About half a year ago (almost exactly actually), I wrote a post on the importance of patience when it comes to progression raiding. Little did I know that just a couple of months later, I'd see first hand the devastating effects the lack of patience can have on a raid group, no matter how skilled it is. Sometimes you just don't want to be right about these kinds of things.
Astralis was what many ten man progression guilds are nowadays - tight knit, based on a small group of people where each person regardless of position in the guild carries a big load of the raids progression possibilities. It is true that the loss of some people will affect the group more than others, but it usually comes down more to morale issues rather than class issues. Most people are replacable - if the rest of the group can find the energy to do it. This is a key issue that many ten man guilds face, with the loss of each and any person there has to be someone still left to pick up that troublesome part of guild management called "recruiting".
Recruiting is possibly the most tedious part of running a guild that you can possibly do. I'd gladly switch any amount of farming and wiping if it meant never having to put my hands into that. It's not so much the actual recruiting - writing forum posts, talking to possible recruits, finding someone that fits your needs - as trying to keep the rest of the guild together and at high spirits whilst doing all of that other crap. And that is where patience comes in and plays a big role.
Astralis lost one of its most important members in mid-october. Skill-wise, but most importantly guild management wise. Not only was there an issue as to who was going to replace this person as the leader of the guild, but also, as it turns out, no one was really ready to pick up all the administrative business that he had taken care off behind the scenes. He wasn't the only one to get things done in the guild, far from, but somehow he seemed to be the guy who kept things going. When everyone knew there was someone that would take care of business, they'd also find the energy to chip in. But no one was ready to be that moralic foundation.
It didn't exactly help that he left without much explanation and just after the guild had gone through a rough patch regarding downing Heroic Ragnaros. Apparently just downing Rag as servers firsts wasn't enough for the guild, not being able to down him again really put a strain on peoples morale.
But the funny thing is, eventhough we managed to find a couple of nice replacements, eventhough we had a really nice progress in DS, losing realm firsts because we decided to go on Christmas Holiday rather than because of lack of people or skill - people seemed to have just imply given up. They had given up on the guild before DS and no amount of progress would seem to give it back. The fun and the energy just wasn't there anymore. It didn't exactly help that everyone else seemed to be leaving the server so it literally felt like being the last ones on a sinking ship.
So one after another forum posts started popping up about people leaving. How it "wasn't an easy made choice", how they "wish there had been another way", how they "had had so much fun, but all things come to an end". Bla bla. I sound really bitter, but I'm not really. I'm sad. Yes, things do come to an end, things change. And I don't even blame the people who left - if things don't feel right they don't feel right. It all just feels so unecessary. We were far from disaster yet people looked at it and didn't think it was worth their time anymore.
The ones left after the first emmigration, where we lost two of our best dpsers and one of our healers, decided to keep things going in a casual manner. No more progress raiding, but clearing normals and just chill together. It took about a week before more people starting dropping off. Others decided to play other games and simply not re-subscribe to WoW.
Suddenly I found myself being basically the last raider still in the guild. And I knew I had to make a choice. I'd either just drop it all, or get my act together and find a new place for myself. I knew that if I waited too long, I'd be thrown out of the loop and finding a decent raiding guild would be virtually impossible. I was still up to date, well geared and with enough experience of current content to be interesting to most guilds out there. So I did it. I sat down and wrote my first application ever. I thought I'd show my general interest on the forums and see what popped up, rather than trying to hunt specific guilds down. I can't say if my application was good or bad, but over the course of two or three days I got 13 replies of very varying quality. I quickly decided for one (not haphazzardly though, mind you), wrote an application to them and got accepted. I transferred server, switched race to Dwarf (yes you read that right), leaving everything I've spent the last 5 years collecting on the Venture Co behind. All my alts (8 level 85 and one level 80), all my professions and items I had scattered across them to keep my main fit for raiding. All my friends, who either still are there or have left for other servers - I am doing this one alone, for the first time ever. And for some idiotic reason, I also left all my BoA gear which I have no use for whatsoever on my old server anyway. Ah well.
So this is what I have been up to the last month, pondering how to continue my WoW-gaming. I knew I wanted to continue, but I just wasn't sure if I could find the energy for it with everything that has been going on. But I decided that I need this, I really do. I love playing WoW as much as I love writing about it.
My new guild, Casually Addicted on The Maelstrom (5/8 hc DS) have made a very good first impression. Now I've just got to pass my trial, but I figure that even if I fail, I've ended up on a way better server, and I am sure I will find a nice home for myself somewhere. 2011 was the year of change - R.I.P Astralis, I barely even got to know you.