Before I get into this, I wanted to say that I have not forgotten about the next post in my preparing a guild series. This post has to come first, for reasons which will become obvious shortly. (Members of Apotheosis, go read my post on our forums first, if you haven’t already.)

I had set a deadline for my guildies to let me know if they were interested in raiding with Apotheosis in Mists of Pandaria. That deadline was 12:00am ET on Monday, June 11th.

Of course, I had to make up my own mind. I have vacillated wildly throughout this expansion. I’ve enjoyed some encounters and some decisions Blizzard has made and I’ve also really, REALLY hated some encounters and some decisions. (Seriously, you ought to hear me in Episode 33 of Blessing of Frost, when we discovered, right as we were recording, that Firelands was being nerfed. Around the 38 minute mark.)

So when the time came for me to look at my own name in my handy-dandy spreadsheet, I hesitated. A lot. Under the “Raiding in MoP” column, I put YES. I put NO. I deleted my answer. I stared at the blank space and I promptly closed the spreadsheet.

I gave it some more thought. Saying “yes”, to me, doesn’t really just mean saying yes. As the guild master, it means another 18-24 months of commitment to the guild and the guildies and the raids. I cannot just say “yeah, sure,” and then bail after six months if I wasn’t happy, I would feel as though I was letting the whole team down. I know what craziness happens when a GM steps down. It’s even worse if they’re the raid leader (like I am). I knew that if I could not commit to another ~2 years, I should not commit at all. It would be so much worse for the team later on if things went to hell.

I went to bed.

I opened up the spreadsheet again the next day and typed in “NO” next to my name and let my officers know that same day. I posted to my guild’s forums late Thursday night.

So I will not be raiding in Mists of Pandaria. I will likely no longer be playing after my Annual Pass runs out. I will be giving up the roles of guild master and raid leader to other people (working that stuff out).

I am genuinely sad about this. But it has to be done. I can’t do another two years of “this”. And by “this”, I mean everything. The mediation of squabbles among guild members, the recruiting and interviews, the attempts to change policies, the research for raids, the log diving (as much as I love it), just attending almost every single raid… I think I’ve missed less than 10 raids in the last 18 months.

I thought about the whole “delegation” thing. People always tell me I do too much. Frankly, fuck that. It’s never really been a question of “Good God, I’m doing way too much,” because I am doing what I feel needs to be done AND I’m happy to do it. The problem was that external circumstances arose. My grandmother breaking her hip in December and my father’s recent hospitalization (he’s fine and she’s doing better, although I’m still her errand girl, as we live in the same apartment building), plus finals really showed me that “Real Life” can rise up and swallow ALL of your free time. I was forced to name a new healing lead, the wonderful Jasyla, which I don’t really regret (although I miss chatting more with the healers in general) and I did a lot of work for the guild ahead of time (like boss strats and such). I got to be very good at managing my time while my grandmother was hospitalized, but I knew I still had a lot on my plate.

The thing is, it’s actually less time-consuming for me to do stuff myself. And it’s more satisfying, too. Rather than constantly asking people to do X, Y and Z and then following up, it’s easier to do it myself from the start and there’s a lot less communication between people needed, because, hey, it’s just me!

Still, though, I thought about it. I thought about maintaining GM and giving away raid leader to an officer. I thought about giving the bank to someone. I thought about giving recruitment to someone else. It would have lightened my own load substantially, since the raid leader position is really the bulk of the work.

Then, I realized that I don’t actually want to raid in Mists of Pandaria. I’m not excited about any of the changes except POSSIBLY Challenge Modes. I am not thrilled by the beta, which is hilarious, because that is the only reason I signed up for the Annual Pass. And I have not logged into beta since the level cap was 87. (It is now 90, so it’s been a while.) I am uninterested in what’s in store for holy paladins (except Clemency, that still looks awesome — a cooldown FOR your cooldowns!) and hunters. I am not excited about basically anything I’ve seen yet. Sure, Pandaria is gorgeous, but I’m not connecting to it. I haven’t posted anything about the Mists beta here because I’ve literally done one instance a couple of times and I quested Kurn to 86. And that’s it.

