Original Authored Date: 5/5/09
Source of Delay: Pre-Finals Overload
It doesn't take long to learn that 4 nights of serious raiding each week is really sufficient to meet the needs of even a hardcore raider. Especially with three of those nights in a row, the subsequent lull on the off-days is palpable. I generally find myself online during these lulls anyways, as my workload permits, but finding the energy to even run old farm instances (OS, Naxx) is hard.
I don't know exactly how to feel about this. On the one hand, I'm loving every minute I'm in Ulduar. Even when we're wiping from stupid mistakes, the group chemistry and general willingness to try again, to try something new, and to fix what is broken is motivating and inspiring and, most of all, fun. In some sense, the four-hour raid nights seem to pass too quickly; there's rarely a sense of dragging our heels through the content.
On the other hand, Ulduar is all we have regularly scheduled. I adore the new challenges, but part of me wishes I didn't have to give up all of the existing content for it. I don't know why I enjoy going back: the content is trivially easy, and the gear upgrades are minimal at best. But that lower difficulty has innate advantages: we can be lazier when we're in Naxx, and we can go for random achievements for fun.
Maybe it's simple. Maybe it just boils down to: I need to do these Ulduar raids, so they are less appealing, while content I don't need to do suddenly becomes more appealing by virtue of not being mandatory. I don't believe this to be true; I signed up for hardcore raiding content because I wanted to keep the pace, and I still do want to take on these new challenges.
Is it simpler still? Do I just want to be able to do everything every week? I think it'd be hilarious to have every single raid on lockout for my tank and my off-characters. The time requirement there is enormous, however, even with a full schedule set ahead of time: I don't think I'll be finding that many free hours until I'm out of school and unemployed. Nevertheless, I've found that the irrationality of a goal rarely mitigates the desire for that goal; more often than not, it makes that goal even more desirable.
Ultimately, I think I am finding myself with just enough time to squeeze in one more good raid night, but not enough camraderie available during that time to pull off a solid run. I guess this isn't such a bad thing - I just need to be okay with not running a raid at that time. Maybe someday raid times will change to spread out more, but I certainly recognize the need of a solid chunk of time each night, as well as nights with no obligation (I do need some nights off myself, if only to farm up more mats and repair funds).
I guess I'll need a bit more time to adjust to the new timing scheme. If I truly delve into these raid nights and take the off-nights completely off the game, I may find that I enjoy this new system even more than I thought I would. Now I don't have to miss raids to see DanceTroupe's "In the Spotlight"!
5/16/09 Update: My guild has reached the point at which we can run Ulduar25 regularly. Off-nights are now able to be Ulduar10's, which appeal to just about everyone (definite gear upgrades, decent challenge and involvement) and do not require a full raiding roster to log on. Naxx25 just doesn't seem possible if we don't give it a scheduled night, and why would we? There's more fun to be had in Ulduar!