The time of raiding being equalled with hardcore is perhaps gone, but there seems to be a scale where casual soloplay is at one end and doing world first is at the other. However, for the parts inbetween its so blurry that its very sweet to see how the one and same guild can hold two entirely seperate meanings.
Just this week I saw an example of how my guild (a casual 25man raidingguild who is muddling its way through hardmodes atm) was both a step up and stepping stone for two different people. With anonymity in mind I will call them Jane and Juliet (yes deliberately choosing female pseudonyms here, as well… why not?).
Jane applied to us earlier this week, and told about how she had been playing with friends for a long time, but were hungry for more. Her previous guild consisted of close friends and were limited to doing only 10 mans, and even that was a bit haphazard. She had after much deliberation decided to take the big step, to join a “proper” raidingguild. She wanted 25 mans, she wanted hardmodes, she wanted fun -and we were it! Accepted for a trial, I was happy to think about moulding this new player into a solid raider that would contribute to our guild. Another pupil to teach the ropes.
Juliet however, left us this week. She had been playing with the guild from the start, was a very active and performance oriented player. As an officer and part of the core she was a key player and someone with strong social ties in the guild. Apparently after much thinking she had decided that she wanted progress more then friendship, and was leaving us to join a more hardcore guild. In her farewell thread she highlighted our sense of community and attiude, and while no offence was taken: implied that we were a nice bunch, but we werent good enough players for her to hang around.
So, both players had to do a weighing of friendship versus progress – or atleast that’s how both decided to frame it, perhaps cause it’s an accepted and expected dilemma we can all relate to – but one left and one joined. For one, my guild was a step towards hardcore raiding – for another it was a casual, friendly place that was holding them back. Its not really about being more or less hardcore, or more or less social. Its not even about finding a better guild to be on top of the pile, about choosing a pile. A sense of accomplishment and achievement is not something the game grants, its something that the player brings.
I am sure that in the guild Juliet is going to, people have left them in order to join more progressed guilds, leaving with a goodbye note saying “your a great bunch of people, but I want more hardcore stuff”. Either way, I wish both Juliet and Jane the best of luck. Hopefully they both find a pile to rule.