This article will take you inside a well-established World of Warcraft raiding guild, detail my experiences in a raiding guild, and provide you with an interview with the man who runs guild Defenestrate.In World of Warcraft, there are various types of gameplay. Players can choose to fight against other players (PvP or Player vs. Player), or fight against computer-controlled enemies (PvE or Player vs. Environment). The two modes of gameplay differ significantly. However, gear or loot is rewarded in both modes that cater to the specific mode of play. For example, in PvP, survivability is very important, so by PvPing, I may get an item that helps me survive longer in fights; whereas in PvE, I may get a piece of loot that increases my damage output or healing output.
Although WoW has some of the best PvP seen in MMORPGs, most players choose to improve their characters through PvE. There are many different types of PvE content and the term PvE can be used to describe many aspects of the game. Questing, dungeons, and raid dungeons are all PvE events. Questing is usually done alone, however there are some quests that require help from other players. Dungeons are zones specifically designed for players to work together and fulfill a certain role. The typical Dungeon party consists of a tank (to absorb damage and keep enemies off the rest of the party), a healer (to keep the party alive), and three damage dealers. Most dungeons require the party to work together to kill bosses, which in turn, drop loot.
Beyond 5-man dungeons, are 10-man and 25-man raids. Most 25-man raids are available in 10-man form and have their difficulty adjusted to accommodate the lack of players. Conversely, each raid has a “heroic,” setting in which the difficulty is increased, but the quality of loot is also higher. The loot that is attained from 10 and 25-man raid dungeons is significantly better than the gear found in 5-man dungeons. These raids can sometimes be completed by pick-up groups (pugs), but success is not always guaranteed. It is sometimes hard to gauge the quality of the players found in a pug, and many times, bad players will hold a capable group from getting things done in a raid. Many players choose an alternative to pick-up groups to clear content, a guild.
Guilds in World of Warcraft can be best be described as a group of players united by a common goal and sharing a common tag. Guilds are generally the most efficient way to clear end-game content in WoW because they allow players to get organized on a level that pugs can’t provide. One of the biggest perks to being in a guild is having access to all of the in-game communication and organizational tools such as the calendar, guild chat and guild messages. These tools help tremendously when trying to work out a raid schedule. A raid schedule and consistent raid members creates a sense of familiarity and comfort, which improves communication. Guilds usually have one raid leader who gives instructions to the whole raid via voice chat program (Ventrilo, Teamspeak, Skype to name a few). All of these communication tools assist guilds in reaching their goals.
I have spent most of my time playing World of Warcraft trying to get the best gear possible for my characters; something that can only be accomplished by raiding end-game dungeons. I started playing WoW with a large group of close high school friends and although the group has died down quite a bit since the game’s release, there are a few of them still going strong today. I have always played World of Warcraft with real-life friends and couldn’t imagine playing the game without them; because of this, our core group has always been in the same guild and raid group whether we were running our own guild or joined a different guild as a group. Defenestrate is the result of our latest efforts to make it to end-game.
Defenestrate is one of Blackrock’s longest running guilds that is still together today. They are currently ranked third on horde in terms of progression (progression is measured by raid boss kills). Currently, Defenestrate raids Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday’s raid is alt night, where the members clear the same content on their alternate characters. Friday and weekends are usually reserved for raids where they sell gear and mounts. Because Defenestrate is a high-end guild, they can sell achievements, gear and mount runs. During these runs, outside buyers pay in gold to be brought in for certain boss fights.
Jonathan Newsham is the man responsible for Defenstrate’s success. Not only was he one of the people who brought the people together to form Defenestrate, he also single-handedly runs the guild and is the guild’s raid leader. I asked him about running a raiding guild as well as his thoughts about the game. The full interview can be found below:
Give us a rundown on all of your characters.
Newsh – 80 Shaman
Newshy – 80 Warlock
Nooshy – 80 Paladin
Newshie – 80 Death Knight
Nooshie – 80 Mage
WoW Player/Guild Leader
How long have you been a member of Defenestrate?
About 3 years
What are some of your responsibilities as Guild Master?
I manage the guild website, review guild applications, handle guild recruitment and advertisement, manage guild bank (providing raiding materials for all raiders), managing the guild (making sure everyone is happy, doing their job, performing up to what is expected,making sure there is no guild drama!), guild organization (setting up raids, making sure people show up for raids), and raid leading.
Give a rundown of the guild structure/ranks and other people’s responsibilities.
