Aion: Guilding the Lily?

October 7, 2009 at 3:36 am | Posted in Aion, Guilds | Leave a comment
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Wotcha everyone,

One of the fun things about playing a new game is finding a guild.  I say “fun”, but what I really mean is:

Funny, bewildering, annoying, and at times just plain terrifying.

Let’s find out why…

I like to think I’m a vague optimist.  Realistic enough to know that not everything will go to plan, but still naïve enough to still mean it when I ask rhetorically; “What’s the worst that could happen?”

People who know me well, however, will point out that I’m just a grumpy slacker.

Which is just a shortcut for me saying that I hate looking for a guild.  I’d much rather someone else did; I’ll follow after.  I don’t mind signing up, or following application rules.  I don’t mind trial periods.  After all, they’re there for me to find out if I like a guild as much as finding out if the guild likes me.  I don’t have problems getting involved in a new guild, but finding one annoys me.

However, this time I decided I would not follow, but would find a guild by myself.  I would use the internet for its secondary purpose.  Yes, that of finding information!

One brief search using my search engine of choice (other search engines are available, supposedly.  I wouldn’t know.  I don’t use them) later and I find a listing of guilds on a forum site.

I diligently searched through the various postings, with a stringent set of criteria:

1)    Must have an initial post that didn’t make me giggle at the grandiose claims
2)    Must not be a multi-game guild
3)    Must have a website/forum
4)    Must not be really, really up their own “hardcore” bums
5)    Must not have a name that would make me cringe

Now comes a disclaimer.  I will not be naming names here, because it’s not my intention to cause any kind of insult to anyone who chooses to play online games in a way that I do not.  I love the fact that we’re all different.  I really, really do.

But I must admit to laughing muchly at some of the posts I saw.  So much so that I had to check out their websites, find out about their application process, and check out some of their applications.

I’ve seen them in the past.  All the grand statements, ripe with World of Warcraft raiding hyperbole.  Server First.  Top 10 Guild.  Cutting Edge.  Bleeding Edge.  24/7.

They were serious!  Bless their cotton socks!  And I wish them so much luck.

Unlike many, I’m a child of Everquest.  That doesn’t make me any more or less special than someone who started playing MMOs with World of Warcraft, but I do realise it colours the way I see things.  Yes, I’m an achiever.  But it seems that when a new game comes out, so many players seem to need to hold themselves up against everyone else using so many Warcraft-isms.  But I do take a certain vicarious pleasure when I see them writ large on forums and guild websites.

I’m also comfortable enough in my own skin to know that I am very happy in the way I play.  I know I’m a skilful player.  I know I’m good, and better than most.  I’ve killed balrogs, me.  And I looked fabulous doing it.

So, stepping carefully around any grand claims, I found that I had to make my stringent set of criteria… more a set of guidelines, really.  Very loose guidelines.

What do I look for in a guild?  Well, I want a community.  I want to be able to group up when it’s possible, or solo when it’s not.  I want to be able to drop everything if real life intrudes, but also just mooch about and smell the roses when I want to.  I want people who type using real words and everything, who are on the same mental level as I am.  I want a community that plays with skill, style and panache, and has fun doing it.  Oh, and I want the moon on a stick.

I whittled it down to one.  I then contacted the guild leader in game, and asked a few questions.

Whilst the guild leader was busy in the Abyss, PvPing.  Ah bless, it’s good to know my timing is still just as vicious as it always has been.  Just as they’re settling in blasting not-demons to bits, some grumpy slacker starts pestering them about the guild they run.

But well done to Shuyan*!  Not only did I not get treated like a loon, but I got my questions answered fairly, and politely.  With real words and everything.  That gets a lot of mileage in the Grumpy Slacker Likes You stakes.

Guild application going in.  We’ll see if they’ll take me…


*So I lied.  I named someone.  I bad.  But it wasn’t for anything negative.  It was a well done!


Aion: Day Three

October 6, 2009 at 3:35 am | Posted in Aion, Grouping, Guilds | 2 Comments
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Wotcha everyone,

Day 2 doesn’t deserve its own post, because I didn’t get to play much.  Gained a level or so, and was happy at that.  I then promptly put on my encounter suit, and headed off for an evening in the real world.  Fun.

