Mythic raiding. Where do I even begin?
Back in Mists of Pandaria, I was part of a very tightly knit 10-player raiding guild called Harvest Moon. The guild stood for friendship and fun and raiding in a close atmosphere. The supportive nature of the guild produced really excellent players – we cleared Normal ToT and went on to kill 11/14 Heroic in SoO. It was a real pleasure to be a part of the team, even through various leadership changes and a name change to Omnishambles.
We’ve always been a guild who believed first and foremost that playing well and progressing far in Heroic raiding wasn’t mutually exclusive with a fun and casual atmosphere. We really showed that in Mists of Pandaria, and we were totally poised to carry that on into Warlords of Draenor. But then… Mythic. 20-player only. Oh damn.
I was watching the livestream back at the announcement, and even back then I wasn’t entirely happy about it. On a low progression server like Ghostlands EU, it seemed an impossible question to ask a small guild to suddenly double its roster.
We did, though. We recruited hard for over a year and our server was merged with Dragonblight (which brought in a whole bunch of lovely players), and we made it to WoD as a full guild with a full roster and ready to carry on the legacy we worked so hard building in Mists. It didn’t happen, and it’s worth saying why.
What we’ve discovered the hard way is that one cannot just add players to a guild and expect things to work out the same way. We recruited extremely heavily, and along with that came expectations – expectations of progress, expectations of performance, expectations of leadership. Our leaders – myself included – did our best, and we did our jobs competently enough, but it simply isn’t enough to do that.
Somewhere along the line, we lost the spark. Our leaders were working a second job, our raiders were having problems satisfying both the supportive atmosphere and the expectations of performance and progress. Tensions built up and it stopped being fun for everyone. It’s nobody’s fault, but the leaders of the guild have been put in the position where we have to choose between raiding Mythic (being miserable as a consequence) or possibly not even raiding at all. That’s not a choice we should have to make. The guild was great on the fundamental basis that fun and achievement weren’t mutually exclusive on our commitments.
The change to Mythic broke that. We can no longer have a nice atmosphere and progress. It just doesn’t fit with the casual time commitment which we have to keep. Where we were once “causalcore”, we are now simply casual. Now that we’ve taken the step away from Mythic, though, there is no going back – it would be against the fundamental principles of the guild to turn around one day and tell our friends that we can’t bring them because we have too many DPS.
I keep returning to this fact in my mind, because it demonstrates the exact problem that Mythic has caused us – when all difficulties we wanted to raid were fixed size, it was a natural progression from Normal to Heroic. Now, we have to abruptly change the guild’s approach to move between difficulties. There is now a barrier to entry to Mythic that we just can’t allow and didn’t have to deal with before, and it has utterly killed our ambitions. We are disempowered.
Worse – in the brief period that Highmaul Mythic has existed, our leaders have burned out one by one. We, who used to be friends, have had so much pressure trying to cope with the step change in raid size that we started to personally conflict with each other. I actually broke down in tears mid-raid. Over my favourite pastime.
Our guild isn’t the only to suffer. I see so many guild struggling to raise enough players to hit the Mythic bar. So many groups of players who, until WoD hit, were well progressed and happy groups. Many of them have fallen by the wayside in some respect – be it in terms of raid atmosphere or progress. Blizzard made a change to the raiding sizes with the promise that the community will adapt. But which community? My community? My community nearly split apart at the seams. I nearly lost my friends. While the bulk community has carried on, the small sub-communities, those who mattered dearly to me as a small-group raider, have lost their essence.
Fundamentally, the change to raiding in WoD has killed the dreams of my guild. It has made life measurably worse for our guild leaders and it’s impacted my own mental health. Raiding has seen a fundamental change, one that I knew in my bones was going to happen, and now I am reaping the consequences. We can no longer be good, casual, and happy, and as a result WoW has lost something fundamentally precious to me.
Blizzard didn’t have to make that change, but it made it knowing full well that many 10-player guilds would fundamentally break. I’m not angry; I’m disappointed.
Welcome to <Omnishambles> – Ghostlands EU. Go casual, or go home.