Another Guild Chapter Closed

I don’t know where to start. It’s 30 degrees in my room and I have no air conditioning. It feels like I’m encased in a cocoon of hotness. Not sure which of you out there still actively reads blogs. It seems the Warcraft community has since migrated to streams, YouTube videos, and Discord communities. People like me are a relic from a past era. For now, I’m going to write this post for me in the hopes of getting some kind of closure that I never received for all five of you that’re still following me.

It has been 40+ days since the guild decided to call it quits for raiding in the Castle Nathria tier. There is no intention of reforming the organization for patch 9.1 or beyond. Aside from the GM, I was the longest remaining tenured raider in the roster as I had joined at the tail end of Tomb of Sargeras but began actively raiding in Antorus (Listen, I wanted no part of progression Kil’jaeden at the time so I was content with letting their existing roster finish it all out).

After two expansions, my time has ended. I haven’t decided what to do and 9.1 release is imminent.

What happened?

We were doing well enough on Stone Legion Generals. The Sunday night we had been getting some good early looks at phase 3. Monday rolls around and a message goes out in Discordl from our raid leader to everybody saying that leadership has decided to cease raiding for the rest of the tier. Every raider would be receiving a cut of the guild bank and that we would re-evaluate for 9.1. It was rather abrupt and caught me off guard. I can only surmise what happened but if I were to hazard a guess, I would say that more players were either burning out and planning to leave or our officers themselves were directly burning out. I will never know the exact cause of our demise.

If I had to be honest, I saw this coming a long ways away at the start of the expansion. During Battle for Azeroth, we had achieved a level of stability and accomplished our Mythic raiding goals from Uldir, to Dazar’alor, to Eternal Palace, and Nyalotha (We do not talk about Mythic Uu’naut. We cleared every end boss at the Mythic level. To get from that level to not even lasting a full introductory raid tier in Shadowlands is just tragic.

I can point to one incident that started our downward descent. During the early days of the expansion as we were reinforcing our roster, our aim was to carry a team of 27 players. It was a solid number that allowed for flexibility and accounted for any holes in the roster or encounter specific strategies.

Where did it go wrong?

Nepotism ruins everything. We had a player come in who was a family member of an officer. I didn’t think anything of it at the time because I figured that the officer would not be involved in the recruiting process at all whatsoever and abstain (as they should because it’s a conflict of interest). If the recruit passed their trial, it would be by their own merit. In fact, that’s the way it should be otherwise you get accusations of bias and nepotism which leads to a loss of trust. This idea of trust is a fragile thing. It can take ages to build up and develop but it can be lost in a flash.

Every trial has a private channel (where they are excluded) that’s set up where raiders can put in their observations of how they interacted or played during the two weeks they’re with us. I don’t know anything about DPS, so I won’t weigh in on that stuff. I’ll usually pipe up if I notice the trial is dying more often than usual or getting hit by mechanics more than normal. I don’t believe in making excuses for them, that’s up to the trial to do during their midtrial review. All I add is a data point from a healer’s perspective. It’s up to our officer team to decide what to do and how to interpret that data. Sometimes they’ll follow up and review the log and the answer is self explanatory (For example, trial took an unavoidable hit but didn’t receive a heal because it looked like they were out of range and didn’t make it back to the group in time before they died). We’re also permitted and encouraged to make observations about their attitude in areas outside of raid (For example, this player makes some pretty questionable jokes that’s enough to give me pause).

In any case, one of our veteran raiders made an observation about the trial’s performance midway through a raid. I can’t remember the specifics but I didn’t believe it was a direct attack on the player, but more a comment on their play. It was a simple mistake and could’ve been shrugged off. However, the officer took it personally and just went off on the raider. We happened to be in-between pulls, but I snapped off a few quick messages saying that the officer’s remarks were offside and unnecessary. I sided with our raider on this one. The night was almost over anyway and most of our players were too busy focused on raiding but after the night was over, more of our veterans stepped up and said the same thing. I tried to defuse and disarm the situation by asking everyone to take a breath, go to bed, and come back tomorrow and it could be discussed further at length.

What I failed to account for was that our officer had a bit of a rocky relationship (possibly a vendetta) against the initial raider.

It didn’t matter. Within two raid lockouts, we had lost four players. Was it a direct result of what had occurred? I don’t know. I never spoke to those players after so I can’t say it with absolute certainty, but I would not be surprised if it was a factor. I knew there were another few more that were going to wait and see but already had one foot out the door.

The trust had been irrevocably lost.

Our raid atmosphere was never the same.

The friendly and welcoming culture was gone.

I could tell our raid had become much more guarded than usual. It felt like the relationship between leadership and the rest of the raid had been shattered. For my part, I just simply shook it off, tried to forge ahead, and do what I had been brought on to do: Play to the best of my ability.

For the next several months, I watched as new raiders came in and veterans left. During that period, it felt like were constantly trying to recover and stabilize. We were so busy trying to catch our breath. Not only that, it doesn’t help that we’re also on Alliance and it’s already difficult to recruit on this side of the compared to our Horde… colleagues? Nemesis? It was a constant cycle of losing veterans and trying to fill gaps with recruits.

What happens now?

I had another fellow raider reach out to me directly to apply to one of their guild’s raid crews. I’m still mulling over what I want to do. From what I’ve been able to see on forums and recruiting sits, Holy Priests aren’t exactly high in demand (much less one who only plays a Holy Priest at a Mythic raid level). I could play Shadow but I would not be able to come close to the skill level required there.

I’ve been asked by followers and friends to switch to Horde. The recruiting pool is much larger and there are way more raiding guilds to choose from. I can’t do it though. I even play a Pandaren which fits in either faction! My main has always been Alliance. I played Warcraft 1 and Warcraft 2 when I was literally a kid and my disdain for the Horde runs way too deep (although I have made Horde alts to check out their story in various expansions). Besides, simply faction changing to Horde seems like I’m giving in and exacerbating the issue even further.

For the past month and change, I had stepped into Final Fantasy 14. It’s a nice change of pace. I never picked it up before because I didn’t think I had the time to balance two MMOs so I’m playing this and enjoying the single player experience. My thoughts on the game will come at a separate time, but at the moment, I don’t foresee myself getting involved at the high end game level.

I don’t know what I want to do. My options are:

  • Raid Mythic at a high level (and chase Cutting Edge)
  • Raid Mythic at a moderate pace (Risk not getting CE)
  • Raid Heroic (chase AotC)
  • Not raid at all (and basically play out the expansion storylines)

Until I figure out what I’m looking for, it’s hard to find a guild that fits. Really my goal is to look for a disciplined raiding to join. I’ve played WoW for so long because I’ve been extremely fortunate in the guilds I joined which is what’s helped keep my subscription going. The content and expansion features to me were whatever, but it was the people I played with that made everything all the more worthwhile. My only major dealbreaker is that I can’t commit to Wednesday nights due to orchestra resuming soon.

If you’re an Alliance guild that’s looking for a mechanically sound healer who probably can’t torch healing meters that high that doesn’t have raids on Wednesdays, let me know.

Alas, I’ve disabled comments just because the amount of incoming spam from bots is just too overwhelming and I have yet to find a solution so far that doesn’t take up my time.