I have a hazy memory of my entire background -- and of everything else -- , so please forgive any mistakes.
I started playing WoW with EU open beta, though i've followed it since announcement. I was a fan of the lore surrounding WC3 and wanted to delve deeper and combined with respect for Blizzard's ability, WoW sounded like the perfect entry point to do so.
I got my copy the morning of the EU release, and quickly registered my desired account name. Sadly, despite the plans that had been made between friends and myself before the release, I ended up on a realm on my own, due to late rumours of a Spanish community focusing on the desired server. Funny enough, the new one they went to turned out to have the huge Spanish and Portuguese community.
My first live character was a male Tauren Druid (Stormpaw), as both me and my best friend played them during beta together, and enjoyed the dynamics of the hybrid class (me being Feral, him being Restoration specialised). But without friends to level with the game wasn't as enjoyable.
I decided to go Alliance, against my friends, on their server (Agamaggan (EU)), this time rolling several different classes to try them out. I started with a female Night Elf Hunter (Talaria, and her pet cat Nalash), then a male female Human Rogue (Sophia i think), then a female Gnome Mage (K... something) and later a male Dwarf Paladin (Thoraden). It allowed me to explore a different side of things, and i enjoyed it for a while, and had amusing run-ins with my friends, being on a PvP server and all. :P Eventually i found myself in a guild with Thoraden, who had become my main focus. I apparently earnt some respect due to my diplomacy and knowledge of the game, eventually being made an officer. While levelling, running 5 mans and such, i found myself longing for more lore and binding myself to some roleplay restrictions, but never actually roleplaying. I briefly tested the water with RP servers, but decided i wanted something in between and that RP servers weren't right for me. Eventually i became bored, and decided to take a break. I don't know the exact length, but it was several months.
I continued to hear of the exploits and progress of my friends and their guild on the Horde side, rather amazed at how quickly and well they had progressed relative to other European and us guilds. Eventually came server moves, and they all transferred off to Kor'gall (EU)) to escape the hordes of Spanish and Portuguese players.
Shortly after i came back out of boredom and not being in contact with my friends as much as i'd like, to see who/what was still around and where i might pick up again. My guild was dead, i had been made leader, and i didn't really know anyone on the server anymore. My friend's guild shortly started to fall apart because of some inner-guild issues and some of them going inactive, while others found homes in lesser guilds. I played for a short while, and my friends started to come back, encouraging me to reroll Horde on Kor'gall (EU) with them. I did, but wasn't really into it, and they were still progressing with their high level characters, so i stopped again.
This time it lasted approximately six months, once again hearing of the wondrous progression and exploits of my friends, but that too eventually fell through again. I had watched from the side lines as my best friend raided MC, and as i had always suspected, i really didn't see the appeal or enjoyment in raiding or the concept of raiding guilds that Blizzard had forced people into for end-game.
My friends then rerolled elsewhere i discovered, and encouraged me to join them in their new guild on Lightning's Blade (EU), which was on its way to becoming a raiding guild. This was the birth of my longest played, and highest level character, Garlthala, a female Orc Hunter, whom i still play as my main to this day. They eventually went inactive or left for better guilds, so once again i was alone. But this time i had some new in-game friends to play with, and a guild i became officer and administrator of, Seven Sins. I setup a custom built site, which merged together NDKP, WoW Roster, and IPB. I enjoyed it, but once they started raiding ZG, not wishing to raid or play the game anymore, i found myself retreating to the admin role, which was more enjoyable for me funny enough. Eventually, the guild became rather neglected and we began to bleed members. The guild leader and i began talks with another guild, who were good players from a more progressed and recently disbanded guild that needed more players. We eventually merged under a new guild name, Veni Vidi Vici.
I made sure i played a part both in officer and (and essentially liaison as GL of one half of the guild) admin duties this time around, and continued to use our site, while plans for a new one were being drawn up. I found myself pulled back in because of this, also temped by epics and a desire to see what all the fuss was about with raiding. I chose to raid AQ20 (being fairly recently added at this time) only. We never got far, but i oddly, for being lesser geared and lesser experienced, consistently out performed everyone (mass sync tested, so no skewed results) and did my job extremely well. I was confused, could i actually be this good? As (back before even the hunter review with FD drinking and resurrecting my pet when needed)? I simply put it down to everyone else just not being that good as there's no way it was all me. :S
Sadly, things took a turn for the worse. The guild members and officers couldn't understand or see the benefit of NDKP with its fairness, its consistency, and its ease of use. They argued each point to the contrary. Eventually a vote was held, and i was completely out numbered. I had made a decision, and explained it prior to the vote, that no matter the outcome, i simply will not run or play under an EQDKP system in the way that they had proposed it. So in saying goodbye to NDKP, i took my leave from the guild, leaving the site up for a transitional period before taking it down. I then proceeded to sell everything on my character, giving the money to my friends, yet keeping the character.
Once again, for 6 months, i quit wow. During this time, my friends had been playing sporadically, some playing on previous servers again. I missed them, i still disliked raiding and i still didn't find wow end-game enjoyable. I decided to tag along with the one friend that was still playing, and so i had to reroll Garlthala from scratch, not having a penny or item (other than guild tabard) to her name. Eventually they decided to move server and reroll again, but the plan was a PvE server (which i was in full support of, because if there's anything i've learnt to hate in WoW, it's that PvP servers are benefit-less) so i recreated Stormpaw. It all fell through, going to a PvP server instead, so i transferred Garlthala there. The guild disbanded, my friend went inactive.
This meant yet another absence from wow though only short lived. With World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade announced with a beta imminent and the release a few months away, this seemed like the perfect time to start up again in preparation for the new content and be with my friends again. I carried on levelling up the new Garlthala on Lightning's Blade (EU), in preparation to transfer her to Executus (EU) while i wait out transfer cool down, where my friends had all started playing again with new characters. I got her to 54, and took a break to play the beta, which i luckily won the last key for from a #wowradio random selection. I tried out a male Blood Elf Paladin and female Draenei Hunter, both characters i would potentially want to play as alts some day.
TBC was released, and i transferred Garlthala, now at 58, over to Executus (EU). What i discovered was that my friends where in a fully functional and progressing TBC raiding guild. This meant yet again i was levelling on my own pretty much, but because it was new content, it wasn't so bad… except for the PvP. -_-; Eventually i got to 70, and we tried to make it with our own guild, but recruitment failed. Eventually, one-by-one, we all joined the original raiding guild.
This was a huge task for me and a decision i didn't like. As previously stated, i dislike the principle and size of a raiding guild (though TBC brought about great changes to lessen that issues) and raiding itself, without doing so though, i'd have no reason to keep playing (server was low pop, couldn't get many heroic runs), and have limited contact with my friends again. I also had to deal with a crappy DKP system once again. The challenged i faced, was proving
- I can be a competent raider
- Beast Mastery was viable for raiding
I was as nervous as hell doing my first Kara run, and with only part-heroic, no real experience having to meet the consumable requirements for raiding placed on me, it was tough to prove my ability and viability. I knew everything was stacked against me with BM spec, but i had faith in knowing how to play and gear my spec correctly, compared to the sheep of MM builds. I had proven countless times, in 5-mans i could do my job, control my pet and top DPS. Agrro wasn't much of a concern back then admittedly, as i could handle it and never went without a friend healer/tank who i could count on. This was a new ball game though. Different requirements placed on my CC, and urgency and awareness constantly a priority.
Luckily not much gear was needed from Kara, so i was able to get some gear together during my trial. I had grown more confident of what to do, and could see that my DPS was performing well against those more geared... I was beginning to wonder about my previous results of raiding in AQ20, was this going to be a repeat? :O
Soon it came time for me to show my stuff in Gruul's Lair, i was amazed. This was the first fight so far that had truly tested my pure DPS output compared to rogues and such. I took a little while to understand how to adapt to the fight to optimize my DPS, but the biggest challenge was apparently convincing people that i needed my pet out and that the bug with pets effecting shatters was fixed. One the attempt that we killed him, and they finally let me use my pet, i was astounded. I knew i was lesser geared than everyone else, but i managed to place in the top 5 on DPS, it looked like i was right on track.
What would be the last days of the guild, a few days before my trial ended, we were doing Gruul again. Things weren't going to plan, and eventually the GL threw a fit. The leadership of the guild had always been sketchy at best, especially with an annoying and idiotic officer always whispering things in the GL's ear. At that point, some unfounded and inappropriate comments were made about my best friend, a well respected player within the guild and easily our best healer. He left, and out of principle and disgust, i left too. The guild began to crumble then and there, with a few officers, the GL and sadly one friend who sided with the GL, moving server.
At this point, everyone was in limbo, unsure what to do or where to go. We attempted to make out own guild work again, but it wasn't working out. Other's joined other guilds at the same level we once were, some made plans to move. Eventually, we came together. Under the new name of Temporal (originally only designed to be a temporary name) we came together under new leadership, a previous officer who sided with the rest of the guild. We voted him into power permanently, and kept the name. We started pulling back those from the old guild and some new people, and we were quickly in full swing again, running two Kara raids a night, Gruul and soon picking up where we left off with The Eye and SSC.
I enjoyed the friendlier atmosphere of this time around, and participated a lot more, apparently earning some respect from the then GL. A need for a new site arose, i made some adjustments to the old Seven Sins code, and began work on updating the aged and buggy NDKP of the past. This together got me straight into officer position. I had realized before, that i couldn't truly be happy in a guild, unless i was in power, so this improved things for me hugely.
Eventually time went on, things were running smoothly, and i was enjoying having both real life and in-game friends around, running heroics on off-days, helping level alts, while still progressing quickly through SSC and The Eye.
I also discovered around this time that apparently, i am that good. My DPS grew and grew, topping DPS charts fairly consistently, never being outside the top 3 on bosses that a hunter can competitively DPS on (eg. not The Lurker Below, not Morogrim Tidewalker, but pretty much everything else), all the while leading the raids and adapting/creating strategies, i'm not good at multi-tasking, so i was amazed to find out i could manage all that. I also found a new respect for Explosive Traps and fell in love with . It was pretty good times.
Sadly, lots of people were quitting for real life reasons, and we began to bleed excellent players, for which the server's population could not replace. This meant we were recruiting lesser geared and skilled players over time, and began to progressively cause problems for the whole guild. However, the GL had other girlfriend and work priorities, so we rarely got to see him. In his absence, we made decisions together, 3 officers. Eventually though, we had to replace one, and the other was having real life issues, and taking them out on myself. I eventually took over more control due to their neglect, until when the GL had to step back completely, i was promoted to GL.
I made some changes, appointed new officers (one being a friend, but also being someone who i can count on never agreeing with me :P), established clearer rules and fine tuned the DKP system further. The framework was there for us to continue and excel with quick pace we were making. We had quickly surpassed others once in SSC and The Eye, eventually becoming the second most progressed Horde guild on the server. But with a constant bleeding of members, and thus reduced overall skill of players in the guild, it was slowing, and we halted on Lady Vashj and Kael, at which point other guilds surpassed us again.
At this point, i went through some personally problems of my own. I appointed the previously mentioned officer at GL, and placed myself a mere friend rank. I quit WoW. The guild didn't last much longer, as was to be expected. It simply couldn't recover from the loss of such skilled players on such a low pop server.
Garlthala still exists on Executus (EU), along with her trusty pet Nalash (yuup, the same name as Talaria's, but this time it's Broken Tooth), but the money and time constraints raiding placed upon me has made her rather broke, and is something i've noticed Blizzard are actively trying to improve (but when the majority of the changes are nullified by PvP interference, that's a bit pathetic still) Only around 200g (4kg before raiding, and that hardly grew once finished questing). I'm happy to live in the knowledge that when it comes to PvE, i can perform consistently, more than hold my own, and lead, i just don't choose to for now. ;)
I did have plans to go back for 2.4, and hopefully drag my friends with me, just to do the Magister's Terrace and get that enjoyment of facing a new challenge with close friends and skilled players again. I have instead ended up returning on a new character as alliance, being dragged into it by my friends who are playing again as alliance on a new server. I'm leveling alongside my best friend, trying to recapture those beta days of long ago, with dual druids. What will happen with 2.4s introduction? I don't know yet. For anyone confused as to the character, i simply kept Talaria's name, as i liked it and the original was deleted long ago. I was actually suprised to see how many people use that name on armory seeing as i came up with it at random. :S
I soon stopped playing again after Talaria hit 80 as it was never my intention to raid again in TBC. I did return to Garlthala just before the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King alpha, and after talking with my friends about what was coming and if they'd be returning, we agreed to all play together again, but needed to find a new server.
After much research and discusion Nordrassil (EU) was chosen. We decided this time around, casual 10man would be our only concern, and we'd focus on having a guild of close friends. Sadly, despite some success in guild/pug runs and making a few new friends, things weren't progressing so well. We also had one friend who was absent during TBC return to us, but sadly arguments with him and everyone else produced a falling out and gquit. I was left as guild leader, and we -- on my insistance -- decided to keep the Temporal name.
Shortly after this, attendence dwindled and my reaming real life friends quit again. I decided i wasn't realy to quit though, and went looking for a new guild while leaving my bank alt to manage Temporal as a guild of irregular friend alts only.
In the meantime, i had some fun levelling Ardrin, my Death Knight Tank alt. I also eventually moved Talaria over with the introduction of the faction change service thus converting her into Stormpaw, but sadly i've had real problems levelling as either bear or cat in Northrend -- dying if 2-3 mobs, trouble killing things 2-3 levels above, having to heal and drink after every 2-3 rights -- so he's fallen to the way side for now.
I did soon find an intriguing guild called Wraiths and Strays, which focused on a casual and family like atmosphere. The members also ranged in the latest 20s to 40s, potentionally porividng a much more mature group of people to play with.
As usual, it took me a while to calm my nerves, settle in, and start talking on vent. Some people i was getting along with in only a short time, while i also saw plenty of potential problems ahead both in the running of the guild and certain members of the guild.
I joined the guild in hope of being able to sit back and just raid people that make it enjoyable when i was felt like doing so, but as time went on that was becoming a distance dream. I soon began helping out on tacs, getting in the middle of disputes, proposing changes on the forums, and eventually leading raids.
Knowing where things were heading, i accepted the role of officer and invitation to the guild leadership council when offered to me. At the same time a big dispute broke out over discussion of DKP, and despite trying to move the discussion away from DKP and towards talking about who had problems with the current loot distribution system -- random roll -- and what they were, i ended up taking the brunt of what was being thrown about.
Sadly there are still many unresolved issues, and much like it was with this wiki, i get frustrated about the amount of talk that trickles off into nothing compared to action -- especially when i then see action taken without discussion from certain parties. There have also been a few concerns i've had in what happens in the guild -- even with me as an officer, as i feel powerless to act at times -- that make me question if i want to coninute or not.
Raid leading casuals i don't know in real life is a new challange for me too, as i'm used to being a strict and strategic raid leader instead of someone who lets many things slide, and has to get used to people not listening or doing things correctly. The skill level i was once used to just isn't there anymore from the majority either, while there are a select few in the guild who are good at what they do but held back. Doing anything in a council is also difficult for me due to the drawn out discussion with little action or process. I always will be pro-dictatorship, and i'd much rather someone in the guild just took the lead and the officers acted as fascilitators and advisors for the leader.
I've also had exciting oppertunies thrown my way by Adys, and various projects that i've thrown myself into again, so actually being on WoW has become a second concern, and i'm back to only logging in for raids. At least this time Blizzard sorted things out with money from raids for busy people so that it's possible to play that way.
Where i go from here i'm still not sure, but for now my guild is making okay progress in ICC 10 -- all but LK down at time of writing --, and slightly slower on 25 -- blood wing, putricide and sindragosa still not done at time of writing. Cataclysm is looking great though, and the fact Blizzard have put 10 and 25 on equal footing as they rightfully should have been -- and that i asked for in WotLK beta --, with multiple smaller raids, will resolve several current ongoing issues within my guild.
Cataclysm Beta was interesting, and i had fun playing a premade Mage, which was surprising. I did feeel the beta was behind schedule, and the fact that the feedback tool was broken for most of it, and many changes caused an inability to play for existing characters lead me to feel it was one of the messiest beta's i've been part of.
Much of what was to go into Cataclysm either got dropped, or is getting patched in later. It's been released quite incomplete, unbalanced, and untested really. But this is the pattern Blizzard continue to follow. Nevertheless it got me back to playing more and i was having fun playing again.
My guild were always capping XP, so we stayed at the forefront, behind only those that got a bit of extra XP in before cap reset on the morning after release. My rep quickly became the highest in the guild, which naturally i felt proud of.
We were making progress on raids, and i had lead a few of the new kills myself, which was fun to do again with existing tactics that were still iffy or missing.
Sadly, a lot of the issues from before as an officer were still there, and due to a lack of involvement of officers when i tried to push for us to make decisions ahead of the release, pretty much nothing had changed. There were a few run-ins too of officers acting on their own decisions or making decisions amongst a small number of themselves. I ultimately had enough one day and decided to resign.
Nothing changed after i resigned, and i criticised an officer for acting selfishly and excluding guild members unfairly in as polite a way as possible. I recieved a barrage of personal abuse from two people -- one who is a constant issue for people, and the other who has expressed a disliking of my arrogant attitude -- which i did my best to rebute, for trying to looking out for the silent voice those who were mistreated. I was then told i had upset the officer, which i make no apologise for. It was the second time they acted that way, so it needed to be addressed. In private, i was spoken to be the oldest of the officers in PM, where i eventually put all the issues the guild faces that i've had insight into and have had expressed to me in private from members.
The guild was too big, cliques were forming at the expense of others while being supported by officers, many people in the guild didn't get along, many in the guild don't even know the rules, the officers don't even know and haven't decided on the rules, the officers don't communicate with the members well, the officers are seen as ineffective and inactive, tpeople feel unable to speak up through the voices of the more outspoken and don't understand where they stand on their rights to do so, members are disatisfied and unhappy but stay because they don't know what to do, and ultimately the guild is about ready to implode.
I left my PM stating that i no longer would voice my opinions.
I came home and logged in for a Raid two days later, to find i was kicked and banned from the forums. With a game-mail pretty much saying "Sorry it had to come to this". It's great to see what happens when you try to help.
So i've lost all my guild rep, my guild perks, all the pets and items i was due to get, the chance to explain my side and say goodbye to all the friends i made, to play with my friends again, and every bit of work and time i put in to helping the guild and helping individuals. Works couldn't explain how disgusted, disappointed, depressed, angry, and upset i was at that point.
Time hasn't really been able to mend most of those wounds, especially with changes Blizzard make over time that make it harder and longer for me to ever get back to where i was.
I have been considering two different guilds to apply to, but i've also been considering trying again with Temporal. I know some people from Wraiths and Strays have expressed an interest in leaving and joining me wherever i end up, but i'm really not sure. On one hand it will be seen as me poaching and cause further rifts, on the other they truely are unhappy in the guild and want to go elsewhere, so why shouldn't i try to help them out. :/
In the mean time, i'm doing a lot of WoW related things beyond playing, and sighining over the state of Hunters again.
Right now i'm still just depressed over the issue, facing a lot of reinvestment, and logging in each day takes a bit out of me. Hopefully i'll find a new home and have friends to enjoy the game with again soon enough.