and believe me I am still alive

I’m not doing much in the way of science, but I am still alive.

I’ve been in a weird place with WoW lately, in that I am playing and enjoying the hell out of the time I have spent playing, but I haven’t felt like I have anything to say about it. I’d normally talk about even my small achievements, like that my reputation grinds have been finished (just in time for a new one) and I even managed to snag the new “Beloved” title, which I am wearing like a boss all the time.

Alas, the Beloved. Oh yeah.

But I’m not feeling very beloved, truth be told. Not that I’m feeling hated or anything, but I do feel like an abject failure as I try week in and week out to improve my gear and my dps and end up short no matter what I do. I’ve read guides and tweaked my spec and talked shop with the other mage in my guild (who is kicking my ass while raid leading, humph!). I’ve spent time on dummies and out in the real world. I’ve put myself through my paces in LFR and scenarios – and in scenarios where I usually get to “tank” and dps at the same time because I always end up in a group with a priest who won’t heal anyone despite being Disc and a mage who is worse than I am by at least 10k dps.

While I’ve mentioned before that the New Guild is very good and I knew I would have to work hard to keep up, I am frustrated that all the hard work (and gold) I’ve put into my main doesn’t seem to be showing at all.

Although my GM insisted early on that I would be doing them a favor by being available to raid (me being better than a pug, more likely than not), I end each raid of each week feeling like I’m letting them down. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out I’m one of the weakest links. But worse than that, is that although I see the problem and do whatever I can think of to fix it, I’m not improving.

And I’ve never seriously thought that I could only do so well and no better, but now I am starting to wonder if this is as good a player as I will ever be. If it is, I would be the first to admit that it won’t be good enough for this guild. And that would leave me in a strange place because I like the people and I wouldn’t want to leave, but my raiding options would be shot all to hell if I stayed.

That might be looking too far down the road – especially as I haven’t actually talked to anyone about any of this – but I find myself seriously wondering if this is a situation that I can make work. I wonder if I can have a breakthrough in performance.

There’s another spec for me to try; I moved away from fire and gave frost a go over the past week. The other mage went arcane with superior results. I have a little hope that if arcane has become viable that it might be what I’ve been needing to see some improvement in my throughput. After all, I played it for the past three years. If I can regain some muscle memory in the next week or two, it might make a difference.

I’m not giving up yet. I don’t know what it would take to make me throw in the towel. But I have been having a hard time talking about WoW with this issue lingering in the back of my mind. I’ve put off talking about it because I kept hoping I would get better and I could talk about it in past tense. I was doing poorly but now I am doing better.

No such luck for me. I am doing poorly, but I hope to do better. And if I’m quiet in the coming weeks, it’s probably because I’m still trying to work things out. Or possibly because for the first time in forever my novel writing is coming easily and I’ve been able to sustain excitement and interest in fiction writing.

So that’s me. I’ll just keep on trying until I run out of cake (which, as a mage, is never).

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8 Responses to and believe me I am still alive

  1. Arioch says:

    Fire apparently got nerfed with the patch and arcane received a bump. I’m not actively raiding at the moment (we walk in with 9 people and stand around for an hour waiting for the 10th to finally not show) but the best advice seems to always be to play the spec you love.

    Just from the little bit I have seen, I can say that finding the right talent set up for the fight and your playstyle can have a huge impact. Get a stack of tomes and don’t be afraid to mix it up.

    • Alas says:

      Good call on having the stack of tomes. I think I will need to just keep some with me all the time so I can switch on fly between movement heavy fight spec and stand still and kill things fight spec.

      Arcane already seems better on the dummy. Next step will be some sort of group with like buffs and things.

  2. Grimmtooth says:

    Hooboy, do I know the feeling. Not sure if you were still cracking the whip over the Effers’ heads at the time, but I went through a similar period of naval gazing (and before, and before that, too) when I felt I was underperforming. If I’d've been sat, I wouldn’t have complained, feeling the way I did.

    Either I had awesome people willing to put up with my slower-than-average learning curve, or they were desperate for a warm body. Either way, I’m grateful that I was able to stick around long enough to see improvement. I think that feeling makes it worth sticking with it.

    • Alas says:

      I’m hopeful that I am getting closer (I think I see progress in arcane, even with rusty derpitude) to seeing real improvement. I feel more positive now, anyway, and I’ll take it. If I can come out of a raid feeling awesome, it will all have been worth it.

  3. Yngwe says:

    It’s been a long time since I stared at a dps meter or a WOL chart, but I remember looking at WOL so many times and saying “How the hell does Alas take so little damage?” You were always either the lowest or second-lowest dps on overall damage taken. Even when you aren’t scorching the dps meters, the healers still love you.

    So, what does that say? You know the fights and you know how to execute. If I had to guess at the issue with dps (and totally a guess) I would guess that it is downtime (delaying GCDs). Frostheim over at Warcraft Hunters Union did an excellent post about it a year or two ago. To see if this is the issue, you could compare some fights of similar length on WOL with other mages that share your spec. See where the bulk of their damage comes from and how many attacks they get off versus your performance. Gear affects overall dps, but these numbers should be rather consistent (unless they have ridiculously more haste).

    Hang in there. You are a great raider and an asset to any guild. They are lucky to have you.

    • Alas says:

      Heh, it has honestly never occurred to me before to look at damage taken. I had no idea I was so well-practiced at staying out of the bad, but hooray me. (And if I have healer love, what else do I need?)

      I have looked at my downtime in relation to the other mage specifically (although not for the past week), and the uptime has been comparable but the effective dps has been wildly different. It may be that I am not using my cooldowns on major spells effectively enough. That is what I hope to compare now that I’m in the same spec again.

      Thanks for the positive words! It was nice to hear from any quarter!

      • Arioch says:

        Damage taken is your friend. In recount. Not actually in the game. You know what I mean.

        As squishy as we can be, it’s always nice to know that we can take steps to reduce strain on the healers. We may not be top of the chart, but we’re not causing the healers to hemorrhage mana either.

  4. lonomonkey says:

    @grimtooth Grimm my friend. You were trying as hard as you could and it showed. That’s all I ask and all I want out of a raider when I’m raid leading. I’d have taken 10 of you over some more gifted raiders who don’t give a damn.