Things weren't looking too bright the last time I wrote about my raiding. Love had switched guild together with all my irl friends, and I had decided to stay behind to see how things would unfold in my current guild, since I think it's really a great place. We didn't have any more people leave the guild, but a lot of old members who decided that this was as good a time as any to quit WoW-ing overall. Things could've really have turned out bad.
But as Love put it - sometimes you have to burn stuff down to make sure it can grow up nice and fresh, and I definitely agree. Although this might sound horrible, in a way I am glad all those veterans left because it gave the guild a fresh injection of new people that it really needed. I'm not saying we're better off without those people, but our raiding is definitely better off without people who don't really feel like playing anyway. I don't think anyone can argue that.
We still had a tough time for a week or so when people were dropping left and right, but thanks to a particular officer really busting his ass off to find new people who wanted to join one of the last serious 25-man raiding guilds on the server, we seem to have gotten things running again. Approximately 4/5 in our raiding team now are players who have joined the last two weeks or so. Myself and the officer I just mentioned haven't been in the guild all that long either, me since the end of Wrath and he since early Cata. In our current raid team we only have four people left that were in the raid team when I first joined. It's crazy really, and one could argue that the guild isn't the same anymore.
It could've gone that way, but I feel like people have adapted to the guild rather than the guild to the people. That can be both bad and good, but like I said, people have joined this guild because it has the goal it has, and so the essence of the guild - that of being a serious 25 man raiding guild, but still fun - has stayed intact.
I must say I am really happy with our new raiding group. We now have a bunch of people who have left their old guilds, many of them even swapped servers, to get to what we have to offer. They are ready and willing to do what it takes for us to have some successful raiding. We no longer have a bunch of people who come for raiding just because "they've always done it" or who take it for granted. I agree that having a core group that hold things together is important for a guild and its raiding, but in many ways it holds progress and development back. And how do you tell someone who's been a loyal, and often great, member of the guild and raid, that their raiding just doesn't cut it anymore? That their level of commitment isn't good enough and that their lack of enthusiasm is hurting the guild? The best thing that could happen is that they realize the problem by themselves and take necessary action. One could of course debate whether choosing to quit when the guild probably needed them the most was the right thing to do, but everything turned out for the better now so I won't. It has given us the fresh start we needed.
Our new healing team is great. It's fun how things can sway from extremes to extremes. In early raiding (beginning of the year or so), we lacked holydins, but had loads of resto druids. With the great Dropout we suddenly had loads of holydins but couldn't find a resto druid anywhere! Right now we have a good mix, with plenty of holydins and priests. I'm not used to being able to raid with several healing priests at the same time, and especially not ones that are as eager as I am to thinktank and find out everything there is about the class. Right now it feels like just about everyone on the healing team are great players, and it's lovely to be part of that group.
The last couple of raids we have been wiping our asses off against Conclave HC. We're dang close, but as with most heroic fights there are plenty of things that can go wrong and one mistake usually inevitably leads to a wipe. What I really like about the Conclave fight, both in normal and in heroic, is that everyone have their cut role and everyone is really important. Sure, losing a dps isn't as bad as losing a tank or healer, as in any fight. But everything is on the margin so everyone is needed. I both love and hate fights where I am like a cog in a machine. It's great when I can trust everyone else in my raid group to do their job, it's awful when I know the machinery will unmistakenly break down as soon as the responsibility shifts to the weakest part. It's unforgiving, but I think that is what heroic is all about. If we wanted forgiving we should stick with normals.
We're close, but we've spent hours on wiping. I don't mind though, honestly! Every try I feel there is something I can perfect, or do even better. Heck, for the first ten wipes I failed on that dang Wind Blast, before I finally got it right. It re-he-heally annoyed me that I could continously fail on the very same thing, over and over. I finally realized that it was because I was trying to fix the wrong thing in my proceeding. I had to heal pre-emptively, so that I could fully focus on moving from the Wind Blast when it came, and then start healing against when I was sure that I was out if danger. I had to let the healing go during the most hectic moment, and since healing people when they're hurt was so deeply rooted in me, that was a tough thing to let go off. Also I had done the fight for an evening on 10 man where the Wind Blast and Shield don't come at the same time, so I had adapted my healing style to that. In 25 man they come at the same time the first time around, and I had to re-do my routine for the first portion of the fight. Sometimes it's better to not know anything about the fight than to get in there with presumptions that aren't correct.
I know I'll probably jinx it, but I think we've gotten our act together now. Summer is coming up and people will go on vacation, it's always something of a fire trial for a guild how they handle things during summers. Especially now that people seem to feel like this is a good time to quit WoW alltogether. It will be interesting to see how things will develop, and I am eagerly anticipating Firelands (which still is far off though).