Musings and Ramblings

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?

5 Replies to “Musings and Ramblings”

  1. Ooooh, I have some stuff to type here :D

    I only really started playing about 9 months ago. I’ve played a bit on my wife’s druid during Vanilla, but lack of time and money left us with only an expiring trial account back then. When my wife picked up WoW again, everything started itching and we decided to play together (granted, she had already leveled to 80 by that time, but no matter). This expansion pretty much marks my “comeback” or even real start of WoW.

    My most epic experience must’ve been my very first raid on my holy pally. I onlyl dinged 80 an hour before that and I solo healed Patchwerk, the weekly raid boss for that week. I never knew I could :D

    I’m not so sure about the rest to be honest. I still feel that I really want to have Ulduar done before Cataclysm hits, but I’ve started pretty late and now it’s just ICC everywhere. And besides the fact that I love doing end game raid content, Ulduar feels much more epic than ICC. With one exception. The very first time I downed Putricide. This was the evening that I decided to switch to my new guild. We downed Putricide, which was also a first time for them. The *group* felt epic. I switched guilds right before the screenshot of the kill :D

    And now, I’m a proud member of Gifted and Talented. Which happened to be my very first guild too! Long story :P

  2. Sarth +3 ten man.

    I was desperate for that drake before I ever turned 80 on my first character. I didn’t want gear or progression or boss kills….I just wanted my silly drake. (Call me crazy.) It took me months to become a good enough player that I felt like I could attempt it. My last GM took it upon himself to arrange a weekly attempt on it – just to make me happy – and while it took us a few weeks, we got it down. I’d helped stack the group with kick ass friends, but he was the one who pulled it together.

    And I won the roll. At least half of the ten players there were rolling for me, but I won it flat out. In fact, I was too nervous to even *look* at the rolls until I was flooded with congratulations.

    I’m not sure if it was finally achieving my dream in the game, how terribly pretty the Black Drake is, or how touching it was that everyone took the time to get it done for me….but it’s my most epic moment in the game.

    Other notable events:
    – The first at level five man I ever did. (SM) Yeah. Really. I won’t ever forget it. I got roped into a slot late at night with a raiding guild on their alts, and the whole thing ran like a beautifully oiled machine. I was completely sold on raiding from that moment on.
    – Downing Heroic Crimson Halls for my current guild’s first time, and my first time completing those fights at all – my first night raiding with them.
    – Algalon. Yes, we were overgeared for it, but still a kick ass fight. Specifically, winning the quest item myself and making the sky in Dalarann all pretty, and having everyone there – faction aside – flock to me to enjoy it.

  3. My guilds? Always transient. Whether I start them or just join them, I never go into one expecting to do very much with them, or for very long. And I think that DOES have to do with the expansion.

    Back in Burning Crusade, I was in a guild on Silver Hand. Back in the day, loathe as I am to admit it, I was a troll. Not like “ZOMG WTF WHERE IS MANKRIKS WIFE,” but like… Tusks, a mohawk, awesome dancing. I had taken over my friend’s mage for a short while when he went in for back surgery, so the guild could justify giving him the same-ish treatment, as far as participation and attendance went. We were very tight knit, so it’s not like he was gaining anything while the others were losing.

    And it turns out, they liked me a LOT better than him. I came in for a Kara mostly-badge run (couldn’t down Nightbane or Illhoof at that point) and by the end of the night, I was getting whispers, asking if I was taking over for good, or when I’d get my own. We mostly laugh about it now, when we have a chance to chat, but my first night raiding, ever, and they wanted me to be a part of their core team. I felt totally accepted.

    And then Wrath hit. The guild was still together, but didn’t play as much. We did a few Naxx runs, never getting Grob down. We all died horribly on Frogger. Eventually, our guild, like Apotheosis, sort of died out. We never even managed to down Sarth-0. So I went on my way. I leveled a druid, and found myself among some new friends. Sort of.

    I never really got on that great with the rest of the guild. We were certainly amicable towards each other, and I would even call a number of them friends (though it’s up to them whether they would say the same of me). But they were running T8, while I was still trying to piece together my +hit gear. I basically just leveled her for the sake of leveling her, got her professions up, and moved on to my next toon.

    Time goes on, I end up leaving the guild. Just wasn’t for me. My friend (from earlier in the comment) insists we try and restart our guild from back on Maiev, from YEARS ago.

    Too much failure for this post, so we’ll skip to the end: it didn’t work.

    So I moved on to ANOTHER guild. This was run by a paladin I met back when I was soloing Ony on my DK. We were waiting for the dreaded “too many instances” error to pass, throwing Voodoo Skulls and Heavy Leather Balls at each other, talking about specs and class roles and such. We ran a lot of stuff, mostly classic and BC, but it was more fun for me. I think. We two-manned Kara a number of times, three-manned MC (even snagging a Sulfuron Ingot in the process!) once or twice. We even worked out a way for him to solo Ick and Garfrost in normal or heroic PoS.

    But it still didn’t feel right.

    All I can think of is that it has something to do with the expansion, but I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it IS that the content is “easier,” or that finding groups and making raids completely PUGable. But I don’t know. Time will tell, I suppose, and come Cataclysm, you’ll have your answer. Or I’ll have mine. Whatever.

    That’s not to say I’d flake on you in Apoth 2.0, of course. If I can get in a raiding guild again, I’m holding on for dear life.

  4. After leaving a 25-man guild where the atmosphere and progress weren’t right anymore, me and 2 friends made a guild. Killing LK with my little 10 man group felt amazing, and I’m having a blast working on heroics now. I’m nowhere near bored of this expansion and I hope this guild lasts at least until Cataclysm…

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