You Can Take the Gnome Out of the Raid

Tarecgosa roaring in front of Wyrmrest Temple.

But you can’t always take the raid out of the gnome.

While I’ve been meaning to write a keybinding guide/exploration, or perhaps a post on any number of topics, the holidays and wrapping up the last couple weeks of my job have been slaughtering my motivation to blog. However, one thought has really stuck in my craw enough to make me write a blog post.

Last night, my little social guild grouped up and did their weekly LFR run together. This is a lot of fun for us; we sit on Mumble and crack jokes on bad players, talk about other stuff and sometimes even alcohol is involved. It is a great way for us to see raid content together but the stress of people feeling terrible or unused to raid mechanics is gone. I consider it preparing people gear-wise and knowledge-wise for an eventual 10man. We cleared through both segments of Dragon Soul fairly handily. On Ultraxion, I won the chest tier piece. I was shocked! I have been running LFR for quite a number of weeks now and aside from my guildmate giving me the Insignia of the Corrupted Mind last night, this was the first piece of gear I had won fair and square. I was so excited!

Except then a druid piped up that I was wearing a 391 tier chest from Firelands. I was, wasn’t I? The tier pieces from LFR are 384. I immediately felt stupid. Did I forget that LFR gear isn’t necessarily* better than the 391s I was dripping in? Or the legendary staff I have strapped to my back? I probably looked like an overentitled jerkbag just then. As much as I’d love 2 or 4-set tier bonus for the delicious haste, is it really better mathematically than the 391 Tier 12 I’m currently wearing? What struck me immediately after that thought was this one:

Does it even matter?

I always made this argument when I saw people in various communities who only ran heroics complaining that they didn’t have access to raid gear. If you didn’t do raids, why would you need that level of gear. I find myself in this position now. While everyone has access to raid gear now via LFR (which is awesome), the fact of the matter is that I am no longer raiding but outgear the LFR in most ways, and find myself without even so much as a casual 10-man now. Do I really need to be doing LFR at all? ┬áThis is a question I wrestle with now. I’ve been part of the gear grind for so long, that long eternal lock-step of BETTER, BETTER, BETTER, BEST-IN-SLOT that now I have no idea what to do with myself. I’m not pushing content even on normal and theoretically I don’t need the gear out of LFR to do heroics. While running LFR is nice for capping valor points or updating certain slots, I sorta wonder (for the first time since 4.3) dropped what I really am going to do with myself. It’s been nice to have free time but I feel suddenly devoid of things to do on my main. I’ve been leveling a tank alt in my free time as well as my second mage, but this is the first time I feel like I’ve “finished” a character.

So for as much as I have “quit” raiding, some part of me still hasn’t. I think last night was a bit of a wake-up call.

 

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The End of an Era

Raid fights Taerar the world dragon.

I’ve been quiet the last few days, and for a lot of reasons. Well, not just because I had five days off from work, but also because as of last night, my 25-man raid decided to finally call it quits for good. My raid has ostensibly been together since UBRS, in one form or another – 10-mans, 40-mans, and then 25s. We’ve fielded 10-mans, done achievements together, even squeezed out a server first or two along the way. We were never the most progressed all the time, or the most well-known, but we had been around a very long time. I’ve only been in it to some degree for five years now, a lot of the older members have been in for 6 or 7 years. It almost felt like it was never going to die, that we’d just keep going on because that’s what we did. That was our notable aspect.

Not anymore, however. It saddens me greatly to see something of an institution that weathered raid leader change-ups, absentee DPS, raid attunements, guild perks and even people in our raid passing away, go the way of the buffalo. I felt like we were a raid team that still held onto some immutable shred of what life used to be like back before paladins had 30 minute blessings and you could summon your entire raid into the raid instance. Unfortunately, time and familiarity doesn’t hold things together, it pulls them apart. Even rocks get worn down into dust after long enough. I felt that a lot of our members were playing a game they hated solely out of respect and loyalty to a raid they cared about. So while I am sad that this has to break apart, it had to happen and it means that we can all go on to be happier (and dare I say more productive) people.

The question here to be asked is this though, “Do I dislike raiding now?”

Raiding has made me the mage I am today, and I’d never speak ill of it. Even when I wanted to quit, give up and start crying because I’ve historically done (in my mind) less DPS than I ought to be doing every step of the way, there’s not a single moment I can think of where my raid team didn’t force me to improve – whether it was using macros, looking at spell rotations and theorycrafting or BIS lists. There’s no way this blog would even exist if it wasn’t for these people that have supported me and definitely carried me through more content than your average raid. Even when I hated it, or them, or the content, or myself, I still did it.I raided late into the night, even as a backup, when I had to be up for work at 4:30 AM. I raided when I was sick, exhausted, or on medication. I’ve missed maybe 3 boss kills from Burning Crusade to Cataclysm. Because that’s just what you do. Raiding has a way of getting under your skin. As much as it has eaten up my time and stressed me out to no degree (especially as of late), I still love it. I hope to be doing it in one form or another for the rest of my WoW career, as long or short as that may be.

Is it time for a break though? Possibly. I have a few loose ends to tie up, however, namely a staff. I’m 75 siphoned essences short of a legendary and I’d also love a purple flame bird. How will I achieve those things? Not sure right now. A few 10-mans might shake out of this for the time being. I might go to someone’s alt runs. I might PUG it. Who knows. After that, 4.3 will come and I will make the decision to raid or not at all. I might take this well-earned vacation to focus on making myself a better mage and enjoying myself. I might hit up LFR. I might just go fire for the end of my days and force you all to read about it (mwahahah!) Maybe I’ll go onto bigger and better things myself.

As sad as I am now, I know that I won’t be sad forever. And the raid might be breaking up, my memories and connections to these people I’ve spent more time with than boyfriends or jobs will never go away. We’re going to still be friends in one way or another, I suspect, and I think that’s what truly matters in the end – not the bosses you’ve downed, but the people who were alongside you when you did it. Their names will never be forgotten, much less their intrinsic personalities – they have made me both who I am and everything I’ve grown to be.

My hats off to all of you, you know who you are.