Monday, March 24, 2008

the guilds and I

The Sober Husband introduced the World of Warcraft into our home before Christmas, against my express wishes. I had opposed WoW out of a fear that he, a former Warcraft II enthusiast, would become addicted to it, and I felt the children already spent too much time on the computer as it is. If he could go back in time and undo that action, I'm sure he would. The horrible truth is that I've become a Warcraft addict, and he is a WoW widower.

It's a solitary pursuit for me. At first, we played together, the Sober Husband, eight year-old Iris, and me. We ran around together, figuring out how to sit down, laugh, dance, and kill things. The earlier quests we all did together. But then I began to pull ahead. Now I have a level 64 Orc hunter. The Sober Husband's main character isn't even a level 20 yet, and he's ready to pull the plug on his account.

Lately I've been finding it frustrating, because there is so much I can't do as someone who customarily plays by herself doing solo quests. I can't run the good dungeons alone. I sometimes do quests with other players I run across, but I'm not good at keeping in touch with them later. I should be in a guild, I suppose, but my history with them has been so speckled.

When I was just starting out, I was solicited all the time to join guilds, but I never felt like making a commitment. One day Iris and I were goofing around, fishing in Ratchet, when someone struck up a conversation with us and asked us to join his guild. He seemed lively and polite, so we impulsively joined. Right off we were darting off to run the Wailing Caverns with our new guild members.

Within twenty minutes, it went south. Two of the guild members got into a fight before we even entered the Wailing Caverns. I got irked when one called someone else "fag" on the guild chat. The guild owner resigned, then resumed his post, then resigned again. The emotions flew over the guild chat. Several people on our WC run became so distracted by the guild infighting that they fell behind. Iris and I resigned from the guild, with Iris doing the honors of announcing to the guild that we were "quitting! We want a guild that's better!" (Oh, her very first flouncing off online! What a rite of passage!) Our first guild membership had lasted not much more than an hour. I don't even remember the name of that guild.

But! We were instantly on to our next guild. I signed a guild charter for a guild started by the very person called "fag", who said he could lure away the most adult members of that guild. It was all low level characters. I was, in fact, the highest level player.

At first, this seemed fine. I spent a lot of time questing with the guildmaster, who was a few levels below me (although he certainly spent a lot more time playing Warcraft than I did). This usually seemed more to his benefit than mine. I helped him and his wife complete some quests I'd already done myself, on the theory that I could get help with my own quests later.

But then this, too started going south. The guildmaster developed grand ambitions, and he came to rely upon me to be his helpmeet. His own wife didn't want to be bothered by him when playing, so I became his World of Warcraft wife. And he was a nagging and hyper-critical husband, telling me to change my professions, donate to the guild bank, ask permission before taking any loot in a dungeon (although he himself seemed quite grabby and, worse yet, gloated about his newfound treasure)... The final straw came when he was hounding me to donate to the guild bank when he knew full well I was saving for my first mount (oh, that special time in a Warcraft player's life, when she first reaches level 40 and may acquire a giant wolf or dinosaur or zombie horse to ride on, rather than having to shamble about on foot). It was all for the Guildmaster's glory and empire-building, as he promised a brand new recruit that the guild would pay for his professional training and help him get new equipment.

I resigned from the guild, and of course I got some guilt-tripping messages from the guildmaster. He then dropped out of direct communication with me, but yet, with the stalking instincts of an ex-boyfriend, kept tabs on me from afar. He, nicely but creepily, congratulated me when I reached level 50, and he got back in touch again to gloat when he passed me and achieved a higher level AND acquired an epic mount first. (I'd cut back on my playing so I could make a quilt for Lola's preschool auction and because my husband was out of town keeping vigil at a dying friend's bedside. It's nice that this hectic and stressful time in my life brought joy to someone else).

Next I tried another guild after playing with a polite and helpful fellow one day. He assured me his guild was drama-free, and it seemed so for a while, until a rather immature member picked a fight with me one day. I quit quickly.

The time that came next was the happiest in my Warcraft life since those halcyon days when I started. I played alone, guildless, free of nagging or oversight. Whenever anyone I happened to pay with incidentally suggested I join their guild, I'd tell them, "I'm taking a break from guilds right now. Too much drama." They always found that amusing.

I flew through the forties and fifties, but finally after reaching level 60, I felt like I was stagnating. I felt frustrated by not being able to run dungeon quests. Trying to get an impromptu group together with strangers was maddening. When I finally had gotten into a sizeable enough group to run Zul'Farrak after weeks of trying, the group fell apart when our leader's mother made him log off and go outside to play in the fresh air. As a mother and alleged grown-up myself, I found this ironic.

By accident I met another player of the same level in Orgrimmar one day, who asked me to join forces with him. His idea was that we would focus on getting other 60ish level players to join us and we'd all work together to reach level 70, and it sounded reasonable to me. I joined his guild. Two days later, when I logged on, the guild didn't exist any more. I'd had no warning.

Subsequently I joined another guild on the basis that it had upper level players who would ostensibly run instances with me. Over the next few days, all the upper level players quit (including the one who recruited me, the only one I knew). At least the drama went on behind the scenes, but soon I was the highest level left by far in the guild. Needless to say, there was no point asking any of my guildmates to help me run my quests, as they'd be killed instantly.

