How I Met My Guild

For months, I’ve been thinking about writing a guild seeking guide. However, the Universal Laws of Blogging dictate that the more and longer you think about writing on a topic, the less likely you are to get around to doing it. Or maybe it’s not a Universal Law, maybe it’s just a Bossy Pally Law. Either way, I’ll probably never get around to writing an elaborate, step by step, failproof, satisfaction guaranteed or your 5 minutes back guide to guild shopping.

Besides, even though I could write a saga on how to tell good guilds from bad guilds, it would be total hypocrisy. While I did read guild website after guild website and made lists of what I was looking for, I ended up screwing it all and went with the very first guild I considered anyway.

I get teased a lot about being indecisive. Anyone who’s ever been to a restaurant with me (or worse, who’s ever had to choose a restaurant with me) has some pretty dramatic stories to share. But it’s actually the other way around: I know exactly what I want. If what I want isn’t an option, then I don’t care what I end up getting.

I love telling the story of how I met one of my best friends. I’d been in the US for a total of two days as a very exotic Canadian exchange student (while Americans are not exotic to Canadians, apparently Canadians are exotic to Americans). I ran into another girl from my home school who invited me to a party at her dorm. I had other plans (I think they involved playing WoW) but my roomate kicked me out for the night and I ended up at the dorm party. I walked into the room, looked around, picked out one guy and thought “that one“. Even though it turned out that we were both silent types who don’t speak to strangers, we somehow ended up talking. Until 4 am. 5 years later, we’re still super close.

This is us, in Zangarmarsh

Picking a guild was just like that. I was listening to a podcast. I can’t remember if it was the WoW Insider Show or The Elitists (which at the time was a WoW podcast), but Matticus was there and talking about the hard modes his guild was doing and how they raided on tight schedule. I thought to myself “I wish that was my guild“.

A few weeks later, I was in that guild.

I wouldn’t say it was impulsive. I did think long and hard about whether I wanted to leave the guild I was in at the time. I did go guild shopping, trying to find a serious raiding guild with a middle-of-the-Atlantic-ocean-pharmacy-student-friendly schedule. I browsed the recruitment forums, I browsed WoW Progress, I fine-tooth combed WoW Headhunters. I bookmarked a few interesting guilds and followed their progression for a little while.

I did everything by the book, but the more I research I did, the more I realized that I had my mind made up all along.

I get attached to guilds, so the transition was painful. The culture shock was also…shocking. I came from a guild mainly composed of professionals in their mid 30s to mid 40s. My current guild has an age range of 15 to 38 with players from all walks of life. The dirty dirty humour from my old guild (I guess older people who are married with kids are more comfortable with their sexuality or something) was replaced by the rowdier, more aggressive joking around of a younger crowd.

There were a few “OMIGOSH” moments.

The very first raid I ran with them was a ToC 10 alt run. I’d just server transferred, so I was feeling a little spooked. I was eager to get involved, though, so I jumped at the occasion.

As we were zoning in, I noticed we’d be 2-healing ToC. Until then, I’d always 3-healed ToC, but I had been wanting to try 2-healing since, like, forever. Early on Northrend Beasts, I was welcomed with this conversation:

Random person: The healing is really bad.
Me: *Thinking* Shit.
Random person: The healing sucks and it’s not the pally.
Me: *Relieved*

Sure enough the priest was a dusty alt that hadn’t been played in months. He stood around trying to find where he put his spells. So I can almost say that on my very first raid, I was forced to solo heal ToC. (Note that this was back in October, before everyone was solo healingToC.)

Another memorable first impression moment was also in ToC. I can’t remember if it was my first or my second 25 man, but it was 25 man and it was heroic. I’d never done heroic before. I was terrified during Northrend Beasts, I was terrified during Jaraxxus. And then I was standing in front of Faction Champs. We did pretty badly. We came back and did pretty badly again. After a few times of doing pretty badly, the raid leader lost his shit. Or maybe he didn’t, but compared to the soft, gentle, soothing voice of my old guild’s raid leader, this certainly sounded like someone losing their shit.

