Chronicles of Bronte I: “Humble Beginnings” or “Bronte: Dwarf, Paladin, Redhead”
Being a guild leader is serious business. I don’t say that lightly. I led a guild for nearly three years in World of Warcraft, and micro-managed quite literally every aspect of the daily operations as needed. This series of posts is dedicated to the memories and experiences of those years and dedicated to the crew I had the privilege of playing the game with.
Leading any group of individuals is a difficult task, especially when they come from diverse, distinct backgrounds, cultures and ethnic identities. This task is made all the more difficult by the fact that these individuals are paying (Blizzard – not you) to be on your team, they aren’t salaried in the same vein as traditional employees. Further, none of them are in the same physical location; they are spread out far and wide across the world, especially if you are playing on a European server. Suffice it to say that being a guild leader is one of the toughest endeavors I have had to undertake. The following is a small chapter of that story.
Xanthus: Tauren, Hunter, Fat
I started on Bloodhoof as a Tauren Hunter on the same day the game launched. For anyone present on launch day, you would recall the excitement you felt exploring such a vast world filled to the brim with such exciting possibilities. And the goddamn lag! Blizzard underestimated the popularity of their behemoth (still in its embryonic stage). The initial number of servers was severely inadequate to manage the incoming traffic. Within 24 hours, several additional servers went live to accommodate the incredibly ravenous player base. The starting areas were absolutely drenched in newbies, running amok in their new sandbox as far and wide as the eye could see.
My Tauren Hunter adventured through the trials and tribulations of the lush green and visually appeasing Mulgore for the first 12 levels. It took me a week to get to that milestone, partially because I was learning the ropes of playing a fantasy MMO for the first time (my previous experiences included Earth and Beyond, City of Heroes and Eve Online), and also because Bloodhoof crashed endlessly during the peak hours, the only time I had to play the game during my last semester as an undergraduate student.
My Tauren then ventured into the arid Barrens, a stark and sudden change from the scenic, shamanistic fields of Mulgore. I quested my way to level 20, picking up skinning and leather-working along the way, realizing rather quickly that my inability to manage coin was beginning to adversely affect my coffers and the ability to kill efficiently due to a lack of purchased skills. By level 20, the hunter was no longer a source of fun for me, and was forced into retiring, thus ending my incredibly short stint with the Horde.
Bronte: Dwarf, Paladin, Redhead
I started Bronte on the Alliance side, a red-bearded Dwarf Paladin, conceived on the 5th of December, 2004. Little did I know then that this character would stay my main for my entire WoW career. Rampaging through Dun Modr, Loch Modan, Red Ridge and Westfall, I realized that the Paladin class was incredibly powerful, versatile and had a very high rate of survivability, even against a large number of opponents.
My First Guild
At level 20, on December 21, 2004, I was invited to my first guild. I remember I was in the Wetlands at the time, completing some quest involving artifact recovery in an archeological dig site heavily populated by rather unfriendly raptors.
Mortifer Militis was the name of the guild, Army of the Dead in Latin. I thought it was a strange name for an Alliance guild, but having quested solo for quite some time, I was ready to group up if the opportunity presented itself. So I joined the guild, and gingerly stepped out of my comfort zone to try and experience the unique dynamics of player interaction offered by MMOs. My experiences with the guild, to make a colossal understatement, fell a tad short of what I had imagined they would be.
The guild disbanded within two months of inception because the guild leader, named Raygin, enforced such frivolous activities as meetings around the pond in Stormwind’s mage quarter. The meeting started with guild members sitting in a half-U shape around the pond. Raygin, along with his two officers would then slowly walk across the district, eventually arriving at the slightly elevated edge of the pond and addressed the gathered crowd much as king would address his subjects. Especially if he was the king of Retardistan. He would then call upon everyone to recount how their week went, both in real life and in the game. Needless to say the attendance dwindled rapidly after the first meeting.
In another example, I once asked him to help me with a particularly difficult quest in the Wetlands. He responded by saying I needed to submit a written application through in-game mail explaining what the quest was about, and why I needed guild resources and help to complete it. Naive as I was, I still refused to comply to the ridiculous demand. As punishment, I was demoted a rank and my speaking privileges in the guild were revoked. By the end, nearly 95% of the guild was awarded this rank for one misdemeanor or another.
The guild leader also vehemently believed in farming for the guild, and there was a weekly quota of 10-20 gold (10 if you were below level 40, 20 if you were level 40 and above) that every member of the guild had to contribute to the guild coffers. No explanation was given as to what this gold was used for. Bear in mind that unlike the hyper-inflated economy and gold acquisition prevalent in Wrath of the Lich King, 20 gold in vanilla WoW was a hell of a lot of coin.
Understandably, most people burnt out on the incessantly nonsensical activities within the first month, leading to a rapid and uncontrollable hemorrhaging of players to other guilds, eventually resulting in complete internal combustion by the time February 2005 rolled around.
That was when I left MM, and joined CoV, a guild I would be with for the next three years.
Chronicles of Bronte II: “One Is The Loneliest Number” or “Bronte, Loner”.