The casual guild’s heavy guild master

As I’ve noted before, there is a large disparity between The Regiment’s raiding experience and my own personal history. As a form heavy raider – and someone gradually climbing back into the saddle after disdaining raiding for some time – my experiences pre-expansion included full clears of all raids except Naxxaramas. I currently maintain a somewhat heavy raiding schedule, including Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep on my priest and soon my hunter. I fully intend to see the inside of the Black Temple before Wrath of the Lich King is released.

This differs with the vast majority of my guildmates. Prior to The Burning Crusade, The Regiment organized weekly, extremely casual runs of Zul’Gurub. After the release of the expansion, we took a couple of months to organize a core group of raiders to maintain a weekly Karazhan group. For many of these people, Karazhan was the first raid that they had ever done. As casual raiders (which differs from casual players!), they don’t ever plan on seeing anything beyond Zul’Aman – a goal that we’ve just started within the past week. Members of The Regiment occasionally sub into any of numerous 25-man raids when openings and their availability coincides. They’re content gradually seeing new content and knowing that they may never progress any further.

This contrast in playstyles and experience results in an interesting dynamic in the relationship I maintain with the people under my command. For one thing, it results in different end-game goals. My focus during much of the week is raiding, whether it’s actually stepping foot into the instance or preparing for the raid. I spend a lot of time attempting to acquire better gear that would improve my performance in my raids, which includes jealously hording badges in anticipation for the badge gear that will be available in patch 2.4. On the other hand, most of my guild members don’t have that kind of drive. Rather than running heroics to acquire badges or even better gear, many play any of a myriad of alts. This is an particularly sore issue with me, as we continue raiding Karazhan months after we first stepped inside with people who could be better prepared for each of the fights but aren’t.

And don’t get me started on consumables and their use – or lack thereof – during fights that we sometimes still have problems with!

The balance between a raiding background and a guild that desires to be nothing more than casual raiders is a hard one to maintain. It frequently leaves me frustrated when people come to the raid ill-prepared, without consumables, their gear broken, in pieces of gear that they could have been upgraded months ago if they’d have run heroics instead of leveling alts, and showing up late or not showing up at all. As a comparatively experienced raider, this clashes with what I consider normal raiding practices and the standard that I personally maintain for myself whether I’m entering Tempest Keep to pit myself against Kael’Thas or returning to Karazhan for the umpteenth time to aid my guild in their weekly run.

“I be da predator! You da prey…”

I’d like to take a moment to first apologize for my continued absence on this site. I’ve been a bit busy juggling word, a somewhat-active social life, raiding, and guild master responsbilities lately, and I’ve to figure out how to get my muse to write for me rather than just giving inspiration. Hopefully my availability will increase in future weeks!

That said, The Regiment grew tired of full clears of Karazhan and has decided to assault the troll-infested forests of Zul’Aman. Tuesday evening was our first time stepping into there, though I’ve been doing almost weekly runs since 2.3 first released the instance. For a ragtag group of casual players, I’d like to say that we did exceptionally well: we managed to down Nalorakk, we lombasted Akil’zon (despite having the gauntlet bug up on us no less than three times, causing multiple resets of the event), and our sole attempt on Halazzi resulted in getting him down to 32%. I full expect to be hitting Malacrass within the next week or two.

So, congratulations, fellow members of The Regiment! We’re taking the moment to organize our second Karazhan group in light of our most recent success – it’s mainly intended for the recent influx of recruits we somehow managed to snag, though I’m certain that a number of long-term members will either contribute on their mains or newly level alts.

Culture Shock: The Roleplayer

“Here, come here! Look! No, no, you twit, not at the bush, but between the branches. There! No, dolt, look at where I’m pointing! The finger, man, follow the Illidan-be-damned finger! There – do you see it now?

“Isn’t he beautiful? So graceful, so lissome – never mind the fact that he’s wandering around Stormwind proper in an alcohol-induced stupor. Without pants. You’ve been given a rare opportunity, friend, to see one of these in its natural environment. It’s rare to see them out in the open, especially given the harsh conditions in which they reside. Some people consider them a rare and endangered breed, but I! – I know otherwise; they’re out there, but you just need to know how to locate them.

