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.
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.
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.