Hope your summer has been fantastic! Mine certainly has.
This isn't exactly a "closing up shop" post... just touching base during this amazing period of transition for me. See, First Life has taken every possible turn for the better, and all cylinders are firing at full speed. It's hard to even consider going online at the moment, because there are simply so many incredible opportunities opening up right now. There's nothing to escape from, and no way to see a three-hour raid holding a candle to community building, or developing wonderful and significant relationships, or refining and actualizing my life's purpose. Yes, it sounds grandiose, but there you go. Raiding has taken a distant back seat for the moment.
Luckily, this is the perfect time to be taking a break from the game. Not much needs to be said that hasn't been hashed out a million times over the last month or so. It's just a major lull in the WoW adventure.
I expect to return come Cata. Whether or not I'll be as passionate or committed to the Priesthood remains to be seen.
In parting, I had planned to offer my retrospective analysis of the WotLK experience. But instead, I'll leave you with a post that Beaute, my former GM, wrote on the Azuremyst realm forums earlier this summer. She's as insightful and intelligent as anyone I know. Here she distills one key dimension of what happened with this expansion in a way that only a perceptive, cool-headed GM could.
I think my biggest gripe about this expansion is the exact opposite of my BC gripe.
In BC, our server had about 3-4 guilds alliance-side (at any point) who were hitting the more difficult raids. Those guilds had trouble recruiting people because they were so far behind gear-wise. When those guilds did the end of Karazhan + Gruul & Magtheridon (and needed full Karazhan gear), almost everyone else was on the first few bosses in Karazhan (and still partially in blues). When those guilds were on SSC / TK, everyone else was in Karazhan gear, etc. Mid-level guilds had to implode because, by the time the 3-4 guilds got to MH & BT, they couldn't take applicants to the raids as the applicants were so, so, so undergeared. Several members of our guild never got credit for Illidan on their mains as they had to bring healers & rely on their knowledge of the fight so we could clear the instance.
In an attempt to rectify this imbalance (among other reasons), Blizzard brought us WotLK where everyone can get gear almost immediately. While it has been a blessing to be able to recruit people with gear that will allow them into the current instance, it has basically removed the need for guilds. Many people have confided that they prefer pugging rather than being "expected" to show up at a certain time & they can do that in this expansion & see most of the same content.
As someone who has been an officer of my guild since it was formed in January 2007, I can say that trying to recruit in this expansion has been the least pleasurable aspect of this game in the 5 years I've played it. Many people are arrogant. There are more small & unprogressed guilds. Everyone is running with bare bones crews, it seems. And, worst of all, the general chat in the most progressed instance is AWFUL. Seriously, it's bad.
tl:dr summary - BC had too much gear disparity. WotLK has not enough. Recruitment sucks. So does ICC general chat.
Enjoy the colors, those of you still in places that have fall beauty! I miss the northeast already, but I think Cali and I are in for a long love affair :)