Thursday, February 5, 2009

On Staying My Blue Arse Put

So as of yesterday morning, I'm yellow-barred on WoW Heroes through Heroic Eye of Eternity. Not only that, but for the first time, all of my enchants are listed as top level (as soon as I get another socket slapped on my new belt, anyway). I have my full ten-man Tier 7 set -- granted, a couple of pieces were sidegrades or slight downgrades to what I had before, but I'm a sucker for matchy shit, and the last two pieces of it got defaulted to me anyway. Be.Imba actually has my "should perform well" line past the end of the 25-man Malygos fight. By all means, gear- and talent-wise, I have every right and ability in the world to just stroll up to any given raid boss currently in the game and shoot the living crap out of it.

The only 25-man content I've seen is Obsidian Sanctum. It happens once a week. I'm not likely to see any of the other heroic content until Ulduar comes out at the very soonest.

My guild be tiny. It's hysterical for me to say that, because we've recently pretty much exploded in numbers. We first started raiding in BC around last... August or September, I wanna say, if not later. And by "started raiding" I mean someone looked at the guild list and said, "Dude, we have ten 70s on." And someone else yelled "OMG, let's go to Kara!", and we did.

As of now, working around alts and schedules and the like, on the average night we can put together a ten-man raid with one to three people left over. Every so often we have a short night and have to grab someone off the guild's collective friends list. We host a Sunday night 25-man Sarth run -- no drakes -- with some of the better people we collectively know from members' old guilds and the like. I'll fully admit to being frustrated -- the random number gods have been good to me, and ADD and farming content don't really mix. I'd pretty much give any non-game-necessary appendage for the chance to see Kel'Thuzad or Malygos on heroic mode, to have a new challenge to work towards and new loot to aim for.

So I guess it's a shame that I'm not gonna do anything about it.

I've heard the tone people use when they say "family guild" -- the same tone you'd use when referring to the "girlfriend" of a guy that you know is gay. I joined my guild the day that I converted my trial account to paid, about six days after Jez was first rolled in early December of 2007. The friend who convinced me to try WoW was already a member, and told me the people were friendly, welcoming and understanding of noobishness. Plus the guild leader and second-in-command both played hunters, so they'd be able to help me along. This was before I knew what raiding was.

Fast forward to a year and some change later. I haven't so much as stepped into 25-man Naxx with these people.

What I have done is every heroic dungeon in the game, some of them multiple times over in pursuit of a single piece of gear for a single person. I've /cheered countless upgrades and /spit on bosses who dropped healing plate instead of the belt the shaman needed. I've sleepwalked through fights I didn't give half a damn for and watched the only upgrade I needed get handed to someone else. I've wiped six or seven times in a row on a boss because one person in the group wasn't getting it (including at least a couple where that person was me).

I've seen a resto druid down Kael'thas Sunstrider with moonfire spam, and a dead Death Knight resurrect herself as a ghoul and bite Sjonnir the Iron-Shaper to death (on heroic, no less). I've seen wipes at 1% on bosses we destroyed the week before. I've spent four weeks going after the Safety Dance achievement before finally barely pulling it off, only to go in later with five people who'd never seen the fight and got it immediately. Hell, I've gotten achievements I didn't know existed before I happenstanced into them.

I've wrapped up raids at 10 PM and still not gotten to bed until a quarter of two, flying my nether ray in circles while nattering on in Vent about life, love, school, politics, religion, and the sexual fetishes of nearly every canon character in the Warcraft universe. (Ask me why Kil'Jaeden is into dragon bukkake. You know you want to know.) I've theorycrafted over omelets at the IHOP across the street from Disneyland, argued lore over drinks at the Anaheim Hilton, and spent three hours hiding behind my favored meat-shield while DPSing down the Blizzard Store Line Boss. I'm currently frantically combing my work schedule for a point at which I can run away to a little lake north of Atlanta to get drunk and barbecue (and probably theorycraft and argue lore) with people I've never laid eyes on before.

A week or two ago, some slap-in-the-face drops and respeccing woes had combined with RL stress and emotional problems to turn me into a sobbing mess of inadequacy issues. I spent a good twenty minutes in tells with my guild leader reassuring me that I was useful to the guild, valuable to have on raids and damn good at playing my class. Comfort I didn't deserve for being so overreactive, but there it was.

If my car breaks down or my flight gets cancelled anywhere between Dallas and Washington D.C. (or in Chicago, or a few choice parts of the west coast), I have a ride and a sofa to crash on.

I've had the time of my life over the last year and change, and I have more and better friends than I thought someone with my lack of social skills ever would.

There are a lot of great raiding guilds on my server. I could get subbed into a raid with any one of them and have a good chance of getting in. I could probably, with a few upgrades, pull top DPS in any given heroic PUG on our realm. I could go take on the biggest and baddest raids in the game, and leave my tiny ten-man "family guild" in the dust.

Fuck it. I'll come back for Malygos at 90.


Ailinea said...

As I said on Le Twit, you *GET IT*. A lot of people don't and never will. Sadly I knew some of them in person. It's refreshing to see people who understand why we're NOT the norm.

You know, when we first created PA, people laughed and mocked the idea. They said, "You CAN'T be a *family* guild with an *RP* backstory AND be able to *raid*! You have to pick one!" We said, "Well, why not?"

Being a family guild doesn't mean you have to be rated G and take in any stray who happens along. Family is about caring for your people. GENUINELY caring. And anyone who knows us knows that during a time of conflict, we will weigh issues fairly and have your back if you are in the right, or counsel if perhaps you're not. In return, all we ask for is for people to care in return. It makes the whole stronger than the sum of its parts (to be cliche).

A guild with an RP background doesn't preclude that guild to being a bunch of wimps who don't know how to play. RP doesn't mean you stand around spouting in bad pseudo-Elizabethan English. It just means your character has an identity and you react in kind. An RP guild simply has some common thread that brought them together. (While our guild backstory is EQ-based, we can still work it for WoW, and some of our heavier RPers are some of the best players I've ever witnessed.)

And finally, having a small guild does not mean your players are bad and incapable of raiding, same as being part of the #1 raid guild in the world doesn't necessarily mean the person is good (or a good person, at that). We can raid. We can raid well. As you know, we'd rather just run 10-mans than take in Mr. Face-Rolling Loot Whore who will cause more drama and strife in the long run, just to run 25's. Shoot, we'd rather give up raiding altogether and run heroics than pull in extra asstards to get the numbers to raid heroics. Quantity does NOT equal Quality. Give me 9 other people I can be happy for when they get upgrades in Ulduar while I don't, over 24 other people I can barely tolerate just to see the Heroic raids.

People can mock our "little casual RP family guild" all they want. And they have. For over 5 years now, they have scoffed, and we've heard it all. All you can do is laugh and shake your head because in another 5 years, they can reminisce to themselves about the pixels they once had in a game, while we'll be hosting another annual get-together with our people who have become close real-life friends.

Grimtorn said...

And that right there is why I stay with my "small" family-oriented guild. We struggle in Naxx-10 (I think of us as lovable losers in that regard), but we have fun, we laugh, and we care about each other. That, in my opinion, is way more important then being uber uber leet.