I don’t like the word petrified because its been abused too much by bad fanfiction writers, but there’s no better way to describe me at that moment. I stared at my screen with my eyes wide open wondering if my muscles would let me try to hide under my bed. I couldn’t really make out what was being said, I get confused when people use too many swear words, but I was sure it wasn’t very good.

A few of the guys protested. Tempers all around were getting heated. Then those angry guys went and destroyed those Heroic Faction Champs.

I learned quite a bit about men, motivation and mobilization that night.

Even during those first few awkward weeks, I never looked back and I never regretted my decision. It’s been, what, about 10 months? I still haven’t had any second thoughts.

A few weeks ago, my GM asked everyone, one by one, what their plans for Cataclysm were. When asked why I’d be sticking around, I thought of Zath who yells “HI RYKGA HI RYKGA HI RYKGA HI RYKGA” everytime I log onto vent. I thought of the guildie whom I shall not name who gave me a Stratholme Lily after I gave him a Paper Zeppelin Kit for Christmas. (I still carry that flower in my bags all the time.) I thought of Kimbo and his many hilarious attempts to get a reaction out of me. (I’m not a reactive person, but I do love attention.) I thought of how I’ve always felt welcome on vent, even though I rarely say anything. I thought about how there’s always one or two people noticing my absences if I’ve been critted by real life a few days in a row. Had I been asked the question today, I would have also thought about how they make room for me in raids, rustiness and outdated gear and all, on the rare nights I’m not working.

It was too long and complicated to explain so I just answered “because I’m happy here“.

The point I’m trying to get to isn’t really that my guild is more awesome. I’m happy, but there have been others who weren’t happy and who moved on. The point is more that I think, deep down inside, we all know what we want. It’s good to look around, to consider all our options, but really, sometimes we look too far. I don’t get people who want one thing, purposely go after something else then complain about it. Be honest with yourself, take things for what they really are and listen to your gut.

So I suppose my guild shopping guide could be reduced to one line: stop bullshitting yourself and go to do what you’ve secretly always want to do.

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23 Comments on “How I Met My Guild”

  1. jaedia2 Says:

    Awesome post, Ophelie 🙂
    Always, always nice to read posts about people being HAPPY with their guilds and such!

  2. Bri Says:

    As the guild leader of a small casual guild, I’m faced with a task from the diametric point of view .. finding members who will be happy with us, and who my members will be happy playing with.

    We’ve done pretty well so far. 🙂

  3. KimboSlice Says:

    Reading this made me think about the whole guild Odyssey for me this past year.

    Honestly think that Matt and Company have really grown as leaders and I honestly don’t have to think about things as much and I can concentrate on tanking. The guild is focused on progression and the overall environment is much more enjoyable then its ever been for me at least

    • Ophelie Says:

      It seems like that for me too, although I wasn’t there the first year so I don’t know what things were like then. I’m rarely around now, but you guys seem to be progressing really well (and as I write these words, Putricide dies). Spring/early summer was rough, but I think the leadership team learned quite a bit from it.

  4. Kaboomski Says:

    Intriguing post, really. Good timing, too. I’ve recently been “shopping” for a new guild. I know I don’t want to transfer realms or faction, since I have too many friends on my current realm (including my wife, whom I love to heal with from time to time). I knew I wanted to raid more and on a higher level, since I’m only in a casual raiding guild now. Sure, we’re making good progress (I think we’re 10/12 or 11/12 normal now) but still. I knew I wanted more.

    So I went guild shopping. After a while, I was certain of it. I wanted to raid 25 mans and I just wanted to best. So I applied to the #1 25 man raiding guild on my realm, knowing full well that I’d be undergeared for their needs. A few days later, I got a request for an in-game chat from the GL. After an amazingly nice talk with him, he concluded that he would consult with his officers. A day later, I heard that they wanted to give me a shot, since they felt I had something to prove. I’m so happy! 🙂

    I’m not there quite yet, but I’m on my way and I’m really excited!

  5. Jong Says:

    “So I can almost say that on my very first raid, I was forced to solo heal ToC.”

