pattern, his scream always comes after the AoE rock shower that knocks down if you stand in the red circles. Let him finish his scream before running to revive downed people, you have a time window then, else all you have is the whole party immediately KO’ed because he’s going to face everyone rubbing the downed person and do his favorite screech.

Was the whole experience fun? I’m honestly not sure. It’s much better blog fodder, aka a good story, than what usually happens, aka a smooth 20-30 minute run from start to end. But my personal tastes run to enjoying the slick efficient painless ones a bit more than the herding other players past adversity ones. On the other hand, I keep PUGing and as Wilhelm says, if I keep doing it, then my behavior speaks a lot more than my words. Imo, I don’t really mind it, but that’s arguably a different level of emotion than finding it enjoyable or fun.

And I honestly think I get a better ratio of good groups to bad groups BY PUGing than strictly relying on a guild. For one thing, it exposes me to a lot more situations that I can adapt to. It exposes me to a lot more people who are also exposed to more situations they can adapt to, or die trying. This unrelenting pressure no doubt weeds out the players who can’t take it and has them hide back in their guild groups, who feel obliged to stick with them for a longer period of time while training them at their pace. I also learn a lot of ‘how other people do it’ strategies by mixing around with randoms. And you run a lot more dungeons if you’re open to PUGing, more practice, more experience, more familiarity = more speed more smoothly less pain more enjoyment. More fun?

Until it gets boring and repetitive, anyway, but burnout’s another story.

In that light, my behavior makes sense, I PUG because it’ll give me a higher ratio of personal subjective fun to non-fun.)

Sorry, big sidetrek there. Lemme requote the relevant bit with regards to WvW:

If I won’t log on to do it, it isn’t fun at some level within me.  But if I do log on to do something, it must fun, even if it is at some deeper level my conscious mind cannot really grasp.

The caveat I automatically tacked on at the end of that sentence was, “Or it might be just an obligation that keeps me logging on to do something.

That’s just something that pops up in my mind, thanks to the effects of PvE raiding burnout even before there was WoW. I kept logging on into the MUD, long past the point of any of its activities being fun, because I couldn’t deal with the thought of losing my characters, my gear (they autodeleted inactives in those days when paid subs were not the norm,) my reputation, my prestige, and because there were people I knew, good friends and comrades-in-arms, plus organizations and obligations that were hard to disassociate from.

After years of clinging on, I eventually learned the difficult lesson that if it is really not fun for you anymore, it is not fun, period. In fact, all you may end up doing is making other peoples’ experience not-fun as well because you end up taking out your unhappiness on them. And that moving on may sometimes be necessary. And friends may not be forever, just cherish the memories and reconnect now and then if they still care to maintain the relationship, shrug if they don’t.

I think my only uncertainty these days is that I’m still working out where that “point of no return” lies.

I know how to go past it very quickly. Force yourself to keep doing what isn’t working. Treat everything as a chore you gotta grind at to get to the so-called good stuff. Nose to the grindstone some more. Never take a break. Screw variety and novelty. Win at all costs. Ends important, any means work. Obsess until you go kablooey one day.

Doing the opposite of the above slows down getting to and past that point. You may even backtrack now and then, but entropy and the passage of time seems to creep you nearer and nearer to it, try as you might to keep stuff fresh and fun.

Lately, I’ve noticed myself avoiding even logging on to Guild Wars 2 during a certain time period. Let’s just say it’s a time I know that certain commanders will be out in WvW, and I find their style of play and strategies not conducive to my personal enjoyment of the game experience. If I’m online, I feel compelled to join into WvW for various reasons, such as server pride, guild social obligations, habit, etc. If I’m not, then well, ignorance is bliss.

On the other hand, I don’t half-mind jumping into WvW during another time period, where I again know certain other commanders will be out in WvW, whose styles of play and strategies are fairly conducive to my personal enjoyment of the game experience.

I may or may not even join these commanders in their squads, btw, I’m more referring to how the battle lines get drawn out, thereby affecting where the fights are, how much siege is being used, how much traffic there is in text chat versus voice communications – some people really love using text, some people really love using voice, and it’s really hard for the twain to meet, how much my morale is weakened or strengthened according to my perception and preferences of the above.

But even during the time period that I like to WvW in, I’m starting to get a bit tired from the repetition.

What repetition?

Running with a zerg, in a squad, in a group, with 2-3 other people, alone, to take supply camps. Done. Multiple times. They flip. We flip. Flipflipflip. If we actually think, we might even time it so that we flip just before the score tick, which is strategically better, and happens sometimes.

Colliding with an enemy zerg, with a squad, with a group, a few people, a lone person while in the above variations. If the number disparity is too great, the poor unfortunate minority gets bulldozed. Happens.

If not, then there is a battle which could be a zerg facing off another zerg, with flanking maneuvers, portal bombs and/or stacking and spamming aoe, and eventually through attrition and better play, one side loses sufficient numbers that the numbers disparity effect comes in and one side emerges the victor, or the losing side routs and is cut down, or does a tactical fighting retreat, portals away or just moves really quickly around a corner and/or may come back in a flanking maneuver/portal bomb which catches the previously winning side by surprise and wipes them. Throw in some stealth and invisible players due to culling issues for added fun and randomness.

With smaller numbers, then it becomes a bit more like an individual skirmish, player skill, gear, level and coordination all having various effects on the eventual winner and loser of the situation. Sometimes it’s us, sometimes it’s not.

