Thursday, February 28, 2013

They're All Gone

With this tier of raiding coming to a close I've come to the realization that the people from my original raid team, the first one I connected with, the first one I was a regular with, are all gone.  It happens to us all in the game if we play long enough.  Even if it is a video game it is a team sport of sorts and you remember your first regular team.

It is like a snapshot of the mind and I can see it as clear as day.  Us, as a group, smiling and standing there together victorious over some big baddie we worked so hard to defeat. The team picture of me with my first regular raid team.  I might have raided some before them and lots after them, but that team picture remains clear in my mind.  The first team I fit in with.  The first team I raided with on a regular basis.

And now here we are in the first raid tier without even one of them as a part timer joining me at any given point.  It is really rare for anyone to stay with the original people they raided with as long as I have but it is not hard to understand how that happened.  When I moved, most of them moved with me, and when wrath was coming to a close we all found ourselves back in the same place together again to rekindle what we had earlier.

So even if there had been changes over the years in peoples ability to play time wise or skill wise or even class wise as some changed the class they wished to play and there were times we changed guilds or were even in different guilds that first real team I was in stayed friends and stayed together, even when apart.

With T14 coming to an end I face the realization that not once this entire expansion have I raided with any of those other 9 people.  Even at that I think that only three of those original 9 even have a 90 now and only one of those original 9 would even consider being a back up if we needed them and even he has been away for an extended period due to real life issues.

We lost them all during cataclysm at some point.  Perhaps that is one of the reason I think cataclysm is the worst expansion ever, because it destroyed what I had.  They were basically a group of mostly vanilla players, some even beta version vanilla players and they all disappeared at some point last expansion.  We lost some to rift, a couple to starcraft and a few to just getting busy and not being able to play for real life reasons or really disliking the turn the game had taken.  Whatever their reasons might be, they're all gone now.

So this week in what will probably be the last raid week of this raid tier I stood there in a room in game with 9 other people whom I have become close with and have raided with for a while now and somehow I felt alone. 

Knowing this cycle has come to an end and never once being able to raid with any of the people I started raiding with left me feel as if something was missing.  They were the ones who took me in when I knew nothing and they were all veterans.  The ones that taught me just the same way I teach people now.  The first friends I made in game were all gone and even surrounded by new friends I had made it just felt as if something was missing, as if I lost something, as if I were alone.

It is the end of the age of innocence for me.  The last mentor, so to speak, was gone.  Not once did I have them to to fall back on.  It was all on me this time.  I was the old timer.  Even if there are some people in my current raid team that are vanilla players and have played longer then I, they are new to this crew, my crew.  I am now the elder.  I am now what those 9 people were once to me.

It is human nature to look back and remember first times for everything in life.  You will fondly remember those things and it is the reason most people like to see things with rose tinted glasses as the expression goes.  This isn't a case of that however, at least I do not think it is. 

I am not thinking about how how much better it was, or even saying it was, I am just thinking about how that was the time I first fell in love with the game and realizing that while the game has changed immensely over the past years so have I and the people I play with.  Not a case of better back then, just a case of me being a different person then and knowing that I will never be that person again.  You can't have another first time, there is no such thing as falling in love again even if generations of poets and romantics will argue otherwise.

A day comes in all our gaming lives where we feel as if a torch has been passed and even if I have been a raid leader for around about 3 years now I was still always "the new guy" and suddenly, just like that, a raid tier finishes and those people that made me the new guy are gone and I am now "the old timer".   Yeah, just like that, just that simple.

They might all be gone, the ones I started with and the ones that taught me how to be the player I am today, but they will always be there as a part of me.  Maybe the day will come when they come back, this is warcraft after all, no one ever leaves, they just take breaks.  The time might come when they come back and they will be welcomed as if they never left because it is about the friendships that we made, not about raiding or progression or anything like that, that is just what brought us together.  Our friendship were forge because of what they were, not what we did.

I've been part of many guilds in my time, even a few on the server I am talking about, but none ever felt like family except this one.  I've been a part of guilds that were designed around trying to be close knit and ones that were just leveling factories.  I've been in guilds with better progression and worse.  I've been in horde side and alliance side.  But this one, this is the one I fit with.  Not sure why or how, it just fit, and that is an exceptional thing to be able to say because not many ever really find a place like that.  Somewhere along the line, no matter what ever happened and when I decide to move on myself, I will always remember that first team I connected with because when it all comes to an end, in a game like this, it is the connections you make that you will remember for ever, even if they're all gone now.

