Sunday, July 26, 2009

Shiro's Brief WoW History

My main character is a Blood Elf Mage named Balthior. I started-up a guild there named "Silence the Discord" - a quote from the hybrid enemies of System Shock 2 - shortly after Burning Crusade was released. Having started the guild when I was around Level 30, it started as a leveling guild. After some waffling about (PvP vs PvE), I decided I wanted to take the guild into raiding, and given the hours I play games most often, a late-night raiding guild.

We started in Karazhan as most guilds did in the day. Actually no. We started in 5-man content, working to gear-up our freshly-leveled players, while also trying to recruit whom we could. From there we finally worked-up 10 decently geared people, and on a whim we decided to head into Karazhan for the first time to take a shot at the first boss and see how things went. From there, we slowly worked our way from barely being able to kill some of the bosses after a full night's worth of attempting, to eventually cleaning the instance out in a single night, with two groups of 10 people going at it.

The next step was the rough one. We had to work our way from Karazhan which required 10 people, upto the other raid instances that required 25. This is when we teamed-up with another guild, who's name unfortuneately escapes me at the moment. One of our recruits was friends with the leader of the guild (and in fact, came directly from that guild because he couldn't make their raid times). We set-up a date and time when we'd pool our resources together to tackle the first 25-man raid, Gruul's Lair. It was a semi-success.

After a number of raids together, the other guild started wanting to merge with us to make it easier to coordinate the raids. After some thought, I agreed to the matter, but things didn't turn-out quite so well as we would have hoped. Shortly after the merger, we tried to integrate them into the guild community, but they just seemed distant, as-if they didn't care that they were in the guild despite having been so adamant about wanting to merge. Slowly but surely, everyone from the guild funneled-out one by one, followed by one big purge as the last half-dozen or so of them left all at once.

It was a slight hit, but since they'd been slacking on attending raids anyway, we'd mostly been working to recruit anyway, so recovery was fairly quick. After their departure, we finally broke into the 25-man content, finally killing Gruul and eventually moving into Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep. From there the guild had it's highs and lows, I'm sure I could right a whole novel on our Level 70 raiding history. Our Level 70 achievements, to keep it short, include killing such bosses as Magtheridon and Lady Vashj before they were nerfed into obselescence, and making good progress into Black Temple.

Unfortunately for the guild though, progress was dragged to a hault. See, pretty much right from the start of the guild, I always had a hard time nailing-down officers. I'd promote some, of course, and they'd do their job for a while, but seldom stuck around for long. They never left the guild mind you, just vanished, stopped playing the game. For the most part we'd eventually regain contact with them and find out what happened with them, but it still left the guild with basically one leader through it's entire Level 70 endgame process. So what happened was... I took a vacation.

Despite having left an Officer specifically in charge of leading the raids during the week I'd be out of town, raids apparently screeched to a halt the instant I was gone (despite them having done raids just fine in the past during nights I was unable to be online, with that same officer leading in my stead). So I return, and the guild is in shambles. I tried to get raids back on the calendar, but no one showed for the raids anymore, and one by one, everyone except for a tightly-knit group of friends all trickled out. Were it not for the fact that Wrath of the Lich King was around the corner, I'd have probably just recruited to rebuild the raid, but pre-Expansion season is hell to recruit for if you don't already have a static group.

So that was that. The raid group had all but fallen apart, and the next Expansion that would raise the level cap to 80 was just a few months away. Around this time, one of the guild members had invited his friend who plays as a Warrior into the guild (a guild member who was in this group of friends who stuck around). He was green as hell, having not played the game at all in a year or so, so he quickly got a knack for how things worked at Level 70. Before long I decided he would make a good officer for the guild, and currently him and one other officer are the only two to stick around for more than a week without dropping off the face of the Earth.

So here we are now, at Level 80 and raiding Ulduar with something of a council in charge of the raids. Instead of just me trying to keep everyone coordinated, we have the afformentioned Warrior leading the tanks, the other officer leading the healers, and myself trying to keep the DPS and Crowd Control coordinated. It's been a slow climb (partially caused by a surge of apathy on my part), but our new raid group is starting to gel and reach the same level of performance that I was proud to say our old Level 70 raid group had. A lot of it due to the fact that we have fewer raiders leaving. High turn-over and successful raids just don't go hand-in-hand unless you're lucky enough to be recruiting natural pros with said turn-over.

Lately I've been putting a lot of thought into World of Warcraft. Still waffling-about on whether or not I want to pass-on the mantle of leadership to someone else, if I want to continue raiding, or if I want to even continue playing the game even on a casual basis. Were it a single-player game I'd probably just stop playing it for a while, but when you meet and bond with other people while playing a game, it can be hard to just stop.

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