I've found anything and everything I ever wanted with regard to information about how to play and enjoy the game, as well as more than a few interesting resources that I can't quite find a use for but enjoy reading nonetheless.
The one thing I can't seem to find, and the one thing that seems to be the first and foremost requirement for getting the most out of EverQuest II, is a good guild. Turn the page for more.
Speaking of offering, I don't have multiple level 90 characters, nor do I have any EQII raiding experience. About the only thing I have to offer a prospective guild is a fair amount of play time and my sunny personality (bwahaha, yeah I know). That said, it shouldn't be this hard. I've joined no less than three guilds since I've been back (on Lucan DLere, Antonia Bayle, and Crushbone), and I'm honestly not that picky. Sure I'd love to have Felicia Day (or a less famous but equally bubbly personality) as my guild leader -- who wouldn't? -- but at the end of the day, all I really want is a group of people who speak (and type) English, log on daily, and don't mind grouping up.
Not to bad-mouth the guilds I've experienced thus far -- the majority of the members are fine folk -- but the hard reality is that we never do anything together. I've been in a guild group exactly once in the last three weeks, and that was a wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am run through Kaladim that was over far too quickly. I'm not asking for the red carpet, or a dedicated meet-and-greet, but something beyond stone-cold silent guild chat channels and the very occasional "grats" upon dinging would be swell. I don't know whether everyone's busy with end-of-summer chores or I've just got a case of bad luck, but finding a reliable group has been much more difficult than anything else I've tried to accomplish since returning to the game.
And yeah, I've done the two-box thing; in fact, I'm configuring a couple of my rigs to do it right now (well not right now, but after I get done with this mini-rant) but honestly it's a last resort. I'd much rather play with a bunch of people than a bunch of key-bindings and macros.
So why is it so difficult to find a good guild? More specifically, why is it so difficult in a game that seems to have friendly people in droves, judging by the global chat channels?
Perhaps it's my expectations. I've been a part of some fantastic player groups over the years, a couple of them still active (just not in EQII, sadly). Whenever I hook up with a prospective new group, the inevitable comparisons begin. This never ends well and I ultimately end up going back to soloing after a time.
Perhaps it's also a shift in the general player population, or at least the prevailing attitudes. It seems to me that a lot of players nowadays are all about the me, myself, and I mentality, and they only group with you (or guild you) based on your ability to help them get what they want. This is of course a generalization, but it has been my experience in many of the genre's more recent titles. Also, due to the nature of working for Massively and being mostly dissatisfied with the way MMORPGs don't build on the cool features of yesteryear, I'm always game-hopping in search of that one ideal world. Asking a group of gaming friends to pull up stakes as often as I do is both inconsiderate and unrealistic, as is forming and leading a guild myself.
Along the same lines, as MMORPGs have lost their social stigma and attracted both professionals and homemakers (as opposed to almost exclusively techno-nerds) in recent years, a certain amount of dedication has fallen by the wayside. Gone are the days when most (if not all) of the people in your guild would be up all night or however long it took to complete the task at hand, bending over backwards to help one another out. Now, whether it's because of the need to get a good night's sleep prior to heading to the office the next morning or the desire to change junior's diapers in the middle of a pull, there's a definite line between play time and other time that rarely gets crossed. This isn't a bad thing per se -- I'm guilty of growing up too -- but it was infinitely easier to find a dedicated group prior to MMORPGs hitting the big time.
So what's the answer?
I don't rightly know, which is one reason I threw all this up for your perusal. Perhaps you guys can chime in with your strategies for finding a good guild. Perhaps I also just need to have some patience. Making new friends doesn't generally happen overnight, and in a well-established and top-heavy game like EQII, it's understandable (maybe even unavoidable) that things can occasionally seem rather closed off.
Ultimately my main is still in his late 30s (and I've got several 20-ish alts), so it could be premature to sound the alarm bells in terms of being unable to find a good guild. I've definitely got the alt bug too, as well as a desire to sample all the various starting areas and quest arcs, so maybe things will look brighter as time goes on and I start to approach endgame on a single character. There are also other servers of course, though Lucan and AB are always mentioned as two of the most highly populated shards (along with Nagafen, but open PvP doesn't appeal to me, particularly in EQII). At the end of the day, I guess this is less a rant and more a curious observation. EverQuest II remains a superb PvE game, and I'm having a ball playing it (even mostly solo), but I never thought it would be so difficult to find a guild that fits. Feel free to leave any advice (or point and laugh if that's more your style) in the comments. Until next week, keep the blue side up.
Jef Reahard may be an eternal EverQuest II newb, but he writes a weekly column about the game anyway, through the eyes of a Ratonga Wizard (or any one of 3,720 other alts). If it has to do with the huge and ever-expanding world of EQII, it's been jotted down in The Tattered Notebook. Send Ratonga fan mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.