That being said, I've still been curious as to what sort of "market" is available for when I jump back into the game (i.e. when I have a set schedule to my life so I know what I can commit to). And I've discovered something very awkward.
There is a huge, expansive "No Man's Land" of recruitment. It seems to me that most guilds want either: Someone to help them start Karazhan, start a second Karazhan group, or head into Gruul's.
Or: Someone with Vashj and Kael experience to help progression through Hyjal, BT and then Sunwell.
And those that are recruiting for about my level or a bit above don't want my class.
My experience to date has been full clears of Karazhan, full Gruul's, full Mag, Lurker and ZA up to Dragonhawk. I don't know the Hydross fight, or Leo or Tidewalker, and I've never even seen Lootreaver. I'm not exactly "green" but I'm not ready to stroll into BT and wave at Illybeans, either.
Guilds look for some basic things when they want applicants. Besides maturity, playtimes, class, etc, it generally boils down to: Skill, Knowledge and Gear.
I can feel mildly confident in my skill. Though I'm newer to 25's, I've demonstrated my ability to think on my feet (except for a screw-up here and there) and to keep my groups alive, as well as myself.
However, that's only one third of the issue, isn't it?
My gear isn't bad. I have a couple green gems I have not replaced yet, as to me it's hard to justify spending 50g a pop for +2 healing and +1 spirit. I'm not exalted with the aldor, so I'm missing my very nice shoulder enchant. This is something that is difficult to excuse when applying for a guild as a healer. I have two pieces of PvP gear; this is often frowned upon. However, it was either those or a blue cloak and a green belt of +healing *shudder*. All of it is enchanted, and is the best I have been able to get so far. But, I don't have full tier 4. I haven't managed to break 1700 +healing yet (I could if I got exalted with Aldor, so that isn't a good excuse). I am, basically, not at the gear level people want.
Next is knowledge. I don't have it when it goes past Lurker. I can't come into a raid and expect them to explain all the bosses for me. I do read the WoWwiki articles and the strats, but there's a difference in reading strategies and hearing them from people who have actually been there and experiencing them for yourself. I don't have the experience, and it's unlikely I will get it unless a major guild on my server has a crisis moment and needs a stand-in healer.
I continue to do raids with the other guild my old guild had teamed up with, so if they ever traverse past Lurker I can get some more experience. I have another friend who has been trying to get me to group with the guild he raids with, but lately he's been rather unlucky in that he whispers me when I'm already in the middle of something.
My options are there, they're just much, much slimmer than anticipated. It seems they are:
- Server transfer once I find a guild looking for someone my experience range.
- Go back down to a Kara guild, raid Kara endlessly for badges, and either hope they progress or wait until I have enough badges to purchase every single set of druid gear.
- Find a guild that likes me enough or needs me badly enough to power me through raids to get up to their level.
Of course, this all hinges on me getting a stable schedule over the summer, so who knows? This may not be anything to worry about at all, because I'll be too busy working.