I also don’t trust Blizzard not to nerf everything to hell and back again. I don’t trust them to… well, anything, really. The Real ID fiascos, the nerfs, the fact that Blizzard’s views of the game are drifting further and further from my own… it’s the writing on the wall. I AM that person who will say “You’re damn right I did Jailbreak for my guildies 17 times!” and “We 27-manned Gehennas one night, that’s how hard it was to get 40 people in a raid!” and I remember the OLD Decursive and I remember a time when all paladin gear had strength AND intellect on it and I remember when people would craft resist gear! I am that cranky old player who yells about how easy these kids have it these days with their LFGs and LFRs and VPs and 10-man raids.

I don’t value a lot of the things in the game right now. None of the LFG or LFR pugs I’ve run have been things I want to treasure. Most of them are things I want to forget. My guild is one of the few exceptions, because I really do value the people and the team and the atmosphere. However, there aren’t a lot of things in-game right now that I treasure. There’s nothing like my epic bow quest anymore. There’s nothing like the Benediction quest either. There are no more attunements. Instead, there are all these people who think they deserve epics and raid spots because they’re max level and can game the ilvl requirement by using PVP gear. (I am talking to YOU, DK tank who “tanked” my End Time run on my resto shaman with your PVP intellect boots and 0 gems or enchants on the rest of your strength PVP gear while wearing the VP agility trinket.)

The number of players who think the way I do and value the same things I do has rapidly shrunk this expansion. It was getting bad in Wrath, but it’s gotten worse in Cataclysm. The things I mentioned earlier, my memories of Jailbreak, of undermanning Molten Core bosses, of crazy tier gear for classes like the paladin… These things are important to me. Yes, attunements were crazy, but what a bonding experience for guildies. The 45-minute Baron runs? Amazing. (And this is likely why Challenge Modes spark my interest a bit.) Just about everything from “the old days” makes me smile. Farming Essences of Air in Silithus, hunting down my demons for my Rhok’delar (and having half my guild laugh as Klinfran the Crazed kicked my ASS across the Burning Steppes), 5-manning Zul’Gurub trash at 2am at level 60, doing a 45m Baron run in 39 minutes without a tank apart from my cat, Whisper… These are the things that mean the most to me, these were some of my best memories in the game.

I’ve always said that if you can’t roll with Blizzard’s punches, you won’t survive in this game. It’s true. You have to adapt, you have to change, you have to embrace the new stuff. I think that I’m finally done with it. It’s exhausting to keep up with the changes. It’s also sad, for me, to see how little Blizzard values the things I enjoyed, which some of my favourite memories centered around. So I will take my precious Vanilla and BC memories, some of my Wrath memories and some amazing times from Cataclysm, I will breathe a sigh of resignation and I will take my leave of the game.

Don’t get me wrong, here. I don’t care if you quit or if you keep playing. Do what makes you happy. I won’t try to convince you to leave and I don’t want people to try to convince me to stay. I’m just documenting my decision and the repercussions thereof. You don’t have to read it if you don’t want to, and obnoxious comments will not be approved and/or deleted. :)

So with that said, what will happen to this little ol’ blog?

It’ll likely stay online for, well, a long time. It doesn’t cost me anything extra to keep it online, but at one point, it’ll become inactive in the sense that I won’t have posted anything for a while. I’ll likely write some goodbye post in November, but I’m not gone yet.

In the meantime, I plan to keep up on my prepping the guild for the expansion series. I plan to finish up some of those 33 draft posts. I plan to do something to pass my knowledge along to whoever’s interested. I’ve learned a lot about managing a guild and playing at relatively high levels of content and I feel as though I still have a lot to share before I leave.

As to the podcast, that’s still to be determined (and I still need to edit our latest episode).

As for the guild, Apotheosis will still be a 25-man raiding guild in Mists of Pandaria.

Once Choice finishes raiding for the expansion, I’ll be done over there, too.

And no. You may not have my gold or any other stuff I have on any character. ;)