Day 3 saw me get to level 10, and go through the Ascension set of quests.  Now, I must remember that these are Devas, and neither angel nor demon.  Hmm.  Isn’t Deva another name for… And isn’t “Ascension” a moment where…

Moving swiftly on.  My gameplay in Days 1 to 3 has mainly consisted of what I term “guerrilla healing”.

Now that may or may not conjure up images of wide hats and crossed bandoliers filled with bandages and plasters.  If it has, that’s ok. You are not alone.

It’s me, running around doing whatever I’m doing (usually questing, brutally slaughtering things, or both), and throwing out buffs and heals to those that need it.  Now, I don’t do it because I’m desperately looking for friends, or a group, or anything like that.  I don’t even do it because I’m lonely.

No, I’m not lonely.  The nice gold seller would kindly send me a tell every so often, because he likes me, and because he wants to peddle his evil gold at me.

I do it because I have the skills to do it.  It costs me a moment to target and a moment to cast.  And it gains me a bit more experience in buffing and healing, in a nice and easy way that might (or might not) make someone’s game a bit easier.

I’ve still not been in a group, but then again all of the content up to level 10 was easily soloable, so no real need to group up.  I’m also wondering if everyone is attempting to level up quickly, and too quickly to want to group up at low levels.  Who knows?

I also had a pleasant exchanges with some of the individuals I guerrilla healed.  You know, the MMO equivalent of the cheery wave and a smile you give when you’re putting the bins out and see a neighbour.  They emote, I emote in return.  Nice and polite.

Of course, it’s not an all-you can buff buffet at Chez Hawley.  Oh no.  I might be giving it out for free (oo-er missus) but I do have my grumpy side to placate.  And that means people will daft, stoopid or just plain not-names get ignored.  Sorry, but you’re just not on my radar.

Yes, if there was a role-playing server I’d want to be on it.

Plan for the next few days?  Find a guild.  Or, as they are called in Aion, a “Legion”.  Although that term does have some unfortunate connotations thanks to a certain Emperor boasting about having an “entire legion” of Stormtroopers.  If I recall correctly, that boasting took place shortly before they all got shivved up by some angry ewoks, and their pet wookie.


Revolving Doors (and contemplation)

September 16, 2009 at 5:25 am | Posted in Grouping, Guilds, World of Warcraft | 2 Comments
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Wotcha everyone,

If a week is a long time in politics, it could quite well be forever in raid communities…

On Friday I wrote a post that I can thankfully consign to the recycle bin of history.  Mainly because it was admittedly whiny, with me feeling very sorry for myself.  The reason it can be thankfully discarded is because events of the weekend moved quickly, and resulted in the post becoming redundant. 

Here’s the short story:

Over the weekend, I left my raid community.  All of my mates had left it, and the only reason I had joined it was because they were in it.  And yes, one of the reasons I had been able to join it was because they could stand up and state that I was likewise a stand up chap and all-round good egg.

Now I’ve left them.  I did actually think long and hard about it, and decided that I’d rather do other things than raid with people I don’t know so well.  It’s not that they’re bad people, or even bad players, but when it came to staying, the negatives outweighed the positives.

Then, to prove the universe has a sense of humour, just as I’m working up to telling my raid community that I’m leaving, I get asked if I want to join the guild that my mates are helping to set up.

The rambling thoughts begin here:

I’d rather PUG with strangers than raid with people I don’t know well.  Yes, because I’d feel like I was just hanging around with these people because I wanted the phat lewtz, rather than their company.  Call me strange, but I like my friendships (real world or online) to be more about enjoying each other’s company than about what epixxx they can help me get.  PUGing for stuff just seems more honest.

The timing makes me look like I’m leaving them for the cool kids.  Which stinks, but hey, that’s timing.  Besides, is there a cooldown on joining another guild?  Is there a period of time one should wait after leaving one grouping, before joining another?  Who exactly *is* writing the MMO Book of Etiquette?  And who is reading it?

It’s alright if you’re invited.  And it must really stink if you’re not.  Hey, I felt rejected I wasn’t asked immediately, but I’m just passive-aggressive with rejection issues.  I suppose it’s similar to being a multi-platinum selling musician in a huge band, and some of your musician mates decide to set up a super-group, but without inviting you.  “Sorry, Dave has baggsy’d guitars already, and we all think you’re rubbish really”.

