If my math is correct, and under the assumption that Progression = Loot, then Friends > Progression. Many wonder how a little guild of friends that were not particularly great at the game became what the Saints have become now, and the answer is we made friendships. We made friendships outside and in the game and ended up with a whole bunch of really helpful people and also some amazing players. Our motto is and will probably always be that we care more about someone’s character and behaviour than their skill at the game.
I was reading WoW[DOT]com’s article about guild splits recently and the theme was very familiar, progression happens, people feel left out, loot drops, people get jelous. I recognize that we have lost players in the past for the same situation, and its not that I don’t care about losing players because I do, its dissapointing, but in reality if they care more about a piece of digital loot or title or achievement than the fun we have raiding or laughing in vent, then they are really not what we want for our membership.
I had a very amusing conversation with someone from a “top” raiding guild where they pretty much believe that what they have to offer is “diamonds” compared to the crap we offer. I do realize that we cannot compete with a hardcore raiding guild when it comes to progression because we are casual, but in reality we have never measured our guild by its ranking on some site. Its cool to get the accomplishment, its cool to have killed a boss before everyone else, but in the end its just momentary e-peen that is erased when the next content is released and someone else gets to it first.
We are not shooting for hardcore raiding, we are shooting for progression but not for the sense of accomplishment and the fact that we got there. Our pace being slow does not bother me at all. I have RL friends that play this game, specially from the Michigan crew of people I know, they are in high and medium pop servers and have been farming ICC for months now. Some of them have reached the pinnacle of this expansion on 25 mans, some of them are just harcore on 10. All of that will change quite a bit in the next expansion when the loot tables will be the same no matter how many people you enter an instance with (or at least I hope it stays the way they have hinted.)
That said, if you want to be at the latest heroic content in the game and you have the computer, connection, time and skill that it requires to raid hardcore, our guild will never be at that level. We value joking around, or rolling for blame after a wipe more than tirades by everyone about how much so and so sucks. We do have very good players that sometimes get frustrated, but then they turn around and help whoever needs go sharpen their skills. Its a true community, not perfect, but good enough to still be together through its various bumps.
At the face of people wanting to become hardcore raiders and join other forces someone brought up the point of loyalty. That hits that topic right on the proverbial head, a lot of the point on staying in a guild is loyalty. At the same time, we do have to remember that this is also a game that for some people is about “beating” it and completing a personal goal. Some people want that now! and they don’t care that the game will lose a lot of its flavor once those goals have been completed, and in my oppinion its a tastes a lot less sweet when you get those goals with a bunch of people you could care less about.
The thing that makes me the happiest and most proud about our guild is that it truly has been a team effort. Its not that everyone listens to have I have to say, but that the spirit of a guild that helps each other out with not just raiding skills but quest, professions and mats has been kept alive. Everyone that comes in, likes what they see and adds their little grain of sand to the huge beach that has become the BoondockSaints. With time I have come to understand that this is not my guild, not even Moon, Star and my guild, but everyone’s guild. That is what has made it strong, and that we value friendships in game more than we do loot or progression will make it that we are here to see an expansion come out and experience it as a true online family.