It’s been a while since I told you of my brother exploits in the World of Warcraft. Has he stopped playing? No, hell no! Read on for his exploits, straight from his fingers to your brain!
What a difference a year makes! I searched for “warcraft” on your site and discovered the last update on Blaniage was entered on April 18, 2008. Where did the year go? Why am I squinting, why is my butt asleep, and why does my back hurt?
Blaniage was only level 43 then. He’s level 80 now, the maximum level achievable. Last year at this time the maximum was 70, but a new expansion pack, Wrath of the Lich King (or “WotLK” for those too busy playing to type), increased the ceiling by 10 levels. In addition to Blaniage leveling to 80, Pantespani the Blood Elf Priest is now level 61, and Gastrin the Blood Elf Paladin is level 40. The other desserts are between levels 24 and 31. If memory serves, the first incarnation of Baklava (a Night Elf Druid) only made it to level 27 before I killed him off. Baklava the Undead Mage is level 24.
In order to describe the highlights of the past year I need to describe a little bit about a playing World of Warcraft (“WoW”). A style of game play that many people enjoy is “raiding.” Raiding is basically grouping together with 9 or more players to explore an “instance” (game-speak for an in-game dungeon). Instances are populated by elites, which are monsters on steroids, almost impossible to kill single-handed. Killing them is desirable because elite creatures drop the best items, many of which are ~only~ available by killing instance elites. Because it is advantageous to be comfortable with your fellow raiders’ playing style, and because communication is vital during a raid, many people form more permanent groups called guilds. Because I am mostly interested in questing, I wasn’t really all that into finding a guild. They struck me as a WoW fraternity, and I wasn’t into those either. However, I met a really nice guy in-game named Smokem, and he was in a friendly, “casual” guild called Ankh. He invited me to join, and I did.
I say that Ankh was “casual” because it was a group of more mature players, less obsessive about conquering every level 70 instance (this was before WotLK). But, if you want to see instance content, you have to have at least 10 players who log on regularly, so, you end up recruiting. And when you recruit, you open up the ranks to players that are less casual. Believe me, there are players that take WoW ~very~ seriously. Questions like, “who gets an elite item should it drop?” mean a great deal to some players. Guilds have to have rules, and some people are always unhappy about how the rules affect them. Ankh grew and grew, and eventually became a victim of its own success. A large group of players within the guild disliked the guild master’s (GM) approach to the distribution of instance loot, left the guild, and formed a new guild which promptly started bad-mouthing Ankh on any available public forum. Ankh was reduced to a few players, and the GM was burnt out. He stopped playing, and Smokem and I went on to a different guild. However, I left all of my lower-level characters (9 in all) in Ankh. I guess I felt a little sentimental. I had dabbled a little in raiding with Ankh, and I was still proud to wear the Ankh tabard (a piece of clothing displaying the guild crest).
One nice thing about a guild is that they frequently have a guild bank. A bank is a large repository for all of the crap that a player accumulates over time playing the game. You have your own personal bank too, but a guild bank is much bigger and allows for players to share items that they find that might be of use to guild-mates of a different class or level. Ankh had a guild bank, and all of my toons in the guild were permitted to withdraw a single item per day. Well, the GM had quit playing, in fact I was about the only person in Ankh that ever played, so I began to feel a little entitled to the guild bank. I’m not proud of this. Anyway, one withdrawal per day for nine toons adds up, and after a few months the guild bank was looking a little thin. Meanwhile, the new guild which Smokem and I had joined was not feeling like a great fit for me. They were a very nice group of people, but their interests were almost purely running level 80 raids (now we are post-WotLK). I tried running a few, but I just wasn’t into it in the new group. As I mentioned, I am primarily interested in questing, so when I logged on, I had little to say to others and they to me. All of the conversations were about last night’s or tomorrow’s raids, and I felt on the outside. In my opinion, being in a group but feeling like an outsider is far worse than not being in a group at all.
One day not long ago, much to my chagrin, the Ankh GM (remember him?), suddenly logged back into the game. He had purchased WotLK, was rested from his breather, and decided to give WoW another chance. Holy. Crap. Well, he wasn’t angry at me, which was a surprise, but my days of having a guild bank at my sole disposal were over. Additionally, I had all but stopped playing Blaniage, preferring instead to level my priest. So, I was again a toon without a guild (or so it felt), but I had had a taste of having a guild bank. So, about a month ago, I formed “Just Desserts,” a guild with only 10 members, all of them mine. We’re not recruiting. Just Desserts sucks as a raiding guild, but you should see the guild bank.