Letting go of the grind(s)

Hahaha... achievements.

Ha ha ha… achievements.

Early last week, I got a call from my mom, letting me know that my grandma was not doing well, and that she and my dad were driving across the state to see her later that day.

I hadn’t seen my grandma in so long, I’d be embarrassed to admit it here. So I won’t. The tough part was that it was Tuesday, the first of five scheduled work days in a row, because my boss was on vacation (so I was taking up some of that payroll). It really stressed me out, because when my grandfather died in 2008, I had never made it up to visit him in his last years.

Fortunately, I was able to find some schedule flexibility at the end of the week, and after a short shift on Friday morning I made the 315-mile trip to see her. She was, by that time, doing better, and we had a very nice time visiting and talking, watching a baseball game together, and so on. I left mid-afternoon on Saturday, blessed by the experience, and was home in time to raid at 9:30 pm.

It was a hectic week, all told.

This, of course, affected my weekly race to the Valor cap. Or, more than one Valor cap. See, not only have I maintaining a capped-pace on my hunter every week since I hit 90, but I’ve also been trying to cap on my warrior, who tanks for our new alt run on Friday nights.

With patch 5.2 having dropped, here is a short list of the stuff I “have” to do:

  1. Isle of Thunder dailies (etc.) on the hunter, warrior, and maybe another toon each day.
  2. Run Throne of Thunder (Raid Finder) on the hunter, at least.
  3. Run heroics / RF / scenarios and/or do dailies to cap on the hunter and warrior.
  4. Saturday and Sunday night raids with the main team (hunter).
  5. Friday night alt raid with the warrior.
  6. Tillers: 5 level 90s at 16 plots per, plus a level 88 toon with four plots, that I try to hit each day.
  7. Living Steel, cloth, Sha Crystal, and Magnificence of (—) daily cooldowns.
  8. Somewhat consistent AH activity, although that doesn’t take much time.

This does not include having fun with alts – and right now, that mostly means playing my DK in Outland from time to time.

At any rate, the above list represents a lot of grind. And grind equals time spent, and grind doesn’t always mean fun. And time spent neither making real money nor having fun can become time wasted.

So last Friday, for the first time since I took a trip to visit with family last October, I completely ignored all of those grinds. I didn’t log in at all, because I had to go to work and then drive for more than five hours afterward. Part of me felt a smidgen of “but I need to make time for that before work!” while the rational side of me dismissed that notion as completely ridiculous.

Because it was completely ridiculous.

This may be a relatively alt-unfriendly expansion, but I have six toons in Pandaria in spite of that. I farm 84 plots per day. The Isle of Thunder can be a time sink when you get quests that are negatively affected by long re-spawn timers – or are just dumb quests, like “squash 150 roaches for 5 VP and the chance to kill the final quest boss if you actually do it.” Plus, the rares are fun, but I can’t always afford to let time get away from me while waiting for them to spawn.

I’ve been religiously farming those plots. Religiously doing those dailies. Religiously hitting up Raid Finder. Religiously capping on the hunter, and sometimes the warrior. It has felt like a duty that I was always going to be glad that I completed when I did, each week and with each positive raid result.

However, as I began my drive north last Friday, I had to chuckle to myself. I was free! No dailies today! No raid tonight! It’s sad to say, but it was actually nice to have that time off from raiding, even though it was just one day and I’d only raided twice before on the warrior.

Since Saturday night, when I came back, I’ve slacked off on some of that grind, and I think I will be better for it.

Despite new content with the recent patch, I have been starting to grow… I don’t know… bored? tired? of the game. This is probably a sign that I’ve been playing it too much, for too long. While the content is new, the game is basically the same, the way that I have been playing it: lots of grinds.

However, whereas I’ve usually spent days off playing WoW all day when there was nothing else pressing to do, lately I’ve been finding something else to do with some of that time. This is definitely a good thing.