“What is he, you ask? That, my good fellow, is a member of the enigmatic World of Warcraft species known as Performinous Azerotherus. More commonly known as the roleplayer, this oft-misunderstood creature resides predominately on roleplaying servers. A common misconception typically places roleplayers in remote locations such as the Deeprun Tram or Goldshire where they supposedly perform a number of, well, inappropriate actions (not that I would know anything about them, of course, thank-you-very-much!), but he and his ilk can be found all over Azeroth and in many places in the Outland.”

Colonel Picon, revered and longtime member of The Regiment, experiences the effects of a night of debauchery.

Poor attempts of humor aside, I am – as I have previously mentioned – an avid roleplayer and the guild master of a medium-sized roleplaying guild on the Feathermoon US roleplaying server. As a part of providing more information on the joys and tribulations of leading a roleplaying guild in the upcoming weeks, I thought that I’d give some small insight into some commonly-held beliefs of the roleplaying community and what being a roleplayer personally means to me.

The term roleplayer refers to an individual who assumes the role of his or her character in-game and conducts himself or herself in an in-character manner. Roleplayers typically follow the rules established by Blizzard for their RP and RP-PVP servers, including following the naming conventions, limiting or readily identifying the use of out-of-character chat, and avoiding discussion of subjects not pertaining to the game in public channels. They act out their characters through the use of emotes, /say, /yell, and sometimes other channels.

While in-character, a roleplayer assumes the role of his or her character and will converse with other characters as his or her character would. However a roleplayer may not always be in-character; the amount of time that a person spends in-character may be denoted through the use of terms such as casual roleplayer, medium roleplayer, and heavy roleplayer.

Personally, I disdain the use of titles to characterize what kind of roleplayer that I am; however, if pressed I would admit that many people would consider me a heavy roleplayer. I tend to conduct myself in an in-character fashion at almost all times when I venture into Azeroth, with the largest exception being when I raid; the way my main raiding character butchers Common would leave my fellow raiders in a state of utter confusion. I roleplay in-group in the face of frequent opposition from players who, for some odd reason, disdain roleplay and yet play on a roleplaying server. To be honest, this is a state of affairs that still perplexes me, two years after having actively joined a roleplaying server.

Roleplay is just another aspect of the game to enjoy, along with end-game content, PvP, and just socializing with friends. Despite the stigma associated with many roleplayers by non-roleplayers, I’m almost gleeful when I inform people that I actively engage in frequent PvP (both in the Battlegrounds and world PvP) and raid on two characters up to both Tempest Keep and Serpentshrine Cavern. There are many of us that combine multiple aspects of the game; there are many, too, that languish in the lower levels, weaving intricate stories and adventures with friends and foes alike – having never stepped foot into a single end-game instance, much less a full 25-man raid. In fact, one of the members of the roleplaying community that I respect most reached 60 on her very first toon mere weeks before the first expansion, despite having played the game since its public release. As with many other aspects of the game, World of Warcraft is capable of catering to a wide variety of playstyles and this is no different when applied to roleplaying.

“Willkommen. Bienvenue. Welcome. C’mon in!”

Greetings, fellow bloggers! As the newest addition to the GuildMasterpiece Theater crew, I thought that I would take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Eszti and I am a long-time player of World of Warcraft having participated in the open beta-testing. While originally a Horde supporter and an active member of a number of PvP servers, I was eventually coerced by a good friend to reroll Alliance on the Feathermoon US roleplaying server. There I joined the ranks of prepubescent teens everywhere by rolling my Night Elf, a hunter by the name of Eszti Nightwing.

I am currently guild master and co-leader of a medium-sized roleplaying guild on the Feathermoon US server. Known as The Regiment, the guild is comprised of a tight-knit group of eclectic individuals mostly located in a small town somewhere in the Midwest. I am one of the original founding members of The Regiment, which was conceived in early August of 2006. Since that time I’ve held both the second- and top-ranked positions within the guild, having served as Guild Master for well over a year now. I balance my responsibilities as guild master with working fulltime, an admittedly lacking social life, and a rather robust raiding schedule; the guild’s success, however, can be attributed to my fellow Generals and the wonderful people beneath my command. Without their help, The Regiment wouldn’t be as half as successful as it currently is.

I look forward to interacting with all of you and sharing my thoughts in upcoming months. While I probably have a lot to say, for your sakes I hope that it’s worth the read!