Monday, March 23, 2015

The Dark Times - a Guild Story

I figured there's no time like the present, and I've decided to regale you all with the tale of my third guild, that fabled year I spent with the worst guild I've ever been in. The first time I dedicated more than a sentence or two to it was the opening to my Experience post, but it was always a story for another day. I've waited long enough, so that day is today, or whichever day it happens to be when you read this.

Now, I mean no offense to anyone when I say this guild was 'the worst'. Mathematically, statistically, and operationally, it was undeniably less functional than any other guild I've been in. It's just fact. I had issues with only one member, and I put a lot of time, effort, and emotion into that guild.

Though the main catalyst that caused me to leave was directly related to a person within the guild, I imagine that after enough time, I still would have made the decision to part ways. It's doesn't feel good to accept putting my heart and soul into something while the people around me consistently fail without holding anyone accountable, without any signs of improvement. Even so, I was in the guild for an entire year - and it wasn't because they weren't always bad. Oh, they were always bad.

"Well, how did you even end up there if you think you're so great?" you ask me, accusingly. Yeah, I heard you - rude much. Well, what had happened was...

it was just a couple years ago...

It was mid-Cataclysm. My guild's hayday was long over, having peaked in TBC third guild on the server, all content cleared while relevant. Since then, we dwindled in our long term members to real life obligations or just boredom with the game - we were only 6/7N Firelands and going on our fourth-ish guild leader.

one of my only cataclysm-era screenshots with that guild

Then, one fateful raid night while we were getting ready to work on Ragnaros progression, our guild leader got our attention to declare that we were 'officially no longer raiding' starting right that second. We were free to stay in the guild, but there would be no more scheduled raids.

It wasn't entirely unexpected - we had been having trouble recruiting and keeping the recruits that we did get and our raid and guild leader had not been hiding their disinterest in trying to keep us afloat. I tabbed out to browse some other guilds, but lost interest in a few moments when it sunk in what I had lost. I had been in that guild for a very long time, and though I had long since lost a majority of the great friends I made there, it was really over. I quit raiding, and playing, for awhile.

I played this game for a bit, got bored quick

I started playing Warcraft again a few months after Dragon Soul release, thinking I could benefit from the newly added Raid Finder to get my raiding fix. How naïve I was - I know, hilarious, but I had no way of knowing it was going to be so bad.

One night near the end of the year, after realizing that raid finder was just the worst and realizing how far behind I was of people who did actual raids, I decided I needed to join a raiding guild again.

This was all while being intoxicated.

no, like, actually in real life, and no I don't have a cool horn mug

I browsed the forums and found a guild that had a schedule I liked that I thought may accept someone with no current progress and whispered the contact. How bad could it be? It was weird to me that I didn't have to apply at a website and they just told me to show up at the next guild raid, but I started to get ready with full intentions of showing up.

I literally had a random hookup with a guild while drunk. I was desperate and my standards were low. That's how I ended up in that guild. I even somehow agreed to raid on my shaman - I ended up playing an elemental shaman as my 'main' until Mists came out, when I convinced them to let me play my druid. I never count it as a real main swap - it was my raiding main, but my heart was never in it. I gave up my favorite class just to raid again in a sub par guild, while drunk, and then stuck with it for an entire year. I don't mess around with commitment.

When I joined, they were stuck on Ultraxion in DS. Utilizing my clutch bloodlust, they were able to down him for the first time while I was with them. We trudged through the rest of the bosses, but I had no means of comparison at the time and was enjoying raiding, not to mention getting every piece of mail that dropped. They were very pleasant, though it took them a very long time to get my 'sense of humor' - taking my "how do I play," jokes seriously sometimes. (I know I know, very high brow - I'm something of a intellectual.)

harrumph pish posh

With so long before Cataclysm came to an end, we had plenty of time to clear DS on normal and tackle some heroic fights, which was the first point at which I began to take significant notice of how... unskilled some of the members were.

I could give examples, oh could I give examples, but I genuinely don't want to fill this post with venomous elitist ranting. They were nice people - if they hadn't been so polite and kindhearted, I wouldn't have been in their guild, months behind on progression, for an entire year.

