As the new year rapidly approaches, I look back and see that both WoW and I have made significant changes over the year; some good, some bad. On the not so good side, I went from being a regular raider to a rarely raider as my guild drifted from a casual raiding guild to a less casual progression guild. Now that some of the most hard core raiders have moved on or aren't online as much now that the last boss of the expansion has been downed, we'll see how things go raiding-wise in the new year. I also had to put two thirds of my alt army on temporary hiatus when I cancelled my subscription on my other two accounts for fiscal reasons. The last "bad" thing was the constant changes to classes to balance them. I've had to constantly change specs to meet peak performance, usually taking a longer adjustment period than I would prefer. It's not too bad when you only play one class, but I play all ten and trying to keep up with the nerfs and buffs is a nightmare. Combined with the difficulty of the heroics when they were new, it made asshattery in pugs a lot more common. It got to the point where I stopped doing heroics unless it was a guild group.
The good, though, does outweigh the bad by a fairly large margin. Although I am no longer a regular raider with my guild, I can and do raid two nights a week. With the LFR feature, I can raid on my own schedule and I have been able to see and complete the final raid of the expansion. With this new tool, I'll also be able to raid on my alts - which is something I wasn't able to do at all during this expansion and just barely did in the last. I missed out on Firelands, but look forward to the new raids.
With my alt army sidelined, I've had to focus on my current ten. One of my sidelined toons was my main blacksmith/jewelcrafter and another was my scribe so I added those professions to my current characters. Even though I had most of the needed materials banked, it still took a lot of gold to get past some profession bottlenecks. I had the foresight to craft the big three red gems before my account was put on hold, and I made a tidy profit from all the raiders that didn't get epic gems for their new gear. I was also able to move some glyphs, although my main purpose for having a scribe is so I can create my own glyphs for my characters.
I'm still trying to manage all the changes to the various classes and specs. While I'm doing quite well on my hunter, I still struggle with some of the others. I've gone from Beast Mastery to Survival, Survival to Marksman, and now back to Beast Mastery. This spec is still viable even though Survival is now back in the "top" spot. I finally have a stable full of spirit beasts, and I like having them around. I'm still first or second in heroics, and usually in the top five in the raids so I'm not changing anything spec-wise.
I think I spend more time in online resources than I do in game! There are some great bloggers out there, and only a fraction of them are on my blog roll. Some of the greats have retired, but many more have stepped up and the 'verse is still thriving. Wowhead, EJ, Zeherah, Ask Mr. Robot, and other online tools have also been a boon to players everywhere. I would be clueless and frustrated with my alts if these resources weren't around.
Last, but not least: this entire expansion. While there have been some that disliked Cataclysm, I have enjoyed it immensely. From the new 1-60 changes thru the new zones, I've had a blast. I've finished every new zone except Twilight Highlands on my main, and I enjoyed them all. From the lore to the pop culture shout outs, this has been a fun expansion. There were constant improvements throughout, from small quality of life things like putting quest givers in all the instances to the looking for raid tool. With everything available in the game, I have a hard time not finding something to do when I log on.
No progress this week, I've been having too much fun with LFR and between gearing up some of my alts and doing the Winter Veil daily (got the shiny dagger! RNG likes me again!) I haven't even played my lowbies.