Chronicles of Bronte III: “Cross of Vengeance” or “Bronte, Initiate”
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.
- Chronicles of Bronte I: “Humble Beginnings” or “Bronte: Dwarf, Paladin, Redhead”
- Chronicles of Bronte II: “One Is The Loneliest Number” or “Bronte, Loner”
Cross of Vengeance: A (Very) Brief Introduction
Cross of Vengeance in the beginning was a strange beast. There were about 25 or so active players, which by today’s standards seems like the perfect amount, even over-abundant by some. But back in vanilla WoW, when you could raid the currently 5-man Stratholme instance with 40 players, having 25 players in the guild was embarrassing for a guild leader. The optimal number of players you wanted to have on hand was between 48-52 hardcore, dedicated players. Only with these numbers you could ensure that you had a strong raid forming every night, and you were making progress in the endgame instances.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
When I joined Cross of Vengeance, we only had a few members that were active on a daily basis. One of them was Milamber, who you might have seen posting here quite frequently, one of the oldest and most resilient members of CoV. I have known the kid for nearly six years now, and seen him mature into a smart young college student who with a wacky sense of humor and an inherent ability to get his priorities right. But again, I am digressing.
The officer core included some odd individuals. There was Scoota, the guild leader, Human Holy Paladin extraordinaire, not to be confused with Scooter, our warrior tank. There was the Gnome Rogue Woe, strange little fellow with a dark, dreary sense of humor and a knack for stabbing things without provocation. I can’t recall the number of Molten Core raids where the first hit was scored by Woe instead of a tank pulling the mob and getting its threat under control. Then there was Dieter, Night Elf Rogue, a DPS-addict who shared Woe’s penchant for evisceration.
And finally there was Richard, Human Retribution Paladin in a day and age when the term “DPS Paladin” was frowned upon, and widely considered an oxymoron. Even with such opposition to the viability of said spec in raid environments, Richard was the only individual who had us single-handedly convinced about the usefulness of a Retribution Paladin. But that is not what made Richard stand out from the crowd. Richard stood out from the crowd because he had a southern drawl, and a sense of humor that could put the likes of Demetri Martin and Ron White to shame. The sheer number of times Richard was able to crack us up, or make us spit out whichever beverage we were chugging at the moment, or a combination of both, is staggering. Suffice it to say Richard was a very funny man, and I have come across few who could maintain that level of humor regardless of personal circumstance or in-game situation.
Richard was also a very enthusiastic PvP’er, and one of the very first few individuals who attained the Grandmaster rank on Bloodhoof server. Him and his crew were the stuff of legends in the battlegrounds, particularly in Arathi Basin and Warsong Gulch. Richard and his crew of rag-tag PvP’ers could shut down well-organized PvP teams. I have personally observed a pre-made from the Horde side converge on the Blacksmith in AB, realize Richard is leading the assault, tuck tails and flee back to their spawn-point graveyard, and sit out the rest of the match in hopes of better (or should I say worse) opposition.
Back to CoV. Most players had not even hit the level 60 cap, and there was a lot of general confusion regarding which specs were optimal for which classes in end-game raiding. There were no organized instance-runs, or PvP endeavors, but thankfully, Scoota never made us sit around in a circle in Stormwind and made us talk about what made our nuts itch that week!
CoV, in essence, was in its embryonic form.
52, Going on 60
I was hesitant to ask for anyone’s help when leveling. The only individual I really asked was Isrx, and he always made it a point to help me out, regardless of what he was inundated with. I rode through Un’Goro, Silithus, Winterspring, and the Plaguelands, plowing my way through the content with a unique range of defensive and offensive abilities the Paladin class had to offer, dramatically (and in some cases artificially) increasing my survivability and allowing me the luxury of negligible graveyard runs.
Isrx and I made a good team. He was able to dole out a lot of damage through his spells and used his pet to tank several mobs. Together we were able to tackle some of the toughest challenges in Azeroth, taking on multiple packs of mobs, or burning through the pregnant health bars of elite boss creatures. It didn’t take long for me to get through the last eight levels. I still remember riding through the Eastern Plaguelands, and discovering The Noxious Glade, a small achievement that netted me a mere 400 or so experience, but that was just the amount of experience I needed to reach level 60. Yes, I dinged the level cap not undertaking some heroic task of world-threatening proportions, I dinged the level cap on horseback, completely by accident, as unceremoniously as you can make it.
Hitting level 80 opened up a Pandora’s Box of opportunities for me. One one hand I was able to start research on a popular WoW site at the time, http://www.thottbot.com (anyone still use that?), to see which quests would get me better gear to start tackling some of the instance content. On the other hand, all end-game instances were now ripe for the taking and I could try getting in a group to experience primitive raiding in WoW.
It wasn’t long after hitting level 60 that Scoota messaged me, congratulating me on my recent achievement and asking me if I would like to accompany all the big boys on the guild’s first UBRS run, since we now had ten level 60 players on at the time. I agreed, excusing myself just briefly to train up new skills from my trusty Paladin Trainer in Ironforge.
Our first raid in UBRS was a massive disaster. It took us over three hours. We were still unable to kill the last boss, General Drakkinsath, and two guild members quit after the raid was over. Strangely, it was also the same raid that pushed me into the spotlight in CoV, and started the inevitable chain of events that would one day lead me to take on the reigns of the guild myself.
Chronicles of Bronte IV: “Upper Black Rock Spire” or “Bronte, Party Leader ”.