Farewell to my Heralds

The final group!

The final group!

Citizens of Dalaran! Raise your eyes to the skies and observe!  For the very last time in Warlords of Draenor, our world’s destruction has been averted in defiance of our very makers!

Algalon the Observer, herald of the titans, has been defeated by our brave comrades in the depths of the titan city of Ulduar for the eighth and final time.

Cold logic deemed eight runs too many. Cold logic, however, does not account for the power of guild dedication!. It’s up to each of us to prove this is a Feat of Strength worth obtaining! That our titles… our titles are worth earning.

Man, I couldn’t say goodbye to my Herald of the Titans runs without quoting dear ol’ Rhonin.  Don’t worry though, unlike Rhonin, I can keep the speech down to once through.  With the final group defeating Algalon on Wednesday, <oTQ> has officially ended our Herald of the Titans runs for this season.  And because of the upcoming changes to set bonuses in older expansions, the Wednesday run may have been our last run… forever.

Herald of the Titans has been my pet project for almost two years now.  I’ve leveled up three different characters, cleared Naxxramus for gear more times than I care to count, and helped get over 50 people their Herald of the Titans title.  It’s been a long, sometimes frustrating, but overall, incredibly rewarding journey. And I have to admit, a part of me will always love the Algalon encounter.  Except the Cosmic Smash.  Screw the Cosmic Smash.  But every other part has a special place in my heart.

Herald of the Titans was really my first experience organizing and executing a large scale group activity.  At first it was just guildies but in time, it grew to include other friends, acquaintances, and eventually random people who’d heard of the runs.  I quickly found the best ways to get key details out to people (bold, change the color, and jack up that font size) as well as the importance of keeping my master posts up to date.

I also learned how to deal with failure.  Our first couple of runs actually ended in wipes for 3 hours, something that I had definitely not expected or planned for going in.  There are ways to keep morale up and ways to encourage improvement and those first couple of runs were an awesome teaching experience.

And finally, I got to meet and interact with all sorts of people.  Good friends who I got closer to. Guildies who I didn’t know as well before the runs and became friends with after.  People who joined our guild because of Heralds.  Twitter folks who I’d never gotten to play in game with before. And all the random folks who stumbled across the page after googling ‘Herald of the Titans runs’ (we were one of the top hits!).

It’s been a fantastic two years.  However, like all things, this chapter is coming to a close.  To all of those helped supply the runs, to those who kept coming on the runs to help me fill the occasional open space, and to those who got their titles through the runs, thank you.  Thank you for coming along for the ride, for gearing up your characters, for maxing out those gems and enchants, and for watching out for the Cosmic Smashes.  And congratulations, Herald of the Titans!

 

(Editors note: Because Yotaan and Fussypants are going on vacation, there will be no blog post next week.  We will be back at it the following week however, just in time for the alleged prepatch drop!)

Gaining Closure

HammerDeath is… difficult. It’s the waiting and the news and the disbelief. It’s the silence oh the silence the silence that no one can break. It’s that hole where someone used to be and the ones left behind. The ones, not quite whole, left behind. It’s confusion and anger but with no one to blame but maybe yourself because you should have done more but what could you do? The world has stopped and gone too fast.

We got the news last Sunday night. A guildie of mine, by the name of Hammerstein, had passed away. He had been fighting Stage Four small cell lung cancer for months and the whole guild had been rooting for him. But then he has dropped communication for a couple weeks and then the fateful text on Sunday.

Hammer was one of those people who quietly made the world a better place. He wasn’t flashy or dramatic but he brightened the world just a little bit for everyone he talked to. Hammer helped anyone with anything- he aided another guildie set up her entire gaming rig over the phone. He was there, supportive, cheery, and optimistic.

Hammerstein was a good guild member, but he was so much more than just that.  He was a human being, thinking, feeling, suffering.  Hammer was a part of us, the human part of us.  The part that found joy in all aspects of life.  We supported Hammer with his medical expenses and difficulties and he supported us against our every day toils and troubles, a listener to confide in.  Hammer was real.

And in pain. The little bit that Hammer described to us seemed almost unbearable. He couldn’t stand, couldn’t move, and was undergoing intense chemotherapy. And yet he still found the time to log in and chat with us.

We set up a Go Fund Me account to help with transportation (since he could not drive) and sent him all the support we could.  And I hope that what we did helped, if even a little.

And then that fateful Sunday.