But the best thing is that I am letting go of some of the grinds. I am not going to bust my butt – and test my own patience in the process – by putting my warrior through the same paces that I put my hunter through each week, just to ensure that I can get that next piece of gear as soon as possible. I’m not going to concern myself with getting that sixth toon to 90 unless I feel like it, even if it will help me gather herbs more easily with flying, and will get me the Quintessential Quintet achievement (yes, yes… I have two level 90 hunters). I’m not going to go out of my way to make sure that I have enough mats to use each cooldown, every day, without exception. I’ll still use my cooldowns when I can, but I won’t fret if they go un-used for a day or two, or three. I won’t let myself be bothered if I list auctions each and every day, because I have plenty of gold.

I’ll still play my hunter like I do, getting those dailies done and running RF and raiding and so on. And I’ll still farm my plots most days. But I need to take a break from the job that keeping a well-rounded stable of max level alts has become. I want to spend more time enjoying other aspects of the game – like leveling my DK or other toons, and working on my low-level hunter soloing project some more (sadly, he’s still 19). I also have other games I want to play, and books to read, and guitars to play, and good weather to enjoy, and spring cleaning to do, and… so on.

I’m super glad that I made the time to see my beloved grandma last week. I’m also relieved to have been forced to abandon the game and the grind for a couple of days. I think that letting go of some of the job-like aspects of MoP will allow me to enjoy the game more when I do play, and will make me happier overall.

– – –

Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!

10 Comments on “Letting go of the grind(s)”

  1. Yay Mushan! I wish I could like this twice.

    Not to wax too philosophical here, but the addiction so many of us have to grinding in WoW (and that I think we’re often a little too quick to blame Blizzard for) is pretty similar to the addiction most of us have to establishing a structured routine and feeling like we’re fulfilling a set of goals, whatever those goals might be.

    Problem is, at some point, a routine we may have gotten into because it seemed fun or productive can often turn into a routine that we see as a burden. In some cases — brushing your teeth, say — it’s still a pretty important thing to do. In the case of WoW dailies? For almost all of us, it just isn’t the case. We make WoW dailies (or running heroics to the valor cap, or doing all available LFRs every week) a huge part of our “chores” for the day only because we decide we “have to” do them in order to… well, in order to have felt like we did them.

    It often takes something sudden and unexpected that knocks out of the routine for a day or two to make us realize that, oh wait, this *isn’t* some required weight I am forced to bear. I can still enjoy the game, and enjoy my life, without doing all these additional responsibilities I had foisted onto myself!

    So, yay. :) Glad your grandmother’s doing better, too.

    • Mushan says:

      Thanks, Rfeann! Glad you liked the post!

      Great points – all of them. Yeah, letting go is hard. I did so much, each week, for a long time. This past week ended with me feeling guilty for ‘not doing enough with my warrior’ (305 VP, no ToT LFR, etc.), so there is still work to do as far as not being affected by that goes. But I’m definitely experiencing burnout, so I still feel it was the right thing to do.

      At some point, time spent grinding becomes less valuable. I found myself thinking, well I need to do blah blah on my other hunter, or my mage… why? Why do they need gear? I’m not doing anything with them.

      So this week, other than the hunter and a little with the warrior, I spent time with the lil DK, and when I didn’t enjoy it, I stopped. There’s more of that to come, I think. Definitely.

      • Love it. LOVE IT. Rock on! It’s all about finding the happy place.

        I think I feel so close to this post because it’s similar to what I’ve gone through recently. I don’t have an alt addiction — at best, I barely have enough time to maintain my main — but I have the same guilt issues, and the number of dailies, dungeons and LFR runs offered each week in Pandaria felt almost overwhelming when I thought about it from the perspective of a Wrath/Cata player. I had to realize: This ain’t Wrath/Cata, and I’m not the same player I was then. My priorities are different — or maybe I’m just more aware of what they are. Here’s the time I’ve got, and here’s what I enjoy doing with my life; when anything I’m doing in WoW ceases to be about enjoyment and starts being a chore, it’s time to wipe it away.

