A Thought About Guilds

Apparently there is a huge buzz in the world of bloggers lately about blogging and guilding. Further more, there’s a lot of hullabaloo about guilds in Cataclysm. I hadn’t paid it much mind until today. I just read Tamarind‘s blog post which amongst other things addresses leaving guilds. It made me think about Sprink and her recent decision to go guildless after I left the once great guild we were in. And having thought about it for a bit I realize I have some of my own insight into the subject.

When I started playing WoW I picked the server and faction my friends had played on for years. (Fortunately there were orcs, so all was fine in the world.) Soon I was invited to one of my friend’s guild, as he was the GM. Turns out, that guild was formed right before I started playing, after a very bitter guild breakdown resulted in many of the core raiders splitting from their guild. I had been somewhat aware of the drama before I started playing, as the topic had come up at tabletop sessions. However, since I wasn’t playing at that point it meant very little to me.

This guild was the first experience I had with WoW guilds and I have to say, I will never see such a guild again methinks. In their prime, this guild, my new home, surpassed their former guildies and became number one Horde on their server during most of BC. And while their were some of your usual raider spats about meters, attendance and so on, the thing that made this guild amazing, was it was so casual. Sure, there was a raid schedule, and a professionalism to the raiding core… but everyone worked their alts, farmed mounts and pets, and helped each other out. It was like a family.

Around the time of Splateau the guild slowed then stopped their raiding. There were xfers to and from the server, and after a while things just sorta shut down. I continued through the end of BC in a quiet guild with people who used to raid, leveling alts and having great conversations. When WotLK hit, (most) everyone came back (reactivated or xferred back to Archi) and suddenly the guild was as full of life as it had been a year prior. Some faces were new, but everyone took up the friendly casual spirit of the guild, and everyone prospered.

Until the realities of a shrinking server came into play. It became hard to keep the roster full of ‘good players’ and again the raiding slowed. It seemed the second life of the guild was shorter than anyone expected. After Yogg, the guild officers realized they didn’t want to work so hard to maintain a raid schedule that wasn’t working out. As a result, many familiar faces who still wanted to raid joined other guilds.

All was not lost though. Everyone kept their alts in the guild, and the retired raiders stayed and PvP’d and whatnot. There was still a great family to hang with, and everyone seemed to love being in the guild, even though it no longer gave them all they wanted. The website and forums still overflowed with discussion between current and former members and a status quo of casualness became the identity of the guild.

But even that was not meant to last. Slowly alts started leaving the guild to join the guilds of their mains. Some of the retired raiders xferred to better PvP servers, and some just stopped playing. Eventually, the only people on were a handful random toons and my home town team (irl friends in the guild). And even then real life butted its head in and even us locals weren’t on at the same time to run 5mans.

Mind you, all of this occurred over the course of a few years. So for a majority of my play time (about 3 years) I had a home that was amazing and I was proud to be there.

It took some time for me to realize it, but playing WoW without the green text of Guild Chat is not for me. It doesn’t matter if it’s raid strats, sports discussion or just random gamer chat.. that green text makes me feel like I’m part of something . I don’t even have to be involved; just knowing I’m a part of something larger makes the game more rewarding.

So with a little consideration, I waved goodbye to the old empty guild that was my home and joined a guild that was run by a few acquaintances and friends from the old guild. They’re working on progression, and as usual, I’m not a part of it. In reality, I don’t know 95% of the guild’s roster… but even so it has given WoW some of its sheen back. It’s not quite as casual friendly as the old one, but there’s promise in this guild… assuming it can survive the stress of competitive raiding on a shrinking, medium sized server.

Still, I know it won’t be the same. So far, none of the home team are members, there’s no Sprink, and some of my favorite WoW playersare on other servers or stopped playing entirely. I know its going to be different, but you have to work with what you’ve got.

Ultimately, I’ve seen a lot of discussion about what guilds are, and what to take from them. Personally, in a weird way, it’s just companionship for me. If I wanted to play a video game alone, I could play a console game. WoW is a world of its own, and worlds should have people… and guilds are a big part of those people. So while some may go it alone, or agonize over finding just the right guild for their conquests, I just go where the people are and have fun. I wish the same for everyone else.

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