With the re-release of ZG as a 5-man Heroic, I’ve been reminiscing about when I used to run ZG with 19 other members of my old guild, Raging Daisies. The stream of memories that flowed into my head made me think about how those experiences shaped me as a player. It made me think back on all of the experiences I had in the game before my first ZG raid – which was my first raiding experience in any game, ever – and all of the experiences I have had since.
I thought about the guild I ran ZG with, and who I learned the game with. I thought about how I got there and I realized that this is probably a good story for a Blog post.
When I first started playing WoW it was because my friend Michael and his wife Sarah convinced me that WoW was not just for D&D playing, Mother’s Basement Living, Red-Bull Swilling, Hot Pocket Eating, non-bathing nerds… It was for real people, like us. For the first couple of weeks, we would call each other, log in and party up. We didn’t really have nor need a guild; we were pretty self-sufficient. After a few weeks though, we got an invitation to a leveling guild called Clan Pyre. The people were nice, and we got along pretty well there. We were a smallish guild with players ranging from 1 to the mid 40′s at that point. Our GM talked about getting a website set up, and I looked into it and pretty much just volunteered to set up guild forums and a website for the guild. This pretty much made me an honorary Officer. I worked day and night setting up the Forums for this guild and we actually got some pretty good use out of them. I think I set it up on guildportal, or one of those sites.
Mere weeks later, the GM and many of the founding members of the guild decided to go back to playing their level 60 horde characters on another server. They pretty much split and left me with the title of GM.I’d like to be able to say that I did a great job and rallied the troops, but the truth is I knew NOTHING about running a guild. I was a deer in the headlights. I pretty much logged in and played my character just like I was unguilded. Since nobody left in the guild ever really logged in, it was almost exactly like I was unguilded.
After a few weeks of this, Michael’s wife told us to come join her new guild since there were actually people logged in most of the day. I made a brief announcement to the guild that I would be dissolving it within a week, and if anyone wanted to take it over, just let me know. Nobody stepped forward, so I disbanded Clan Pyre and joined Raging Daisies, thus starting my true introduction to WoW and the world of MMOs.
Raging Daisies was the first “real” guild I ever belonged to, and the one which still holds my best memories in WoW. Many of the players I “grew up with” still hold fond places in my memories. I can’t even name all of them, but they were there and they were all part of this thing called Raging Daisies. Firstly, there was Aloe; GM of Raging Daisies. He was the guy who invited me. He was the guy who taught me much of what I took with me about being a good leader. When I joined RD I was still very new to the game, even though I had already been the “leader” of another guild, I didn’t really have any experience. I was given a chance to be an officer and I took it. I joined a fairly tight-knit leadership corps who all already knew each other, and I didn’t really feel that I fit in with them. I basically did everything I could to show that making me an officer wasn’t a mistake. I made the website and the forums; well, in the original format. I offered advice and guidance and pretty much just a sounding board. My voice of reason helped quell many arguments. I had the ear of the “real leaders” and I used it to voice concerns which were brought to me by the members and other officers. It really wasn’t until I could look back on it that I realized that I was one of those “real leaders” and I never should have doubted my being there.
RD saw me level from a thirty-something, very green, Feral druid to a level 70 Restoration Druid who was a top healer in an actual raiding guild. For a time I was a “druid lead” and sometimes “healing lead”. As time ticked on I moved up the ranks and down them as sometimes people do. All the while I held my title as Officer, and continued to perform my duties to the guild as I saw them. I took it very seriously. The guild was only as successful as the leadership corps and I wanted to make sure that I was helping the guild in all aspects. When I was finally no longer able to fulfill my duties as an officer, I stepped down, and in short order, I actually took my leave from the Raging Daisies. At the time we were getting rather far in the Black Temple, and I was feeling the stresses of life, job, game and guild… Rather than make promises I couldn’t keep, I moved aside for the new generation of leaders.
Part of what precipitated my stepping down from my Officer role in RD was the fact that I had been moonlighting as a Tauren Druid with my Cousins’ guild whenever I could. I had rolled Maerrakech on a whim one weekend so I could join up with my cousins and their friends while we were all hanging out together each weekend. It soon became apparent that playing the game with “real life friends” was far more satisfying than playing with “internet friends” (other than the few I invited to join me in Kohrruption, they were and always will be “real life friends”).
As I leveled at a furious pace, I was asked to become an officer. As one of the “inner circle” of family and friends, and one who had done it before, my experience and advice was invaluable to the new guild leaders and officers who were just leveling up to cap for the first time. I honestly didn’t want any of the responsibility, but I was one of the few people in the group with any experience so I took the opportunity to help where I could. As I leveled up to 70, we were starting to get groups into Kara and I helped with raid leading and explaining the fights as much as I could. As I wasn’t sure yet how often I’d be raiding with Maerrakech, I decided to move Maerdred into a spot where I may be able to play with cool folks on my off nights.
I moved him over to Draenor with the intention of becoming a part-time, social member of the guild Mythos, which I was referred to by my pal Fimlys one day in BlogAzeroth chat. It didn’t really work out, as I was spending all of my time on Maerrakech, and I think I logged in perhaps five or six times total.