 

There seems to be this misconception that the immediate response to the news of a friend’s death is big and dramatic.  The waterworks come out and the world seems to end.  In reality, it’s… it’s not like that.

It’s emptiness.  This feeling of vast, wide, and unmovable emptiness.  Like all you do is futile. It’s quiet and private but it hurts more than anything else in the entire world.

And then you see the messages from the other people in your guild. And that’s when the tears come.  But they aren’t satisfying.  It’s like the emptiness manifested.  Streams of nothingness down your cheeks.

It’s a problem but there’s nothing you can do to fix it.  You can’t talk it out, reach a compromise, nothing. The worst part, you can’t talk to the friend.  And in my case, I never got to say good bye.

I’ve been blessed in that I’ve never experienced death first hand.  It’s always been people I knew of or people I knew distantly.  But this one was close.  This one was someone who I used to talk to every single day.  And now, this horrible feeling of nothingness and lack of closure.

The following week was rough. I was dealing with my personal feelings but on top of that, I also had to break the news multiple times to multiple people.  How can you tell people something like that? What could you possibly say? I was also very worried about another one of my friends.  She was closer to Hammer than anyone else.  They had called each other almost daily.  When her and I were talking about it, it was the only time I’d ever heard her cry.

More bad news, we learned that Hammer didn’t have very many family members.  They were trying to track down his step brother, who he had never met, to help put together some sort of burial service.  It was beginning to look like we were the only ones who could give Hammer some sort of memorial.

Back when, as a guild, we had first started offering moose carries, one of the first people we wanted to get their moose had been Hammerstein.  We knew about his condition so we wanted to do something nice for him, something to cheer him up and show him how we were rooting for him.  Unfortunately, we never got a chance.  Hammer never logged in and his spot remained reserved.  We ticketed a few GMs about this but there was nothing that they could do.

Then suddenly one night, my friend who used to talk to Hammer all the time gets a call.  It was from Hammer’s cell phone.  Just a bit apprehensive, she answered and found out that it was the step brother.  He had been tracked down and had found the texts from her.  The two talked for a long time and a plan was decided upon.  We were going to get that moose for Hammer.  His step-brother would log on and we would carry him through a Heroic Archimonde kill.

Saturday night arrived and Hammer’s brother logged into his toon.  The majority of the guild was informed that this was not Hammer, this was his step-brother and we were going to finally get Hammer’s character the moose.  Led over phone by a woman he had just met, playing a video game for the first time in his life, carried in a raid by a team of 20 people, cheered on by a guild of over 1000 people, Hammer’s step brother defeated Heroic Archimonde and earned the Grove Warden.  Hammerstein the Dwarf Hunter mounted up onto his majestic moose and leapt into the sky, never to come back down.

Hammerstein

This was the most beautiful thing I have ever been a part of.  It didn’t magically solve all the problems, didn’t revive Hammer from the beyond.  But it provided closure.  It was the final salute to a brave man who fought so valiantly and touched the lives of so many.  It was our final good bye.

Our lives are like sound. We come into contact with each other and resonate uniquely and then eventually fade away. We create beautiful chords and melodies and songs with thousands of emotions but in the end we end like we begin. Loved.

In memory of Hammerstein <oTQ>

There will be a memorial service held at 8pm CST (server time) tomorrow on the realm Nesingwary/Nazgrel/Vek’nilash in remembrance of Hammerstein.  If you would like to say a few words, please contact me or any of the other officers before the service.  The service will be held both in in-game chat and in the guild’s mumble.

Times Change

Times ChangeIf you had told me a year ago that I would be raiding current tier progression, I would have looked at you and laughed.  If you had told me a year ago that I would be the officer in a guild 900 strong I would have shook my head and told you no way.  If you had told me that I would have tanked current raids, led three groups successfully to their Herald of the Titans achievement, or fallen in love with the monk class I simply would not have believed you.  And yet here we are, a year later.  And all those things are true.

A year ago, I was a part of a small but cheery little guild.  While it was full of wonderful people that I truly enjoyed playing with, it just was not a good fit for the way I played the game.  A year ago I was an average pug healer.  Occasionally I would have some really good plays but I wasn’t much special.  I wanted to raid more than the pugs I could get into, but I didn’t think there was a guild out there who would want me with my unpredictable schedule.  A year ago I was terrified of tanking.  I couldn’t even lead a dungeon at max level, let alone tank any raids.  A year ago, I restricted myself to what I had at that time.  I rarely went far beyond my comfort zones and I hesitated before most opportunities.

