Tag Archives: guild matters

The more things change

Purple dragons and pretty flowers are in no way misleading to the content of this post.

It took me some time to think about writing this – first, whether I wanted to write it, and second, how I’d go about doing it. It’s a strange topic with a lot of emotions tied up in it. It wasn’t a big deal, and it was a big deal – and it was somewhat freeing, and it was also an incredible downer. It felt like a kind of failure, and it also felt like one of those things you build up into being a huge thing and then it just isn’t.

About a month ago now (I’m just guessing) – our formerly strict tens guild decided to let our strict designation go. Earlier we’d made the decision to keep it when an in-guild vote yielded an exact tie. After a few more months of working our way through the “stale content doldrums,” the vote came up somewhat differently. The guild was overwhelmingly in favour of forgetting it, and so we did.

What’s funny about it is that it hasn’t effectively changed our gear at all. Most of us who hadn’t done so have poked our noses into an ICC pug to see what the fuss is all about. I didn’t win a lick of gear, and our pug wasn’t good enough to down Rotface so I didn’t even sniff the instant-drama magnet DFO. I personally enjoyed my brief foray into the larger version of ICC. Marrowgar didn’t really feel very different. Lady Deathwhisper felt much like the ten-man heroic version of her fight, except with more adds (and more tanks to pick them up, and more people to burn them down). I have to admit that I liked the 25-person Gunship quite a bit more. It really felt like a real battle with all the cannons lined up there and so many people flying back and forth. It’s an encounter that didn’t translate as well to the ten-man version.

My overall feeling was one of being underwhelmed, though. Of course, I was in a pug: somewhat disorganized and dysfunctional and not apt to succeed. I’m sure being in a great guild run is a different beast! It just reaffirmed for me that I am interested in tens exclusively, and I’m okay with that.

The guild has taken it in stride, and it’s business (time, har) as usual for us. Fsob made a joke about how we were now ranked 114th for progression on the server. Good news, guys, we’ve killed Marrowgar! Others were over the moon to be able to finally bring their many alts with achievements into the guild. That definitely helped me realize that it was the right decision at this point in time. With waning interest in ICC, it’s important that people can explore any options they feel like – an ICC 25 pug some night we aren’t raiding, or whatever. This became increasingly apparent was I’d hang around in trade, see a pug advertised – “They are looking for a mage!” and then realize that of course, I couldn’t go, and neither could many of my guildies. It started to feel like a weight.

The strict ten movement was an important one I still wholeheartedly support. I love being part of a group of people focused on tens, intent on proving that tens can be done in gear available from tens. If you don’t believe it, just ask Kae – her guild was the second strict ten in the world to down H LK recently!

I’m still all for that, and our guild will still raid tens exclusively come Cataclysm. Especially with the shared lockouts between them, this is going to be a non-issue for us. I feel that what we were aiming to achieve has been done – shared lockouts and shared loot is an open recognition and an admission from Blizzard that the way that tens scaled was unfair. Never again will people who like 25s have to farm tens just for emblems, or for a specific drop that isn’t available at their preferred raid size. Never again will I have to sigh and mentally adjust my DPS numbers and BiS gear “downwards” from what is recognized as “the gear” to have – because I know I can’t have that gear, can’t push those numbers, and will have to settle for what I can get my hands on.

As I have said before, it’s not about the gear specifically, it’s about parity. I think there are still plenty of people who want to raid 25s and will still do so. I sincerely hope it to be true that everyone can raid the size they want. I know some people really don’t like tens. I really don’t like 25s. Cataclysm has a place for all of us, and I can’t wait! I’m grateful that this isn’t a debate our guild will need to have again. No one will ever need to be restricted – we’ll all raid together. No one will be excluded from the guild because of what their characters may have done in the past. Maybe we’ll never be in the top ten rankings again with the growing popularity of tens, but that’s okay too. I believe we’ve accomplished what we set out to do in this expansion. Although we’re still working on H LK, we won’t be designated as a “strict” guild when we do it, and I am okay with that. Our contribution served its purpose – and we remain completely unchanged in essence and fact.

