(By now you've probably realised I'm not the best at thinking of Blog titles ^^)
But yes, this one is going to be about guilds. I've been fairly lucky in my playing life to only have been in a couple of guilds, both of whom had many of the same players in them, and gave me my extended WoW family.
You've heard me mention The Wanderers and you've heard me mention The Drafia, but I can't fully express my feelings about the former and latter without some explanations and why I'm sad that the guild levelling experience and rewards that Blizzard implemented seem dead in the water.
Now, I told how I first found The Wanderers and joined back in my post about the origins of my first character, the whisper to Urru saying I had done Karazhan which I thought was a raid.
The Wanderers are still going strong, but with many names and faces I don't recognise now. I spent many years hunting achievements and doing dungeons there and enjoyed (nearly) every minute of it.
Then Blizzard brought in Guild Levels. Well, with out approximately 600 strong member base (most of whom were alts), we took to it like a duck to water and levelled fairly quickly with most people out levelling as well. This resulted in our levels and xp being rest not once, not twice, but three times as Blizzard tried to adjust how quickly people were levelling guilds, which was very taxing to both the Officer team and members alike that were contributing to the levelling. Many tickets were opened and we were told that it was too fast and levels were adjusted correctly.
No exploits, no cheats, just people playing as they were meant to be, gaining xp for the guild the way it was meant to be gained, but apparently "too quickly".
I still say this is what cost us the server first level 25 guild as we were one of the front runners on Steamwheedle Cartel.
However, Level 25 we did achieve and worked on many of the other guild achievements too, including the Stay Classy for the extra guild bank tabs, and the cauldron recipes and everything we could possibly get, as a large part of the members were achievement hunters, as well as myself and a fair few of the officers.
So group activities were made with the express purpose of getting XYZ guild achievements, or often, meta achieves for old raids and mounts with members.
The perks at each level were also good, right up until the point where they decided before Mists to take away the group summon, take away the 100% movement increase when dead, and replacing the Chug-a-Lug cauldron perk with The Doctor Is In (granted, this is personal opinion etc. etc.).
Since then, guild levelling and perks hasn't been added to, given new things to look for, apart from the chance at heirloom legs for the Working Better as a Team pandaria achievement. The Wanderers pulled together for this one with everyone donating mats and time to farm (and lots of gold) and managed to get the Server First Working Better as a Team, and the coveted Feat of Strength - you can see it on the armory ^^ http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/guild/steamwheedle-cartel/The_Wanderers/achievement#15093
However despite all this, some people were slow to return to WoW after the start of Mists, and the Officer team were rarely on except for myself and one other with few exceptions. This meant people asking when the raiding would be starting back up, and not being able to answer that question, which left people in limbo.
Raiding did start eventually but a few people had already left from the "usual" raiders, and due to a number of contributing factors, progress was slow. The Wanderers was still just about fielding a 25 man team, but mistakes were happening over and over, but we eventually downed Mogu'shan Vaults, and moved on to Heart of Fear, with me raiding on my druid at the time.
We eventually got Garalon down, by the skin of our teeth as I mentioned here, and then spent much time wiping on the next boss. At the time I had started a new job so was unwilling to commit more time when there was still a lot of Pandaria I wished to see so I retired from the raid team. I also had started doing some of the quests horde side to experience the full story, and my alts were in The Drafia.
Now the reason I had joined The Drafia is that I knew quite a few of the members from my time in The Wanderers. When we were raiding in Dragonsoul and then progressing through heroic, a number of The Drafia had alliance alts in our guild and were raiding with us, some of them also being Officers with us.
It made perfect sense to me to have alts in a guild with people I already knew and had played with for a number of years.
In the meantime, Steamwheedle Cartel as a server was still slowly dying. Various discussions went on within The Wanderers between the officers to see how to recruit and solve this (we had taken in a number of another guild to bolster numbers but still needed more) and suggestions were made about guild transferring to another server with a higher population.
This was shot down pretty much instantly by the Guild Leader as he had no interest in moving and trying to lead the guild again on another server.
Things carried on and it came to light that The Drafia were also discussing the guild moving elsewhere. The guild leader of The Drafia was also an officer in The Wanderers so obviously had seen all the discussions and felt it was right for his guild too.
I had only really played properly on Steamwheedle Cartel so the prospect of levelling on another server, a busier server, was quite appealing, so with that I moved my druid over with The Drafia to Draenor when they transferred, at the time still determined for my druid (whether the alliance or horde one) to be my main this expansion as I had raided with my hunter in Cataclysm.
The difference between the two servers was astounding! There were people everywhere, and the economy was great!
I admit I did spend more time online over on Draenor than The Wanderers, but initially I did have the intention of experiencing the lore on the horde side then returning to my alliance characters as normal, but the levelling and playing experience was so much better than I had ever experienced or known!
I let Kalev know that I intended to return eventually but to feel free to demote me from Officer in the meantime as I wasn't really carrying out the role anymore, apart from keeping everything up to date on the website and forums (an aspect of my role that I had taken a lot of time over, designing and redesigning the application process, the templates that used to be used, the current questions used and methods etc).
As time went on I become more at home with The Drafia over here and moved a number of alts over as well to supplement my main, with professions and levelling new characters (I still enjoy questing above all else), however I still tried to keep up to date with The Wanderers via the website and forums, and speaking still to people who I had as friends over there.
A number of changes were made which I didn't particularly like but then, I wasn't playing over there so figured it was none of my business (I still had my "Royal Advisor" rank, which equated to one step down from the Guild Leader) so didn't say anything. Then a few people who had returned to game after disappearing and letting the raid team down in the past were reinvited and re-promoted to Officer, and favouritism was being shown towards raiders who could do anything they liked behaviour wise that we wouldn't have dreamed of accepting from a social member because they were part of the raid team and recruitment was hard.
A few more things added up to me finally deciding to leave The Wanderers, which is one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make in my time playing, as I had spent four years of my life in that guild.
So I brought a few more characters to Draenor, posted a goodbye post on the forums and let the guild leader know I was leaving. My characters on SWC are still guildless now.
Now The Drafia, while my home on Draenor, has had bad luck with regards to raiding this expansion. When I joined, there were three raid teams, all going strong, but for various reasons, lack of people joining being one of them, there are now none.
The most recent team were working on heroic progress but a few key people left and that's that, and those members are looking for other raid teams to finish the content with the intention of returning for SoO.
That being said, I've also been wondering why on earth I'm continuing to try to gear my hunter up when she isn't in any raid teams and hasn't been since my own disbanded, so I started looking around.
I do not leave a guild lightly, and will be staying in The Drafia with the rest of my characters no matter what happens, but it makes me sad that the Summer Slowdown seems to have such a bad affect on the guilds I've been in so far.
Hopefully I can join another "family" and make more friends in the meantime :)