What was that thing Garrosh said in the cinematic?
Times change.

Today I am a proud officer in <Of The Queue>.  I have successfully lead a number of events.  I have tanked all of Highmaul, most of Blackrock Foundry, and a bit of Hellfire Citadel.  I have become a much better healer, capable of using my cooldowns and abilities in a raid environment.  I am in a raid group that is 7/13 in Hellfire Citadel and progressing rapidly.  And I now rock a mistweaver and brewmaster monk as my second main.

So many times we stop short with what we have.  We are so afraid of change and of failure that we don’t move forward.  What we have is good enough, no need to desire more.  But the world out there is boundless in it’s opportunities. Even if we fall, we can always get back up again.

Have I had my fair share of failed ventures? Absolutely.  I worked so very hard on things that completely fall through.  I’ve said “Good enough” instead of finding ‘best’. I’ve let fear keep me from trying new things.

But I’m making the conscious effort to stop.  I want to experience all that the world has to offer (both in game and out).  Instead of saying no, I want to say yes to new experiences.  Because the world moves and world changes.  Times change.

I have found my niche in the game where I am happy.  I log in and say hello to all the people and I feel like I belong.  I’ve pushed beyond my ‘good enough’ and into my ‘great’. I’ve found friends to support me and taken opportunities that I never would have dreamed of getting.  And most of all, I’ve accepted that it can change.  Everything can change. I won’t be stuck in the past, grasping at the almosts.

So this is my message to you today.  A bit sappy, I willingly admit.  But genuine.  Seek out what makes you happiest.  Times change; let yourself change with them. Find your ‘great’.

A Whole New Guild

WoWScrnShot_020515_204251I’ve been having a ball in WoW recently.  No, I haven’t been raiding. Or PvPing.  Or even on  my main characters that much.  No, I’ve been in the WoWInsider Blizzard Watch guild ‘of The Queue’.

I rolled a draenei mage named Fussypants (surprise surprise) shortly after hearing about the guild.  I had created a character more just to have one in there, pop in occasionally, and stay connected to the Queuevians.  What I didn’t expect was for me to log onto that character everyday.

When I joined there were about 20-30 members; not huge but considering the guild was a day old, not too shabby either.  But over the next couple days, the guild grew explosively.  I think right now we are at about 270 some members.  And very few of those are alts.   So with about 200 active members, you can just imagine what chat is like.  Yup, solid wall of green.  Often times there are two if not three different conversations going on at once.  People are chatting, joking, and laughing at all hours a day!  For someone who has never been in a huge guild before, this is a pretty cool thing!

At first I was logging on just to level, read the chat, and occasionally contribute.  I sent out a lot of green linen shirts as a joke, but other than that I didn’t do too much with the guild. I was content to be a lurker.  But everything changed when I proposed an idea.
Of The Queue Guild SSAs a goodbye to WoWInsider, I set up and organized a guild screenshot to submit to Around Azeroth (and yes, it got chosen!)  All the members of the guild met up at the steps of Stormwind Keep in their best guild tabard and outfits, and we took bunch of screenshots.  It was a ton of fun and a huge success!

Shortly after this, I was offered, and accepted, a promotion to officer.

Now I’ve been spending most of my time sitting by the Stormwind fountain, chatting in /g, whispering various people, and setting up guild events.  I never knew how much fun it was to be a contributing factor in a huge guild.  People want to do things together and are always full of ideas!  I’m really enjoying just talking with so many people at one time.  I rarely ever level now; I just stand in one spot!

I won’t say that I was burning out on WoW, but I was definitely less motivated to log in.  I was slowly leveling up my toons, but not really for any reason, more just to have them all at 100.  Even PvP, my newly discovered hobby couldn’t keep me occupied for long.  I guess what I needed was a huge change up.  And the Blizzard Watch guild was just that.

So this is what I’ve been doing with most of my WoW time.  Socializing.  Heh, never thought I’d say that! I’m happy that this guild is working out thus far as its a really fun place to hang out!  I love my main’s guild too; its great to be in two different guild both full of great people!

Come join us! ‘Of The Queue’ is always recruiting any readers, lurkers, or commenters from WoWInsider Blizzard Watch! We are located alliance side on Nesingwary/Vek’nilash/Nazgrel US realms.  If you need an invite just make your way to the Stormwind fountain and, odds are, you will find me or some other member there!  Oh and yeah, we have a pretty spiffy forum page too!