A few of my favourite things

Having fallen frightfully behind in any kind of regular posting schedule, I decided that the best thing would be to write something, anything. The good folks at Blog Azeroth are always fantastic for coming up with shared topics, and this week’s was suggested by Relevart at Relevart’s Druid Reliquary.

It is a very broad topic open to interpretation that asks, “What was your favourite ____ in Wrath of the Lich King?” I’m going to tackle it in a bit of a categorical way.

I didn’t have to think too hard about this, truthfully. My favourite quest series in Wrath of the Lich King begins with A Tale of Valor – you pick it up from Tirion. Warning: Pretty major quest spoilers follow, if you haven’t done the quest. It begins:

Perhaps you’ve heard the praises for our missing hero?

Crusader Bridenbrad was in the Broken Front aiding the attack against the Scourge when the undead army came down upon them. The many men of that allied force scattered, but Bridenbrad alone returned and dragged more than a dozen men to safety, one by one through the carnage.

He has not returned since. He was spotted heading to the far northeast, towards the Silent Vigil. Bring him back to me that I might honor him for his valor.

It turns out that Bridenbrad hasn’t died, but is also not entirely well. He’s battling the Scourge’s plague, knowing that when he inevitably does die he will rise again as the very enemy we’re all sworn to oppose. You’ll undergo extraordinary measures to try and save his life, and have an interaction with many major powers in the world while you’re doing it. I think it’s the only quest that has ever actually made me cry. Each of my characters have done it, and at the conclusion I always take a screenshot. It was only when I was going through my screenshots folder that I realized I had so many different Bridenbrad ones.

I have heard some people didn’t like it – but I think it’s worth doing at least once, if you haven’t!

Most recently, Jikali hangs out with a talking chandelier.

Ulduar was my favourite raid in the expansion, and again there’s very little contest. Unfortunately we joined Business Time fairly late – and I feel that ToC came too close on the heels of Ulduar, but that’s a topic for another time – so for many of the fights we have only experienced the hard modes.

Charles over at Planet of the Hats wrote a really interesting post a few weeks ago touching on just what made Ulduar so great. He said it better than I could, really. For me, Ulduar was awe-inspiring. It’s also the location of what I consider to be my first true and significant raiding accomplishment. My first raid with my tens posse was hard-mode Mimiron, more commonly known as Firefighter. I had never done Mimiron on normal mode. I’d watched the hard-mode video multiple times and written down notes. I really didn’t want to botch it.

During the weeks that we were working on Firefighter, it really became clear who was committed to spending time wiping on something that really wasn’t easy. (Not the guy we caught raiding on an alt with another guild at Firefighter time when we were short on people, and not others who suddenly started to be “mysteriously” unavailable for raids when Firefighter was on the menu). It took us one hundred and twenty-one wipes before we had our first Firefighter kill. The excitement on Vent when we did was overwhelming. Everyone erupted in cheers and it felt awesome.

I’ve enjoyed the challenges that ICC has to offer, for the most part, but the model of “boss hits for x amount harder” model of hard modes is not as interesting and engaging, I think, as the encounters in Ulduar were.

Algalon! I loved this encounter. Even with vastly improved gear, Algalon does not die easily, and the associated lore and environment are amazing and incredible. I get a wave of dizziness every time the encounter starts and then an adrenaline rush of “IT IS ALGALON TIME.” I love his calm, measured voice and the celestial surroundings – along with the fact that you had to really work to get to him by doing all of the hard modes and earning a key, Algalon is simply awesome. I remember reading over at HoTs & DoTs when Lathere and Cass were first starting on Algalon. At the time, I thought: This is a fight I simply won’t see. Along with the hard-modes they were doing, it just wasn’t in the cards for the guild I was with. I was wrong! Even if I did kill Algalon technically long after he was “relevant,” I’m proud of the work it took to get there.

Your actions are illogical.

