I just spent about an hour working on my guide to getting the Key to the City, but I just couldn’t get the narration right. Most of the time, I just have a basic idea of what I want to say and say it, but I kept screwing up my narration. Perhaps 3am is not the best time to try to record myself describing a key run.
It’s now four in the morning and I find myself thinking about the nature of guilds. This is likely unsurprising, given my recent transition to my new server and guild, but it’s not just stemming from that.
Rohan, over at Blessing of Kings, always has neat stuff to say, but the other day, he posted about Group Content and Group Creation. Go read his post, then come back. I’ll wait.
Rohan talks about how there are two types of group content: transient and extended.
As I was reading the post, it dawned on me; I pretty much loathe tranient group content. I participate in it just about daily and sometimes more than once and I think the Random Dungeon Finder is amazing for a lot of reasons. But I hate the non-permanence of it.
It used to be that, back in the day, you would search high and low for a group to run a dungeon with you. Or, you’d get together with guildies and find another person or two and go tackle a dungeon together.
These people were always on your server; there was no cross-realm queue. These people were people you could add to your friends list and ask them if they wanted to tank/heal/DPS for you some other time. These people were potential recruits for your guild, too.
I remember doing a Molten Core attunement run once, back in the day. I was level 60 on my hunter and I was taking a tank and two DPS with me through to the part of BRD where you get the quest item. I’d done the run half a dozen times before and knew my way through BRD. All we needed was a healer.
After spamming Trade and LFG for a few minutes, a druid whispered me, saying he’d go.
The run was a success. We had one ugly moment with Ambassador Flamelash, but the druid healer gave us all some fire resist potions he had (!) and the second time was the charm. So impressed was this druid with the overall efficiency (and yes, leadership) of the run that he asked me if we were recruiting druids.
He was already guilded so I insisted he take his time to determine if he wanted to app to us, since I didn’t want to ninja him from another guild. A couple of days later, he applied and was accepted.
That he turned out to be someone who would chase greener pastures, leaving our guild not once, but TWICE, is more or less irrelevent. He was some pug who we picked up and was a valuable addition to the guild when he was with us.
That kind of experience is all but dead and gone now, with the Random Dungeon Finder. And I hate it. I hate that I don’t recognize people in my pugs on any server. I hate that I’m doing my daily content (for frost badges) with people I don’t know and may never see again (which isn’t a horrible thing in many cases, but still!). I don’t like that I’m doing weekly raid content (VOA/weeklies) without my guild. Of course, I COULD just do it with my guild, at least on my pally, but my hunter doesn’t have a real guild. Neither does my shaman, my druid, my mage or my priest. For those toons, it’s great to be able to pug the content.
I remember the days where you used to have to get someone to vouch for you before you’d be invited to any raid pugs. I couldn’t stand the warrior officer back in our old, old, pre-BC guild, but he knew damn near every serious raider on the server and forged those relationships so that he could get into pugs — and he’d sometimes have spots for others, which everyone jumped at.
This whole expansion has really been the rise of the pug raid group. Everyone can pug anything. This bothers me. Maybe I’m being a snob, maybe I’m being unreasonable and stubborn, but I really feel like raiding, the high-end raids, should be the domain of, you know, raiding guilds. I think that there was something special about belonging to a guild in the original game. I remember when we, as a guild, first set foot in Molten Core, four years ago. We basically just went in and farmed trash a bit. We got Arcanist Bindings, our first piece of T1 gear ever, which went to our resident Arcane mage, Jaymie.
It was this epic experience, though. Getting the Molten Giants down, the Lava Surgers, Firelords, Lava Annihilators, the Ancient Core Hounds (LOOT YOUR HOUNDS!!!)… There was a very real, noticeable progression with our group. We went from 20-some people farming trash to a group of about 30-35 people killing bosses. Lucifron’s first death was freaking amazing. Magmadar relied on us hunters to use Tranq shot and not miss. And, by golly, I MADE SURE my hunters didn’t miss! Downing him was a freaking miracle made possible by me and my trusty sidekick, Toga.
We were eventually able to kill through Golemagg. Killing him spawned Majordomo and we succeeded in spawning Domo a couple of times, even if we never did attempt him.
