Who Ya Gonna Call? (Part II)

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Going into the Ascalonian Catacombs, my very first dungeon in Guild Wars 2, with butterflies in my stomach and doubts crowding in my head, I made a very simple plan: Stay out of the way and don’t die. It wasn’t foolproof, but it was the best I had.

We started out smoothly, with a lovely cinematic and no trouble at all in the first couple rooms. Our group worked well together, communicating clearly, and nobody even spoke to me–which suited me just fine. I took a back-seat position, just doing what the others said to the best of my abilities. Now that I was being pressured to perform perfectly, I had no room for anxieties. I just needed to keep a cool head and survive the next hour or so, and then I would be home-free.

That all worked, until in the heat of battle I lost my cool head and something terrible happened: I fell off the platform.

I didn’t fall far, only to a ledge just below, but there was no way for me to climb back up to reach the others–I was stranded. My first reaction was shock. I hadn’t yet registered what had happened, but then, when I realized that there was no way back up, I started to panic. Oh no, I thought, terrified, Oh no, oh no, oh no–they’re going to hate me! My only choice at that point was to teleport to the start of the dungeon and run all the way back. The others would be forced to wait for me, bored and impatient to continue, and I would be an inconvenience to the entire dungeon. It was with great embarrassment that I admitted my mistake to my group in chat.

I teleported to the start and began making my way back to where the group was waiting. “What kind of moron falls off the platform?” I muttered to myself, urging my character to run as fast as she could. “They must think I’m stupid now!” I warily eyed the chat window, expecting them to complain, but I was dumbstruck to see that they were actually joking around. “Don’t touch the stairs of dooooooom!” one player was saying, and the others were laughing with him. It was like they didn’t even notice that they were waiting for me–they simply didn’t care.

Baffled by their tolerance and still expecting some sort of reprimand for my foolish error, I rejoined them and we continued on our way. The dungeon got harder and I started to break my rule–I started to die. As we faced more bosses, my deathcount skyrocketed, and I winced each time I hit the ground. I was conscious of each and every death, constantly comparing it to the other players, convinced that I was dying twice as much as any of them. But I managed to hang on till the end, and our group came out of the dungeon successful and well-rewarded.

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As we stood around at the end, gathering our loot, one of my group mates–someone who had died just as many times as I had–said, “I learned today that I’m squishy.” I couldn’t help but laugh and agree, surprised but delighted. I had stressed over the number of times I’d died, but this player was laughing about it–and the others too. No one was angry. No one yelled, or told me how terrible I was, or blamed me for the group’s failure. They were friendly and supportive, just there to have fun doing the dungeon, and they proved it with their constant jokes and chatter. My favourite moment was when a player received an item called a “Sigil of Ghost Slaying”.

“I’m a Ghostbuster!” he said.

And another character replied, “Who ya gonna call?”

They weren’t there to have the best stats or the most powerful gear. They weren’t there to get through the instance as fast as possible. In fact, I wasn’t even sure they were there to do the dungeon. They just seemed to be there to have a good time with friends playing a game they enjoy. The great thing is: so was I.

They made me feel like a part of their group, a player who has value and isn’t criticized for her choices. I actually felt like I had done a good job, and not like I needed to reassess my entire gaming strategy.

And when the leader of the group said a very dramatic, “Goodbye my friends!” I actually felt a bit sad. I was sad that the people whom I’d spent the past hour of my adventure with, who had made me feel welcomed and worthy and a bit more like a hero, were going to be leaving me. But even amongst the sadness, I felt happiness. I’ve got more dungeons in my future.

Not every group in Guild Wars 2 will be so kind and supportive, just like not every group in Aion was cruel and judgemental. Sometimes it just depends on your luck that particular day. My luck was pretty good, though, and I’m now happily at a state where I’m sure of myself as a player. I’m proud to display my weapons and armour, even if I know it isn’t the best in the game. And I’m proud of my skill selection, because I’ve learned to play them to the best of my abilities. I’m not the greatest player out there, but I’m doing exactly what I think the game was designed for–having fun creating my own hero and her adventure. I have no reason to fear grouping anymore.

I thought then and there that things couldn’t get any better. But just like how I thought I would be soloing the rest of my gaming career, I was wrong…

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10 thoughts on “Who Ya Gonna Call? (Part II)

  1. I loved the first part, thank you for writing this! I’ve, like you, became a lone wolf ever since I was slowly ousted from my group. I felt that one or two of them were quite abrasive towards me, but the rest of the group members were still generally rather nice. I thought that the rest of them cared at first – maybe they did, but not enough.

    In the end, I left the group. I stopped playing entirely. I couldn’t understand how a friend of one year, albeit it was an online friend (but our group even met IRL a few times for movies and meals), decided to just unfriend me because I screwed up.

    Until now, I’m still a soloer. I play singleplayer games now. The ‘friend’ has since added me back after 2 months but I’m no longer invited into games and voicechats. I dunno, somehow I miss the old days so badly. I must say, your posts have given me a little more hope about finding a new group to stick with. Thank you again! I’ll be sticking around :D

    • You’re very welcome, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

      I hate to hear that, that you were excluded because you screwed up. I can see why you would miss the old days. There’s such a special feeling with playing as a part of a real team. You should definitely try grouping again. Once you find the right people, it will get better. And until then, you can continue to be epic while you solo :D

      I’m looking forward to having you around, thanks for the follow!

      • Hahaha, I’d try! Well, once I muster up the courage that is. For now… I guess I’d just kick some solo butt. Hahaha! :D Thank you for the follow too! But my English is rather rusty, so it’s not exactly the best reading material :x

        See ya around!

    • Yay! Thank you :D
      It really isn’t not that good though, felt a little inferior after reading your prose :p I needa read more books.

      • Books are always good for improving writing. I’ve been reading and writing like crazy for years and years and years so I guess it kind of comes naturally now. In any case, you really shouldn’t feel inferior. I think good writing has more to do with what you say rather than how you say it. And you say a lot of great things :)

        • That… that is the sweetest thing I’ve heard this year. I saw this on my mobile in the afternoon and couldn’t reply until now. You made me smile the entire day! :x

          Thank you! You just gave me a great deal of motivation for days, no, months to come :D

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