Friday, December 27, 2013

The Regretful Gamer

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?


  1. The line between "in game" and "in real life" is getting to be very blurry. Many of our relationships are totally digital these days.

    I went to the movies with mother over the holiday and one of the previews was for the movie "Her", where a guy falls in love with an AI; it's an extreme example of a digital relationship, but... My mother said it was ridiculous, but it's not really that far-fetched.

    Anyway, I like a quote from the Pirate Bay documentary. A gov't official used the IRL term when talking with them and they responded that everything is "real life"; some things just happen AFK.

    1. That is a great line, I often say something similar. Even the internet is real life, your just typing instead of talking.

      It is not ridiculous at all. I've known many people that met their husband/wife online and I am not talking about a dating site. From games and such. They did not even know what the other looked like at first, they feel for the person, so if someone can fall for someone that do not even know what they look like I can easily believe that someone could fall for an AI that has traits they would like. If anything, that would be easier to believe than 2 random people from different parts of the world hooking up, and that happens, so why can't the AI one.

  2. The first thing that came to mind when I read the question happened in an old guild. There was a lot that went wrong there but this specific incident. They had a strict membership rule, if you didn't log in for a month then you were kicked, no exceptions. Except there was this one exception, this life member who had quit the game months and months ago. They hadn't said a word, one day they'd just disappeared and they were kept on the rolls as they'd been a senior officer.

    I was an officer and my friend who was also an officer had started kicking people. It was after the summer break where the month rule was relaxed a bit, so there were a few people to kick. She was joking about it in /o, about the power trip. She didn't mean it but just to needle her I thought I'd kick a couple of people. She'd go "no that's my job" and we'd all laugh. I didn't really like this rule anyway, if I'm honest there was a lot about this guild I didn't like but I liked the people in it which is why I stuck around for so long.

    Anyway I clicked and it read "x's alt" with x being the life member, I clicked up the next one "x's alt", I could see x was in the list so I clicked on the one above it, or so I thought. This one said nothing so I clicked kick and then it said "x has been kicked from the guild". My friend went completely nuts at me, she raged and raged and I just felt sick. It was a complete accident and there's no undo button. A couple of other officers in the guild (yes there were a lot and completely unnecessarily) were very nice to me about it. They talked to me for like the next hour trying to make me feel better.

    I just felt though like I'd ruined something, like I'd broken something and I couldn't fix it. I put in a support ticket in the hope that they could perhaps restore them to the guild, I also sent the guild leader a message saying that if they could get in touch with this ex-player then I'd send them a months game time to rejoin the guild. Like I said the guild itself and how it was run I had issues with, but I really didn't want to lose all the friends I'd made. I'd server transferred to join these friends and to lose it all. Well I felt real regret. I was so sure that I'd broken everything. That I'd be kicked and my server is tiny so, I just imagined it being really awkward, and like I said I'd lose the friends I'd made. They were only in game friends but it still meant something to me.

    As it happened the guild leader took the rap for me. Said that he'd been intending to actually kick x for a while as they really shouldn't have exceptions. That earned him a lot of leeway from me, made me stay in the guild another few months before I finally had to say enough is enough and I left.

    Every now and then I think back to that and how it could have gone differently. I'd investigated a guild on another server that seemed nice, if I'd been kicked I would have server transferred my main. I wouldn't be raiding that much/at all as this guild is very casual. They just do flex now. I might even have quit the game completely, who knows. Raiding is all I login for these days but perhaps if I'd stayed playing in that very casual way, as opposed to joining and now leading the top alliance raid team on the server, well who knows indeed.

    Anyway, I do know what you mean about in game regret. There are people behind those pixels so it's easy to care.

    1. That was just one of those bad accidents. I am glad it did not put all the crap on you over it.

      We have a few in guild like that too and occasionally someone gets kick happy clearing out people and gives them the boot. It happens. And if there is no common that says "do not kick" then they are free game really. Everyone can't know everything.

  3. It's strange how many times you say she would argue with herself and she would create issues by herself and she would leave because of herself. Chances are, you probably don't care to get involved enough to realize what those issues are and would rather say to yourself it's all her and never give two cents about her situation.

    Like when she left and said her dps isn't appreciated. This is the type of lose lose situation. This is my scenario of what happened: no one cared about her in the guild, if she's there or not there. No one wants her anywhere unless there's no one else around. Because she came and helped once in a while she sort of felt useful, but deep down she felt lonelier every time. Like she's staying for nothing, no one really appreciates her, she's just there because she happened to be there... if it wasn't her it could be anyone else... her personality doesn't matter, her skills don't matter... she's part of the guild but she doesn't feel like she belongs... so what could she do... stay and feel bad and be sad or leave and... feel bad. But how could she not leave, since she doesn't belong her and no one appreciates her...

    People feel, there's nothing new there. There's no such thing as creating issues by yourself, that's just your choice of seeing things. I think she's just thinking whether she made the right choice in coming back. Or feels awkward. Or just uncomfortable. Or reliving bad feelings. I strongly doubt she regrets leaving, since no one seemed to care nor miss her.

    To stay on topic... one thing I felt bad about recently. I was in ICC doing some quests with my honey baby when I get whispered by a lock to help him. Apparently, some hunter wanted to kill him, both level 90. So my honey and I go there and kill the hunter off. Honey said the hunter is surely there only to kill low level chars so we stayed and camped him for a bit. Till the lock that asked for helped whispered me, very proud of himself. He told me he killed the hunter's low level alt 90 times and then he came on his main to kill him but then we showed up and camped him on his main too, never giving him the chance to avenge his alt... I felt horrible...

    1. It would be hard to explain without going too far into it, but she did argue with herself. She would start off with the standard "no one likes me" or "everyone is using me" sort of line and then when someone would speak up in guild and say something like "I like you" or anything else she would yell "I am not talking to you".

      She would never tell anyone who she was talking to. She even did it once late at night when only 2 other people were on and she told both of them it was not them she was talking to.

      She was talking to herself. Plain and simple.

      I had tried to talk to her many times, even offer to just listen when she says I would not understand. I told her I have 2 ears, no waiting, if she ever needed to talk. She has some issues, trust me, when I say she was talking to herself it was not me dismissing her or ignoring the issue, she was in fact talking to herself.

      The funny part about the not appreciating her DPS was that she went into that speech about it after an LFR she was in and no one else from guild was in.

      She was pissed that no one commented on how good her DPS was and would not take "I was not in the raid with you" as an acceptable answer for why they were not complementing her on how well she was doing.

      I would feel horrible too, beyond horrible, I would have even made an character to apologize to him.

      Some people are just dicks and you inadvertently helped him be a dick that day. I am sure we have all had that happen.

      I hope that hunter saved that locks name and tracks him down later and camps him, he deserves it.

  4. I can't recall ever doing something I regretted, if anything my biggest regrets have come from NOT doing things... staying in defective raids/guilds too long, not taking opportunities that present themselves, staying passive when I could accomplish more by being active, etc.

    Well, I do often regret getting into /instance arguments in LFR... I guess I'll put that forward as my biggest general regret, not just staying quiet and hoping at some point Determination gets high enough to succeed.

  5. I can see how you can regret getting into those conversations / arguments. I try to stay as silent as possible in them usually. Most of the people there are not even worth taking the time to waste responding too.