It was the first pull of the night, the warm-up before we got into an evening’s attempts that would be filled with missed interrupts, bad positioning, and the inevitable tank deaths. And then, in barely the blink of an eye, it was over and Garrosh lay in a heap on the corrupted ground of Stormwind Harbor. On the friggin first pull of Wednesday night. In all my years of raiding, it was probably the least epic kill that I’ve experienced. I didn’t scream, I didn’t cheer; hell, even if I had, I wouldn’t have woken the neighbors because it was 9-bloody-o’clock in the evening and even schoolchildren don’t go to bed that early! I just sat there and stared at my screen in disbelief.
US#7, World #23.
It’s not cutting edge by any means, and I’m sure if Sonie could, he’d pat me on the head and say “months behind”. But, it makes me smile nonetheless, because instead of being a shocking tooth-and-nail kill, Promethean’s triumph over HM Garrosh on Wednesday night, was, surprisingly easy. A week’s worth of (finally!) good loot drops, propelled us from somewhere around US#20 in gear to US#4. An additional night’s worth of practice that was almost unanimously agreed upon by a guild still stinging from some very pointed, and completely baseless, animosity. And a little bit of the breezy humor that comes from a group of people comfortable enough with each other that they sing “Spiderpig” in the middle of attempts, make some of the most horrible geeky puns known to man, and tease a guild leader about the size of his, uh … epeen.
No, it wasn’t an epic kill that we had Wednesday night, by any stretch of the imagination. But it was the most satisfying that I’ve had in a long, long time.
For me, that’s rather big shift in circumstance. In the years that I’ve spent getting up to this level of raiding, I’ve always had my eyes set on that one prize—the truly epic kill. When I started this expansion, I chose a guild I believed would deliver exactly that: those epic, nerd-raging first kills, on a schedule for people who just can’t do Blood Legion-type hours. (Believe you me, I wish I could). I was just getting over the demise of the Vigil that I knew (not the one resurrected by Itchyy’s very capable hands), and I thought that the pain of loss could be overcome by the sheer ambition displayed by newcomer guild, Accession.
Unfortunately, as my guild history so wonderfully demonstrates, I am oftentimes like the friggin “Death Cat” when it comes to raiding teams. And as Accession collapsed shortly after my departure, my subsequent guild, Infallible, decided to end its raiding efforts at the end of Tier 14, a scant couple of months after I arrived. At which point I found myself once again pouring over the Wowprogress rankings, hoping that another roll of the dice wouldn’t wind up ending my raiding career for good. 8 guild collapses is close to the limit of any player’s tolerances, I would think, even if it has been over the span of 7 years.*
So after chatting with friends at WWA, Midwinter, and the new Vigil, I found myself intrigued with a little guild that no one (including myself) had really noticed before. At that point, all I wanted was a guild that refused to die, and I’m pretty sure that was one of the questions I posed to Amiye, the GM of Promethean, when I first met him. I didn’t care that I would be second fiddle to a Resto Shaman already entrenched in their ranks, I didn’t care that I would be joining a healing roster that was already bulging at the seams with 2-3 of each healing class, and, most importantly, I decided that I didn’t give a rat’s ass about ranks. I just wanted to make it through a tier without my world falling down around me.
What I got out of my leap of faith was two tiers of surprisingly respectable finishes and an entirely different perspective on what a raid team could be like. There were no outwardly hostile mini-factions, there were no players who were untouchable by criticism, and there was no shortage of genuine interest in playing this game. I got a team that hangs out all in the same Mumble channel even when raids aren’t going on, that levels and gears 2nd, 3rd and 4th alts, and a healing team so skilled that I’m always fearful for my raid spot (which is a wonderful thing, believe you me). It may sound like I’m waxing poetic, and I am, but I’m not doing it to rub my lucky choices in anyone’s face or claim that my guild is unique. Rather, I bring it up here, when talking about the end of a tier, because I was so blindsided by the simple discovery that I could actually be content.
Which is why it didn’t take an epic kill to make me proud of how I finished up the Mists of Pandaria expansion. It took an easy one. Because it reminded me that even though I’ve struggled with and bested every single encounter since the beginning of BC, what stays with me after all these years and what I smile about when I reminisce, isn’t the bosses I fought. But rather, what really matters, are the friends I fought them with.
* No joke, I have actually been through 8 guild collapses in my raiding career. In BC, it was Vertigo. In Wrath, it was Eternal Demise, Accounting, and Aftermath. In Cataclysm, it was Forgotten Heroes, Vigil, and Premonition. And in Mists, it was Accession (which doesn’t count, since I willingly left), and Infallible. But how about this number–total number of times that I’ve been a trial in a guild? 13. (With thankfully, a 100% success rate, lol).