More than three months later however, I've pretty much seen it all. We're still working on some hardmode boss fights, but other than that the guild has gone very quiet, so I'm feeling the call of warzones once again. While I was not looking forward to being forced to participate in arenas, in practice I haven't minded the occasional arena match mixed in among my random warzones. The biggest problem I had when I last stopped PvPing was that playing Republic side on The Red Eclipse meant losing two matches for every win (at least for me, to pre-empt any "maybe you're just bad" comments), and even as someone who usually takes losses pretty well I found it quite hard to keep up morale.
I was thus positively surprised when one of my PvPing guildies encouraged me to get back into the action with the argument that supposedly Republic had been doing much better again lately. He was right, too: while I haven't kept a tally of my wins and losses since getting back into the PvP action, I haven't suffered any of those unending loss streaks that I got so used to previously. Even more surprisingly, I spotted some familiar names in my warzones, names that I had thought were gone for good after the big exodus to Tomb of Freedon Nadd when server transfers first became available. When I mentioned this to one of my dedicated PvPer friends, he replied that - and I'm just quoting here - Tomb of Freedon Nadd was a "shithole", so all the decent players decided to return to The Red Eclipse. This is why I love single-server PvP: it's like a big soap opera sometimes, and you don't even need to be personally involved to experience some of the side-effects as each new piece of drama unfolds. Either way, after what I experienced in late summer and early autumn, having some more skilled PvPers back on Republic side is definitely a good thing.
As for myself, I pretty much picked things up where I left them back in October, with my Commando in Conqueror gear, my Sage in a mix of Partisan and some PvE gear, and my Scoundrel in pure PvE gear. While getting the upper tier of gear is always a grind, at least getting the two alts into Conqueror (which is now the new lower tier) shouldn't take too long if I keep taking them into matches at a steady pace.
My Commando also hit Warlord just before I stopped PvPing in October - which is a bit of a funny story actually. I had been grinding away at my valor rank day in, day out, watching the bar creep closer to ninety ever so slowly - but then the Oricon patch came out and I just kind of stopped paying attention to it from one day to the next. Some weeks later someone else mentioned reaching Warlord rank somewhere (I think it was on Twitter), and I congratulated them with a comment about how I was still a little bit off myself. So I went back to check just how far I was off... just to realise that I had actually hit ninety at some point during my last couple of matches without noticing. Talk about an anti-climax! I'm still quite happy about the title though - while it's no proof of any kind of skill, it does show a certain dedication to PvP. (And my Sage alt is also a Conqueror by now. Good times!)