It always happens. As the end of an expansion draws near, people’s interests change radically. They might suddenly realize that the loot they’ve been working so hard for will be worthless at the new level cap. They might realize that all the aggravation of raiding isn’t worth it because the new content is on its way.
Your most dedicated and hardcore raiders might finally just burn out and say screw it and move along to a more casual activity, like random battlegrounds. Or they may choose to be more dedicated to something like competitive arenas rather than raiding.
People get sloppy, focus is easily lost in raids and there’s a lot of finger-pointing going around as people feel the pressure to get things done before the new expansion launches.
Raiding is a team activity. It takes some luck and a lot of work by the guild leaders to help keep that focus going.
I’ve suffered through the end of pre-BC and BC WoW. Both times, my guilds were, shall we say, screwed.
It was due to End of Expansion Malaise that my first real guild didn’t get Onyxia down and never even attempted Majordomo. Everyone was playing similar amounts to what they’d been playing previously, but they were spending it in the battlegrounds, grinding honor to get those epics, perhaps not realizing how quickly they would be replaced in Outlands.
Apotheosis just barely weathered the End of Expansion Malaise at the end of Burning Crusade. We were 4/5 in Mount Hyjal and 5/9 in Black Temple when 3.0 dropped and the nerf bat hit the remaining bosses. If this hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t have cleared both instances. We had lost some valuable raiders who were frustrated with our progression and that we even managed to get Bloodboil and Gorefiend on farm before the nerf is kind of a miracle in and of itself.
We suffered through some cancelled raids and some short-handed raids and some really bad raid comps, but, by golly, we killed Archimonde (and probably would have done so even without the nerf!) and we killed Reliquary, Mother, Council and Illidan.
We had all of three attempts on Kalecgos though, because halfway through trash to him, one of our warrior tanks just gave up. He was asked to tank something and, well, he wasn’t. So our paladin tank (who was also an officer) taunts the thing and is now tanking two things and then the warrior tank wakes up and taunts it back, even when there’s something else that’s not being tanked.
After asking on vent and in the tank channel and raid chat, the pally tank loses it.
“[tank name] PLZ STOP NOT TANKING SHIT” goes out over the raid warning.
Personally, I laughed my ass off.
The warrior went offline.
Five minutes later, he comes back… on his shadow priest. And declares that he is done with people riding his coattails.
Alone, that’s just laughable. He was arguably our weakest tank.
But what pissed me off about it is that he just quit in the middle of a raid. Four days until the expansion launched, while we were tooling around in Sunwell Plateau, he just quits.
I have no respect for people who quit.
If someone signs up for a guild that I’m running, they are signing up for the rest of the expansion, as far as I’m concerned. If you have legitimate RL issues, okay, that’s understandable. But the fact remains that if you quit, you let the team down.
Why am I talking about this now?
I find myself experiencing End of Expansion Malaise. Not on my raiding character — I’m still looking forward to raids with my “new” guild (eight or so weeks in, are they still my “new” guild?). But I’ve neglected the hell out of Kurn and my other alts. Part of it is the Beta — it’s like I can just fast-forward ahead three months or however long it’s going to be and just experience the new game content, glitchy though it may be. I’m getting to see what my hunter is capable of right now — and, currently geared, I have yet to replace anything at almost level 82. (Although I would definitely replace a trinket with a trinket out of Blackrock Caverns.) What this means to me is that I’ve gotten to the point in current content where I will be able to power through early expansion quests without trouble, at least on the hunter, which is really the only character I really care about, apart from the paladin.
I honestly don’t care about daily heroics and Emblems of Frost. I don’t care about Primordial Saronites and crafted gear, clearing content, getting achievements… All of that interest and desire is pretty much gone.
I do, however, want to make a crapton of gold before Cataclysm hits. I’d like to have around 50-60k gold on my hunter’s server (which has all my other toons on it save the pally) and 20k gold on my pally’s server, so that I can transfer everyone over with the max amount of gold (or close to it) and be able to start over again on Eldre’Thalas with a healthy amount of gold.
We’ll see if that happens, though. With my increased apathy towards current game content on my hunter, I don’t know if I’ll find the energy to actually make gold over the next couple of months, particularly since my brother and Majik enjoy bankrupting me on a near-weekly basis. ;)
However, I am dedicated to finishing this expansion with my current guild on my paladin. I will be there for the raids. I will stick it out through thick and thin. It’s what I expect of everyone else and I hold myself to the same standards.
I’m still not convinced that Blizzard has mastered the transition from old-to-new expansion yet. But I know that even if they’re unable to keep people interested in playing, that I will continue to play out of duty and obligation, if not out of fun. Because I’m part of a team. And I understand how important it is to not let the rest of the team down.
(But I’m still having fun, too.)