Friday night I was running my normal weekly Kara pug on my priest. Things were going relatively well the occasional wipe, but nothing to write home about. We managed several good drops that I ended up with including the Nightstaff of the Everliving and Talisman of Nightbane as no one else wanted either.
It was an average run, neither great nor horrible. As I was going through the motions of move, pull, heal, drink, repeat, I started thinking back on all the times I had been In Kara. I am still rolling with my group, but I am seeing the place in a new light. Kara is without a doubt my favorite instance in the game. It may not be a challenging as some places, nor require 25 players to accomplish it. The loot may not be the absolute best, but it was more than enough to make the next run easier.
I thought of the guild first kills. I thought of the times I had spent on evening long wipefests. I thought of the chatter in vent, not always happy but always there. I thought of the times I was not even in the raid that evening and yet sat up listening in vent anyway to my friends and guildies having fun.
Friday night we were like a machine. We wiped a time or two but we just kept plowing through the place. Making it as far as Shade before calling it a night due to being down to one healer and not being able to find a replacement. There was no chatter, there was no vent, there were no friends there. I had been after the Nightstaff of the Everliving ever since I started running Kara. I think when it finaly dropped with no one there was when it actually happened.
A hollow feeling, an Epiphany.
Yes we plowed through the place, yes I got my drops, yes I got my badges. It was a victory, but it was a hollow one. I don’t look at Kara the same way I did before I logged in Friday night. Like a kid finding out about the tooth fairy I will never look at it the same way again.
I had taken the most fun instance in the game and turned it into a cheerless badge farm. In the company of strangers I went about trying to gather more badges like a squirrel gathering nuts. I kept going back because I somehow had it in my head that running that place was great. I realised Friday that it was not the instance I enjoyed so much as the friends I once ran it with. By the time Shade rolled around and the group called it due to the missing healer it was actually a relief. I no longer wanted to be there, but I try to never leave a group hanging.
In a rare moment of complete clarity I decided that I was done pugging Kara. I will go back with friends. I will go back with guildies. I might even try to solo Attumen at 80 just for kicks, But I would never again run without a friend in the group.