I can almost picture my character going home after raiding last night knowing it would be the last time against these particular bosses knowing that soon he will be moving along to a new set of challenges and thinking about his past companions.  Sitting down at his desk and pouring a glass of the finest dwarven whiskey he could get his hands on and putting his feet up on his desk while looking at the group photo taken when he first met these wonderful wonderful people and raising the glass to them to make a toast.

To absent friends.


  1. Just one word -"Ouroboros".

    good post GE, good post.


    1. I had to look it up, read a nice article on wikipedia about it.

      Glad you liked it.

  2. Anon, Grumpy's GL:

    Thanks, I have been waiting for an opportunity to tell you here that I am not gone for good, and that I will be back. I am sure that it might seem like it is the case that I left and never looked back but it really isn't so. Real life and a real need to take a break conspired together and made my break a lot longer than I wanted.

    Can't say I am coming back to raid, not this time around as a regular, although I won't count that out either. I am coming back because I still enjoy the game, the myriad ways of finding fun in WoW extend far beyond raiding (as you noted in your recent weekend off posting).

    I am coming back mostly because I miss the game play and the friends I have made over the years. Now to be frank, yea, out of that original raid team you joined with us, I am the only one left aside from you and I have been absent for to long for my taste now but I will be back.

    Depending on how the new i5 processor works or not with my new motherboard, and allowing that the rest of the machine is still functional (and I really think it is), I will be back sooner. My allowances being wrong, I will be back later. Either way, I will be back barring death striking me down. Yea, I am stubborn that way.

    I looked back in my memory the other day, and scribbled down a list of our best players...a dream team of our guild's long term roster. If we had the other eight (aside from you and me), and the time to do so, I think we could easily be contenders for realm firsts and likely beyond that. No, that is not bragging, just stating an opinion that we have had some really fine quality players at one point or another.

    I won't name the names because I know you prefer to keep this column private so you can grumble without hurting feelings. I will give you a chance to ponder on whom this list is however by naming the classes.

    Warrior tank
    Paladin tank
    Warlock DPS
    Mage DPS
    Druid DPS
    Hunter DPS
    Hunter DPS (you)
    Shaman DPS/Heals
    Druid Heals
    Priest Heals/DPS (me)

    You can respond to this with a private message on our guild website if you like, making your guesses as to whom each player is. And yea, with this team in place and play, I would raid hard all the time.

    1. I know about most of the real life things and figured you would be coming back when you are ready. I hope all things get better.

      I know a few of those without even needing to stop a second to think about it. That crew is the crew I started with for the most part, if I am thinking correctly.

      I am sure we will run some things again. You are still one of those people I know are always up for old time runs even if you do not play much raid wise in the past couple of years.

  3. Anon, Grumpy's GL:

    Oh I am sure you can think of the names to put to the classes with maybe one or two exceptions. Hehe, would not have posted that part of it if I thought otherwise.

    Part of the difference for our guild as opposed to others is our structure. One or two officers being absent doesn't affect the long term stability of the guild. That is rooted in how the guild originated and the character of our first Guild Leader. He left running things to the officers and that tradition gives us a strength other guilds seem to lack.

    Most guilds are organized around the structure of one or two dominant people doing it all it seems to me. Recall the 25 man raiding guild we were in for a period and how it fell apart with the absence of the guild lead for just a few weeks. Now I may be wrong totally, but I suspect that when I finally get my computer back up and running so I have a machine that can handle WoW, I will return to find a still alive and kicking and taking names guild and not a badly hollowed out shell.

    At any rate, pass word on to everyone that I am still around even if I can't log in right now. I miss you guys a lot, and hope to see you in game soon.

    1. Will do. And yes, all is fine and dandy but people do miss having you around.

      That 25M move having only one real officer and one assistant was a mistake on their part. Could have grown to be much more if they let more people have a say because like you mentioned, when that one person was gone, it all fell apart.

      Nobody can run everything themselves, and only a fool would try. We all learn that at some point in life.

  4. what guild and what realm were you on? It sounds like one I was in a long long long time ago in a realm far far away... Vek, a horde guild. I can't remember the name of it, nor most of the people, but one stands out - Bucky. Yes, that was his nickname. Heck, I can't even remember my own toons name at that time.

    1. I would prefer not to say. Only two people I know real life know I also write this and I think it is better that way.

      If you knew people you knew read something it might come out differently even if you do not intend it to. The human mind on a subconscious level would influence how you write things and what you say. I think keeping who you are out of it makes what you write ring true.