Tuesday, June 16, 2009

For The Alliance!

Nope, not the achievement. Something much more near and dear to my heart.

It's no secret around here that I've been raid leading and doing a lot of work for both my alliance and my guild. I’m heavily invested in both, so this post should make sense in that light. Our guild leader is one of the most amazing women I've ever met. Her daughter has been fighting cancer for over two years now, and she's not even a teenager yet. It's a very sad story that we share with her on a daily basis, yet she remains positive and strong. Her story inspires guild members that span multiple games.

I bring this up because what most people don't see about our guild is that we're a family of sorts, especially those of us who have been there for a while. We've had a lot of upheaval and people leaving, but our GM has really been the one shining example. She's tried to give others the leadership a couple of times, but we won't take it. Even if she only pops in for a half hour a night... or week, she's our leader. It's that simple. I know several people that would, no joke, stand in a black circle of death for her... ON PURPOSE. (That's true love in WoW, you know).

In any case, the point here is just that we have a very unique guild situation. We've been around since day 1 of WoW and don't plan to go anywhere. We've raided, we've not raided, we've laughed, we've cried. We're honest with each other. Like a family, we may have fights, but we stick it out together, for richer or poorer. “Once a Gen, always a Gen” is the motto that holds true to this day.

I really wanted to bring that same feeling of family to our raiding alliance. Perhaps the ONLY reason I raid is because I'm addicted to the sense of camaraderie that goes with going into battle together (something I find as a football coach as well). I say it like that, because that's how I feel about it: going into battle. Some people see pixels on a screen, some buttons to press, and a good time. I see 10 or 25 people, dressed in armor, ready to lay down their lives for each other (if you’ve ever been part of a football team, you know where I’m coming from on this).

Extreme? Perhaps. But I don't think it's completely off the wall, because isn't that what we do? Lay down our lives for each other? Each of us has plenty going on. My GM with her kid, I’m planning a wedding. There are plenty who take time out of their lives for this. Single parents who spend their "free" nights with us in glorious battle. Coupled parents who do the same. Wife aggro sometimes gets us more than mob aggro. Parents, money, work, and school have crit on us quite a bit over the years. The point is: we put our lives TO THE SIDE to be with each other.

Sure, sure, RL has to come first. We all know this fundamental rule of gaming. But to some of us, it means just a little more. Some of my greatest stories of inspiration come from this "game". It's not that you let your life fall to pieces, but it IS worth making time for. It IS worth sacrificing for. At least in my guild it is. We don't ask anyone to take time out of their day for us; they do it because we're worth it to each other. My GM signs on every night, nobody asks her to, nobody requires it. She does it because we're her family outside of family. We're a support network. We're a shoulder to cry on. We’re there for each other. It’s just the right thing to do. We don’t need to beg.

I wanted to bring that to our alliance.

For a while, I think we had it. Especially in the TBC days, we were a pretty tight knit group. Then, as with all good things, some bad things happened to us. We faced some adversity. I'd like to say that, as a family, we pulled through it together, but this story is not over yet. As things stand now, we're hovering shakily over a precipice of epic proportions. Where did we go wrong?

It starts, as always, with the little things: miscommunications and misunderstandings. They fester and grow unseen. People begin to get unhappy. Then you lose an officer without an explanation, or maybe two, and the remaining officers start pointing fingers. They struggle frantically to discover what WAS the problem. Why are we here? Who screwed this up? People get hurt. Good people. People who were like family.

Yet still, "it's just a game", right? It should be all fun, all the time. If it isn't fun, then why be here?

It's at this point when we begin to realize, maybe it isn't "just a game". Maybe these relationships are real. After all, the pain is all too real.

So what do you do when the going gets tough? Do you quit? Do you retreat? It’s even easier to do this in an alliance, because, after all, they’re not your guildies. You can just take your ball and go home, focus on your own guild and nuts to the rest of your crazies. But you really have to ask yourself, are these people worth it?

Sometimes the answer may be no, and that’s okay. Be honest about it. People can go separate ways and still be friends. However, for me, the answer is yes. These people are too good just to quit on, and I've thrown my lot in with them. I'm not cooking up stuff on the side, me and my guild are dedicated to making it work. Maybe it stems from that sense of family. I’ve always believed that, with the right team, you can work through anything. It's not about me, it's about us.

My father once told me: “Don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution.” If everyone asks themselves what they can do to be part of the solution, your team will more than likely succeed. It has to start somewhere.

The first step to healing any wound is getting over the past. You can’t change what’s been done, and it doesn’t really matter who did it. What matters is how you’re going to fix it together (if it’s worth it: a decision you have to make for yourself). This holds true for just about any relationship. Whether you’re married, engaged, in a bar, or in a raid. Get over it, and get on with it. Work together. Don’t be part of the problem.

I really hope my alliance can do this, because they’re worth it.


  1. I've had that some camaraderie that you are writing about with my Horde toons. Although in a great guild with my Holy Priest.

    My family' was formed with people, I met via PUGS. Crazy, eh? I usually organize my PUGs, ran so many that it's almost an instinct which person will be 'bad' for the group.

    We met up in our 50's through some random PUG. We hung out from then on. We hung with our guildmates but had 'our time' too.

    Anyway, the second time I organized a run with the other four the others were happy to be in the same group with those they had grouped with the night before. We were inseparable after that. We became friends after that... Most of them have left the game, and well it's just not the same. We still communicate via email and phone calls, but I surely do miss my in-game buddies. :(

    It's more than a game, people have to remember that you can form bonds with people that you interact with online and they can be just as strong as those people you meet in real life.

    A few months ago, I recreated Alliance toons. I joined a wonderful guild, great people, friendly atmosphere but... I did not have that same connection with them like my Hordies. That is until I met a great DK who also has a Pally, Rogue via PUGs.

    I'm hoping your guild can weather this storm. Sending you positive thoughts and vibes to you and your guildmates. :)

  2. There's no doubt that you can meet some of the best people in PuGs. That's where I've met a huge majority of the people on my friends' list!