In our second week of 10-man raiding, United Defense pushed farther into Naxxramas. We cleared through no fewer than five new bosses: 1-shot Noth the Plaguebringer, 3-shot Heigan the Unclean, 1-shot Loetheb, 2-shot Instructor Razuvious, and 3-shot Gothik the Harvester. Not bad at all. Naxx doesn't have much time to lick its wounds--we'll be back on Tuesday!
Exactly twelve days after Wrath's release, an all-UD raid of ten level 80s entered Naxxramas. Three hours later we zoned out of the instance, leaving Anub'Rekhan, Grand Widow Faerlena, and Maexxna lying dead on the floor. This was quite an accomplishment for us, given that we had five 80s in raid who'd only dinged that day or the day before, and only two healers! Next week we can look forward to clearing Spider-Wing again, then moving on to Plague-Wing for some new challenges. So here's to UD's debut into Lich King raiding--no doubt the first victory of many to come!
Here we are on the eve of Wrath. United Defense did not merely survive the toughest part of any expansion cycle. From Headless Horseman kills to Mole Machine shenanigans to zombie raids on Goldshire to one-and-a-half-hour four-chest ZA runs, we’ve had some great times and even grown the guild. Did anyone else notice that there were no fewer than 21 level 70s online the other night for our dual-Kara event? That, my friends, is four members short of a 25-man raid. Which brings me to my main subject: what is United Defense’s vision for Wrath of the Lich King? Here’s what our next couple of months are going to look like:
Come 12:00 AM, November 13th, a handful of members are going to be speeding home from our local video game dealers, clutching our shiny new copies of WotLK and salivating wildly. We will install the expansion, log in, head to Northrend, begin questing, and not one of us will sleep until we reach level 80. …Ok, maybe the whole “not sleeping” part is a little unrealistic, but one thing is certain: a segment of the UD population is going to be leveling extremely rapidly and will reach level-cap long before most of the server. These UD members will then begin running 5-mans, gearing one-another up, and doing what they can to help other guild members level their way to the top.
As soon as we have ten members at level 80, we will begin raiding Naxxramas, working very hard to progress and clear a path through the instance for the guild. This will mark the beginning of a new era in UD’s raid program, and accordingly, our raid program will have a new leader. Resjudicator (a.k.a. Lexloci, a.k.a Ben) has agreed to step up and fill the much needed role of Raid Program Officer, and will undoubtedly lead us to great PvE victories!
As we are leveling, we will be meeting new people, many of whom will become friends, and some of whom may decide they wan to join UD. Riley will be working very aggressively to recruit new members and grow the guild, while still maintaining the extremely high recruitment standards UD has always had. Why the focus on recruiting? After much discussion, the officers have decided that it will be United Defense’s explicit goal to begin running 25-man raids as soon as possible. It will certainly take a while to get all of our current members to level 80 and recruit enough new members to reach the 40-odd active members necessary to reliably field 25-mans, but we’ll get there. As soon as we do, we’ll dramatically scale back recruiting in order to preserve the small-guild friendly atmosphere that we’ve all come to enjoy.
United Defense certainly has a lot to look forward to. I’ve said this before, but it’s important enough to merit reiteration. UD has historically seen its success in the middle of expansion cycles, causing us to have to play catch-up in raid progression. Now, for the first time ever, we’re entering into an expansion as an extremely strong guild, committed to being on the forefront of Daggerspine’s raid progression. Remember that Golden Age we’ve talked about before? It begins this Thursday.
As a reminder of just how much fun this nutty guild can have, I’ve included a nostalgic little video of UD’s first Ragnaros kill, courtesy of Crew…. Enjoy!
About a month ago a couple of people came to me, concerned that UD raids weren’t seeing enough attendance to get off the ground; they were concerned that people were losing interest in the guild and in Warcraft in general. I saw it very differently. While this trend may have been a bit alarming in the short term, in the long term, it has been the healthiest thing that could possibly happen to United Defense. Members didn’t simply fall off the edge of the earth. They stepped back from WoW in order to focus on other things in their lives: many were starting college. Some were starting new jobs. Some were taking the opportunity to spend time with their significant others. I was working on my house and planning my wedding. From a life-perspective, these things are all very important and healthy. From a guild-perspective what this means is that, come November 13th, UD members will all be ready with a great deal of interest and excitement stored up for the expansion. Instead of burning out on the game over the three months prior to the expansion, United Defense has been RECHARGING our enthusiasm for the game. I can’t think of a healthier way to prepare for WotLK.
Guilds all over Daggerspine and across the realms have been melting down and disbanding over the past months. A few weeks ago, I told our officers that, “if UD could limp into the expansion on three wheels with smoke coming out of the radiator, but with all our members still buckled in,” we’d be way ahead of most other guilds. Well, judging by what we’ve seen over the past couple of days, we’ve done a hell of a lot better than that! Take a look at the screenshot above: the night before the patch, we had a blast defending Un’Goro from a band of marauding horde; then we headed to Thunder Bluff, summoned even more members, took control of their precious Moocow Totem Pole for a good twenty-odd minutes, then, in a blaze of glory, made a valiant attempt on Cairn. The next morning, patch 3.0.2 went live, and fifteen or more UD members could be found online, /hugging squirrels all over the countryside, massacring whelps in UBRS, and helping one another with a variety of other wonky Achievements. United Defense is very much alive and well.
If we were all Gaming Robots, we’d be raiding six hours every night, practicing tactics, and working to build the perfect raiding machine in preparation for WotLK. But UD isn’t a guild of gamaing fanatics. We’re a guild of pretty normal people with very healthy lives outside of the game. We all do, however, share a common love of World of Warcraft, and I think I’m safe in saying that we’re all pretty darn good at it and share an ambition to excel. This is why, over the coming month, United Defense is going to be steadily ramping up its intensity. Now that 3.0 is out, we all have a great deal of learning to do, and we’re going to need to practice and develop our ability to get the most out of our classes; accordingly, we’re going to be doing some light raiding in order to get that needed practice. Your Officer core is going to become increasingly active, and we’re going to begin holding regular Officer Meetings which will help us better lead the guild into WotLK. We don’t want anyone to burn out before the expansion, but we want to be ready for it.
United Defense has historically come into its prime near the end of expansion cycles. For the more mathematically inclined, we’ve been “out of phase” with the expansion cycle. However, a very exciting thing is about to happen: for the first time in its history, UD is about to enter into an expansion fully prepared and ready to excel. When Lich King hits, we’re going to be hitting the ground running with a full-blown, high-octane raiding program. As soon as enough of us hit level 80, we’re going to push hard for progress in 10-man raid instances. All the while we’re going to be growing the guild and, should we decide that we would enjoy 25-man content, we will make that transition as soon as possible. It is UD’s goal that we offer a very “dense” raiding experience: we would like to progress at the same or faster pace than comparable guilds, but do so during fewer raiding hours per week. We’ve done this in the past, and we will again.
The coming weeks will certainly be exciting ones. We’ve seen a few greatly-missed friends return to us recently, and I expect to see more come back and join us in the near future. Patch 3.0 introduces a variety of new challenges and new elements in the game, and it will be interesting for us as we adapt to them. Come November 13th, we can all look forward to wild, zany, efficient UD leveling parties, and to arriving at level 80 long before the masses of Daggerspine. United Defense is an amazing collection of friends. I can’t imagine a group of people with whom I’d rather level and experience Wrath of the Lich King. It’s gonna be a blast!