Setting up siege in various locations, for defensive purposes, for offensive purposes. Guarding the location. Sometimes we succeed until the objective of the siege is accomplished. Sometimes an enemy zerg comes in and see paragraph above about the battle. Repeat until siege objective is accomplished or until funds or morale or numbers runs out.

Accompanying dolyaks as they make their supply runs. Swiftness. Spam it whenever it’s up. Guard alone, with few other people, with lots more people, whatever. Sometimes we meet 0 people, a lone ganker or two, a bunch of other people, lots more people. See above paragraphs about the battles that happen. Be somewhat bored but also vaguely thankful for the quietness when the 0 person situation occurs.

Responding to announced enemy attacks on various locations. This may involve waypointing, and more often, lots of running towards the location. Then bring up the battle scenarios as previously mentioned above.

The only thing I haven’t really tried so much is the ninja strikes and ganks into enemy territory on enemy dolyaks, due to lack of a suitable class, but from extrapolation by being on the opposite side, I forsee it to be a ‘sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, see above battle paragraphs’ thing too.

I’ve sussed it out. I understand the general flow of WvW now. Overview of the mechanics, learned. And that unfortunately tends to begin the death knell for me with things I don’t personally enjoy the moment-to-moment aspects of.

It’s how my personality works. I love to get the big picture, scan stuff, grok it just enough to know it, jack-of-all-trades master of none kind of thing. I don’t have the patience to sit there teasing out details, specializing and being an expert at one tiny little part, I leave that for others who do enjoy it.

I ain’t got the time commitment, the regularity of gameplay hours, the follower-conformity or the leadership-commander mentality to join a really organized guild with voice comms and pull off the really pro stuff you see on the WvW battlefields. It’s pretty neat to watch, but actually performing that kind of thing means specialized builds and lots of hours of practising together to work as one. I accept that I don’t find the moment-to-moment of that fun, and thus I’ll never do as well, an organized guild is free to steamroll over me until I get tired of it and not come to play.

In fact, working to win or beating that organized guild by improving my own organization or play may be less important to me in priority than the moment-to-moment fun I’m having.

Which is kind of a horrible admission to make. It feels like I’m letting down people. It feels like I’ve just joined the noob ranks of the casual randoms who just mill around everywhere frustrating people who are focused on winning or at least, playing well at an organized level during the times one is online.

I do try, now and then. I’m one of the few people I’ve seen who can accompany a dolyak for 3-4 hours in WvW. Sometimes it is lost when circumstances steamroll me beyond control. But sheer persistence will shove enough supply in at the slightly accelerated rate. I report enemy sightings, I get paranoid and check out sneaky white swords because I always suspect a ninja attempt, I look for siege to man when I see red names at the gate, I try and respond to reported attacks, and I may even follow a commander and try and help that way now and again.

Some other people, they really LOVE that moment to moment skirmish and battling. WvW is made for them, there’s lots of ‘see above paragraphs on battles’ happening frequently and forever (unless there’s a horrible imbalance and one server crushes the morale of the two others involved.)

Me, I don’t actually get any joy out of laying another person flat onto the ground. I brought your hitpoints to zero, and some other guys were also helping, s’ nothing personal. Just walking over you to get where we wanna go, or preventing you from getting where you wanna go.

Weirdly, if I go down, I may get negative joy. It depends. If it’s plainly something beyond my control or ability to influence, say, rambling along and this group of 20 just vroooms over you. Ouch. Minor speedbump. No biggie, report when they are going, respawn, dust self off and try again elsewhere or join in the response against the group. If I get mowed down too often though, then it starts becoming more of a problem. Frustration starts to set in. Morale plummets. Giving up and saving money on repairs becomes a fairly attractive prospect to butting one’s head on a brick wall.

Lack of communication and purpose also affects it. If there’s a plan, if there’s a focus, if we’re always “Ok let’s try this now or that” and if folks gel together and fight, it’s more encouraging to stay in WvW and keep at it.

Funny thing is, good morale poses another problem. When do we stop? We’re doing so well, if we log out, we may lose it all!

Bad morale is also a catch-22. If we log out now, we’re making the problem worse by reducing the numbers fighting. Other people see that there ain’t enough people, or worse, the outmanned buff, and also decide to flee the scene.

But WvW is persistent and no one can stay up 24/7, 7 days a week either.

I’m rambling now, and I’m really not sure what my point is or if I have one. Maybe it’s that I’m finding it difficult to know when to stop.

Some folk who have trouble quitting raids when they don’t really like it anymore may understand. Maybe.

Social obligations and pride and not wanting to quit or be a loser make you want to keep on going.

But at the same time, none of the above is ‘fun’ and you really want some time for yourself to do fun stuff too.

Then again, WvW is persistent, unlike raids, you don’t need to make it at a scheduled time. So it’s not an all-or-nothing decision. I don’t have to quit for good, hardcore raider or bust.

I could always close my eyes, try not to pay too much attention to the score, trust in my fellow server mates, that enough people will cycle in and out of these various states of WvW morale at the different timezones, and just come in and do my casual best to contribute at the times that I feel I can spare.

Assuming I have the discipline to keep to those times, and not just start obsessing again and trying to save the map singlehandedly (which is ridiculously unrealistic) and being disappointed when stuff falls short of expectations.

Maybe I just need to take some time away and do the other PvE things I wanna do. Except we just came off a week where everyone was PvEing and now folks are watching to see if we can pull it together again. And not WvWing would be letting people and the server down. But feeling obliged to do it is not fun.

Fun versus Obligations. “Work.”

How the hell do these keep turning up in what is supposed to be ‘a game?’

I got no solutions. Any ideas, people?