One of the things I'm really enjoying about Cata is that, having stepped back from raiding, ummm pushing on a year ago, and having stepped off the gas in WoW-terms generally about 6 months ago, I haven't had a need to do anything specific post-expansion. When Wrath hit, I was all about hitting 80 and gearing up to be raid ready - hey let's get moving on that gear treadmill as soon as, yeah? And whilst I had fun initially, my second character to 80 basically didn't go near dungeons or raids because I really couldn't face doing it all over again. I remember the Tournament coming in and really resenting the dailies almost from the get-go: the jousting didn't help, to be sure, but mainly it was feeling of 'here I go again, another grind, as if the Sons of Hodir grind hadn't been bad enough...' And I don't want my game time, my down time, my escape from RL time, to feel that way. I want it to be fun dammit - gimme funz nao! I'm happy to accept that for a percentage of people, gearing up and raiding is the game, in the same way that I accept that hitting gold cap and playing the AH and the markets is also a big part for some and that PvP is what it's all about for others. It's just not my thang.
I'm one of the most anti-social casuals around now. Whilst I still have characters in SAN I'm playing alts that only I (and Himself) know about. I'm still on RP servers because frankly I find regular PvE ones really hard going nowadays but I'm levelling alone. I'm playing classes that I'm relatively inexperienced in - it seems like quite a good time to be doing this now, with so many recent changes to class mechanics, so I'm having the joy (and it is a joy to me) of not really knowing what I'm doing again. I'm not having to re-learn 'my' class so I'm not frustrated by anything that I perceive to be a nerf. I'm really enjoying the changes to the world, some big and some much more subtle. Making that head change from being part of a guild to going it solo is bloody hard. I did it through sheer necessity, too much RL recently to be able to 'commit' meaningfully to a guild, and it was odd to start with certainly. I was reminded of my early WoW days when I bumbled around, being bemused by the concept of guilds.
Now I realise that there are two 'M's in 'MMO' and, once I'd gotten comfortably ensconced in a guild, I was confused by why anyone would choose to be totally solo, but I'm realising that there are positives as well. With the changes to guilds (which I know less than nothing about, by the way) I assume that people are expected to 'commit' much more to their guild now, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but possibly means that being ultra-casual won't make you hugely popular within guilds...? And as the most fun I've had in guilds were in SAN when we were all starting out afresh, and in my old PvE guild, where again, we were all new and starting from basically zero, I don't have a burning desire to be guilded where not only is there raid progression to worry about, but also now guild progression. In my perfect world, as, I assume, in most people's, there exists an idealised version of a guild, where there are around 15-20 people, with a good class balance, who all want the same things, get on well and generally meld into a healthy, happy mass. Somewhere where there is no drama or internal politics, where raids aren't stressful, where there isn't a blame culture, where fun > progression, where people aren't bigots, where the sun always shines and no-one ever Moonfires the bunnies. Where is this guild??? Oh, that's right - it's in my head... I don't want to be somewhere that doesn't significantly enhance the fun I have with my gaming. As selfish as it sounds, if I'm not going to have any more fun playing with others than I will playing alone, I'll stick to being unguilded. If, by being guilded, I'm going to 'have' to do x y and z then I'll stick to soloing, that way neither I nor anyone else feels like they're getting a rough deal. I do miss the sociability of guilds, the nattering in g chat and then general feeling of being a part of something, but I can live without it.