I started playing WoW during The Burning Crusade. I had the chance to experience some of the raiding at that time, but it was still not as accessible as it is today. My warrior was power-leveled to become a tank and saw some of the end game content. Being there for WotLK release gave me the chance to see how much things start changing before the release. I was not freaked out by the whole revamping of talents or even the elemental invasion. In fact, I think that in the past the whole points reset happened tons more often when they were tweaking things. I am not just looking forward to Cataclysm, I am excited for it to come out. It’s cool because I am as happy for this as I was when the Harry Potter books were being released after I became a fan of the series. (I am not as excited about the movies even though I do watch them.)
Our guild has a lot of plans in motion for the Cataclysm expansion and we will be having a lot of fun leveling to 85, and probably even re-rolling to enjoy the worgen and goblin experience. The month of December will be full of discovery and Blizzard seems to be expecting a lot of people back to see what’s new. They are a company that seems to listen to the community and is going to put out the content people want. Flight in all zone, you got it! More complex fights for raids and dungeons, checked! Being loyal to a guild giving you cool rewards, granted!
As I look forward to this, I want to take a look back at what Wrath of the Lick King did for me as a player, raid leader and most importantly part of the best guild in the world (That might not be a fact, but it is a truth because, for me, there is no other group of people I would rather enjoy my gaming experience with).
Before I dive into the whole discussion I want to make something pretty clear. I am not one of the people that believes that the game begins at cap, if your resilience is bellow 1K you should L2PLAY or that only raiders are doing it right. Many guildies enjoy the game simply for the leveling aspect or even solely the social aspect. Some just like to log in and have people to chat with about their day, or the food that is cooking (or at times burning) on the stove. While this post will have a lot to do with raiding, our guild is casual first. Friends > Loot
Our guild was born out of two thoughts. 1) Let’s help people become better at the game so they can see the content, they paid for it, they should see it. 2) To achieve that goal we don’t have to be nasty to each other. Yep, it was that simple. We had seen a stream of “hardcore” raiders parade on and say “you guys are awesome people but you suck at killing bosses.” Nobody took the time to explain that add-ons to heal made things simpler, or that add-ons needed to be configured, or that macros were actually helpful. Nope, most people would just say “you suck, you noob,” and move on.
I still remember a conversation with my wife back when she did not even play the game. I asked her if she would be OK with my starting a guild; she had even mentioned the option to me in the past when I mentioned that I might be joining another guild that was trying to do more progression (back in the Naxx days). I said to her “it is going to require that I spend more time in the game than I do now, so I want to make sure you are OK with it before I take this step.” She said go for it. (I am not interested on digging up the corpse that it is how me creating a guild affected my last guild. The story is simple but it always becomes a point of debate. All I will say is that there was never any malicious intent to destroy anything, only intent to create something new.)
BoondockSaints was born; it was small guild but we quickly gained some strength and were able to start raiding casually. I started to not just learn the fights more but actually lead more raids. I had done it before at a smaller scale, but now I had the responsibility to learn strategies, know what classes to bring and see where we could do better. We did lots of Naxx and some of Ulduar. We did not have the success other guilds had, but we were able to let people at least enter into those places and get some experience on what raiding was all about.
ToC was painful. We worked on it, but it started to show us that we needed to get lots better if we wanted to finish it. We wiped there a lot, people started to hate going there but we worked through it. I also had been leveling a healer, but this time I had taken my time and enjoyed playing him very much. Having another toon and its being a healer opened my eyes to the game and raiding a lot more. I saw how important it is to move out of the fire (as a tank you don’t have to deal with fire as often as you do as a DPS or a healer.)
When ICC opened and frost badges became the thing to get the game changed dramatically. The gear you could get was a lot better and a lot easier to get. We had also been getting a lot better at raiding and our casuals were now becoming actual raiders. We had come so far from before that some of them were filling up the ranks of other guilds on their 25s. Yep, those people that had left us behind to become “Elite” now needed our help to progress. I continued to run 10 mans and was making progress in ICC, small but steady. Then a bubble spammer became more and more of a commodity and it allowed me to go into a lot more raids, and see more and more content.
Our goal as a guild was simple during WotLK. We wanted to kill Arthas and therefore get the end game title. While some people in the guild do want hard-modes and drakes and the whole enchilada, our goals as a group were simple. One of the guilds that we were filling spots for had a migration to a more progressed guild. This situation put us at a crossroads. I tried to get everyone’s input but at the end we had to make a quick decision before the opportunity was missed. We were going to end up with a merger and potentially some excellent players that knew more than I did about ICC and progression raiding. It was not going to be without the bumps, we could potentially lose some of our ways (helping others, raiding slow and explaining every fight.) It was a rough change for most people and we were able to keep the identity of our guild even though most of the raiders did move on eventually. The end result was that we added more quality players to our casual ranks and loads of knowledge. Before they moved to another server we were able to get a combined group the Kingslayer title. As a guild, the BoondockSaints had accomplished what casuals in a low pop server should not have been able to do.
It is months later now and we have done a lot more raiding and a lot more wiping, but I am happy to report that as this expansion closes we have our 4th new group of kingslayers. We are trying to get at least one new group through the content a week, but the fight takes time to get used to because defiles just suck the soul out of people. Sure, it is a lot easier now and its not as amazing for a raider that has already conquered 25HM. But for a small guild from one of the lowest populated realms, on the 1:3 outnumbered faction, is really cool.
WothLK allowed us to become raiders. We might never become hardcore, but we were able and will continue to see content in Cata. We will do it with a group of friends that help each other become better at the game every day and are looking forward to the challenges ahead!