    Ok, you’re doing this all wrong. Say something like, omg it’s ME I can solo heal anything lol cos I’m a grrl irl.

    Where in the world is snottydin?

  6. Apple Says:

    “stop bullshitting yourself and go to do what you’ve secretly always want to do.”

    Secretly, I’ve always wanted to raid. I’ve always wanted to be in those huge raids, being awesome, yelling on vent, sometimes getting worked up but always being a big family at the end of the night. And, to be honest, I’ve always wanted to have a little popularity. >.>

    So, uh, when Kurn said she was gonna reboot her old guild for Cata, I pretty much said “I think you’re awesome and want to subscribe to your newsletter join your guild.”

    And, y’know, maybe I won’t end up getting in? But I’m gonna damn well try. And it’s not like she doesn’t know I have no clue what I’m doing. XD

    So basically… Yes, this.

  7. leah Says:

    I envy you your confidence.

    sometimes we cannot get what we want because we’re not good enough and after beating your head against the wall for a while, you realize that no matter how much you want something, no matter how positive you are, how patient, how hard you try…its just not happening.

    and it feels so much worse in the end.

    • Tyben Says:

      While yes, this is true, it doesn’t have to end there.

      Just over a year ago I decided I wanted more and applied to an awesome guild maybe just a little “out of my league.” I worked harder than I ever had, and played better than I ever had. And I didn’t pass my trial period. I was crushed. I considered giving up, thought about what my play time might be like if I couldn’t play the way I truly wanted to.

      In the end, stubbornness won out, and I spent months learning how to play all over again. All the details are probably too long for this comment, but I put a lot of work in as an investment in what I *really* wanted to do. About two months ago it paid off when an amazing opportunity opened up, and I made a grab for the brass ring one more time.

      This time it worked–this group is everything I’ve ever wanted, and and a few things I didn’t even know to dream about.

      How you handle failure makes all the difference.

      • Ophelie Says:

        This ^^

        Someone once told me that the difference between successful and unsucessful people isn’t the ratio of success vs failure, that’s roughly equal for everyone, but rather how they react to failure.

        That said, a little realism is always needed. If your dream is to get into Ensidia, it’s ok to try, but it’s unlikely to work out. It depends a lot on whether what you currently want is an option, whether you recognize opportunities and pounce on them. I wouldn’t have gotten into Conquest if they hadn’t been recruiting when I applied. But since they were recruiting, I couldn’t walk away from the opportunity.

        Also, failure and rejection shouldn’t be the end of the world. Everyone gets rejected at some point or another in their life. Having tried both approaches, I discovered that I’d rather try and risk getting hurt than spend my whole wondering what if. Pain heals and teaches, regret gives us nothing.

        • leah Says:

          again, I envy your your unflagging belief in yourself. mine has been very shaky lately, too much rejection with not nearly enough success to balance it out. and all of the rejection based on something I cannot possibly fix. as in incapable of it, having tried for years already.

          • Ophelie Says:

            Hmm, I’m not sure you’re still talking about WoW! Getting into a guild shouldn’t be THAT depressing!

            I don’t really think of myself as confident…I’m actually pretty insecure. I’m just…indifferent? maybe. I get rejected quite a bit IRL too. I haven’t had so much as a fling in nearly 2 years (over 3 years since my actual last relationship), I lose elections, I do badly on exams. It always bothers me at the time, but I forget all about it when I get lost in my next project.

            Maybe the key to confidence is being so busy you don’t have time to feel down.

        • Tyben Says:

          “f your dream is to get into Ensidia, it’s ok to try, but it’s unlikely to work out. ”

          Too you too I will say, “well yes, but not necessarily.” 🙂

          How badly to you want in? Is there another way? A “B” team? An exception in the rules somewhere? (I know nothing about Ensidia specifically, I’m speaking more generally) There is also a lot to be said for being in the right place at the right time (and research can help stack the deck a bit).

  8. Anafielle Says:

    My experience, at least finding a guild, was pretty similar to yours.

    “I wish that was my guild…” Well, why not try it and see?

