Sudden Death?

It's funny how quickly things can change in life sometimes. A month ago, my situation in Classic looked pretty rosy. I enjoyed my guild's first forays into Mount Hyjal, and I was having a blast taking my priest into Outland.

Then our progression raid on the 14th of February had to be cancelled due to a lack of sign-ups. There was some disappointment, but most of us didn't think too much of it because it was Valentine's Day, and we figured that people were just prioritising real life commitments on that day in specific and that there wasn't really more to it than that.

The day after that saw the launch of SWTOR's newest expansion, something I'd been looking forward to for months. I made sure to let my guildies know that I wouldn't be logging into WoW much for a week, but that I'd be back to at the very least showing up for raids as normal after that.

During that week "off" I got some bad news in real life... well, bad for me in any case: After more than two years of full-time working from home, my employer decided that I needed to be back in the office twice a week, and one of those days was going to be Wednesday, one of our two core raid days. From the day I first joined the Forks to raid, I knew that this was only going to be a temporary arrangement due to the fact that their raids started about an hour before I'd even be home on a "normal" day... but as our return to the office got postponed again and again, part of me started to wonder whether it was ever going to happen. At last, dull reality caught up with me.

I shared the bad news that I wasn't going to be able to attend more than one raid per week anymore, but was equally stunned by what I learned from others on my return: that both core raids and the Karazhan community run during my week off had also ended up being cancelled due to lack of attendance. An officer informed me that we'd had a streak of bad luck with several raiders stepping down at once for unrelated reasons.

Since then we've only had one progression raid: a Mount Hyjal run during which we did the opposite of progress, as we only got three bosses down. The mood was jovial enough, but people were very unfocused and did not play well at all. The officers have had a discussion about what could be done to get the guild back into shape and asked for input from us raiders, but few people even bothered to respond.

The Forks have always had periods in which they struggled to field a full roster during my time in the guild (after all, lack of warm bodies was why they were pushing so hard to recruit me during AQ40), but I don't recall ever seeing such widespread apathy. There've always been those who are more invested vs. those who don't talk much on Discord and don't do anything other than log in to raid, but percentage-wise, there were always enough of the former to make things feel alive. Right now, it doesn't feel like that anymore... and I can't even cast stones, because I've not exactly been online every evening myself.

When we transferred servers, I was worried about the guild not being able to sustain itself after the move, because of how slow and casual we were in comparison to the dozens and dozens of more progressed raiding guilds on Nethergarde Keep. But people were excited, keen to make it work, and there were still some people interested in progressing Vashj and Kael'thas whom we could recruit.

Since Mount Hyjal and Black Temple opened their doors though, things have been different. Since these raids are so much easier, pugs on the server have been clearing the former and most of the latter pretty much since the second week. Guildies started jumping into BT pugs because we weren't going there as a guild anyway, and got their Archimonde kills in pugs too. If you want to kill bosses and get loot, there's little reason to be in a guild like the Forks at this stage. Of course there's still the social aspect, and there are people other than me who are there for that, but there aren't enough of us to fill the whole raid, and it seems impossible to recruit in that kind of environment. The future of the Forks has never seemed this uncertain to me.

Regardless of what happens, I won't be there for a good chunk of it anyway because of the return of my work commute. It seems weird now to think how excited I was to get back into raiding not too long ago, dreaming of clearing Black Temple, building a team for Zul'Aman whenever it comes out, and perhaps even seeing some Sunwell bosses this time around. As it stands, I'm not sure I'll ever even see the inside of Black Temple in Classic. And I'm not even that broken up about it because I've had other things on my mind too - but there's still something sad about it all.


  1. I'm sorry, Shintar. Seriously. It sucks when external events force your hand.

    I guess being on a significantly smaller server means there's not as many pugs going into BT and Hyjal, and those that are, well, are doing kinda okay. Not great, but okay. The main raiding guilds are the ones here still pushing the content, but there was a lot of gear left on the table in SSC/TK that they're thinking of putting together runs for the Monday team to get that gear left behind.

    1. It sucks when external events force your hand.

      You would know all about that! Here we go again with the strange parallels... ^^

    2. I don't suppose you now have guinea pigs in the house, do you?