When Mists went live at 3:00 AM our time, only about four of them were online and ready to level. Everyone insisted on grouping together, but after a very short amount of minutes, I decided to go on my own. I was the first to hit 90 with only a handful of people coming close. We didn't have a full raid group worth of level 90s for almost two weeks.

As ineffective as they were, they were still a raiding guild. With raiding up and coming, the guild leader put some rules and benchmarks in place - we had to be fully heroic geared, stocked up with consumables, and read up on the fights before we could join the guild raids... close to a month after they were available.

it's a metaphor

Raiding with them in Mists was when things started to get bad - well, worse. I don't know if it was because DS had been so nerfed or if it had just been mechanically easier for them, but through MSV - which we barely got 4/6N before HoF came out - we were stuck on each boss for weeks at a time.

We went directly into HoF when it came out, where we got stuck on the first boss for weeks, then subsequently stuck on the second boss for weeks. The gimmick mechanics were too hard for them - I could not see us passing Blade Lord Ta'yak, ever. Ever. Seriously ever. It was mind blowing.

get it, mind blowing? cuz of the wind

The problem was specifically that the players who were our healers were the same players who were unable to run the wind gauntlets. They could not heal while running, they could not run successfully - they just could not do it. We had the first phase down perfectly, but it would fall to absolute ruin after the gauntlet started with zero semblance of improvement. At one point we even tried allowing one of the healers to stay at the other side and wait for us instead of try to run the gauntlet and back again.

The GM took a hiatus around this time. I'm not sure why precisely - I think I could make a good guess or two, but he just said he needed a break. An old guild mate from my previous guild had started playing again, a great paladin healer, and I asked (begged) him to come with me to my raids to carry my guild, which he did. He basically single handedly carried us through the next few bosses in HoF. I got another one of my friends to come as well, he was playing a hunter at the time. While the GM was gone, we saw significant progression in HoF and ToeS and things were generally bearable with me and my two friends carrying everyone.

these boxes represent the other 7 people

Upon the GM's return, he was genuinely surprised to see that we had progressed so well. Despite us progressing significantly without him, he was defensive and lashed out during our raids, retaking his place as the angry elitist yelling poor commands in voice chat, despite being bad himself.

After a few raids with my friend healing, the GM took it upon himself to talk smack about him in guild chat. He tried to say that my friend's healing numbers only looked so good because he was a paladin. He "snipe healed" and negated his wife's druid HoT healing, making her look bad. He delusionally rationalized that my friend wasn't even good, he was just making himself look good by sabotaging the other healers on the meters.

That was it for me. I toiled every raid night to carry them and brought in two good players to make up for their shortcomings and the GM who wasn't even there for our progression had the gall to criticize my friend. My friend didn't have to come to our bottom tier raids, he was coming as a favor. I didn't actually tell my friend what my GM had said for a few weeks, as I was genuinely fired up about it.

I told the GM's wife - whom I actually respected, she was aware of her shortcomings and often told her husband to stop trying to make excuses for her - that I was quitting the game for awhile, which I in fact did, so it wasn't a fib.

tried this again

After a couple months, I decided I wanted to play again. I had never gquit from that guild and I didn't know how to handle it - I'd never left a guild before for any reason other than complete dissolution. Instead of logging in and letting them know I was leaving like an adult, I logged onto my alliance druid and leveled it up from about 25 to 90 and then did an absolute truckload of pet battling. I finally decided to get back into real raiding, gquit, and went looking for a new guild.

I know I sound like an arrogant elitist, but if I truly were, I would assume that I wouldn't have stayed in that guild for so long. The catalyst that caused me to leave wasn't everyone failing one too many times - it was the indecency of the GM when he tried to talk crap about my friend. I stayed because they were nice people who were nice to me and I felt like leaving them, and them subsequently losing three total people, would cripple them. It was only when the GM pretentiously and passive aggressively let the whole guild know that they'd be fine without us that I decided to take my leave.

And that's it. The tale of the fabled bad guild has been told. Ultimately, I regret not leaving sooner, though I suppose it was my loyalty and desire to help those raiders succeed that kept me around for so long, which are probably good traits to have.

No comments:

Post a Comment