Given my answers above it’s probably not going to come as a huge surprise that my most prized possession is my Rusted Proto-Drake. I’d never had a 310% mount before, and frequent character switches had ensured that the violet one achieved through holidays was out of my reach. It’s also my favourite proto-model. (I didn’t used to like their funny vestigial arms but they’ve really grown on me). I just think he looks awesome and I’m proud to fly around on him. I can’t look at him without remembering what we had to go through to get this mount – he truly represents the culmination of many Wrath highlights for me.

After all that fuss, I haven't even named him!

Missing you, Moon Guard

Last year in late September I realized that my current server couldn’t suit my specific needs when it came to raiding. I wanted a very focused type of guild to belong to – a strict ten-man guild, and I set out to find one. Prior to that, I’d been playing about two years – and all of those years, I’d been on the Moon Guard US server.

Perhaps you haven’t heard of Moon Guard at all. Or perhaps you’re hearing about it now, in the form of a WoW.com article that details Blizzard’s plans to “police” the Goldshire area for inappropriate and harassing behaviour due to complaints that they have received. Perhaps you had heard of Moon Guard, and you heard that it was “the place where all of the naughty roleplay goes on,” or whatever.

First of all – yes, a lot of unsavory things happen in Goldshire. I only passed through on rare occasion (when I was doing Loremaster quests) and there were a lot of shenanigans there. It was a relief on my new server when the new “thanksgiving” type event came out and I realized that I’d have to go to Goldshire…but on my regular old PvE server, Goldshire is a ghost town. I did not enjoy Goldshire on Moon Guard.


There is no other place in the game I have been (and I’ve visited quite a few servers, including roleplaying servers) that was as friendly and welcoming as Moon Guard. I mentioned that I was relieved at the quiet Goldshire on my new server. I’ll confess that I was also a bit relieved the first time I had to go to the Stormwind Cathedral on an alt, and there was no one there. Likewise, the place in Stormwind where the warrior trainers are was deserted. On Moon Guard there were usually people roleplaying in those places – the Cathedral could sometimes feel like running a gauntlet of religious types, beggars, and other oddities. I was relieved – and then I was a bit sad.

The people that populate and congregate in these places are what give the world a sense of space, an environment you can immerse yourself in. Hanging around with “Ipwnu” the DK bouncing around on his spectral tiger mount in front of the bank is not the same thing. On a normal server, you can have crowds, but you seldom have gatherings. I never see anyone walking any more. The world has become a place where people are in perpetual, frenzied motion – unless they happen to be AFK.

Moon Guard has a massively large community of people who truly care about their server. It’s so vast that there is bound to be a place for everyone. There are long-established guilds there to provide homes for people with innumerable divergent interests. There was a gnome in Stormwind who used to cry the daily “news,” there was a bizarre Night Elf giant woman, there was gossip and backroom deals and drama. It was an exhilarating place.

For me, the server transfer did involve some sacrifice. On my new server, a dwarf isn’t going to sit down next to me while I’m doing a fishing daily (hoping to get a crocolisk!) and wind up chatting for over an hour about how he used to be a pirate, and got chased out of town because of an inappropriate involvement with another pirate’s daughter.

On my new server, I’ve had someone chase me around a zone whispering profanities at me for “stealing his mobs.” I messed up in a pug run (before LFD was introduced, so this was all “local” people) and I got hit by the ghoul explode in the ToC 5-man. A warlock in the run started ranting at me, “Why would you do that?” etc. I whispered to him and told him that I realized I screwed up, there was no need to be so rude, and he told me I should be thankful, because “It could have been worse, I could have been swearing at you.” (This has since become a running gag for me, “Well it could be worse, I could be swearing at you! You should be thankful!”)

In the two years that I played on Moon Guard, I never had anyone say or do such things. Sure, it’s anecdotal evidence, but isn’t any server experience that way? You either have good experiences in a place, or bad ones. And don’t get me wrong… I love my guild. I wouldn’t trade them. But I feel absolutely no loyalty to my server whatsoever. I’ve met some neat people there, but in general people are more impatient, ruder, less helpful, and less friendly.

