My guild is a very friendly, casual guild with a longer history and has had great success in previous tiers of raiding. We got hit hard by the end of expansion blues. Several of our more active players and officers took extended breaks, a few players quit wow, others had some real life issues take them out of raiding for a span. Several months ago, raiding almost completely stopped. We went from a 25 man guild progressing dutifully through ICC to not having the online members to fill a 10m ICC. At this point, we had downed 8/12 bosses in Icecrown in 25m and I believe our 10m group was 11/12. We were often tied or close for 3rd horde progression on our server. Admittedly, not a power-house server, but we were making progress. Even as we were doing fine, set to continue, the series of personal burn-outs and real life priorities reduced us to 1 of 6 active officers.
Naturally as 25m raiding ceased and hope waned that it would return, a few of our most active and skilled raiders jumped ship to another server in order to fulfill their raiding needs and kill LK. I don’t blame them at all for this, but losing some of our best raiders was pretty much the nail in the coffin. After a month or two of continued reminders that filling our empty slots to get 10m LK kills, let alone 25m, I too joined the ship jumpers and took my main to a more populated and raid progressed server. I joined a guild that only raided 3 days a week (compared to the 2 night 25m schedule of my previous guild) that was 11/12 in Icecrown and had just started attempts on Lich King. I wanted to join a guild I could help make progress and not be carried to success. A couple of weeks in I had upgraded multiple pieces of gear and wore a fresh Kingslayer title. My goals for moving servers and guilds were met. All should have been fine.
The Right Mix
My new guild lacked the fun my old guild possessed. Keep in mind, I had multiple alts and was still somewhat active in my previous guild, so I could continue to make a direct comparison to the atmosphere. Raiders in my new guild treated it like work. One night we actually didn’t get enough players to raid (this was rare), several of those on were more excited about getting a “night off” than they were disappointed that they couldn’t do what they got on for. It seems clear to me that you should want to be raiding because its fun, not because you feel like it’s a job to complete. These guys weren’t the most anal raiders I’ve dealt with by far and it wasn’t an unpleasant environment. Somehow though, I felt something key was missing. I wasn’t having fun raiding anymore. We killed more bosses, I got more loot, but it wasn’t the key.
It came to a point where I claimed work overtime was going to keep me from raiding regularly and asked to be moved from “raider” to “member” status. Although this was true, I could have made some raids and instead didn’t feel like logging on to that server most of the time. I spent my time playing on my alts in my old guild and started enjoying the game more. We have jokes and fun times in raid. After wipes there’s a silly thing we do and /roll for blame, where we jokingly mock the “winner” that was at fault. This type of atmosphere is much more my style. Although we weren’t raiding as a guild still, the gchat and vent chatter made it more worthwhile for me to be pugging things on my alts than raiding on my main with a less fun guild. Interestingly enough, after a month or two of being mostly inactive on that main toon and logging on to him to transfer him away, the guild he was in had broken up due to internal stresses. Apparently a lot of the players realised they weren’t having fun anymore.
To the Future…
The original fun-loving guild that I belong to has since moved to a new server where we have a larger player pool from which to recruit. I’ve transferred my main character back with them. A couple new players and a few weeks back into raiding and we’ve killed Lich King in 10m. Many of our officers are returning and gchat is again lively. A month in the new server has breathed new life to the guild as we are having more members sign up for raids than fit into one 10m and will be able to expand to another 10m or maybe even the larger raid format. Prospects for cataclysm look pretty good from here.
In short, make sure you’re having fun in whatever server and guild you call your WoW home. Take the time to find a guild that suits what you want out of the game, be that bleeding edge progressed or light-hearted raid humor.