So as of yesterday morning, I'm yellow-barred on WoW Heroes through Heroic Eye of Eternity. Not only that, but for the first time, all of my enchants are listed as top level (as soon as I get another socket slapped on my new belt, anyway). I have my full ten-man Tier 7 set -- granted, a couple of pieces were sidegrades or slight downgrades to what I had before, but I'm a sucker for matchy shit, and the last two pieces of it got defaulted to me anyway. Be.Imba actually has my "should perform well" line past the end of the 25-man Malygos fight. By all means, gear- and talent-wise, I have every right and ability in the world to just stroll up to any given raid boss currently in the game and shoot the living crap out of it.
The only 25-man content I've seen is Obsidian Sanctum. It happens once a week. I'm not likely to see any of the other heroic content until Ulduar comes out at the very soonest.
My guild be tiny. It's hysterical for me to say that, because we've recently pretty much exploded in numbers. We first started raiding in BC around last... August or September, I wanna say, if not later. And by "started raiding" I mean someone looked at the guild list and said, "Dude, we have ten 70s on." And someone else yelled "OMG, let's go to Kara!", and we did.
As of now, working around alts and schedules and the like, on the average night we can put together a ten-man raid with one to three people left over. Every so often we have a short night and have to grab someone off the guild's collective friends list. We host a Sunday night 25-man Sarth run -- no drakes -- with some of the better people we collectively know from members' old guilds and the like. I'll fully admit to being frustrated -- the random number gods have been good to me, and ADD and farming content don't really mix. I'd pretty much give any non-game-necessary appendage for the chance to see Kel'Thuzad or Malygos on heroic mode, to have a new challenge to work towards and new loot to aim for.
So I guess it's a shame that I'm not gonna do anything about it.
I've heard the tone people use when they say "family guild" -- the same tone you'd use when referring to the "girlfriend" of a guy that you know is gay. I joined my guild the day that I converted my trial account to paid, about six days after Jez was first rolled in early December of 2007. The friend who convinced me to try WoW was already a member, and told me the people were friendly, welcoming and understanding of noobishness. Plus the guild leader and second-in-command both played hunters, so they'd be able to help me along. This was before I knew what raiding was.
Fast forward to a year and some change later. I haven't so much as stepped into 25-man Naxx with these people.
What I have done is every heroic dungeon in the game, some of them multiple times over in pursuit of a single piece of gear for a single person. I've /cheered countless upgrades and /spit on bosses who dropped healing plate instead of the belt the shaman needed. I've sleepwalked through fights I didn't give half a damn for and watched the only upgrade I needed get handed to someone else. I've wiped six or seven times in a row on a boss because one person in the group wasn't getting it (including at least a couple where that person was me).
I've seen a resto druid down Kael'thas Sunstrider with moonfire spam, and a dead Death Knight resurrect herself as a ghoul and bite Sjonnir the Iron-Shaper to death (on heroic, no less). I've seen wipes at 1% on bosses we destroyed the week before. I've spent four weeks going after the Safety Dance achievement before finally barely pulling it off, only to go in later with five people who'd never seen the fight and got it immediately. Hell, I've gotten achievements I didn't know existed before I happenstanced into them.
I've wrapped up raids at 10 PM and still not gotten to bed until a quarter of two, flying my nether ray in circles while nattering on in Vent about life, love, school, politics, religion, and the sexual fetishes of nearly every canon character in the Warcraft universe. (Ask me why Kil'Jaeden is into dragon bukkake. You know you want to know.) I've theorycrafted over omelets at the IHOP across the street from Disneyland, argued lore over drinks at the Anaheim Hilton, and spent three hours hiding behind my favored meat-shield while DPSing down the Blizzard Store Line Boss. I'm currently frantically combing my work schedule for a point at which I can run away to a little lake north of Atlanta to get drunk and barbecue (and probably theorycraft and argue lore) with people I've never laid eyes on before.
A week or two ago, some slap-in-the-face drops and respeccing woes had combined with RL stress and emotional problems to turn me into a sobbing mess of inadequacy issues. I spent a good twenty minutes in tells with my guild leader reassuring me that I was useful to the guild, valuable to have on raids and damn good at playing my class. Comfort I didn't deserve for being so overreactive, but there it was.
If my car breaks down or my flight gets cancelled anywhere between Dallas and Washington D.C. (or in Chicago, or a few choice parts of the west coast), I have a ride and a sofa to crash on.
I've had the time of my life over the last year and change, and I have more and better friends than I thought someone with my lack of social skills ever would.
There are a lot of great raiding guilds on my server. I could get subbed into a raid with any one of them and have a good chance of getting in. I could probably, with a few upgrades, pull top DPS in any given heroic PUG on our realm. I could go take on the biggest and baddest raids in the game, and leave my tiny ten-man "family guild" in the dust.
Fuck it. I'll come back for Malygos at 90.