All right, this is the part of the blog where I transform from a source of holy paladin information into a proud GM and proceed to spend the next 1700 words talking about my guild and being a GM.
We got Cho’gall 25 on Tuesday night.
Let me say that again: WE GOT CHO’GALL 25 ON TUESDAY NIGHT. And then promptly went 5/6 in BWD. Oh, and we did Baradin Hold before Cho’gall. Seven bosses in a single night. Our best raid night ever.
Two years ago, we were struggling to recruit and were literally two weeks away from ultimately calling it. At the time, we thought it was forever. I resigned myself to never leading these people again, maybe never even playing with some people ever again. I transferred toons every which way — Kurn to Proudmoore, Madrana to Bronzebeard. The guild was done, but we didn’t disband. I checked in now and again (very rarely, but occasionally!) and saw familiar faces and old friends and always felt so damn sad. I had let these people down. I’d let my own cockiness and arrogance get in the way of being able to field a strong 25-man group, night in and night out. Not that I was deliberately an ass to people, but I didn’t recruit to replace people I’d lost between BC and WotLK and I let some nasty people be overly vocal and that led to more people leaving. People that we just couldn’t replace because we hadn’t progressed enough to get noticed, basically. I’ve felt that my arrogance and overconfidence was the ultimate reason for our downfall. I probably take too much on myself, but it’s how I felt.
We killed Sartharion — +0. (Although we were 5% away from a +1 kill!) We never killed Thaddius, so we never got to look at Sapphiron or Kel’Thuzad. We never got the key to 25-man Eye of Eternity, so we didn’t get to try Malygos.
Wrath of the Lich King was unkind, to understate it, to Apotheosis and I have basically held my breath since restarting this funny old guild of ours. Until Tuesday night.
I overrecruited, determined not to cancel raids, determined to have a solid group of people to be raiders.
We have had 19 25-man raids and have not cancelled a single one. We rescheduled due to the Superbowl, true, but never cancelled. This meant that when one of our warlocks who typically works graveyard ended up oversleeping, we fielded a 24-man raid until he woke up and joined us. We got through it.
We’ve dealt with the loss of two of our four original tanks on the roster, we’ve lost some cherished old-time members and some newer members to that pesky thing called “real life” and honestly, some people just didn’t end up making the cut. Ultimately, we haven’t had the smoothest six resets ever. Our raiding roster has gone from 39 to 27 and back up to 33.
What we have done, however, is improve. Each week, we keep killing things we killed the previous week and it keeps getting cleaner. I’ve started dropping healers on a couple of fights now that I trust people not to stand in the bad and, last Thursday, we shaved a full minute off our fastest Valiona & Theralion kill.
We had a ninja pull on Tuesday on Magmaw (I think it was a hunter who pulled by mistake, but that’s fine) and you know what? We did just fine. Clean kill, one-shot. Not a problem. Granted, not something I desperately want to relive, but it was fine.
This is in contrast to some of our raids back in Burning Crusade. We could go in and clear 5/6 SSC, getting everyone but Vashj down in one raid night, but the next week, we’d spend half the night wiping to Leotheras the Blind or Karathress. Occasionally, Tidewalker or Lurker.
We eventually got better at consistently clearing content, but the progress we’ve made in our six resets is far beyond what we experienced in Burning Crusade’s Apotheosis.
It’s sort of expected and standard and such, at least for me, to always repeat kills with a lot less effort than the original kill. After spending months in ICC working on regular modes, then heroic modes, I’m very used to wiping a lot and then mastering the fight and it’s on farm.
I’ve never really had that in Apotheosis until now.
Also, while not everyone adores each other, we’re not total dicks! There’s none of that idle chatter full of profanity and perjorative slurs that tend to accompany progressed raid guilds. We do swear (I do a lot!), but there’s no talk of “raping” that boss, or how “gay” something is. There is a lot of mocking of me (and Majik!) but the chatter is fun, harmless stuff. It’s not full of barely-concealed self-loathing or veiled (or not-so-veiled!) references to violence against women.
Of course, none of that is permitted as per our guild policies, but it’s really a striking difference to me. Most raid guilds I was in during Wrath had no such policies (Choice of Skywall is the exception — and they’re recruiting holy paladins! Go apply now!) and it was tiring to log on and hear 20-something year olds talk continually about how “gayly” they were just “raped” by someone. :P
The members are quality people. Good players. Some are still struggling a bit and adjusting, but they’re getting there and everyone on the roster is there for a reason.