Meanwhile, Kohrruption added more and more raiders and even a couple of officers from outside the “inner circle”, and we grew large enough to field our own 25s. We moved up the ladder, finally getting into Hyjal and BT just before Wrath launched. Once it did, we lost some people, gained some people, and then started raiding in earnest. All the while I was helping to run things behind the scenes. A couple of months into Wrath we had a large exodus and the stresses of things outside the game and the stresses of helping to lead a guild were wearing on some of the other officers and me too. My cousins who had invited me were in school or working, or both, and they almost never logged in. Once it was apparent that we couldn’t continue our Naxx progression we called it quits and closed up shop with the raiding.
It was right after this when I wrote my “[H] Resto Druid Looking for Work” post, and got a few hits. From that post, I wound up joining a great guild on Hydraxis called Unemployed in mid-March. I joined Unemployed a bit under-geared to raid and with no plans to do anything but “be a grunt in the trenches” and it was fantastic. I was finally just a peon, not an officer. I was not in charge of anyone or anything other than myself. I could log in for 5 minutes and then log off without feeling guilty. I loved it there; the people were great.
I raided with the Unemployed crew from March through August, and got through all of the current content with their 10-man team. We all had a great time and I loved raiding with them in 10s and 25s. Around Blizzcon that August I took a vacation from the game in general and quit raiding to get back in touch with my friends and family. Being one of the main healers made that hard, but I did what I had to do. Shortly after this, for completely unrelated reasons, the guild wound up falling into disrepair as some founding members disappeared. The guild stagnated and some people made a new one but I just kind of stuck there not knowing what to do as a newly casual player.
Very soon after this, I got word from some old friends that they had made a 10-man guild on Alliance side and would love it if I joined them. I told them Maerdred was still 70, and had not been played in over a year, but they insisted, and soon I was moving him from Mythos (where he never really belonged) and joined Manus Varendum with Drew and Liz. I think I took 2 weeks and leveled him to 80 and hung out with Drew and Liz for our third stint as guildmates.
Maerdred didn’t last there very long. The idea of a tight-knit 10-man wasn’t to be. Nobody could mesh schedules and RL reared its ugly head and took playtime away from just about all of us. There were times when I’d log in to quest and not see another name in guild chat for two or three days. It was then that I knew it was time to move on.
Being a regular in BlogAzeroth chat, I had heard others talking about how they’d get a run of such and such together, or they’d run an old-world raid that weekend, and it was kind of tempting. I pretty much begged into their guild. Maerdred was sitting in a guild where I hadn’t seen anyone log in for a few days, Maerrakech was just kind of sitting there taking up a guild slot in Unemployed who had people logging in even less frequently. It was a fairly simple transition, and the nature of the guild fit in with me perfectly. Raid if you wanna. Or don’t. Log in when you can. Be social. DBAD.
It was a great fit. Many of us were bloggers, so we always had something to talk about. We were all passionate about the game and our outside lives, and all knew that RL comes first. Family is more important than the game and it was a rule in the guild. It was one of two. The other was, DBAD. I loved that guild. We raided a little. Not seriously, but we’d go do it. It was fun. Almost each night we’d get a heroic group or two going, or we’d just quest and chat all night. Unfortunately, the stresses of keeping a guild afloat were wearing on the guild leadership, and they made some rash decisions which alienated many of the guild members. I think the split and the inability to reconcile really hit the leaders hard, and while I understood both sides, I didn’t feel that abandoning the guild was a good choice. That is until I head that the GM was planning on giving it up over the stress. At that point I knew that if I stayed, it would be futile, and I’d best find a new guild anyway.
Meanwhile, Lissanna was in need of more players, and made a blog post stating as much. With the current state of flux within Sidhe Devils and armed with the knowledge that the guild leader was planning to disband in the near future, I applied and was accepted. I took the opportunity to speak to Bear personally and let him know my intentions to leave the guild, and wish him well in his future. I then server transferred Maerdred to Elune where Conspiracy was rallying to gear up for the final fight of the expansion.
I believe that my first raid with Conspiracy was 10-man ICC and I went as a BoomChicken. It wasn’t much of a stretch, since I had been playing Maerdred as Balance more often than Resto while not raiding in Sidhe Devils, but it sure felt good to be raiding again. Maerdred was very green and under geared when I transferred, so I was being handed gear hand over fist when I first joined. My numbers slowly grew and soon I was once again one of the top healers in the guild. We got quite a bit accomplished in Wrath and almost got to the Lich King. Again, some weird politics was going on in the background (reasons I would rather be a grunt than an officer) and a guild split was imminent. The revolutionaries felt that I was an asset, so I was invited to come along, and did.
When the Guild split happened and Undying Resolution was formed I was included as part of the core of raiders, which was great since I wasn’t sure at the time if the new GM even liked me. Since the guild’s inception we’ve seen Cataclysm arrive, we’ve bolstered our Raiding numbers and lost quite a few of our original raiders to RL. We’re currently pushing progression and last week spent 6 hours on Nefarian with some pretty good learning success. We’ve had our ups and downs. We went through a lull which saw us only able to get 20-22 people online for a progression raid, but now we consistently have to ask people to sit because we’re full.
All in all, I’m very satisfied with the guild I am in. I’ve been very lucky to be able to say that all along my WoW career, and have really only left guilds, once they were too far gone. The only real exception to that is the guild I never really joined, other than in name only (sorry Fim).
So, to all the guilds I’ve ever loved before, Thank you. I would not be the player I am without you. The ups and downs all add up to an experience of a lifetime, and I don’t think I’d change any of the bad, because it always lead to a new level of good.