One of the real benefits of blogging is the ability to watch yourself grow. You experience a certain situation at one point in your life's journey and then some time later, you experience that situation again. You would hope that each time you experience the situation you handle it better, with more grace and maturity.
You hope anyway.
I got a chance to experience that just last night. Several weeks ago, I started taking an absolutely fascinating class on Tuesday nights called "The Truth Project". The class runs close to when we normally start our raid times, so being the conscientious guild member that I am, I left a generic message on our guild forums stating that I would be running close or maybe even a little late on Tuesdays for the next 12 weeks. I happened to know that last night in particular that the class was going to run a little long. So I had a buddy of mine send my Guild Leader an in game mail to let him know.
I logged in at about 20 minutes after our normal start time to find the raid full, and Ofn (Rogue) and I benched for the night.
Now I haven't been benched from a raid in ages. In fact, I don't think I've ever been benched in my entire time with Unusual Suspects/Devolve.
I had to go all the way to my Tier 6 archives to find a night I was benched. I didn't take it well, but that was a very different situation. I was trying to establish myself as an offtank while relatively new with a guild. They were working on encounters like Archimonde, Kael, and Vashj that weren't particularly suited to Paladins.
At the time I had taken the 'very mature' stance and wanted the guild leader to ignore all that and take me anyway. I felt like I had a lot to prove about the ability of Paladins as Raid Tanks to both the raid leader and the guild. Paladins weren't as accepted as Main Tanks, and I was out to change that perception anyway that I could.
I’m in a totally different situation now. I'm established as a Main Tank in Devolve and Paladins are widely accepted as progression Main Tanks on every tier of raiding. There's nothing to prove anymore.
The night actually turned out really well.
I was really excited for Blue who recently switched from an Elemental Shaman to a Warrior. He's normally DPS for our runs and does a fantastic job, but last night he was able to get some tanking experience as well. Best of all, he finally got the Shield monkey off his back. This guy has been running everything he can: Malygos, Naxx, Ulduar. Basically, if it’s got a shield, he’s been there, trying in vain to upgrade his Titanshield Wall. Last night, he snagged an Aegis of the Coliseum of Anub'arak.
It used to be the case that if either myself or Boston couldn't make a raid, we'd have to cancel for lack of tanks. So it's a good thing for all of us that we've added some depth to our tank corps.
As for me, I was able to go get some Argent Tournament stuff done and finally had time to redo the quest chain to reopen the Shadow Vault. When you faction transfer, you lose some quests and the Shadow Vault quests are part of it. You are phased out from being able to see the friendly mobs at the Shadow Vault. I didn't realize this until I got the Ret Helm off Onyxia and tried to go over to Shadow Vault and find it filled with mobs.
I was just about to log off and go play with my Druid alt when Boston asked me if I wanted to run VoA with them. That got me super excited since I had figured they would just keep the same group from the Ony/Anub run. The tanks were my Warrior buddy and I. Being able to run something with my team felt great.
Then afterwards we put a group together for the Daily Heroic and I snagged enough Emblems to buy my Tier shoulders which will activate my 4 piece bonus. Now it’s just a matter of saving for the 245 helm or hoping that Onyxia is kind and drops the Paladin tank helm.
I didn't particularly want to be benched last night, but I was late. In any event, I figure its better that we have too many people and need to bench 1 or 2, rather than not having enough people and have to call raids or try to 9 man stuff.
What was foremost in my mind this time, as opposed to other times, was not my own emotions, but those of my Guild Leader.
I tell you guys a little secret. Boston is an incredible Guild Leader, and he leads our Raids as well. I know being a Raid/Guild Leader is a really tough job, and he does it with class and makes it look easy. I’d run through a brick wall for that guy. My greatest game related fear right now is that the stress of Guild/Raid leading will get to him and he burns out. I try to do whatever I can do to give him encouragement and make his job easier.