Today, Raiding After Dark is a year old!
I could go back and do a sum-total of words written, but I doubt it'll be significant since I only had 57 entries which amounts to posting once a week, more or less, not a lot to brag about or anything, but consistent. Maybe I'll double my rate for the next year!
But anyway. I'm going to use this opportunity to reflect on my last year in Warcraft.
It has been a good one for me, certainly much better than the year before. February of 2010 started off badly but then rapidly got better, as the guild I founded - Infinite Turtle Theory - came together and solidified into a raid-vanquishing juggernaut (well, maybe not, but hey, we accomplished everything we set out to do). We held together through the later half of the year somehow. A couple of dear friends drifted away but the majority of our core remained with us.
When we came into Cataclysm it really seemed like we had no steam left - things got off to a very lethargic start but the last month has seen a lot of energy and excitment building up to the point where we agreed to add a third night of raids just to get more bosses down. And the suggestion came from one of the members, not me.
As far as mains go, my Protection/Retribution Paladin continues to hold my attention. Once Joachim, now Innana, she went through a lot of changes both physically (gender changed to female, race changed to Draenei) and faction (Alliance to Horde, back to Alliance). I was worried that I would switch off to one of my many alts, but I'm super glad I didn't, after the amount of work I poured into her for achievements. The class changes after 4.0.3 made Paladins more dynamic, fun and over-powered, throwing out the face-roll play of Wrath. Good paladins and bad are differentiated now so that you can tell them apart at least, and that makes me happy.
My alts, however, remain a mystery to me in terms of which ones hold my attention.
All of last year, I was expecting my Death Knight and Druid to be high on the list of character I would level but instead, the two alts I have focused on are my warrior who was unplayed through all of Wrath and my Warlock who I leveled over the summer during the massive down-time. Both classes excite me greatly, and while I doubt I'll raid on my Warrior, I do plan to raid on my Warlock on the side when the opportunity arises.
I've dabbled with all three specs on both these characters, though I think I will settle on Affliction and Demonology for my Warlock. They just seem more evil and especially the Demonology style of AoE thrills me in ways I can't describe. Calling down an Infernal, transforming into a Demon, hitting Imolation Aura, asking my Felguard to storm then casting Leap and ending it all with a Hellfire is just. Awesome.
The Affliction style of DoTs and drain life/drain soul on the other hand with a Succubus pet is just relentlessly insidious and it fits my mood better in a cruel, vampiric sort of way.
How come the two classes I seem to enjoy the most are either a Champion of Light or a Diabolist Corrupter? Don't ask me, I'm always playing at the polar extreme ends of human behavior.
After leveling as Arms for ages, on a whim I swapped to Fury and holy crap, the Titan Grip style of play was so wonderful that I just kept with it and got massive numbers. I've continued to level with this spec, and a prot off-spec sits mostly unused.
After agonizing for ages over it, I finally transferred my Death Knight over to Alliance as a Worgen. I dearly, dearly miss his Forsaken nature, but at least he retains his monstrous state as a werewolf. I didn't want to neuter him completely by giving him a placid, happy Alliance race. He remains Frost (dual-wield) and Blood, and will do so forever. Unholy is just unattractive to me. Either way, he continues to inspire me greatly, though I feel like a huge amount of his attractiveness to me was lost when he was no longer Forsaken. I loved playing him as an insane, cannibal poet with Swiss-cheese memories with an unrelenting devotion to Silvanus but now I am still trying to wrap my head around him as a steam-punk undead Victorian werewolf (Alchemy/Engineering, don't you know.)
I have a feeling I'm going to wind up capping all my characters over the next few months, and my Druid will remain my one and only healer until I level that Priest and Shaman that I never seem to get to.
Finally, last year was the first time I PvP'd with any seriousness. My 2v2 Arenas team with a Resto Shaman reached up to 1500 or so before my partner took a break from the game. I haven't found another partner since then, which makes me sad. I was excited to continue PvPing even at a casual-serious level, but maybe I'll find a partner yet. The seasons is only half-over.
All that said, I do find myself struggling to stifle frustration when I deal with building a roster. People have emergencies and life changes, I'm certainly not to immune to that, but having to solve the same organizational problem over and over and over has gotten really stale. And unlike a 25 raid, we don't have a deep bench. We don't have a bench at all, really, and always have one or two PuGs on a typical night.
In addition, keeping Guild XP levels up and consistent is another issue that just gives me heartburn. Recruitment isn't really viable unless you're leveling your guild at a competitive rate, and then there are guild achievements, some of which leave me gnawing my feet away with drudgery, just to get access to essential raid items (Fish Feast 2.0, for example.)
From right here, about half-way in-between major content patches, I'd say I'm pretty happy with last year's Warcrafting. Let's see how 2011 treats us. :-)