I went through this last year after we killed the Lich King and it's happened again now, where a lot of folks are just done with raiding and nobody logs in. It is so frustrating to deal with this kind of thing after working so hard, and it's not like I haven't set expectations - everyone knows I wanted to progress into heroics but this week has seen a steep, steep drop-off in attendance. 40 - 50% of the raid just didn't show up. And I'm left scratching my head.
Am I doing something wrong?
As usual, I assume I'm at fault, I have done something wrong in terms of motivation, or setting expectations, or maybe it's my personality that's responsible for turning people off to raiding, I know I push hard for progression and I can be a bit stubborn when I decide a boss needs to die, to the exclusion of everything else, extending lock-out to return straight to a boss despite a brutal night or two of wiping the week before - but I think I know when we've got the gear to do something and just need to pull together a strategy and when we're wiping to enrages. I try to make reasonable calls on that end, and not just rush against a wall when we lack the gear.
If we hadn't done this, we would not have gotten Nefarian down. I have no doubt in my mind on that point - we got Nefarian because we pushed so hard against it. But maybe that's not what people want. The difficulty level of this tier is absolutley no problem for me - I enjoy the difficulty and I enjoy the challenge and the only reason we didn't finish Nefarian a month or two ago is because we had shit attendance and had to PUG week after week after week till we got a semi-stable group for about a month and a half.
And now it's gone. And I really want to blame someone or something and the only person or thing I can point at is leadership and myself. Even if it isn't some failure on my part in terms of leadership, I can point at our rules - the laissez-faire attendance requirement, the casual loot-rules - which I put together because hey, we are usually raiding with friends and you don't want to deal with this kind of shit with friends. But when you're recruiting, you look like a totally casual guild to even semi-serious raiders and they move on.
It all comes back to decisions I have made.
Now, it could just be burn-out, and people will come rushing back for Firelands, but it leaves me with a deep anxiety. Will the raid survive more than a couple of weeks or am I going to be recruiting all summer long? I don't mean everyone of course, I have a rock-solid core of people but the last few positions seem just impossible to fill with people who can raid week after week. And I know that core is going to fluctuate over the summer. It just always does - it's the nature of summer raiding.
And I'm sure those people who want to go but can't all have reasonable reason for not raiding, I don't begrudge them, this is a frustration with the situation not with the people involved. I understand that reality imposes itself onto a game frequently and with little consideration for one's plans. And when these people log in - I love it, I really, really wish they could come regularly, a lot of these people are my friends.
But. When I'm wiping on stupid bosses with PUGs, just to keep the raid group together, when I'm re-training and re-gearing recruits from scratch, when I'm trying to get back to where we were a month ago... it just leaves me feeling like I'm spinning my wheels.
Honestly, if I have to beg, plead, chase, and cajole people to raid again; or worse, if I have to PUG through 4.2... Firelands might well be my last tier as a Raid Lead.
I really don't want it to be. I really want to keep raiding with my friends. I want it so much I can't put it in words. This is why I raid - to play with my friends. But I'm left with no choice other than to assume that the raid team falls apart over and over and over again because of me and it's time I stopped trying.
I'm exhausted of solving the same fucking problem since January. I'm beyond exhausted. It's time to fix it, move on, or quit.