Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Social Animals

Much of the fun in playing World of Warcraft comes from interaction with other players -- especially interaction with other players in a guild (assuming you join one).  But finding the right guild (and recognizing that it's the right guild for you) is tricky.  At least, it's been tricky for me.

The first guild I joined, "Dark Guard" on the Lothar server, is no more, but through it, I met the nicest people I know in WoW.  We became friends outside of WoW; our families met in the real world last summer at Blizzcon in Anaheim ( that's a picture of my daughter Rachel at the convention) and we're planning to meet up for a weekend with them this summer in Santa Cruz.  

When "Dark Guard" merged with a larger guild, I went along.  When that larger guild moved to another server during the traumatic
realm split last year, I went along.  When that guild broke into two guilds, and one of them moved back to the Lothar server, I followed my friends in the new/old guild.  When that guild collapsed and my friends joined a new guild, I joined too.  But somewhere along the line... I just didn't feel part of the group anymore.  

I still like my friends, but I'm not feeling it with the guild we belong to now. 

Hard to say why the new guild's not working for me -- even though it's made up of many folks from the older guilds, but my guess is, to use a cliche, "we've grown apart."  The first guild I joined was loose and fun, small and friendly.  The guild we merged with was larger and more focused on grouping for raids -- building larger teams to run the endgame content of pre-Burning Crusade instances like Molten Core.  With the coming of Burning Crusade, and the split of the guild between two realms, the latest version of the guild seems even more focused on grouping for raids in the new zones of Outland.  And even though I've tried to work up enthusiasm for it, the truth is, raiding just isn't my thing.

I'm not opposed to raiding -- I'd like to do some -- but I can't commit to a regular, multiple-nights-a-week raiding schedule.  I'm just not that hardcore.  I have a family, and we spend too little time doing things together as it is.  So this latest incarnation of the guild I've belonged to since my main WoW toon was a level 20 Night Elf Hunter just isn't the guild for me anymore.  And it's painful to admit it and leave, because I'll be leaving my friends.  (Not in the real world, of course; just in the game.)

Like I said, finding the right guild is tricky.  Sometimes, the guild that was right for you when you started playing isn't right for you after you've been playing for a while.  Recognizing this can be difficult, especially when you've made friends with others in the group.  But failing to recognize it can make playing the game far less fun; in fact, it can make playing the game feel like a chore and an obligation.

Which kinda defeats the purpose.

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