Thoughts on End of the Expansion Cycle Raiding

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.

8 thoughts on “Thoughts on End of the Expansion Cycle Raiding”

  1. I remember this point in BC, people took the time to level alts, take time off the game and such. It’s part of the cycle I guess.
    One tip I can give, SELL EVERYTHING NOW before it’s worth nothing. I spent the last month using all my resources (badges, honor, everything) selling stuff, gems, enchant materials (and I still have a lot)I must have over 30K gold now.
    Last time I used this time to level my long forgotten baby priest alt, I actually dinged 70 the day WOtLK came out, funny how it works.
    Then I got my mage to 80, then the priest. After that I geared my mage to naxx 25 ready level, some time later I geared the priest… funny how things work. I didn’t expect my priest would become my main.
    This time, I’m taking some time off, barely logging on to chat with 3 or 4 friends for a couple of minutes; though it has nothing to do with pre-expansion syndrome.

  2. In addition to the selling everything giving you a ton of gold, it frees up necessary bag space for the expansion!
    And yes, we know what’s captured your heart and attention atm, and it’s not WoW.

  3. Oh yeah this sounds so familiar. I’m still having fun, but a lot of it is down to the people I socialise with in game, and that I’ve picked up pvp and arena as a completely new hobby. While it would be very easy to say ‘taking a break’, I want these people to still be here in 6 months time.
    We’ve had an identical situation though, 2 weeks we had packed sign ups, and suddenly we are short. Very frustrating.

  4. I think we’ve hit a bit of a wall, although I’m not sure how much of it has to do with the xpac and how much has to do with simply becoming complacent or burnt out. The burn out syndrome is fierce. I’ve encouraged people to take breaks as needed – but most have taken just a week here or there and then come right back.
    I’ve been making attempts here and there to shake things up from the normal grind as I can. But even the guild events aren’t generating as much interest now as they have in months previous. Either the new events suck or even that is getting stale.
    I’m hoping that some sort of address to the officers and core raiders will get us back on track and refocused. It’s going to be that or a total derailment/explosion.

  5. *sigh* My 10man has been trying to get the last 20% on Arthas since February. This end-of-expansion burn out + warm weather really doesn’t help 🙁

  6. It makes me sad to see so many folks not able to pull together 25 man raids, week-after-week. We had to call our own 25-man raid last week, and barely had one for lower spire this week. It’s interesting how this seems to be the case for so many folks right now. B/C we had an overabundance of signups a month ago in contrast. I have to believe Spring break is probably a factor right now in signups in addition to the pre-expansion burn out.
    Luckily for us, our guild is long established (the oldest horde guild on the server), so I know we’ll still be there raring to go for Cataclysm launch, even of our 25-man doesn’t complete ICC.

  7. that’s such a heartbreaker, to be so close, for that long. In BC, my guild was stuck on Lady Vashj for 3 or 4 weeks of several nights per week work. It can be really demotivating to be stuck like that.

  8. How’d your kick-in-the-butt go for your Officer team? And I totally agree that folks need to give themselves a time out once they start tipping towards the surly and burnt out side of the scale, before it adversely affects the raiding team– and the guild– as a whole.

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