It's that time again - the end of a patch draws near, new content is on the horizon, raids are starting to start to feel like same-old-same-old...
... and people don't login, raids don't run, people get cranky, they don't log on...
It's a vicious cycle. And one that I have seen many times before.
I remember things were sluggish at the end of Vanilla. Gosh that was a long time ago. Then we couldn't recruit that whole time and we moved servers when Karazhan was the instance for mid-level raiders. We had a recruiting spike then, and since being on this server, we have a constant trickle of people coming and going. Towards the end of BC we were having trouble making a raid and then we did the raid with another guild thing - those sorts of arrangements are always fraught with danger. Who's carrying whom? Who is entitled to what loot? Both sides have the mentality of "You can't raid if you didn't have us here," and so after a short period of being ok, it takes one fight over tier or some other coveted item to have the relationship dissolved. Then back to low raid numbers again.
Lich King - new shinies! Content was easier than BC, and there was a nice surge of raiders again, which of course died down towards the end of Lich King. I remember Thraso whinging at me about the lack of raids and the guild is dying. "This is normal," I reassured him. "It will pick up." Cataclysm came and there was a surge again of raiding interest which again declined as a new patch would be on the horizon. I remember after one patch, there was no increase in raid numbers. "You lied," Thraso said. "There is no boost to raid numbers." So we did more recruiting and we got a few more people.
And the time has come again now. Numbers are low. It's not just us - some of my friends from other servers report the same phenomenon. My friend Cavendar, from another server and faction (eek Alliance!), was a 10 man guild in LK and became a 25 man guild during Cataclysm, and suddenly in the last few weeks raid turnouts are down to 17 - not even enough to run 2 10 mans. So now they are back to one elite 10 man just like in their glory days. But people, obviously, get angry. Their poor guild leader, has a very open door policy about discussing things with him, and copped a crapton of abuse from raiders who had to be sat out for others, or were outraged on the behalf of those who sat out. Their poor guild leader, it's stressful enough having to deal with how to pick who gets to raid, and then having to cop crap about it? Fueghan will tell you that it's one of the worst things about being a guild or raid leader, making those hard decisions that nobody seems happy about and you just have to wear it. If you take it to heart, you just get the poops yourself and you become one of the non-logging in statistics.
Yesterday, raiding for the other group was... uncomfortable. Moo was sick of the non raiding happening, and said he had enough of raiding and removed himself from all sign ups. Hwired was quieter than normal. Voe had earlier in the week said that the guild is collapsing because their group couldn't pull the numbers for their raid to run. Yesterday they managed to scrape together a group full of alts and mains and they still got 3/8 heroic down, but no progress there. But that was only a short term measure - because half those alts were from my raid group. It was unusually quiet in their raid, and hardly anyone was talking, which is unusual for their raid. Which is why it felt so awkward, and those who attended felt that it boded poorly for the coming week.
The solution seems simple to me. We can make one group raid. I know that a few raiders don't mind NOT raiding, taking time to play other games, and they will never quit the game or the guild, so this might be the opportunity for them to go play those other games that are coming out. But for people like me, who LOVE WoW and raiding, hopefully I can still raid with what we still have and do something in the last few months of Cataclysm. There is so much I'd still like to achieve (literally!).
So what I'm trying to say is - take heart, a decline in raiding will not cause our guild to "collapse" as our guild has persisted for years and years, through many expansions, through this same phenomenon. However, there are those who would feel like they need to find greener pastures, and that's ok, I don't expect them to hang around waiting for raiding to pick up. But you won't find me or the other officers doing that, or a lot of our long term Frostwolves. Because there is always more to the game than raiding. It's our community. Our guild at its core is a friendly guild first, a raiding guild second. If the raiding collapses, then our guild will persist, but if the friendship collapses our guild would probably go down the toilet too. Rest assured there are enough of us to keep one raid team going, and figuring out what to do with the 2 or 3 extras is going to be the really difficult part. Will they leave and find greener pastures? Will the abuse poor old Fue until he gets upset and has to log and quit raiding?
Personally, I LOVE raiding, but I don't mind not raiding if I was one of those 2 or 3 extra, just to keep the others happy. I'm not going anywhere. This guild is my home. But not everyone feels the same about the guild as me, and I can't expect them to. Besides, I have a billion other distractions - Transmog, PVP, achievements, questing to do, farming.... I don't have enough time in a day of WoW to do all the things I'd like. If a forced break from raiding gives me the time to do that, then so be it.
I wonder why I don't have WoW lethargy. Is this the sign of a true addict?