The end of the current WOW expansion is upon us and still the final challenge remains unbeaten. My guild is ranked 14th in the world for pure progress and 5th for achievements and yet killing the Lich King hardmode may not happen. It is a sad statement for how the pure 10 man raiding path has gone that only one guild has so far managed to stick to 10 man content and take down the Lich King; congratulations to The Typhoon Struggle.
The end of a WOW expansion always involves some ludicrously hard fights and I have never defeated any of them though this time I have come very close. It takes a pretty dedicated individual to push hard enough to defeat the most brutal challenges laid before us and every time these challenges have come up I have ended up burning out on raiding for various reasons. In Classic it was because Elli was born and maintaining a raiding schedule with a casual guild suffering badly from 'expansionitis' was simply not viable and in Burning Crusade it was a combination of scheduling and many of my friends also deciding to be done with raiding for awhile. Each time I examined the situation and came to the conclusion that the amount of time and effort required to push past the greatest challenges simply wasn't worth it. I remain confident that I have the potential to beat anything out there but I should be realistic; I just don't have the desire to play in as hardcore a group as would be necessary and I can't justify playing as much as the top guilds seem to (often 60 hours a week).
The question still remains as to whether my guild will defeat the Lich King on hardmode. We raided last night and it felt good but we had only 9 people for most of the night. After 2 weeks off we may end up taking a long time to get back into practice for the hardest fight of them all and we are likely looking at at least 100 more attempts to achieve victory. I wonder if our resolve will hold out long enough or if we will end up simply ditching and waiting until more content comes out with the next expansion.
It is a hard thing for me to face up to. I know that whether or not I defeat a particular video game monster won't change my life much either way but I have an idea about who I am and what I am capable of and that idea doesn't agree well with quitting before beating the hardest thing. Wisdom tells me that balancing my games and the rest of my life will lead to the most happiness even if I lack that rush of victory now and then. On the other hand I know that I achieve flow and tremendous satisfaction from playing games at a truly high level and overcoming challenges that few can defeat. The rush of happiness that comes from performance at my highest possible level is important to me and the pursuit of it is central to my personality. This game being a social game I play with many friends does mean that the choice is not really mine to make however. I am not the sort to ditch early while things still look possible but if others decide to throw in the towel my decision is likely made for me.