And what’s amazing is that we really are turning into a team, where it doesn’t matter that people weren’t there two years ago. We only had ten “old-timers” in on our Cho’gall kill. I’m no longer thinking of people as groups of people I know from other guilds or other servers, but really, truly thinking of them as my guildies. There’s a contingent of four people with whom I raided on Bronzebeard and they brought another shadow priest and another DK along. And for a bit, I thought of them as “the Bronzebeard people”. All six of them were there on Tuesday for the kill and not once did I think of them as anything apart from “my guildies”.
So Tuesday night, I could breathe again. The guild that I had painstakingly reassembled had finally really come into itself. We killed our first end boss of the expansion. Together. On 25-man.
The tension and stress mostly melted away as soon as we got the kill. The guild has momentum. Doesn’t mean I can slack off, but it means that the guild has achieved stuff and I am no longer holding the guild together through sheer willpower. ;) It means that people are invested now. We sweated through Twilight Ascendant Council. We worked on Cho’gall. We nearly cried on Atramedes, I swear. We have in-jokes. We have shared experiences that bind us together.
Five years from now, even if I’m not playing anymore, I will always remember that we always wanted to kill Majik with the Atramedes trash. I’ll always remember priests levitating off the elevator… into Nefarian’s lava. I’ll always remember how Shadowcry fell off the edge of Halfus’ platform or how Dayden and Fog got thrown into the same lava when blown back by adds on V&T trash. I’ll always remember how I was laughing so hard, I could hardly breathe, much less heal through trash, while my guildies mocked my fail computer and likened it to an abacus. I’ll remember how one of our shadow priests was mangled by Magmaw, that one time.
I’ll remember the perseverence the guild showed when we had an abysmal time on Council the week before we killed them, on that rescheduled raid night. We came roaring back the next night and went 5/6 in BWD and then killed Halfus for fun.
I’ll remember the strength of character the raiders continually show me when I swap them out and they step out without a complaint.
We sat eight people on the Cho’gall kill. Tia, Raisa, Andy, Hestiah, Onemanshort, Hulrok, Fidjet and Traellus. It wasn’t easy to sit most of them — although in some cases, lack of gear was the determining factor, which made it a little easier. But I won’t forget that not a one of them raged about it. Not a one of them said anything more than “man, wish I were there with you guys!” and even then, just once, if that. They all recognized that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. They congratulated us.
All 33 people who signed up and showed up tonight are team players.
And if it weren’t for that attitude that is apparently shared by us all, we wouldn’t be sitting at 9/12, with Conclave on the schedule for Thursday, ready to pop us up to 10/12.
If it weren’t for people being there for us, willing to push through things, willing to wipe and learn and get better and willing to sit or swap in or whatever the raid needs, we’d still be failing to Valiona & Theralion or Atramedes.
But we aren’t still failing to those fights… because our people are awesome.
I know the ranks really aren’t that accurate, but WoWprogress says that we’re US 979 for Cho’gall 25, which is something like 2000 ranks better than we ever saw in BC. We’re technically realm third in 25s, but one of the 25-man guilds has split into two teams of 10s, so we’re really the #2 25-man guild on the server. Our rank may say 10th, or 3rd, or whatever, depending what you look at, but we’re keeping up. (Hell, GuildOx says we’re #1 in 25-man progress… go figure!) And even if we weren’t, what matters is that we keep pushing. We pushed progression on Tuesday by not resetting Bastion. We’ll push progression on Thursday when we take on Conclave and play with Al’Akir.
We’re pushing, we’re progressing.
We got Cho’gall 25 down on Tuesday night. I know it’s one of three end-bosses in entry-level raid content and that, a year from now, most no one will care.
But I care now. And I’ll care then.
Because this is my guild, made up of people I’ve known for years, raided with during Wrath or gotten to know because of this blog. This is the guild that I have painstakingly assembled, piece by piece, bit by bit, all in the hopes that things wouldn’t backfire hideously on me.
The first test has been passed: Cho’gall 25 down, Bastion of Twilight 25 cleared.
This might actually end up working after all.