What keeps you playing the game? Especially in light of Wrath's option of seeing all the upcoming new raid content in a 10-man version, friendship is proving to be the tie that binds many WoW players. Small guilds who've felt locked out of raiding content and players who don't care for the atmosphere in groups large enough to chew through 25-man content at a steady clip are reconsidering their options.
This week, 15 Minutes of Fame offers a view from a player who's making exactly that journey, all the way from June 2005 and onward into Wrath of the Lich King. Myrena of Mug'thol is one of those players who's tried to "do it right" for years, trying out different methods of cobbling together scattered friendships, real-life work schedules and end-game raiding goals. Today, Myrena is looking forward to the opportunity to chill with friends in Wrath, nibbling their way through the game in a more intimate group. Peek inside Myrena's WoW evolution and find out why Wrath appears to be such a plum to players like him.
15 Minutes of Fame: When did you start playing World of Warcraft?
Myrena: I started playing in June 2005 on Argent Dawn (RP). I joined a few real-life friends who were already on the server. At first, I was playing merely to see the sights of the game and didn't have a clue about (the) end game or even how to correctly build a character. My gear was all wrong; I had leatherworking, as a warrior, and I was leveling specced protection because I thought I could do good damage with shield bash and a spike attached. I would even do a bit of RP from time to time.
After a few months, we joined a friendly, casual guild that wanted to attempt endgame for the fun of it. We failed, as most of us had no idea of what end game meant. We had lot of drama, and I even lost a few real friends. (I could argue whether they were real friends to begin with ...) In the process, sadly, most of us found ourselves on different sides of the drama.
So after that, I started anew on a PvP server as Alliance. My second guild was Anarchy on Dark Iron, a Penny Arcade guild that is still alive to this day, I think. I had joined after a post on the Penny Arcade website telling the readers they would be starting guilds on Dark Iron. So I joined up with a ton of other people and got into a really big guild -- 500 accounts. This time around I learned what PvP was all about (ganking and camping) and experienced a very large guild (Anarchy had 500 people) and yet again the troubles of a group of inexperienced players trying to transition into end game.
So yet again we leveled, and when people started hitting 60, the problems popped up. This time, there was a good core of raiders but also a lot of people new to raiding. So when the raiders started to explain what is required for raiding, it caused a lot of drama from the members who were there for the community. I left because of the drama. I (didn't see) the end of the drama, as I was convinced that they would not be able to find a compromise.
What specifically were the problems that caused difficulties in your first two guilds?
The main problem I'd say was that of a leveling guild trying to transition into a raiding guild. My first guild was run by a couple who had created the guild to meet people leveling up. It was a small guild of about 50 accounts. Recruitment was mostly people we knew or met in the game as we leveled. So we had a very tight-knit group of people, but we also all had different expectations. I wanted to raid, some were casuals and others wanted to do PvP. This wasn't apparent, however, as we leveled up. When members started to hit 60, we began to do UBRS, and those who did wanted to see more end game. The guild began tearing apart, as we all had different interests.
So next, you moved to a hardcore raiding guild. What did you run into there?
Then I decided to start again on a PvE server, as I was tired of getting killed and wanted to see end game badly. I managed that time to get into the first guild on the server and got to raid hardcore, six days a week. We got the server first kill of C'thun and had the joy of learning all about spending multiple nights wiping without really knowing what you are doing wrong. Then just before Naxx, I got my diploma and started working a real, 40-hours-a-week job. So I left my old guild, as I was burned out of raiding and didn't have the time to commit anymore.
They had a five-day raid schedule, with three days of progression and two days to farm content. The last two days were off days, where members could organize Kara and ZA if they wanted. I had (agreed) to show up only on progression days, since I had warned them I couldn't make five days, but they kept asking me to show up every day. At the same time, my real life got really busy. I wasn't showing up much. But all in all, I was required to play four days a week -- three to raid and at least one for farming. I left, since I felt like I was a dead weight in a guild that wanted to progress.
Tell us about your next solution, creating your own guild.
