The Guild Life: Broken Sword

Last night we dropped ourselves a Lich King.

It’s been awhile since my last The Guild Life entry and for good reason – that being the Icecrown Citadel raid. While it has been out for a decent length of time now (try 2009!) we had only begun chipping away at the bosses, as the newly reformed guild, since about July. Our progression (with the help of various raid buffs) had been quite a steady ride through to the final two encounters. One being a massive dragon and the other the reason why we are all in Northrend for this particular World of Warcraft expansion (Wrath of the Lich King).

The Lich King encounter itself took about as much effort to power through as it did to plough through the first eleven bosses. Not to say that the encounter was incredibly tough, it has certainly been made somewhat easier with the introduction of a 30% raid buff, but it was one of those encounters that require a lot of concentration, patience and of course zero screw-ups. Over the course of a month of raid extensions we slowly worked our way to a final boss kill and needless to say the enjoyment had by the team was quite high and perhaps a little scary. However, this post isn’t simply about how awesome it was to ride through the Icecrown Citadel raid encounter but moreso on the team itself.

"Your guild, I shall dissolve!"

"Your Guild, I shall dissolve!"

On the last entry I mentioned the idea of moving ahead and reforming a previous guild I had run. While it wasn’t easy, and I never expected it to be, we managed to form a decent guild that on the surface looked to be more then up to the task of tackling some of the content that the latest World of Warcraft expansion had on offer. However it wasn’t long before, and typically under stress, that I could see familiar problems arise within a couple of the members. I think of it like a box of chocolates, and yes Forrest Gump you don’t know what your going to get, but the ‘chocolates’ can appear to be something that they are not. In this scenario, recruits join and for the most part are quite guarded about themselves, but under the stress of a tough boss encounter you quickly learn who your going to be able to run with co-operatively and who you will not, and may have to discard if it cannot be rectified. It can be a tough decision to let someone go after several ‘warnings’ but ultimately you need to do what is best for the team.

So we had a team through several steps of recruiting and re-recruiting until we settled for a team that for the most part worked well together and as a result we had a fairly smooth couple of months of raiding and progression. It wasn’t until we hit the latter end of Icecrown Citadel raid that we had serious problems. While the reasons for losing several members was purely out of game conditions, it was a low period in what was a successful run thus far. Attempting to bring in new players towards the end of a raid can be quite a challenge in it’s own. I make it more complicated in that I am quite picky over who I want in the team. Firstly I look at how well they present them self on the surface (if you type LOL every three words, forget about it), then I start looking into their raiding history and experience and look for people who are at a similar level to ourselves. Then we have something we can work with and with a little bit of luck the ‘cog’ I just replaced can step in and fulfil the duties that the previous player had in the mechanical sense. Personality wise, you can never just simply replace a player, just like in life.

"Hi, how are you?"

So our machine was back and on track and as previously mentioned we did go on to finish the raid and earn a whole heap of flashy ‘Kingslayer’ titles, but not without a test of endurance. The time from reaching that last boss to completing the encounter was approximately one month of attempts on our two night-a-week raid nights. In that time, we experienced every emotion one could feel. Frustration was one that set in quite early as the encounter allowed for little errors. If one person moved in the wrong direction, it could spell disaster for the final boss attempt. This is what it came down to. Everyone had to know what they were doing and where they were in relation to everyone else and how they can least affect other players sustaining damage and possibly causing multiple deaths in the team. Couple that with the fact that we could be seven or eight minutes into the encounter with everything going seemingly well before one wrong movement could send us all the way back to the start. A swift kick in the butt for a team, when morale is flying high. However, the interest in finishing the fight never dipped. Nor did the resolve the team had in sticking together to conquer this challenge. It was quite nice to be a part of a team that consistently showed up for the challenge, be overcome with the task week after week, yet still turn up and be ready to make the necessary progress to take that boss’s health pool down to zero. The victory was nice as well, but I don’t think it would have been as rewarding if it weren’t for that month of hard slogging.

While we may continue on and tackle other older raids and possibly some of the harder difficulty modes for Icecrown Citadel, for the most part I feel that we’ve accomplished what was needed. In turn we’ve found a good bunch of folks that enjoy the game, the challenge and the guild itself.

I’d be very interested to hear about your own guild experiences and how you came across yours or one that you favoured in the past.

About the Author

Dan co-hosts the Gameolio Podcast and handles the administration of the website. Occasional poster and frequent deleter with a strange love of the colour green.