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Drama Mamas: The searing agony of burnout


Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

Should you stay or should you go now? You know the drill: if you go there will be trouble ... but if you stay it will be double ... If you find yourself doubting whether or not you really want to log in tonight -- or the next, or the next, or even the next -- make a decision. Don't be one of those burnouts who flop around like a beached Dragonfin Angelfish. When burnout hits, it's time to take action, both for your sake and the sake of everyone around you. So fire up this week's theme music, above, and let's proceed with the Drama Mamas Method of curing a raging case of burnout.

Darlin', you've got to let me know ...
Hey there, Mamas: I've been a long-time player of WoW from the vanilla days on upwards and seen my share of guilds, both good and not-so-good. I'm older than some of the teenagers and young adults but generally get along with them. My current guild is an excellent one in terms of raiding and what-not and is making pretty good progression, even downing Yoggy and Anub after some struggles.

My biggest concern is burnout. Even though we only raid three nights a week, at times I feel the commitment on my end is a bit much -- almost as if I put forth double the effort for the same results. My performance as a whole has been slipping, though the numbers showing are still respectable and raid-worthy. I'm also becoming noticeably less tolerant of people's mistakes. And the demands for hard modes? Don't let me open that can of worms!

I feel as if I'm causing my own drama due to my own burnout and not wanting to let it spill into the guild. Aside from the obvious -- taking a break from
WoW as a whole -- are there other options to ease the burden a bit? Signed, Talented Burnout

Drama Mama Lisa: Time to face the music and listen to your own time signature, Talented Burnout. You're burned out. An enforced WoW vacation would almost certainly give you a gust of fresh enthusiasm for a little while, at least, but I'm not a fan of plans to tempt yourself back into the fold. Here's why.

As a player from the early days, you're undoubtedly attached to the game and the people you've met here. But let's face it: WoW no longer demands the sheer persistence over time that stretched before raiders in classic WoW. The necessity of farming a raid instance for months before being able to move on to the next simply doesn't exist any more. Progression is measured in weeks now, not months or eras. Today's content is streamlined, immediate, accessible. It's all right here before you. If you're not enjoying the process, you're in grave danger of finding yourself at the end of the road before you've had any fun.

My advice to people who are weary of the raiding game is, simply put, to stop raiding. Don't set a time limit or consider it a "hiatus"; just quit. Find something new that catches your interest. Try an alt. Heck, convince some friends to restart on a new faction or server type with a whole new emphasis. Even Ghostcrawler suggests playing a few different games -- there are some great new options out there today that would let you set foot on virgin territory with completely fresh energy. Or go read a book in the park. This is your hobby time. It's about what you want to do now, not what you hope to want to do again some time in the future.

WoW is so very, very easy to pick up again if and when the itch returns. Admittedly, you may miss the boat on your guild's progression track. But with Blizzard's steady stream of new features that catapult new and returning players into the end game, you're at no risk of being shut out of the game at large with another group of players. If your heart's not in it, there's no reason to talk yourself into staying so that you won't miss out. The only thing you're missing out on is your own free time. Go enjoy it! WoW will be still be here, going strong.

Drama Mama Robin: Hey Burnout, while I agree that you should leave WoW if you are no longer having fun, it sounds like you are just down about raiding, not the game in general. A raiding break would definitely help, but your fellow guildies may not be very understanding when they are short people for a scheduled event and you are happily leveling an alt or PvPing. You also will lose your favored raiding status for when Icecrown Citadel hits -- and that may be coming sooner than anticipated.

To keep your status while still reducing the burden, you could try only raiding once a week. The rest of your playtime, make yourself unavailable. Be honest to your guildies, that you are burned out and slowing down for the time being, but don't reveal your whereabouts for the times when you aren't raiding. Here are some things to try:
  • Transfer or reroll an alt to another faction: As Lisa suggested, a faction change can really make the game seem fresh and new. If you can bring a friend, great! Or make new ones.
  • Transfer or reroll an alt on a different kind of server: A change in playstyle can also make things seem like new.
  • Roll a new alt, but don't tell your guildies who you are: You can even do what an ex-guild leader did and rejoin your guild, working your way up the ranks again. He found that anonymity was the only way he could enjoy the game, still hang out with the fun people in our guild but not have the burdens of leadership. His raiding talents were still put to good use once he leveled up. Personally, I couldn't do this because I don't like the deception, but it is an option.
There is so much more to the game than just raiding, but if you find that you aren't having fun not raiding either, then definitely try Lisa's suggestions and get the heck out of Dodge. Your leisure time should most definitely be relaxing, not burdensome. Let us know how it goes.


LOLrandomism and LOLprofessionalism
Drama Mamas: I am in quite the pickle. Recently, I left a fine raiding guild because I could not stand some members. The females there lacked decency (even going as far as to say "Decency is boring"!), and those who were talking in /raid and/or /g were, I felt, not taking things seriously (being too "LOLrandom XD," etc.).

Now, since most people tend to be like that, trying to ignore them all is nigh impossible. So I decided to do something logical and tried to get used to it. However, I am finding it difficult. When I am raiding, roleplaying or PvPing, I expect at least a basic level of professionalism. This is a game and should not be taken "too seriously." But I find myself enjoying it. A well-done event is worth ... well, quite a lot. And if people can't be serious about it, I tend to see it as not actually caring about what is being done. (Yes, I despise all sorts of "LOL-RP," smack talk and "LOLrandom XD" things. I keep seeing a 12-year-old after having too much sugar.)

So the question is, how can I actually play with people? Do I need to find other, like-minded people, or do I need to learn to tolerate them? And if so, how? Sincerely, Uptight and Bored


Drama Mama Robin: Dear Uptight, The answer to your question is "Yes." Yes, you need to find like-minded people, and yes, you need to learn to tolerate those who don't live up to your standards if you are going to play MMOs ... or shop at the grocery store ... or go to the mall ... or walk on a busy sidewalk ...

I would really rather not listen to random butt jokes all day, but The Spawn currently finds them hysterical. She's not harming anyone or getting into trouble and she will most certainly grow out of them. So I don't encourage her by either laughing or having a negative reaction, and I patiently wait for the next annoying phase. (And don't get me started on the pulling imaginary poop out of her armpit routine. Kids are weird ... and gross.)

As we told Officer With No Respect, there are plenty of guilds out there that have age or maturity requirements. You can limit your exposure to LOLkids by joining one of those. Since you are into RP, you should also be able to find a serious roleplaying guild with strict language requirements in guildchat and public.

But even if you find a great guild with "decent" members, they will still have friends/siblings/children to whom you will be exposed who aren't quite as refined. Just as we told Xaospro, don't feed the trolls -- or in this case, the LOLkids. Just be happy they aren't trying to hand you imaginary poop.

Drama Mama Lisa: The World of Warcraft is filled with not dozens, not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of other players: players who are nothing like you ... players who offend you ... players who find you offensive. I get the distinct impression, Uptight and Bored, that you are wrinkling your nose at these "indecent" players who don't comport themselves to your standards -- when they're probably LOLjoking about your LOLuptightness even as we speak. Nobody's right or wrong here; this is about people being people. Welcome to the big, wide world.

My questions to you are, if you enjoy roleplaying and events that run like clockwork, why would you not seek out other players who value those qualities? And why would you try to fit into a group in which you're obviously extraordinarily incompatible? You've already made the first correct move. Carry on.

Remember, your mama wouldn't want to see your name on any drama. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Features, Drama Mamas

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