I revamped the guild website recently and made this banner for our new, meta-game social page.
During our last officer meeting, someone brought up the stock WoW banner on our site, asking if we could change it. I replied that we could, but the above is basically the limit of my Photoshop skills. (I have a commission in mind for a 'clean' site banner; this was something I threw together at 4 am while cleaning up the Shivtr UI)...
Now, a lot of the guild's decisions are completely out of my hands. For instance, in December when we were discussing what to do with the lack of new content in SWTOR, the officers and I decided to try some different MMOs to see if there was one that we liked. Thanks to Blizzard's refer-a-friend system of levelling and the allure of tons of content, WoW won handily without really any input for me (I was secretly pulling for FFXIV). However, I knew that I also had to continue to pilot the SWTOR branch for people who didn't want to migrate with us, and that my time would be limited. I picked up GW2 because a guildie thought it had fun PvP. Since he didn't intend to play WoW with us and GW2 has a great free-to-play model, I decided to try it. It took all of not that many days to decide I liked it enough to start a guild branch at least for fun. Plus, GW2 was trying this newfangled 'raid' thing...
All of this happened over the holidays, more or less, with our officer/decision-making meeting taking place on January 4th, the day the WoW guild began. However, once the semester started and I got serious about Guild Wars, playing two MMOs and administrating and occasionally subbing into a third for raids seemed insane, so I stepped back as WoW GM.
In mid-June, after my semester had ended and some other commitments had died off, I decided to start playing again in a limited capacity. I got my boosted level 90 Death Knight to level 100, discussed what character to use my 100 boost on (I had been levelling my paladin on Horde side before I unofficially-officially left), and started farming resources. I still didn't have a ton of time, but I felt that the GW2 guild--and my personal account--was in a safe enough place that we could spare me one night per week, along with the nights I traditionally took 'off.'
My problem with WoW has always been that the game and the player base both expect you to have learned rather than be learning. Part of this is the enormity of the game; it's impossible to go through everything if you're starting from the WoD expansion as we all were. The Aisthesis officers that had migrated to WoW expressed frustration and burnout over not only being in the guild 'startup' phase, but also because levelling took a long time compared to SWTOR and gearing was a lot more important--ie, it was harder to alt both while levelling and at endgame, and the game puts so much emphasis on gear that it's hard to even be in the level 100 zones without raid gear, creating an unfriendly, somewhat vicious loop.
I got tired of people chastising me in dungeons for not knowing certain things, tired of people sniping quest objectives, tired of feeling like WoW was a step back from SWTOR. Yes, I knew that the raids were good, but the question was could I even get there. Just the time commitment to level one character seemed daunting.
This summer, though, it felt easier for several reasons. The first and most enormous being that the guild was not going through this learning process along with me, and could help me and answer my questions. The second was that the guild needed people to fill in on raids without me needing to administrate, recruit, and do GM-type things. That meant that raiding in WoW could feel like a nice break from the norm, rather than more of the same (also, I missed the people who went to WoW). Finally, with more understanding of WoW despite not having logged in very often between January and June, I felt more prepared to deal with what it encompassed and entailed.
I am still very new, of course. But I am now able to enjoy the game and spending time with people. Once I came back, I warned people that I would only be able to spend one day per week in-game, raiding. However, I've been having so much fun trying to get up to speed before Legion drops that I've been making both our current raid nights. I don't think this can continue forever, but I'm looking forward to enjoying Legion. After all, I did preorder it way back in December.
So, although our site banners have often come from my screenshots, I feel confident now that we will have screenshots to draw from. I made the video embedded below to show one such crazy moment, in which I died, respawned, and went on a fabulous journey to nowhere...
I haven't felt very productive in the past weeks. Ever since Hapax and my adoption piece in |tap|, I've accumulated a feeling of exhaustion that won't go away despite trying to push through. However, I don't have anything to show for my struggles except for a few key things:
1. The guild is stable.
2. I am stable.
3. I feel in my bones that a storm of productivity is coming.
(1) was the item on the list that plagued me in early July, as Aisthesis suffered its worst setback in a long time. I'm going to write a series of posts about the guild and its history, inspired by a post on our forums asking for reminiscences, but the truth is that when something is not quite history yet, it is often too painful and divisive to write about without stirring up drama or hurt feelings.
(2), of course, should need no explanation. After a lot of time spent on intellectual pursuits, the emotional worry of a very personal piece coming out in |tap| and a literary journal curated by me personally, along with a vast underestimation of the ins and outs of putting together a literary magazine, drained me. That this all occurred at the same time as (1) should speak to the vast absorption of my emotional, physical, and mental self in the odd way that life likes to stack peaks and troughs.
(3) is just a feeling I have, but it's often a correct one. I know the pressure has been piling up, but I also feel that creatively I am just gathering resources for my creative output. However, at the end of each day, I am not satisfied by what I have done during that day, even if I know that lightening up is good for me.
So, today is the time to turn the page and start writing, start creating, check in on those photographs I never post-processed, and try to do the best I can for this month.
Cheers! I hope everyone is having a good month.
I filmed a guild kill of the first boss of wing 3, Stronghold of the Faithful. Even though I was in a somewhat lol spec, I thought it would be good to post it anyway. My laptop is now three years old and the summer heat is not being kind to its performance; my desktop is unavailable at the moment thanks to some problems with Asus's motherboard utility software.
Escort is the boss I wanted in w3, a pug-friendly boss that is accessible to all levels of raiders and gives them something to do besides wipe on Vale Guardian, boss 1 of wing 1, all day long. Boss 1 of wing 2, Slothasor, is widely regarded as the least puggable boss in the entire raid. Unfortunately, wing 3 failed on my other expectation, that its final boss--the final boss of the entire raid encounter--would be more difficult than the other bosses. Instead, it is easier than the second boss of Stronghold of the Faithful, and I'd guess the majority of wipes aren't due to lack of healing, dps, tanking, or fight mechanics, but the sheer stupidity of falling off of (or failing to be on) ley lines, a flying -style mechanic in the open world that's also necessary in wing 3 of the raid.
Anyway, Escort has two challenges: the tower group needs to perform through some burst healing and dps challenges, and the ground group needs to use their cc, has enough burst dps, and perform the fight macro in the correct order. It took us, as a guild, about an hour and a half to down the first time, about an hour to kill the second week, and this was a one-shot (hence the horribad spec).
Another nice thing about the boss is that it doesn't necessitate comps. Sure, I wish the final boss fight was harder, but the fact that we could include some new people without class flexibility was very nice. Our tower group traditionally consists of a chronomancer in stealth/blink spec (hence why the revenant isn't in his subgroup for boonshare), a dragonhunter, and an auramancer tempest. We don't blow up the tower mobs as quickly as some groups, but we are also completely self-sufficient.
The ground group brings a lot of immobilize, cripple, and a druid healer to control Glenna and keep the group alive. Dragonhunters have some very nice cc they can use on the wargs, and syvlari can use grasping vines on something other than Gorseval spirits. We had to reset our composition once we swapped to other bosses, but I'm very happy that people have learned the fight and we can rotate new people in and out as a guild.