08 May 2007

Guilded Cage

Alamein joined a guild. I'd been looking for one for a while, and the opportunity presented itself. It's tough to know how to choose one. How do you know how the guild works? It's probably different if you're rapidly approaching the upper levels, or if you're hoping to join one of the premiere raiding guilds on your Realm. But for a casual, mid-level player, what's the right choice?

Of course, it starts with knowing what you're looking for. I'm never going to be a hardcore anything in WoW, so that rules the biggest, most aggressive guilds out. I'd really like a guild where I can enjoy spending time with the members. Helping one another out is crucial. But foremost, I'd like an enjoyable, mature, relaxed, humorous group of people. Finding that can be difficult, and I'm convinced the only way to learn for sure is to try a guild for a while and see what happens.

I'll admit to one bias: I can't join a guild if I don't like the name. Some are just silly; there's one big, interesting guild named "WoW The Musical." They're probably a fine guild but I'm just enough of a roleplayer that I can't abide by that. I also don't like the pseudo-clever names ("Unreal Reality"). And there are plenty of smaller guilds that have much worse names; I can remember one I've seen named "guild name here" or something like that. Sigh. Shallow of me, I know, but if that name will be beneath my own name, I want it to be respectable.

There were a few guilds I was casually checking out, like "Carpe Caseum" (silly, but latin, so it's cool) and "Neutralist Order". But then an invite came from "THE REPUBLIC UNION". The names not bad (if you can forgive the SHOUTING) but more importantly, Cargarios had joined the guild some time back. I know things had been mostly good for him, so I signed up. I believe that was about a week ago.

Since then? It's been OK. I have yet to ask for or receive any help. A couple times, I've gone over to help out with another group members' work, in both cases a group led by an officer. The first time was interesting. I'm not sure of the area, but it involves hunting naga underwater near a shipwreck. He sent a note asking for help, and for us to pick up water breathing pots at the AH. Cargarios and I responded, got the pots, and came to lend a hand. It wasn't too bad, and the officer gave me a golden dragonhawk pet as a thank you (as well as paying for the pots). Nice, and I felt like my time was appreciated anyway.

The second time was this weekend, for a group that wanted to run Stromgarde Keep. That was... interesting. The same officer asked for help (via a tell, not guild chat) as he was looking for a healer. I was in Kalimdor at the time, but he said "no problem, I'll hire a warlock to summon you." Okaaaay. So I joined up. We had a 5-man, with four guildies (me, a newly-joined warrior, and two hunters) as well as the warlock, who decided to stick around. But then he ran into a few others (both our guild and others) who wanted to run it, so the officer jumped out and started another group. (Fortunately with a priest -- so I'm not trying to heal 7 on my own.) So now we have two four-mans trying to run our way through the keep.

The chaos was inevitable. No way to coordinate pulls or to get organized at all. Sheer numbers helped in most places, but at one point we somehow aggro'd a building's worth of ogres -- maybe six or seven. That was a wipe. And then we kept going.

The worst part though was that the officer's group was doing all the pulling. We'd finish a battle and they would instantly (and sometimes rashly) pull again. That meant that are party was getting zero loot or exp. Not cool. The kicker was when they grabbed two chests before we had a chance. The first one was maybe OK, but by the second one it feels like we're getting ninja'd.

So our smaller team decided to split off. The new-member warrior seemed to know her stuff well, and we went with her lead. That was a lot more effective, and at least we were getting exp and loot. I didn't have many quests in the area (we had completed everything that was shareable) so I was just trying to help out. That was OK. But then our guild officer reconnected with us, and wanted to do a quest that took us up a tower. No fault of his, but that just sucked; twice we had a crowd of ogres show up and take us out. (The two hunters could feign death and escape.) It was really late so on the second death, I said that I had to go to sleep, and rezzed at the spirit healer.

So how do I feel? The guild officer (who I'm intentionally not naming) seems like a decent enough guy. But he does have a tendency to give orders rather than ask questions, which can rub the wrong way. And this marks the second time in a week when he's requested me to help him with quests that I don't have. In this case, I gave up an evening of leveling (which would have got me halfway to 38, maybe) in order to get perhaps 2000xp and 90 silver's worth of loot. A bit disappointing.

The guild has potential, though right now it's dominated by a few strong personalities. It needs to become more of a group thing, or it won't quite work. We'll see how it goes.

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