Unlike most guilds, I handle almost everything as far as guild operations go, by myself. Below me are my 3 officers, who primarily help me handle loot distribution to ensure it’s a fair system for everyone and help make sure I don’t overlook anything when it comes to giving out loot. They also help with managing the guild bank. Below the officers are the core raiders, the veteran players of the guild who have passed their trial period in the guild – they are the core of the guild that keep the guild going. They are guaranteed raid spots assuming they show up and keep up their performance. After the core raiders we have a friend rank for all of the friends / family members / girlfriend/boyfriends of members in the guild. Basically we try to keep the guild atmosphere very close knit and enjoyable for all our members, and we know that having their friends / family in the guild helps keep people happy, even if they’re not here to raid, just being around keeps the atmosphere positive. Below our friend rank are the recruits of the guild, the new applicants that we’ve accepted to trial for the guild to try and earn their spot in the guild as a core raider – our trial period lasts anywhere from 6-12 weeks, and goes beyond just their playing ability. We really try to make sure that people fit in and enjoy the guild atmosphere as well as being a top-notch player.
What keeps you raiding?
I just enjoy the people that I raid with. I’ve put a lot of time into building my guild over the years. It gives me something to keep myself busy and entertained, but primarily i just like the people in the guild and have a lot of fun playing with them, even with the boring content.
What do you enjoy about raiding?
I enjoy having fun with the people in the guild just playing and joking around. I also enjoy the aspect of leading raids. Just raiding is kind of boring and monotonous, but since I raid lead and pretty much tell everyone what to do, and micromanage every aspect of every fight and it’s pretty fun.
What do you dislike about raiding?
Content is too dumbed down and easy at the moment, people have short attention spans sometimes and don’t pay attention, but primarily its the lack of content. Content used to be difficult and engaging, and was enjoyable because you actually had to try. Current content is pretty much a joke, and feels really useless to clear now. Also gear from content doesn’t really matter anymore – in the past content when you were able to clear content, you were noticed as a top guild. You could easily distinguish the better players and the people that put the time and effort into raiding and were successful. Now every random casual / bad player can get a legendary and full top end gear and it doesn’t matter.
What keeps you raiding?/Do you feel an obligation to the guild to show for up for raids even if you don’t necessarily feel like raiding?
I absolutely do feel like I’m obligated to show up for raids even if i don’t want to. If I’m not there, literally nothing will get done – things just kind of fall apart and don’t happen. IE: when I quit the game like 2 years ago for a few months, my guild died within a few days of me quitting the game and my cousin trying to take over in my place.
Can you see yourself giving up a raiding schedule/lifestyle and playing WoW casually, or even quitting?
I could, and I honestly would like to quit the game in its current state. After playing Catacylsm beta I’m pretty excited for that and looking forward to that, and would definitely come back if I did quit; however I don’t think I could play casually. On top of raiding I’m very into PVP / arena so its not just raiding for me. Also, WOW is kind of my job at the moment so I can’t and don’t really want to quit it
As an experienced raider, how do you feel about certain changes to raiding in Cataclysm? Do you think it is headed in the right direction, or should raiding regress to its old ways?
I absolutely do not like the changes to raiding in cataclysm. Combining 10 and 25-man raid lock-outs into the same lock-out is a terrible idea in my honest opinion. 25-man raids (or 40-man raids before at level 60), are the raids that really matter. They’ve always been more difficult and more rewarding for the more combined effort. 10 mans (or 20-mans at level 60) were always more of a fun side thing to do with friends, or for more casual players. I think it is a terrible idea and the way the game is heading by making all loot the same for 10/25 man raids and combining lockouts basically eliminates the drive for top guilds to keep going. For example: Icecrown Citadel hard modes (Wrath of the Lich King) were cleared 11/12 in the first 3 days of being released, which is an absolute joke. Kael’thas in Tempest Keep (Burning Crusade) didn’t get killed for 2-3 months, in a 4 boss instance. Content is just too easy and caters to casuals too much. 10-mans were designed for the more casual players and people who couldn’t dedicate to full time raiding in a large guild, and should stay that way.
How much longer do you see yourself playing WoW?
As long as the game has a competitive scene for arena/pvp and remains the best MMO, i can see myself playing it – even if i move to a more casual way of playing. As for quitting, I don’t see myself quitting until Blizzard releases a new huge game to replace i, like DIablo 3. I can see myself playing WoW / gaming for a long time still, assuming Cataclysm is as good as it looks like it could be.
The following videos were made by a Defenestrate guild member. They document Defenestrate’s Heroic Lich King kill (the hardest encounter in the game).
In my next few posts I will interview some members in the guild to get an idea of who they are and why they play the game.