But knowing that we COULD attempt him was an AMAZING feeling! After attunement, scheduling issues, recruitment problems, balance issues, it was just SO EPIC, such an amazing feeling, to step into Molten Core and know we could down eight of the bosses. We were the little guild that could!
Where’s that epic feeling? It’s gone. Or at least, it hasn’t happened for me in this expansion. It happened in BC — seeing my guild progress from Kara through to killing Vashj and Illidan, now THAT was amazing.
Tier 7 content, barring Sarth and drakes or something like 6m Maly, was too easy to elicit any kind of pride. The proof is that my little raid group went in and cleared the Spider Wing and Plague Wing and got Razuvious down on our first night. Never mind that we never did kill Thaddius and such before the guild broke up; that’s wasn’t because Thaddius was hard. That was because we had no DPS showing up anymore, which is something else entirely.
The end of Apotheosis is where my extended content group and I parted ways. I’ve been looking for a new home, a new extended content group, since then, so that these downings actually mean something to me. I can count on one hand the encounters that really meant something to me since the end of Apotheosis:
1) Sartharion + 3 drakes: This was my big chance with my Bronzebeard guild to really show that I knew my stuff and wasn’t a noob. They’d already done Sarth3D a few times, but it was definitely not on farm. The first time I downed Sarth3D was pretty amazing.
2) Yogg-Saron: In the raid with me was my buddy Euphie and in a chat channel with us was Osephala. Two of my Apotheosis folks were with me, and Euphie and I were healing together for Yogg. Plus I did the healing assignments for Yogg and even made the useless priest be useful by getting him to take the portals. So there! Having Kal and Fad and Saku around was also basically awesome. I seem to surround myself with amazing healers. <3
3) Algalon: Killed this guy with my last guild, with my RL friend the resto druid. The “Astral Walker” title is the only title she and I share that we have earned together at the same time, so it is totally precious to me.
4) The Lich King: My healing strat based on my RL friend’s initial strat. It was super important for me to get him down because I wanted my RL friend to know the guild wasn’t stunted without her, that we could totally use having her back, but that she could feel free to focus on her RL stuff and not worry about the guild.
Plus, you know, being resurrected by Terenas Menethil is AWESOME.
I spent six months on Bronzebeard. Ten months with my last guild. And neither of them felt like extended content groups. Not the way my old Fated Heroes did. Not the way Apotheosis did.
I’ve been searching for a new home for over a year and I’m on to what is technically my fourth guild in this expansion.
Will this be the guild that becomes my new extended content group? Or will this just be another stepping stone for me before we try to bring back Apotheosis? Will this guild be the one that actually prevents me from becoming a GM again with Apotheosis 2.0? Or will this be just another bunch of scattered memories?
I’m not sure, yet. But I do know that there’s one more boss kill that needs to be added to the above list.
5) Valithria Dreamwalker’s rescue — my second “first time”: I’d been in the guild not even 36 hours and we rescued heroic Dreamwalker for the first time for them. THAT meant something to me. It meant more to me than doing it the first time I’d done it. It meant more to me than any other heroic boss downing. (Sindragosa and Putricide come close, admittedly.)
So maybe I’ve found a new extended content group that will last me at least until Cataclysm comes out, and perhaps beyond, depending on what my Apotheosis people want to do.
But I do know that it’s taken me way too long to find a group like these people, a group that even gives me a glimmer of hope of being something beyond a transient-feeling extended group. It’s not to say that I haven’t found some amazing people along the way (basically, all my healers from Bronzebeard save, uh, the other paladins, one of the shammies and one of the priests) but it’s been way too long since I’ve been a part of a group that I actually felt meant something. I’m trying to keep from getting my hopes up too much; SOMETHING has to be wrong with this group, right? Oh, wait, I know! What’s “wrong” with them is that they actually read this thing. ;)
But seriously, the idea that I haven’t felt like I’ve been in an extended group is an interesting one. Is this why I’ve not liked this expansion? Too much transient content and not enough extended? It’s all been transient since the end of Apotheosis, it feels like, even when I was guilded.
I think it’s this transience that makes me long for the days of BC raids. I hated the dungeons, thought BC was pretty lame on the whole, but my God, did I love our raids.
Okay, two hours after starting this post, I think I’m done rambling and pondering for the night, or perhaps more accurately, the morning.
How do you feel about your guild? This expansion? What is your most epic feeling from this game, and did it come from an experience you had with your guild?