When I started my own guild, I was just coming off an hardcore raiding guild that was raiding six days a week. I wanted to be able to prioritize my job while at the same time keep raiding. So the main thing I wanted was to reduce the numbers of days required to raid. I wanted a two-day progression, with one day for farming. Also, I wanted to lead by council and not make all the decisions, as I felt it would be too much time-consuming. I also made sure my officers had different points of view so the guild would benefit from different opinions. And last but not least, I used a simple loot system for raids which was a mix of need before greed and a little DKP. I wanted to enforce the idea that we where raiding for fun and not for loot.
I had a lot of success at first. Lots of people wanted a small raid schedule, and the simplified loot system made raiding feel a bit more friendly. Giving more weight and responsibilities to my officers helped make things more manageable. At the same time, it caused my guild to split. Two of my officers were always disagreeing, and one of them decided to leave with members who were seeing things his way. Basically, he wanted the guild to be more selective of applicants and their performance and not waste time training new members. The other officer preferred to recruit fun players and teach them to raid.
So after that I left the game, thinking I'd never play again.
A month after BC came out, all my friends were playing so I restarted playing again, made a new character with them and decided to give the game another go. I thought 25-mans would solve end-game raiding problems and would fit my schedule more. This time around, I joined a casual raiding guild made mostly of new players and acted as raid leader for a few months, as I was the most experienced of the group. The guild finally disbanded out of the blue one day, the guild leader leaving without a trace.
After (that), I joined a more serious raiding guild and raided up to TK and SSC. I left recently because as much as I want, I cannot dedicate the time needed to raid (that) the serious guilds require. So now I'm leveling a few characters for the expansion along with friends, so we can have a small 10-man guild for the expansion.
During all this time, I've played every role in a raid except tank (healing, range DPS, close DPS, etc.), leveled every profession but Jewelcrafting and even tried my hand a bit at serious battleground and Arena PvP (didn't last long, though).
How much time do you feel a 25-man raiding guild needs to devote to raiding each week in order to feel successful?
I know a lot of people will disagree with me here, but I'll speak from personal experience. For me, if you want to clear the 25-man content (meaning progress from SSC up to Sunwell), you need at least three days of raiding: two for progression and one for farming content. I think if you do less, your more hardcore players will move on the more advanced guilds looking for faster progression.
I think the trick here is to make sure you keep the appearance of progression. Nothing is harder than keeping player from jumping guilds, and I know that as soon as people feel things are not going fast enough, they start looking elsewhere. In short, you need to keep your players occupied for most of the week. With three days of raiding, they need to farm at least another day, so they are busy four days out of seven. (That) leaves them three days if they have obligations or other stuff they want to do.
Again, I've heard and read about people who find the wonderful guild that progresses with only one or two days of raiding, where members share the farming and where every week a new boss is downed. I honestly wish I had found that kind of guild, but from my experience, I have never actually seen one ... and I'm not even sure they really exist. I guess you need to be lucky to find them.
What kind of work do you do now?
I'm an IT consultant -- more precisely, a Java programmer. I work around 45 hours a week on average.
How do you anticipate Wrath's new 10-man focus to work out for you and your friends?
Over time, we all have moved together on the same server so we could play together. We are not all in the same guild because of time constraints and different goals in 25-mans, but every week we get together do a Kara run with only us in it – no PuGs and no one that we don't know. In short, everyone in the raid knows at least one other in real life. And I have to say those are the best raids I have ever done. I thank Blizzard for allowing us to be able to raid with people I know.
So when we heard about all raids having a 10-man version, we are more than excited. Raiding with only friends make a whole word of difference. First, you don't worry about loot. It's strange how much more understanding you are and your friends are when you actually know the players behind the 'toons. Since you already know everyone, the team is a lot more close-knit and the atmosphere much more relaxed. It's also way faster and more fun to gear up a small group of 10 friends than a group of 25 strangers.
Karazhan and ZA allows us right now to do just that, but we can't see the whole game. (That) has split us in numerous guilds, so we could do 25-man. (Having) all 10-mans will allow us to stay together and enjoy the whole game. I really can't wait for it to come out.