Before Wrath of the Lich King came out, I was in a successful raiding guild. Not the greatest, bleeding edge, raiding guild. But we visited Mt. Hyjal and met Archimonde. We visited the Black Temple, and knocked on Illidian’s own door. I felt I was doing my share, but people are people, and I’m one of those, and I’m sure my attitude wasn’t 100% on the guild since my wife was not a raider with them, in fact was not long with them at all, and already my allegiance was not what it should have been. And, yes, wife trumps all.
Once WotLK hit I found I wasn’t leveling as fast as the raiders were. I *was* a raider, but I wasn’t there only for the raiding like some. I wasn’t with them in the rush to 80. I had to work at it to make sure I was in Dalaran in time for the first guild meeting there. At which guild meeting the issue of allegiance came up. You’re with us to raid, or you’re not. By the time I got into Naxxramas (remember that place?) my performance wasn’t keeping up with them. (Skillz don’t trump gear or you’d be doing raiding with level 78 characters in level 78 blues. But, and I suspected this was my case, my skill wasn’t there either. And if the other Shaman is inspecting your gear and questioning the item with too much MP5 and why you don’t have more crit, and knowing I already failed at theorycraft, it came time for me to throw in the towel and leave the raiders to raid, and I find my own way with my wife and my army of alts. They’ve gone on to kill the Lich King. I managed to stick my head into Ice Crown as far as the Pit of Saron on heroics.
And then the baby came. Wife & baby trumps all. I don’t even do heroics anymore. (And once I picked up all the badge gear, i.e. Tier 9 I guess, on two characters, I was done. My Pally, in Prot Spec, with the Tier 9 prot gear, wielding Rimefang’s Claw, I’m not confident he’s defense capped, I think I am. I don’t think he’s got 30k health. He’s just an alt, afterall. Time spent earning full sets of Deadly and Furious PvP gear for Ret, and Tier 9 for Prot, and … .
I got my Belf Paladin to 80 primarily doing the Jewelcrafting dailies, and the other dailies as they opened up for him. I may have done the lead-in Coldarra quest so I could capture the drake once a day, but otherwise if it was available to me based on level, that’s what I did. (Argent Dawn had some minor quests required up front, for the Pa’Troll, but perhaps not.) I did this so I could actually do the quests with my lovely wife, who does not play as much.
But Pre-Cataclysm activity? None. No beta key, so there’s nothing on that front. What did I do with WotLK Beta key? Ride the length of Northrend. Spoiling the surprise, but getting to enjoy the “cherry blossom” trees of southern Dragonblight sooner rather than later.
And with the new guild rewards I’ll absolutely have to join a guild. I think I’d make a good guildmate, but with like minded casual players, with alts horde and alliance alike, who can commit to meeting a goal at horizon’s end. One step at a time, even the slowest slacker will reach the corner of the block, the next town, the continent across the waters.
I go into the Cataclysm expansion pretty much like I did into the Burning Crusade expansion. One difference being I could not join a guild at the start of BC. This time around I will be able to join one for C if the advantage is there. (And, no, single player games don’t hold my interest, Civ V excepted.)
On the other hand, WotLK has been very “lone wolf” friendly. The Looking for Group feature opened the dungeons up for folks rewarding patience with epics. The tournament provided epics for persistence. And crafters had access to, and offered access to, iLevel 200 gear, enough to finish the game and wait for Cataclysm.