Then the true insult came: my new guildmaster asked me repeatedly over several days to buy the guild from him! He found another patsy, at a much lower level, and I resigned to be guild-free again.

Realistically I know that I need to join a guild if I ever want the finest epic equipment and to raise money for a flying mount. This time, I think I'm making a more rational decision. I plan to pay the Warcraft people to transfer me to a different server, where an online acquaintance tells me there are delightful guilds which will nourish and cherish my character. I'm happy to join her guild and leave my server behind, land of a thousand flawed guilds. I wonder if my stalkerish ex-guildmaster will track me down.


Unknown said...

I got my flying mount and epic flying mount by herbing mostly. (I have a druid with an epic gryph, and even the epic druid flight form, but I no longer play) Really, relying on a guild for such support is a lame way to run a guild to begin with.

Unfortunately, I have bad luck with guilds myself. I always join nice ones a little bit before they go downhill. or I join too small ones, since I like friendly mature banter, and end up doing instances with other guilds. Or I join a powerful one just before politics ruins it and a new crop of people join that ruin it.

Right now me and a few friends are looking for another online home, having burned out on WoW, and previously having been in AO and EQ. Each time I have grand hopes for finding a guild of size and maturity and activity.. but never fulfill those hopes.

hughman said...

this post scares me a little.

the Drunken Housewife said...

Jeffrey, I got the cash for my epic mount by herbing, also. I now have to get my savings up for when I can get a flying mount..

Hughman, come on over and play! We'll make you a hunky warlock character.

hughman said...

oh jeez. hunky warlock = too much work. i want to be what lola is and just pick flowers.

Epiphany said...

What about forming a guild with the folks you know, say, from your blog? Or people you know IRL?

Don't look at me - I have enough to do in my life without getting sucked in to this. But my friend K., for instance, a gardening, pagan, 50-something gal, says WoW is one of the best things that's ever happened to her. If you like, I can put the two of you in touch? Maybe she has a good guild (made up mainly of amazon women, no doubt!)

Anonymous said...

Me and mine just quit WoW this week (right when 2.4 dropped! >.<) to focus on school and my mental health issues. Sadly, our guild also chose this weekend to implode, with essentially all of our lvl 70s deciding to join a different one. So I hear you.

the Drunken Housewife said...

I think it's smart, Vodalus, to quit WoW to focus on school. Back in the day I used to be all over the WeLL, an early online community (this was before there was a World Wide Web, back in the days of dial-up and BBSes). I ended my account when I was studying for the bar exam. I knew I couldn't pass the bar with the constant distractions of the WeLL.

'Piph, thanks for calling the other day! I'm so sorry once again I had to get off the phone; I had to get to the pound on time. I don't actually know people in IRL who play WoW. I mostly hang with other parents who don't cop to a gaming habit. I do know a parent who owns a videogame company, but he has never tried Warcraft because he's all about the gaming platform games (he develops for a gaming platform we don't own).

To start a guild, you have to put in more time & energy than I want to. You've got to get 10 characters to all go down to a particular bank in a particular capital city and sign the charter.
These characters all have to be on the same server.

WoW is so big, that it has many, many, many servers. Ask your friend which server she's on. If we aren't on the same server, it's not possible for us to hook up, alas. I'm on Drenden but plan to make the move soon.

Unknown said...

Ha! And now I can send my 8 year old precocious son to stalk you.

Unknown said...

... in WoW, of course.

You can't get a restraining order in Lordaeron, can you? LOL.

Trouble said...

OMG, the joys of playing online RPGs. I played runescape during the sleepless nights of my divorce when I suffered from chronic insomnia. I passed my kids up and made it to level 99. I joined a clan for player-killing.

And then, massive drama ripped the guild apart. And I basically stopped playing the game...

The game bored me far more than the participants, actually.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever seen the south park episode featureing WoW? it's bloody fantastic.

I keep away from all that sort of stuff myself. I know I'd just get addicted to it.

Anonymous said...

I just discovered your blog today. Anyways, my roomate is a WOW addict. He will try to borrow money he says for gas to go to work which he should have if he didn't pay for it every month. He plays his every waking hour. Sleeps.Eats.Bathroom.Plays...Work..the cycle continues....I am really worried about him. It's creepy as it reminds me of the old Dungeons and Dragon days. Mentally addicting and a mind phuck.

Pallas said...

Too bad you play Hordie -- I'd invite you to join ours on Norgannon. We're an odd combination of low levels (usually run by someone aged 6-12) and high levels (run by their parents)

Oh, and the Auctioneer addon has made an immense difference in my bank balance.

the Drunken Housewife said...

Okay, okay! In my defense, my husband asked me to write about Warcraft, because he finds it fascinating when I do. Also, I do historically vary between long posts and little short ones, because some things strike me as more suiting for a quick note than a long essay.

But to be realistic, I still have a lot of Warcraft in me. There's a whole new game addition I haven't played yet!

I will look into the Auctioneer add-on. Thanks for the tip, Pallas!

And welcome, Okie reader! I'll try to stay relatively mentally healthy. Give us updates on your roomie, please.