It took me over an hour to find enough people to sign my alt guild bank charter on my new server. I accomplished the same task in ten minutes on Moon Guard. On the new server, I was offering TEN gold per signature and people still wouldn’t help me. It was boggling, and I wondered if I had made a mistake in coming there. I don’t feel that I did at all – the community of people we have in the guild is also awesome. But the community in general is not. It’s pretty much non-existent. I have friendly relations with another tens guild on the server, but I don’t post on the realm forums because it’s more trolls than anything.

On the Moon Guard forums, people organize realm events, or talk about RP, or whatever. Sure, it has trolls. It’s the largest RP server in existence, that’s bound to happen.

I knew people who weren’t roleplayers, had no interest in roleplaying at all, and still played on Moon Guard. When asked why, they said, “Because the people are just really nice.” It’s true. I left because I wanted a different form of play – more intense raiding, and I found that. But my leaving doesn’t speak to the server itself. If I were looking for a roleplay server, I’d go back happily. Now people who have no knowledge or interest in RP servers whatsoever are hearing about Moon Guard’s infamous Goldshire, and I find that unfortunate. Just remember what with any story, you’re going to hear about what’s “news,” but it isn’t the whole or even a fraction of the truth.

This is my mage learning how to polymorph things into pigs. She was still wearing her super Outland clown gear at the time, because the drab browns and greys of Northrend didn't exist yet! This is related, because it was taken on Moon Guard, with a pig. They are proud and noble animals.


Counting the Reasons

This gallery contains 16 photos.

Back when there was much discussion going around about the changes to ten and twenty-five person raiding, I wrote a post detailing how excited I was about the changes and why they were a fabulous thing for my raid group. … Continue reading

Too Much, I Think

Once an out-of-town friend was visiting and staying with us. Our friend loves sushi, and we love sushi, so naturally we took her to our favourite sushi restaurant. I tend to think that we have an approach to sushi mirrored by all of our friends but not necessarily ideally suited to sushi. To be frank, we eat the heck out of sushi. We don’t go out for it often, so when we do, we eat a lot of it. Mostly because I end up going, “Oh look, this roll has the vegetables with the other thing, and this roll has this other stuff in it, we must try them all!”

And so it went, with the three of us poring over the menu and marking off various rolls. Many, many rolls, enough that when the waitress came to take the order, I think she was a bit staggered.

“All of this?” she said.

Embarrassed, we traded looks. I said, “How much did we order, anyway?” looking around at my companions.

“Too much, I think,” the waitress blurted. It was her turn to be embarrassed, because she hadn’t meant to be quite that honest but it was all over her face. These people are being pigs with the sushi! They are going to explode.

We crossed off one roll and gave the menu back to her.

Yes, I went home feeling sushi sick that day, and it wasn’t the first time. But I can actually say truthfully that it was the last. More or less. The last time I remember having sushi I marked down all the rolls that sounded exciting. Then we got rid of at least a third of them. They were delightful, and I was full, but not stuffed. I like to think I’m learning.

I feel that way about WoW sometimes. At the end of May, I’ll have been playing WoW for two years. No, I wasn’t a “Classic” person. I didn’t raid BQL or Molten Core or AQ or any of those places. I did play this game a great deal, especially in the first year. We basically came in at the very tail end of the Burning Crusade expansion; my first character to level 70 dinged in August, before Wrath came out in November. It’s no secret that it’s something very easy to lose yourself in. Being the not-always-proud owner of six level eighty characters, I can attest that there have been times when I played the game to excess.

Two years later, I think I have a healthier balance. I don’t log in during the day except possibly for a quick heroic over lunch (I work from home). We try to keep the raiding to about three nights at a maximum. But being guild leader/officer/whatever of an active and healthy raiding guild requires some time commitment. There are days when I look at how much time and energy WoW takes and say to myself, “Too much, I think.”

Everyone’s talking about burn out these days. I’ve read good things about how to help your guild survive the pre-expansion slump. But here I’m writing about how to help yourself survive the pre-expansion slump. Here’s what I’m planning to do.

