Good evening! After a long while, I come bearing good news.
In the absense of things to do, I've found an entirely new spark for WoW. I never would have admitted this while it was the present feeling, but I almost got bored of the game during the spring. I didn't particularly feel like logging in and I only really did so for the purpose of raiding. I had no projects regarding leveling or gearing up. But now, as I am unable to raid with my guild, unable to run dungeons, unable to explore the new heroic scenarios, I've been doing LFR on most of my maximum level characters. Nicasia and Vladan are quite nicely geared and well able to do Throne of Thunder, but in addition I am working on Raleigh's (holy paladin) and Jester's (brewmaster/windwalker monk) gear to get them into ToT as well. Raleigh is currently lacking three points. Jester's situation still looks a bit grim with an item level of around 465. Oh, and by "doing LFR" I mean relying entirely on the performance of the 24 other people - but hey, three, two and even one FPS is better than no FPS at all. Positive thinking all the way!
I do miss raiding a lot and I hope to get my primary PC back soon. I have given full raid leadership to a very trusted officer with whom I've been raiding since early Firelands, so there should be no more raid burnouts for me. I'm actually really looking forward to being "just a raider" without so much responsibility. Of course I'll still be doing the usual yelling of things and whatnot, but I'll be doing it because I like to do it, not because I must do it. What I am most of all looking forward to is not having to look after others so much, and being able to look after myself more when it comes to raid performance.
Something interesting I've noticed for the first time in my WoW life is that I feel ever so slightly bored of elemental shaman - which I find completely normal, considering I've had an elemental shaman as my main since late Wrath of the Lich King. I sure have respect for our offtank, who has had the same character as his main since he started playing in vanilla. I still intend to raid with Nicasia as I am able to, but I may look into the possibility of raiding with Vlad, for example, when possible. I had a ton of fun tanking and DPSing Dragon Soul with him in late Cataclysm. My gear lacks behind severely compared to the rest of the raid group, anyway, so it won't make much difference which character I am on. Nicasia will continue to be my main character, regardless of who I end up raiding with, though. We've got such a long history.
I am absolutely loving the 5.3 fact that you can choose to get loot for a different specialization! It's enabled me to work on Raleigh's gear through LFR. I wouldn't dare attempt to heal with craptop. I also think it'll be a good help when getting Vlad some new tanking gear, as I don't enjoy tanking LFR. So, yay for 5.3, yay for gearing up, yay for WoW.