In today's Mists of Pandaria era, you'd think there would be a pandaren-themed guild on every street corner, especially on roleplay realms. Oddly, that's not the case. Is it that the pandaren haven't captured the imagination of players in the same way other races and classes have, or are players simply more pragmatically focused on personal playstyles and achievements?
Keeping the faith in this time of rugged individualism is Faithful of the Ways, an all-pandaren guild on Emerald Dream (US-Alliance). Coming together just recently, the guild has already fully leveled with players drawn by the idea of honoring the pandaren roots and lore. Support from the realms other RP guilds has helped Faithful of the Ways carry pandaren principles throughout the land.
"The Faithful is one of the few one-race roleplaying guilds on Emerald Dream," says Zhiang Liu, the group's GM. "There has been talk of a lack of open roleplay on the server, and the Faithful serve to counteract that 'hole,' if you would. While we are based in Pandaria, we are primarily roleplaying everywhere we go in Azeroth. We've been to the Blue Recluse, Ironforge, Dalaran. We've even roleplayed in the middle of a raid. It doesn't matter what we do or where we go -- we always seek to turn it into an epic adventure."
Main character Zhiang Liu, pandaren brewmaster monk
Guild Faithful of the Ways
Realm Emerald Dream (US-Alliance)
WoW Insider: Many of the class- and race-specific guilds we talk with have a few characters of other types scattered amongst their ranks, for roleplaying reasons or for practical advantages. What about Faithful of the Ways?
Zhiang: We are pandaren only. Nothing else. I have multiple toons myself that are non-pandaren, and I have stuck them as alts in various guilds on Emerald Dream that I hold to be mature and friendly.
Tell us about the player response to the guild's launch. Why do you think growth has been so strong?
To be honest, when we first started there was a slight bit of hesitancy. I believe because it was late into the expansion when the guild formed up that there would be a lack of interest in doing the guild. However, I have always believed that actions speak louder than words.
The few of us that joined up in the beginning began to roleplay around the cities and make ourselves known, and eventually more and more pandaren began to seek "training" in our family. There are many one-race guilds on Emerald Dream, i.e. Clan Battlehammer and The Päck, and it has been with their support that this guild has been able to get off the ground the way it has. Since our start, I can honestly say that whenever there's a Faithful member to be found, you can most assuredly find roleplay there as well.
What is the guild's take on relationships with Horde pandaren? Would you ever consider launching a Horde branch for pandaren who chose the other path?
When we first started out, we had a rule: If a Faithful member should ever come into contact with a Houjin, don't attack him/her unless it shows deadly intentions; then it is self defense. We seek to bring peace to Pandaria, but not with the blood price of condemning our brethren who chose to walk a different path to death.
Now, as far as a Horde branch being formed, I think it would be fantastic! The Huojin and the Tushui could have their own escalations and conflicts with each other, along with the world scenarios of Azeroth.
How are you building (or planning to build) guild lore as far as pandaren traditions or racial holiday celebrations?
The family's been doing some research into pandaren lore, or as much as we can find of it. For the moment, we've been playing it by ear with the in-game celebrations and turning them into a pandaren twist. Of course, there is always the possibility of coming up with something extravagant and making it pandaren just for the guild, which I believe will be done in the upcoming months that follow.
Does the group's roleplay focus affect how you approach game content that's related to the pandaren?
I have always been a stickler for enjoying the entirety of WoW. In these situations, we usually come up with an impromptu storyline that takes us into these battlegrounds or dungeons. These storylines go from rescuing a Faithful member from the clutches of the mogu to defending the mines from Horde aggressors. We have made up quite a few roleplay macros that are integrated into our actual fighting and, I must say, it is rather unique and awesome to watch if you are there to witness it.
Is there certain PvE content you avoid doing, for example, because it doesn't fit with the lore of the guild or because you're limited to pandaren characters? Do you raid?
In all honesty, pandaren are one of the races that you can manage to run a raid with and be all right. Granted, everyone will have to be on point and know the fights and mechanics of the fights in order to succeed, but practice makes perfect, and you must always start from the bottom to reach the top. As the family grows, you will have those who have never PvE'd before and wish to try it out for the first time. I highly doubt we'll ever become a serious contender for raiding hardcore and bursting through heroic raids like children devouring ice cream bars, but I am one for having fun, and we will practice to the best of our ability while having said fun in the process.
We won't have any of the paladin specializations (holy, retribution, protection), but the monk class should make up for that. We won't have warlocks, druids, or death knights either, eliminating key classes that excel in tanking, healing, and DPSing. If we decide to do more serious content, we are allied with other guilds and we will ask for their assistance in filling in those gaps.
What's the coolest thing you enjoy in the game related to be a strictly pandaren group?
This I have to put into perspective. Roleplay-wise, I tend to use the pandaren language when speaking with other pandaren. To outsiders, it appears as NOM OM NOM NOM (or some form of that). I have always been asked if I was eating when I spoke pandaren.
Now, when it is not roleplay-related, I have to say the fighting techniques that were given to pandaren when MoP released are bar none to any of the other classes. That is something I have always been amazed at.
What about aggravations related to your race?
On any MMORPG, you have what we tend to refer to as trolls -- not your tusked kind from Sen'jin, but those individuals who prefer to aggravate and harass other players online simply because they know that they cannot be touched. Here of late on ED, there have been a few individuals who go on "Pandaren Hunts" because they simply do not like pandaren. Being an all-pandaren guild, you can imagine how much of a pain it is to have troll after troll harassing your events and your guild family. It's died down a bit, but there is always the potential for such things to pick back up.
A last-minute guild news update from guild officer Pøw:
We are accepting recruits indeed! These few days, we've done a lot of PvP as well as WPvP. Large-scale world PvP is still present in Emerald Dream, and it is something unique that most people experienced only in vanilla or maybe even never. Our WPvP is centered in Pandaria, of course. The Faithful patrol the lands against Horde attacks and raids. It is a difficult task, but someone has to do it.
Read about other class- and race-specific guilds who've made their group concepts central to their World of Warcraft experience.
"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" -- and neither did we, until we talked with Game of Thrones' Hodor (Kristian Nairn) or a 70-year-old grandma who tops her raid's DPS charts as its legendary-wielding GM. Know someone doing something interesting? Send your nominations to email@example.com.