Last week as my raiding guild was organizing itself for our Thursday night raid, I noticed that for maybe the third raid night in a row I was the only hunter. When I asked the Raid Leader where our other hunter was, he said the hunter was taking a break from raiding, that he was feeling kind of burned out. This hunter was a DPS machine, someone who could handle all the utility jobs and still top the meters. And a fantastically generous, nice guy, who frequently gave his time to help me get better at the game. He was all the things I would like to be as a hunter. In a way, I was kind of glad he had stepped down, because it showed me that he was also self-aware, that he was smart enough to know when a game was becoming too much. Good for him.

I joked with the RL that now that I was the only hunter, I didn’t know if I could handle the pressure, aaaarrrrgggghhhh the stress, the responsibility! And he replied good-naturedly that yup they were going to work the hell out of me so I better get used to it.

The thing is, I was only half joking. When I found out that our main hunter was gone, I suddenly realized what a cushy spot I had had as the second hunter. The RL’s only expectation of me was that I continue to improve and carry out my assigned duties. It was easy. I put some effort into gearing up, practiced raid awareness in LFRs and a few pugs, read up on the fights, spent time polishing my shot priorities at the target dummies, all very relaxed and laid back. Over the months, I learned how to select the right mix of talents and glyphs for each fight, and I learned when and how to pull back on my damage and certain shots so as not to make things tougher for the raid, how to keep my eyes peeled for a healer getting beaten up by adds, etc. In short, I became a better hunter, but I did so with the luxury of knowing that, if I had troubles with some fights, there was always our main hunter to take up the slack. Now, of course, I don’t have that luxury. It’s ok, I’ll be fine with it, but sheesh I really didn’t appreciate how good I had it!

When I logged on yesterday, I saw that our RL had canceled raids for the week, and that when we get back to it next week we’ll be finishing up some guild achieves for Throne of Thunder rather than doing BRF progression. Not sure why he is doing this, but I suspect he knows we are all due for a break. We’ve been going at it steadily twice a week for three months. This is not a hard-core raiding guild, it is what I would call casually serious, in that everyone has limited time to play, but we take pains to do our best when we raid. The RL does not scream at people, but he lays out his expectations, and if he should whisper you that “You can do better,” or “You might check out Icyveins class guides,” you are mortified and try your ever-loving best to never ever let that happen again.

But he knows when the team is not performing at peak efficiency, and if the reason is team burnout, he schedules some fun and some break time. If we plug away at a boss for a couple of nights and seem not be making sufficient progress, he will give us a change of pace with a different new boss, the heroic version of one we have already done, or even just a “taste” tour of several bosses we will eventually be attempting.

In contrast, the raid team in my social guild — which has yet to clear normal Highmaul– rarely takes a break. This team is also composed of people with limited play time, and it also attempts progression. The RL is competent and also a non-screamer, but his response to the symptoms of team burnout (absenteeism, mediocre damage numbers, frequent wipes from the same mechanic over and over again, etc.) is to push harder and to lecture people on what “progression” entails and on the necessity of showing up. (The floggings will continue until morale improves.)

The result of these two approaches for me is that I enjoy my raid nights with my raiding guild. I look forward to them, even though they are in a different time zone than I am and consequently don’t even start until around midnight my time. And I invariably have fun. It is a good team, a happy team, a competent team.

But I am feeling extreme burnout on my social guild team, and I think the team as an entity is feeling it too.  I don’t enjoy raid nights with this team, I do them out of a sense of responsibility more than fun. Team absenteeism is such that we rarely raid with the same set of people twice in a row. I am pretty sure I am not doing my best because I am always eyeing the clock, trying to estimate how many more wipes before we can call it quits for the night. Likely much of the team is doing that, too, because we have spent about 3 weeks now on normal Imperator, and 44% is the best we can do. I am burned out. The team is burned out. We need a break. Yet we keep hammering away.

Burnout is easy to fix. You just step away for as long as you need to. Away from the certain activity, away from the whole game, away from the social group, whatever it takes. If you loved it in the first place, you owe it to yourself to take a break before burnout gets so bad that it makes you hate what you loved.

If you step away in time, you’ll love it again when you come back.



About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

3 Responses to Burnout?

  1. I can feel this too. I think my fear is that if we step away that we’ll never step back into the twice weekly raiding.
    Part of this is because we can join a pre-made to get our gear if we need and do spot runs with the puggers but we WANT to be successful with our team.

  2. Fiannor says:

    Yeah, I almost discussed that very point then decided to leave it out. But I suspect one of the reasons my social guild RL does not want to take a break is exactly that. Many of the raiders on that team are not very committed anyway, and getting them back after a week or two absence could be problematic. It’s not a problem on my other team, because that is a raiding guild, and people are in there because they really want to raid.

  3. Pingback: Thoughts on Guilds and Raiding | Coffee Cakes and Crits

%d bloggers like this: