Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Back to Whence We Came

It's Monday (maybe not so much now that I've spent a few hours babbling and singing on Skype to a friend), and today's theme in the blogging world seems to be that of nostalgia. In many corners of the blogging world there seems to be a lot of the feelings being expressed as of late due to the loss of several high profile personalities. I'm still rather new to the blogosphere so some of these feelings are a tad bit lost on me, but the feeling of loss and being left out of a certain aspect (ie getting to know these apparently amazing folks) still has a bit of an impact on a newbie such as myself. That's not quite what I want to talk about in this post though. Quite frankly others (namely Vidyala and Fannon) have covered this topic much more thoroughly than I can at this point in time. So, what am I getting at?

Well, I actually have a nostalgic topic of my own that runs semi parallel to this topic. You see, much like my fellow bloggers who have been here for a while, I have a certain ache in my heart. I'm missing the "good ol' days" a lot myself lately, but instead of missing people from the blogosphere I am instead finding myself once again pining for the days of old guilds.

You know that famous saying, all good things must come to an end? It undoubtedly seems to hold true no matter what world those good things come to fruition in. I suppose it's time for another Saz story.

For Those About to Rock, We Salute You!

Once upon a time, many years ago, a little soon-to-be Shaman met someone in real life. This someone, myself, their significant other, and my significant other all began a guild together. For some reason it came down to me to name the thing, and we ended up with School of ROCK. Back story logic on the name: two of us were music majors, and I had actually met my SO through one of the music programs at the university. So yes, we built up this guild, myself and my SO both "grew up" within its metaphorical walls, and eventually we began raiding with SoR. It was sometime late in Burning Crusade when we began our raiding adventures. Some of my best Burning Crusade memories were created in Karazhan. Our core of ten or so folks was rather tight, we managed to recruit or PuG enough players to make some progress in the 25 man raids as well, and things were good.

Wrath of the Lich King rolls around. The expansion was, let's just say a tad bit rough. The transition from the more 25 man oriented group of the Burning Crusade to the more 10 man oriented set up (for gearing purposes) did not end up going so smoothly. I'll leave out the worst of the details, but essentially wherever 10s were concerned, tensions ran high. The only time things seemed semi smooth within the officer establishment is when 10s were out of the picture (which was sad, I loved leading 10 man raids) and we were just beating our heads in 25s.

Raiding for me in School of ROCK was a double edge sword. It was an uphill battle fought between myself and the GM, and there were many a night where I just wanted to up and leave. Unfortunately for me, that simply wasn't an option. When I say that my being in SoR was a double edge sword, I mean that I was in one of the most wild love/hate situations I have ever experienced. I loved my guildies. They were some of the greatest people I had ever come across. I spent night after long night raiding along side of them, leading them (when I was allowed to) through various encounters in Naxxramas. Wipes happened, inside jokes were made, epics were earned. I could have told you what any given members main and offspec was, along with what their playing strengths and weaknesses were. I could tell you who had what sort of social ticks, who was having a rough week, and knew most of my raiders' back stories. I was a soldier in the trenches with my troupes, and I loved every second that I spent with them.

That video? Probably one of the best and last full raids had with School of ROCK, if I recall correctly. The crew in that video, plus a few who are missing due to it being so late, are people who I miss. Most I unfortunately have long severed ties with. Anyways, back to the story at hand...

Unfortunately tensions between myself, along with a few of the other officers, and the GM rose to a horrible breaking point. I spent many a long night after arguments with the GM (remember, I was also good friends with said GM in real life) crying my eyes out, wondering what I should do. I was miserable. I wanted to leave, but I didn't want to leave my guildmates. Months went by, and I suffered in order to stick with the people I cared about. To me, there was no point to WoW without my troupes. Many discussions were had, many were fed up with the actions of the GM, and I was trying to put out as many fires as possible in order to keep everyone together. My biggest fear was another fallout (there had been a major one many months prior to this patch of badness), and I was trying my best to keep things from falling apart again.

Guys, I failed. I was part of the destruction of School of ROCK. It wasn't vindictive, but it happened.

During all those long nights where I was distraught after logging off, I often wondered to myself about what I should do. Should I simply leave, and apply to another guild? Should I just all together quit the game? Should I just leave and make my own guild, those who wish to follow may? Question two simply wasn't an option in my mind. I loved the game and my fellow guildies too much for that. I considered question one quite a bit, but besides a one to two week stint in another guild, I had never been apart of another guild. I had always been an officer in SoR, I simply didn't know anything else. This left me pondering on the third question quite heavily. If I were to leave to begin another guild, what would it be called? How would I structure it? Who would come with me?

I ended up with the name Battle of Serenity for a few reasons. For one, at this point I was kind of a huge Firefly geek, for two I very much felt like I was fighting a losing battle despite the fact that I felt that I was doing right by my fellow guildies. My fights with the GM of SoR were had with my guildies in my heart, I wanted to do what was best for them and for the guild as a whole. I felt like I was fighting for some peace and quiet, some serenity if you will; all I wanted was to have fun with my raid teams. The battles between the rock and the hard place (aka myself and the GM) were explosive, and I'm not proud of them. My temper ruled me; I was a momma bear trying to protect each and every one of her cubs from what I saw to be an unruly male. Again, I am not proud about how things ended up.

Burn the Land and Boil the Sea.

The day that BoS took to the skies was the day I completely severed a friendship. Two actually. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't the only one in management who was in on this move, but I still feel responsible fully for it. I remain greatly conflicted about that day. On one hand it was like leaving a horrible relationship. I felt free, elated that so many of my fellow guildies came to the new guild. Yes, we lost many folks along the way, some that I was quite close with. For the most part though my WoW family moved along with me. On the other hand, I still felt guilty.

The transition between guilds was a bit rough, I have no disillusion about that. I think folks were expecting an instant fix to what other troubles we had (guild structure overhaul wasn't pretty, to say the least), but we ended up having quite a few good times with Battle of Serenity. Wipes happened, inside jokes were made, epics were earned.

Quite frankly, I could have been a much better guild mother. I found that having close friendships with guildmates was difficult as a leader of a guild, and as a result I lost a few great friendships due to my position (I think favors were expected, and I wasn't always accommodating to them, I guess?). I often let things slide where I shouldn't have. I basically help set up the unsteady foundation that allowed my beloved guild to fall when real life pulled me away.

You see, a guild is much like the structure of a house. The guild master is the one who lays down the blocks of the foundation. The officers are the laborers who help to move out the dirt and put the pieces into place. Your healers are the walls, your tanks the roof, your dps make up the various other necessary parts. Your socials are the decoration that make the house a home. If one part isn't set up quite right, your home is in trouble.

I laid down a few bad blocks and may have hired a few laborers who weren't right for the task. They weight of the house wasn't properly distributed, and while I was out the structure collapsed.

Tomorrow, Tomorrow. There's Always Tomorrow.

This brings us up to present day. It's been months now since I've pulled Saz out of Battle of Serenity, but the pain of missing the good ol' days still lingers quite heavily. Part of this is simply due to the fact that I have yet to move on in the game. For the past year my game time has been patchy at best due to my living situation, lack of internet, and computer troubles. There has been no real closure and because of this I'm finding myself lost. Honestly this shouldn't currently concern me, I'm not even playing the game right now. This whole feeling of homelessness shouldn't be affecting me at all, but it is. It's a subject that I've been reflecting on a lot lately.

Much like those in the blogging community, I'm reeling from change. It's almost been a year since Battle of Serenity saw her last encounter, and nearly twice that since SoR has rocked the house, but the pain is still sharp. I feel as if though no matter how many times I've spoken about this subject, I never properly grieve, thus never manage to move on. The changes that I've experienced were all necessary in their own right, and in a way they were positive despite the negative circumstances that surrounded said changes. People change, situations change, and it is by no means a bad thing in the long run, but it's still incredibly painful to deal with, regardless of the situation it manifests in.

I suppose the only way to really close this particular painful chapter in my WoW book is to simply write down these words, attempt to forget the bad, remember the good, and find other projects to throw my time and effort into. In many ways that's the purpose of this blog; to remember, to move on, to keep my hands and mind busy.

Change isn't easy, whether it's something that happens in real life or in this game we all know and love. Sometimes it's a blessing, sometimes it's painful, sometimes it's a painful blessing in disguise that we simply don't see until the situation is well in our rear-view mirrors. We lose connections with those we were once inseparable from, we burn bridges in mindless rages, we dwell on the bad times while forgetting to treasure the grand ones. It's the (sometimes) painful cycle that comes along with socially interacting with other human beings.

Within that (sometimes) painful cycle though there are little treasured nuggets of goodness that make the whole ordeal worth it. These little nuggets are what make us reach out our hands once again to someone new. We begin the adventure again; forge bonds, glean new ideas, laugh/cry/support, fall away from each other, meet new people who introduce us to more new people, forge bonds, glean new ideas, laugh/cry/support, fall away again...

Whether you currently feel lost within the blogging community, your guild, or just WoW in general, I'd like you to try and reach out to someone new. Forge a new bond. Say hello to a new face. Reach out to that silly noob in that random who can't seem to stay out of the fire (you were once them you know!). Try to help recreate that wonderful bubble of whatever it was that you once had, for no one will do it for you nor will it simply recreate itself. There's that saying that negativity breeds negativity, and quite frankly positivity works much the same way.

Try to move past your negative baggage. Breed positivity, for both our world and the World of Warcraft could certainly use it about now.

If I were to have any sort of goals for myself once I return to WoW, those would be at the top of my list. Yes they would be listed above even bettering myself in raiding, PvP, and even above my treasured hoarding. I need to recreate a space for myself within Azeroth. I'm fortunate enough to have a small circle of friends whom I love dearly on my server, which I'm extremely grateful for, but I really do need to rediscover where my house lies. Perhaps someone else will have laid the foundation and the layout is unfamiliar. It will take time to learn the inside jokes, the back stories, the strengths and weaknesses of the new teams. I won't be a sergeant leading her troupes on the front lines, I won't be the guild mother who takes care of her chicks. Change must happen in order for me to regain my happiness within the game, and in order for me to grow not just as a player, but ultimately as a person as well.

TL;DR recap:
1. Change sucks, but is often necessary.
2. Saz feels guilty about a lot of things; probably shouldn't but does anyways.
3. A lot of people suck. For every three people that suck though, there is one incredibly awesome person worth wading through the suck to find.
4. Cycles happen. Suck will occur. The good times will come back to those who are patient and work for it.
5. Breed positivity wherever possible. It does indeed come back around.

I hope you have all had an excellent Monday, and hope that you continue to have an excellent week!


Ps. I'll try my best to refrain from touching on this topic too much more. I'm sure my friends are tired of me yammering on about these situations by now : P

World of Saz 2011


  1. I feel what you're feeling too. I think most people will always remember their guilds. When you meet and play with people day in and day out for a year or years bonds grow, and when those bonds break it hurts. You never forget it. But as you've said, it is best not to dwell on the negative. With all the negativity out there, its time for those of us who still love WoW to spread a little positive energy. :D

  2. I can completely understand your feelings. My first real guild fell apart in dramatic fashion, ending friendships, and leaving some of the former members very angry and resentful. But without my leaving that guild, I never would have found the two that I've been in since, both of which have been wonderful experiences, and places where I've met new and wonderful people.

    Some people may discount friendships made online, whether through gaming, chat rooms,etc. but these ties can go just as deep as friendships made in the real world as well. Some of my best friends in the world, I've never met face to face. When bonds like these break, it can be a very painful experience.

    I salute you for working to turn these negative experiences into positive ones, for you and everyone around you. That's what this game and life is about after all, forming bonds and having fun.

  3. IT's most understandable. The first guild I was in was a mixed RP/Raiding guild. interesting anf fun people. Some of whom I became good friends with. Alas, drama destroyed my taste. I ended up leaving due to all the RL/IG stuff that happened. But I do remember some of the awesome times we had as well. Some of the grand meetings and walked through instances/raids. Did them in character as well. Good people, but things happen and we move on.

    I then tried my hand at my own guild. EPIC FAIL!!!. I wasn't ready for such a daunting task,the guild really had no serious focus and it just died. It happens, we move on. When I was playing Age of Conan during my yearlong hiatus from WoW I belonged to a number of guilds that by and large were ok, but I never really seemed to find my best fit. The game lost its interest to me and here I am again. In a way I envy you though. See, you created some really kick ass crews. You had serious friendships that you valued. It's harder for me to connect. MY wife can tell you, I can be a cold bastard. Why she still hangs with me, be damned if I know. But if I felt a guild wasn't active with not jus ttheir endgame content, but their up and coming members, ya I was out in a heartbeat.

    The one thing I think the old guilds had that newer guilds are missing. FRIENDSHIPS! The sense of community and friendship has gone away into the professional esport crews where frienships are second place to progression. This is ok, but I think there is something gone. Even social guilds or RP guilds are all about end game before they really welcome members. OR they become extrememly cliqueish.

    Just some thoughts and observations. Have a great day!

  4. @Ama - Indeed : )

    @Puzzle Bear - "That's what this game and life is about after all, forming bonds and having fun." This statement is too true. It's often too easy to dwell on the bad and forget to have fun. It's also incredibly sad when folks discount online friendships. Sure, there is a certain level of sketchiness involved - you don't always know who they are or if they're putting on a good act...though this can also be said for "RL" as well - but what it boils down to is that there are in fact real people on the other side of the computer screen.

    @Mhorgrim - Well guild leading isn't for everybody. I'm still not quite sure if it was right for me, but it was better than the alternatives at the time. I really was (and am) fortunate enough to have had (and have) some really great crews. Things just lined up right and I met the right people at the right time. You sound like a pretty lucky guy, with a pretty kick ass wife ; )

    In a way it does seem that everything has become progression based. Most folks these days live for end game progression, perhaps because it is now so very easy to cap characters. Even I'm a bit guilty with being end-game obsessed, but for me personally I wouldn't still be playing (err, wanting to play) this game after all these years. If it hadn't been for my crew I would have either had a very different play experience, or I simply would have quit ages ago.

    I don't see cliques being as big of an issue in the larger guilds (ones who are more focused on 25s) than the smaller guilds. While it's a big issue, especially for hopeful new recruits, it unfortunately will continue to exist in some form. It's a social game at the end of the day, and unfortunately some people aren't always open to new personalities : /

    Good thoughts and observations, in my opinion. Have a great day yourself! All of you!

  5. OK, I realize I'm reallly late to the party. I just recently found this blog and am currently reading through the older posts. I left a guild that I really enjoyed being in a while back also (though it was of my own choice for my bad behavior) and I missed them very much. I later came back but it just wasn't quite the same. Some of the other regulars had moved on and it just seemed to lose something (though it is still a great guild, don't get me wrong).

    Anyway, if you do see this I hope that writing this out has helped with the mending process (though I may find out after a few posts) and wishing you the best.

    1. It certainly did help out quite a bit, along with good ol' time. These days my shaman is back to residing in Battle of Serenity, simply due to there being a lack of a better place on my server. It's quiet, but the solitude is what I needed after a rather negative stint with the last raiding guild I was in.

      I do still miss having a constant server community around me, but that feeling has been somewhat fixed thanks to the Twitter community as a whole and my own cross server raiding project. Things could always be worse ^_^

      Sorry to hear about your own guild woes. Time does change everything, for better or sometimes even the worst. Sometimes a time portal would be a wonderful thing, haha. I wish you all the best in finding your own happiness as well!