  • Delegate, delegate, delegate. It’s not essential that I do every single thing for the guild myself. Ever since work has been keeping me busier our guild’s officers have been awesome about stepping up to take over guild responsibilities. One maintains the technical website stuff, one does raid sign-ups, another maintains the administrative stuff we keep track of (tier tokens, achievement tracking, etc.) It’s awesome. I’m still trying not to feel guilty about not “doing enough.” Hopefully if people ever feel I’m not pulling my weight they’ll let me know. Anyway, the point is we all share the responsibilities, and it helps to keep it fun knowing that if I don’t do something it doesn’t mean it won’t ever get done.
  • Cut back. With summer looming and much of our work accomplished in ICC (we’re 11/12 hard-modes now, and we’ve got seven people their Glory of the Icecrown Raider drakes) we’re scaling back our raid days from four to three with an optional day on Sunday. Sunday will be for alt runs, old content and the like. It’ll probably mean that people might run a bit less, but I think we’re all going to be okay with that. We have heroic Arthas looking at us (or we’re looking at him?) so he’s going to be our focus, but even heroic mode stuff takes two raid days or less at this point to clear straight to Arthas. It’s not very sustainable.
  • Let go of achievements. Sometimes I think the achievement system was both the most brilliant marketing thing that Blizzard ever did, and also the epitome of evil. As someone who has changed mains multiple times, I just can’t care about achievements as much as someone who knows that they love ONE class and will probably not ever change. I’ve done so many ridiculous things on multiple characters. I have three characters with max level fishing, three or four with max level cooking. I’ve done things like the pet and mount achievements, but never on the same character. I’ve resolved to only care about an achievement if it is especially relevant to a character. For example, my moonkin druid often wears the Starcaller title (naturally!) Even if I start doing more things with Vid – I’d never make a special effort to get that title. It doesn’t matter to her. I will, however, finish my Argent reps so she can be Crusader, because that’s pretty cool. I’ll have to monitor this though, because I like earning the fancy points and it can be difficult to restrain myself.
  • All things in good time. Do I really have to speed-run ten heroics to get Vidyala another piece of off-spec Triumph emblem gear? I probably don’t. She’ll get the emblems eventually just from running heroics on a regular basis. Does it matter if I don’t have time one day to do a frost emblem run? It probably doesn’t. It’s pretty silly to think “I need to do this or that,” and even put a timeline on it. This is especially applicable to alts – they’ll get there when they get there. There’s no rush to gear up for new and exciting content (yet), and even when there’s new content there won’t be the same kind of rush. I don’t know about you, but I often tend to over gear content anyway by going overboard with crafted gear or heroic drops. By the time I reach a tier, the gear there is obsolete for me.
  • If it stops being fun, stop. Although I don’t advocate unexpectedly disappearing without a word (I’ve had too many people do this to me, and I hate it) – it’s okay to play a bit less than you once did. I wouldn’t shirk my raid or guild responsibilities; always let people know you’ll be AFK and for how long you expect to be so – but if it’s what you really need to get excited about the game again, then do it. You’ll be better off for it. Personally I just intend to moderate my playtime a bit more and cut back on things I might otherwise do such as leveling alts or excessive fishing. I find that playing WoW a lot always makes me appreciate a walk outside more, and sometimes likewise. A day spent doing something far away from computers means it actually feels like a game when I get an opportunity to log in and run a heroic with friends. I don’t want the only sunsets I see to be the ones over Dalaran.
  • Finally, keep in touch. For me the best part of WoW is the social aspect – talking to guildies, joking around on the forums, reading and commenting on blogs, and twitter. Even if I’m not in-game as much, I can still keep up with people in these other ways. It can be a nice way to talk about my favourite hobby without getting tired of it.

So, what are your plans for weathering the pre-Cataclysm doldrums? Are you going to take a little break? Level an alt? Go on vacation? Eat way more sushi than any one person ought to eat? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments, I’m sure there are plenty of things I haven’t thought of.