"What we experience in [game] ... belongs in the end just as much to the over-all economy of our soul as anything experienced 'actually'; we are richer or poorer on account of it."
- Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
I had been in the new guild for three months, feeling comfortable and at home, when I discovered on Wednesday that it was going to dissolve. After going through denial, anger, and sorrow, I arrived at bargaining and realized that I might be able to continue raiding if took the offer dangling in front of me, and without thinking twice, I grasped it.
Today, I know my decision wasn't the most ethical one, but I had also just spent three months taking a huge step from my family of friends into a new environment, I had just begun to feel comfortable, I had just come out of my shell, and to find it all evaporating around me with no prospects in sight was a daunting one, and I clung to the offer I received. I'm not proud, but neither am I ashamed.
There are a lot of bitter and angry feelings on both sides, least of all the leadership that split off, and I can completely empathize with both sides of the coin here. I've been the person who logged in, raid night after raid night, making phone calls and sitting in Trade for hours trying to fill a group to get off the ground, I've been the one asking, "Why did we wipe?" and faced a wall of silence, I've been the one to deal with people showing up not prepared, not ready, not aware of strategies, not willing to play a certain way, and try to keep the group going and get kills - and I've said, "I'm done, I can't do this anymore." I know what that's like.
I also know what it's like to be on the receiving end of being abandoned, logging in one day to raid and find most of the team and guild just leaving in droves and you're left there trying to figure out what the hell just happened.
After being in both of these situations, there is only one thing I know for certain - and that's the fact that ultimately, you have to play this game for yourself. If you're playing to keep other people happy, you're going to make it poisonous for yourself. There are ways of making things more or less contentious, ways of trying to explain yourself or not, doing it in the middle of the night or in the stark light of day, trying to avoid hurt, for yourself or others, whatever - there are a million reasons, a million ways, a million things and at the end, we're just pixels on a screen.
And we're more that that. We're people, we're friends, we're voices over Mumble and names on a screen, we're jokes and stories and extensions of identity, our avatars are our personality-fingers wiggling about in the soup of social interaction - and when self-interest, stress, conflict, unresolved desires, frustration and fear combine, people act irrationally. They make decisions that are safest for themselves, and while people do get hurt in the process, maybe ripping off a band-aid is better than picking out stitches one at a time.
I don't know.
Faced with a situation, I picked a side that was best for me. Three months is a blink of an eye in the face of years of Warcraft. But a blink of an eye is enough to leave flash-images in your brain for a long, long time. Names and voices and faces and stories that stay with you, and guilt is the weight that lets you know that maybe you didn't do everything right, maybe there was something better that could have been done.
After being left in the dust once, holding the ruins of a guild in my hands, I didn't want to be in the same place again. So, I left before that could happen, and in so doing, I allowed others to endure what I could not.
I spent the money, I transferred my characters, and I raided last night.
Beyond that, I don't know.