The Importance of Others
I think I mentioned somewhere along the line that I’ve been playing WoW for what seems like eons now, and the one thing I can contribute the length of my stay on Azeroth more than anything else is a good group of folks to share this with. I had debated for a long time on what my true first post should be. I’m aiming this blog at the casuals out there who are like me. We have a limited time to enjoy our hobby (I consider WoW to be a hobby and perhaps it’s me just rationalizing that I may play a bit too much at times..) While this post may smack of “duh” to some, it’s something that I’ve struggled with over the years: the need to balance raiding with enjoying the game and finding a group of people to do that with.
I’m going to take you on a journey back to the start of my raiding career to see if I can illustrate why a good guild can make this so much more enjoyable.
In truth, I don’t even remember the name of my very first guild on Kirin Tor when I started. It was a Role Playing guild and they were quite good at doing just that. For the most part, they were just like me. New to the game, having no idea what it was truly about but they enjoyed what they did. At some point along the way to 60 I met a couple during a run of Dire Maul, and we hit it off well. My wife had just gotten her own account instead of stealing all the time on mine and we were thrilled to have met someone else who was married and played. As it turned out he was the GM of the guild he was in and we were offered an invite and readily accepted it. <Stars of Glory> was an amazing guild, there were some very vibrant personalities there, guild chat exploded when someone logged in and hummed along with everyone talking between themselves. It felt more of a family that just a gaming guild. We hadn’t started raiding yet, mainly we were there just hanging out and running instances together. The guild had a ton of couples who played together and both myself and my wife (Who I’m going to refer to as Gwynn from now on.) were in heaven. Then Burning Crusade dropped, and our focus changed a bit in the guild as we became interested in raiding after we hit the level cap at that time of 70. We did very well, content to hit Karazhan every week and work our way slowly to other content. Our GM was also the raid leader and he was very good at both. He also knew how to leverage people in the guild to make his job(s) easier. Eventually two of the very influential officers left the guild for greener pastures, and that opened a void that needed filling. Both Gwynn I were asked to be officers in the guild and wanting to help out we took the positions. That is when I had my first change with WoW, resent creeped in from other members who thought they would have been a better choice. Our fantastic GM also took the departure of the two officers as a personal failing that he wasn’t able to hold them around. Things changed in our relationship, and eventually we stopped talking to each other – both of us holding onto the idea that the other was wrong in the way they were doing things. It became evident that we would have to leave as well, and we did. In the end, myself and the GM were a lot alike. We were both stubborn as mules, both played hunters and were both convinced we were right. Our wives were probably standing there shaking their heads as we beat on our chests in Alpha fashion. Being an officer killed my enjoyment of the game, and it was time to start enjoying it again. We applied and were accepted to a raiding guild on KT, but it just wasn’t the same.. In the end, both Gwynn and I transferred our characters to Steamwheedle Cartel, and joined <Hidden Legends>.
Hidden Legends was another fantastic guild, run again by a wife and husband combo (Though the husband was not an officer) and had a ton of great people there. We met, and are still friends with certain players from that guild. We continued through content in TBC. I discovered an important rule in Hidden Legends: There must always be a Canadian officer in the guild. (Seriously folks it’s the hallmark of a great guild! I’m convinced of it!) Eventually the focus in Hidden Legends went to a more progression oriented guild, and while Gwynn and I were able to keep up and continue raiding, it was becoming a chore. Then a strange thing happened, I got a whisper from a level 11 Paladin,who had a similar name to my old GM on Kirin Tor. Turns out he was just that, and we talked for a long while each apologizing for our actions that led to our departure. Had there been a /brohug emote it probably would have been used way to much during that conversation. But, I was impressed that he had taken the time to seek us out and had made the effort, eventually his wife rolled a character and we all started down that road to friendship. Eventually the GM of Hidden Legends left, handed the reigns over to another officer and the guild became a true progression raiding guild. These prompted our exit from the guild, and as you have probably already surmised… Our return to Kirin Tor and the Stars of Glory.
This was around the time just prior to Wrath of the Lich King being released, and a new couple had become officers in Stars of Glory which was great – we had no aspirations of going that route again. We were still attacking Karazhan, Gruul’s Liar and attempting other raids with a fury. Then, we started to notice a change in our GM – he had handed over the reins of Raid Leader to one of the new officers and the GM began to show up half smashed to raids and be completely smashed by the end. It was funny in the beginning; he was a complete character when he drank. There were memorable moments there, and things said over vent that had both myself and Gwynn crying with laughter. It was fun again, as we were home. WotLK dropped, things returned to normal with the race to endgame and raiding Naxxarammas. That unfortunately started a power struggle within the guild. We were progressing too slowly for some and just fine for others. This caused a relapse in the GM and Stars ended up blowing up in rather spectacular fashion. As with any other guild, we split into two different guilds, one that the hardcore raiders gravitated to and one that the casuals went to. Us, we went to the latter. I once again became an officer and eventually when the Guild Leader and Raid Leader quit, stepped up to try and run the raids and the guild. I discovered that I’m a horrible raid leader, and probably an even worse GM/Co-GM. And then it happened. We quit WoW.
We eventually made our return just before Cataclysm but after the talents had been revamped. I was completely lost on my hunter.. Gwynn was overwhelmed on her lock.. Nothing was the same, everything was confusing now. I drowned myself in alts; Gwynn left the game after snagging a sweet part time job as an instructor at a Community College. (In addition to her full time job.. Still amazed she has the energy for both.) I drifted from guild to guild, never really finding one that fit. People had stopped talking in randoms and guild chats were dead save for the deluge of “Grats!!” when someone did something. The social aspect of the game for me had completely died, and it didn’t appear to be coming back anytime soon.
Flash forward to present day. I’ve already detailed out the realm change, so I’ll not re-hash that again. I’ve found a unique group of individuals in <Esoterica>. They are funny, engaging and don’t require you to be in vent to have a conversation. Guild chat is always moving by at a good clip, we’ve got several members from over the pond. And our Co-Raid Leader and one of the officers is a Cannuck. We raid once a week, for three hours in a 10 man environment. We hardly ever go past raid time, and everything is done in a nice efficient manner. As a shaman I’m tasked with actually tank healing, which while being a little strange at times I really enjoy. I know what to expect out of Handredor and Follo. I know when to spread heals around the raid to try and help out Solinel or Danya may need a little help with Follo. And they do the same for me. Life is good in Azeroth now.
And it’s because of others. So, thank you <Esoterica> you’ve made this game alot of fun again!
And with that.. Lets dive into some actual Shaman Resto posts, shall we?