    A few months ago I was hating wow, burning out and generally very unhappy with awful attendance problems and lack of raiding. I knew I had to leave. But where to go? Guild hopping is scary, and I’m a “comfort zone” person. I love offtanking, but I have to tank with someone I have a good relationship with. That’s part of it for me – tanking is all about strategy, and having a partnership with your fellow tanks is so vital to that. I had visions of grizzled old MTs who wouldn’t give me the time of day. Who wouldn’t seek me out to talk about gear or strategy. People who wouldn’t take me seriously because I was a pally, or a girl, or sounded young on vent or something. I wanted to tank with a friend and a partner and the prospect of starting “from scratch” to get to know someone was literally terrifying.

    Well, I read a lot of blogs. Rhidach’s blog was one of my must-reads every day – his site taught me a scary percentage of what I know. And he posted a lot about his guild and their raiding. I kept on thinking, “Man, that sounds like fun.” “Why couldn’t my guild be more like Rhidach’s guild?” “I want to join a guild just like that.”

    Well… why not? Why shouldn’t I just ask him if they were recruiting? It was worth a try. I had a general idea of the kind of person Rhidach was. We’d probably get along really well. He would definitely talk to me about strategy and such. And he knew who I was.

    So I took a shot in the dark and DM’d him. Lo and behold, he’d been missing a second tank. It was like it was meant to happen.

    Now… well, I gained a good friend out of the bargain and the perfect wow home. Couldn’t imagine life without my guild now.

    Guild hopping is scary. I hear horror stories about friends who joined guilds that were really not fun places to be, who wasted money server transferring only for the guild not to work out. I took 4 people with me from my old guild to Rhidach’s guild, and I am so thankful that I actually had an idea of my new guild would be like before I transferred. I knew what I was in for because I’d read about it already. The character of a guild is vital to my enjoyment of the game.

    Having to guild hop – especially as a tank – without knowing what I was in for – it would have sucked. I was lucky and my heart goes out to anyone seeking a new guild right now.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Ooooh Rhidach! His guild was one of those I looked at before joining Conquest. I don’t remember why I didn’t consider them, I think their raid times didn’t suit my weird timezone. His guild does sound pretty fantastic though.

      I’m not one for guild hopping too, so I’m really glad things worked out with Conquest. Guild switching isn’t something I want to do again!

  9. This.

    “A few of the guys protested. Tempers all around were getting heated. Then those angry guys went and destroyed those Heroic Faction Champs.”

    I really want to know what you were thinking when you wrote this. I’ve been trying to work it out myself from personal experiences, and it doesn’t compute.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Oh, it meant that the boys riled each other up and used their aggressiveness on the fight. I’ve noticed a few times that a lot of boys play better when they’re angry.

      I don’t think that trick works on most women – when I’m pissed off, I cry and it makes my screen look all fuzzy ;D

    • Matticus Says:

      “Are you a pansy?”
      “What happened to that pro healer we picked up? Where’d he go? Take a night off or what?”
      “Dude, you’re suckin’ out tonight, pick it up.”
      “Come on, you’re better than this shit. I look around and I don’t see a raid. I see a bunch of slackers. Pick it up.”

      Only works on certain types of people. I happen to have recruited people that react the same way.

  10. Iris Says:

    It’s kind of like answering a multiple choice question. If you are not entirely sure of the answer, go with your first instinct because it will usually be right. I think that applies to finding a guild (or ordering off a menu.. I have the same affliction but it seems to bother those I go out for dinner with more than it bothers me hehe). I love my guild, I feel so at home there and it offers exactly what I need and want from the game. I really want everyone to feel as happy with their own chosen guild as I do.

  11. Anolaana Says:

    I hate the Universal Laws of Blogging. I never get around to writing posts because of them *bashes head against wall*.

    I’m currently swapping guilds myself (Well, it’s more like a first guild for raiding) and I just about died of fear on my trial after being hit by about a million AoEs (and dying every time) until my friend pointed out I wasn’t doing THAT crappily.
    I still think I made the right choice though. I’ll remind myself of that every raid I run with them.

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