Right around the time BETA starts for a WoW expansion, I've watched the seams and cracks start to show in my raiding teams, and in those of the folks I read in the blogosphere and on twitter. It was the same pre-Burning Crusade as pre-Wrath as it's starting to seem now pre-Cataclysm.
You go from folks pitching a fit for cycling out on a raid night, positive this means they won't get that piece of gear they're coveting that would make their gearscore hit that magic number to those same folks no showing for raids, or not even signing up.
You have officers and raid leaders burning out, and taking out their frustrations on their raid members and each other. Tempers flare in raids, leaving folks who were previously friends wishing each other would go die in a circle of fire somewhere already. Raids that had previously been fun and full of chit chat and joking around, are mostly silent other than a tank or raid leader yelling at someone else. Healers/Tanks/Ranged DPS or whatever your guild's weak link was become impossible to recruit for raids, and inspire frequent pleas for help online. Frustrated raiders leave casual guilds en masse to start their own raiders only guilds. Key members of raiding teams pack up and server transfer, looking for greener grass, all too often finding out it was astroturf.
For every squee post I've seen on Kingslayer titles in hand, I've seen one on an imploded guild, plus one on a gquit and LFG ICC25/ICC10. And a third about an impending hiatus from WoW til Cataclysm lands.
Have we reached the point of no return for Wrath of the Lich King? Are we doomed to frittering away our time (as we pine for an elusive BETA invite) in 5-man RDHs, watching GOGOGO tanks chain pull while we're out of mana, then complaining at us if we stop for a second to take a drink?
If that's what I have to look forward to for the next 6 months, then that's certainly not a good use of my $15/mo.
Luckily, I have a vacation week coming up soon, which will be low on the WoW and heavy on the getting out to enjoy the many fabulous cultural and scenic features of the city I live in. And there is always plenty to do outside of game, so I don't feel compelled to fritter away time online when the mojo isn't there.
In-game, our progression 10 man is working on Arthas again this week. This puts the SO's soul gathering on hold for another week (he's only up to 300 or so souls since we've had a prior week of just Arthas, and a canceled 25 in the mix), but for a good cause. Making a valiant effort to save Bolvar Fodragon and defeating the Lich King is my primary driving goal in the game right now. I wants him dead. I wants him dead nao.
I'm also working towards getting my warlock to 80 before the expansion, and to getting my gnome mage to 80 so she can help liberate Gnomeregan eventually. And I feel like I am finally getting a little traction with convincing my favorite druid to roll horde (or faction change) on our server once she heads back into the workforce and can't raid on my vanilla raiding guild's schedule.
But I know for sure, having been here and done this before, that once any of it stops being fun, it's coming off the must-do list. I don't want to raid with burnt out, cranky people any more than they want to raid with me if I become one of said people either. It's important to keep pulse-checking yourself to make sure you're still having fun. And that you're enjoying playing with your team. Because having fun -- and working together to accomplish raid goals is the whole point of the raiding. It's not about ePeen as measure via Recount. Or achievement points. Or by your gear score. It's about having a good time playing with your friends and getting to the Frozen throne, together.
Safe travels, adventurers.