Being beaten with the Casual Stick.  I’ve seen it far too much to care about the term “Casual” when it’s used in online gaming.  It’s only casual if you do what the consensus wants.  If you try and change things, you’re *literally* worse than Himmler.  And should you leave for pastures new?  *Literally* worse than Hitler.  It shouldn’t be like this.  A casual group (guild, kinship, raid community, whatever the term used) should know that they have no recourse when players decide to act in a casual manner, or decide to leave if it’s not for them.  The benefits of a relaxed, casual atmosphere outweigh the potential loss of players who want to play in a more demanding atmosphere; it’s not fair to judge them as a result.

Raid Communities are the sum of their parts.  So if those parts leave (or have stopped working) they fold.  A mass migration like this could kill a raiding community, just as it could kill a guild.  But this is also time for those players who have been on the periphery of a community to stand up, be counted, and have the opportunity to take a more active role.  Stagnation is a bad, bad thing, and can kill a community far easier than renewal.

Millenial Fever.  Announcements of impending expansions cause all sorts of upheavals; Cataclysm is quite an accurate name, for once.  Only alts go over old content, so moves are already afoot to see as much of the Wrath of the Lich King content as possible.  For some that means exchanging casual 25-man raid groups for stripped-down, lean-mean-fighting-machine 10-man special-forces raid teams.  I can see why.  Finding and organising 25 players can be like herding cats, and just as rewarding.  Ten like-minded individuals is far, far easier to manage.  Being someone who sets his own achievements rather than relying on Blizzard (or Turbine, or any other games developer) for them, I’m somewhat bemused by them, but for others they are a powerful draw, and now there is a time limit.

Sooo…  Here I am.  Raid-less, but with possibility of joining another.  Older, wiser, more enriched thanks to my experiences.


Of Kinships, and rejoining them.

September 11, 2009 at 3:25 pm | Posted in Guilds, LotRO | Leave a comment
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Wotcha everyone,

After raiding peaks and troughs, it was more of a peak with no trough in Lord of the Rings Online.

When I finally broke and decided that life without Minstrel was no life at all (or something) , I didn’t really know how much time I could devote to Lord of the Rings Online, so rather than immediately start looking for my old guild, I decided to play solo for a short while.

This allowed me to do a number of things, at my leisure.  It allowed me to come back, bimble around and figure out how to play the game again.  It allowed me to rapidly jump between alts to scrabble for enough loose change to be able to pay off the debts on my house (the one under the tree.  I love hobbit housing).  It allowed me to sit back and enjoy the change of pace, whilst adjusting my real life around playing, and vice versa.

However, that didn’t mean that I’d forgotten my old friends from The Silent Minority, so one of the first things I did upon arrival in Middle Earth was to look them up.  And got a lovely warm welcome and was asked when I’d be rejoining, which was more than touching; the approval of one’s peers is most certainly the only Win that counts in online gaming.  Since that time I’d been bimbling around solo, or even joining in with ad-hoc groups to complete quests (look at me, Ma! I’m socialising!).

However.   I think one of the things that grabbed me and reminded me that it was time to rejoin were the events of Monday night.  I’m in both a guild and a raid community in World of Warcraft, and being in a guild is a sort of default for whatever game I play.  Massively Multiplayer, and all that.  I suppose that the possibility of change just shocked me out of my complacency, and that made me re-evaluate my solo status in Lord of the Rings.  So I thought about it, and realised that of my play time, Lord of the Rings is the game I play most at the moment.  It’s not a favoured child thing; it’s just the way things are.  And the hours I’m playing means that I can join a guild without feeling like I’m just mooching lovely Guild Goo, without providing anything in return.

The Silent Minority have a very active and aggressive Broom of Doom policy, and quite frankly I applaud that.  I also applaud the fact that any Broomed ex-member can rejoin quickly and painlessly, so that was great.   Net result is that after a hearty welcome, I’m now a member of a Lord of the Rings Online Kinship again.  The pace of life is much, much faster than when solo, but I’m also looking forward to fully re-entering guild life.



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