It's catching everyone it seems, this pre-expansion blues, lull, whatever-you-call-it. One of my favourite blogs of all time shut it's doors this weekend - not unexpectedly, in all fairness, following the oft-seen pattern of scarcity of posts, followed by a goodbye post. I always understand when people feel the time has come to hang up their WoWing and/or blogging hats, after all each on their own is a huge time investment, never mind combining the two... And this pressure must expand to an entirely new order of magnitude when you're a 'face' in the blogsphere; it's why I remain happy with my own little corner of the web, have no desire to be a big 'name' blog and continue to be humbled with gratitude whenever someone comments here!
I'm sure the raiding guilds are feeling it too, I do remember waiting for Wrath to hit, even though my raiding did not progress beyond Kara and ZA, but I remember the general 'what's the point?' feeling that seemed to rule Trade chat, and all the splitting/merging/reforming of guilds too. But reading blogs and seeing the numerous congratulations showered on my fellow SANers for killing the chilly old bugger on their 'main' Azeroth incarnations I'm glad that the bite seems to be escaping some. I guess the obvious question is whether or not I'm envious? I was never one for 'hardcore' (euch, awful expression) 'progression' (euch, nearly as bad) raiding. When I loved raiding it was because I loved gaming with my mates.
I'd never have managed a progression guild because, and I'm sure this isn't the case for all progression guilds by any means, the progression guilds on my then 'home' server were full of asshats, with the exception of the number 2 raked one which was just terrifying. They seemed to have intelligent, mature adults (eek!) and were never on Trade chat polishing their epeens unlike the first placed guild and sundry others below them. I only remember seeing one of their members on Trade once and frankly, (s)he dismembered everyone else in the channel, wit that sharp is an impressive sight to behold as long as it isn't being used against you... But mainly the progression guilds were places full of self-grandiosity , where Recount and Failbot (both tools that I guess have their place; that place being for your own, personal use, unless you are the RL and then maybe they're there for a private discussion with any players/officers after the raid if there are issues that really need addressing) were used as masturbatory aids to ensure that the ongoing 'superiority' of the uber leet. It's a hugely long story but I ended up being offered a trial with No2 guild... no I didn't take it despite my adoration of the rogue friend of mine who was offering me the chance... and his protestations that they were all fantastic people and I'd love them. It came at the wrong time for me, the raiding rot was set in too deep already, but I do occasionally wonder where I'd be now if I had. I guess Kingslayer...
So going from the fact that I would never really have enjoyed progression raiding, no I'm not jealous (other than 'Kingslayer' is a title of utter awesomesauce). Equally I'm not all that invested in Northrend. I have really, really tried to be and it hasn't worked. I liked Naxx (having not seen it in 'nilla) a great deal, but for most people I know it was yawn-some. There were bits of Ulduar that I enjoyed, but Ulduar was also the place where I not only lost my faith in my ability to heal, I lost my faith in my ability to enjoy 25-mans, whether I was healing or pewing, which led onto my still-held and oft-repeated view that I won't raid again.
From a personal, selfish perspective I remain glad that I have the freedom to toodle off and play whichever character I choose. That I have responsibility for no-one else in-game. I'm seeing if I can level Pilf to 80 from purely fishing and cooking dailies at present... I don't want to haul her round Northrend so I won't. Because I don't 'have' to. I love the fact that during my insomnia bouts (don't ask me how tired I am at present) I can think about her and write her story in my head to keep myself entertained.
I'm loving Sassi like I love... well, like I love Ben & Jerrys Half Baked ice cream but I'm going slowly with her. I've plans for her later on. She's crystallising in my head so quickly - I know what I want her to be and where I want her to go and I'm going to have so much fun getting her there. I'm loving the fact that I finally get why people make A Big Deal about the lore (hey - I even know what 'canon' is - geekdom extraordinaire for me!) and that quest text is something to read rather than clicking through and looking for the quest number circle on the map... I adore the amount of fan fic stuff that I'm devouring (anyone who wants to point me in the direction of more recommended reading would be showered in scrummy cookies in the flavour of their choice!) and the breadth, depth and imagination of people out there. I adore the fact that writing Pilf's posts has opened up new channels for me, and that it's given me enough spark to apply to NaNoWriMo this year (but I have an horrible feeling that this'll coincide nicely with the release of Cata!)
Rolling on a new server. Creating new alts all over the place. Poncing around in cities doing nothing save watch the world RP and duel its way by. Sitting by the sea in the evening, watching the sun(s) set and the moon(s) rise. Exploring areas I didn't know about. Screenshotting like a mad thing, making memories. This is how I'm spending my time. I highly recommend taking your foot off the gas if you can. If the pre-expansion blues are hitting, go do something different. Slow down. Go start somewhere new. Make new friends, have new experiences. Play for lulz. If I hadn't, I wouldn't still be in Azeroth and all the experiences I'm enjoying now I'd never know about, and that's a really sad thought. I'd have left with a bitter taste in my mouth, all the good memories crowded out by burnout and stress. And that's no way to leave something that should be fun.