It dawned on me a little while ago that, although I’ve had a very successful run in Wrath of the Lich King on a personal level, something was missing. Something other than the awesome feeling of progressing with Apotheosis, that is.
Back in the day, pre-Burning Crusade, I wanted to finish raid instances. It always pissed me off that we got through Golemagg, and no further, in Molten Core as the guild Fated Heroes. It always pissed me off that we never did get Onyxia down as a guild. I didn’t care much for AQ20, mind you, but I was SUPER happy we cleared Zul Gurub several times — including Jin’do.
In Burning Crusade, as Apotheosis, we finished every instance we focused on raiding, from Karazhan (including Nightbane) through Black Temple. True, we didn’t even get Kalecgos down in Sunwell Plateau, but we’d spent precisely one raid night there actually trying to kill a boss, so I’ll forgive us that. When you realized that we only killed Maulgar and Gruul eight months after the expansion launched, I think we caught up pretty well by the end of Burning Crusade.
The beginning of Wrath was tumultuous for the guild and we stopped raiding officially in early March of 2009. We didn’t get Thaddius down. Nor did we have any adds on Sarth. And we didn’t even have a key for Malygos.
It was the plan to clear Naxx and get Sarth with 3 drakes. It was definitely the plan.
When I went to Bronzebeard to continue raiding, I was joining a guild that had cleared Naxx and done 3 drakes (like, once?) and killed Malygos. The guild was clearing content at the appropriate level, while content was still current. I had never been in a guild that was doing exactly that. I mean, Apotheosis was finishing up Hyjal and Black Temple when other guilds were farming Kil’jaeden. Fated Heroes was wayyyyy behind the curve when you looked at Eternal Force and Epic Again who were chilling out in Naxx.
So it was exciting for me to be part of a guild that was clearing the content. I got T7 cleared, in T7 gear, including Sarth 3D, pre-Ulduar. That was awesome.
And then came Ulduar. Ulduar launched on April 14th.
That night, my Bronzebeard guild got server-first Shutout (world 26th! I know, not a big deal, but still!). The next night, server-first A Quick Shave (world 905. Much less impressive.) and then, after a solid four hour night of wiping on XT, we got him the next night after that, getting server-second Nerf Engineering.
Things were looking good.
Over time, we did the following hard modes:
4-minute Ignis, Knock on Wood, 4 tower FL, Heartbreaker… and that’s about it, really. Never got Hodir’s hard mode, nor Thorim’s. Never even tried Mimiron and Firefighter. Never saw the Saronite Animus. Didn’t do Steelbreaker last. And I wasn’t in the raid when they did 3 Lights for the fail!priest’s forging of Val’anyr.
TOC came out and Ulduar felt half-finished. No way of trying Algalon and half the hard modes weren’t something we were capable of doing.
I changed guilds in September, to my RL Friend the Resto Druid’s guild.
The guild I joined was ranked 190th in the world, server-second, for One Light. A bit of a difference, no? I didn’t join for progression, but I knew I’d get more of it there than on Bronzebeard, since the guild was barely even raiding due to the emo /gquit of the raid leader.
I showed up and we cleared regular TOC 25 on the Sunday raid and spent some hours on the Monday raid killing heroic Beasts. One night. That’s all it took. My Bronzebeard guild had tried 36? 37? times over two resets to do heroic Beasts. The new guild had been finishing up stuff in Ulduar before focusing on hard mode 25-man stuff in TOC.
So heroic Beasts die Monday, then on Tuesday, they die again and we get heroic Jaraxxus. Heroic Faction Champs on the next reset. Then a MONTH before Twin Valks die, on October 26th.
ICC came out on December 8th.
We spent six weeks working on heroic Anub’arak. And in that time, we also took down Algalon on 25-man. It felt good, having killed every boss in Ulduar, even if not all on heroic. With my new guild, I’d also gotten Steelbreaker Last and 3 Lights, but Algalon was dead and that was awesome. It felt like this guild had finished Ulduar and I was a part of that.
Six weeks of work on heroic Anub’arak with a warrior add tank who insisted on tanking all the adds himself and not wearing the proper block/avoidance gear. This was the abusive RL/MT who just wouldn’t cut anyone slack, but it was FINE if he showed up in his stam gear. Seriously.
And then ICC opened. Until the Plagueworks were opened up on January 5th, we were still raiding TOGC, still trying to get Anub’arak down. It was painful. It was brutal. And we never did it.
We did go 12/12 ICC 25 regular. We went 11/12 ICC 25 hard modes. I even went 11/12 ICC 25 hard modes with a second guild.
But no 12/12. No “The Light of Dawn” title. (Still want to see a video of someone with the Light of Dawn title CASTING Light of Dawn!)
So it dawned on me… I basically did not finish the last three tiers of content in this expansion.
When did 11/12 hard modes become an acceptable stopping point? That’s like spawning Ragnaros and never killing him. That’s like getting right up there to Illidan and just staring at his face. Seriously. I didn’t get all the hard modes in Ulduar. I got to 4/5 TOGC. I got to 11/12 ICC25 HM.
Why on earth is this acceptable? Why are 4/5 and 11/12 considered “progressed”?
US 202 for Glory of the Icecrown Raider (25) was great. But why did we stop there? Why did I leave when they were doing heroic Lich King?
I couldn’t handle the toxic environment anymore. Every day that I stayed in that guild, I fervently wished I were back on Eldre’Thalas with Apotheosis. But Apotheosis wasn’t raiding. So it was off to Skywall I went, where I was welcomed with open arms and people weren’t total assholes. People were skilled players, good people and they were driven. Why did they stop at 11/12 HM? Time ran out. The patch hit. Official raids stopped.
And so it was time for me to come home.
It’s not an easy thing in this game to find a group of people who are skilled AND friendly, who do things at a reasonable pace, who aren’t a full tier behind.
This expansion, Apotheosis will be that. For me, for my officers, for my guildies. We all deserve a place to be where we can chuckle over accidentally BOPping a tank or mocking someone who failed at an elevator boss. We all deserve a guild where we can buckle down and get something done, even if it is on the infamous last attempt of the night. We all deserve the stability and strength from a solid group of officers who know their classes, who know their roles, who work well together as a team.
We deserve it and Cataclysm will be our time to claim success and joy such as we’ve never seen before. It’ll be the exuberance of a guild-first Vashj kill with the efficiency of Hyjal wave kills. It’ll be the laughter from DIing a tank combined with the skill that allows a group of 10 to conquer the Lich King without really having talked about Phase 3.
Four weeks to go.
Bring it on.