An old friend of mine recently came back to warcraft and wanted in on a flex. No problem I said, they have always been welcome, even if they did leave our guild on what could be considered by some as bad terms due to some self created drama.
I use the term friend loosely here, she was a friend in the sense that we have known each other for 5 years or so in game and I've raided, done dungeons, meet up at guild events in game, etc, with her over the years. We have never spoken much of real life and for this I feel it is necessary I point out that the friend term means friends in the lesser way you might refer to someone as a friend. We do not even know each others real names, it is just a gaming friend. Just enough to do things with and maybe occasionally ask a favor of like "we have some DPS spots open for this flex if you want in".
She came on voice chat for the raid and said her hellos to all the people that remembered her, we talked about some fun times we had together, but she never mentioned the time she left the guild. Or should I say times, as she had done so on multiple occasions before.
Of course this is not something you bring up in casual conversation. She was not kicked from the guild. She left on her own when she left and she did not leave, at least 2 out of the 3 times, because of anyone other than herself. She would always create her own issue, argue with herself about it, and then rage quit over something she said. Odd I know but sometimes interesting, as in the type of interesting that you slow down when passing an accident to see if you can see anything.
But in her voice I could hear the regret and over the course of the night I could feel her getting more comfortable with everyone there. Being nothing was mentioned about her leaving or why she left she probably figured all was forgotten. Oddly enough, it was not, we still joke about the reason she left the last time whenever we see someone leave the guild and we don't know who it is.
See, she was not a raider with us. She would occasionally fill in if needed and only on early bosses, nothing later. She was a capable damage dealer and pulled decent numbers but she understood that she was not very quick on mechanics and had some issues paying attention. It never needed to be mentioned to her, she was a smart enough person to figure it out on her own and know that even if her numbers were good we needed someone with a bit more situational awareness. She is actually a great person to have as a backup because of that.
So the last time she quit she just raged out in guild chat about how no one appreciates her DPS and guild quit. So whenever we see someone leave that no one knows, because they do not raid, dungeon, PvP, talk or anything else with us, we joke, maybe they left because we did not appreciate their DPS.
We keep letting her back because it is not her fault. Some people are just quick to the jump in anger and for no reason. She never insults anyone, she never calls anyone out, she just starts to argue, well, with herself, and gets so upset that she quits.
I am sure each of you here know someone like that. Someone that is quick to guild quit over no reason, like the mage put a portal to stonard and they took it and they rage quit because of it instead of laughing with the rest of us. She is different however, she does it to herself and I can hear it in her voice, it bothers her.
It must be hard for her to come back to the game even if none of us really have anything against her. She has no way of knowing that even if I have told her on occasions, after she quit, that if she wanted back in tomorrow to shoot me a message. I understand the reason she never comes back right away because I have been there. I have experienced that moment being the regretful gamer. Where you do something you regret doing and suddenly feel like you can't show your face again. Mine was different, and in a different game, but I can sympathize with her. After all, she is a friend, even if only using the word loosely.
Listening to her voice and how it changed over the course of the night made me feel good for her. I am sure somewhere inside of her it feels like a great weight has been lifted from her shoulders. She joined another guild after she left ours and played with them for quite some time before she quit. So her coming back to the game and reaching out to join us for a pug was not, in my opinion, a way for her to ask for an invite back, it was a way to get that feeling of regret for what she did off her shoulders. Even if she didn't have any real reason to feel regret.
Now I will break and tell my little story of something I regretted doing in a game. The regret you feel, even with people that you barely know, can be huge. At least it was for me.
It was another game, not warcraft, and there was a marriage function. It really stood for nothing in game except benefits that came with being married. I married some random girl when I started the game so we could both benefit from the advantages of being married.
As so happens we got to know each other in the year we were married. We were on a first name basis, real names, even exchanged pictures, and even if there were never even the slightest actual real life connection, we were a couple, in game. We did things together, we worked as a team to boost our marriage benefits, we always talked, even if it was just to say hello. Even so much as to log on just to say hello even if we did not have the time to play that day,
After a year it was clear our in game directions were heading in different directions. To put it in current warcraft terms, I was max level and looking to raid as a player with aspirations and she was a lower level happy to just log in and pick herbs in duskwood all day long.
When offered by another guild to join them and marry one of their top players so we could get benefits together and fight with them it was something I could not over look. Top guilds rarely had spaces open and surely not for someone that was as new as I was. So I went to her and told her of my intentions.
She was very understanding, I even let her keep the house we worked together to get. Just like a real divorce I joked. The funny part is, it was like a real break up. I had been talking to this person for a year, worked with this person for a year on a common interest, and even if there was no real life connection, the connection in game made me feel as if I was leaving her out in the cold to fend for herself.
I mean, how could she live up to the life I had set up for her off the proceeds of picking herbs in duskwood. I had shown her a life she would not be able to live on her own. She was respected in the game and no one touched her because they knew that meant you had to deal with me and no one wanted to deal with me. Without my name attached to her she would be a target, she would be alone, and it would all be my fault. I actually felt bad about that.
I actually felt regret for breaking up with her in game. I would still send her stuff, I would still upgrade her house whenever I could, and I felt, as weird as this might sound, as if it was a real break up.
We all do things we regret in game, mine just happens to be a little different because even if it was only a game I felt the same way I would feel in real life if I left her for another girl.
Both the person I mention up top and myself were feeling completely irrational emotions, or were we?
She felt that her guild quitting because she wanted to burnt bridges, when it really didn't. I felt that I had some sort of responsibility to continue to help someone after I moved on in a game because of some misplaced moral directive.
If she had walked out on her job like that she would have had a good reason to feel regret. If I had left my girlfriend for another girl just because she was prettier then I would have had a good reason to feel regret. But when in a video game we should not have regret.
Even if people will not admit it, every gamer takes something from real life and reacts in a game oddly because of it. But very rarely, as in never, do I recall hearing anyone ever talk about it. Talk about being the regretful gamer.
Is it because they are afraid people are going to call them names? Tell them they have problems because they act like they would in real life in a game? So what. I might have problems because I felt bad for effectively "using" someone like that until I got a better place to move along to but it also says a little about me as a person to have regret over things like that.
Have you ever done something in game that you had a real life emotional response to that you ended up regretting you did or regretting how you handled it?