        It ain’t an easy realization. I’m only just now coming to terms with the likelihood that this means my committed raiding days really are over (for now anyway). But I think I’m much happier as a result. After two months off from the game, I just started playing again last week… And I like it. :)

  2. […] However, as I began my drive north last Friday, I had to chuckle to myself. I was free! No dailies today! No raid tonight! It’s sad to say, but it was actually nice to have that time off from raiding, even though it was just one day […] Since Saturday night, when I came back, I’ve slacked off on some of that grind, and I think I will be better for it. . . . read full article […]

  3. Harvoc says:

    I haven’t been doing my dailies, running LFR, or capping valor ever since the last couple weeks of 5.1. Track season started in school so I just lost 3 hours of my day. I’ve been concentrating mainly on PvP as I’m not raiding anyways (no raid team would want someone with a schedule as inconsistent as mine, as well as one that’s so limited in terms of time available). All I do every week is run 3s with my team whenever all 3 of us are on and otherwise run 2s to cap valor. If I’m already capped on valor, I do some dailies or LFR so I don’t feel so left behind everyone else but it’s really to no real end.

    • Mushan says:

      The way I see it, as long as you’re enjoying yourself, that’s what matters.

      An aside: as someone who was also on the track team in school (way back in the day), I would say make the most of that. It is one of the experiences I remember most fondly about that time in my life, and a time I can never physically revisit. For me, less WoW time would absolutely be ok for things like that – mandatory, even! :)

  4. Quelys says:

    First of all buddy, fantastic to hear your Grandma is doing well, and I hope she has many healthy and happy years ahead of her :)

    Sometimes it is hard to let those dailys go, or that valor cap. I was guilty of missing my valor cap for a few weeks (by a few hundred). I find that I am on two sides of the argument over the necessity – I can see the value in min-maxing; hell I do it all the time, and my personal playstyle and philosophy do nurture that outlook. However, from someone who has also been undergeared compared to other hunters before (not so much atm – yay loot gods!), I can also value the notion of skill over gear.

    The problem (as Blizz stated) with cata was the lack of things to do. We now have an abundance. I would really like to do more pet battles (weird, huh?) but I just know I need to get my raid supplies ready and run a heroic or two and finish some dailys. When I do play for a bit of fun, I would love to run some more BGs, or finally find a talented 3s team to carry me to glory (lol), yet sometimes we have to prioritize.

    I have begun letting go – it is very rewarding, the grind for every little upgrade isn’t as important this time around compared to last tier – we arent in blues any more!

    Good luck with your grind! Great read mate :)

    • Mushan says:

      Hi Quelys! Thanks for the wishes about my grandmother!

      It seems like it’s definitely the opposite extreme right now… in Cata, I was doing Molten Front 4x per day… Tol Barad dailies 4x per day… heroics all over the place. I tried to keep that pace for too long in MoP, and it has caught up with me.

      For now, I’m really just focusing on the hunter, and generally having a fantastic time with him. Last week I mixed ‘grind’ with some old school hunter soloing fun, and that was good. I need to do more of that kind of thing. Otherwise, what’s the point of the ‘game’ part of this game? :)

  5. Tularis says:

    My solution to all the grinding was to just let my WoW subscription run out.

    • Mushan says:

      And for some, like you, that is the option to take.

      For me, right now, it’s not an option I’m interested in. I still get a lot of enjoyment out of the positive things from this game, including the community that I have with my friends in-game, the community outside the game, playing my hunter, overcoming challenges, etc. Dropping some of the redundant alt-activities is making these things a bit more enjoyable.

      If I were to just let my sub run out, I would be dropping all of those good things. And right now, that’s not something I want to do at all. But if that’s your solution, I hope you’re enjoying life more now that playing WoW is not an active, everyday part of your life.

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