I kept my promise to take the day off from WoW this past Friday.
For the most part.
Oh, I didn't login to the game or anything, and I didn't read any WoW related Discord servers. However, there were discussions among the leveling Shamans that went on, and I grew concerned enough that I decided to reach out to my team's Raid Lead, who was also a member of Guild Leadership. I informed her of the current state of morale among the leveling Shamans, and after a short conversation that I won't repeat, she took the matter to the rest of Guild Leadership.
The net effect was that I began receiving Discord messages at 4 - 4:30 AM EST about how the leveling Shamans were finally starting to get some love. (That was great and all, but I kind of wanted to sleep.)
Over the weekend there have been some small changes here and there, and an announcement post highlighting the issues both the leveling Shamans and the Healers are having in getting to 70 and attuned.
Long term? I'm not certain how it'll play out, but I feel that at least we're moving in the right direction.
Yes, I was being intentionally vague with a lot of that first part, because outside of some general stuff it's pretty much internal and private discussion.
But I ought to mention that this problem, whether it the leveling Shamans, Healers, or people rushing to L70 while others aren't, well.....
Let's just say this is not a problem limited to my guild.
I've discovered similar things, where people I've never seen before suddenly showing up in the Guild, and others not showing up at all. And we're not talking 2-3 people, but like 10 or more in each category.
But for me, in discussion among friends on the server who are part of other guilds, the biggest takeaway is that the current min-max Meta strategy for "Winning BC" (my term) is creating a big divide of Haves and Have Nots.
On the one side, you have the Haves, those who took the week off from work* and followed the Meta to the letter and now found themselves at Max level, attuned, and ready to jump into Karazhan. A lot of these have already started leveling their alts through Outland, focusing on the same Meta strategy, but without as much free time as before.
On the other, you have the Have Nots, those who didn't do all the stuff that the Haves did, for various reasons, and have found themselves lagging behind the rest. This includes people like the leveling Shamans**, Healers, people who had vacations or whatnot planned before Blizz announced the June 1st TBC release, graduations, family reunions, etc. This also includes people who are following the Meta, but simply don't have the time to devote to it that the Haves did.
Among a wide range of guilds on Myzrael, these two divides are creating internal tension. The Haves want to raid Karazhan and 25-person content NOW, while the Have Nots are looking at the Haves and saying "Hey, Kara isn't going anywhere, and it's not like Wrath of the Lich King Classic is dropping in December, so what's the rush? Why not help us get to L70 and attuned if you're so eager to raid?"***
I've heard from more than one friend that there's been posts in their guild's Discord about how "we're all in this together", and "we raid as a team". That sounds great, but I suspect more than one guild will be rent asunder by the internal tension as the Haves split for guilds that will let them raid as soon as possible.****
But for me, my answer always is more of a long term one: what's the point of the rush?You binge on Kara now, and you'll be sick of it in a couple of months. And guess what? The people or alts who will need to get into Kara won't find anybody in guild wanting to run it.
The same thing will happen --and likely is already happening-- with 5-person content. You binge on it so much, you get sick of it, and you never volunteer to help out a guildie who needs it. And I'm here to tell you that except for the raids, the only additional multiplayer content that drops in TBC Classic is Magister's Terrace. And that's it. So if you want to experience "more" TBC Classic, you're going to have to raid, and the Have Nots will not forget how they were treated by the Haves when they finally get to the 25-person stage.
From what I've heard from people who were there, when the original TBC was released, all of this wasn't quite as much of an issue. People weren't rushing to endgame with a ready made Meta, as they were still trying to figure the damn thing out. Guild issues were still there --as people will be people-- and scaling down from 40 person raids to 25 person raids is frequently an exercise in eating shards of glass. And the concept of leveling a Shaman to be ready when the Dark Portal opened was non-existent, as you couldn't roll a Shaman (Ally side) or Paladin (Horde side) until TBC released.
But now, years later, I think that the Meta is just the latest attempt to apply Retail WoW "sensibilities" to TBC Classic, which is something it really wasn't designed for.
And I have to wonder how much longer before we see the dreaded "I'm Bored" in Trade or LFG chat.
*Or were insane like me and devoted almost every non-working moment to WoW.
**Another side effect of the power leveling I did on Brig is that Brig is poor. I mean, "I could barely afford basic riding at L58" poor. Card was already poor due to the dynamics of keeping supplied with all of the Naxx consumables on twice a week basis, so my crack about Briganaa selling weed was only half joking.
***Depending on your guild, there may be profanity involved.
****I do know of one that kind of blew up when about half the guild just up and split to create their own version of their Retail guild on Myz. Not exactly the same, because it highlights tensions in place prior to TBC launching, but I'm sure I'll hear of more soon enough.